Local Government Administration as a Panacea to Rural Transformation: Case study of the mamfe municipality
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This project titled “Local Government Administration as a panacea to rural transformation” is centered on the contributions of local governments to the development of rural areas.
The research project had two objectives; first was to identify the role of local government administrations towards the transformation of Mamfe locality, and the second is to examine what constitute the challenges confronting local government administration towards the transformation of Mamfe locality.
The research also had two Questions; 1) what is the role of local government administrations towards the transformation of the Mamfe locality? 2) What constitute the challenges confronting local government administration towards the transformation of the Mamfe locality?
The main problem of this research is assessing the developmental needs of communities and the extent to which they have been fulfilled. The method used in collecting data was Questionnaires.
Finally, a conclusion was made based on the analysis of the data collected on the field, that is, the contributions of the Mamfe Local Government to the development of the area is high. Lastly, recommendations were made, what of which was that there should be improvement in the allocation to the local government to meet up with their responsibilities.
Local government is viewed as a semi-autonomous area which is formed under the constitution or general laws of a state to carryout functions within a specified geographical area. Agbakoba (2004:14) stated that the local government is an administrative and political unit that is vested with the powers under law to govern a specified locality. Its philosophy is entrenched on the idea of grassroots level participation in government.
Mamfe municipality is found in Manyu division of the Southwest Province of Cameroon. It is located in the northern part of the Southwest. It is about 74 km away from the Cameroon – Nigeria Border.
The council shares common boundaries in the north with Akwaya council, in the east and south with Eyumojock council and in the west with Tinto council. Mamfe Municipal Council corresponds to Mamfe subdivision. Mamfe town is the head quarter of Manyu Division in the South West region of Cameroon.
Mamfe rural council started as far back as 1917 as Mamfe Native Authority. It was comprised of the present day Nguti, Fontem, Widikum, Akwaya, Eyumojock, Tinto and Mamfe Central council. In 1978 when Eyumojock was created, it became Mamfe rural council.
Tinto was later carved out in 1995 to let alone Mamfe central. Before 1995, the government appointed the Municipal administrators. The first elected Mayor (Ayuk Emmanuel Ako) came in 1995 (1995 – 2002).
The Mamfe Rural council area is made up of 11 autonomous villages grouped into four clans. Mamfe town which is the head quarter of manyu division has extended from Small Mamfe as the main village to parts of Bessongabang and Egbekaw Villages.
The population is 34.225 inhabitants over a surface area of 744square kilometers giving a population density of 46 person/square kilometers. The indigenes of the Mamfe Council area are the Bayangs. Generally, there is a mixture of several Cameroonian tribes that
inhabit the Mamfe council area, but the domineering tribes include the Anyangs, keyangs and tribes from North West region (Bali, Banso, widikum). Most of these people moved into this area to practice farming attracted by the fertile soil. They contribute highly to the agricultural output of some of the villages and most have intermarried and interact in many social and economic activities.
Scholars and practitioners have indicated that local government is not only formed as representative arm of government, but as a means by which goods and services are delivered to the people within the framework of enabling laws which established them.
Consequently, it is the need to foster a balanced development in the rural areas and enhance the full participation of rural dwellers that precipitate the establishment of local government administration.
The local government constitutes as a channel of administrative and political structure and facilitates national integration, rural commitment in governance and a channel for fostering development at the grassroots level.
Local government is viewed as a co-partner with the central government; therefore the research seeks to investigate local government administration as a panacea for rural transformation in the Mamfe Municipality.
One of the greatest challenge that Cameroon has had since independence is developing her rural sector. This has become so crucial that it became a prominent feature on the development agenda of successive government in Cameroon.
From the point of view the government as agents of development are will place to help the rural areas to develop. These can be done by investing in social and economic infrastructure such as roads, bridges, hospitals, schools, electrification and telecommunication.
The other essential duties inherited from the Native Authorities include rural and the urban water supplies markets and libraries. We generally regard the convenience list as including those extra amenities which make for a better life in the community, other than those life in the community, other than those which are concerned with fighting discuss e.g. bus and lorry parks.
The regulation of handcarts on the streets, community and recreation centers, parks and open spaces, grazing areas and fuel plantations, the naming of streets and the numbering of buildings. These are recognized as automatically the responsibility of the local government.
They also help in the service of park control and supply of water, electricity and gas, the provision of road and water transport, and any other trading undertaking that the central government specifically authorizes.
The rural populace is confronted with numerous developmental needs such as education, water, health care facilities, good roads, electricity etc. This lack of basic amenities has constituted serious challenge to the living standard of the people resulting in poverty, poor health and living standards. Consequently, the local government administration was instituted to serve as a bridge between the central government and the local population in the case of Cameroon, in executing government developmental programs at the local communities so as to enhance socio-economic development in the rural areas.
In epistemic terms, the establishment of local Government structures in Cameroon was predicated on the view that local governments were to serve as apparatus or vehicles for transforming the lives of majority of Cameroonians who live in the rural communities; it was conceived as a bottom up approach to national development.
The expectations among other things was that it brought governance nearer to the people and could from that standpoint transform the lives of the rural dwellers.
It was in line with this vision that Mamfe local Government was created. The central government of Cameroon had in the past undertaken sweeping local government reforms with the aim of repositioning local governments to be more proactive in their service delivery so that these agents could catalyze development in their communities in particular and in Cameroon as a whole.
In the case of Mamfe, it was blessed with abundant natural and human resources fertile lands and cheap labour. The expectations were that these two all important factors of production could serve as a catalyst to development and thus reduce the misery and suffering of the people.
Fortunately, Mamfe local government area has been transform though not 100% as expected, but the poverty level has reduced a little, medical facilities made available for dwellers, good motor able roads from the local Government headquarters to the other villages. But even at this with the aim of the reform aimed at changing the local government, Mamfe Local Government Area is way behind expectation. Most people in this local government area are experiencing poverty though not chronic but their standard of living can be seen as below expectation.
There is therefore the need to advocate for the review of local government laws and regulations for a new reform to enhance a more effective local government administration. Therefore the problem confronting the research is to proffer an appraisal of local government administration as a panacea for rural transformation.
- What is the role of local government administrations towards the transformation of the Mamfe locality?
- To what extent has local government administration played its roles in rural area?
- What constitute the challenges confronting local government administration towards the transformation of the Mamfe locality?
These study questions are imperative in the research project as they direct the focus and the rhythm of the project. They also form a point of reference upon which the whole write-up will be based on.
- To identify the role of local government administrations towards the transformation of Mamfe locality.
- To examine the extent to which local government administration plays its role in the transformation of the Mamfe rural area?
- To examine what constitute the challenges confronting local government administration towards the transformation of Mamfe locality.