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Senatorial Appointments Bit & Pieces By Joe Dinga Pefok 

A Monolithic Senate!
On April 12, President Paul Biya appointed 30 Senators that would add to the 70 elected on March and complete the list of 100 Senators for the second Legislature. Only the ruling CPDM party has enough Senators to form a Parliamentary group in the Senate, which requires that a party should have at least 10 Senators.
The leading opposition party, the SDF, which was the only other party that won seats at the March 25 elections, came out with only the seven elected Senators from the Northwest Region, and thus fell short of the number to form a parliamentary group.
Many were those who thought that for the interest of Cameroon’s young and struggling democracy, President Biya would appoint at least three Senators from the SDF to enable the party to form a Parliamentary group. But 24 of the 30 Senators appointed are of his CPDM party, while the other six are from parties that are allies of the CPDM. Also, just like in 2013, all the speculations that Biya would appoint some members of the civil society into the Senate came to zero. Some political analysts are arguing that the 2nd Legislature will be as good as a monolithic Upper House.

Difficult Times For SDF
Some political observers have expressed the view that without a Parliamentary group, the SDF will find it very difficult to create an impact in the Senate, like happened during the 1st Legislature when the party had 14 Senators and formed a group. This will be the first time since the SDF first entered Parliament in 1997, that the party will not have a Parliamentary group.
In the 1st Legislature, Jean Tsomelou (current Secretary General of the SDF) became the SDF Group leader, as well as Paul Tchatchouang who became one of the Vice Presidents of the Senate, were former MPs and had experience in the working of Parliament, including manipulations or intrigues by the ruling CPDM. Now, none of the seven elected Senators of the SDF has an experience in parliamentary affairs.

Traditional Rulers In Senate
Quite a number of traditional rulers will be in the Senate with the highest number coming from the Southwest Region; for example, Nfon VE Mukete of Kumba, Chief Tabe Tando Ndiep Nso of Bachau-Ntai Village, Mamfe Subdivision and Chief Simon Anja Onjwo from Akwaya Subdivision. From the Northwest; Fon Dr. Doh Ganyonga III of Bali Nyonga and Fon Chafah XI of Bangolan. The West Region has two; the Sultan of Foumban, Ibrahim Mbombo Njoya, and the Chief of Bandjoun, Djomo Kamga Honoré. Others include the Chief of Bakoko (Littoral Region), Madiba Songue, the Lamido of Rey Bouba (North Region), Aboubakary Abdoulaye, and the the Lamido of Ngaoundere (Adamawa Region) Mohaman Gabdo Yayah, among others.

Fon Teche Falls At Last!
One of the casualties of the April 12 appointment of Senators is outgoing Senator Teche Njei II, Fon of Ngyen-Muwa, which is the smallest village in the Northwest Region. The Former President General of the Northwest Fons’ Union, NOWEFU, Fon Teche is on record as the man who viciously divided and ruined the once vibrant NOWEFU, for selfish interests. Having apparently been appointed Senator in 2013 because he was President of NOWEFU, Fon Teche used his then god-father in the corridors of power, Marin Belinga Eboutou, to intimidate any Fon, elite or civil administrative authority who attempted to ask him to leave the post of President of NOWEFU, after his mandate had long ended.

Fon Chafah Rises
Either by coincidence or destiny, the fall of Fon Teche saw the rise of Fon Chafah, who had become Teche’s arch enemy because he was strongly opposed to his manipulation to hang on to the post of President of NOWEFU, long after his mandate had ended. Fon Chafah is among the three Senators Biya appointed from the Northwest Region

3 Senators From Bali Nyonga!
Three senators from the Northwest Region hail from Bali Ngonga in Mezam Division; Fon Dr Don Ganyonga III, Elizabeth Regina Mundi and Vanigansen Mochiggle. Thus, three of the 10 Senators of the Northwest hail from Bali Nyonga.
Going by this, President Biya does not look at the villages or tribes of the CPDM elite he appoints into the Senate. His interest is the individuals.
Meanwhile it is not the first time that three Senators are from the same tribe. In the 1st Legislature, three of the 10 Senators from the Southwest were Bakwerians; Peter Mafany Musonge, Daniel Matute and Charles Mbella Moki. Also, all three hail from the Buea area.

Biya Protects CPDM Politburo Members
Regina Mundi, who headed the CPDM list of the Northwest Region for the March 25 senatorial elections, is a member of the Political Bureau of the CPDM. President Biya who is also National Chairman of the CPDM always stretches his hand to Politburo members for the Senate as can be seen in the 1st Legislature in 2013. Achidi Achu and Ndeh who also hail from Mezam Division had sent their lists for the March 25 elections. Her list was validated. Though she lost, she was appointed.

NUDP Gets Senator For Deal In Adamawa
When Bello Bouba Maigari’s NUDP which is in alliance with the ruling CPDM, suddenly withdrew a petition it filed with the Constitutional Council, for the disqualification of the CPDM list for the Adamawa Region the chief legal adviser of the SDF, Hon Barrister Joseph Mbah Ndam, said it was regrettable because NUDP had a good case. NUDP had contested the origin of one of the candidates on the CPDM list, Souadatou Djallo epse Kalkaba, insisting that she was not a Cameroonian by origin, whereas the Law on the organisation of the Senate in Cameroon insists that a Senator must be a Cameroonian by origin. Another serious accusation that the NUDP raised against the CPDM candidate was that of fraud. NUDP alleged that her birth certificate was a fake. It was likely that the CPDM list from Adamawa would be disqualified like happened in 2013.
The NUDP reaped from the apparently deal with the CPDM when President Biya appointed NUDP’s Djafarou Mohamadou as Senator. Djafarou Mohamadou was the leader of the NUDP list in Adamawa. His appointment plus that of the Secretary General of the NUDP, Pierre Flambeau Ngayap, reappointed from the Littoral Region, brings to two the number of NUDP Senators.

2 Retired Journalists Enter Senate
Two retired senior journalists; Vanigansen Mochiggle, an SDF Senator-elect from the Northwest Region and retired Northwest Regional Delegate of Communication, and Dr. Albert Mvondo Mbida who retired from CRTV and last served as Inspector General in the Ministry of Communication.

Issa Tchiroma Changes His Senator
One of the allies of the CPDM, Issa Tchiroma’s FSNC, sent to Biya a new name for appointment as Senator of the party from the North Region. The FSNC Senator for the senate in 2013 was Ahmadou Abbo. But Issa Tchiroma is said to have become disturbed with his increasing closeness to some CPDM bigwigs, especially the Lamidou of Rey Bouba. Abbo has been replaced as FSNC’s Senator by Boubakari Ousmanou

7 Parties In The Senate
There will be a total of seven political parties but with only the ruling CPDM having a Parliamentary group. All the other seven parties have a total of less than 15 of the 100 Senators. The CPDM has 87 Senators (63 elected and 24 appointed); SDF – 7 senators (elected); NUDP – 2 Senators (appointed); MDR – 1 (appointed); FSNC – 1 (appointed); ANDP – 1 (appointed); UPC – 1 (appointed). Though it is claimed that there will be six opposition parties in the Senate, there will, in reality, be only one opposition party – the SDF. The rest are wither satellite parties to the CPDM or are in alliance with the ruling party. However, it is not clear as to which the faction of the UPC, the appointed UPC Senator, Leke Bessongo Akemfor from the Southwest Region, belongs. But it is clear that if Biya appointed a Senator from the UPC, it is from a faction that works with the regime.

Biya Ignores Women’s Plea
Over 150 women drawn from different political parties, including the CPDM, who met in Bafoussam recently for a workshop organised by More Women in Politics, MWP, reportedly appealed to Biya to appoint, at least 10 female Senators in order to attain the 30 percent representation rate, which is at least 34 of the 100 Senators (elected and appointed). MWP National Coordinator, Prof Justine Diffo Tchunkam and the women who attended the workshop jointly made the appeal, must be disappointed that they were ignored. In fact only four of the 30 Senators (substantive) that Biya appointed on April 12, are women. Added to the 22 female Senators that are among the 70 elected on March 25, it gives a total of 26 female Senators. This is below the 30 recommended by the United Nations.

Lebialem From Nothing To Everything
By the end of last year (2017), Lebialem Division in the Southwest Region remained one of the most neglected Divisions in the country by the Biya regime. Besides the absence of roads and other infrastructures, the population has over the years repeatedly complained bitterly about the non-appointment of sons and daughters of Lebialem to top positions. Suddenly Lebialem has become the Division in the Southwest Region that is being given almost everything. Last January, Prof Leke Tambo from Lebialem man was appointed Board Chair of the Cameroon GCE Board. On March 2, a Lebailem son entered Biya’s Government for the first time – Paul Tassong, Minister Delegate. Early this month, a son of Lebialem, who was Secretary General in the Southwest Governor’s Office, was appointed the SDO of Ndian Division. On April 12, Biya appointed a Senator (Leke Bessongo Akemfor) from Lebialem, which when added to the one Andreas Lekunze Membo elected at the March 25 elections, brings to two the number of Senators from Lebialem.

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