Doubts over the effective implementation of the decentralization system of government must have been pushed under the carpet following the holding yesterday, 07 October, in Yaounde of the first ordinary session of the National Decentralisation Board for 2
First, the board that was presided by its Chair, PM Joseph Dion Ngute came a few days after the convening of electorates by the Head of State for the election of Regional Councillors; second, the election is the last step towards the establishment of the institution as provided for in the 1996 constitution. In effect, the race to grab a seat in the Regional Council is on. As per the Presidential decree of 07 September, Municipal Councillors and traditional rulers in all the divisions of the country will head for the polls to select Regional Councillors come 06 December, 2020. The election which will be the first of its kind since Regional Councils were enshrined in the constitution is being organized within the context of the Decentralisation process initiated at the behest of popular opinion and increasing pressure from the population to partake in the management of their own affairs.
The anxiety towards self-reliance development was fast reaching fever height with the turn of events as could be seen from the majority of the people who could not continue to swallow decisions on projects initiated from the central administration, some of which did not respond to the aspirations of the local population. Now that their cry has been heard, what next, is the question on many minds? This question so to say has its place especially as it’s a new institution that is being set up; and it’s coming to play a role many think was already being played by municipal councilors. In any case, the holding of the National Decentralisation Board provides part of the answer to the worry of many. The worry as to whether or not the decentralization process will be fully implemented stems from the delay registered since the system was enshrined in the constitution as far back as 1996. But as the saying goes, it is better late than never. Now that the ball has been set rolling, expectations have equally reached higher heights.
Power, it is said, is how it is used and not necessarily how it is obtained. If the Regional Councillors to be, were to put to practice what is stated in the text regulating their activities, each region will be seen being managed by a Regional Council headed by a President who will be the Representative of the Head of State in the region. The powers of the Regional Council will hinge on its administrative and financial autonomy in the management of the region’s affairs. They will have as duty to promote economic, social, sanitary, educational, and cultural development of the region among others. As the polling day approaches, it will surely be the responsibility of all electors to ensure that those to be selected are people of regional integrity. They should be people that have an intrinsic feeling for the local population; people who are capable of delivering the goods and people who are ready to fight against all distractive measure that can derail any project aimed at improving the life of the local population. The National Decentralisation Board is quite aware of the high expectation from the population and should be working hard to make sure the desires of the local people are satisfied.