Parliament : Extra-ordinary Session of High Expectations!
The context within which the conclave is convened and the issues at stake heighten anxiety in the population who are legitimately awaiting its outcome to know what the future holds.
Moments like this when Cameroonians and friends of the country tilt their almost full attention towards the legislative arm of government are rare. The Extra-ordinary Parliamentary Session which opens this December 13, 2019 at the National Assembly (11 am) and Senate (4 pm) is, to say the least, one of heightened expectations from across the board.
Coming on the heels of the Major National Dialogue during which much was proposed amidst unabated tension in the North West and South West Regions, among other burning issues of national interest, Cameroonians are anxiously waiting to hear what comes out of the conclave.
And as one would expect, assumptions are rife notably on the content of the Special Status suggested for the North West and South West Regions, in particular, and the orientations that would be given to the national decentralisation policy, in general. Understandably so as one of the eight committees that animated debates at the Major National Dialogue was that on Decentralisation and Local Development through which the issue of the Special Status emerged with other far-reaching recommendations on how to revamp the decentralisation process in the country to produce desired fruits. Thus, growing anxiety on what could change!
More so as the Head of State in several State-of-the-nation’s addresses has clearly expressed conviction “that our fellow citizens desire greater participation in managing their affairs, especially at the local level.” Bolstered therefore by President Paul Biya’s “firm belief that fast-tracking our decentralization process will enhance the development of our Regions,” attention is now directed to Parliament, who as “Peoples’ Representatives” should fine-tune what government proposes as bills so that any legal instrument at term will meet the aspirations of those from whom the Head of State has received the mandate to pilot the ship.
There are hypotheses that in the much-awaited content of the Special Status, the North West and South West could emerge with Regional Assemblies and a Houses of Chiefs to better handle the specificities of the two Regions while other regions could get their Regional Councils as previewed in the Decentralisation Law. The Head of State’s outing in Paris recently lends credence to this school of thought who feel that polishing up the unity of the country doesn’t mean uniformity but rather acceptance of each other’s culture, language, educational and judicial systems. Complementarity, they hold, is better than assimilation! It is not excluded that the State could in the Special Status also make specific fiscal and financial provisions for the North West and South West Regions.
Since the convenor of the September 30 to October 4, 2019 Major National Dialogue, President Biya, assured Cameroonians in a tweet a few minutes to the end of the weeklong conclave of his desire to attentively consider and diligently look at the resolutions with the view to implementing them, “taking into account their relevance and feasibility, as well as the capacities of our country,” bookmakers are already guessing what could be in the offing.
Will Parliament uphold the recommendation of the Major National Dialogue of “scrapping the position of Government Delegates to City Councils, completely overhauling of decentralisation laws, and creating local government public service...?
Inasmuch as the content of a Special Status is hugely awaited in the North West and South Regions with hopes that the standoff therein could give way to a return to normalcy, the extra-ordinary Parliamentary session may also be an ideal moment to cloth the country’s cherished decentralisation procedure in results-driven garments capable of delivering the goods.
Empowering the process, for instance, with a General Code on Local Collectivities through which Mayors could have more rights and responsibilities, many hold, would be a good step in the right direction. Dropping the posts of Government Delegates in favour of elected Mayors, could for instance, calm the usual tension that characterises local administration. Beefing up the Buea-based Local Council Training School (CEFAM) could as well guarantee productive skills-sharpening for those called upon to man the Local Public Service.
It is a therefore a “Wait and See” extra-ordinary Parliamentary Session opening this Friday.
- 23 janv. 2020 17:17
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