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Opposition MPs push for parliamentary debate on Cameroon’s ID card problems

Opposition MPs push for parliamentary debate on Cameroon’s ID card problems

A member of the opposition in Cameroon’s lower house of Parliament, Youmo Koupit Adamou, says he and his peers plan to take up the problem of slow issuance of the biometric national ID card in Cameroon at an ongoing parliamentary session.

Cameroon lawmakers resumed work for their first ordinary session of parliamentary business for the year on Friday 3 March. The session will run until April 3.

The country has been in a real conundrum regarding the issuance of the national ID card.

Speaking to Biometric Update after the opening plenary, Adamou said enough was enough with the national ID card issuance quagmire which has gone a long way in causing untold suffering to thousands, if not millions, of Cameroonian citizens who are victims.

The issue of applying pressure to force parliamentary debate on ID card delays was discussed in an episode on Cameroon of Biometric Update’s ID16.9 Podcast.

The lawmaker said he does not understand why in Cameroon, passports are produced in just 48 hours, while ID cards which are even more important in day-to-day transactions “take forever” to be delivered to applicants.

“We want to propose a special plenary which should be dedicated to the problem of ID card delivery in our country. It remains a very serious problem and it’s time for the government to tell us what is blocking the process of smooth ID card issuance and what immediate solutions they envisage as a government,” said the Adamou, of the Cameroon Democratic Union (CDU), a party among those running candidates for the country’s third Senate election billed for 12 March.

“This way, we as the representatives of the people will also have the platform to make our proposals on how to get out of this impasse which has become a real big headache for our citizenry,” added the lawmaker.

The call from the Member of Parliament for the ID card problem to be discussed in parliament has been welcomed by some Cameroonians who believe parliamentary action on the matter could make the executive budge.

“I am a victim of this whole ID card problem. It’s been one year since I applied for my card but I have not been able to get hold of it,” Mbah E., a young Cameroonian hawker on the streets of Yaounde told Biometric Update.

“This pressure from the MPs is laudable, but I hope it can become a reality since our parliament is dominated by the ruling party whose members do not very much care about our sufferings.”

In the recent past, the issue has been a subject of sharp criticism by rights advocates who want authorities in the country’s higher rungs of administration to intervene and find a definitive solution.

A member of another opposition party, the Cameroon Party for National Reconciliation (PCRN), Anne Feconde Noah, has also been vocal about the ID card issuance problem. She has been at the forefront of a social media campaign dubbed ‘Je Veux Ma CNI’ which means ‘I want my ID card.’

Cameroon’s President Paul Biya recently signed a decree establishing a biometric travel visa regime.

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