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Administrative Bottlenecks, Conflicts Of Interest, Inertia Impeding Decentralisation Process 

By Isidore Abah

Stakeholders in the decentralisation process drawn from the Northwest and Southwest Regions of Cameroon have pinpointed administrative bottlenecks, conflicts of interest among vote holders and inertia among government officials as factors impeding the decentralisation process.

The Mayors, Secretaries General and Municipal Treasurers of Councils drawn from the two Regions were speaking in Buea, May 24, during a Regional training and capacity building workshop organised for local stakeholders in the decentralisation process.

The workshop organised by the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Decentralisation was presided at by the Minister Delegate at that Ministry in charge of Decentralisation, Jules Doret Ndongo.

Speaking to The Post after the opening session of the workshop, the Mayor of Muyuka, Michael Nkeng, said the much heralded decentralisation process will continue to be a bogus concept, if the 2004 law on decentralisation does not clearly states the percentage of resources that the various Ministries must divulge to local Councils.

According to him, until the decentralisation law clearly defines the percentage without which, Councils will continue to depend on paltry remittances from the Ministries, which are often grossly inadequate to execute any meaningful development projects.

On his part, the Mayor of Ekondo Titi, Alfred Mbongo Ngoe said when Ministries release some resources, they practically impose projects on Councils they barely know the needs of the people.

The Mayor of Ekondo Titi was corroborated by the Mayor of Tiko, Daniel Mokoundo, who averred that apart from the sluggish implementation of the decentralisation process, “Most of the sectorial Ministries drop projects from the sky because they are not people oriented.

The projects do not come from bottom to top. A Ministry just sits and awards a health centre project to a Council in an area where the actual need of the people is not a health centre. But the Council is bound to execute the project, which will not impact the community. But if the Council was given the opportunity to decide, it will be in a better place to propose a project which will impacts people in the area.”

The Mayors of Bamenda II and Limbe II, Cletus Fongu and Ducan Molindo respectively said, though some Ministries are still feet-dragging on the process, at times the subvention that comes from government is measly.

Other Mayors said even if the Ministries make available resources, other stakeholders in the projects execution chain start frustrating certain projects, demanding percentages and other spinoffs from Mayors. “Failure to comply, these officials abandon your files on their tables depriving your community of development projects for their personal gains. There is also government inertia frustrating the decentralisation process, a Mayor stated.”

Earlier in his opening address, Minister Doret Ndongo said since the enactment of the 2004 law on decentralisation and its subsequent implementation from 2010, there have been some challenges affecting the process like; the way Council organs and services function, collaboration between State de-concentrated services and local authorities, Council governance, the pooling of resources through inter-Council cooperation, decentralised cooperation and the funding of decentralisation and local development.

“In fact, if these risk factors are not properly managed, they can negatively impact the functioning of our Councils,” the Minister averred.

He thanked international partners like the German Cooperation and national partners like FIECOM, PNDP and CEFAM for their constant support in enhancing the decentralisation process and local development.
On the legal provisions which have been laid down to ensure the remuneration of municipal authorities and their deputies, the Minister said “I wish to stress here that steps have been taken at our level, alongside the concerned administrations to ensure the rapid enforcement of this decision.”

The Minister enjoined participants to be constructive in their deliberations to enhance the decentralisation process and local development.

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