The March 2020 ordinary session of the House started last Friday, March 20, 2020.
Many keen political observers in Cameroon still continue to ponder on the fact that the permanent Bureau of the National Assembly was elected during the plenary sitting of March 17, 2020 within the framework of the statutory session that came after the legislative election of February 9, 2020. To their surprise, the opening plenary sitting of the March 2020 ordinary session of the House on March 20, 2020 that also coincidentally marks the first for the 10th legislative period was piloted by the provisional bureau chaired by the eldest member of the National Assembly, Hon. Koa Mfegue Laurentine Mbede assisted by the two youngest members who are Hon. Nafiassatou Alim and Hon. Dague Aisha Blanche Jacqueline.
The situation finds explanation in Article 14 (1) of the Standing Orders of the National Assembly that provides that at the beginning of each legislative period, as well as the opening of the first session of the legislative year of the National Assembly, the provisional bureau continues to run the House until the permanent bureau is elected. Therefore, the bureau elected at the end of the statutory session on March 17, 2020 that marks the start of the 10th legislative period was in conformity with the provisions of the Standing Orders of the National Assembly.
From every indication, following the provisions of the Standing Orders and the Constitution the election of the permanent bureau to pilot the affairs of the National Assembly for the 2020 legislative year is still to take place. Article 16 (2) of the Constitution states that, “Each year, the National Assembly shall hold 3 (three) ordinary sessions, each lasting not more than 30 (thirty) days. At the opening of its first ordinary session, the National Assembly shall elect its President and Bureau members.”
The election of the permanent bureau of the National Assembly after the statutory session and the opening of the plenary sitting of the March ordinary session were separated just by three days. Article 15 of the Standing Order of the National Assembly further states that at the beginning of a legislative period and first ordinary session of the legislative year, a permanent bureau is elected before any deliberations could take place.
As preparations gear up towards the subsequent election of the permanent bureau, attention is also focused on the 11 constituencies in the North West and South West Regions where legislative by-election took place on March 22, 2020. For the moment, the National Assembly has 167 members out of the 180. When the results of the by-election will be proclaimed, the 13 remaining Members of the National Assembly will be known and it will only be then that the House will be complete.