Lone woman candidate for Cameroon’s presidential elections
Summary of story from Global Press Institute, August 1, 2011
Edith Kabbang Walla, 45, and known as Kah Walla, is the – only - woman candidate running for president in Cameroon’s October elections this year.
She first became a part of national politics in 2007, declared her candidacy in October 2010 and was endorsed by the Cameroon People’s Party in April 2011.
She has strong views about women in government, explaining that women played a big part in the fight for Cameroon’s independence, but after Cameroon won it from France in 1960 and from Great Britain in 1961, women’s roles in politics faded to more traditional jobs.
Women, she says, now confine their work to hosting parties and cooking food, rather than taking part in debates.
She and other organisations are now working hard to get Cameroonians, and women in particular, to register to vote.
And women in Cameroon face serious challenges if they get involved in politics.
These range from cultural practices that undermine women’s leadership potential, to intimidation, including death threats, and even kidnapping – Walla herself was kidnapped in May 2011.
Political analyst, Martin Fon Yembe says Walla is more than competent enough to become president, but that her chances are seriously hampered by foul play and intimidation.
“The interest of women in politics has been aroused, but now we want their active participation,” Walla said, during a recent visit to Bamenda, a city in northwestern Cameroon.