National Day in Cameroon

Office Holidays – The 48th edition of the National Holiday of May 20th is canceled due to the risks linked to the coronavirus pandemic, the Secretary-General of the Presidency of the Republic, Ferdinand Ngoh Ngoh announced.

“Because of the coronavirus pandemic and the need to respect the measures prescribed by the government of the Republic, the President of the Republic Paul Biya has decided to cancel the public celebrations,” the Secretary-General said.

The topic of the 2020 Unity Day is “All united in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, for a resilient Cameroon resolutely turned towards peace, stability, and economic development.”

When is National Day in Cameroon?

The National Day of Cameroon is a public holiday on May 20th. Also known as Unity Day, this holiday marks the adoption of a unitary state on this day in 1972.

History of National Day 

Cameroon became a German colony in 1884, known as Kamerun.  After Germany’s defeat in the first world war, the administration of the colony was divided between Britain and France, becoming UN Trust Territories after the end of the second world war and the creation of the United Nations.

The United Nations Trust Territory known as French Cameroun achieved independence from France on January 1st 1960, and British Southern Cameroons became a federated state within Cameroon on October 1st 1961. 

On May 20th 1972, in a national referendum, Cameroonians voted for a unitary state as opposed to the existing federal state.  President Ahmadou Ahidjo then abolished the federal system of government in favour of a unitary state, the Republic of Cameroon.

What is a Unitary State?

Most countries operate under a unitary system.  A unitary state is governed as a single power under the control of a central government and any powers for administrative divisions are delegated from central government.

Even though it is considered a holiday, children all over the country go to schools and celebrate National Day usually by singing, carrying out parades or marches all around the different parts of their various cities. Speeches are made by the Head of State and other important personalities. The day is presided over by the head of state in Yaounde the capital of Cameroon. In the regional headquarters, it is presided by the governor who represents the government. The divisional officers preside over the day in their various divisions.

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