By Ignatius Nji, Elias Ngalame & Kowac KK Bandolo
The appointments decree of the 14 City Council Secretaries General on Friday May 24,2019, fell like an unexpected bombshell. Among those appointed are divisional officers to man the position of Secretary General.
This comes at a time when there is a public outcry for the National School of Administration and Magistracy with French acronym ENAM to be reviewed , better structured, her relevance revisited or even scrapped, according to SDF 2018 presidential candidate, Hon Joshua Osih during his presidential campaign.
This in an apparent move to continue the strangle hold by the central government on local councilsand by extension according to political strategists, dashed hopes for dialogue on the form of the state leading to a return to federation.
The presidential decree read on state radio Friday May 25th reveals that 10 City Council scribes have been retired and replaced immediately. Douala, Yaounde, Limbe, Bamenda, Kumba, Edea, Bertoua, Ebolowa, Ngaoundere, Garoua and Kumba all have new faces to head the secretariats.
Those of Kribi, Nkongsamba and Limbe were transferred while Maroua’s was maintained.
According to one of the decisions, Anuafor Cletus Asongwe leaves Tiko Subdivision as Divisional Officer to assume the office of Secretary General at the Bamenda City Council. The senior civil Administrator replaces Waindim Jude Nsom.
Mr Nokuri Samuel Nokpa, who served as Divisional Officer of Ngambe Sub Division in the Sanaga Maritime Division, Littoral Region, was also appointed Secretary General of the Limbe City Council, in replacement of Charles Arrey Nkongho, who moves to Kumba City Council in same capacity.
From the Limbe City Council, LCC, tireless workaholic Charles Nkongho was pushed next door to the town of friendship, Kumba, where he is expected to use his long years of field experience attachment to a visionary developer like GD Andrew Motanga Monjimba to catapult the Kumba City Council, KCC, into an Eldorado. Close friends to the out-going LCC SG say Mr Nkongho is a fine-brain and a focused organiser.
It is expected that the GD to the KCC, Victor Ngoh Nkelle, will patiently listen to this development-bulldozer of a man and exploit his wit and saviour faire. It’s true that the KCC has less opportunities to make things happen as compared to LCC but KCC has much unexplored potentials waiting for the new SG to make bare.
On the other hand, the Bamenda City Council, BCC, of GD Vincent Ndumu will be receiving another ENAM graduate in the person of Anuafor Cletus Asongwe. The new SG is a principal administrative officer with good records as a people-centered-developer. His track record is quite rich as an Assistant Senior Divisional Officer, ASDO and a Divisional Officer, DO, to Tiko from where he now leaving to BCC. His admirers say he is very calm and composed with a listening ear. It’s being said that with him going to Bamenda in the peak of anger and trouble, he is tipped as the reliable person for the job an immediate solution to the repeated BCC management crisis.
The question on many lips is, could these appointments signal a new twist in City Council management with the appointment of more ENAM graduates to the position of Government Delegates in the days, weeks, months ahead. Should the cities be managed by ENAM graduates coupled with the fact that SDOs are supervisory authorities of councils, it only goes to confirm government’s unwillingness to actually hand power back to the local people.
On the questions on what role have the appointed Government Delegates in City Councils when local councils have elected mayors, Chongwean Hyginus, a teacher said, the Government Delegates only help to frustrate the action plans of elected opposition mayors and create tension wherever harmony is needed.
Blasius Charles Nji, a journalist added, Government Delegates are only there to build stone walls against elected mayors.
It is the first major move taken by the Head of State after the peace mission of Prime Minister Joseph Dion Ngute to the conflict hit North West and South West regions.
The appointments have raised questions over the sincerity of the dialogue announced by the Head of Government.
Commentators say this is clear proof that, the regime is bent on decentralization whose implementation has been perilous since enshrined in the constitution in 1996. They believe that the highly centralized power is one of the main causes of the ongoing deadly conflict in the Anglophone regions.
Rather than signing decrees, the experts say, people expect the President to translate his dialogue wish to action.
As enshrined in the 2004 Decentralisation law, City Councils whose Government Delegate and Secretaries General are appointed by the President have superiority over elected local councils officials including mayors.
The city council scribes define internal procedures and coordinate work of the city council, implement policies designed by the Government Delegate and also ensure the prompt processing of files. They evaluate activities and ensure staff are trained.
It is suspected the appointment of Government Delegates might follow soon.