The Secretary General at the Presidency, Ferdinand Ngoh Ngoh, has in an unprecedented move, called on the Minister of Territorial Administration (MINAT) to reinstall all Divisional Officers who have abandoned their duty posts in the troubled Anglophone Region because of insecurity.
In a strongly worded confidential letter to the MINAT boss, Ngoh Ngoh, who is now acting as the de facto President of Cameroon since Paul Biya left the country about two weeks ago for the China-Africa Summit, recalled the names of eight Divisional Officers (DO) in the North West Region who have abandoned duties to resume work before September 10.
In the South West Region, Ferdinand Ngoh Ngoh recalled seven Divisional Officers in four of the six Divisions. He also requested the Territorial Administration boss to make use of the services of defence and security officers in the operation.
Among the DOs recalled is Chi Augustine Nwunagham, DO of Wabane Sub-division in the Lebialem Division of South West. He was kidnapped by armed men in April 2018 and later released and since then the DO and his family have not been seen in and around Wabane.
The troubled Dikome Balue Sub-division in Ndian where entire villages were burnt down by the military became a major point for Ambazonia fighters. Since then, the DO has been away for fear of his life.
The most hit Division is Menchum in the North West wherein six administrative heads had abandoned their posts according to the Secretary General. In recent times, Menchum Division has become a quagmire of insecurity for security and administrative personnel, especially owing to its enclave nature which ensures that military reinforcements are always delayed.
Most attacks in the Division go unreported because of poor communication network.
It is still unclear whether these reinstallations have actually taken place due to the upsurge of violence in recent days. Moreover, between September 7 when the document was signed and September 10, latest date for the officials to be reinstalled, there was almost daily violence with roads blocked in some of these areas.
According to Ngoh Ngoh, the authorities abandoned their posts because of insecurity. However, with the growing rate of insecurity now, it is still not certain how and whether these authorities would take residences in their respective areas of command.
According to article 8 (9,10), of the 1996 Constitution, appointments and organisation of administrative services is solely the responsibility of the President of the Republic.
By instructing the Minister of Territorial Administration to reinstall administrative officers, Ferdinand Ngoh Ngoh is endorsing himself as the Acting President of Cameroon since Paul Biya is away.
Unlike other countries like Nigeria, the Constitution of Cameroon does not take into consideration a situation whereby the President can delegate functions why out of country, which is why even abroad Paul Biya still signs decrees.
The Constitution only mentions three instances of incapacities (art 4 (a)); death, resignation and permanent incapacity which must be ascertained by the Constitutional Council. Ferdinand Ngoh Ngoh is exploiting this Constitutional vacuum to avail himself the position of de facto Vice President or Acting President in the absence of the actual President.