|Senator Niat Njifenji Marcel|
The 79 years old electrical engineer was elected at the end of the statutory plenary session of the pioneer upper chamber of Cameroon’s parliament in Yaounde on Wednesday June 12, 2013.
Though lone candidate for the post, the CPDM Senator got 86 of the 100 votes cast as 14 abstained.
However news of the election of Niat Njifenji Marcel came as a surprise to many as he was least expected following speculations by Cameroonians.
Senator Niat had served Cameroon in many capacities including Minister of Planning and Regional Development, vice prime minister in charge of Mines and Energy, Parliamentarian and Mayor amongst others.
Unlike the president, the first senior vice president, Aboubakary Abdoulaye, appointed CPDM senator from the North Region was elected with 87 votes of the 100 votes cast.
The election of four vice presidents, three senators and eight secretaries was facilitated through the list system. After a meeting with political parties represented at the senate, the president of the CPDM group made public the list.
On the list were four vice presidents; Genevieve Tjoues (CPDM senator from the Littoral), Tchatuoang Paul (SDF Senator from the West), Nna Ondoa Sylvestre (CPDM senator from the Center) and Simon Achidi Achu (CPDM Senator from the North West).
Three questors; Jean Baptiste Bascuda, Fon Njifua Fontem and Bisseck Paulette all CPDM senators from the North, South West and South Regions.
Also on the list were eight secretaries; five of them from the CPDM. They included Baba Hamadou, Fon Teche Njei, Obam Asam Samuel, Haoua Madalein, Moampea Marie Claire, Pierette Aicha Hayatou, Dakole Daïssala and Pierre Flampeau Ngayap.
The CPDM elected bureau members were first endorsed by the party’s hierarchy in an in camera meeting at the party’s headquarters prior to the plenary session.
The election of the seventeen man bureau paves the way for the upper chamber of parliament to begin work.
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 Paul Biya chose not to do so until he signed decree 2013/056 on 27 February 2013, which set 14 April as the election date.
The Cameroon Senate has 100 seats, of which 70 are elected and 30 appointed by the President, with each region having 10 Senators.
By Ndi Eugene Ndi