|Mbororos depend on their livestock for livelihood|
The Senate which is the upper house of the Parliament of Cameroon has 100 seats, of which 70 are elected and 30 appointed by the President, with each region having 10 Senators.
Since the proclamation of the April 14, first ever election of Senators in camerooon by the Supreme Court acting in lieu of the constitutional council on Monday April 29, 2013, all eyes and ears are now at the presidency for the appointment of the remaining 30 senators according to the law.
According to some two Indigenous Peoples’ Rights activists, constitutional prerogative allows the Head of State to correct any imbalances from the polls by appointing representatives from groups that have been excluded from the Upper House by the rigors of the polls.
In letter addressed to the President of the Republic of Cameroon and jointly signed by Samuel Nguiffo of CED and Victor Amougou Amougou of CEFAID, “the act of "correction" assigned to the process of appointing some members of the Senate is a boon to minorities which our country abounds, and could allow the expression of groups that no representative would likely be found in elected current conditions of the election” the letter reads.
They thus draw the attention of the President of the Republic to the indigenous people of the forest communities of Cameroon; (the Bakas South and East regions, Bagyeli of the Southern Region and the Bedzang of the Centre Region) and Mbororos (scattered allover the country), which according to the activists “is an essential element of diversity and cultural wealth that are the pride of our country”
Amongst other things, the indigenous peoples’ rights defenders are basing their arguments on article five of the United Nations Declaration on indigenous people which states "Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinct political, legal, economic, social and cultural institutions distinct, while retaining the right, if they so choose, to participate fully in political, economic, social and cultural life of the State".
Thus, “it is obvious today that Aboriginal people want to participate very strongly in the political life of the nation” the letter reads further.
The indigenous peoples’ rights defenders have also outlined three reasons why aboriginal people could not be elected amongst the 70 senators; amongst which they note that the CFA 1.000.000 Frs is beyond their financial reach.
Therefore, “the only remaining option is the appointment”, the letter reads. Drawing on the experience of some African countries, as in Burundi, where the Venerable Liberate Nicahenzi, leader of the Twa people is in the Senate since 1998, while the Twa are less than 1% of the people of Burundi.
“That's why we ask you to the appointment at least two representatives of indigenous peoples respectively from each group; the Mbororos, "pygmies" Baka, Bagyeli or Bedzang populations in to the senate” the activists tell President Paul Biya.
By Ndi Eugene Ndi