Electoral periods in Cameroon involve an impressive mobilisation of human, material and financial resources. Campaigning is marked by rallies, speeches, door-to-door solicitations, as well as vote buying, intimidation, ballot box stuffing etc. Electoral manipulation involves selective voter registration, tampering with the electoral roll and other administrative manoeuvres. At the centre of these activities is a group of people known locally as the political elite. These elites notably the head of state Paul Biya, key cabinet members, government officials etc. have been at the helm of the state since independence in the 1960s. At the receiving end are grassroots populations, who over the years witnessed the political elite appear on the eve of elections and disappear immediately thereafter. On occasion, the grassroots are able to see through the mirage, which often leaves some members of the political elite staring into the abyss. This chapter is based on events around the 2013 municipal and legislative elections in Mbankomo in the Centre Region of Cameroon. I employed participant observation, document and archival analysis, interviews among others to unearth and document the complex relationship between grassroots populations, party officials and other high-ranking members of the governing CPDM party during election periods in Cameroon.
Part of the book: Elections