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Cameroon: Dancing forward and backward with decentralisation

November 20, 2008

Cameroon: Dancing forward and backward with decentralisation

 

On Wednesday November 12, 2008, President Paul Biya signed a decree dividing Cameroon into regions and thereby replacing the hitherto provinces. This was the application of the 1996 constitution as it had been clearly stated therein. Effectively applying the regions stuff implies, Cameroon will join the ranks of Nigeria, USA, Russia etc which have various states, and regions which are like autonomous, though with a Central / Federal government. But that is not the kind of federation Cameroonians really want.

The decentralisation stuff in Cameroon is a complete farce. It is a non-starter despite the noise being made by the public media in Cameroon to laud the initiative of president Biya. Though it is enshrined in it that people will elect councils which will govern the region, it is not known when that can ever begin. More disturbing, in a country where presidential decrees take precedence over the law or constitution, hoping for veritable decentralisation in Cameroon is still long.

Article 56 of the 1996 Constitution of Cameroon and in relation to the regions states that;

: (1) The State shall transfer to Regions, under conditions laid down by law,

jurisdiction in areas necessary for their economic, social, health, educational, cultural and sports development.

(2) The law shall define:

- The sharing of powers between the State and the Regions in the areas of

competence so transferred;

- The resources of Regions;

- The land and property of each Region.

The effectiveness of regions implicitly gives more power to regions, making them autonomous. On the other hand, the head of state according to the constitution, can still overrule a region as he can dissolve a regional council Article 59 of the constitution states this.

In article 58, it is made clear that the president shall be represented in every region by an appointee who, according to the law, protects national interest…..

Article 58 :( 1) A delegate, appointed by the President of the Republic, shall represent the State in the Region. In this capacity, he shall be responsible for national interests, administrative control, ensuring compliance with laws and regulations, as well as maintaining law and order. He shall, under the authority of the Government, supervise and co-ordinate civil State services in the Region.

(2) He shall exercise the supervisory authority of the State over the Region.

 

What kind of decentralisation is expected in a country where in councils/municipalities are not managed by the elected mayors and the councillors, but, by appointed sycophants called government delegates who have virtually nothing to render to electorate than their political master.

How are these so-called regions really different from the present status quo of the various provinces? Appointed governors, surrogates Divisional and sub divisional officers etc. This is no form of decentralisation. If Mr Biya and his cohorts who have taken the country hostage want to decentralise, let them come up with a veritable federation. All provinces or call them regions should be autonomous with a central federal body. It is more of a mere change of name and no real issue will happen in PRACTISE. When people clamoured for a veritable independent electoral Commission, The New Deal regime came up with National Elections Observatory I and II and more recently Elections Cameroon, Elecam whose members are yet to be handpicked by the President.

Initially, it moved from NEO I and II and soon, ELECAM but nothing has changed, as, the organisation of elections and proclamation of result remains the prerogative of appointed SDO who rigged for appointments and promotion.

Inasmuch as free and transparent elections are not held in Cameroon, the issue of regions or decentralisation will still remain a farce. True decentralisation is allowing people to freely choose their leaders and the kind of government they want. Not necessarily shadow democracy practised in Cameroon with the support of some western neo colonial governments.

Agendia Aloysius www.agendiaaloysius .blogspot. com www.lebialem. com

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as a student of political science i think the whole talk about decentralisation and the eventual transformation of the provinces into regions is not founded in the actual cameroonian political scene giving the fact that the political connotations are not applicable on the ground so there have beeen practically no change before then and now.but one thing is for sure you can fool the people some times but you can not fool them all the time.IT IS A TOTAL SHAM AM CALLED ETIBADE ELVIS FROM LIMBE SOUTH WEST REGION OF THE COUNTRY

As a student of history and as a Cameroon who happpends to have been born some nine years after Independece, i will neither laugh nor weep for Cameroon, but understand the way forward. We have as a Country and people had the most chequered history in the African continent. It is so distorted and muddled by half facts and ambiguity. I feel so sorry that there is a state recognized program aimed at alienating a segment of what was the former West Cameroons. It is so strange today that after more than 40years after re-unification, there have never been a Cameroonian of the former West Cameroons as Minister of Finance, Defence, Secretary General at the presidency of the Republic, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Education. The so called pipe talk on decentralisation and nomenclature fails to give clues as to who runs the Newly created Regions. The swap from Provinces to regions gives Cameroon a samblace of a Federated state. However the shit about it is that its elected council is not autonomous as we woould have loved it to be. Yaounde which is the seat of Government still weilds a lot of powers which makes it a mockery of the whole deal.We cannot therefore compare it to the system runned by Nigeria, United States of America and the Federal Republic of Germany. Either we are doing the right thing or we are doing nothing at all and therefore maintaining the status quo. Ndim Bernard Ngouche

As a student of history and as a Cameroon who happpends to have been born some nine years after Independece, i will neither laugh nor weep for Cameroon, but understand the way forward. We have as a Country and poeple had the most chequered in the African continent. It is so distorted and muddled by half facts and ambiguity. I feel so sorry that there is a state recognized program aimed at alienating a segment of what was the former West Cameroons. It is so strange today that after more than 40years after re-unification, there have never been a Cameroonian of the former West Cameroons as Minister of Finance, Defence, Secretary General at the presidency of the Republic, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Education. The so called pipe talk on decentralisation and nomenclature fails to give clues as to who runs the Newly created Regions. The swap from Provinces to regions gives Cameroon a samblace of a Federated state. However the shit about it is that its elected council is not autonomous as we woould have loved it to be. Yaounde which is the seat of Government still weilds a lot of powers which makes it a mockery of the whole deal.We cannot therefore compare it to the system runned by Nigeria, United States of America and the Federal Republic of Germany. Either we are doing the right thing or we are doing nothing at all and therefore maintaining the status quo. Ndim Bernard Ngouche



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