Saturday, March 2, 2013

A Rubber Stamp Senate for Cameroon?

By Fai Cassian
The Cameroon National Assembly after April 14, 2013 will henceforth be regarded as a lower house. But before it happens, that Cameroon Parliament (National Assembly) has established a regrettable reputation as a rubber stamp Parliament which is governed by party discipline. For years now Cameroonians are aware that party discipline at the National Assembly takes precedence over the supreme interest of the people and the state. This is so because like in the argument in Gulliver’s Travels, any “Johnny just come” who enjoys popularity or has money can buy his/her way to Parliament. The implications are that many of those who enter the National Assembly through the struck of luck spend their five years mandate sleeping and clapping to declarations they never participated in voting thus sacrificing the entire nation. Bills are tabled and rubber stamped into law without reasonable intellectual debates. While others pass time staging “walk outs” in protest of this or that due to party discipline, others would adopt bills to later regret in snacks, bars and restaurants where they spend micro project grants.
The putting in place of the senate implies that there is going to be an upper house in Cameroon. Yet commentators say this Upper House of the National Assembly known as the Senate may turn to be another rubber stamp. Whereas, senators are supposed to be more refined personalities in society, role models or people who have proven their capabilities. The question whether Cameroonians will commit the same errors by electing into the senate people based on party allegiance and tribal tendencies is bound and unavoidable. Even though the electoral college is only made up of councilors, I remember how a mayor once told me that majority of his councilors had not gone above Primary 7. Equally, President Biya who has the prerogatives to appoint 30 out of the 100 senators should appoint people based on their abilities and not on compensating old guards of the CPDM. Some of these old guards of the CPDM are already scrambling to Yaounde, visiting witch-doctors to be appointed. In fact as someone puts it “ a Senator should be someone who should be able to die for the truth and his/her fatherland”. The question is whether we could find such a rare specie of people with character and conscience in Cameroon. If they are not to be found, then the Senate will surely be a rubber stamp.

When News Breaks Out, We Break In. Minute by Minute Report on Cameroon and Africa

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