By Yerima Kini Nsom Senator Nfon Victor Mukete, has declared that he would resign as the Board Chair of Cameroon Telecommunications Corporation, CAMTEL.
According to cameroonpostline, the traditional ruler of the Bafaws, who is currently chairing the provisional bureau of the Upper House of Parliament as the eldest member, announced his intension before one of verification committees of the Senate recently. By dint of that resignation, the Senator would ward off the incompatibility situation in which he finds himself. The post of Board Chair of any State corporation is incompatible with the position of Senator, according to the standing orders of the Senate, the Electoral Code and Cameroon’s constitution.
Senator Mukete’s resignation from his lucrative post of CAMTEL Board Chair would be the dividend of the motion SDF Senators raised during the opening plenary of the Upper House of Parliament last April 24. After taking the floor on the issue, Senator Henry Kemende said the holding of such posts cumulatively was a flagrant violation of the laws of the land.
The SDF’s motion, The Post learnt, caused so much embarrassment to the regime. It attracted widespread public criticisms about the holding of cumulative posts by Government officials. In order to stem the tides of the scandal, an urgent meeting of the Central Committee of the ruling CPDM was convened. It was during this meeting, sources told The Post, that Senators in the abyss of incompatibility were advised to either resign from the Senate or from the position of the Board Chair that many of them hold.
In tandem with the standing orders of the House, the four validation committees turned the heat on Senators who are holders of cumulative posts. It was in reaction to this that many CPDM Senators decided to resign from other positions in order to stay in the Senate. They include: Senators Calvin Zang Oyono, Charles Sale, Rene Ze Nguele. Aboubakari Abdoulaye, among others.
Just because nobody raised the issue of incompatibility during the last legislature, the Senators violated the law by holding other positions that are legally at variance with their status as Members of Parliament, MPs. The remunerations they got from both ends is stark violation of the laws. This explains why many critics described the taking of two salaries from the State as embezzlement of public funds. Many observers hold that such Senators and other officials in the same situation ought to refund what they got unduly from the State purse, because, of incompatibility. Although the post of Board Chair is far more lucrative than that of an MP, many Senators chose to remain in the Upper House of Parliament in order to enjoy Parliamentary immunity and the prestige that goes with it.
The issue of holding cumulative posts is not only with the Senate. It spans across the whole gamut of Government establishments. The SDF Parliamentary group leader at the National Assembly, Hon Joseph Banadzem, triggered debates on the issue during one of the Parliamentary sessions in 2012.
He said allowing people to hold incompatible posts of responsibility was a flagrant violation of Sections 19 to 20 of Law no 99/016 of December 22, 1999. The law provides general rules and regulations governing public and semi-public sector. The MP quoted Section 20 of the law which stipulates that no one may be Board Chair of more than one administrative public establishment. Hon. Banadzem equally quoted Section 21 of the same Law which states the incompatibility of the post of Board Chairperson, member of Government, Manager, Deputy Manager of an administrative public establishment to the post of MP. He cited 28 cases of officials who were holding cumulative posts in the country. The MP also cited the case of one minister who was the Board Chairperson of four State corporations. To Banadzem, the flagrant disregard of the law downplays Cameroon’s character as a State of law and compromises its chances to development.
In 2011, varsity don, Prof. Cosmas Cheika, published a voluminous book that exposes the accumulation of functions as a frontal violation of the law. While reacting to the issue during question time at the National Assembly in June 2012, the Prime, Minister, Philemon Yang, defended the holding of cumulative posts. He said appointments to posts of responsibility is the prerogative of the President of the Republic. He said the constitution gives the President the powers to appoint military and civilian officials the way he wants. The Prime Minister argued that the appointment of people into State functions is flexible, dynamic and cannot be applied as if it were a mathematical formula.