Ayah Paul Abine

Ayah Paul Abine


It would be recalled that, prior to the last presidential election, the head of the People’s Action Party – PAP – met several Camerounese opposition leaders to argue the case for a consensual candidate for a coalition of the willing. Some stigmatized PAP as an adventurer in time. Others lightly dismissed the PAP vision on the faulty premiss that they were of sterner stuff.

Earlier on in 2008, the PAP leader had stood against constitutional amendment on the ground that it would move the country backwards by “200 years”. It has taken some opposition leaders five years to come to terms with the foresight.

Similarly did it take some opposition parties five months to grasp ELECAM’s illegal registration of voters which PAP had decried in a lone voice in the wilderness for months. Very like a lamp under the table! Of course yes!

Is not it true that the 2008 constitutional amendment provided that where senatorial election was to hold prior to the election of regional councilors, municipal councilors alone would constitute the electoral college? Therefore are we at sea that the very parties that, for personal reasons, refused, failed or neglected to oppose the amendment should today purport to oppose the conduct of senatorial election in accordance with the said constitutional amendment.

Honesty requires that we admit that the constitutional prerogative, or at least discretion, to call the electorate to the poll is exclusively that of the President of the Republic. Any counter argument and argument grounded on appropriate timing are based on morality rather than on legality. It may be instructive to recollect that whereas there is morality in the law, the law is not morality. We pray everyone to bear with us that we of PAP are unable to find anything even remotely illegal in the calling of the electoral college to the poll to elect senators.

Some have invoked legitimacy to fault the electoral process. Here too do we find it difficult to bring our minds to the contention. It is common knowledge that until new councilors are elected, the councilors in office enjoy the plenitude of rights and prerogatives recognized to elected councilors. Extended mandate is not any less a mandate than the original mandate in the eyes of the law. If we recognize that parliamentarians enjoying extended mandate do validly enact laws, including the finance law, we are estopped from positing different considerations for municipal councilors.

We of PAP have ever held that good governance is predicated on the enactment of good laws! So it is because not only is the law supreme but laws are applied as they are and not as they ought to be. The enactment of good laws then should be the mainstay of every serious political party’s agenda. Therefore must our fragmented opposition represented in parliament accept here and now that, when called upon to enact laws henceforth, the people’s interest must override partisan and personal considerations. The starting point could well be our acknowledging that it is unpatriotic and rather presumptuous for any single opposition party to contend, much less to assert, that consensus means the ruling party working in tandem with that particular opposition party to the exclusion of all others. It augurs awkwardly with both good leadership and statesmanship!

We beg to add that we ignore not the magnitude of the dust raised about precipitated senatorial election now after the President of the Republic had remained indifferent to popular calls for the putting in place of the institutions provided for in the 1996 constitutional revision for seventeen years. But much as the query is pertinent, we must not lose sight of the very nature of politics: availing oneself of propitious moments to stay in power or to seize power. And that is where all politicians are the same!

Let us confess that we prepared an uneven playground in the 2008 constitutional amendment, and we cannot now be heard to complain about the bitterness of the fruits of our labour! The contrary would be akin to endorsing our crying over spilt milk due to gross negligence on our part! A truly very good lesson that should guide our future political actions divested of parochialism and sordid interest!"