The hypocritical silence of parliament

EDITORIAL 16 Jul 2019
The hypocritical silence of parliament

The near hypocritical silence of parliamentarians of both the National Assembly and the Senate is increasingly becoming a matter of concern for many. It has become more and more difficult to imagine that, for more than three years since the beginning of what has widely been identified as the Anglophone Crisis, which has developed into violence assuming the proportion of a senseless bloodbath, has never attracted the concern of our parliamentarians of both chambers.

This reminds us of this Newspaper, that time and again, we have been tempted to ask, whether these honourable ladies and gentlemen actually recognize their roles as representatives of the people. And, on this merit, whether they are conscious of the fact that, they belong to an institution that should feel exceptionally concerned with the plight of their people, without forgetting the pride of the nation they swore an oath to serve.

We believe that our parliamentarians should be reminded, in case they have forgotten, that the legislative arm, which is parliament, shares the responsibility of sustaining good governance with two other arms: the executive and the judiciary, all of whom should be independent of the other, in terms of performance, but constitutionally, and in terms of the overall governance responsibility, they remain unique. We certainly do not want to assume that the MPs do not recognize this principle. What we are certain about is the fact that, our parliamentarians have mortgaged their consciences and are being remotely controlled by the executive.

It is inadmissible for a country’s parliament to push an important issue like a raging war targeting one part of the country and involving the massacre of its people under the pretext of staying hinged on party discipline. That, for so long parliamentarians have refused to discuss the Anglophone problem is a brazen display of hypocrisy, and of course, a condemnable complicity with government. We think both the president of the National Assembly, and that of the Senate, should be held responsible for misleading members of their respective chambers, away from the norms that guide the functioning of a democratically oriented parliament.

We say this with certainty. The Anglophone problem apart, there are several instances where the speaker or call him the President, has single-handedly blocked, even the mere mention of a private member Bill on the floor of the House. As an abusive culture instituted by the regime in place, his counterpart of the senate has on several occasions followed the footsteps of the House Speaker, to equally turn down all attempts by the opposition to present a private member Bill in the senate. All that is obvious is that, such dispositions have no other mission or purpose to serve than to consolidate the ignoble principles of subjugation on a people, who have been rendered impotent. For, to deny those who have always been branded as lawmakers from performing their duties of making laws is obviously an act of bad faith.

Going back to records of Bills that have down the years been presented by government to parliament, one only discovers a litany of legislation that only seeks to polish the image of Government with policies that hardly take into consideration the welfare of the citizens. On the contrary, private member Bills have the tendency of looking deeply into the welfare of the people they represent. The sooner the twin chambers of our parliament re-examine their standing orders, to give a free flow of diverse opinions, the better for our governance system.

If therefore, we are today indicting parliament for its silence on the ongoing Anglophone Crisis, it is because their silence on the crisis is puncturing every other effort towards a solution. If parliament does not throw its full weight behind others who show concern for the Cameroonian situation, who else do we expect to do so? The irony of it all is that even the ruling party’s parliamentarians from this embattled part of the country, whose kith and kin are being killed every day, shamelessly remain silence in return for soiled pieces of silver and gold.

That, despite the Swiss initiative, Government is still to respond positively, shows that there is enough evidence to show bad faith on the part of Government. At this stage, we can only encourage the Swiss authorities and the international community not to give up mounting pressure to bear on government to cut short its dream of a military solution.

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