The Nkafu Policy Institute through its Governance and Democracy programme is creating avenues to encourage greater participation of the citizens in giving their views on how good governance can be achieved in Cameroon
By Boris Esono Nwenfor
To many non-partisan actors, the crisis which has been on for four years today is symptomatic of poor governance that have not been able to usher in socioeconomic developments to make the population lead better lives. The consequences of these conflicts are so devastating that it appears there is urgency to debate and propose solid measures that will promote good governance and development.
The event that was held July 17, 2020, was organized by the Nkafu Policy Institute of the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation in partnership with the National Empowerment for Democracy.
During the event presentations were centered on the following key thematic: Overview of the Governance in Cameroon, The link between governance practices and conflicts in Cameroon, Accountability as the fundamental requirement of Good Governance, and A path to good governance in Cameroon, and the restoration of lasting peace and security.
Speaking on accountability and what can be done to encourage it in Cameroon Rene Momene Otte, Expert in International cooperation said good governance is transparent, open and honesty, while it is also responsive. He added that good governance makes it possible for corrupt officials to be punished.
“Accountability means answerability. If a government is answerable then it is accountable. Government should be willing to acknowledge errors, mistakes, and that is what governance is,” He said.
Asked on what is the best method of promoting good governance Mr Momene said the diaspora at the moment is already doing its part, posing a lot of questions. “The government needs to be humble and accept the realities on the ground. We need to be advocating for better services, better treatment of the population, advocating for the right to live.
“Good governance is the solution to the numerous problems we have in our country today. Peace and security challenges are a result of bad governance,” Beng Primus, Instructor of International relations and conflict resolution, University of Buea said. “We have to avoid imported constitution. For good governance to hold, Cameroon needs to create its own constitution independent of France and take in to cognizance there are diverse communities in Cameroon and it should be reflected in our constitution.”
“The second aspect is to understand resource governance in Cameroon. The government has to take the responsibility that where the resources are coming from the areas that produce the resources need to be taken care of.” “The peace building process has to encompass electoral assistance, judicial reforms, measures to strengthen health and education, job creation especially for the youths. These are some policies the government needs to put in place to restore lasting peace in Cameroon.
According to a concept note from the Nkafu Policy Institute, since independence, many pundits quickly criticize the quality of governance by the dominantly centralized governments as responsible for security and other development challenges. Ironically, the country is endowed with rich natural resources, including oil and gas, minerals, timber, and agricultural products. Despite this rich natural endowment, it would seem that the existing governance dispensation in the country since its independence from colonial rule has generated divisions, injustice, prejudice, growing inequalities among the citizenry based on ethnicity, language and other class principles.
Some ethnic groups seem to have been favoured over others regarding appointments and resource allocation. The theory of regional balance in resource allocation, and distribution of state resources as preached by the government is selective and discriminatory. This is possible because centralization gave the government of Cameroon tremendous authority over most aspects of politics and economic control.
This event like others seeks to provide Scholars, Youth Leaders and Citizens a platform to amplify their voices that would significantly contribute to good governance in Cameroon, especially through the promotion of a democracy that works. It is in line with the mission of the Nkafu Policy Institute, a think tank (research center) of the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation, which is to carry out independent research and provide in-depth and insightful evidence based recommendations that advance the development of Cameroon and other sub-Saharan African countries.