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Should Yang Be Blamed For Gov 

By Joe Dinga Pefok — Since President Biya delivered his New Year speech in which he admitted that his Government has failed to deliver in some important domains, debate has been raging in Douala as to who to blame.

A majority of the debaters tend to put the blame on Prime Minister Philemon Yang, on the grounds that as Head of Government, he is supposed to be the first person to take responsibility or blame when Government fails to deliver. Many people either rightly or wrongly, also think that Yang is weak and incompetent as Prime Minister and Head of Government. To many people, it is no longer a question as to whether or not Yang will be sacked in the much-awaited cabinet reshuffle; the question is who will be the next Prime Minister?

Some people have already extended the subject of the debate to include the personal qualities or criteria that President Biya ought to take into consideration when selecting any person for appointment as new Prime Minister. The Constitution appears to support the view of those who hold that Yang should be blamed. Article 12 (1) of the constitution states that: “The Prime Minister shall be the Head of Government, and shall direct its action”.

By implication, this means that if Government action fails, he takes the responsibility. Further more, Article 12 (2) states that the Prime Minister “shall be responsible for the enforcement of the laws”. Interestingly still, Article 12 (4) states that the Prime Minister “shall direct all Government services for the accomplishment of his duties”.  

However, not everybody agrees that Yang or even some of the Ministers are to blame for Government’s failure to deliver the goods. SDF officials insist that President Biya is the person to take responsibility for the failures of his Government. The 1st Assistant National Secretary for Communication of the SDF, Abel Elimbi Lobe, says that Biya and not the Prime Minister or any Minister is the captain of the ship, so he should be the first person to take responsibility when things go wrong.

Elimbi says Biya as President of the Republic is the head of the fish; hence the body of a fish cannot get rotten when the head is still good. He insists that the main problem with the Cameroon Government is not about appointees but the bad system that has for long been in place.

He argues that nobody appointed as Prime Minister or Minister can succeed to do much as long as the bad system remains in place, no matter the determination that the person has. 
He said time and again Cameroonians have rejoiced at cabinet reshuffles, hoping for better days, only to start complaining about the Prime Minister or ministers just some weeks later. 

The SDF official states that Biya has the responsibility of providing solutions to the problems of Cameroonians, and not to pose questions to Cameroonians as to why his Government has failed, or why things have not been moving for over 30 years that he has been in power.
Elimbi says the only solution is for Biya to resign and make way for a new person to democratically take over as President, dismantle the bad system and appoint competent persons into Government. 

Tribal Mafia 

Many observers agree that the current system of government is designed either consciously or unconsciously to stifle progress. Biya, in his speech, raised issues on which he is supposed to examine his conscience.

Said he, “Though attached to our communities of origin – which does not prevent us from being fervent patriots whenever national honour is at stake, we are an individualistic people, more concerned with personal success than general interest. Our administration remains susceptible to private interest, which is most often in conflict with national interest. Such trends must not be tolerated in a modern state”.  True.

But then the same Biya is the architect of the tribal mafia that has held the administration hostage for many years. How can the administration progress, when almost all key posts in Government, are in the hands of people of President Biya’s tribe?

There have been reports in the media over the years that many of the President’s men in Government, have the tendency to despise the Prime Minister (always an Anglophone since 1992), whom they consider as a mere figure head. Many think that they are answerable directly to President Biya, and not to a so-called Prime Minister.

Also, whenever Biya appoints an Anglophone as Prime Minister, he makes sure he appoints his tribesman as Secretary General at the Prime Minister’s Office.  There have been several media reports that the successive guys who occupy the post of Secretary General at the Prime Minister’s Office, arrogate to themselves lots of power, and are even considered as the real Prime Ministers.

This was the case when Yang met Jules Doret Ndongo as Secretary General. It is reported to be the same situation with Louis Paul Motaze who is the current Secretary General. Even in the Legislature, the tribal mafia is very much present. President Biya has always appointed a tribesman as the all-powerful Secretary General at the National Assembly, during the many years that a Northerner, Cavaye Yeguie Djibril, has been Speaker.

When the Senate finally went operational last year with a Bamileke, Senator Marcel Niat Njifenji, as Pioneer President, Biya again appointed one of his ‘brothers’, Michel Meva’a M’Eboutou (former Minister of Economy and Finance), to ‘steer’ Niat as Secretary General at the Senate.

First published in The Post print edition no 01496

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