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Divergent Opinions On Regional Balance

Panellists expressed differing views on the issue during the radio debate programme over the weekend.

When it was 10 am last Saturday March 7, 2015, the studio of Radio Tiemenou Siantou (RTS FM 90.5) began vibrating to the rhythm of heated political debate on its programme “Policam”. The host, Eric Boniface Tchouakeu introduced the topic of the scandal that rocked the competitive entrance examination into the Diplomacy option of the International Relations Institute of Cameroon (IRIC), asking whether the issue of “regional balance” is a problem or solution to national cohesion. The panellists also examined the aspect of merit vis-à-vis regional balance during the two-hour heated debate programme.

Regional Balance

Citing the September 1982 decree by President Amadou Ahidjo allocating various quotas for the recruitment of Cameroonians through public exams into the public service dubbed “Regional Balance”, which was at the centre of the controversy that characterised the recent release of results into the Diplomacy option of IRIC, the anchor man of the programme threw the debate open with the question whether regional balance is a problem or solution to national cohesion.

Dr. Jean Takoungang, SDF’s Shadow Minister of Education and Training posited that the issue of regional balance has enabled certain top State officials to create a family dynasty by placing their relatives into prestigious State institutions. He said the whole issue breeds confusion while questioning if the two per cent reserved for former military barons according to the decree also falls within regional balance. To the National Communication Secretary for UNDP party, Mohamadou Talba, the issue of regional balance can help to avoid social tension though it has outlived its time. He argued that even in the concept of regional balance, the best candidates should be selected.

According to the Communications Officer of the Ministry of Higher Education, Jean Paul Mbia only four regions were represented in the first list that published the results in disrespect of laid down laws. Mbia insisted that the organisation of public competitive entrance examinations is not to divide ethnic groups but to promote social peace and national unity.

His argument was corroborated by Prof. Hubert Mono Ndjana who stated that the country with pluralistic ethnic groups cannot be built by recruiting only one ethnic group. While Dr. Paul Abouna affirmed that the law of regional balance is good, citing other countries where issues of ethnicity exist in public service, Jean Takoungang held that regional decentralisation should be implemented so that each region organises its recruitment into the public service.


The panellists were however unanimous that meritocracy should be given the pride of place even in the wake of regional balance. A participant on the programme, Hilaire Kamga, was of the opinion that regional balance should be in the equitable distribution of socio-economic and infrastructural development of the regions while merit should be given a chance in public examinations. He asserted that the six candidates who were sacrificed on the plata of regional balance should be reinstated.

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