The race to the councils and national assembly in Cameroon is on. Interestingly, media men are in the quest to win seats in these decision making institutions in the February 9, 2020 twin elections.
Some Cameroonians are wondering what is pushing “men of the fourth estate” to move from the newsrooms to the councils or national assembly.
To Charles Nforgang, a Douala-based independent journalist and candidate for municipal elections: “I believe that Journalists getting into politics are just formalizing a role they have been playing while reporting as journalists. Journalists master the society more than any other person. This means that they can better address the problems of the people they report on daily bases in their media organs”.
To Kejang Henry Atembe, Journalist at Canal 2 English television seeking a seat at the Douala 5 Council: “The population will trust journalists more to handle their problems at the councils and national assembly than other politicians. Journalists meet and talk with people across the society in the course of reporting news. While reporting for close to two decades, we journalists meet and talk with the population in their difficult situation even before politicians and administrators come. So you can see the bond between journalists and the people.”
Critics have rated that journalists developing more interest in politics and seeking for seats in the council and the national assembly is as a result of meager salaries paid in media organs in Cameroon.
To Charles Nforgang, the quest to help the general community pushed him and other journalists to run for election and not a quest for money.
“Journalists in their media organs have monthly salaries(no matter how small it is) but in councils, councilors are not entitled to anything at the end of the month.This therefore means claiming that journalists are chasing wealth in politics is a fallacy.”
Kejang Henry Atembe states that journalists involvement in politics is mainly for the quest “…to participate in the decision making process in the national assembly,councils and senate. As journalists we report the process of the implementation of laws made by politicians but I think it is time some journalists be part of the decision making process.”
He cites Former US President Winston Churchchill, ex-UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and DR Congo’s Mobutu Sese Sekou as journalists who joined politics and later held key positions in government.
To some Cameroonians, journalists have demonstrated a considerable level of integrity that can command their confidence but regrets that political parties under which each of them is running will greatly influence their choice of vote on the 9th of February 2020 when they go to the polls.
Mimi Mefo Info.