Transcript of "60 Minutes" with Peter Esoka, CRTV Yaounde, Cameroon
Monday, December 2, 2002

CRTV: The drama in the African political scenery is such that cannot be ignored by any analyst. There are untold climaxes but the anti-climaxes are so numerous one can't stop wondering what the next scene would be. We play the games with unequaled dexterity, sometimes with a meanness of heart.

We wage constant wars against ourselves and occasionally wonder why. In some cases we treat our political woes with such nonchalance the outsider would wonder how much of ourselves we know or perhaps we expect so many things to come to pass that we are no longer taken by surprise. Some of the actors in each scene are so skilled you can't beat them to the game.

Others are such novices they can hardly determine what direction to go; and so our political systems seem jumbled up, but surprisingly we seem to carry through our motives but with a lot of grumbling. The newly independent states were ruled by some colonial lackeys, some of them only half educated. A few of them are still lurking around us. The new generation of politicians presented a hopeful trend; many of them studied in Western democracies and one would expect them to be at the helm of things to bring about positive change. But it would seem the more they are learned, the more they exercise wisdom that benefits but they and their immediate siblings.

And so the drama has turned to greater uncertainty as to how we operate our systems. The elections are called and there is doubt what the outcome will be and the story is long. Parliament was voted in Cameroon on June 30th 2002. It came with an overwhelming majority for the ruling party, the CPDM. The elections were supposed to have been observed by many groups, including a National Electoral Observatory: and according to reports confirmed by the Supreme Court, all went on fine except for a few constituencies where elections had to be redone or re-carried out on September the 15th 2002.

In the studio today I have two products of that new assembly. One of them from the CPDM party, the first ever lady Vice President of the House, Honorable Rose Abunaw; and the other of the SDF - a new entrant into the harsh political scene of the country and of course of the National Assembly, Honorable William M. Nkele. Together, with them is somebody I just caught by accident of connection. He is from the NDI. You know what the NDI stands for - that's the National Democratic Institute and that's Doctor Christopher Fomunyoh.
Good evening lady, good evening gentlemen.

Good evening….

CRTV (cont): Let's situate ourselves. Honorable Abunaw and Nkele first of all. What do you think of your being in Parliament? A breakthrough for change, or just business as usual? Have you considered what you're going to do or when your term is over, once again we turn an empty page and hope that something new is going to come? Let's start with the lady, once again because they say 'ladies first.'

Hon. Abunaw: Thanks very much uncle P. That's a very interesting question. Personally I am in Parliament to effect change. I'm in Parliament to serve my constituency in particular and Cameroon in general, so what I'm saying in effect is that I'm there to effect change.

CRTV: What kind of change? Honorable I know that you've been in Parliament before so I know that you're not a novice to all this. And you were on a different platform when you were in Parliament, now you have taken the side of the ruling CPDM. What kinds of changes do you expect would come from your being where you are and especially the position you now hold in the assembly?

Hon. Abunaw: Yes, the type of change I feel I can effect, coming from my constituency, Manyu, it's a very difficult constituency. I'm sure you know the problems of Manyu especially that of the roads, that's our greatest problem and I can say that around '92 when I was first in Parliament I think I have contributed a lot to our having part of the road tarred now in Manyu, Mamfe. Because as an opposition member we talked openly, loudly and something has been done to that road. In the health sector we talked and we are now having health amenities, administratively we talked, the administration has been brought nearer the people, right now we are consolidating.

CRTV: Would you tell me that because you have now turned over the leaf and you are with the ruling party you would be able to speak as loud as you spoke when you were in the opposition? Don't you think something might just happen to you because you do not toe the line of the ruling party?

Hon. Abunaw: In the ruling party nobody stops anybody from talking. It's democracy and I will continue talking.

CRTV: You will continue talking. Honorable Nkele William, you are a new entrant and surprisingly you are the only Social Democratic Front Parliamentarian from the South West Province because the CPDM overwhelmingly took the South West Province. Out of 15 seats, they had 14 and you're the only man and you're from K-town or from Kumba. How do you feel being the lone bird from such a charged - let me say ruling constituency, let me put the South West Province as a constituency.

Hon. Nkele: Thank you uncle Peter. To me I feel it is a challenge and I think being the lone person from South West doesn't mean anything to me because I know I'm going there to represent a people and that's the people of Kumba and the people of Kumba wanted a change and they thought I could bring that change to them.

CRTV: But Kumba has always been fluctuating; there was Honorable Elonge of the UNDP, then came Honorable Mukete and now Honorable Nkele, so all the three major parties at least have had their representatives from Kumba. Is it that Kumba is so dynamic that they don't consider the people, as being those who would represent them for a long time, they have to change from time to time.

Hon. Nkele: NO I think the population of Kumba is mature and they are mature politically. They know what they want. It's true Honorable Elonge was there of UNDP, later on Hon Mukete of CPDM and now they want to try Hon Nkele. It now depends on Hon Nkele to produce the goals; if you can score the goals I think Hon Nkele will be able to remain there as long as he scores the goals.

CRTV: People have considered that the SDF is a North West party. In the previous parliament we had forty-three members of parliament spread all over the country apart from probably the Northern region, but during this election the tide seems to have changed and we find most parliamentarians from the SDF party coming from the North West party. Don't you feel a stranger in the party?

Hon. Nkele: I don't think I'm a stranger in the party. The SDF is a national party and I'd early told you that the people of Kumba are mature politically. WE don't care if you're from the Northern province or whether you're a Beti. The SDF is a national party and the people voted for the SDF and they know why they voted for the SDF because we've always been singing for change. I think the SDF is the first party that ever talked about change

CRTV:And Nkele thinks that he would be able to effect any kind of change in the Kumba constituency that nobody else has dared to do.

Hon. Nkele: Well there's one pidgin proverb that says "small nobi sick". I believe being the lone parliament of the SDF from the South West I have to work hard to effect this change. I know it will be difficult but we are fighting all for the interest of the population. …

CRTV: And for the good of the country.

Hon. Nkele: And for the good of the country.

You're listening to CRTV and sixty minutes with Peter Essoka. Before we continue with this discussion, I'd like you to listen to David C. Bunyuy as he takes a quick look at Cameroon's democratic process since 1990, David C. Bunyuy

Report by David C. Bunyuy; When President Paul Biya opted to reinstate multi-party politics, in 1990 after more than two decades of autocratic rule, many Cameroonians thought the era of good government had dawned on Cameroon. Twelve years after, many observers think Cameroon's democratic process is not only tottering but crippling. The legislative elections of 1990 should have set the pace for Cameroon's political evolution. Unfortunately, the political landscape was distorted, following the boycott of the Social Democratic Front on grounds of bad electoral laws. Then came the 1992 Presidential elections, marred by post election violence and the declaration of a state of emergency in parts of the country. The scathing report of the National Democratic Institute, following the elections also rendered incredulous the results. Subsequent elections witnessed accusations and counter accusations of rigging and other election malpractices.

Opposition parties have continued to cry foul. They've argued that Cameroon's public administration, whose officials are appointed by the ruling party, cannot organize free and fair elections. After persistent calls by opposition parties for the creation of an independent electoral commission, a National Election Observatory was finally created.

As its name implies, it has turned out to be a mere observer, as the last dual elections in Cameroon were to prove. Voter disenfranchisement reached unprecedented levels in Cameroon, following the manipulation of electoral registers and the poor distribution of voter cards. The rerun of the election in over seventeen constituencies, due to gross irregularities, also proved that Cameroon's electoral process is still in its infancy.

Voter apathy attained the highest level in Cameroon's political history. In the face of all these, the National Elections Observatory watched helplessly and only exonerated itself through press conferences and post election recommendations, which however could foster the democratic process if and only if there is the political will. For now Cameroon seems to be gradually going back to the days of totalitarianism.

The North West province remains the last vestige of opposition in the country and it could very well be wiped in the next election if the whole democratic process is not overhauled. Such an overhaul would entail regaining voter confidence through the putting in place of transparent, accountable and impartial structures to oversee elections from voter registration to the declaration of the results. Without that, we will only be forging a Cameroon-style democracy, tailored to fit those who walk the corridors of power.

CRTV: Tailored only for those who walk the corridors of power. Christopher Fomunyoh, Doctor, your Institute had an experience with our electoral forces in 1992. Would you say after ten years and following Dave's analyses, your opinion has changed or what's NDI's focus today on the African democratic forces and our elections?

Dr. Fomunyoh: Well, thank you Peter and let me first say how honored I am to share this panel with two distinguished elected officials. It's quite an honor and I hope that I can contribute to the discussion which already appears to be very enriching.

Your question has got two parts to it and let me take the Cameroon part first and then my general assessment and the process in Africa second, and I think that a lot of Cameroonians remember NDI from its involvement in monitoring the 1992 elections in Cameroon.

We haven't had the opportunity to be engaged in other democracy support programs in Cameroon since then but I dare to say that, having followed closely the developments around the subsequent elections in 1997 and then in 2002, I'm afraid that our assessment wouldn't be that different. There's been areas where some progress has been made but there're also areas that we identified then that still need a lot of work, and still call for a lot of work, and I'm pleased to hear Cameroonians begin to pose the same questions that NDI had posed at the time, including Cameroonian civil society organizations.

And I'm hopeful that, as the years go by and as we become less passionate about the report that was issued in 1992, that more seasoned heads… that cooler heads can prevail, and we can all work together, all Cameroonians can work together to make sure that we have an electoral system in which Cameroonians do sincerely believe could be the process that determines who gets to govern.

One of my fears traveling around Africa and this is a good way to transition to the second part of your question, one of my fears is to watch Africans being disenfranchised or to watch Africans feel disconnected from the political process. What happens to people in countries where this happens is that you increasingly and sometimes even inadvertently, leave people with the impression that they cannot effect change, they cannot make a positive contribution to the way in which their country is governed, through the electoral process and that is a threat that I wont want to see Cameroon face.

CRTV: Rose…Honorable sorry…I'm getting too familiar now, would you consider yourself an opportunist? I mean when you see those places where you can grab, you jump on them and you win?

Hon. Abunaw: I don't think so uncle P because…

CRTV: I'm asking the question because in 1992, when the SDF would not go to the election, you're a member of the NUDP and an opportunity came up and you grabbed it. Today in the year 2002, ten years later, you yet have grabbed yet another opportunity, that of the CPDM because the CPDM was making some fuss and that's why I'd a tendency to put that question to you.

Hon. Abunaw: Well, as you know uncle P, Politics is a game of numbers and you can't play politics without people behind you and I had to move as I said before because my people wanted us to move. I did not move alone I moved with my population, so I don't think I can be described as such.

CRTV: A little while ago, David C. Bunyuy was talking about disenfranchisement, and there were lots of complaints prior to the election this year, especially on voter registration. I don't know whether you had the same kind of problem in the Manyu constituency , especially with Mamfe central where you come from?

Hon. Abunaw: Uncle P, elections in Manyu division in general and Mamfe central in particular were very calm , we had no problem at all. Everybody who had to vote of voting age, voted.

CRTV: Honorable Nkele, did you have the same experience in Kumba, especially, well, Kumba is a very difficult if not a very complicated area, there are different dynasties in the Kumba constituencies especially Kumba central. Where did you come from?

Hon. Nkele: I came from Kumba and my family is one of , in fact it's one of the founding families of Kumba.

CRTV:nobody seems to have heard about the Nkele family in Kumba!

Hon. Nkele: Yes . Nobody seems to have heard about the Nkele family but the Nkele's family existed and it has always existed and it will always exist.

CRTV: And in Kumba, especially based in the protests that came after the first, the June 30th election, and then the eventual September 5th re-election, or rerun, if you want to put it, there were no problems with the voter population , people who were sort of threatened and they wouldn't get themselves to vote because they came from particular areas of the country etc .

Hon. Nkele: No. I want to say that, in fact, the people who went out to vote ,voted correctly. There was not violence because I'm sure that's what you're talking about. Because elections of 30th June were cancelled in Kumba because some people thought, or gave the impression that there was violence. Unfortunately we never saw any violence in Kumba and people who registered found their names in the voter's list and the voted.

CRTV: Nobody was ever stopped from registering because, especially in one area of Kumba and they had to run to another area; you leave Kumba town and you go to Hausa quarters to go and register because you've not been allowed to register in Kumba town.

Hon. Nkele: No, I want to give credit to the administration in Kumba that nobody was prevented from registering. I remember the DO Central went out so many times and people are just disgusted. People thought that they would vote their candidates and then on the long run, somebody would come and declare somebody else so they were not interested even in going for…even in registering their names in the voters' registers.

CRTV:So with the turnout, were you satisfied with the turn out in both of your constituencies … Rose were you?

Hon. Abunaw: Uncle P, I was very very satisfied.

CRTV: And you…

Hon. Nkele: I was not satisfied. Kumba is a very big town, more than four hundred thousand people , but those registered were just twenty six thousand and effective voters were not up to fifteen thousand. As I said earlier people were dissatisfied , they are tired of what has been happening before.

CRTV: So are you a true representative of the Kumba people when only fifteen thousand out of four hundred thousand voted…I mean not all of them even voted for you?

Hon. Nkele Registered voters, effective voters. I'm proud of being the parliamentarian for Kumba because the fifteen thousand people who voted, I had sixty four percent of that!

CRTV: You had sixty four percent of the fifteen thousand people who did vote! One thing that the NDI has always been advocating is , I saw a brochure that was distributed to me, working to strengthen and expand democracy worldwide. What do you call democracy anyway? Is it based on what the West is telling us or are there other kinds of democracies we can respect?

Dr. Fomunyoh: That's a pertinent question and I think it's a real one because people grapple with that every time they talk about democracy. And we need to reassure citizens, we need to reassure people, that democracy is not an imported concept, even in Africa; that even in African traditional society , there are certain norms and principles that are respected, for example, the rights to own property, the right to respect one another, even the right or the responsibility for traditional authority to govern the village or the clan as a good family head with some level of fairness and equity.

Those things, they exist in traditional society and as we go from one country to the other we could find that those particularities exist. At the same time, there are certain universal concepts that would apply to every country that considers itself democratic, which will be the freedom of expression, the freedom of speech, the ability to form political associations or political parties, the ability to compete for office and compete in credible elections and win elected office.

And we would see that almost every country, if not I should say, all of our African countries, have adopted these principles that are enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. And so for me democracy for an African is as good as democracy for an American or a Canadian. I do not make that distinction to feel that it's one level of democracy which is low-grade democracy for Africa, and a higher-grade democracy for Western countries.

CRTV: These are jokes somebody or many people have sounded; after the Presidential elections of the United States last year, when President Bush won the election, two years ago rather, there were problems in the state of Florida and a number of people said the NDI came to Cameroon in 1992 and a few of them learned some of the tricks that Cameroonians play in elections. There must have been a Cameroonian who was indoctrinating them. And this time we should lead Cameroonians to go back , they should have gone to the United States or to Florida to observe elections and try to give corrections. You are a member of that institute . How did you feel in the year 2000 and the problems that occurred in the state of Florida?

Dr. Fomunyoh: I think that was a very good joke and a lot of African countries volunteered to send observers. The good thing is they would have all been welcome. They would have all written freely what they saw and their reports would have been debated and discussed, and the good recommendations that would have come out of their reports would have been accepted or rejected after a thorough discussion.

I think Florida was embarrassing, there's no doubt about that; to kind of watch this hand count and chads and flying chads and floating chads, was kind of disconcerting but I think it really underscored two things; one, that democracy is a never-ending endeavor , you can never take anything for granted, then you have to work to improve on a democratic society on a daily basis; and two, that when all was said and done in the United States, for all the drama and the trials and tribulations of Florida, no one person was shot, no one person was arrested, nobody was put under house arrest, no journalist was beaten for writing a report, no President decreed that…Clinton could have decreed that Al Gore , his candidate had won, or Jeb Bush, the Governor of the state could have decreed in favor of his brother.

The process worked . Nobody died and ultimately, when the final decision was made, everybody accepted the outcome. I think that was the bigger lesson of Florida much more than the drama and the suggestion of sending observers from other countries .

CRTV: Honorable Abunaw, how do you assess democracy in Cameroon. For instance?

Hon. Abunaw: Uncle P, I think our democracy in Cameroon is evolving, is advancing because just like what we've described here in the year 1992 during the elections - Parliamentary and Presidential elections, it's not what we had in 1997 and 2002, we are advancing, it's advanced democracy

CRTV: Advanced democracy…do you share that opinion?

Hon. Nkele: That's where I differ with my sister Honorable Abunaw, I don't think we are advancing, we're instead retrogressing because I believe that we're supposed to have an independent electoral commission. We should not deceive ourselves by saying we are advancing when we still allow the administrative officers to conduct our elections.

CRTV: And is that the only reason why you think that we're not advancing? You told us a while ago that it was wonderful in Kumba…everything went on fine and now you're talking about…..

Hon. Nkele: Kumba is not an island.

CRTV: but Kumba is representative!

Hon. Nkele: Yes. When I say in Kumba , we had free and fair elections but this was not the same thing all over the territory. I earlier praised the administration of Kumba for organizing free and fair elections.

CRTV: It means you could still praise the other administrators.

Hon. Nkele: The point is , the other administrators wrongly believed that if they favor the ruling party they will be promoted.

CRTV: Sixty minutes and this is CRTV. We're talking political language, democracy and other things. Let me get back to my parliamentarians before I get back to the NDI. Honorable Abunaw, let's speak frank talk here, you are one hundred and how many parliamentarians of the CPDM? (one hundred and fifty/forty-nine) , one hundred and forty nine because one passed away, one hundred and forty nine and you think this can be effective democracy when one party so overwhelmingly dominates the parliament. How do you think? Even if I came from the SDF and then I had to make proposals and you guys gang on one side because of party or discipline as you sometimes call it, would anything progress?

Hon. Abunaw: Uncle P, as I had earlier told you, we are there representing our constituencies. We are there in the National Assembly to protect the interest of our people and I don't think that us being one hundred and forty nine out of one seventy nine now will make us to pass bills that will not favor our population …..

CRTV: But it is party discipline, if instructions come from somewhere…

Hon. Abunaw: No , we are serving a people, we are serving a people, so we'll do what will favor our people..

CRTV: You think you can stand against the discipline of the party when they want to support a particular…

Hon. Abunaw: There's party discipline and the party knows that we are serving a people, the party will not want to be dragged into mud so the party discipline will also match with the aspirations of the people.

CRTV: Honorable Nkele, do you have a voice?

Hon. Nkele: I think I have a voice .

CRTV: How can you have a voice; there are twenty-one of you from the SDF party and you claim here that you can have a voice. How can twenty one people stand to wage a real struggle, a real fight against one hundred and forty nine people looking at you boldly and all their eyeballs bulging out and looking at you?

Hon. Nkele: Yes, our party is there to criticize.

CRTV:Criticize ? Why must you criticize? I mean you mean to say…

Hon. Nkele: We criticize and we make proposals which we think are good for the interest of the Cameroonians. I know when it comes to voting the CPDM will always beat us but that will not prevent us from pointing out the… bad …

CRTV: Why would they always beat you? Honorable Abunaw was just telling me that…telling the whole world that they stand firmly on serving the people. Would that mean if something comes up, a deal comes up, that doesn't quite favor the machinations of the CPDM party, you Honorable Abunaw, Vice President of the National Assembly, you would be able to stand up against the move and vote for the opposition party?

Hon. Abunaw: Uncle P, in Parliament we have parliamentary procedure. If a bill comes, it depends on where the bill is coming from, if it's a private member's bill, if it's a bill from the government, there's a procedure before the bill gets into plenary. So as CPDM parliamentarians who are also members of the Chairmen's conference, we'll also look at the bill, if there's anything there that does not favor the people we are representing we have to discuss it and it goes back to the quarters where it's coming from before ever it gets to the plenary.

CRTV: So you work on consensus?

Hon. Abunaw: Yes. The CPDM is an organized party.

CRTV:Do we look at it from that perspective especially sometimes when the SDF has presented Private Members Bills and sometimes they are thrown out.

Hon. Nkele: Yes I know the SDF …the last legislation they tried to present , I think three private members bills and they were never accepted..

CRTV:And you were forty-three at that time? And today you have twenty-one?

Hon. Nkele: We are twenty-one but that doesn't mean that we have to fold our arms and allow the CPDM to do whatever thing they want to do. We have to talk. And we take the Cameroonian people as our witnesses; we talk and then we see where the truth lies.

CRTV: Now you're talking about strengthening or working to strengthen and expand democracy.. by the way this is CRTV, if I did forget you out there , we don't mind if you call us and probably ask us any questions that you want to ask; we don't have a lot of time but you can do so and the number is 220 80 37, that's CRTV, or if you want to call us on 221 40 35, we'll not mind you calling us on that number .

You have very knowledgeable people, people who are decision-makers of this country , because that's what parliament is supposed to be and there are people also who are following up on the growth of democracy; the expansion and the strengthening of democracy in the world as a whole - not people who stigmatize others but who want to open up for other people to learn. Doctor Fomunyoh, you've just been hearing our parliamentarians talk about bills and their support and whatever it is, especially in terms of the majority in parliament , which is an overwhelming majority. When you look at the Cameroonian Parliament and from your perspective, what would you tell us?

Dr. Fomunyoh: Well, I would look at it and probably take out the partisan argument between the ruling party caucus and the minority party caucus and just look at it in terms of the separation of powers and the relationship between the legislative branch and the other branches of government, most notably the executive branch of government.

And in that regard, I would have some concerns because I would wish that, talking about members' bills for example, I would have loved to see a member of the ruling party introduce a bill, because I feel strongly that of the one hundred and forty nine members, there must be people who believe in something that the executive branch hasn't seen.

It would be rejuvenating to the Cameroonian political landscape if even a member of the ruling party introduced a bill. We haven't seen that come out of this parliament yet. I also feel that the second function of every parliament in a democratic society is to exercise legislative oversight or what you can call parliamentary oversight over the executive branch and then, from time to time you can see the fruits of that kind of control. I haven't seen that yet and I also worry even when the honorable members talked about representing their constituents when the constitution of the country states that you were elected on behalf of the constituency but you represent the country as a whole.

And so with these three questions - and I could add another set of questions to the list - I'm left wondering whether our elected officials are operating in the framework that allows them to give the best that they can offer to this function of being a member of parliament!

CRTV: I didn't ask that question but you can answer that, can't you? Do you have the free-handedness to go about and do business as it's supposed to be done, that a parliament stands out independently and works out to challenge probably what the administration or government is doing , the executive branch?

Hon. Nkele: You know I think normally, the parliament has to do that. We have to control... It's not every bill that …as the Vice President talked about. It is not every bill that we might accept from the executive. If we realize the bill is not…

CRTV: Who "you"? All of you parliamentarians or just the group of those that are in the opposition because, first of all , what is happening in this country today is that there's even some kind of mix up where you do not know anymore how to differentiate what is state and what is party, because the leader of the country is also the leader of the party that is in power? What do you say about that Honorable Abunaw?

Hon. Abunaw: Uncle P, I had earlier told you that Parliament had procedure like the question you asked; before a bills gets to plenary , it is a bill that the chairmen's conference has accepted.

CRTV: Has accepted. I will cut you here because there is somebody on the line. Hello this is CRTV.

CALLER: Good evening uncle P. It's Ngwan Christian calling from Onmisport. Yes I also say good evening to the lady and the two men in the studio.

CRTV: May I just advice you to pull your radio a little away from you telephone so that there is no whistling.

CALLER: Is it okay?

CRTV: Yes, you're okay, we're listening , we're getting you.

CALLER: D'accord!

CRTV: I like that. Go ahead……No, your radio is still there, too close for comfort.

CALLER: I think it's okay now?

CRTV: Not yet.

CALLER: Okay. Let me try to turn again. Is it better…?

CRTV: Don't you hear the whistling yourself?

CALLER: Yes , because the technician says through radio I can only get you people on….

CRTV: Alright just go ahead, we'll listen to you.)

CALLER: What I want to say Uncle P is this; as a Cameroonian who doesn't belong to any party , I'm not participating as a militant in any party. I want to just share my contribution as a Cameroonian.

CRTV: Do that as fast as possible because we don't have much time maybe some other contributor may be there to ..yes..

CALLER: I just want to say especially about our democratic process in Cameroon that we are still dancing , we've not yet had a government who thinks about democracy. Let us not deceive ourselves, as the opposition said because the country is still run in a way you can truly understand that democracy is not yet gained the ground. People are still thinking that the power should be only owned by some people who think that they can know the best for Cameroonians, which is not true. So let them try what they can do but the truth is that we cannot stay Cameroonians ( Host: we are still dancing…we are still dancing ) gone ahead….

CRTV: do you accept that we are making some progress at least?…hello…

CALLER: …because of too much dictatorship and too much torture, Cameroonians have even…

CRTV: Would you get your radio back to you so that you can listen to us?

CALLER:.. of going to register because they know that their registration at times doesn't go through or their registration will only be to turn tomorrow to favor the power in power.

CRTV: Thank you very much for your contribution Mister Ngwan Christian. I'll turn to the National Democratic Institute , representative here. Sir , when you hear a Cameroonian say that and your intention is to spread or strengthen, expand democracy worldwide, there's a lot of apathy.

Dr. Fomunyoh: Yes there is and that's part of the worry that I referred to initially - of having people such as this gentleman who called from Omnisport, feeling that they don't belong to the political process or that the process doesn't favor active positive contribution and I worry about that, and I think we should look at the demographics very carefully. Even when we talk about elections and the percentage of participation, that for a country of fifteen million people, when the demographics show that the vast majority of fourteen million (I was kind of approximating the high side), showing that a sizeable percentage of our population is of voting age, it would be helpful and healthy to see that percentage reflected in voter participation.

CRTV: Particularly the last election, there were just about four million registered voters; I think that was not very positive for the nation. Honorable Abunaw, you heard Mr. Ngwan Christian talk. I begin to have the fear that there's a lot of attention being paid to the personality cult in our political process. What do you think about that?

Hon. Abunaw: Uncle P, personally, I don't think it's true. I think power is at the base. Power is at the grass roots and if there's anything up here it has evolved from the base so I don't think I agree with what the NDI representative is saying.

CRTV: And actually what Mister Ngwan Christian was saying?

Hon. Abunaw: Well, you know Mr. Christian is one of those people who is disgruntled in a way because of their own fault like might be…

CRTV: Does he not have a right to be disgruntled when things are not going right?

Hon. Abunaw: He has a right but, he has a right to be disgruntled in the right way not in the wrong way.

CRTV: Honorable Nkele, what do you think, I'll come back to you sir.

Hon. Nkele: I think I share the views of Mr. Ngwan Christian. He's saying that , well he doesn't belong to any party. He says our democracy is not yet ripe and we are dancing and what can we do to make our democracy become credible, that's what we have to look for in…

CRTV:….for in your parliamentary arguments, I think you will raise that point. Before we get to NDI, there's somebody else on the line. Hello, this is CRTV

CALLER NO 2: Hello, good evening Mr Peter. Well, I just want to congratulate you Mr Peter because you say you …the opinion of the people counts…I want to congratulate you very well…

CRTV: Who's talking?

CALLER NO 2: Mr. Blasius Achuo Wong, I'm calling from Buea. Mr. P the thing is this, we really need an electoral committee to be taking part in all the elections in Cameroon, because you cannot see somebody register, the person registering writes the names of people and then the list is photocopied , and then that person who is writing names, his name is not on the list when the original list comes on the day of elections.

Like in Brigade here in Buea. I registered and photocopied the list and then the photocopy was there, my name was there and then they came with the original my name was not there. The woman who wrote the list her name was not there. So you see, that is why we say we have to change, Cameroonians really need change. So what the man was saying that in Kumba at least Kumba is an opposition place but in other parts of the country where the other person says that the people were trying to see that the ruling party wins so that they can be promoted , it is true , I believe that . So at least we should see that we have an electoral committee that will be taking part in all the elections.

CRTV: And you don't think that the National Electoral Observatory plays that role?

CALLER NO 2: Well, they are just doing what I think they can do Mr. Peter. We really need something..

CRTV: …which will be different from that.

CALLER NO 2: Yes Mr. Peter you see. Yes , I just want to congratulate you firstly Mr Peter.

CRTV: Thank you very much, because we don't have time in fact we're running out of time. Let's turn to our panelists here. Yes doctor.

Dr. Fomunyoh: Yes, I was going to say that it will be unfair to treat every young man or woman who calls in and expresses a viewpoint as being disgruntled. Because if we just categorize people in that manner then we're not going to be able to hear from people who've got genuine grievances with the system and I think that elected officials should be more open and invite a young man like that who calls in and says he's not happy with the system, and listen to him, or to her, if it's a lady, you may be able to find out why he's disgruntled, you may be able to provide him with more information than he currently has, or you may be able to refer him to somebody who can help educate him about what his rights and responsibilities are as a citizen. And I think that every time we categorize somebody that way , just because they've called in with a different opinion , we help contribute to the apathy that we're trying to address and I think it wasn't fair to the gentleman who called from Omnisport.

CRTV:Don't you feel sometimes , Honorable Abunaw, a little apathetic over certain things that do happen in the country?

Hon. Abunaw: Well, talking about Mr. Christian who called in fact I did not say he is disgruntled in a wrong way. What I mean is that I think he says he doesn't belong to any political party. I think every human being is a political animal so he should belong to a political party and effect change from within. So saying he's just standing aloof and expecting change to take place is not fair. Let him belong to a political party and effect.

CRTV: Somebody is on the line hello. Hello this is CRTV.

CALLER NO 3: Good evening uncle Peter. Good evening Honorable Nkele. I'm calling from Ecole de Postes. I'm Chia Chia Peter. I want to send my, just some few contributions.

CRTV: Very fast , because we don't have time.

CALLER NO 3: Yes what I'm going to say is that we didn't even know whether elections takes place in this country. We are still waiting to hear the final results.

CRTV: You're still waiting for the final results….but parliament is already meeting you know. Do you know that parliament is meeting at this time?

CALLER NO 3: Yes we know that.

CRTV: Then what results are you expecting again?

CALLER NO 3: No we are expecting because the parliamentarians, they are there. They are fighting as Nkele has said, they are fighting but we don't know whether they will fight until when.

CRTV: Until they win.

CALLER NO 3: What I will say again is that I wish Nkele to fight ….

CRTV: …as hard as he can. Like a real lion.

CALLER NO 3: You know. To fight until , we see the change.

CRTV: Yes, we've not even talked about the necessary changes that might be effected in the parliament , the new parliament, because at the beginning of this program I talked about the new breed of intellectuals and the elite who sometimes have gotten themselves mixed up in a lot of things. We're running out of time already, we're just about three minutes away from the end of this program and I just want you guys just to give me a summary of one or two things that you'd like to see happen in our country especially per se, the democratic process . Let us start with the NDI.

Dr.Fomunyoh: I would say very summarily, if our parliamentarians and elected officials can do concrete things that can give hope, genuine hope to the next generation of Africans, that this continent, full of resources and seven hundred million lives can also have a seat at the table when we talk about global issues, that's the hope that I expect the new generation of leaders to provide.

CRTV: Honorable Nkele;

Hon. Nkele: I would like that our democratic process be improved so that everybody would be given equal opportunity…

CRTV: More genuine as you have said because you think that it is not as genuine as it ought to be. Rose…

Hon. Abunaw: Thank you uncle P, I would like to actually say like I said before, our democracy is advancing and I would like to see that it advances very fast, because the head of state who is the patron of the democracy is really interested in it and I would like to see in parliament that, even though you're in an opposition party, when a bill comes up that it is for the interest of the people you should vote for it, not minding that you're on the opposition bench to make people feel that you are voting against because you have to always oppose.

CRTV: For both of you, parliamentarians , what do you think of the role of the elite in this whole process, are you the elite of this country destroying the political process or are you really building it up?

Hon. Abunaw: They are building , they are contributing.

CRTV:You think so?

Hon Abunaw: Yes uncle P.

Hon. Nkele: I think they are not doing enough. They are instead destroying the….they are looking for their own positions.

CRTV: We stand at that end and that's what it looks like . We're not going to have…I think this debate is just beginning and Sixty Minutes will carry through with this debate, we may have an opportunity of inviting both of you again here. I know the NDI people are just flying and passing by, but at least we've had an interesting discussion and I'd like to believe that we'd be able to give satisfaction to our people as we continue with this debate to look at other possibilities and the way democracy in this country will grow. Thank you very much Doctor Fomunyoh for coming all the way from the United States of America.

Dr. Fomunyoh: Thanks for having me join you here this evening.

CRTV: Honorable William Nkele, representative from Kumba Central and Honorable Rose Abunaw, representative from Manyu, that is from Mamfe Central and of course who has the honor of being the first ever lady Vice President of the National Assembly. Those are the people who were my guests.

Thank you that all of you were there. We had a group of people who did help us, the Essombas, the Marigos and the Foudas, all of them together and I in the coordination . My name is Peter Essoka and I had as my assistant David Chuye Bunyuy . We'll just be preparing ourselves for the news that comes up in the next few seconds .