Cameroon’s all-male pioneer presidents of regional councils/assemblies is a blow to gender equality

None of the female candidates elected on December 6 into Cameroon’s regional council were elected president. While feminists in Cameroon have stayed silent, some analysts are speaking against it. 

By Regina Sondo 

A day after Cameroon elected presidents of Regional Assemblies/Councils (Assemblies for the English speaking Regions and Councils in the French speaking regions) … leaders for the next five-year term, the shock that no female regional councilor is among, has emerged. Besides growing participation of female candidates during the December 6, 2020 polls, picking women as leaders, in a patriarchal society such as Cameroon remains a huge challenge. 

The regional councils will have a say over development, including infrastructure in their respective regions… they are to equally deliver a special status for the restive Northwest and Southwest Regions of Cameroon. 

 “More women than men in Cameroun and not one qualifies to be a Regional President?” Quoting James Brown, Cameroonian lawyer Akere Muna asked on twitter, “the world will be nothing without a woman or a girl. So Cameroon, what are we?”

Since 2012, the Cameroon government through the Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and the Family says it has intensified political empowerment and advocacy actions, but how ready is the country who’s often had men as leaders in top government positions for this? 

In 2019, UN women collaborated with the Cameroon government to multiply efforts and measures to ensure the better representation of women in various institutions… A didactic tool branded the Political Education Manual for Women in Cameroon was born. 

December 22’s vote is proof that this is far from reality. 

“Cameroon’s pioneer regional assembly/council executives do not reflect the political diversity and gender balance of the country,” says Arrey Ntui, Crisis Group’s Senior Analyst for Cameroon.

He says women were left out of the most important offices. “The two most important offices are that of president and economic commissioner but all 20 nationwide are filled by men in a country where there’s and almost 50-50 women to men ratio.”

List of Presidents of Regional Councils/Assemblies in Cameroon 

North West: Prof ANGWAFOR III Fru Fobuzshi, CPDM candidate, Director of the Yaounde Gynaeco Obstetric Hospital,

South West: BAKUMA ELANGO Zacheus, retired civil servant,

Centre: Gilbert TSIMI EVOUNA, former Government Delegate to the Yaounde City Council,

South: MVE ELEMVA Emmanuel, former captain of the indomitable lions and former official of the Cameroon Football Federation, FECAFOOT,

West: FOCKA FOCKA Jules Hilaire, former Mayor of the Bafoussam 1 Council,

East: WOUAMANE MBELLE Alphonse, former Government Delegate to the City Council of Bertoua,

North: BOUKAR Alim, former customs official,

Adamawa: DEWA Mohamadou, veterinary, native of Tibati in the Djerem Division and NUDP candidate,

Littoral: BANLOG Polycarpe, former CPDM MP,

Far North: KALBASSOU Daniel, former Director General of Credit du Sahel.


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