Public debates on the convening of the Electoral College for the 14 April 2013 election of senators in Cameroon are rife. Discussions have been on whether or not the time for such election is now, is the Electoral College legitimate and are all those who qualify to participate in the poll according to the Constitution of Cameroon going to take part? While hoping that legal minds clarify the population on what the best practice should be, the bottom line is that the decision to take part ought to be political since Cameroon has embarked on a democratic process and like in all democracies, the freedom of choice remains fundamental. Another crucial factor which cannot be overlooked is the fact that; Part III of Law N° 96-06 of 18 January 1996 to amend the Constitution of 2 June 1972 says in Article 14 (1) that; “Legislative power shall be exercised by the Parliament which shall comprise 2 (two) Houses: (a) The National Assembly; (b) The Senate.” Until now, only the National Assembly existed in the country, leaving a constitutional vacuum that many thought should be filled. Another Constitutional right is that of the Head of State who decides when to convene the Electoral College for any election in the country. Thus, any debate over the timeliness of the election must take into consideration all the legal arguments.
More over, the democratisation process in the country has seen a number of situations in the past where political parties decided to take part in elections or boycott. However, democratic choice has consequences which those who take a particular option must assume. No matter the shortfalls that may be identified with the electoral process in Cameroon, it cannot be obvious that this or that political party can win elections, all conditions being equal. Certainly, of the seven or so political parties that qualify for the April 14 Senatorial election in the country, not all might have the same chances of success. Who could say with certainty that X or Y political party will win elections in Cameroon with a sweeping majority if the Parliamentary and Municipal elections were to come first?
Arguments over the legitimacy of Municipal Councillors who make up the Electoral College during the upcoming Senatorial elections may be on the basis of two prolongations that they received, but what about the official documents that they have been signing this far? Obviously no one can deny the democratic right of any individual or political party in Cameroon today to state their positions on such important topics like the election of Senators. But there are bound to be critical questions where such discussions fail to enlighten the masses or carry viewpoints that tend to derail the people from fostering the democratic culture that the country seeks to build.
Full Article: allAfrica.com: Cameroon: A Decisive Moment.