Friday, April 10, 2009


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Missing second parliamentary secretary blocks

The session convened yesterday to discuss draft law establishing Government Ombudsman and draft amendments to the articles 11, 16, 18 and 35 of the Organic Act on the High Authority of Audiovisual and Communication (HAAC) could not start. The official reason put forward by the Speaker of National Assembly is the absence of the second parliamentary secretary, Amissétou Affo Djobo. For the opposition PMs, it is nothing but a political machination.

Political maneuvers have certainly triumphed over the need for the plenary to be held last Tuesday at Palais des Gouverneurs in Porto-Novo. The noticeable absence of the second parliamentary secretary, Amissétou Affo Djobo is the cause of this blockade. The Speaker of National Assembly had once again to announce a further postponement of the second session that has enrolled in its agenda, inter alia, the draft law establishing the Ombudsman, and the draft law amending articles 11, 16, 18, and 35 of the Organic Act on the HAAC. The importance of these laws explains what is at stake in this examination. The latest upheavals in parliament came to add to the climate of suspicion between both camps. Opposition PMs, with their newly gained majority are eager to start the scheduled examination on this legislation to bring forth their wishes. While the presidential camp, more prudent, seems to be dragging its feet in order to have time to see clearly in the new situation created by the last recorded defection in their camp. This is how the opposition explains the successive adjournments of this meeting, which have recently been occurring in the Parliament.

Indeed, according to the provisions of the Parliament Regulatory Statute, no meeting can be held without the presence of at least a parliamentary secretary. However, the first parliamentary secretary, Joachim Dahissiho was known to be unwell for some time. He even put forward a letter to Parliament to inform the plenary of his absence from the chamber. His correspondence was read to the plenary a few days ago. Moreover, he would have even provided to the Speaker a certificate proving his state of health. It was therefore logical that the second secretary makes herself available for the session not to be blocked. Nevertheless, she had not turned out knowing that the first secretary is absent. It is only around 4 p.m. that the Speaker had made its entry into the chamber to announce the meeting should not be held because the second parliamentary secretary was sick. «For unavailability of the second secretary, the plenary was postponed to Thursday, » said the Speaker Nago to the PMs. As it should be expected, this drew strong reactions. According to the opposition, the second parliamentary secretary voluntarily did not turn out since the day before she was at Palais des Congrès to celebrate the Government's third anniversary. Even assuming that she is actually sick, they wonder when the Speaker was aware of this to announce it to the MPs at 4 p.m., while he himself has been present since 10 a.m. The conclusion was quick to be drawn. «The Speaker is haunted by the loss of the majority, » said an opposition PM who explains that «the blurred game of the presidential camp is not to examine the draft on HAAC to allow the appointment of its members on the basis of the former law granting three (03) seats to the Head of State and three (03) to the Executive Board of the Parliament and three (03) to media professionals. » Opposition MPs also see in this postponement, the unwillingness of the Speaker Nago to read the letter of resignation of a MP who defected from FCBE thus getting the presidential camp into trouble in the Parliament. It is said the next Thursday; another agenda is to be scheduled. It would be on the protection of personal data.

Fortuné AGUEH
Translated by Alfred Cossi Chodaton

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