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Inertia: Biya Still to Fill Vacancies Created by New Gov 

By Ze Ekanga

(Cameroonpostline.com) Work is dangerously being hampered and wanton administrative laxity has taken hostage at some key public institutions where new administrative heads are still to be appointed to replace those appointed into the 9 December 2011 government.

This Monday, 9 January 2012, marks exactly one month since President Paul Biya tapped senior State functionaries at the helm of the vital departments to serve in his government of ‘greater realizations’. But their replacements are not forthcoming.

In the appointments, the President moved Basile Atangana Kouna from the very strategic Cameroon Water Utility Company, CAMWATER to serve as Water and Energy minister. The President also bereft the National School of Administration and Magistracy, ENAM, of its director general Benoit Ndong Soumhet who is now Secretary of State for Basic Education. At the International Institute of Public Relations, IRIC, President Biya harvested Narcisse Kombi Mouelle who now serves as one of his special advisers at Unity Palace.

The ministry of External Relations is presently without a secretary general after Ferdinand Ngo Ngo moved to serve in the same capacity at the Presidency of the Republic. Likewise, the Public Service ministry is in need of a new secretary general with Ngole Philip Ngwesse now serving as Forest and Wildlife minister.

At the Prime Minister’s Office, the post of deputy secretary general has basically sunk out of existence with no dignitary appointed to replace Emmanuel Nganou Djoumessi who now runs the Economy ministry. The South West region has been without a governor since Koumpa Issa was appointed into the new government as secretary of State at the Defense ministry.

With the President still to make fresh appointments to fill the vacancies, the progress of routine administrative work is compromised at the public administrations. In some cases, interims are serving on the roles they are not so certain to keep when President Biya finally decides.

Information obtained from a source at the Prime Minister’s Office indicates that replacement proposals to the various posts have already been made. According to the 1996 Constitution, President Biya alone can appoint officials to the high rungs of the administrative ladder. It is also the President’s duty to fire such officials whenever he deems necessary.

Despite the damaging impact the delay in replacements is causing, Mr. Biya is likely to act at his own time. Following a similar oversight in 2007, Edgard Alain Mebe Ngo served as Defense minister and Delgate General for national Security for several months until a replacement was found for him at the police corps. President Biya is neither wont to yield to work pressure nor popular appeal.

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