Tuesday, March 12, 2013

LandMark Speech by Hon. PC Fonso at National Assembly Opening

Hon. PC Fonso
Mr Prime Minister, Head of Government,
The First President of the Supreme Court,
The Procureur General of the Supreme Court,
Honourable Members of Parliament,
Your Excellencies, Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen.

It is a privilege for me to preside once more, in compliance with the statutory legal provisions, at the opening ceremony of the first ordinary session of the National Assembly for the 2013 legislative year.

In this solemn ceremony and on behalf of the Provisional Bureau and the entire National Assembly, it is my pleasure to warmly welcome all of you to this august House.  Your presence here today amply testifies the sound functioning and smooth collaboration that exists between all arms of Government of our country.  I wholeheartedly salute this convivial state of affairs.

Dear Colleagues, welcome back to your House after some three months of intensive activities in your constituencies.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This session is opening at the time when the sovereignty of our country has been violated by a group of violent misguided terrorists who recently abducted a family of French tourists in the northern part of the country.  The insanity of this senseless act cannot be rivaled when children are held captive!  As Members of Parliament representing the sovereign people of Cameroon, we call on the Government to take all measures in collaboration with the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the French Republic to free these hostages unharmed.  The National Assembly is solidly behind the Government as it battles against this unprovoked attack on our national sovereignty.

Dear Colleagues,

Our democracy in general and the electoral process in our country in particular need to be continuously improved upon.  The ongoing biometric registration of voters in which you are undoubtedly prominent actors is just part of a process that should eventually include the actual voting and tallying of results.

The problems that have been encountered on the field concerning this biometric registration point to the fact that Government should accelerate the review of the civil status policy of the country so as to avoid the last minute rush for the issuance of National Identity Cards decreed without the existence of the appropriate supportive measures such as mobile identification teams with adequate personnel, equipment and logistics all over the national territory.

A disturbing case in point is the shortage of films for the National Identity Card pictures which are supplied from abroad.  Remedial and effective action should be taken to ensure that the films are readily available for use at the various identification posts throughout the national territory.

Dear Colleagues,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Youth unemployment is a major problem that can destabilize society especially one which is striving to emerge.  This problem should be adequately addressed.  The execution of the recently announced programme for the creation of 200 000 jobs for the youths should make a determined effort to correct the mistakes of the still to be completed programme for the recruitment of 25,000 young people into the civil service.

Mr Prime Minister, Head of Government,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Our country has embarked upon a programme of putting up projects that are meant to bring the country into emergence.  These projects should be selected and spread in such a way that vision 2035 should be a country-wide vision that will have all of us onboard in a corruption-free environment.  This is not the case so far.

The management and supply of utilities: water, electricity and the telephone service throughout the country leaves much to be desired.  Water is now a luxury especially in our cities and yet water is supposed to be life!  Frequent and unannounced power cuts is now a way of life in all of Cameroon.  The mobile telephone service which gave us a glimmer of hope at its inception has now degenerated beyond belief.  As the Eldest Member of Parliament and on behalf of the entire Parliament, I am calling on Government from this people’s rostrum to put an end to these deficiencies which have immeasurable negative effects on society in general and the economy in particular.

Our Higher Educational Institutions are expanding nationwide.  This expansion should be matched with measures to improve on the teaching environment by improving on university equipment and infrastructure.  This will help to reduce the increasingly recurrent conflicts between the students and the university administrations.    Furthermore, in order to decongest these universities, the process of decentralization should continue.

Dear Colleagues,

Our society is facing an upsurge in criminal activities previously alien to us.  These heinous acts should be thoroughly investigated, an end put to them and exemplary punishment meted out to the perpetrators irrespective of whatever position they might have in society.

The controversy over homosexuality should be put to rest by the rapid enacted of a Family and Persons Code wherein marriage is further enshrined as we know it to be a union between a man and a woman.  This does not violate any human rights as people are free to do whatever they like in private as long as they respect the laws of the land and human decency in the open.  Our society should stand firm against any outside pressure and influence on this matter.

The Farmer/Grazier problems in many parts of our country are not going away.  If anything they are increasing in numbers of conflicts and intensity of the conflicts as more and more people are fighting over a fixed land surface.  A modern day code is required to make a start at a sustainable resolution of this problem.  The same goes for a modern attractive investment code which is unfortunately absent in a country that is striving for emergence.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The phenomenon of floods in many parts of our country is increasingly afflicting many of or compatriots and we should act proactively to check its adverse effects with courage and determination.  Our compatriots so affected should be given all the assistance possible to enable them live decently.   An environmental watchdog should be set up to monitor and advise on this problem.

Mr Prime Minister, Head of Government;

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The National Assembly in its last session deliberated on the first programme – based budget for the country.  Government is encouraged to improve on the presentation of the next budget by correcting the shortcomings of the first one such as its late arrival in Parliament, the inability of Parliament to approve the programmes in plenary after a detailed scrutiny in commission before the budgetary allocations to each programme are made and defended by Government before Parliament.  In addition, the almost daily round the clock work to scrutinize this bill by the Finance and Budget Committee as well as an overstretched overnight plenary sitting is anything but effective.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The country has been mobilized for two years now to celebrate its fifty years of reunification.  Steps should however, be taken to avoid celebrating a golden anniversary in a diamond year!

Mr Prime Minister, Head of Government,

We are receiving disturbing information that the Cameroon Embassy in Washington DC has been kicked out of its accommodation.  If this information is confirmed it will be an unacceptable disgrace for our country.  Prompt action should be taken to redress the situation and adequate sanctions taken against those responsible for such a situation which does not augur well for Cameroon.

Dear Colleagues,

This extended legislature will certainly come to an end sooner or later.  We should however, work with dignity, courage and determination to scrutinize and deliberate on any bills and issues that will be presented to us.  We should work for the advancement of the fatherland with the knowledge that after us other Cameroonians will be in place to continue with the work that we will leave and that when we leave we should leave satisfied that we did our best and that history will be fair on us.

With these words from your Eldest Member, I once more welcome you to the National Assembly and declare open its proceedings for this session.

Long live the National Assembly
Long live Cameroon
I thank you all for your kind attention.

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