By AYAH Paul ABINE*
It is now a notorious fact that the Camerounese senate refuses every year to defend their budget before the national assembly on the pretext that they are the upper chamber of the House. Unbelievable misconduct by persons said to be HONOURABLE!
Cameroun is truly at precarious cross-roads today! Just a timid whirlwind and it could be plunged into the abyss of fatal chaos. Delicately sustained only by a flimsy legal string; and having traversed sporadic inroads through to wanton comportment of riddance, it is as if the present generations have arrogated to themselves the right to be final…
Cameroun, without doubt, has never been the bedrock of the rule of law. But things have dangerously degenerated into the point where even the judiciary appears to be on the verge of declaring themselves irrelevant! That is of course only a logical queue-up, subsequent to the shameless breaking of the law by the very law-makers: the senate trampling underfoot with hollow majesty the country’s constitution – the fundamental law of the land…
But who can bring their minds to this outrageous conduct of the so-high? As if they have reversed their much-talked-about “the truth and the good example (coming) from the top”! Dumping the constitution in the waste basket in manner most irresponsible!
Could someone simplify it for the comprehension of our “honourable senators” that justice begets peace; and that justice is being amenable to the law, or compulsion to be amenable to the law? Could some learned person inform the senators that, by the constitution in force, the national assembly has exclusive jurisdiction to enact the finance law? May I pray some jurist to teach our senators that their immunity shall be lifted some day for them to face trial for embezzlement: spending public funds without proper appropriation by the national assembly?
Let it be known that the constitution took cognizance that the senate does not enjoy the full mandate of the people since some senators are appointed. That is why the passing of the appropriation Bill is within the exclusive jurisdiction of the national assembly. It is an exception to the general rule that parliament legislates (the two chambers). Such exclusiveness is attired in the rule couched in borrowed legal jargon that “generalibus specialibus non derogant”.
One can state with some reasonable degree of confidence that it is in superfluity that, after the national assembly has enacted the finance law, the enactment is still sent to the senate for reading. This is inconsistent with the constitution which is unambiguous that the senate does not have concurrent jurisdiction in the enactment of the finance law.
It goes without saying then that, by failing to defend their appropriation before the national assembly, the senate has no approved budget as required by the constitution, and, therefore, spending what has not been enacted by the national assembly as per the constitution amounts to the felony of misappropriation... Let the wheel of fortune continue to turn!
It shall stop turning some day, perhaps not so far off!