“L’Etat C’est Moi”: The Controversial Insulation of Presidential Appointment Powers in the Republic of Cameroon

  • Justin Ngambu Wanki

The article discusses general theoretical problems of the rule of law and their effects on constitutional democracy in Cameroon. Acts of State have been highlighted as one strategy to enable the government of Cameroon to evade the application of the rule of law. This device encourages the usurpation of the authority of the judiciary by the executive in two ways: immunity of Acts of State from judicial scrutiny; and encroachment on the independence of the judiciary through the presidential appointment of members of the judiciary. This device has submitted the judiciary and the legislature under direct executive control. This control is possible because the principle of legality, which requires substantive executive acts to be subjected to judicial scrutiny, is ignored in Cameroon. The non-consideration of this principle has resulted in executive authoritarianism sanctioned by a constitutional provision. Given that the application of the rule of law has been considerably compromised with the assistance of this constitutional device, the article navigates alternative measures from Anglophone jurisdictions in Africa, given that Cameroon as well as other Francophone states in Africa subscribe to the same doctrine, which is a legacy of the former French colonial administration in Francophone Africa. Anglophone jurisdictions such as Uganda and South Africa have been juxtaposed with Cameroon. This juxtaposition is intended to demonstrate that although the jurisprudence of impunity previously existed in these jurisdictions as well, with their transition to greater democracy, these jurisdictions have since experienced a radical shift from these devices (not necessarily the entire rule of law system in these countries) which encourage the disregard for the rule of law, irrespective of Uganda’s general bad governance record presently.

Keywords: Rule of law; constitutional authoritarianism; presidential appointment powers; Acts of State; judicial review; separation of powers; independence of the judiciary; checks and balances.
Speculum Juris Volume 35
Issue : 
Issue 2