By Hope Nda
Cameroon’s National Assembly has voted into law a “controversial” draft bill on Artistic and Cultural Associations, despite criticisms from the Cameroon Film Industry, CFI, concerning the bill.
The bill, meant to unite artistic associations with cultural groups, was voted by Parliament into law last week, but it is still undergoing scrutiny at the Senate before it will be finalised.
Meeting at a press conference in Buea on Thursday, July 2, the Cameroon Film Industry Board of Directors decried the draft bill, saying it is not democratic, fails in decentralisation and does not acknowledge Cameroon’s bi-cultural systems.
In a four-page document issued at the press conference, the CFI stated that a clear difference should be made between artistic associations and cultural associations with specific laws elaborated to ensure their smooth functioning.
“It is with total disappointment that we are speaking with you today, because, we have seen that this draft law does not have what it takes to harness, nurture and maximise our potentials,” stated the CFI BOD in a recent document.
CFI Board Chair, Alexander Mbeaoh, said: “I’m very confident that we all know what is good in our minds, and with this consciousness, I think a lot of things will be done.
“We are making connections with the Parliamentarians for them to understand the weaknesses of this bill.”
The CFI said the draft bill fails to promote the Head of State’s decentralisation vision, by giving only the Minister of Arts and Culture the sole prerogative to authorise the formation of artistic and cultural groups.
The draft bill on cultural and artistic associations was tabled at Cameroon’s Parliament for examination during the June 29 session. It has been voted by the National Assembly. If accepted by the Senate, it will be promulgated into a law. The CFI BOD said the draft bill does not take into considerations the bi-cultural differences of Cameroon, and could promote corruption and embezzlement.
“If we all join as one person to castigate this egoistic intention that wants to infiltrate into the Parliament, I think the parliamentarians themselves will see something deep in this bill to be looked in to,” said Palmer Ngalle, CFI Vice Secretary.
The bill lays down similar modalities for forming cultural associations, meant to promote cultural heritage, and artistic associations which exist for profit-making, entertainment and job creation.
According to CFI BOD, the bill is not democratic and infringes on decentralisation.
The BOD said decentralisation would be realistic if the bill permitted Divisional or Subdivisional administrators to authorise artistic and cultural associations instead of leaving it solely in the hands of the Minister of Arts and Culture.