Parliamentary Networks: For What Impact?

Cameroon’s Parliament as at now counts over 27 parliamentary networks that judging from their objectives cover a wide spectrum of sectors.

The Network of Parliamentarians for the Promotion of Bilingualism and Multiculturalism is the Benjamin of the 28 parliamentary networks in Cameroon’s Parliament created by Order No. 2021/004/AP/A of 19 February 2021. This network held its constitutive general assembly on April 5, 2021 at the Yaounde Conference Centre Parliament premises.

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Each of the 28 parliamentary networks has specific objectives. They also span through different sectors such as politics, environment, health, economy and society.  The current 10th legislative period of the National Assembly that started with the election of Members of the National Assembly in the twin legislative and municipal council elections of February 9, 2020 and the second legislative period in the Senate  have been marked by a noticeable upsurge in  the creation of the parliamentary networks. Over 12 of the parliamentary networks were created between April 2020 and February 2021.

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Some of the parliamentary networks, besides their constitutive general assemblies and workshops, have succeeded to initiate special plenary sittings of the National Assembly on pertinent issues that touch on the lives of the population.  For instance,  on March 23, 2021 the Network of Cameroonian Legislators for Road Safety (LEGIS-SECUROUTE) whose President is Hon. Malomba Esembe initiated a special plenary sitting of the National Assembly that addressed the issue of the upsurge  in the number of road accidents in the country and recommendations  were made to government, parliament and the population on ways of curbing the accidents. Other networks such as the Parliamentary Network for Diaspora, Decentralised and Cross –border Cooperation, in the November 2020 ordinary session of Parliament also initiated a special plenary sitting on how to bring  Cameroonians in the diaspora on board  to participate in the  development of the country. Officials of this network have been carrying out advocacy through consultation sessions with different government ministers and officials.

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The creation of the parliamentary networks is a laudable idea for it makes the people’s representatives busy and enables them to bring before parliament, government and other partners the different problems their constituents and the population  in general are confronted with.  As stated in their names and objectives, the networks constitute a veritable pool of attraction and raise much expectations and hopes in the population. A keen observation of the networks reveal that many of them are registered but few are really seen operational on the field. The existence of many of them are only noticed during parliamentary sessions as they organise training workshops and seminars. It is true that the missions of the  Members of the National Assembly and Senators are to legislative on laws and control government action. Parliamentary networks therefore, give them the opportunity to raise societal problems.

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The question many keen political observers have been asking taking into consideration the growing attraction of parliamentary networks is their real impacts in the improvement of the living conditions of the population. This focus presents the lists of parliamentary networks and their objectives, evaluates their impact and proposals for more concrete action.

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