samedi 23 janvier 2010
NATIONAL ASSEMBLY CONFRONTS ITS FUTURE
By Tikum Mbah Azonga
This paper is an adaptation of an earlier one I delivered on the Cameroon National Radio Station on the 22nd of November 2004, on the occasion of the holding in Yaounde of the first National Assembly session following President Paul Biya's controversial re-election for another seven year term as President of the Republic of Cameroon. The paper was one of the daily political commentaries I delivered on the 6.30 a.m. prime time national and world news on Cameroon Radio Television (CRTV), Yaoundé, between 2002 and 2005.
This third and last ordinary session of the National Assembly is a key one. It comes on the heels of the October 11 presidential election during which Paul Biya, candidate of the CPDM, was elected president of a second seven year term. The session, being devoted to the 2005 national budget will give parliamentarians the opportunity to quiz ministers on the previous budget as well as the new one.
Perhaps more then ever before, Cameroonians are watching their parliamentarians and the questions lingering in their minds as they do so include: will it be the beginning of the implementation of the promises president Paul Biya delivered at his swearing in on November 3? W hen this session comes to an end, will Cameroonians begin to see the state institutions provided for by the 1996 constitution being finally put in place? Will Cameroonian parliamentarians, for once be given the opportunity of thoroughly scrutinizing budgets and reject them for inconsistencies, or will the CPDM dominated parliament continue to shelter cabinet ministers and sweep their wanting accounts under the carpet? Will this be yet again just another, trite, humdrum and mundane budgetary session characterized by decisions being forced down parliamentarian’s throats and rubber stamping being made to prevail?
Prior to and during the opening of this third ordinary session, most parliamentarians stated that their constituency members were crying out for salvation, to quote the musician, Prince Yerima Afo Akom. They want enough classrooms built and PTA’s relieved of the burden of employing part time teachers, so that government can do its job right through. Over and above everything else, constituency members want roads, roads to disenclaved rural areas, roads for the evacuation of farm produce, roads to usher in development, because as the saying goes, where a road passes, development follows. In other words, will the goods be delivered? Or, what does this first year of the so-called Cameroon of Great Ambitions hold in store for Cameroonians?
Whatever is the case, parliamentary work does not end at the ordinary session Far from it, it goes on until the end of their mandate. And so, in whatever they do, they must remember the words of J.F Clarks who said: ‘’A politician thinks of the next election, whereas a statesman thinks of the next generation.’’
However, there is one area in which MPs need commendation. It is that of the unity, conviviality and spirit of togetherness that prevails that prevails among them, regardless of party affiliation. In fact, National Assembly Vice President Rose Abunaw Makia, a CPDM member, was proposed and supported for election to an international position by SDF Opposition baron, Joseph Mbah Ndam.
Perhaps that is a lesson that while parliamentarians strive to make Cameroon a country to be proud of inside the National Assembly, Cameroonians should do the same outside of it. Everyone would then be working towards the same goal in total synergy and perfect symmetry.