The election of Regional Councillors on December 6, 2020 that will render the Regional Councils operational will make the special status effective.
The people of the North West and South West Regions are looking up to the election of Regional Councillors on December 6, 2020 with great anxiety and expectations as this will serve as the crucial step for the putting in place of the Special Status granted the two regions provided for in Law No. 2019/024 of 24 December 2019 to Institute the General Code of Regional and Local Authorities. The functioning of the regional councils will automatically mean the putting in place of the special status and rendering it functional.
Section 327 (2) of the Law states that, « The special status shall confer on the North West and South West Regions, a specific organisational and operational regime, based on the historical, social and cultural values of these regions, with due respect for the primacy of the State and national unity and solidarity. » Following the provisions of Section 328 of the law, the two regions will each in addition to the powers devolved to regions, participate in the formulation of national public policies relating to the Anglophone education sub-system, setting up and managing regional development authorities, participate in defining the status of traditional chiefdoms. The two Regions may be consulted on issues relating to the formulation of justice public policies in the Common Law Sub system, and may also be involved in the management of public service establishments in their respective territories.
The special status shall be administered by the Regional Assembly and Regional Executive Council. Contrary to what obtains in the other eight regions of the country where the deliberative organ is the Regional Council, in the North West and South West Regions, the deliberative organ is the Regional Assembly. Following Section 332 (2) of the law the Regional Assembly shall be composed of the House of Divisional Representatives and the House of Chiefs. The House of Divisional Representatives shall comprise of the 70 representatives of divisions elected by the municipal councillors.
The House of Chiefs in each of the regions comprises of the 20 traditional rulers elected by their peers. The House of Chiefs has the mission to rule on matters falling within the powers of the Regional Assembly. According to Section 337 (2) of the law, the House of Chiefs have to specifically give its opinion on issues relating to the status of traditional chiefdoms, management and conservation of historical sites, monuments and vestiges, organisation of cultural and traditional events in the region and the collection and translation of elements of oral tradition. The law provides that the House of Chiefs shall be chaired by the Regional Council Vice -President assisted by a Regional Council Executive Secretary.
Public Independent Conciliator
After the election of members of the Regional Councils and the organs already in place, the President of the Republic will in accordance with Section 367 of the law appoint a Public Independent Conciliators in the North West and South West Regions. The conciliator for each of the regions will be highly experienced personalities with reputed integrity whose responsibilities revolve around settling disputes, defending rights and freedoms with regard to the relationship between citizens and the region or the council, designing and implementing measures to prevent and combat direct and indirect discrimination that affect users of regional or council services. The conciliator would also have to prepare reports on the functioning of regional and council services.