Biya, money, morality and State-owned enterprises in French Cameroun 0

Ernest Ela Evina holds the record as the longest serving general manager of a public company in French Cameroun. To be sure, Evina was appointed in 1974 by the late President Ahmadou Ahidjo as general manager of the National Center for Studies and Experimentation in Agricultural Machinery (Ceneema). Mr Ernest Ela Evina was only replaced last Friday by the French Cameroun head of state Paul Biya after 45 years as General Manager. No one knows the current bill of health of CENEEMA.

According to the Paul Biya decree signed last Friday, December 06, 2019, Evina got replaced by Mrs. Mebande Bate née Ekotto

A failed State

The French Cameroonian law of July 12, 2017 and certain provisions of laws 2017/10 and 2017/11 relating to the status of public enterprises and public establishments limit the duration of a general manager at the head of the company to 9 years (three terms of 3 years). This had nothing to do with the Biya-Evina relationship.

On June 19, 2019, President Biya signed another decree specifying the terms of application of certain provisions of the laws of 2017, on the general status of public establishments and public enterprises as well as the remuneration, allowances and benefits of their leaders.

Last July, Jean-Pierre Kédi, general manager of the Electricity Sector Regulatory Agency (Arsel) announced his intention to step down after 9 years at the head of the public company to remain in compliance with the law. But his announcement was perceived as a thunderbolt in a country where resignation is not in the habits of barons of the ruling CPDM crime syndicate.

Mindful of the numerous cases of Biya loyalists who have gone far beyond their mandates as general managers, it is evidently clear that French Cameroun is a one man show.

The local French Cameroun press recently cited extensively the cases of many other general managers and Board Chairs who are still in office. They include:

Camille Mouthe  Bidias, CEO of the National Employment Fund (FNE) since 1991, 28 years old

Adolphe Moudiki, General Manager of the National Hydrocarbons Company (SNH) since 1993, 26 years

Yao Aissatou, General Manager of the National Investment Company (SNI) since 2003, 16 years

Marie Claire Nnana has been 12 years at the head of the Cameroon Press and Publishing Society (SOPECam)

Christol Georges Manon has also been 12 years at the head of the Mission for the Development and Management of Industrial Zones (MAGZI).

While Olivier Mekulu Mvondo Akame is the General Manager of the National Social Insurance Fund (CNPS), since 2008, 11 years ago.

It is vital to include in this report that the Board Chairs have served several decades in their respective public companies.

By Soter Tarh Agbaw-Ebai with files