Mungwin: grasshopper hunting that defies danger, flavours diets

Amid danger of being accidentally killed by oncoming vehicles or falling in gutters, inhabitants of the Northwest Region of Cameroon have engaged in frenzy occasioned by the lure of “Mungwin”, a light-chasing green seasonal grasshopper that has over time served as supplement and flavour to most of their diets.

To this effect, locals there are making amazing treasures out of green grasshoppers. The hopping insect known in local parlance as “mungwin” has become either supplementary or indispensable as it forms partof or whole meals.

Green grasshoppers are flying insects that set in during October and disappear by December. Their naturally green colour turns brown when cooked for eating. The hunting of this insect is common in localities like Bali, Bamenda Bambili, Bambui, Babanki and Chomba. For people who cherish eating green grasshoppers, they eat them in varied forms in various combinations such as mungwin/corn fufu, mungwin/bread, mungwin/sweet-yams, mungwin/fried-plantain, mungwin/cocoyams.

Grasshoppers, locally called ‘Mungwin’

In some cases, others eat green grasshoppers exclusively without necessarily combining with other foods. Divine Foy, is a constable who works with a telecommunication company. He expressed that “During mungwin season, I eat mungwin at least twice a week in place of roast cow meat. Mungwin has its season which if you miss eating it, you have missed but other forms of meat would always be available. I like it because it is delicious and I know that it has nutritional benefits even if I don’t know the specific nutrients it contains.”

In the opinion of Robert Munga, retired civil servant, mungwin has no bones and it is easy to chew “I like eating green grasshoppers because it is very easy to chew. The insect tastes so good and has a lot of natural oil even though it is not cooked with oil. I see it like meat without bones.  I don’t really consider eating it as food but I just consume it as a chewable. I cannot deny eating it because I have seen other people enjoying it.”

It is also funny to note that some people dislike green grasshoppers because they regard it inferior. Brunhilda Bih Bong, is one of those who think that “green grasshoppers are similar to cockroaches and ants. I cannot eat something that flies around and creeps on the ground. I just pity people who eat them because they have not bothered to find out whether it is harmful to the system or not,” she complained. The green grasshoppers could be spotted along streets and in markets sold in minute quantities at minimum FCFA 100 and in buckets at FCFA 2,500.

Hunters of green grasshoppers trap the insects at night with the use of white florescent lamps, corrugated roofing sheets and basins of water. The trap is set in a way that the lamp attracts the insects. The insect flies around the lamp and settles on the corrugated sheet. The corrugated sheets are set in the form of a slope, so when the insect settles on the metal, it slides into the basin of water and the hunting is complete. After hunting, the hunter treats it as desired. It is either sold to consumers or consumed by the hunter. Health experts have revealed that green grasshoppers are nutritious and healthy because they are rich in protein and minerals and lower in cholesterol than beef or pork.

By Mildred Ndum Wung Kum

Agbor-Balla reaffirms two-state federation stand

On Tuesday, October 24, 2017 in London, Barrister Nkongho Felix Agbor Balla granted an interview to Focus on Africa on the BBC. In the interview with David Amana, Agbor Balla who is the pioneer president of the now outlawed   Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium emphatically re-echoes his stand for a two-state federation. The following is the interview transcribed by Atia Azohnwi. Excerpts:-

What is the way forward now for the two English speaking Regions of Cameroon? It has been more than a year since civil disobedience protests began. At the heart of the crisis are grievances over what people in the Northwest and Southwest Regions feel as marginalisation by the Francophone dominated government in Yaoundé. One of the men who called for the demonstrations last year is Nkongho Felix Agbor Balla, a lawyer and leader of the outlawed Cameroon Anglophone Consortium of Civil Societies. He is in London right now. He was actually released from a lengthy jail sentence early this year and stood accused on terrorism and treason charges. So why has Government given him freedom to move around now?

I was accused of terrorism, secession, incitement to civil war, group rebellion, and also attempt to change the form of the state among others. There were eight charges against me.

 

And which of the charges do you admit to?

None of the charges. We were innocent of all the things that they said. We did not commit any crime. The consortium was clearly a non-violent organisation.We said it in all our communiqués and press statements. I think we were arrested because they felt that because of our leadership qualities, we were in total control of all what was happening. And our people listened to us. It was more of trying to see how they could kill the movement.

What about the charges calling for secession?

We never called for secession. If you read all the communiqués from the consortium, we talked about a two-state federation. The consortium had never spoken about independence, restoration and secession. And till date, that is the same position that we maintain. We were for a two-state federation; we have never been for secession, restoration or independence.

And that is how it started. You even have supporters in the US calling for independence at the UN, calling for a state called Ambazonia. What do you make of that?

Independence is a very emotional thing. People, everybody likes it. But I look at the reality. I am a realist. You know, I look at the feasibility of having it. I am for a federation [two-state federation] that will bring the Cameroons together – the Anglophones and Francophones – to build a stronger country. Let us be honest; we can have unity in diversity. We can respect each other’s specificities and cultural and linguistic differences. But we are a people, we are one, we can build a stronger nation by being together. I don’t think separation is the panacea for the time being.

And you will agree that is a softer line that calls for independence.

Yes! I think it is a more centric view. I think lots of Anglophones also are now talking about a federation. And I think we have moderate Francophones who have joined the call for a federation. Prior to our arrest, federation was a taboo. Discussions about it were taboo. We think now that everybody understands at least that federalism is a form of Government that can be acceptable to everybody. And it ends up being a win-win situation. So, it is a balance between those calling for restoration or Southern Cameroons’ independence and those who believe in a unitary state. So, if we can have a federal structure, it will help the country.

The children in those Regions have not been going to school. It is over a year now. They stay away from school. And you were the leader of one of the organisations which called for parents to keep their children away from school. Do you still maintain that position?

When we called for kids not to go to school, it was not supposed to be a long term measure. It was supposed to be a short term measure to try to call the attention of the Government to address the issues. I believe that now it’s time for kids to go back to school. I believe that it is time for the leadership in the Anglophone community to ensure that kids should go back to school. I urge the leadership to consider that kids should be able to go back to school.

And the ‘ghosts towns’, the disruptions to the economy, and small businesses; what should happen to those concerned?

It is a price that we all pay. I can understand a ‘ghost town’ for one day. But when it is two or three days, I think it is heavy. Most of the business people that I talked to are okay if there is ‘ghost town’ on Monday. But when you start making it for two or three days, especially in Buea which is considered the Silicon Valley, it has a lot of effect on small businesses. They understand, they accept the fact that, I spoke to one guy who has a shop. He said “President, if it is for one day, I understand it is my own price to pay.” We have to start thinking out of the box. We can still continue the struggle while not killing the goose that is laying the golden eggs.

You were jailed for eight months. You suffered, but they have eased up on you now. Have you done some kind of deal?

Before I went to jail, I used to work in the UN. So, I have lived in the West for at least 17 years. I travelled at least three times every year. So, it is a continuation of who I am or the things I do. And let’s not forget, before I went to jail, for those who know me, I stay in my house that I built, my office, I own it. I think it is more about people who don’t know who I am and who really don’t know the kind of person I am made of. But Dr. Fontem Aforteka’a Neba is there. We don’t have our ID cards, our bank accounts are blocked.

Are you in touch with him?

Yes! I mean, we live in the same town. We are constantly in touch.

Are you two still following the same path?

Yes! We are still following the same path. And like I said in one of my interviews on local TV in Cameroon, nobody did cut any deal. Since I left jail, there is nobody in Cameroon; there is no Anglophone in Cameroon who has made the kinds of statements that I have made since I left jail. I want to see one person who has made the statements that I have made since I left jail. Nobody living in Cameroon, including the leaders of the opposition, including those who want to run for president, nobody has made the statements that I have made in Cameroon. For somebody who follows the political landscape of Cameroon, it would be shocking for someone to say that because I travel out of the country, [I have cut a deal with Government]. I went to Ghana, that was on a UN-VP high level panel discussion on the future of governance in Africa and my ticket was bought by the organisers.

Before the beginning of next year, where do you want to be? Do you want to be in negotiations with Yaoundé?

I think the first thing is I am trying to lobby for us to have an all Anglophone leadership dialogue conference where leadership will meet and try to strategise on immediate, short-term and long-term goals.

So what you are saying is that you want to achieve unity first because you are disunited?

Yes! Among the leadership, there we can have an ‘All Anglophone Dialogue Forum’ where everybody will sit, hoping that we have a negotiation with Government to address some of the issues.

But in the meantime, Government is not waiting. You’ve got an election next year. President Biya is going to walk it, isn’t he?

Yes! And I believe that Anglophones also, we have to start thinking how to get into the political process. Because if we have 45-50 parliamentarians, with moderate Francophones who are for a federation, then we can make things happen. We cannot be absent from the electoral process. We need to get involved. We need to try to see how we can create a movement; we need to try to see how we can bring like minded people on board. Because even if we don’t go for elections, others will go, with our representation which will be the people we don’t like, but they will have to represent us for the next five years.

SDO implores bickering Buea politicians to reconcile

Visibly unimpressed with the current dog-eat-dog relationship among squabbling CPDM politicians in Fako Division and Buea particularly, at a time when a string of elections are in the offing, newly installed Senior Divisional Officer, SDO, for Fako, Engamba Emmanuel Ledoux has advised politicians in Buea Sub-Division, especially, those of the ruling CPDM to settle their grudges against each other so that together, they can take Buea to the next level. He was speaking Thursday, October 26, during his maiden socio-economic tour to Buea Sub-Division.

SDO Engamba welcomed to Buea

In the opinion of the SDO, politics is a way humans organize themselves to carry out development in their community, not a means to bring disorder.

“We should come into politics with clean hands, minds and hearts. The case of Buea is very peculiar in Fako Division; there is no other place where we have the kind of situation we have in Buea. What is happening here in Buea cannot favour anybody. I don’t know why Buea politicians persist in division, whereas there is a way to dialogue. The worse thing is that you are of the same political party. You can have a problem today and tomorrow you can sit down because you have the common interest. You are in the same boat and so, you want the boat to sink. As SDO, I count on the elite of Buea to help us try to bring a solution because this situation is a hindrance to development,” he counseled.

SDO Ledoux, promised that he would never take sides, for, his wish is to see all what is going on being stopped and people sitting down like brothers to dialogue.

Of the many preoccupations laid bare to him by the people of Buea through their Mayor, he assured that the creation of a City Council in Buea was probably in a matter of months. On the rampant chieftaincy issues, he appealed that the population assist the administration in designating their traditional ruler.

Referring to the issue of Paramount Chief of Buea, he said his endeavor was to make sure that the chief is designated before the end of 2017. “I have been to Mutengene where I heard it was almost impossible and we did it, very soon you shall hear of Limbe. Those remaining are that of Bonjongo and the Paramount Chief of Buea. The community has to help us. But after this exercise, let the champions of petitions allow us go to other businesses,” he affirmed.

The SDO also told the people of Buea that Government was working seriously on the issue of water shortage; and that with the opportunity of African Nations Cup, he thinks the problem of shortage of water would be solved in Buea.

He said the Buea-Mutengene road was too narrow and they are insisting on Government to take care of the road. He revealed that there is going to be another highway from Limbe to Douala and there is no reason why Limbe should be linked to Douala and not Buea. Engamba Ledoux said even the road from Muea to Kumba, especially the famous Mile 29 hill will be worked upon.

December ultimatum for ‘ghost town’ respecters

He congratulated those he said were resolutely opening their business places despite the ‘ghost town’ issue which has become a great problem. “Our brothers who decide to obey what they call ‘ghost town,’ what have they benefited from it? Nothing. As from December, those who will try to obey this ‘ghost town’ shall be sanctioned, shall even be prosecuted.We have ways to do that,” he boasted.

The SDO told the people that his commitment was to serve the population of Fako and his doors are always open. “I want us to work hand-in-gloves because I have been sent to Fako to serve. I am at your disposal. I, the SDO am your humble servant,” he pledged.

Power mongering in Fako reaches peak level of ‘kill and take the head’ – Mayor

To the Mayor of Buea who raised several “pertinent issues,” despite the municipality’s isolated endeavours to procure solutions to the current crisis in the Northwest and Southwest Regions, the situation has remained endemic and volatile. He said while the municipal authorities are working alongside the population, other elected officials have derided the situation and taken up permanent residence in Yaounde.

“This attitude has been compounded by conspiracy, witch-hunting, backstabbing, sabotage and power mongering which has taken the centre stage. It has reached the peak level of ‘kill and take the head’ as was evident in our case of the September 22, 2017. The architects of such diabolic act, who are within the house of the CPDM, have continued to dissuade the population from receiving the olive branch the state is stretching to them,” he regretted.

Speaking on behalf of his peers, Chief Mesoso III of Lysoka Bwilei said the SDO’s tour was a very huge success.  He said the SDO was a man with patience and has the skill for his job.

By Nester Asonganyi

Mayor gets another FCFA 10 lifeline for destroyed property

The notoriety Molyko and other neignbourhoods in Buea had attracted on account of haphazard building and space occupation may soon be relegated to the dust bins of history, if the deliberations of a session to expose a functional Land Use Plan conceived by LE COMPLETING BET/BEFA CONSULTING COMPANY that held at the Buea Council Chamber, Friday, October 27, 2017, are anything to go by.

Patronized by the Senior Divisional Officer, SDO, for Fako, Engamba Emmanuel Ledoux, Mayor of Buea, Ekema Patrick Esunge and other important personnel, the plan showcased reconstruction of the Muea Market, Wotutu, and demolition of houses on the roadside, on claims that Buea has experienced haphazard construction of houses with some of them in ravines or steep slopes. FCFA 700 million has already been set aside for the projects.

This project has been allotted a three-month time frame for completion, considering that the population continues to grow geometrically with the attendant challenges of water, proper housing and allocation of land for social amenities that mount persistent pressure in a setting of increasing value of land.

According to the Council, with the absence of a clear-cut demarcation of land for public structures, the Mayor has pleaded that the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing should produce a definite land use plan which seeks to set order and regulate land use.

Buea Council as a local Government institution has therefore planned for the needs of the community by employing the mode of assessing land, water potentials and projects to be completed in a time-frame of three months.

Also, during the meeting, a document was signed by the chairperson of a committee which was formed by the executives of the council, to purposely look into and examine the damages incurred by the mayor, as a result of the upheavals which took place on September 22, 2017, which involved destruction on his house, cars, and other properties. The decision was taken strictly to sympathize with him for his losses as the losses cannot be measured in financial terms only, according to them.

Another issue that attracted attention was brought up by Counselor Isuma Otto Endeley regarding the pollution of streams which have been transformed to car washes. He continued that the dirt from these car washes in the streams pollute the water, which the inhabitants of those areas use for other domestic purposes and also serve as breeding ground for hoodlums.

The mayor assured them that, measures have already been put in place to handle the situation. The mayor even gave reference to the carwash that used to be along the Great Soppo-Street Two Entrance to be precise, and promised to take proper care of the others.

*By Senge Claire & *Echu Pelvin

*UB Journalism students on Internship

 

 

Is MINPOSTEL siding with economic exploiters?

A recent spate of accusations have been levied against mobile telephony companies relating to their inability to render quality services to customers, and by that token, short changing them of deserved satisfaction. However, Posts and Telecommunications Minister, Libom Li Likeng Minette, has in an announcement that observers qualify as tacit complicity with oppressing mobile telephony giants discounted any possibility of sanctioning the erring operators, adding that accusations are from an uninformed public. She has, also, argued that with more than 17million subscribers in the country, sanctions will leave devastating consequences on the telecommunications sector thereby worsening the Cameroon economy.

Admitting during a press briefing at the Conference Hall of her Ministry in Yaounde, Friday, October 27, 2017, that every disadvantaged subscriber deserves compensation from their service providers, she hastily advanced that she and her collaborators had considered punishing culprit companies for continually deteriorating services delivered to their consumers, but, decided otherwise to avoid threatening corollary. She added that they (the corporations) were forgiven on grounds that it is the first audit since the liberalization of the Cameroon telecommunication sector.

According to Minister Likeng, the press briefing had been occasioned by the need to share results obtained from the audit by Swedish audit firm CYBERCOM Group, hired to examine the quality of services provided by telecommunication operators in Cameroon, viz; MTN Cameroon, ORANGE Cameroun, NEXXTEL and CAMTEL.The audit, she advanced, was carried out following the “esteemed instructions” of the Head of State, Paul Biya, with the coordination of the Prime Minister and Head of Government, Philemon Yang. She explained that it was aimed at assessing the quality of service from the operators’ and the users’ standpoints, identifying the causes of deterioration in the quality of service, evaluating regulation in the sector and making concrete proposals as to how to permanently resolve the problem.

Coming at a time when Cameroon, a nation dreaming of emergence by 2035, is making snail-pace moves in joining the digital world, she said that the maiden audit to troubleshoot the problems plaguing mobile services, confirmed that incessant complaints from disappointed subscribers are justifiable. She added that they will not hesitate to lay heavy sanctions on any defaulters if they fail to implement recommendations dished out to the companies.

If the promises of the Minister are anything to go by, then a new page has been turned in the Cameroon telecommunications sector; away from the disrepute of the international norms guarding network operations, deteriorating network quality, vulnerable security of malwares at the mercy of hackers, amidst other worries with disturbing fixtures of audited companies at issue. She promised that such issues will soon be tales of the past.

706 recommendations to be monitored by the audit firm were announced to have been channeled to the corporations concerned with firm instructions for them to augment their services to international standards latest in the next six months. The Government’s heavy hands will fall on any defaulters, she warned.

Some mobile telecommunications network subscribers have indicted the Minister for siding with the mobile telephone operators whom they call exploiters. They vented their anger following the Minister’s declaration that no mobile telephone network operator would be sanctioned, regardless of their legitimate complaints forwarded to her office. They explained that even supposed 4G networks are hardly up to 2 in reality, regretting that they pay for one but are tricked and served the other.

The disgruntled and dissatisfied mobile users alleged that the Minister couldn’t lay regulatory fingers on any of the companies because she is supposedly feeding fat from slush money they would have pumped into her personal coffers.

Accusing arrows are still being shot at the Minister who earlier denied allegations of shutting down internet in the stalemated Northwest and Southwest Regions even though subscribers in these parts of the country have resorted to unorthodox means to be privileged to surf the internet. The multimillion dollar question is whether this initial audit since the liberalization of the sector in Cameroon will bear any sweet fruits for the complainants.

It should be noted that about a year ago, the Nigerian telecommunications regulatory authorities slammed over US $2 billion fine on a telephony company in this neighbouring country for undermining the country’s laid down legislation on the communication sector. It took long months of haggling, pleading and a troubleshooting trip to Nigeria by South African President Jacob Zuma for the fine to be reduced to about US $500 million.

By Claudia Nsono

VPN rubbishes Gov’t internet cut in NW/SW

From all indications, the Biya regime has lost touch with the reality of modern governance. Whether it is viewed from the perspective of the right caliber of persons and skills to be deployed for particular tasks or the appropriate tools or strategies what readily come to the foreground is that Government is in dire need of corporate strategists. This can be seen clearly from the fact that barely a few months after its ploy to deprive Anglophone Cameroon of internet connectivity had been foiled by SVS application created by an Anglophone, which tapped internet from east of the Mungo their bluff has this time around been called off by VPN, which grants access to restricted sites.

More than 90 percent of Anglophones have become masters of technology and can now nip internet connections even where there are no connections. Despite the blocking of Facebook and whatsApp, the Government this time around has been shocked to see people with the use of the Very Personal Network,VPN, in the Northwest and Southwest, chatting and flattering online just like their brothers East of the Mungo.

The Government thought it had for the second time prevented the Anglophone Regions from the gospels as preached from the Diaspora, by blocking access to Facebook and whatsApp.

Anglophones have seen the current Government’s decision as a good joke in bad taste and accordingly, teaching Government a bigger lesson. The brains of the Anglophones are getting wider as they now use this VPN application which lets access into restricted sites, keeps your data secured and hides browsing activities on public network.

Speaking to the Rambler, an agent of the Mobile telephony company MTN said the use of the VPN is preventing their business from grumbling. He said, their sale of air time has dropped because many people use to buy airtime because of facebook and whastapp. “I am happy many people are using the VPN and I am not afraid to encourage it because we have no choice.”

According to research, the only way a Government can restrict a site is by cutting off internet connectivity completely. The Government might be finding themselves helpless but at the same time would not like to cut off internet completely and suffer the wrath and sanctions of the mobile telephony companies and international organizations. The Government has already been surprised and defeated by the technological knowhow of the Anglophones.

Internet connections have been partially cut off for over a month now in the two Anglophone Regions and the Anglophones are becoming more determined and are finding escape holes in all Governments’ barriers. Enow Simon says, before, he never knew of something like the VPN. “Even when internet is restored, I would still use the VPN because it prevents Government and any other organizations from monitoring private activities online.”

By Atembeh Ngewung Lordfred