SPEECH PRESENTED BY THE ELDEST MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT HONOURABLE P.C FONSO, ON THE OCCASION OF THE OPENING OF THE FIRST ORDINARY SESSION OF THE 2012 LEGISLATIVE YEAR
-Mr Prime Minister, Head of Government
-The procurer General of the Supreme Court
-Honourable Members of Parliament,
-Your Excellencies, Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
-Ladies and Gentlemen
Before I proceed, I will like to bid you a warm welcome to the National Assembly of Cameroon.
I am pleased to mount this rostrum today, in my capacity as the eldest member of this august house to open the first ordinary session for the 2012 legislative year, in compliance with the statutory legal provisions.
I thank the Almighty God who continues to keep us alive while we lament the passing of some of our fellow countrymen. In this wise, since we parted company last December, the National Assembly of Cameroon has lost one of its prominent members in the person of Hon. NGALE ADOLF NAMME, Member of Parliament from FAKO in Buea Centre constituency. Born on 15 June 1961 in Buea, he got to parliament as Alternate Member during the 2002/2007 legislative year when he replaced the substantive member, Hon. MEOTO PAUL NJEI, appointed Director of cabinet in the prime Minister’s Office. Hon. NGALE ADOLF NAMME was elected for the current mandate, which he will unfortunately not finish. This session is therefore opening against a mournful backdrop with the demise of our colleague whose funeral is still being prepared. May he be happily welcomed in the land of our ancestors
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I now pray you to rise for a minute of silence in honour of our departed colleague
(Minute of silence)
Mr Prime Minister,
You are no stranger in this chamber but today you are entering this hall for the first time after your re-appointment at the helm of the Government of the Republic following the presidential decrees reorganizing and appointing the government on 9 December 2011.
N my capacity as the eldest Member of Parliament here present and on my behalf, I am pleased to extend to you our sincere and heartfelt congratulations on the confidence the Head of state has renewed in you.
We are also pleased to have in our midst Mr AMADOU ALI, former Vice Prime Minister, Minister of Justice and keeper of the seals, now Minister Delegate at the Presidency of the Republic in charge of Relations with Parliament.
To the other compatriots who have joined the Government, to those who have been maintained I their portfolios or have changed portfolios, I extend to them the same congratulations and the total encouragement of the august house. Nevertherless, I would like to tell especially the new comers who will be rubbing shoulders with the elected People’s Representatives for the first time that there shall be no favour. As representatives of the sovereign people, we would as usual dispassionately continue to ensure the interest of Cameroonians with the same foresight, without resentment but always in a bid to oversee the full development of all and sundry.
Of the major overarching projects and the implementation of the new agricultural policy. The materialization of these projects shall undoubtedly be the main focus of the seven year term of the President of the Republic. Has he not taken a commitment to lead Cameroon to growth and prosperity and to put the country back on track so that it will be an emerging country by 2035? The success of such an endeavour shall largely depend on Government’s resolve and willingness.
Practically, the successful execution of all these projects arouses hope in the population which is foreseeing a fertile ground for individual and collective development.
Already, the Nation’s Representatives through the eldest member that I am hereby commend the new government of the republic for initial actions undertaken since it assumed office notably, the institution of a roadmap for each Ministry. These are reassuring actions because they herald that the era of evoidance of duty and inertia is over. Congratulations especially for the urgent work that is ongoing at the nine road construction sites amounting to 100 billion CFA Francs. The award of these contracts through mutual agreement clearly shows that it is really time for action.
The Nation’s Representatives wish that the same diligence should be shown to the other projects geared towards improving the supply of energy, water, health services and the training of youths.
With regards to the training of youths, members of parliament hail the rapid development of the university of Bamenda and the preservation of the achievements of the University of Maroua- these recently created state universities in Cameroon.
We also acclaim the presidential decree which was made public last Friday fixing amounts and mode of paying documentation and research allowances to staff of primary and secondary Education. This proves beyond doubts that the authorities are attentive to the needs and complaints of teachers. Obviously, these new allowances shall upgrade the livelihood of our compatriots of he primary and secondary Education.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Even the highest state authority has acknowledged that the functioning of ELECAM during the last presidential election in Cameroun was flawed in the discharge of its duties.
In fact, ELECAM was entrusted with the organization of the electoral process so as to ensure transparency and sincerity of votes cast. However, there were some organizational lapses which although did not impact so much on the outcome of the polls, raised concerns on the ability of ELECAM to play its full role. I am therefore pleased to observe that following the instructions of the Head of State, the public authorities and ELECAM are called upon to take the bull by the horns in a bid to correct these flaws through the recompilation of voters’ lists. Moreover, they have been requested to embark on biomentric registration which is a state of the art technique of identification so as to check the phenomenon of multiple voting.
We highly commend this bold and wise decision by the authorities. At last, we are convinced that henceforth the repeated commitments to enhance the electoral process were not a hoax.
The eldest member and all the members of parliament praise the historic move. I am therefore appealing to all the stakeholders concerned to be fully committed because it s believed that all misunderstandings and fears have been dispelled through the consultations between the Government and ELECAM. We now hope that future elections shall be free, fair and transparent during the registration, conduct and proclamation of the results.
Ladies and Gentlemen
I would not conclude my speech without mentioning the forthcoming celebration in Buea of the fiftieth anniversary of the reunification of Cameroon. Twelve months ago from this same rostrum, I expressed the wish to see this event actually take place. My wish was that this event should be guided by historical considerations and not politics nor politicking so that our offsprings and the international community can really be imbued today. From the bottom of my heart as eldest Member of Parliament would say: “thank you president Paul Biya”. While waiting to be part of this event, by God’s grace, I would like to tell Cameroonians that the announced celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the reunification of Cameroon, just as was the case with the fiftieth anniversary of independence, should not be construed as a favour to Anglophones. The event concerns all compatriots from North to South, East to West, Moslems, Christians, Animists, Anglophones and Francophones. Inspite of our differences and political leanings, posterity shall hold that 1st October 1961 was the beginning of reconciliation and national unity which today are the most obvious values in the building of our country. If I were to use a slogan, I would say: Together let’s go in for the fiftieth anniversary of reunification!!! Buea is the place to be come that day.
As regards the continuation of our proceedings during this session, we will in the days ahead elect the Bureau of our House for the new legislative year. These elections are in line with our vibrant democracy and also showcases the vitality of our house.
I know many of us may not be enthusiastic as the legislative period is already coming to an end. But as patriots, we need to overcome such feelings for, with or without us, the republic will continue to forge ahead. Like young Athenans, it is incumbent on us to bequeath this fatherland better than we met it
May I also over emphasize the need for you to uphold the dignity of our work and status. Be it the impending elections of the Bureau, or all the other issues that will be tabled before you for scrutiny, you would have to show maturity, objectivity and seriousness. In other words, the common weal must prevail in all that you will have to do.
With these pieces of advice from the eldest member, I once more welcome you to the National Assembly and wish us total success in our deliberations. I now declare open the proceedings of the first ordinary session of the National Assembly for the 2012 legislative year.
Long live the National assembly!
Long live Cameroon!