Local Dev’t: Senators’ Field Presence Remains Imperative

Law No. 96- 6 of 18 January 1996 to amend the Constitution of 2 June 1972 provides that Cameroon shall be a decentralized unitary State and the decentralized structure shall be local authorities that shall be the Regions and Councils. The translation of the ultimate goal of decentralization to concrete, balanced and inclusive local development and improving the welfare of the population moved government to enshrine the Senate as one of the Houses of Parliament. Section 20 (1) of the Constitution states that the “Senate shall represent the Regional and Local Authorities.”
The Prime Minister, Head of Government Chief Dr Joseph Dion Ngute reiterated the key place of Senators in advancing the Cameroon’s decentralization process while presiding at the first session of the National Decentralization Board meeting in Yaounde on July 18, 2023. As the Chairperson of the board, the Prime Minister recalled that it came shortly after the senatorial election of March 12, 2023 during which 70 Senators of the third legislative period of the Upper House of Parliament were elected and the President of the Republic Paul Biya on March 31, 2023 appointed the 30 other Senators in accordance with the Constitution.
Henceforth, Senators of the third legislative period of the Senate after their June 2023 session of the current legislative year are expected to be on the field trying to get abreast with field realities and engaging on first key actions to foster decentralization and local development. Senators just as Members of the National Assembly are law makers whose missions are to pass laws and control government action. The specificity of Senators is to work in the domain of catering for the success of regional and local authorities in their missions.
Senators of the first and second legislative periods of the Senate had been sporadically on the field assisting the local population meet some of their development needs. Despite the efforts, many Cameroonians and members of the public still continue to ask questions as to the difference between a Senator and Member of the National Assembly and even the relevance of the Senate. If Senators of the first and second legislative periods succeeded to stagger and put the Upper House of Parliament up, now is the time for the newly-elected Senators of the third legislative period to get up, consolidate the achievements already recorded and give the House more visibility through concrete development actions. 
To win the development battle through the local authorities that are Regions and Councils, the Senators have to be armed with a perfect mastery and effective implementation of Law No. 2019/ 024 of 24 December 2019 to Institute the General Code of Regional and Local Authorities. The law provides that Senators of the Council of attachment shall attend Council board sessions in an advisory capacity. The Law equally enables the Senators to know the powers devolved by the central government to Regional and local authorities, the various stakeholders and their roles in fostering local development and the faction of the State budget allocated to Regions and Councils to carry out development and life-changing projects within the framework of the powers devolved to them.
Some of the newly-elected Senators are back in their respective constituencies and are trying to lay the solid grounds for effective work. Senators from the North West Region attended the just-ended session of the North West Regional Assembly during which they started airing their views on concrete steps to enhance local development. They also on July 14, 2023 attended an information seminar on the creation, organization and functioning of the Public Independent Conciliator for the North West Region.
The multiplication of training sessions and encounters will enable th...

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