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Politique of Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Source: The Median Newspaper

Senator Musonge urges gov’t to sit up, save lives

The former Prime Minister of Cameroon, Peter Mafany Musonge, has urged government to sit up when it came to development issues in the country.

He made the statement during a parliament sitting last week.Peter Musonge, who is now Senator for Fako Division, wanted to know what government was doing to ensure that new highways under construction do not become ‘death traps’ like the old existing ones.

Senator Musonge also sought to know what measures have been put in place to protect and preserve tarred roads in the country. Observers at the senate said Senator Musonge was asking the same questions he could not provide convincing answers to when he served as PM from 1996 to 2004.

The Rt. Hon. Peter Mafany Musonge is certainly a freer person at the Senate than he was when he served as Prime Minister, head of government between 1996 and 2004. If anything, the former PM does not have the obligation of reserve today, as was the case when he was at the Star Building.

This was the conclusion drawn by some commentators when they listened to the questions that Senator Musonge put to some government ministers during the question and answer session at the senate last week.

The Senator from Fako Division, who is also the leader of CPDM party senators and Grand Chancellor of National Orders, wanted to know what measures the government had put in place to make sure that new highways under construction and those about to be constructed notably the Yaoundé-Douala and Yaoundé-Nsimalen highways, do not become ‘death traps’ due to excessive speed, poor state of vehicles and the indiscipline of drivers.

Following Musonge’s question, some commentators at the senate remarked that he was expressing the same worries which he failed to provide satisfactory answers to, when he was Prime Minister.

Even though Senator Mafany Musonge addressed his questions to the Minister of Transport, analysts said he was indirectly taking the sitting Prime Minister, Philemon Yunji Yang, to task because the PM not only chairs the Road Board – CONAROUTE, he is also supposed to coordinate gov’t action and give impulsion to ministers to perform their tasks satisfactorily.

However, attempting an answer to the worries of the former PM, the Minister Delegate in the Ministry of Transport, Mefiro Oumarou explained that government had taken all necessary measures to ensure among other things that speed limits are respected by road users, technical conditions of vehicles are good enough and drivers are disciplined when on the highways.

Answering to another worry by Senator Musonge about measures taken bt gov’t to protect and preserve tarred roads in the country, the Public Works Minister, Patrice Amba Salla explained that the government has adopted both preventive and curative measures to ensure that tarred roads stay for as long as possible. The minister added that all the road networks in the country are being regularly monitored.

Senator Flambeau Ngayap posed a question as to the struggle for Camair-co to stay afloat despite enormous financial means deployed by government. In response the Minister Delegate at the Transport Ministry explained that because the air transport sector is highly competitive, Camair-co has to be well structured and adapted to meet international standards if it must compete favorably with other air carriers. Mefiro Oumarou said the restructuring process is still underway and all will be fine with Camair-co when the process would be complete.

As for Senator Dakole Daissala’s questions as to why the government had to move the Maroua University’s Faculty of Legal and Political Sciences, from the main campus in Maroua to a new campus in an unsafe locality like Mora in the Mayo Sava Division, and why some faculties of the University of Maroua were still not functional almost a decade after its creation, the Minister of Higher Education, Prof. Fame Ndongo, in response, said that all the seven faculties and colleges of the Maroua University are fully functional.

Though the minister admitted that government was decentralizing university campuses, he however said that the Faculty of Legal and Political Sciences of the University of Maroua has not been moved out of the main campus in Maroua, even though elite of Mora have expressed the wish for the faculty to be moved there.

Fame Ndongo explained that, it is the Maroua University’s Institute of Mining and Petroleum that has been delocalized to Kaele in the Mayo-Kani Division, while the department of climatology and hydrology of the Sahel Institute has also been moved to Kousseri to get it closer to the Lake Chad Basin which has its offices in nearby Ndjamena, Chad.

Question and answer sessions in parliament are one of the ways by which the legislators control the actions of the executive arm of gov’t. However, some MPs say they are not happy with the format that the Q&A sessions take. MPs complain that some of the answers given by ministers are outright unsatisfactory, and parliamentarians are not given the opportunity to ask follow up questions.

Another weakness in the parliamentary control of government action is that the president of the republic has no obligation to explain his actions before parliament. The president only addresses the parliament when he deems it necessary.

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