SDF MPs Take National Assembly Hostage

Cameroon's National Assembly in Session today

Some opposition Members of Parliament of the opposition Social Democratic Front -SDF have disrupted proceeding in the National Assembly, demanding the Anglophone crisis be tabled for discussion.

The MPs took to the rostrum chanting songs commonly used by Anglophones in confrontation with security forces during the crisis, forcing the speaker and other ruling CPDM MPs to abandon the session to the handful of SDF MPs.

In a letter of notice sent to the Speaker of the House by the SDF parliamentary group dated November 22, 2017 and signed by Hon. Joseph Banadzem, the Party’s parliamentary group leader, the SDF states “no work will take place in this House during this session if a definitive solution is not sought for the Anglophone Crisis”

The Notice titled “CONDITION SINE QUA NON FOR THE CONTINUATION OF PROCEEDINGS OF THE ON-GOING NOVEMBER 2017 PARLIAMENTARY SESSION” the SDF states inter-alia that they have exhausted all possible options to force the government to reason on the Anglophone crisis.

“The national Executive Committee met several times and came out with a special resolutions decrying the inaction of the government and its application of strategies that rather inflamed the people of these two regions” the notice read

The statement goes further to add that following a broad based consultation, which final document was handed to the government, the party came to the conclusion that the origin of the crisis “was a breach of the Federal constitution of 1961 by the purported Referendum of 1972” describing the 1961 constitution as a document by the “Founding Fathers” of the Cameroon with the aim of  “our collective living together” with equal status for Anglophones and Francophones.

Because of the CPDM government’s reluctance to address the problem, the notice goes further to state “it became an imperative for the MPs to engage a new action as the crisis has become very bloody”

The SDF boycotted the opening session of parliament on November 7, 2017, still in protest and as a means to force parliament to up debate on the Anglophone Crisis. In an effort to avoid a crisis situation, the Speaker of the House Cavaye Yengui Djibril summoned the SDF parliamentary group for consultation the next day at 9 am.

Bamenda Online later gathered that four MPs of the SDF,  Hon. Joseph Banadzem, Nintchue Jean Michel, Esther Ngala and  Fobi Nchinda turn up for the meeting but  were left to wait the entire day and it was on the next day that they succeeded to meet with the House Speaker. He reportedly told them that the Anglophone crisis could not be discussed in his parliament.

In a twist of events, fire caught part of the National Assembly building the next day, Friday November 17, completely destroying floor floors of the seven story building.

Following the events of this afternoon at the Assembly, it’s not clear how deliberations on the state budget for 2018 will continue as the SDF has vowed to disrupt it until the Anglophone crisis is brought up for discussion. But from every indication, the CPDM with its crushing majority in the house is unwell to debate the issue in plenary. It’s very difficult or more precisely  impossible for a private member bill to be tabled in the National Assembly, leaving only the government to table bills for deliberation in the house.


By Abongwa Fozo in Yaoundé.

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