What is so special about the most trumpeted Special Status for Anglophones? While many persons thought the two regions would be somehow a quasi-state in a state, the content shows that President Paul Biya has given the cow away but held the rope firmly. Apart from the window dressing post of Government Delegate which disappears but reappears as Grand Mayor, the position of regional executives; there will be someone appointed in the person of Public Independent Councilor. It is not clear whether the posts of SDO’s and Governors will disappear.
On Friday Members of Parliament meet to discuss the Special Status for the two restive Anglophone regions as a solution to the three-year-old armed conflict. But before the extraordinary session on Friday, articles of the Special Status had already circulated on Social media platforms and even propagated by the Press. It did not come as a surprise because the State has been pushing hard for this to become a reality. Other bills submitted at the National Assembly never get such exposure and even self-leaked documents.
That is not the matter; the main issue is that the most trumpeted Special Status in all ramifications looks sweet on paper but complicated. As the dream for a Special Status becomes true, many are now asking what is so special about the Status?
The State acting according to article 62 sub 2 of the Constitution which gives the room to redefine a region or regions, has to decide to implement it and based on the outcome of the Major National Dialogue.
SO, WHAT IS NEW?
Education and Judiciary
The State argues that they are instituting the special status in the Anglophone regions because of its specific educational, judicial system based on the Common law and their traditional values. The same judiciary system which will in the days ahead suffer from a new law that allows French-speaking Magistrates to preside over court sessions in common law jurisdictions in French. Lawyers launched strike action but failed to prevent the CPDM majority Parliamentarians to dismiss the bill. Barrister Akere Muna says such a law can still be rejected by President Paul Biya by not promulgating it.
Regional Executive And Regional Assembly
Under the Special Status, there will be the creation of the Regional Executive body and the Regional Assembly. The regional Executive Body will be an outcome of the Regional Assembly.
The Regional Assembly will have 90 regional Councilors divided into two bodies.
- House of Chiefs
- House of Divisional Delegates
The two houses will be meeting on the same date, either in one plenary session or in separate halls. The House of Divisional Delegates is led by the President of the Regional Executive body and comprise 70 members while the House of Chiefs with 20 members will be led by the Vice President of the Regional Executive who must be a traditional ruler. The House of Chiefs will be the sole body to decide on all traditional issues in the two regions including monuments, oral tradition and linguistic map of the regions. All members will be voted according to fixed procedures.
The regional Executives will be comprised of a President, Vice President, Two Secretaries, A Questor and three Commissioners in charge of (a) Economic Development (b) Social and Health Development ( c) Sport, Education and Cultural Development
The President and Vice President, all other actors in the regional executive bench as well as members of the regional Assembly must come from their region of origin ( for example the regional president of the South West region must be a South Westerner ) The President of the Regional Executive will emerge from the 70 members of the Houses of Divisional Delegates while the Vice President will come from the 20 members of the House of Chiefs.
The Public Independent Councilor
These two persons will be appointed by the President of the Republic after a proposal from the Regional Assembly and State’s Representative in the regions. Their roles will be to listen to, receive worries, claims, ensure smooth functioning and respect of the English language, the judicial and educational systems, follow-up of day-to-day activities of public institutions and companies.
It is not yet clear if all these functions will be done alongside the presence of Governors, Senior Divisional Officers, and Divisional Officers.
Ambazonia Separatist leaders had earlier said the creation of a Special Status or not, the war will continue until the “Federal Republic of Ambazonia” ( North West and South West) is internationally recognized as an independent nation.
@Cameroon News Agency