Commonwealth Secretary-General, Patricia Jane-Scotland visits Cameroon

Cameroon is poised to welcome the Female Secretary General of the Commonwealth of Nations.

Right Honourable Patricia Jane-Scotland considers herself as a classic example of a commonwealth child. She was elected in 2016. She is born of Dominican and Antiguan parents.

During her five-day visit to Cameroon, Patricia Scotland is expected to hold high level discussions with the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister and other opinion leaders.

The first visit to Cameroon as Commonwealth Secretary General will be an occasion for Patricia Jane-Scotland to learn more about the country and its people, but especially to discuss concrete ways in which the Commonwealth can support Cameroon’s efforts to overcome the urgent challenges it faces, a statement of the organisation’s website indicates.

Her visit comes at a time when the two English speaking regions of Cameroon (North West and South West) are marred by socio-political crisis; a crisis that has been at the centre of discussions at the Governors’ biannual conference holding in Yaoundé for three days.

The visit will also be another opportunity to cement diplomatic and cooperation ties between Cameroon and the gentlemen’s club. As a reminder, Cameroon joined the club as the 52nd member on 16th October 1995.

The intergovernmental organization of 52 Member States, most of which are former territories of the British Empire, the Commonwealth emerged in the mid-20th century during the process of decolonization. It is formally constituted by the London Declaration of 1949 which makes the Member States partners “free and equal”.

Member States have no obligation to each other. They are brought together by the language, history and culture and values described in the Commonwealth Charter such as democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

Cameroon enjoys a constructive partnership with the Commonwealth illustrated by the close involvement of the organisation in forging the country’s democracy. Commonwealth election observers have observed all major elections in Cameroon since 1995 including:

– the 1997 legislative elections,

– the 2004 and 2011 presidential elections,

– the twin legislative and municipal elections of 2002, 2007 and 2013

On 14th December 2002, President Paul Biya created the Cameroon / Commonwealth Presidential Commission on Politics, on the recommendation of a special envoy of the Secretary General of the Commonwealth to Cameroon. This paved the way for a vast program of reforms that ushered in:

– the National Electoral Observatory (ONEL) that was later replaced by ELECAM;

– the restructuring of the National Commission for Human Rights and Freedoms (NCHRF);

– the creation of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (CONAC);

– the law on the organization of the Chamber of Accounts of the Supreme Court;

– the adoption of a Code of Criminal Procedure by the National Assembly in June 2005 which entered into force in 2007 and whose text was drafted with the participation of the Commonwealth

– the International Bar Association;

– penitentiary reform;

– the creation of Elections Cameroon (ELECAM), an independent body responsible for the organization and management of elections.

– the Hosting of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Union Summit in Yaounde

Photo credit:

Elvis Teke

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