Located on the Ngoa Ekele neigbourhood in Yaounde, the National Assembly building is one of the legacies of the Amadou Ahidjo regime. After the October 1 reunification with Southern Cameroons, the building was constructed with oil revenue from SONARA and the west wing of the building was being used as the Public Records Office precisely to host documents that were carried away from the British Southern Cameroons parliament in Buea and the Southern Cameroons House of Chiefs.
The National Assembly housed many Cameroonian treasures including intelligence documents. Sadly, nearly all are now gone following the fire that ravaged the building yesterday, the 16th of November, 2017. This is the second time under the Biya Francophone regime that French Cameroun political elites had attempted to destroy the building. The first incident was under the administration of Prime Minister Simon Achidi Achu.
As well as destroying many irreplaceable records in the history of the two nations, the interior of the building was seriously damaged and the central dome collapsed. The buildings may never ever be restored.
The famous fire
You will hear and read much about this fire in decades to come but it may also be heralding the end of an era in Yaounde and in French Cameroun. Our chief intelligence officer in Yaounde, mentioned that all Cameroon national assembly records are now lost and, as a result, tracing any legislative dealings is an impossibility. Yesterday’s fire was a catastrophic event. There is no denying that.
What was lost?
The media has not been accorded access to the building and even the Yaounde regime at this point cannot report on the extend of the damage. What we do know is that all pre-November 1982 documents from the executive branch of government to the National Assembly have been lost, including political government records for the same period.
So where does this leave Cameroonians?
Those hit hardest by the destruction of the National Asembly building in Yaounde are those pro-Biya comedians who are presently calling on him to run for the 2018 presidential elections. Biya is no longer in control of state affairs in French Cameroun.
Since Tuesday, November 14, 2017, the so-called elected representatives of the people have been meeting at the Chamber of Ngoa-Ekelle for the third and final session of the year 2017 in a session boycotted by the Social Democratic Front. MPs may be forced to join the Senators at the Congress Hall in Yaounde.
By Soter Tarh Agbaw-Ebai with intel files from Ndifor Peter