Evolving Gender Quota.

Of the 70 elected Senators, 22 of them are women as compared to 2013 polls where female Senators occupied 17 seats.

The results of the March 25, 2018 Senatorial election have been proclaimed by the Constitutional Council. They were made known yesterday by the President of the Constitutional Council, Clement Atangana in a public audience at the Yaounde Conference Centre. Worthy of note is the increase in the number of seats accorded to women at the Senate.

Of the 70 elected Senators, 22 are women. This increases the number of female Senators by five given that the 2013 senatorial polls gave women 17 seats.

According to Section 150(3) of the Electoral Code, relating to the provisions specific to the election of Members of Parliament, “each list shall take into consideration the various sociological components of the constituency concerned. It shall also take into consideration gender aspects,” it states.

That clause therefore compels political parties to ensure that their lists are gender-sensitive. The gender quota is however not stated by the Code, it is therefore the discretion of the respective political parties to decide on the number of women to be invested in their respective lists.

Comparative statistics indicate that the Adamawa, Centre, Littoral and West Regions have additional female candidates on their lists as compared to 2013. Meanwhile, the East and Littoral Regions invested the highest number of female Senators, with their list having three women each. In addition, two female Senators are list heads in the North West and Littoral.

Nkeze Emilia Kalebong of the Social Democratic Front (SDF) and Hanglog Géneviève épse Tjous of the Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement (CPDM) are list heads in the North West and Littoral Regions respectively.

With the proclamation of the results by the Constitutional Council, the President of the Republic is expected to appoint 30 others within ten days as stated in Section 214(1) of the Electoral Code in order to make up the 100 Senators.

On that basis, it is expected that the number of female Senators will scale up given that in his last appointment, he considered gender prerogatives which witnessed the appointment of Marylse Aboui of the National Alliance for Democracy and Progress (ANDP) amongst others.

The increasing number of women in the Senate has been lauded by several observers and civil society organisations who champion the course of gender issues.