Re: Fwd: [BDPA-Africa] Africa IT news update 27/9/2004 part two

From: Ed Kennedy <ekennedyx_at_yahoo_dot_com>
Date: Tue Oct 12 2004 - 20:30:47 CDT

Hello Edward:

    I wonder if they might be interested in some old Votomatic units? It
would be a relatively small investment and might be a quick cure for

Thanks, Ed Kennedy

----- Original Message -----
From: "Edward Cherlin" <>
To: <>
Sent: Tuesday, October 12, 2004 6:26 PM
Subject: [voting-project] Fwd: [BDPA-Africa] Africa IT news update 27/9/2004
part two

> Unclear on the concept.
> ---------- Forwarded Message ----------
> Subject: [BDPA-Africa] Africa IT news update 27/9/2004 part two
> Date: Monday 27 September 2004 08:58 pm
> From: "Chifu" <>
> To:
> Politics-Cameroon: A Vote for Computerization
> Sylvestre Tetchiada
> Yaounde
> With the countdown to presidential elections in Cameroon
> gathering pace, it might be assumed that officials there are
> simply putting the finishing touches to polling systems and
> procedures. However, a fierce debate is underway about
> computerization of the voting process.
> "We absolutely have to computerize if we want a transparent and
> credible election. If we can't do that, then the election should
> be postponed in the interests of the country," says John Fru
> Ndi, head of the Social Democratic Front (SDF) - Cameroon's
> main opposition party.
> Failing this, Ndi threatens that the opposition will take
> matters into its own hands. "We're going to prevent the
> election from taking place," he told IPS. "We will invade the
> streets to insure that the election will not occur." Voting is
> scheduled for Oct. 11.
> The calls for computerization - notably, the creation of an
> electronic voters' roll - follow allegations of foul play in
> previous elections. Since multi-party politics were
> reintroduced in Cameroon in 1991, the country has held two
> presidential polls û both of which were won by incumbent head
> of state Paul Biya.
> International observers refused to give a clean bill of health
> to the polls, (Biya, who has been in power since 1982, will
> also contest next month's vote). Opposition members have now
> put their faith in information technology (IT) as a way of
> minimizing electoral fraud in future polls.
> "That's the reason I suggested it at least five years ago. Only
> computerization can preserve the social peace and guarantee a
> transparent election," Garga Haman Adji, leader of the Alliance
> for Democracy and Development, told IPS.
> His words are echoed by officials from the opposition Democratic
> Union of Cameroon (Union démocratique du Cameroun, UDC), who
> told IPS that voter lists "are for the most part selective, and
> that they could ruin an opposition candidate's chances for
> success."
> Government is certainly making appropriate noises on the
> subject.
> "It's an issue of modernization. We are giving it great
> attention and we want everyone to participate...We're seeking
> out expertise and skills by inviting others to a frank
> citizens' exchange," Marafa Hamidou Yaya, the senior minister
> in charge of territorial administration and decentralization,
> said last month.
> However, officials have also emphasised that computers will only
> be of use in the upcoming poll if government has been able to
> distribute identity cards which can be used in conjunction with
> the IT system. It appears that the administration has some way
> to go in this regard.
> "Our real problem is getting birth certificates and national
> identity cards," Gregoire Owona, the assistant
> secretary-general of the ruling Democratic Union of the
> Cameroonian People (Rassemblement démocratique du peuple
> camerounais, RDPC), told IPS.
> "Computerization needs to be seen as a catalyst for
> organisational change and not as some miracle cure...We are
> involved, but the process requires 16 million dollars that we
> don't have, and no lender has come forward to help us," he
> added.
> But, this statement has been queried by an official at the
> office of political affairs in the ministry of territorial
> administration who requested anonymity. According to this
> source, government has yet to present donors with a formal
> request for electoral IT funding.
> Djeukam Tchameni, a computer scientist and president of the
> Movement for Democracy and Interdependence, disagrees that a
> computerized voting system is beyond the reach of Cameroon.
> "Regarding the October 11 election, computerization is possible.
> We're talking about voter lists for a maximum of eight million
> voters. To my mind, we could computerize the voter lists and
> make them available to all Cameroonians," he notes, adding ôThe
> present problem is not about technical feasibility but instead
> the political will to clean up an environment susceptible to
> cheating."
> But, even Tchameni admits that ôcomputerization alone cannot fix
> this problem. We mustn't view computerization as some sort of
> magic wand."
> Arlette Moukouri, a member of the Integrated Programme Against
> Poverty, a non- governmental organisation, agrees.
> "Computerization is no silver bullet," she told IPS. "Most of
> the time, people are registered to vote selectively by
> commissions headed by the sub-prefect. That being the case, do
> you think computerization will have any effect?"
> For several months now, calls for computerized voting have
> dominated street demonstrations held by the opposition.
> This has come in the midst of an increasingly strained campaign
> that has already claimed the life of SDF official John Nkonteh
> - killed Aug. 20 in the north-western Balikumbat district.
> A member of the RDPC, Doh Gah Gwanyin, is one of the principal
> suspects in the murder. Nkonteh was reportedly killed after
> complaining of irregularities in voter registration.
> Disagreements over computerization may prove something of a moot
> point, however, in light of the persistant divisions within the
> opposition.
> Earlier this month, Fru Ndi announced that he had parted ways
> with a coalition of opposition parties, in order to run for the
> presidency. This came after the coalition had chosen the UDC's
> Adamou Ndam Njoya as its candidate for the poll.
> Fru Ndi, who claims that he was cheated of the presidency in
> 1992, is reported as saying that Ndam Njoya's selection had not
> been democratic. Observers have noted that these developments
> could prove fatal for the opposition, as parties need to
> present a united front if they hope to unseat Biya.
> --
> Edward Cherlin
> Generalist & activist--Linux, languages, literacy and more
> "A knot! Oh, do let me help to undo it!"
> --Alice in Wonderland
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Received on Mon Nov 1 15:28:44 2004

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