Few days after the death of Mayor Patrick Ekema of Buea, a meeting of some administrative authorities in the locality was held culminating in the installation of Dr. Efande John Lyonga as interim mayor.
The move which been considered by observers as a hasty decision has since sent tongues wagging.
While the dust is yet to settle following Ekema’s death, many people are interested in knowing who will take over full time and what the selection process would look like.
Going by the 2004 decentralisation law, following the death, resignation or dismissal of a mayor or deputy, the municipal council has up to 60 days to elect another.
For the time being however, the first deputy mayor is supposed to take control of the activities of the council on interim basis.
Article 70 sub 2 and 3 of the law states that (2) An acting staff member shall be employed during the period referred to in paragraph (1), in the order of precedence, or default, by one of the five senior councilors, designated by the municipal council. (3) In the event of a deputy mayor’s office being vacant, the deputies in office shall have a replacement of a pre-emption right, in the order of precedence acquired in the previous election.
Following Ekema’s death, fears were rife that his fired deputy, Motomby Emmanuel was going to come back to take over the position.
The politician who was one of several others within the party to have fallen out with the late mayor however seemed not to have any intentions, leaving his deputy, Dr Efande John to take over.
A similar case was witnessed in 2013 when former Mayor, now Senator Mbella Moki Charles, became senator. Late Ekema Patrick who was his deputy at the time took over as interim mayor and later won to retain the position after 60 days.
Six years later and the Buea council is faced with the same scenario that may possibly lead to Dr. Efande retaining the position of mayor in the election expected before the end of December. Whether or not he does however, it is clear that his predecessor has left a very big vacuum by who ever comes to replace him.