Another Strong Signal

Presidential decree signed yesterday 10 June, 2021 appoints Tamfu Simon Fai and Telelen Dorothy Atabong epse Motatze as pioneer Public Independent Conciliators for the North West and South West Regions respectively. Both personalities hail from the restive regions and have served the country by exercising their talents through several posts of responsibility before going on retirement. While Mrs Telelen Dorothy is a seasoned educationist, Dr Simon Fai is a Geologist who has over the years demonstrated his know-how and loyalty coupled with a high Christian background evident in his entire public career.     
They are being called to serve the nation again within a special context following close to five years of tension in the two localities of the country. Trade union grievances by teachers and Common Laws Lawyers transformed into an arms struggle, but the Head of State from the onset of the complaints stated his resolve to proffer concrete solutions to the legitimate cries of the people within a republican institutional framework.     
Several measures have been taken since 2016 when the problems were raised and the continuous attempts to derail the peace-building and healing mechanisms being instituted by the Head of State have not dampened his determination. One of the landmark decisions taken by President Paul Biya to underline his goodwill for concrete solutions to concerns by the English Speaking Cameroonians from the North West and South West regions was the Major National Dialogue (MND) from 30 September to 4 October, 2019 during which citizens from across the board met in Yaounde under the leadership of Prime Minister, Head of Government, Joseph Dion Ngute to consider how best to reinforce the sense of harmonious cohabitation in the country.     
Since the sticky point of the issues raised in the North West and South West regions hovers around self-governance and the desire by citizens to take greater control over the management of their own affairs, participants at the MND obviously proposed the need for greater autonomy in the nation through fast-tracking the decentralisation process which has been ongoing. An immediate outcome of the MND was the enactment of Law No. 2019/24 of 24 December 2019 instituting the General Code of Regional and Local Authorities. Among other salient provisions, the law grants a Special Status for both regions. Furthermore, the Special Status envisages the role of Public Independents Conciliators for the two regions to underline their specificities in the management of affairs in both localities.     
In a methodical manner, the election of Regional Councillors on 6 December, 2020 and the effective putting in place of the structures to run the regional institutions in the country have logically created room for the Public Independent Conciliators to swing into action. Of course, Decree No. 2020/773 of 24 December 2020 to lay down conditions for discharge of the duties of Public Independent Conciliator in the North West and South West Regions clearly defines the framework within which the officials appointed yesterday will have to carry out their functions. Those who have been impatient enough to think that the commitments taken by the Head of State were not real have the opportunity now to rethink their position. These appointments have simply come as icing on the cake given that the regional Councils have just started work by holding their first budgetary sessions. Those in the South West met from 2-4 June, 2021 while North West Regional Councillors voted their first-ever budget on 2 June, 2021. 
The appointment of Public Independent Conciliators in the two regions will thus provide ample ground for the regional Councils and the full implementation of the Special Status intended to ensure that the two regions take their rightful place in nation-building in Cameroon.      

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