PoliticsInstitutional, Politics

Cameroon : Paul Biya puts an end to tribal appointments

The Head of State has instructed Prime Minister Joseph Dion Ngute to ensure that the sociological components of the nation…


The Head of State has instructed Prime Minister Joseph Dion Ngute to ensure that the sociological components of the nation are respected in the management of human resources.

The appointment of directors and assimilated on a tribal basis in companies and public establishments is a matter of concern at the highest level of the State. This tribal management of human resources does not leave the President of the Republic indifferent.

Paul Biya wants to normalise the management of state personnel up to a certain level of the hierarchy. The aim is to put aside the privilege of personalities appointed to belong to the same ethnic group as the authority having the power of appointment.

To this end, the Head of State, through the Minister of State, Secretary General at the Presidency of the Republic  Ferdinand Ngoh Ngoh, has issued a prescription to the Prime Minister. The head of the Cameroonian executive asked the head of government to ensure that two requirements are respected.

The first is that ‘the resolutions of the boards of directors concerning the organisation charts and the appointments of directors and assimilated in public establishments and companies with public capital be (…) submitted to the prior approval of the President of the Republic’. It suggests that some appointments of directors or similar staff are still not subject to prior control by the Head of State.

The second is that ‘recruitment and management of personnel in public enterprises and establishments should respect the requirements of balance and representativeness of the sociological components of the nation’. This is stated in a letter from the Sgpr to the Secretary General of the Prime Minister’s Office dated 16 June 2022.

This presidential prescription stems from an observation following a denunciation of the appointments of nationals of the Far North made at Sodecoton.

The Presidency of the Republic has been seized of denunciations questioning the conduct, by the governing bodies of Sodecoton, of a human resources management policy that would be detrimental to national unity, the stability of the social climate and a sustainable return to performance within this company,” reads a letter from the Secretary general to the director of the company on 28 April 2022.

In this letter, Ferdinand Ngoh Ngoh asks the Director General of the Société de développement du coton (Sodecoton), to “ensure that the recruitment and management of personnel at Sodecoton respect the requirements of balance and representativeness of all sociological components of the nation.

On reading this requirement, part of the public opinion, while welcoming this measure, asked that it be extended to all state structures. This suggests that the wound is deep and that Sodecoton is only the tree that hides the forest. By referring the matter to the Prime Minister, the Sgpr is committed to resolving the equation throughout the country, at least as far as public structures are concerned.

The question that now arises is whether such a step will have a real impact on this practice that the governing system has created or allowed to flourish to the detriment of merit.