The Role of Public Administrators in Maintaining Peace in the NW and SW Regions of Cameroon
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In line with the laws of the modernization of the Cameroonian Public Administration, public administrators are required to use the services at their disposal to maintain and promote peace and development in the North West and South West of Cameroon in particular and Cameroon in general. Such. The study main goal was to examine the roles of public administrators in maintaining peace in the northwest and southwest regions of Cameroon. In order to address to study main goals, 60 questionnaires were administered, giving 30 questionnaires to public administrators in the northwest and 30 questionnaires to the public administrators in the southwest region. Based on the data provided, the study identifies several key observations, including the importance of community engagement, collaboration, and data-driven approaches in maintaining peace. The study also highlights the need for addressing root causes of conflict, promoting cultural awareness and mediation, and addressing social and economic factors contributing to conflicts. These findings are consistent with the literature on peacekeeping and conflict resolution, emphasizing the need for collaborative, data-driven, and community-based approaches to ensure effective peacekeeping efforts.
Keywords: Public administrators, peace, conflict Resolution, maintenance, Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon, Jurisdiction
The long-term costs of violent conflict are incalculable, not only in terms of physical destruction and human suffering, but also because it creates fierce and implacable enmity between communities and shatters a nation’s vision, trust and allegiance. These are much harder and more complex to rebuild than roads, schools or hospitals. Because the legacy is so devastating, the international community has come to realize that it must do its utmost to avoid violent conflict. However, when that does not succeed, they have a responsibility to reconstruct governments and their societies in ways that ensure a viable, sustainable peace in the future. This is particularly relevant in light of recent studies which show that the single greatest predictor of a future outbreak of violence is prior violent conflict. Part of post-conflict reconstruction certainly includes the rebuilding of roads and power plants, hospitals and schools. But more importantly, it requires a deeper, holistic approach to both post conflict reconstruction and the prevention of conditions that would fuel a recurrence of violence – an approach that would move beyond narrow, short-term, technical or political considerations to one that takes into account and addresses the multi-dimensional, long-term structural causes of conflict. Such an approach would then formulate an integrated strategy for re-establishing government, alleviating poverty, reducing horizontal inequality, mitigating ethnic animosity, empowering disadvantaged groups and equalizing access to resources and opportunity. Such a reconstruction strategy aims well beyond the avoidance or cessation of violence or technical reconstituting of structures. It focuses on creating the social, economic, political and governance foundations and conditions that lead to sustainable peace (UN, 2009).
Also, the rise of local government is closely tied to the process of industrialization which gave momentum in Britain form the middle of the 18th century. Until the beginning of the 19th century the system of local government by cooperation in the justices of peace in the countries had worked reasonably satisfactorily because the needs of communities were deemed to be small and their tasks were primarily judicial and administrative. The mid-19thcentury saw the culmination of the first great phase of urbanization in the United Kingdom history caused by the development of machinery and the factory system of production and the comparative reduction of dependence on subsistence agriculture production.
More so, a joint resolution on sustaining peace passed by the UN Security Council and General Assembly suggest that “sustaining peace should be broadly understood as a goal and a process to build a common vision of a society, ensuring that the needs of all segments of the population are taken into account.” More specifically, they also identify good governance as integral to the promotion of sustaining peace. The focus of the resolutions, however, is on national governance; the local level is conspicuous in its absence. This reflects a broader trend whereby the UN and other external actors tend to incorporate local perspectives into their peacebuilding work as background information while primarily engaging with national counterparts in capital cities. This focus can be problematic, particularly when the central government is fragmented or lacks broad legitimacy.
Recognizing this, the Advisory Group of Experts on the 2015 Review of the UN Peacebuilding Architecture recommended that “new approaches need to be found, which understand peacebuilding, at least in its early phases, as having more to do with strengthening local domains of governance than trying to re-establish strong central authority. “Local governance,” as defined by the UN Development Program (UNDP), refers to subnational institutions, systems, and processes that provide services to citizens and through which citizens “articulate their interests and needs, mediate their differences, and exercise their rights and obligations.”5 Local governance is delivered through “a complex set of political relationships between many different actors-formal and informal, national and local—which interrelate with each other in diverse ways.”6 These actors could include, for example, a mix of municipal governments, traditional (UN, 2018).
According to (Francesco Kjellbergn 2008:8), local government exist, because they are perceived to be major vehicles for citizens’ participation in public affairs. It is an instrument for strengthening democracy in the society at large. The democratic ideal in local government implies that active participation of the citizens in local affairs is both a goal in itself and an instrument for strengthening democracy in society at large. First, participation represents areal occasion to influence the decisions that affect everyday life; it narrows the gap between the rulers and the ruled. Second, it creates the possibility for political education. Active participation in local affairs has been perceived as most important training ground for democracy. Through participation citizens become familiar with public issues. Decentralized local governance remains one of the best global strategies to rid developing countries like Cameroon from underdevelopment and economic backwardness (Dijk, 2008; Crawford and Hartman, 2008,Crawford, 2004:5). With the emergence of globalization and good governance as major paradigms driving government policy and development agenda since the early 1980s, it has been speculated that through the process of decentralized local governance, rural poverty torturing communities could partner local government authorities to achieve the goals of rural community transformation and poverty reduction (Inkoom, 2011; Conyers 2007; Robinson:2). This agenda became even more prominent when poverty reduction and rapid development, became mandatory requirement by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) of its developing member countries after the September 1999 annual meetings.
International peace actors have repeatedly observed that the most legitimate community representatives are often found in local-level governance systems that either survive or spring up to provide basic protection and order in dangerous, lawless environments. Not surprisingly international mediators have wanted to tap into local administrations and their leaders as participants in peace processes.
In an impressive number of cases for example community-driven reconstruction in Democratic Republic of the Congo (Kyamusugulwa et al, 2014:7), Republic of Yemen (Grandvoinnet et al, 2015:23) and Ghana 1992 local governance arrangements in conflict and post-conflict settings have not only provided basic law, security, and routinized dispute resolution, but have also helped to solidify inter-communal peace accords at the local level. Syrian, Democratic Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone case studies in particular highlights concrete local efforts at inclusive grassroots organization and self-rule that have tried to resolve the most destructive and persistent fighting. For millions of people caught in zones of protracted violent conflict and ruptured authority, local governance arrangements are the only form of protection and order they have. This has earned some local governance arrangements “performance legitimacy” among their populations, and has attracted the interest of diplomats and mediators seeking to identify grassroots representation in peace processes.
Legitimate local governance systems in violent settings work because they embody an advance shared communal interest in law, order, security, disaster risk management and access to basic services. These are tangible and essential needs that cut across conflict lines and focus communities on functional cooperation for mutual benefit. Local governance arrangements also routinize conflict over resources (which at the local level are usually quite modest) in ways that reduce the likelihood of renewed violence. It’s important to note that, one of the most classical approaches in conflict resolution is to distinguish between positions and the underlying interests in conflict situations. Positions are the concrete demands held by each party or one party’s solution to an issue in conflict situations. While interests are the underlying issues which are usually easier to satisfy than positions since several positions may satisfy them.
In Cameroon, according to law N°2004/017 of 22 July 2004 on decentralization guidelines (refers to the transfer of power from the central government to representative and downwardly accountable actors, such as elected local governments. (Ribot, 2002:14) and N°2009/011 of 10 July 2009 relating to the Financial Regime of Regional and Local Authorities (RLA), Regional and Local Authorities are corporate bodies governed by public law and are endowed with a legal personality as well as administrative and financial autonomy with respect to the management of regional and local interests. The 2004 laws cited above, precisely in Article 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21 and 22 provide for the empowerment of local councils with function such as: social care, health care, promoting economic development, culture and sport development with the aim of promoting local development and good governance which as well aims at achieving sustainable peace in every community and generally in Cameroon.
According to the United Nations, in its Capstone Doctrine, describes peace-building as a process which “involves a range of measures targeted to reduce the risk of lapsing or relapsing into conflict by strengthening national capacities at all levels for conflict management, and to lay the foundation for sustainable peace and development. Peace building is a complex, long-term process of creating the necessary conditions for sustainable peace. It works by addressing the deep-rooted, structural causes of violent conflict in a comprehensive manner. Peace building measures address score issues that affect the functioning of society and the State, and seek to enhance the capacity of the State to effectively and legitimately carry out its core functions.
Peace-building involves a long-term commitment to a process that includes investment, gathering of resources and material, laying of solid foundations, construction of walls and roofs, finished work and on-going maintenance” (Lederach,1997:12). It is the transformation and automation of societies affected by conflicts to manage and check its threats to durable peace.
In response, this study seeks to examine the role of public administrator in maintaining peace in the Northwest and Southwest region of Cameroon.
In line with the laws of the modernization of the Cameroonian Public Administration, public administrators are required to use the services at their disposal to maintain and promote peace and development in the North West and South West of Cameroon in particular and Cameroon in general.