The 2nd Extra Ordinary Session of the Cameroon Baptist Convention (CBC) on Saturday 10 June 2023, approved the review of the institution's constitution. A majority of delegates representing churches of the convention reached decision after an entire day of deliberation and voting.
Presenting a Justification of the proposal for a constitutional review, the CBC Executive President (EP), Rev. Dr. Nditemeh Charlemagne noted that the process started not less than two years before he became the leader of the convention thus answering worries of those who thought the review was happening too sudden. After being examined by the various structures of the convention including the General Council and the Legal Advisory Committee, the EP dismissed claims of illegality in the process.
Speaking during the opening of the session the CBC Chief Shepherd identified the following as weaknesses of the CBC Constitution and By-Laws that needed revision
"There are some discrepancies in the Constitution, By-laws, and the Internal Rules and regulations of Departments that need amendment. There is an undeniable need to see the CBC as one body and all Departments without exception have similar rules to govern the same subjects.
It is inequitable in the same Convention to have limited mandates for all clergy serving as departmental heads in the Central Administration while other clergy in the same Central Administration and all Association Pastors and all Field Pastors are having limited mandates.
The Internal Rules and Regulations of all CBC Departments need to be harmonized to the effect that the rules governing a particular subject matter should be the same across the board in all Departments in line with the laws in force. Why should one Department in the CBC have no extension for workers who reach retirement age and another Department has provisions for two years extension renewable once while yet another CBC Department has unlimited extension in retirement? We cannot correct such irregularities without first of all revising the Constitution.
Terms of office in the CBC are dissimilar or incompatible with terms of office in other national, regional, and global Baptist bodies to which the CBC belongs as member. The CBC is a member of CEPCA, AEA, WEF, AABF, BWA, talk less of our historic relationship with NABC. The four years term of office in the CBC from local church through Association, Field, Department way up to Convention officers is disparate from the term of office currently obtained and practiced in all these international Christian organizations in which the CBC has membership. We need to calibrate with these international bodies. Contrary to what some brethren are knowingly yet falsely spreading around, the proposal to move our mandate from 4 to5 years will apply to every elected officer from the local church all the way up to Convention level. It is the fattest lie of the century that the Executive President wants his current mandate to be extended to five years. The current mandate of the Executive President was given for four years and will expire in 2024.
The hierarchy of the CBC in the current Constitution in descending order is Chairman-Vice Chairman-Executive President .Logically, this means that in a CBC local church, the order of hierarchy from the top in descending order should be Appointed Deacon-Vice Appointed Deacon -and church Pastor(s). That is another reason to revise the current Constitution.
The need for checks and balances as well as fairness in job and leadership opportunities factoring minority groups in the CBC is a necessity especially using the mechanism of spiritual affirmative action for inclusive leadership.
An incumbent standing election for a higher office without resigning from his/her current position or office is not normal in any modern democratic organization or institution.
There is a clear need to hold unscrupulous individual Christians and church leaders accountable for derogations in churches, declaration of personal ownership of churches, and the misappropriation of CBC properties. This calls for constitutional revision.
We need a conflict of interest policy." Rev. Dr. Nditemeh Charlemagne explained
These and others were approved at the close of the session that took place please with very restricted access.
Here is the full address of the CBC Executive President during the extraordinary general session.