The Plenary session as of right at the Senate has opened marking the start of the second legislative period in Cameroon. The session was chaired by the eldest member, Victor Mukete and two youngest members as stipulated by the internal rules of the house.
The session was attended by a cross section of the government, members of the judiciary, parliamentarians and members of the diplomatic corps accredited to Yaoundé amongst other dignitaries.
During the plenary, SDF Senator for the North West, called a point of order raising the issue of compatibility of the office of Senator with other jobs as spelt out in section 162 sub 2 of the electoral code. He argued that Section 162 of electoral code, is also part of the standing others of the upper house of parliament.
NUDP senator for the Littoral Pierre Flambeau Ngayap, however clarified that the standing orders of the house also stipulates that a committee has to been set up after the opening of the session to handle cases of incompatibilities.
The Electoral Code
In Chapter III of the Electoral Code relating to incompatibilities of Law n° 2012/001 of 19 April 2012 relating to the Electoral Code, amended and supplemented by law n° 2012/017 of 21 December 2012,
Section 162 stipulates that,
“(1) The office of Member of Parliament shall be incompatible with the office of member of Government or of persons ranking as such, member of the Constitutional Council and of member of the Economic and Social Council.
(2) The office of Member of Parliament shall further be incompatible with the office of Senator, mayor, government delegate to a city council, president of a regional council, with any other non elective public office and with the duties of president of a consular chamber, board chairperson or with the status of wage earner in a public establishment or public and semi-public enterprise.
(1) The occupation of one of the posts referred to in Section 162 above shall render the parliamentary seat vacant.
(2) No Member of Parliament shall cause or allow his name to be followed by any reference to his capacity as Parliamentarian in any advertisement concerning a financial, industrial or commercial undertaking.”
The above legally binding dispensations prompted the issues raised during the plenary.
If the law is applied to the letter, some elected and appointed senators may have been resigned from their former duty posts in other to hold the office of Senator or give up their position at the senate to their alternate.
The final decision will only be known when the different commissions have been put in place in check the compatibility of members of the Senate prior to the official handing over of their attributes as senators.