Issa Tchiroma Bakary, Cameroon’s communication minister and government spokesperson, has debunked claims that the ongoing crisis rocking Cameroon’s two english speaking regions is due to the country’s ineffective decentralisation process.
“The ongoing problem in the Northwest and Southwest Regions of Cameroon is not in any way related to the slow implementation of the decentralisation process,” Tchiroma stated.
While addressing Journalist in yaounde on April 12 in a press conference, Minister Tchiroma said much has been achieved as far as the implantation of the decentralisation process is concerned.
To him, implementing decentralisation is a complicated situation that needs time since government cannot fulfil the demands of the process overnight.
“The process of decentralisation is a complicated process, but what is certain is that government is bent on implementing the system. The process will continue and will go to an end even though some major challenges are faced.”
The Minister, revealed that the state has already transferred the commonly called “windscreen license” royalties to regional and local authorities , the local development tax, a proportionate share of the supplementary municipal tax and a proportionate share of the annual forestry royalty.
It was also disclosed that the state has repaid nearly FCFA 600 billion to regional and local authorities within the framework of transfer of powers. On why government has not put in place regional councils as stated by the constitution, the minister said the process is a gradual process and that with the putting in place of the Senate, there is hope that there is no turning back.
It should be noted that pundits had recommended effective decentralisation as a strong solution to the ongoing Anglophone crisis. One of them, Chemuta Divine Banda, chairperson of the National Commission on Human Rights and Freedoms, NCHRF, declared in February after a fact finding mission in the anglophone regions that the populace want effective decentralisation not secession.
“Decentralisation envisaged in the 1996 constitution should be urgently made effective,” Dr Chemuta Divine Banda had recommended as part of solutions to the crisis rocking the english speaking regions.
Besides ensuring effective decentralization, the putting in place of the constitutional council as provided for in the 1996 constitution, the National Human Rights Commission called for resumption of dialogue and the use of a mediator.