Rethinking the façade of decentralisation under the 1996 Constitution of Cameroon

Thumbnail Image
Aime, Chofor Che Christian
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Global Campus of Human Rights
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
Cameroon, constitution, democracy, federalism, decentralisation in governmet, conflict management
CCC Aime ‘Rethinking the façade of decentralisation under the 1996 Constitution of Cameroon’ (2020) 4 Global Campus Human Rights Journal 135-175