Decentralisation and the practice of intergovernmental relations in Mezam Division, Northwest region of Cameroon

Tangang, Tangang Andrew (2020-03)

Thesis (MPA)--Stellenbosch University, 2020.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY : After over three decades of centralisation, Cameroon, like many African countries, introduced decentralisation reforms in the 1990s partly as a means of empowering democratically elected lower levels of government as agents of development. However, the lack of clarity on decentralised authority and deconcentrated functions, coupled with local councils’ perception of central government oversight as interference, are major challenges to intergovernmental relations in Cameroon. This study examines the extent to which decentralisation has influenced intergovernmental relations in Mezam Division, an administrative unit within the Northwest Region of Cameroon. The study uses semi-structured interviews with purposefully selected local council executives and central government officials in Mezam Division. According to the findings of the study, there exist intergovernmental institutions in Mezam such as the Mezam Divisional Committee on Local Finance, the Technical Committee for the Recovery of Global Taxes in Bamenda, and the sub-committee of the Bamenda Local Tax Committee. These intergovernmental relations institutions however deal exclusively with financial issues, and central government still plays a dominant role because certain key decisions are made at the central government level without consulting the central government representatives and the local councils in Mezam Division. To improve intergovernmental relations in Mezam Division and Cameroon, central government should adopt a policy on intergovernmental relations contained in a Framework document specifying the modalities for relations between the central government, regional councils and local councils in Cameroon, more authority should be transferred to the local councils, more emphasis on local-intergovernmental relationships (between central government representatives and local council executives), and collaboration between and amongst central government representatives and local council executives in Mezam Division should be improved on through the setting up of institutions like the Mezam Local Development Forum (MELODEF) and the Bamenda City Consultative Forum (BACCOF).

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Na sentralisasie oor ’n tydperk van drie dekades het Kameroen, soos vele ander Afrikalande, in die jare negentig desentralisasiehervormings ingestel, deels as wyse om demokratiese verkose laer regeringsvlakke as ontwikkelingsagente te bemagtig. Die gebrek aan duidelikheid oor gedesentraliseerde gesag en gedekonsentreerde funksies, tesame met plaaslike rade se beskouing dat toesig deur die sentrale regering inmenging is, is groot uitdagings vir interregeringsverhoudinge in Kameroen. Hierdie studie ondersoek die mate waartoe desentralisasie interregeringsverhoudinge in die Mezam-afdeling beïnvloed het – dié afdeling is ’n administratiewe eenheid in die noordwestelike streek van Kameroen. Die studie maak gebruik van semi-gestruktureerde onderhoude met doelgerig-geselekteerde uitvoerende bestuurders van die plaaslike rade en amptenare van die sentrale regering in die Mezam-afdeling. Volgens die bevindinge van die studie, bestaan daar interregeringsinstellings in Mezam soos die Mezam-afdelingskomitee vir Plaaslike Finansies, die Tegniese Komitee vir die verhaling van Globale Belasting in Bamenda, en die subkomitee van die Plaaslike Belastingkomitee van Bamenda. Hierdie instellings vir interregeringsverhoudinge handel egter uitsluitlik oor finansiële aangeleenthede, en die sentrale regering speel steeds ’n oorheersende rol omdat sekere sleutelbesluite op sentrale regeringsvlak geneem word sonder om die sentrale regeringsverteenwoordigers en die plaaslike rade in die Mezam-afdeling enigsins te raadpleeg. Om die interregeringsverhoudinge in die Mezam-afdeling en Kameroen te verbeter, behoort die sentrale regering ’n beleid in te stel oor interregeringsverhoudinge wat in ’n raamwerkdokument vervat is waarin die voorwaardes vir betrekkinge tussen die sentrale regering, streekrade en plaaslike rade in Kameroen uiteengesit word. Meer gesag behoort aan die plaaslike rade oorgedra te word, daar behoort groter klem geplaas te word op plaaslike interregeringsverhoudinge (tussen verteenwoordigers van die sentrale regering en bestuurslede van plaaslike rade) en samewerking onderling en tussen verteenwoordigers van die sentrale regering en bestuurslede van plaaslike rade in die Mezam-afdeling behoort verbeter te word deur instellings soos the Mezam Plaaslike Ontwikkelingsforum (MELODEF) en die Stadskonsulterende Forum van Bamenda Stad (BACCOF).

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/108316
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