Yaoundé(National Times)-As Ambazonia separatists pushed forward their claim for a separate State from Cameroon, the Government has responded with the first ever National Forum for Decentralisation, which it believes will resolve the on-going conflict in the North West and South West Regions of the country.
“Under the distinguished patronage of the President of the Republic, His Excellency Paul Biya the Government would be organising a National conference on decentralisation and local governance on the 6th and 7th February….under the theme deepening decentralisation for a new beginning,” the Minister of Decentralisation and Local Governance said.
While addressing the public on Monday, George Elanga Obam said the objective of the conference is to “take stock of the situation of councils in order to give a new impetus.”
The Minister explained that the conference would be chaired by Prime Minister, Chief Joseph Dion Ngute, who is the Chairman of the National Decentralisation Board and it shall be opened to the 360 Mayors and 14 Government Delegates of in Cameroon, stakeholders in decentralisation, University dons, NGOs and related Governmental Ministries and agencies.
Even though the Minister did not come out clearly, the conference is a counteracting measure to the demands of Ambazonia separatists.
The Ministry of Decentralisation itself was only created last year at the wake of the Anglophone conflict as Government is bent on pushing forward its policy of decentralization which it believes is the answer to the conflict.
The conference which is holding in Yaoundé is coming at a time when the war in the Anglophone Region is intensifying especially with the announced days lockdown which according to separatists would run from February 5 to 14.
It should be noted that most Mayors and Council officials of the two restive Anglophone Regions are no longer living in their area of jurisdiction.
The violence has forced most of them out to other towns like Douala, Bafoussam and Yaoundé where some of them have been residing for more than a year now.
Some council sessions are even held out of the regular council area. These council executives would be representing council areas which they are no longer in control making the outcome of the conference to have little or no effect on the local masses which are supposed to be the first beneficiaries.