The prime minister in Cameroon is the head of government appointed by the president. As per the constitution, the prime minister has been mandated with implementing the policies made by the president. This has received criticisms from many people who consider the position powerless and another channel of promoting the president’s policies even if he doesn’t agree with them.
Prime Ministers Of Cameroon
History of the position
The position of the prime minister has been in place since independence. The president appoints the prime minister who serves as the head of government. The position has been abolished twice between, 1972-1975 and 1984-1991. It was first abolished after the formation of the unitary state of Cameroon during which the two individual territories had their own prime ministers. After the succession of Biya as the president, the prime minister’s position remained vacant till 1991.
Duties of the prime minister
The prime minister is authorized by the constitution to oversee the implementation of policies as defined by the president, to direct the government as the head, to appoint civil members subject to the prerogatives of the president and to direct required services of the government that are important in accomplishing his duties. The post of the prime minister is considered a powerless one as the holder only works within the authority of the president with no power to oppose as the president is the ultimate executive control.
Lives and careers of some of the prime ministers
Since independence, 13 prime ministers have been appointed. The first prime minister was Ahmadou Ahijo who served for five months before becoming president. He was succeeded by Charles Assalé who served from 1960-1965. Charles was succeeded by Vincent de Paul Ahanda who served for 6 months in 1965. Simon Pierre Tchoungui served from 1962-1972 when the position was abolished. Paul Biya became the prime minister between 1975-1982 after which he became president and appointed Bello Bouba Maigari in 1982-1983. Other personalities who have served as prime ministers include Luc Ayang (1983-1984), Sadou Hayatou (1991-1992), Simon Achidi Achu (1992-1996), peter Mafany Musonge (1996-2004), Ephraim Inoni (2004-2009) and Philemon Yang (2009-present).
Bello Bouba Maigari
Bello was appointed as the prime minister in November 1982 and served up to August 1983. Prior to his appointment, he served in several governmental posts as the deputy secretary general of the president (1975-1982), minister of state for the economy and the plan. After the fallout between Ahidjo and Biya, he was dismissed as prime minister as he was said to be Ahidja’s choice as a successor. Bello went into exile in Nigeria and returned as an opposition leader in the 1990s with his UNDP party. He opposed the appointment of opposition members into the government as he saw it as way of weakening the opposition. Later in the 21st century, Bello accepted government position as a way of ‘promoting national unity and economic growth. Under Biya’s government, he has served in the following post as a minister of state for industrial and commercial development and telecommunications, minister for state and transport, tourism, and leisure.
Simon Achidi Achu
Achidi served as the prime minister from 1992-1996 becoming the first Anglophone to be appointed as the prime minister. From his time of appointment, Achidi remained an ardent supporter of president Biya. He has served in several government positions since his replacement in 1996 including as chairman of the Board of directors of the national Investment Corporation, part of Biya’s campaign committee and finally was elected as the vice-president of the senate.
Trends in the position
After their term in office, most of the prime ministers remain politically active supporting the government of the day after which they get other government responsibilities. Some have had the fate of being put under investigation for misconduct during their term including Ephraim Inoni.