Monday, February 28, 2011

Remembering February 2008 riots that left sad memories

                      By James Mukoh
       Transporters’ syndicates in Cameroon had called for a two-day strike for 25-26 2008 to protest against petrol and fuel price hikes  not knowing it was going to become a nation-wide  rioting  that left  many Cameroonians dead and property  worth  hundred of millions  of Francs CFA  was destroyed.
        Many accused of instigating the bloody violence and the destruction of property were prosecuted and jailed, other fled abroad.
       The strike, described as the most successful in recent years, exposed the growing anger of Cameroonians against the Biya regime.
President Biya, was then 75 years old, and had ruled Cameroon since November 1982.
       The Government least expected that the Cameroonians would heed the call for the strike action, but it was taken back when it hugely respected the clarion call; the rioting exposed the underbelly of the Government.
      It would be recalled that the strike was characterized by heavy looting of shops, gunfire, vandalism, violence, the burning of vehicles and road barricades.
Cameroon was in a war-like situation. People lived in total fear of the unknown.
"We cannot understand that our country produces petrol and we still buy petrol at the same price as people in non oil producing countries,” Jean Collins Ndefossokeng, president of the national taxi drivers' union SYNATA, had reportedly said.
       The war-like situation was a cause for great concern.Christian Cardinal Tumi, who was then the archbishop of Douala, condemned the wanton destruction of property and the killing of citizens .He urged the Government to have a meaningful dialogue with the protesters for a lasting solution
Lives were lost in various towns during clashes with anti-riot police. For example, at least four people were killed in Douala by armed police in a bid to disperse protestors barricading the streets.
    "Two persons were pulled out of their car and beaten to death at Bonaberi neighborhood. One man was burned to death when the Douala Five Council was set ablaze and another young man suffocated after inhaling too much tear gas," a senior police officer, who asked not to be named, had told Reuters. 
       Many other Cameroonians reportedly arrested were later declare missing, a claim that left many tongues wagging. 
      It would be recalled that, a certain Malcolm Awah Aseli Mbakwa, a radical youth leader in Buea was said to be one of the local master minds of the rioting. But he was finally picked up and detained;how he escaped detention in Buea was a mystery. Relatives later told reporters that that he had since left the country for safety abroad. Mbakwa founded other youth movements such as Mount Cameroon Youth and Development Association, MOCAYODE, said to be having ties with the dreaded Southern Cameroon National Council (SCNC), which is championing the independence of Anglophone Cameroon from La Republique du Cameroun.
      Shaken by the rioting , the Cameroon government, widely believed to be insensitive to the cries of the population then, was forced to reduce petrol and fuel prices when it dawned on it that the strike was becoming something else: a war against the regime.
      The Government had failed to take measures to avert the strike despite an early warning by the transporters’ unions.
According to a report by The RECORDER Newsline then: “Irate Cameroonians now were not only protesting against the price hikes in petrol but against the general high cost of living, high unemployment rate and even against the ruling party (CPDM) proposed constitutional amendment to make it possible for President Paul Biya to run for a third term when his current mandate would end in 2011”
      Even before the syndicates’ strike, there had  been a mass demonstration in Douala, calling for the reopening of Equinox TV, a private television station .Equinox TV, barely three years in existence but very popular, which was shut down for not complying to regulation, according to Communications then Minister Jean Pierre Biyiti bi Essam .
     But it was widely held that the closure was prompted by the fact that the TV station was too critical of the Biya regime. Police shot at the stone-throwing protestors calling for the reopening of the TV station. During the confrontations two persons were reported dead.


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Mt Cameroon Race: Mbatcha Eric & Ngwaya Yvonne emerge champions

By Christopher Ambe Shu
2011 Mt Cameroon Race: first female arriving
Mbatcha Eric and Ngwaya Yvonne-both Cameroonians from the Northwest Region on Saturday February 26, emerged first in the male and female categories, respectively, of the 16th Edition of the Mount Cameroon Race of Hope, which ended hitch-free.
The race is run from the Buea- Molyko stadium to summit of Mt Cameroon and back to the stadium.
Mbatcha Eric, emerged the overall champion and first in the male category, covering the race distance  in  4hours 29 minutes .He smiled home with a trophy and cash prize of  three million Francs CFA.
 “I did not encounter major difficulties on the mountain because I had prepared well for this competition …. I am happy that I have made it after 12 years,” Mbatcha told reporters, particularly thanking his wife who “forced me to come and write my name in the history of the Chariots of God-Mt Cameroon
In the female category, Ngwaya Yvonne, aged 23, secured the first position after using 5 hours 33 minutes, to reach the wining point. She bagged home a trophy and a cash prize of three million Francs CFA.
This is the third conservative time Ngwaya Yvonne has championed the female category of the race; she first won in 2009, then in 2010 and now 2011
Minister Zoah  awarding prize to champion,Mbatcha
Gabsibuin Godlove and Lawan Ibrahim –came second and third respectively in the male category; Ngali Lisette and Tibep Patience (sister to Ngwaya Yvonne, who came first in female category) occupied the second and third positions respectively in the female category.
The second –position winners   in both categories each received a cash prize of two million francs, while those who came third in both categories each received one million francs.
There were also a junior category and relay race-competitions that had different prizes
A total of 600 athletes (577 Cameroonians and 33 foreigners) took part in the international race, whose budget this year witnessed a drop of 34 million. The race this year had a budget of 116 million francs as against 140 million in 2010.
The Minister of Sports and Physical Education, Michel Zoah and the President of Cameroon Athletic Federation, Jacques Sebastien Mbus co-chaired the prize-award ceremony at the Buea -Molyko   Stadium.
A day earlier at the Molyko Stadium during the 2011 Mt. Cameroon Race launching ceremony,
Mt Cameroon Race female champion(with trophy)
Minister Zoah said the Cameroon Government would continue to assist the Cameroon Athletic Federation in organizing the race of hope; but the minister strongly called on the private sector (companies) to come on board so to give the event the special attention it deserves.
He used the ceremony to announce that President is determined to improve on the sports facilities of the Southwest region, adding that a new stadium will soon be constructed in Limbe.
In his welcome speech, the mayor of Buea, Charles Mbella Moki, stressed the importance of the race, whose standards, many people say, are falling.
The Mayor appealed to the Cameroon Athletic Federation to endeavor “ to  institute a culture of good practice  and develop a sense of  organistion“,so that  henceforth the race can look like the Guinness Mt Cameroon Race of the past, which was highly popular and well-organized.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Cameroon:Mayors’ President Embraces Released Bakassi Hostages

Moki (in suit) enbraces Mayor Aboko,& other released hostages

By Christopher Ambe Shu
Eleven Cameroonians recently taken hostage for several days by Pirates said to be Nigerians, in the Oil-rich Bakassi peninsula and later released following the intervention of Cameroon government, were On Wednesday February 23, offered a reception in Buea by the town’s   Mayor, Charles Mbella Moki, who doubles as the South Regional President of the Union of Cities and Councils of Cameroon (UCCC).
Among the eleven captives released were Aboko Patrick Anki, Mayor of Kombo Abedimo and Ayuk Edward Takor, Divisional Officer (DO) for Kombo  Abedimo   .
They stopped briefly in Buea on their way to Kombo Abedimo from Yaounde where they were first received by government officials.
During the reception at Capitol Hotel Buea, an elated Mayor Aboko Patrick told journalists that they would for ever remain grateful to God, and to an extent, to President Paul Biya for ensuring their release.
 “I would like to thank the Almighty God for his merciful grace on us. I want to also thank the Cameroon government –especially President Paul Biya for what he did to ensure our release. I also want to thank the M ayor of Buea and the Regional President of UCCC for offering me this reception”, Mayor Aboko told the press, preferring not to describe what they went through while in a captivity.
 Mayor Mbella Moki said their capture by pirates was a major worry to all the mayors of the Southwest Region and the region’s mayors and other people of good will   committed them to God in prayers.
“Having been received in Yaounde by Government officials, Mayor Aboko thought it wise to visit the regional president of the mayors association-where he is also an official.
 “This is kind of a dead-buried-resurrected episode, which warrants me to invite Men of God to pray and thank God for the mysterious release of our colleague and other Cameroonians. It is an opportunity for me to let the world know that they are alive. We regret that two others  were killed.”
Mayor Mbella  Moki said he was particularly happy  to receive his colleague because as regional president of  the mayors’ association “I  did a lot of coordination and  prayed o God for his safe release”. He added that mayor Aboko is not only a colleague but also a trusted friend and brother.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Buea Set to Host Golden Jubilee of Cameroon's Reunification

Mayor Mbella Moki says Buea is set.

By Christopher Ambe shu
 Buea is ready and has all it takes to host the golden jubilee of the reunification of Cameroon, the town’s mayor, Charles Mbella Moki, has told the press.
In a press briefing yesterday in his office, the mayor said because Buea served as the birth place of Cameroon’s reunification, it is just logical that the 50th anniversary celebrations of the reunification, announced by President Biya, should take place in Buea.
Southern Cameroons gained its independence from British rule on October 1, 1961 by joining French Cameroon which had gained its independence on January 1, 1960 as the Republic of Cameroon under the leadership of Ahmadou Ahidjo.
This reunification led to the formation of the Federal Republic of Cameroon, later called United Republic of Cameroon and today it is called the Republic of Cameroon.
 “This event offers the opportunity to revisit our history, chart the way forward and make the necessary corrections for a better future”, the mayor said.
“At the level of our Council we have been doing a number of things to enable us host the anniversary celebrations without problems; we have engaged in modernizing the town; we have already signed a contract to construct a new council building that will be befitting; we have completed the new Buea Town market; we are preparing the grounds to construct another market -about three times bigger than that of Buea town.
“We are grateful to the Head of state for signing a convention for a new water supply system in Buea.
CAMWATER has already budgeted FCFA 410 million for the water system in Buea.There are many other projects underway,” he observed”
The Mayor said the choice of Buea for the anniversary is because it has historical sites and relics of the moment of reunification that people would like to visit.
Asked why he was seriously preparing to host the reunification celebrations when the head of state has not formally chosen Buea as the official host, the mayor replied:
“In fact, the town is pregnant with history and meaning. History is on our side. Today Buea still hosts a number of people who lived it and can tell the story of reunification.”
He thought that it would be illogical for someone to think of somewhere else than Buea as Venue of the anniversary. Mbella Moki recalled that, Buea has been Capital of German Cameroon, Headquarters of British Southern Cameroon, Capital of West Cameroon, Seat of Southwest Province and  toady Headquarters of  the Southwest Region.
.The head of state in his usual right judgment, the Mayor hoped, will make no mistake by endorsing the choice of Buea for the event.
The Mayor announced that we will sign a municipal order appointing Professor Ndiva Kofele Kale, (son of P M kale, fomer Speaker of Parliament) as the head of the planning committee of the reunification Golden jubilee.
It is expected that the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Cameroon will take place in October.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Cameroon: Chief Justice advocates justice system sensitive to public aspirations

Chief  Justice Lucy Asuagbor
By Christopher Ambe Shu
The Lord Chief Justice of the Southwest Region of Cameroon has strongly recommended a justice system in the country that is responsive to the aspirations of the general public.
This recommendation is coming at a time when the judiciary in Cameroon continues to be identified as one of the sectors where corruption is rife.
Lord Chief Justice Lucy Asuagbor was speaking, February 18 in Buea, in reply to New Year’s wishes presented to her and Lord Justice Fonkwe Joseph Fogang, procureur-general for the Southwest region, by the entire judicial corps. The well-attended ceremony took place at the Buea court premises.
She wished to see a society anchored in justice, freedom, liberty and peace.
“I caress the dream of a justice system which is responsive to the aspirations of the general public in that, it is credible, speedy, fair, impartial, and humane -and governed by due process”, the chief justice told the judicial corps that includes: magistrates, lawyers, sheriff-bailiffs, penitentiary personnel, judicial police and court registrars. “One sobering truth is that an institution that loses its credibility lacks the moral wherewithal to challenge others”.
The Chief Justice noted that “through out history and in all societies the search for has always been a quest”.
She particularly appealed to lawyers to continue challenging the bench because “that is one of the surest ways in which you can make meaningful contributions towards improving on the quality of justice served to litigants in our courts’’.
Chief Justice Asuagbor called on lawyers to give the best advice to clients, but warned: “Your actions should not be dictated by the desire to assuage your ego or line your pockets”
The Chief Justice regretted that   sometimes the judicial police who investigate cases for prosecution don’t live up to expectation.
“Sometimes whether by design or negligence, the most important indices of an offence are left out rendering the job of the prosecutor extremely difficult. There is no doubt that the wheels of justice are clogged whenever investigations are bungled up” she observed, prescribing meticulousness as the watchword for judicial police in their investigations.
She reminded the judicial police that, testifying in court must be the culmination of an investigation.
Another vexing issue the Chief justice addressed was the increase in the number of persons in custody awaiting trial.
This state of affairs, she bemoaned, runs against the grain of the Criminal Procedure Code and constitutes blight in the criminal justice system. Chief Justice Asuagbor warned that the chambers of examining magistrates should not become “graveyards where files go to take an undeserved rest”.
On Human Rights, the chief justice said:
 “This dismal situation of Human rights anywhere in the world is an indictment on the collective conscience.
“The respect for Human and People’s Rights is not the responsibility of human rights commissioners, activists and a few NGO’s alone.
“All of us must be Human Rights crusaders who are expected to more vocal in our condemnation of human rights abuses around us and more proactive in ensuring that those rights are respected”.
Earlier in his New Year speech on behalf of the entire judicial corps, Justice Anthony Kwamu Nana, of the Southwest Court of Appeal, commended  the structural achievements realized in the courts and lauded the professional advice given them by their superiors. “They encourage us to work hard and our output reflects this,” he said
But he regretted that the offices of vice-presidents of Court of Appeal did not yet have telephone facilities, despite of the importance of telephone in communication today.
Justice Nana expressed happiness that the statuses of the Penitentiary and Registry corps have now been improved;
He hoped that Justices would henceforth be treated with respect during official ceremonies. “Whenever we are invited in the grandstand or official ceremonies, nobody cares where and how we sit,” Justice Nana, recalled.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Cameroon:Minister Agbor Tabi tells Manyu people: “I am where your story could be heard!”

Minister Agbor Tabi (middle) being ushered into hall in Buea
By Christopher Ambe Shu

Professor Peter Agbor Tabi, assistant secretary-general at the Presidency of the Republic has told Manyu people that, their development problems such as lack of roads could  now better be tackled because he is occupying a postion close to the Head of State ,an advantageous position to  easily  present Manyu  development problems to President Paul Biya.
As assistant secretary-general, Agbor Tabi, ranked as minister, is one of the president’s closest collaborators and is a member the ruling CPDM Central Committee.

Agbor Tabi was, February 19, in Buea( CNPS hall )addressing an impressive crowd of Manyu people he had invited to raise funds to assist the legally mature but poor people of his division of origin acquire national Identity cards, in order to get enrolled in electoral registers and then vote at the coming presidential election for CPDM candidate, Paul Biya

The fundraising has as end target FCFA 75 million .But so far more than FCFA 45 million has been raised :Yaoundé raised over 16 million, Douala over 14 million, Mamfe over five million and Buea yesterday just raised about ten million.

Agbor Tabi, who thought that more investments would come to Manyu if the division were totally supportive of President Biya and the ruling CPDM, emphatically said President Biya has now realized that Manyu needs roads.

Agbor Tabi’s claim that President Biya has now realized that the division needs roads was received with mixed feelings because the deplorable state of roads in Manyu has been a major preoccupation of the Manyu people despite their loyalty to the Biya regime for many years.

“I am in a place where your story can be heard. Be careful! Don’t behave as when your story could not be heard. Support President Paul Biya because he hears your story,” he stressed, citing some roads in the Division now under construction to buttress his statement.

Agbor Tabi, who received a certificate of honor from his kith and kin in Buea for contributing to unity and development not only in Manyu, but also nation-wide, reiterated the need for unity.

“If we are not together, we will not win”, he warned. “We want to show President Biya that we love him and will support him”

The deputy SG at the Presidency said the fund-raising effort is intended to make Manyu remain on the map of Cameroon.

Speaking earlier, Chief Tabe Tando, another CPDM Central Committee member stressed the importance of voter registration and voting rights.

“Manyu people believe in the CPDM and have committed themselves to it,” he said. “This is the time for Manyu to register and vote for the CPDM; the choice of the Southwest people has always been the CPDM”, noted Chief Tabe Tando who donated five million francs to help the identification card acquisition project.

The Mayor of Buea Charles Mbella Moki and a delegation of Buea traditional rulers led by Chief David Molinge attended the fund-raising and expressed their support and collaboration with the Manyu people.

Speaking to reporters at the end of the fund-raising, Agbor Tabi refuted claims that he was on a political campaign. He noted that he was on a voter registration sensitization. “We believe that talking of support for President Biya means nothing if we don’t get people to register on the electoral lists”.

Agbor Tabi appealed to Manyu people to “know that President Biya loves you so much.” He added that “this is the time that Manyu people have to show the president that they do understand that he loves them”

Observers said Agbor Tabi is now working round the clock to get Manyu people to totally support the CPDM at the coming elections because at least two Manyu sons have indicated their intention to be presidential candidates in different political platforms.

Such Manyu sons include Christopher Tambe Tiku, a vocal  human rights advocate ,and  outspoken Hon. Paul Ayah Abine of Peoples Action Party (PAP).

It is widely thought that the popularity of Hon. Ayah in Manyu will fetch him a good number of votes.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Cameroon: Culture Minister Ama Tutu pledges assistance to Buea Archives

By Christopher Ambe shu
The Minister of Culture has pledged to support the improvement and protection of the Buea Archives, which is an annex of the National Archives in Yaoundé.
The Buea Archives has not received enough attention from the government, users (researchers) hold.
Minister Ama Tutu(attired in green) in group photo at Buea Archives
Ama Tutu Muna made the commitment on February 18, 2011 during a working session with staff and friends of the Buea Archives, situated near Southwest Regional Governor’s office.
“I will see how to improve and develop the Buea Archives in the nearest future. My visit here is to take stock and see how to improve on the facilities. All cannot be done over night; but I think gradually we will be able to do it”, the minister told reporters, after being presented with the problems of the Archives
Ama Tutu Muna, who is the first culture minister to visit the Buea Archives in two decades, thanked the Association of Friends of Archives and Antiquities-Cameroon (AFAAC) for its sustained effort to keep the Archives in shape. The Buea Archives still exists thanks to the support and care of the AFAAC, an NGO
But the minister of Culture has now made public her determination to improve on its facilities.
AFAAC has as principal objective is the collection, preservation, restoration and promotion of development of archives, museums, monuments, historical sites and other antiquities of Cameroon, according to its president Professor Verkijika G.Fanso,who made speech at  ceremony.
“AFAAC was formed by a few Cameroonians and foreign friends who were particularly concerned  about the deplorable state of the Buea Archives that had been abandoned since 1972 and lay in ruins”, Professor  Fanso told  the visiting Culture Minister,
Professor  Fanso,  in his speech ,noted that AFAAC has been assisted  to reinstate Buea archives by many institutions such as the Dutch Embassy in Yaounde that funded the building  of some very huge shelves in the basement and restoration of a burnt room as well as the classification of thousands of documents that were rotting in heaps .He added that the British  High Commission gave a grant to complete the building of shelves and the German Embassy  supported the acquisition of humidifiers,photocopies,a computer and other equipment and the restoration of the Bismarck Foundation.
Professor Fanso hailed the minister for paying attention to Buea Archives, which at one time because of its state of abandonment, AFAAC had wished that it be placed under the custody of university of Buea.
He disclosed that some friends of Buea Archives such as Professor Jeff Good were engaged in “proposing a project to computerize and digitalize the most fragile documents of the archives.
“The Buea Archives need more computers and photocpiersand greater security. There is need for more humidifiers, heaters and other electrical installations”, Professor Fanso said, appealing that the Buea Archives be given the same status as the national Archives in Yaounde.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Cameroon:Gendarme batters doctor on duty to near death as former's girl friend dies in hospital

By Christopher Ambe Shu.

Pacards-wielding nurses protest Dr Nana's torture

Dr .Nana Theophile,a young medical doctor at the Buea Regional Hospital Annex, was Wednesday( last night )at about 2 :00 AM held at gunpoint, dragged into a nearby army camp and severely beaten by a gendarme  who accused the physician who was on night duty of failing to rescue his dying girlfriend, Patience. The gendarme officer is said to be married man.

At the time of posting this report the personnel of the hospital had downed their tools in protest of the military brutality suffered by their colleague, Nana Theophile, who incidentally won the hospital‘s 2010 Best Doctor of the Year Award.

Placards-wielding nurses staged street demonstrations, cursing unscrupulous military men who are fond of torturing unarmed civilians. Regional authorities were also meeting with senior health professionals including members of the Cameroon Medical Council, to review the incident and perhaps take necessary actions.

Buea Hospital gate sealed off to prevent patients coming in

Dr. Peter-Louis Ndifor, executive member of Cameroon Medical Council, who rushed to the hospital to hold meeting with colleagues, expressed total disappointment at the torture of Dr. Nana. He stressed it was high time the public started giving doctors the dignity and respect they deserve for trying to save lives.

By midday today, this reporter witnessed how a battered Dr. Nana was being evacuated to the Douala Reference Hospital for greater medical attention.
That night, as the angry gendarme officer rough-handled and was dragging Dr.Nana into their camp, which shares boundary with the hospital, some panic-stricken nurses and in-patients who watched helplessly wept. Some nurses were spotted removing their hospital uniform/jackets for fear that more soldiers might come and beat up other hospital staff.

People in pensive mood inside Buea Hospital
Others had quickly alerted the regional security chiefs and the Mayor of Buea, Charles Mbella Moki who doubles as the chair of the hospital management committee of the strange happening. Mayor Moki expressed regrets with what happened, just as did Dr. Njie Mbome, director of the Hospital.
Alerted,a team of security men had rushed to the scene and rescued Dr. Nana, who had reportedly been given what witnesses described as military punches and slaps by gendarmes .
A hospital staff who witnessed the scene told this reporter that one of the seemingly killer-punches sent the doctor crashing to the ground; he collapsed- a situation that frightened other staff making them fear that the doctor might have shot.

The doctor sustained injuries and complained of body pains.

As the story goes, when the gendarme officer’s girl friend, whose name we only got as Patience was rushed to the hospital that night, Dr .Nana attended to her and admitted her. Taken to the female in-patient ward, Patience started screaming and complaining of excruciating abdominal pains. When the gendarme sent for the doctor the latter was reportedly busy with another patient. Before Dr. Nana could come there, Patience had died .That provoked the anger of the armed boyfriend, who thought that if the doctor had rushed immediately Patience would not have died.

Ambulance taking Dr. Nana to Douala for intensive care

Angered the gendarme officer then fell on the doctor and dragged him out of the hospital, threatening hell to him as they entered the military camp.
“When I tried to block the gendarme from dragging the doctor out of the hospital, He pulled out his gun and threatened to shoot me,” Samuel Njie, one of the hospital‘s security guards told reporters. “Please, open the gate or I shoot you”, he quoted the gendarme as saying.

After the incident, a battered and frightened Dr. Nana did not continue his night duty as he was reportedly advised by his superiors to seek protection elsewhere that night.

As at now the hospital is closed. Patients cannot consult. And authorities are holding emergency meetings here and there. It was not clear whether the gendarme officer had been detained, as no security official was willing to talk to the press.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Cameroon:Waiting For The Imminent ELECAM Revolution

By Tazoacha Asonganyi ,Yaounde
To cause the euphoric CPDM barons to descend from their imaginary horses of pride, I gave them the following caution when they were making noises around 6th November 2010: “As CPDM militants celebrate 6th November, they should keep in mind that the people have changed a lot over 28 years. The media revolution has broadened and deepened the people’s thinking, and reinforced their insistence on taking control of their destiny. The people have learned a lot from some of the powerful symbols and symbolic acts about change communicated to them from all corners of the globe during the better part of 28 years, right in their bedrooms. 2011 will neither be like 2004, 1997, nor 1992!”
By the time of this caution, the Sidi Bouzid Intifadah or what the western media have dubbed the Jasmin Revolution had not yet taken place in Tunisia, nor had Egypt’s own that followed closely on its heels. At that time, the only signposts were February 2008 in Cameroon, the “People Power” revolution of Corazon Aquino, and the colour revolutions that followed the collapse of the Berlin Wall, especially in Eastern European countries.
Few politicians can decipher their weaknesses from a position of ‘strength’, least of all CPDM militants! Politicians in a position of strength hardly ever think about the inevitability of defeat, or the inevitability of change. They hardly ever embrace reform in a more orderly manner, to pre-empt a more violent alternative.
Politicians are usually prone to choosing easy options. In creating ELECAM, Paul Biya sought to make it ‘his thing’, and appointed a coterie into the electoral board to act as a decoy for the totally submissive cronies he put as Manager and Assistant Manager of the electoral body. In doing this, he opted for an easy victory, stage-managed by these cronies, rather than a hard-fought, well-deserved one dependent on the will of the people.
In reaction to these antics, and the ineptitude of his cronies, Cameroonians have abandoned the whole thing to him, waiting patiently to teach him a lesson about their sovereignty, and their supremacy over him.
In politics like in football, an invisible hand – the ‘hand of God’ as Maradonna would describe it – can score critical goals. Some political heroes of the past may start claiming that they have been calling for ‘boycott’ of electoral registers to prepare the ground for an appropriate reaction. Interestingly, the ‘hand of God’ seems to have pushed out of the boat for change, those who would have barricaded themselves in their native provinces and issued appeals for “calm” in a sea of trouble.
There will be many grievances that will trigger the revolution being engineered by ELECAM in broad daylight, like the longevity of one man at the helm of the state, the insistence to use old registers doctored in the past by MINAT/D, the obscurantist approach of shunning new technologies, the glaring partisan control of the electoral process and the resultant loss of interest by the people, and the emptiness of majorities – like those of Ben Ali and Mubarak - gained by long reigning dictators in the ballot box.
There is also the possibility that one of these days the redoubtable WikiLeaks may compound the people’s bitterness by publishing the details of billions of tax-payers’ money stashed in foreign bank accounts by each of our long reigning dictators and their cronies!
Tanks, blank and life bullets, truncheons, water cannons, military boots, infested prison cells, and all the brute force that has been used to keep the people in check in the past will be at the rendezvous. But Corazon Aquino had since taught us, and Tunisians and Egyptians have just confirmed, that these weapons of oppression and repression are helpless in the face of masses of a determined people.
Although our own ‘leaders’ do not seem to be behaving like they know it, such masses of determined people are usually got through organisation and strategising; they are usually the outcome of grand coalitions of ‘opposition forces,’ not isolated calls for the people to ‘rise like one man’.
Of course, such grand coalitions need ‘leaders’ that do not have fixations about elections, since the futility of ballot boxes has since been shown even within their political parties. The emptiness of all-powerful ruling parties that derived their ‘power’ from ‘ballot boxes’ and the confiscation of state authority in Tunisia and Egypt is there for all to see!
Some of the leaders are swearing that they can only join the other ‘leaders’ to organise the people if it is to “fight for free and fair elections”, as if following the agenda set by the regime is the only avenue through which the people can reclaim their sovereignty. The people need to be organised in preparation for the impending ELECAM revolution. Those who are against coalitions are for the antics of the regime in place!
In any case, the media revolution has rendered distance education very effective. The people have learned the use of their power by watching other peoples use their own power. In the process, they have become aware of the advantages of mass action! Whether our ‘small’ and ‘big’ leaders like it or not, the people are poised to roar!
As usual, some people will tell us they do not want ‘war’, as if ‘war’ only represents the act of the people wrestling back their confiscated sovereignty. Keeping the people in check with repressive forces while usurpers mess around with the sovereignty of the people is not ‘war’, until the people react to the effrontery. Such idle talk about ‘war’ only gives the impression that those who fight around the world for their freedom and the sovereignty of the people do so because they like ‘war’...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Hon.Ayah Paul,PAP Presidential Candidate

The constitutional provisions making mandatory the declaration of assets by persons holding certain public offices will soon be fifteen years old. The declaration must be upon assuming office as when leaving office. It is of common knowledge that the intention of the legislature was to fight corruption: the amassing of wealth by persons in public offices at the expense of the general interest.

First among the persons in question is the President of the Republic. And the cap fits well when one considers the Cameroonian slogan that the truth and the good example come from the top. What is more, the President in Cameroon, it would appear, cannot be held to account for his stewardship to the people. His position has been strengthened further by the constitutional amendment of 2008 granting him immunity when in office and after leaving office.

Be the situation as it may, if the constitutional provisions had been complied with, allegations against the President of the Republic about ill-gotten wealth would either have been averted or grounded from one’s personal knowledge. Cases of ill-gotten wealth in France and elsewhere against the President which the Minister of Communication ridicules himself attempting to combat in manner akin to the concealment of falsehood in a net would have been nonstarters.

No law there is that persons in those positions should not acquire wealth. The law is against the acquisition of wealth to the detriment of the common wealth. This requires a neat demarcation between the personal interest of the President and the general interest. In the circumstance, the absence of transparency begets suspicion and speculation which no amount of denial can dispel in toto.

Fundamentally, the salary of the President must be of public knowledge. It is the base against which assets acquired during his tenure of office is assessed. In the absence of such vital ingredient, any assessment would be totally in the abstract with suspicion and speculation persisting.

Equally indispensable is the public nature of the declaration. The law in force by which the declaration of assets is wholly secret is as idle as calling for rescue from the grave. The tabling of the Bill in parliament, let alone the adoption of the Bill, was the worst thing that happened to the fatherland besides the 2008 constitutional amendment. One may be bold enough to equate it to fraud on the population. It is all the more unfortunate that even the terrible law is languishing in a presidential drawer several years since its enactment.
Aside from legality, one should like to call on President Paul Biya to follow Paul Ayah’s example, however unorthodox. After all, the President has without doubt copied several examples from Ayah’s “My Vision of a Born Again Cameroon” already. It cannot be argued to the contrary lest to prove that the President needed more than twenty-eight years to perceive the obvious. Three examples of such copying should seat our assertion.

His declaration of intent to procure low-cost houses for the military is an adulteration of Ayah’s vision for barracks for the military. Secondly his sending New Year wishes through sms was copied from Ayah’s Christmas messages through sms. Even prior to Christmas, the Ayah national strategic team had sent thousands of sms to Cameroonians about The 3rd Option. And the President’s prescription of free treatment for simple malaria for children under five is another adulteration of Ayah’s vision of consultations free of charge in government’s hospitals for all Cameroonians. Declaring his assets as Ayah has done therefore would only be within the pattern.

In general, one holds the opinion that the declaration of assets is of absolute necessity for all presidential candidates. Their bids to replace the incumbent would be sterile if they meant replacing the person simpliciter. Ayah’s vision is a fundamental change: adopting a new way of doing things – securing a systemic change. To show therefore that a presidential aspirant will conduct state affairs differently, the declaration of his/her assets is indispensable: it is the birth of integrity. Failure so to do should lead Cameroonian voters to question the candidate’s integrity. Such candidate’s crusading for the presidential chair would be nothing more than taking over to have one’s own turns: very like hunting with the hound and running with the hare.
In normal circumstances where integrity is the golden rule, the conscience should dictate that whoever fails to declare his/her assets ought to withdraw from the race!

Eleven officials kidnapped in Cameroon rebel region

YAOUNDE (Reuters) - Suspected rebels from Cameroon's Bakassi Peninsula kidnapped 11 local government officials and killed two gendarmes in separate attacks in the oil-rich region, a local mayor said on Monday.
Cornelius Edonde, mayor of the town of Kombo-Idinti, said the mayor and 10 other officials of nearby Kombo-Abedimo were kidnapped in a pirate attack on their boat on Sunday as they returned from a function in waters just off the Bakassi coast.

Two local gendarmes were shot in a separate attack onshore in the same region early on Monday, Edonde said by telephone.
Edonde said both incidents were suspected to be the work of a local rebel group which calls itself the Africa Marine Commando (AMC) and has carried out past kidnappings to demand the release of their fighters held by the authorities.

The AMC is a splinter faction of the Bakassi Freedom Fighters group which is seeking compensation on behalf of Nigerians compelled to leave the Bakassi Peninsula after the disputed land was handed over to Cameroon in 2008.
The hard-line AMC group broke away from the Bakassi Freedom Fighters in early 2009 in a dispute over whether to open up a dialogue with Cameroon's government.

ion of the Bakassi Freedom Fighters group which is seeking compensation on behalf of Nigerians compelled to leave the Bakassi Peninsula after the disputed land was handed over to Cameroon in 2008.

The hard-line AMC group broke away from the Bakassi Freedom Fighters in early 2009 in a dispute over whether to open up a dialogue with Cameroon's government.

Cameroonian officials believe 11 kidnapped govt officials are being held in nearby Nigeria

By The Associated Press (CP)
YAOUNDE, Cameroon — Cameroonian officials say they believe 11 kidnapped government officials are being held in neighbouring Nigeria.
Cornelius Edonde said Tuesday that witnesses reported seeing hostages being taken to an island on Nigeria's side of the border after being kidnapped.
Edonde is the mayor of Kombo Etindi, an island inside Cameroon's oil-rich Bakassi peninsula.
Pirates kidnapped the officials on Sunday, and killed two Cameroonian paramilitary policemen on Monday.
Edonde said he fears the attacks were carried out by the Bakassi Freedom Fighters, a militant faction that disputes Cameroon's ownership of the oil-rich land.
Bakassi was officially handed over to Cameroon in August 2008 following a verdict two years earlier by the International Court of Justice.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Cameroon: Hon. Ayah to race presidential election on PAP’s Ticket.

Hon.Ayah (middle) being led to venue of book launch
 By Christopher Ambe Shu
Out-spoken critic of the Biya regime, Hon Ayah Paul Abine who recently declared his candidature for this year’s presidential election and later  resigned from the ruling CPDM but kept his political platform secret for strategic reason, has made known the political party on whose ticket he will contest  Cameroon’s presidential election.
Hon. Ayah, MP for Akwaya-one of the least developed regions of Cameroon, is now a registered member of Peoples Action Party (PAP), founded by late Professor Ngoh Mukwelle Victor, in 1991, with headquarters in Kumba.
Hon. Ayah last Wednesday used the launch of his book “My Vision of a Born Again Cameroon” in Buea to announce his choice of PAP, a party  ,he disclosed ,he helped to form behind -the -scene.
“On the 27th of January this year I became a registered member of Peoples Action Party (PAP),”he disclosed to hundreds of people who turned-up for the launch at Cameroon Na-Bakassi,
Cross-section of audience at book launch
The disclosure of his political party put to rest a secret fight by some political party leaders to win Hon. Ayah over to their parties, since they describe him as a credible crowd-puller, and mover and shaker of Cameroon politics.
Reviewing the 50-page bilingual book (25 pages in English &25 pages in French), which is PAP’s manifesto, veteran journalist Victor Epie Ngome said it is loaded with true democratic values. “It is big ideas, little book”, he remarked, adding that the book is a nation-builder, which every Cameroonian should have as a companion.
One clergyman, who had the privilege of reading, read the book before its launch, told the audience: “God has put a great vision for a new Cameroon in Hon. Ayah’s heart”. He thought that “if we can realize what we see in the book we will live in a paradise-like society in the near future”
For his part, Mamat Souleman, former vice president of Cameroon’s leading opposition party, the SDF, and now with APF party, said Hon. Ayah seems to be a true change catalyst.

People line -up to buy Hon. Ayah's book

 “Change is not just political leadership; it is the will of the people. What they need is just courage. Change must come to Cameroon”, Souleman said, hailing Hon. Ayah’s courage and political blue-print.
Professor of history, Julius Ngoh of University of Buea also had kind words for Hon. Ayah, noting that as a historian he (Prof.Ngoh) attended the book launch so that in 20 years he will be able to tell the story as it happened. He commended Hon. Ayah’s fluency in English and French,
In his reply, Hon. Ayah who recently declared his assets as required by law, said when elected President of Cameroon at the forth-coming presidential election he must  implement his vision of a born-again Cameroon, which will be an 11-federated state with strict separation of powers. He said his cabinet will have at most 20 ministers (10 men and ten women).
Cutting waste of national resources, solving the Anglophone problem, amendment of the constitution, will be some of his priority concerns, it emerged.
He regretted that the CPDM regime is imposing poverty on citizens when there is evidence that Cameroon is abundantly blessed with resources, so that it could easily manipulate them.
“Only one thing is most important in this world: telling the truth. Nobody can disprove the truth; you can only disprove lies”, the author cum presidential candidate observed.
He regretted that out of 15 presidential candidates already known he was the only government target for “destruction”.
He announced that in the near future he will organize a massive rally in Buea, before proceeding to other towns with his vision for born-again Cameroon.
Hon. Ayah, who recently received a standing ovation at an all-Southwest Regional Forum  intended to set a new pace for unity and development for the region, urged Cameroonians to vote according to their consciences.
He said more than 95% of Cameroonians want change but don’t want to work for it. “If you want change you have to work for it”, he challenged the audience, hinting that PAP will create a bank account for financial contributions from sympathizers and supporters.