More Women are Elected into Cameroon National Assembly (56)

Honourable Marie Rose Nguini Effa (re-elected female member of parliament)

Honourable Marie Rose Nguini Effa (re-elected female member of parliament)

The Cameroon National Assembly now has 56 Female Parliamentarians. For the first time in the history of Cameroon politics and that of the National Assembly in particular, 56 women will be representing several political parties and constituencies in the Cameroon Parliament. This is a dramatic increase of 31 more women…from 25 women in the last Assembly (the 8th Parliament) to 56 women now in the 9th and current parliament.

The ruling party of President Paul Biya’s, Cameroon Peoples Democratic Movement (CPDM) which won 148 out of 180 seats provides the largest contingent with 47 women. Prior to the legislative election of 30 September 2013, civil society fought to give greater visibility to the ladies. The President of the Republic, also National President of the CPDM had promised to make the promotion of women his political business.  As can be seen in the aftermath of the election, the president’s promise in his party has been kept.

Other political parties like the Social Democratic Front (SDF) which won 18 seats out of 180 seats, the National Union for Democracy and Progress (NUDP) of Bello Bouba Maigari which won five seats and the Union of the Peoples of Cameroon (Union des Populations du Cameroun-UPC) which won three seats have female representatives.

The dramatic increase in the election of women to the National assembly has been welcome by the entire Cameroon political class. It should be noted that, prior to the 30 September 2013 election, the Cameroon Electoral Code had already prepared the groundwork for this change. All political parties took into account the need to include women in the composition of lists of candidates. Men, youth and women were sent to campaign for the seat of legislators and today, the result is appreciated by all Cameroonians. One very important factor that no one should forget is the role played by the Cameroonian electorate. Following the elections, one of the greatest praise should go to the Cameroonian electorate who voted for more women. By their gestures, they are promoting the Cameroon Government policy of equal rights for all and at the same time proving their respect for women. Including women on electoral list could not have completely materialized without the voice of fellow Cameroonian voters.

It should be noted that, Cameroon is proud to be one of the few countries in Africa where men and women have equal rights. Despite this, there have been demands by civil rights organizations to have more women in decision making positions. So far, President Paul Biya has taken personal measures to appoint more women in Ministerial and other high level positions.

Waiting to see Members of parliament at work, it is clear that the new face of the National Assembly highlights the political maturity of Cameroon while enhancing democratic achievements at the institutional level.

The next session of the National Assembly opens on October 29, 2013. This session will mark a very important milestone in Cameroon politics…the moment when for the first time ever, 56 ladies…mothers, sisters and aunts will walk into the assembly building to speak and work on behalf of millions of fellow Cameroonians representing several political parties.

It should be reminded that the National Assembly has 180 elected members or parliamentarians.

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