Politics they say make strange postmasters. This statement has not only been confirmed when judged from the cacophony that took place last week when councilors of the Bamenda I Council met to vote a moribund budget of about FCFA 332 million, but was contextualized that the Bamenda I Council was trusted to a very confused set of councilors. Those who took the pains to attend the first budgetary session of the Bamenda I Council went back home with this notion. The first thing is that Caroline Bongwa and her deputies even forgot their sashes at home yet they all appeared in “plain dresses” to preside over an official activity of the council. It was thanks to the intervention of the Senior Divisional Officer for Mezam, Nguele Nguele Philip that the mayor and her deputies requested for their sashes to be brought to them.
During deliberations, the councilors also transformed the session into a “Portuguese Parliament”. It was strange that they behaved like nursery school children. Whether it was the lack of knowledge on council systems or their inabilities to behave, the outcome was that almost all of them could not even differentiate the variation between making a submission, and or raising or supporting a motion. In fact it was catastrophic that no councilors knew the disparity between motion or a deliberation. They were more interesting in signing and collecting their sitting allowances on the spot, as raised by one of them during the session. The fact that no councilor raised a finger to point out the interest of his or her quarter has not been protected in the 2014 budget is indicative that they are more concern about themselves than the people. One councilor whose name (I have just forgotten) was heard arguing with a lot of agility that this is also their own time to “chop” after all (we all know how the victory came about). It is however clear that the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Decentralization has a lot of work to do by empowering councilors to know their roles and responsibilities, a journalist remarked. The most pathetic thing is that the budget for recorded a drastic drop in income and expenditure. However, the mayor of Bamenda I, Caroline Bongwa Bih was of the opinion that she would be working with a more realistic budget. Notwithstanding, she however says she would rely on the fruitful collaboration of the Bamenda City Council to instill development. The embarrassing thing is that the Bamenda II Council which is headed by the hardworking quarrelsome Balick Awah Fidelis just voted an ambitious budget of 820 million FCFA. The Bamenda man sees the Bamenda II council to be more pragmatic and realistic than Bamenda I with it moribund budget. “It is better to aim high and shoot low than to aim low and go to the floor base”, John Chi, an inhabitant of Bamendakwe observed. It should be recalled that the Bamenda I Council is still operating in a borrowed premises at a point in time that 85% of the councils have constructed their council halls.
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