Cameroun Regional Governors last week had a three-day meeting in Yaounde. Information filtering out from the meeting suggest Governors were instructed to heavily crack down on clandestine churches operating in the country. This exercise is coming after a similar exercise sometime in 2013.
The Governors will target prayer houses that have been operating without government authorization as well as others considered to be a threat to social peace. Some of these churches are a means of public noise with loud prayers and this goes to disturb other citizens the governors said.
At the closing ceremony, on Friday, July 22, the director of political affairs at the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Decentralisation announced that the government was poised to carry on the crackdown on churches without any mercy. He continued that the proliferation of churches in the country was worrying and that government was concerned about bad practices carried out in some of the houses of worship. The MINATD official, in assigning the governors, noted that the impending move by the government is to ensure that religious associations operate within the margins of the regulations guiding the sector-Cameroon Journal reported.
Recalled that in August 2013, some 34 churches were closed in Yaoundé, Douala, and Bamenda.
Some Pentecostal pastors protested the decision then. Government spokesman Tchiroma Bakary, in 2013 defended government actions and said that the targeted 500 religious bodies had the full support of Cameroun public for a “deep cleansing” of questionable churches.
However, it should be noted that, In the Cameroon, religious bodies need an authorization from the presidency in order to operate a church. Reports say since 1990 only 47 houses of worship, have been given the presidential authorization. However, over 500 churches have been operating in the country under what government authorities refer to as “administrative tolerance.”