Beyond The Prestige!

As the anxiety generated by the election of Members of Parliament from the February 9, 2020 poll dies down; at least in constituencies where results were not cancelled like in the North West and South West Regions, attention is now focused at the Ngoa-Ekelle Glass House.

In fact, the Session as of Right for the 10th Legislature of Cameroon’s National Assembly is already scheduled for next week- March 10, 2020. It will obviously be a veritable baptism of fire for the new entrants, said to be in the neignbourhood  of 95, pending election re-run in 11 constituencies comprising 13 seats. 

Considering the fact that the rate of overhaul is thus far above 50 per cent (95 of the 167 MPs were not present in the outgoing ninth legislative period of the House), observers are tempted to think that a new lease of life could be perceived. Not only will the 10th Legislature welcome new faces but new political parties as well. Besides regulars like the ruling Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement (CPDM) and the opposition Social Democratic Front (SDF), greenhorns like the Cameroon Party for National Reconciliation (PCRN) with five seats and Cameroon National Salvation Front (FSNC) with three seats will certainly add colour to the National Assembly. In fact, eight political parties will make up the Glass House.

Logically, the parties and their candidates are counting their blessings from the February poll. Some MPs-elect surely threw big parties to feast their victories and others are no doubt relishing how good life could be. Moving from a sometimes ‘no body’ yesterday to an Honourable Member of Parliament with all the prestige that comes with the change of status.

It is their right to feast, to beat their chest after a victorious venture and to reflect on how well to enter into the new shoes of ‘Peoples’ Representatives.’ Of course, no one changes status and remains the same. The only constant thing in life, they say, is change.

But beyond the prestige of donning the attributes of ‘Honourable’ the newly-elected officials absolutely need to show proof of honourability not only in their behaviour, calibre of debates at the National Assembly but equally on their strive for the wellbeing of the electors. Meeting their entire needs might be complex given that they are as diverse as the population. But for one thing, there is need to be people-oriented. 

Controlling government action, as the MPs are called upon to do, requires knowing what the people need. To say the least, the Ngoa-Ekelle hemicycle cannot contain the close to 25 million Cameroonians. The 180 selected ‘Peoples’ Representatives’ to fully emerge from the poll when the entire electoral process rounds off should therefore bear in mind that they have been given a baton to champion a just course. That of making the life of the population better through controlling and redirecting government action towards susceptibly life-changing efforts. 

The context under which the new MPs are taking up seats at the National Assembly and recent government reforms especially on the choice of accelerating the decentralisation process makes the role of Member of Parliament pivotal. Reasoning within party lines; call it party discipline, may rage on, but acting for the interest of the electors should be primordial.  And this would be honouring the honourability conferred on them by the people.

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