Sanctions Loom Over CPDM MPs For Demanding Dual Nationality Law
By Yerima Kini Nsom
The hierarchy of the ruling Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement, CPDM, is contemplating sanctions on some of its Members of Parliament, MPs, for asking President Paul Biya to table a bill that would legalise double nationality in Cameroon.
The demand of the MPs is contained in a petition the MPs sent to the President of the Republic recently. The Post learnt that a majority of the over 100 MPs who signed the petition are of the CPDM Parliamentary Group. According to the law on nationality, once a Cameroonian acquires the nationality of another country he or she must lose that of his country of origin.
Cameroonians in the Diaspora and pro-democracy activists have been calling for abrogation of such an obnoxious provision. It was in this respect that the MPs of all the political parties represented at the National Assembly wrote a petition to the President of the Republic, asking him to table a bill that will give a veneer of legality to double nationality.
But The Post learnt that the CPDM hierarchy received the petition with acrimony. According to sources at the National Assembly, the CPDM Chair, President Paul Biya took great exception to the fact that a majority of those who signed the petition are members of his own party. Our source, who is one of those who signed the document, said the CPDM hierarchy is raising hell, threatening to mete out exemplary sanctions on them.
It is reported that the CPDM hierarchy had prepared warnings to all its MPs who signed the petition but its Parliamentary Group leader, Bernard Ndongo Essomba, sensed danger and tactfully avoided serving them the document. Our sources noted that the President is said to have been very angry that they expect him to slam sanctions on them at any moment from now.
The petition which was titled: “The MPs Call on the Nation,” was spearheaded by the CPDM MP for the Ntem Valley Constituency, Hon. Emmanuel Mbiam and the SDF MP for the Momo Constituency, Hon. Joseph Mbah Ndam. Both MPs are also lawyers. The MPs argued that Cameroon’s Nationality Code adopted since June 11, 1968 is obsolete and needs to be amended to match with the current socio-political, economic and cultural dispensation in the country.
While commenting on the petition, Hon. Mbiam told journalists that its content represents the aspirations and wishes of Cameroonian citizens. Article 25 of the Constitution of Cameroon empowers MPs to table private member’s bill at the National Assembly.
But the MPs said given the doom that private member’s bills have always met in the house, they were rather encouraging the President of the Republic to table the bill. They said they were motivated by the fact that the President promised to table such a bill when he met with the Cameroonian Diaspora in France in 2009.
The President first made the promise in 2010, when an inter-ministerial delegation met with representatives of the Cameroonian Diaspora. Cameroonians are actually calling for the abrogation of article 31 of Cameroon’s Nationality Code. It stipulates that once a citizen acquires the nationality of another country, he or she instantly loses the Cameroonian nationality.
After acquiring the right to vote, Cameroonians in the Diaspora are battling to have a veneer of legality on dual nationality. According to Hon. Mbiam, the legalisation of double nationality will enable more Cameroonian citizens in the Diaspora to contribute their own quota to nation building. He said the petition dated December 4, 2014 is a positive move which should not be misinterpreted by anybody.
In November 2014, the SDF Parliamentary Group tabled a private member’s bill on the legalisation of double nationality. Yet, the majority of CPDM MPS despatched the bill to the dust bin by roundly rejecting it. Many Cameroonians in the Diaspora have expressed bitter ordeals they have gone through because double nationality is illegal in Cameroon.
One of them, who acquired the American (USA) nationality 15 years ago, said he was not able to attend the funeral of his parents because the Cameroonian Embassy refused to give him a visa.