Global Campus Human Rights Journal (GCHRJ) is established as a peer-reviewed bi-annual publication dedicated to serving as a forum for rigorous scholarly analysis, critical commentaries, and reports on recent developments pertaining to human rights and democratisation globally, particularly by adopting multi- and inter-disciplinary perspectives, and using comparative approaches. Global Campus Human Rights Journal also aims to serve as a forum for fostering interdisciplinary dialogue and collaboration between stakeholders, including academics, activists in human rights and democratisation, NGOs and civil society. It is an open access journal published under the auspices of the Global Campus of Human Rights, and is supported financially by the European Union Commission.
(Global Campus of Human Rights, 2020)
Aime, Chofor Che Christian
The 1996 Constitution of Cameroon tried to put in place a
decentraliased system of government in order to accommodate Cameroon’s
diverse communities. The constitutional and political evolution from the
colonial era up to the present has a role to play in decentralisation efforts.
The country today faces a number of serious challenges to governance which
the decentralisation project in the 1996 Constitution was supposed to address.
Some of these challenges that were discussed during the national dialogue
that took place in the country from 30 September to 4 October 2019 include
difficulties in dealing with the country’s dual colonial heritage, particularly the
perception of marginalisation by the Anglophone community. Other challenges
include embracing constitutionalism; tackling minority concerns such as the
rights of women and indigenous people; curbing ethnic tensions; and managing
the transition from authoritarian to democratic governance. An examination
of the constitutional and legal framework of decentralisation under the 1996
Constitution shows that these issues have not been adequately addressed under
the current dispensation. There thus is a need for a fundamental constitutional
overhaul that would provide a more effective decentralised framework for
administrative, political and fiscal decentralisation. The new framework
should equally entrench the basic elements of constitutionalism such as
upholding human rights, fostering the separation of powers, the amendment
of the Constitution and judicial independence. There equally is a need for legal
safeguards, such as a constitutional court, to guard against the usurpation and
the centralisation of powers by the central government. Only such elements can
facilitate Cameroon’s decentralisation efforts and thus ease the accommodation
of diversity, enhance development, democracy and manage conflict.
Key words: decentralisation; federalism; constitutionalism; democracy;
human rights; diversity management