The Head of State yesterday, November 06 took the oath of office at the national Assembly for another seven-year term.
Two things incidentally caught the attention of the people's representatives and other dignitaries including members of the diplomatic corps who attended the swearing- in ceremony of the newly elected President of the Republic of Cameroon; the "I Do So Swear" ritual and the inaugural speech. Declared victorious at the October 07, Presidential election by the Constitutional Council, President Paul Biya had the arduous and constitutional task of taking his oath of office before parliament yesterday during which he told Cameroonians in his speech how he intends to steer the ship of the nation within the next seven years. The heavy attendance at the Ngoa Ekelle Glasshouse tells of the significance of the ceremony as well as its constitutionality.
After reading the legal disposition as enshrined into the constitution, the Speaker of the National Assembly, Rt. Hon. Cavaye Yeguie Djibril, recalled the ruling of the Constitutional Council declaring Biya Paul as winner of the October 07 election, before inviting the First Vice President of the Senate, the President of the Constitutional Council and the First President of the Supreme Court to accompany him in welcoming the new President to the House.
It clocked exactly 11 AM when Mr Biya accompanied by his wife, Chantal Biya arrived at the esplanade of the National Assembly building. Military honours composed of elements of the military, gendarmerie, and Presidential Guard among others under the animation of the band of the Military Headquarters were staged as he was ushered into the hemicycle.
The ceremony started with a special welcome speech from the House Speaker, a speech in which he congratulated him for his victory, telling him of the task ahead and the confidence Cameroonians have in him. In effect, it was a speech full of glorification understandably from a Speaker who happens to be an ardent member of the winning party. After everything, Cavaye played his perfect role of Speaker, culminating with the congratulation of some of the Presidential Candidates who were present at the ceremony.
Besides the ritual of the "I do so swear" in response to the constitutional obligations of loyally fulfilling the functions that the people of Cameroon have confided in him before God and man and the signing of the Golden book, the expectations of yesterday's ceremony were particularly focused on the content of the President's inaugural speech. The President in that speech tried to touch on all the sensitive areas that affect the life of the nation; security, economy, institutions, employment, youth, women, health and sports.
As one would have expected, President Biya thanked the Cameroonian people for renewing their trust in him. In order to state the challenges awaiting his seven years, he made a quick look back at the achievements registered. As nature would have it, the audience was apparently more anxious to know what he has in stock for the Cameroonian people. It was quite a full basket of promises amongst which are: the pursuance of structural reforms to consolidate the country's fiscal balance and bolster debt sustainability, developing the sectors of the economy that could significantly reduce imports of goods and services in a bid to attenuate the negative impact of protectionism that is developing among the World powers, instituting a veritable “agricultural revolution” by modernizing production tools and further processing agricultural products and exploring and exploiting all available sites and rivers in order to transform Cameroon into a major electricity producer in Africa. As far as the Anglophone problem is concerned, the President stated inter alia that he deeply reflected over the frustrations and aspirations of the vast majority of the "compatriots in the North-West and South-West Regions." A good number of these concerns and aspirations, he said, will be "addressed as part of current efforts to accelerate the decentralization process.
Measures will be taken as soon as possible to broaden the powers of local authorities in order to provide them with the means for greater autonomy." These actions and others, the President said, will be undertaken to resolve the many problems that are at the root of the frustrations and dissatisfaction that have been expressed in recent times. "It is our hope that this will restore calm that is indispensable for a return to normalcy and usual economic activity", he said.
Conspicuously present at the ceremony were members of the Presidential family, members of government, members of the diplomatic corps and a host of important invited guests.