|Rt Hon. Cavaye Yegui Djibril|
The Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon Cavaye Yegui Djibril made the clarion call in Yaounde on Thursday May 2, 2013 at the opening of an extra ordinary session of the national assembly.
The extra ordinary session the National Assembly speaker said is to discuss a bill to extend the term of office of the current members of the house.
Elected in July 2007 for a period of five years, the term of office of parliamentarians of the 8th legislature was due to expire on August 21, 2012. Prior to this date, their mandate was extended first by a period of six months and secondly by three months. Thus, following the two extensions, their mandate was due to expire on May 21, 2013.
With another extra ordinary session dedicated to the examination of a bill to extend their mandates for the third time, it is expected that the MPs would be given another two months of ‘grace’ to remain at the glass house.
According to provisions in the constitution, the senate cannot meet without the national assembly. Therefore, with putting in place of the senate, it is necessary to extend the mandate of parliamentarians so they could meet in an ordinary session in June, when senators would be meeting in their first ordinary session.
The extension of the mandates of parliamentarians thus has been necessitated by the senate.
However, Cameroonians have been expressing mixed feelings about the legitimacy of their parliamentarians. Some Cameroonians say the MPs are not longer enjoying the legitimacy of those who elected them.
Some MPs too have been wondering why their mandates were not extended by one year at once. Hon Jean Jacques Ekindi of the Progressive Movement Party “… first it was six months, then three and now may be two months. Why could it not have been one year so that everybody organizes himself” the MP questioned. The MP described the extensions as a disorder that does not suit an institution like the National assembly.
But Hon Foju Bernard of the ruling Cameroon’s People Democratic Movement, the CPDM party thinks that “the extension is just to respect the constitution; we cannot have a senate without the national assembly”.
The Senate was created in 1996 after an amendment to the constitution created the upper chamber. However, power to convene the Electoral College and call elections for the Senate remained with the President. President Biya chose not to do so until he signed decree 2013/056 on 27 February 2013, which set April 14, 2013 as the election date.