9, March 2017
Panic has allegedly gripped the President of The Senate and Speaker of the National Assembly as the first ordinary session of parliament for the 2017 legislative year is due to open on Monday. After three months of parliamentary recess, legislators from the nooks and crannies of the country are expected in Yaounde on Monday 13 March for the first ordinary session of parliament for the 2017 legislative year.
According to two separate bureau orders signed on Tuesday 7 March by the Speaker of the National Assembly and the President of The Senate, the Lower House will convene at 1pm at the Ngoa-Ekellé glass house while members of the Upper House will sit at 4pm at their temporary Yaounde conference center meeting place.
With the first session of each legislative year traditionally devoted to the renewal of bureaus, there are already allegations that President Paul Biya is contemplating dropping one of the Francophone heads of the two legislative institutions for an Anglophone.
There’s an unwritten law in the country which stipulates that when the Head of State is a Francophone, the second in command must be an Anglophone. The Speaker (president) of the National Assembly, Rt Hon Cavaye Yeguié Djibril has been at the helm of the lawmaking institution since 1992.
The leading member of the ruling Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement (CPDM), enjoyed the position and benefits of the second personality in the country until the senate was put in place about four years ago. The Senate was created following an amendment to the 1996 constitution but President Paul Biya kept the power to convene the Electoral College close to his chest.
The maiden elections to the Upper House were held in April 2013 and Senator Marcel Niat Njifenji was elected the first president of the house in June of same year. The Francophone senator has since been re-elected to the post that makes him second personality according to state protocol, and constitutional successor to the President of the Republic in case of a vacancy in the latter office.
With the recent Anglophone uprising in the country and reports that the Head of State is “gradually yielding to” the demands of the minority English speakers, sources say one of the two personalities above would be replaced by an Anglophone during the “elective” parliamentary session due to open on Monday.
Who therefore will President Biya sacrifice, Hon Cavaye Yeguié Djibril or Senator Marcel Niat Njifenji? The geo-political calculation is that should President Biya “fire” one of the Francophone personalities above, Anglophones might also have to “sacrifice” the Prime Minister’s office which they have also occupied since 1992.