Buea mayor controversial even in death

*By Nzo Esther Nzo, Enongene Lerise Mbulle & Melvine Welisanes

Badmouthing says it is good riddance while those whose interests he served whether at the party or individual level, see in his demise the crumbling of an inimitable bulwark against lawlessness in the city of Buea, in particular and, the Southwest region in general.

Whatever the perspective from which it is viewed, maverick mayor of Buea, Ekema Patrick Esunge’s death last Sunday, January 27, 2019, at a Douala health facility has sent tongues wagging as to the real cause of his sudden death. While some including family members, insist even with yet to be verified evidence, on the thesis that he died of poisoning, the official verdict has pegged instead his unceremonious exit from this sinful world on a cardiac arrest.

As the shock occasioned by his abrupt exit persists, a condolence message purportedly written by the Minister of Decentralization and Local Development has heightened the controversy surrounding the deceased mayor as the date of the ministerial condolence memo ignites the possibility of advance knowledge of the eventual passing away to eternity of the mayor. The minister’s condolence message is dated October 24 while Mayor Ekema died on October 27.

Another pungent controversy is the mode of succession championed by Fako Senior Divisional Officer, SDO, Emmanuel Engamba who has allegedly upheld the late mayor’s outlaw approach to even as his unlawful exit from the council was yet to be looked into.

 Some of his controversial edicts while alive include banning of the circulation of commercial motorbikes within the Buea municipality. This he justified by claiming that armed separatists and other criminals relied on some unscrupulous riders of these commercial motorbikes to inflict loses in property and human lives on innocent citizens. Unfortunately, his supposedly well intentioned edict has instead pushed many of these riders into armed robbery and hostage taking as sources of livelihood.

Moreover his valiant attempts to induce businesses to operate during ‘ghost towns’ and lockdowns boomeranged into unprecedented arsons and banditry as houses are constantly incinerated and others broken into by men of the underworld allegedly at the behest of separatist militias as warning to “traitors.” Shops were sealed by the mayor, and only opened at his will, sometimes leading to contrary actions from his collaborators whom he accused of corrupt practices. This degenerated to the point where two of his immediate collaborators were suspended a few weeks before his death. According to our source Elvis Tome who is one of the bike riders in Sandpit (Buea) despite the banning of bike riding in Buea municipality, bike riders still continue to ply the road of Sandpit because they work only within the neighbourhood and had never been disturbed by the mayor except for some council workers, policemen and soldiers who disturb them occasionally. Nevertheless, this did not stop them from doing their job. However, in neighbourhoods like Bonduma, Checkpoint, Malingo and other places bikers are in a dilemma whether to start work or not since the ban placed on biking has not been revoked. They are upbeat that Ekema’s successor will change the policy in their favour.

On the order hand the policy to combat shutdown in Buea by sealing shops of individuals who out of fear refuse to open was welcomed with mixed feelings because some businessmen were scared of risking their lives due to fear of separatist fighters while a handful of individuals were excited because it was seen as a means to make more sales which will help them to cater for their families and other expenses.

Even after the mayor’s death, some business premises he had sealed remain padlocked till date, leaving the owners in total confusion whether their shops will be opened or not.  On Monday the October 28, few shops were seen open while a large number of businesses refused to open their shops due to the absence of the mayor and fear in their hearts since the mayor is no longer around to protect them.  Despite that few council men stepped out to ensure that the policy to combat shutdown stands but were humiliated by the public and had to retire.  Some individuals pointed out that these policies implemented by the late mayor can only be operational when another mayor re-implements them.

*UB Journalism students on internship

Buea council changes guards at eve of elections

He reportedly stayed loyal and obedient to the boss who is of late today. He stayed on track, playing second fiddle to the boss for political expediency. He is not known to have rocked the boat; not even once. Rather he worked strictly for whatever purpose the Late Patrick Ekema Esunge stood for. He did so with measured abnegation and resignation. He was Second Deputy Mayor and earlier on this year, when Motombi Emmanuel was kicked out, he was kicked up the ladder to take his place of First Deputy. He is Efande John Lyonga. Yesterday, Thursday, October 31, procedural exigencies were said to have been completed for him to occupy the rather big shoes of the late Ekema.

Barely five days earlier the Town Hall chief officer’s office was under seal, following the passing on of the former occupant who dropped dead on Sunday, October 27. We cannot say with certitude if it would be instantly reopened for Efande to safely install in it and take the current tenure to February 2020 when it is due to come to term. What we know for certain is that the sanctity of that office as it were, had to be protected, Ekema’s passing notwithstanding. That an eventual inventory would be carried out before the next occupant physically steps in, to replace the departed one.

Hiring and firing

As has been largely reported by several other media, the late Ekema was iron fisted and brooked no opposition to his authority. He had caused to be fired certain stumbling blocks of his administration, including his direct deputies and other ordinary councilors. Motomby Emmanuel was one such baobab that the portly mayor eased out of office. Yet, in principle, Motomby was still eligible to contest for the vacant seat of mayor, following Ekema’s demise. However, we learnt that when the supervisory authority summoned a council to put the records in order, Motombi didn’t seize the occasion to be there and to effectively contest to replace the very one that ousted him with ignominy months ago. Hence, Efande scraped through with relative legal, tactical ease, so to speak. And he shall remain bona fide mayor of Buea for at least three months.

We couldn’t also confirm the persistent rumour that the late mayor had eased out Motombi because political reckoning time was nigh and he wasn’t feeling too comfortable with his deputy’s “apparent” ambition and popularity. Taking Motombi out, it was being whispered, would have meant less threats of losing out. But then, Motombi himself inadvertently provided Ekema the rope with which to hang him when he was reportedly not being regular at work and he grabbed it. But was the right procedure to oust Motombi adopted or not?

Motombi reportedly stayed away from his duty post for about seven months. But, then, he didn’t skip three consecutive council sessions as to be said to have breached the regulation in force and so might have been surreptitiously and irregularly shoved out of office. Section 48 of Law N0: 2004/018 of July 22, 2004 on rules applicable to councils is pretty clear on this. It makes provision for a councilor to be deemed to have resigned from office if he fails to attend three consecutive council sessions.

What the law says…

Section 48 (1) states:

“Any member of the council duly convened, who, without just cause has failed to attend three successive sessions may, after a request by the mayor to furnish explanations be deemed upon the recommendation of the council to have resigned… by the minister in charge of regional and local authorities.

(2) The decision which shall be notified to the member concerned and to the representative of the state may be appealed before a competent court.

(3) The councilor deemed to have resigned in accordance with the provision of subsection (1) above may not run for the council by- or general council election immediately following such resignation.

 Suspension, termination of duties and replacement of the council executive (Section 94) (1):

In case of infringement of the laws and regulations in force or of serious misconduct, mayors and deputy mayors may be suspended by order of the minister in charge of regional and local authorities for a maximum period of three months after hearing them or requesting them to furnish written explanations on the acts for which they are accused. After such period they shall either be rehabilitated or dismissed.

(2) The dismissal referred to in the preceding subsection shall be by degree of the president of the republic.

(3) The suspension orders and dismissal degree shall give reasons therefore.

(4) The suspended or dismissed mayors and deputy mayors shall maintain their status as councilors.  

98(2) Where the minister in charge of regional and local authorities is informed by the representative of the state, he shall order the mayor or deputy mayor to immediately hand over service to his replacement appointed in accordance with the provision of section 103 (below) without waiting for the installation of his successor.  Where the mayor or deputy mayor refuses to resign, the minister in charge of regional and local authorities shall suspend him by order for a period determined by the said minister. His duties shall be terminated by decree of the president of the republic.

Section 106(1) the provisions of section 94 above, shall, among others, apply in case of the following malpractices:

  • Acts provided for and punishable under the law relating to the auditing of authorizing officers, managers and directors of public funds and of state enterprises.
  • Use of council funds for personal or private purposes (c) forgery as provided for under criminal laws: (d) misappropriation of public funds and corruption (e) speculation in the allocation or use of public lands and other moveable and immoveable property of the council and in the issuing of land parceling or demolition permit.   

(2) In the cases referred to above, administrative sanctions shall not bar legal proceedings to be instituted in accordance with the regulations in force.

Motombi and indeed, other deputy mayors before him and councilors are most likely to have been dismissed in clear breach of the law, if one were to go by the provisions of the legislation cited above. For example it turns out that for a mayor of deputy mayor to be said to have been effectively dismissed must be ultimately sanctioned by the president of the republic. This wasn’t the case with Motomby and others before him.

It is not also clear if the dismissed officials were first queried and suspended before letting the final act of dismissal to fall on them. It is not also not clear if the dismissed officials were first suspended for three months before their sack. More still, it is still hazy why none of the victims ever sought the protection of the law courts as prescribed in the texts quoted above.

What is imminent is that the dismissing party must have taken refuge under the same legislation under which the council budget could bypass the supervisory authority’s visa. The council budget is deemed to have been approved if after 15 days of its submission the supervisory authority stays mute. It is possible that Motomby and co may have been dismissed when the SDO failed to reply to the council’s application to so do after 15 days which is most likely to be out of sync with appropriate texts.     

Good wine needs no bush’

By Ngouadjio Rosita

Good wine needs no bush is a common English expression which simply translates to the fact that a good product is self advertizing. Saparatists have been waging a rather brutal war that targets certain goods perceived by them to be produced by “foreign enemy” interests. Naturally, one would have expected the producers of the said goods to throw out the scores of Anglophone staff this multinational employs in every echelon and close down its facilities in the two Regions. But no! On the contrary, every single one of them has been taken off harm’s way, transferred to safer territory with their salaries and other emoluments maintained.

One would have thought that other multinational companies in the same business would take advantage of the “shortfall” and do brisk business. But no! What one sees are substandard substitutes being shipped in from a neighbouring country and dumped in the two regions.  These products are as dirt cheap as they are dubious in quality. A bottle or can of what is imported sells for less than half of what the “banned drinks” sell for. Yet, a kind of “intra smuggling” is currently going on because faithful consumers of the “banned” products are determined to break difficult barriers to drink what they have known to be qualitative for many decades. And they do so despite the prohibitive costs and dangers involved.

Ironically, it is the “unbanned” producers that are retrenching and selling their separatist favoured products with lots of difficulties. And this “fight” is by no means related to the fight of the cokes in America and other Western countries. Far from it. Recently, the saparatists’ destruction capabilities have been weakened as they themselves secretly go for quality. Hence the gradual easing of the gaseous version of the “banned” products into the open market.

The snag however, is that the company that should have grabbed the market advantage is virtually at sea. In Buea for example, their piled up products are shunned, the negative propaganda notwithstanding, in preference for the people’s “banned choice.”  

  By the way, gaseous drinks have constituted the economy of Cameroon for a very long period now. Youths enjoy taking them either for fun, leisure, pleasure or for pride. The gaseous drinks produced before the 21st centuries were mostly conserved in a glass form and they were so good that it was consumed by infants, youths and the aged. A keen example is the emergence of Les Brasseries du Cameroon’s “Top” products in the country with a variety of flavours including, Top Ananas, Top Orange, Top Grenadine, Top Pamplemouse and a lot more whose qualities were breathtaking. For decades they have been consumed and sold successfully with practically no complaints.

The two main brewery industries in the country which produce soft, gaseous drinks for years now are Les Brasseries du Cameroun as mentioned above, and lately ‘Source du Paye. ‘Source du Paye’ has as main drink the mineral water it produces, ‘Supermont’, which at some point in time along with Tangui monopolized the mineral water market.  

Furthermore, keeping these aside, let’s take a close look at what ‘Source du Paye’ produces as gaseous and energetic drinks. Examples abound but suffice to mention the well known ‘Planet’, ‘American cola’, ‘Bubble Up,’ ‘Reacktor’ and ‘Super Jus’ as non gaseous drinks and many more. For more than five years now these drinks have been consumed with no complaints too as one may say. But let’s talk about planet’s new brand, the ‘Geant bottles’.

These same gaseous drinks are being produced, processed and sold by ‘Sources du Paye.’ Upon production, it made massive sales as one may say, because it was far bigger (1.25l), than the other 1l drinks produced but, surprisingly sold at the same price with the others. Isn’t that just so amazing? For a period of almost more than a year or two now it has been consumed but the sweetness and ‘gombo’ or ‘njor’ that accompanies it is kind of turning heads one way or the other. Surprisingly the same drink ‘Sources du Paye produces using its own very popular mineral water is as heavily consumed as is Tangui.

 A close investigation especially around Buea proves that many denizens are falling head over toes for the Top brands despite the “ban.”They talk of both the imported drinks and other gaseous products as being highly toxic whatever that means. Controversially still, others refer to them as just a mixture of water, colour and added sugar.  They want a rethink by those banning and unbanning products so that they can have their money and palate worth of drinks.

As earlier hinted, millions of bottles of the imported stuff and others considered not in good taste or quality are stocked in stores around Molyko, Bonduma, and Sandpit and are not being bought perhaps because of the doubtful quality with which the products are attributed. Some say: “I cannot drink this and will never permit my kids to drink this because it is no drink but poison. It is just coloured water; a mixture of water, flavour and sugar. These drinks are practically not being consumed over here. Some sellers after they are bought again exclaim “oh, finally you have been bought again”. Some sellers use the said drinks to quench their thirst when they feel thirsty because they all claim they may not be bought if they don’t do so.


BOHEMIAN DICTUMS Living in filth

By Winston LEBGA

   In Nelson Mandela’s ‘Long Walk to Freedom’, the South African statesman writes, ‘It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails’. Have you ever been inside the buildings that pass for the penitentiary in this land of glory? Someone referred to them as human garbage cans. Places were criminals are dumped to rot within the confines of slimy walls and putrid smells. How can anyone come out of such a pit and be expected to integrate with the mainstream of society as well as to behave with punctiliousness? The Bohemian wishes he could talk only about those things that gladden his heart. When he thinks of the happenings he wonders what can gladden anyone’s heart these days with many people having difficulty remembering any sweet moments.

   We are yoked and shackled by bribery. So much has been said about bribery, so much has been written against it, even those who take it most, condemn it and in spite of all this condemnation the thing goes on with unabated fury. Bribery and its twin brother corruption. Maybe that is the reason the prisons remain monuments to the general state of putrefaction.  You stay in a room, eat in the room where there is a bucket for inmates to relieve themselves. The occupants of the dung pit get used to the filth to the point of finding the rot normal. That is why many find their way back to the place they have come to recognize as home, shortly after their release. Who really is in charge of building prisons and making sure the existing ones are capable of sending out reformed criminals? Some of those big people are now housemates to criminals and must be regretting why they did not do something about the dung pit prisons.

Those who are to do right by the people are the very ones who regularly talk the Christian lingo but seemingly, they have no experience of God. Why? Why? Why? Why is it that many people in our community seem not to be toilet-trained? It seems we are all preparing for the eventuality of being incarcerated in one of the country’s institutions of putrefaction also known as the penitentiary. Graduates from these centres of corrosion are everything but penitent. Ours is a society of prisoners. Some are more innocent than others. Some guilty ones are enjoying themselves as free men while continuing in the perpetration of heinous white collar crimes while many innocent ones are behind bars. The big fish eat up the smaller ones: that is the law of nature. The doctors of penology surely have better explanations.

  This matter about filth and people who seem not to have been toilet-trained is giving the Bohemian sleepless nights. When you go to any office, any house, any facility in this country, check the toilets. If they are sparkling clean, then you are in a place where you should be at ease with the environment and at peace with yourself. The Bohemian has observed with disgusted curiosity how some high offices in this land are so very low in toilet manners. Brethren, there are times in all our lives when it is difficult to be positive. “Na weti sef?” One gentleman questioned the Bohemian. “Man di worry about dis crisis, ya own na for di tok anyday about dotty toilet, you di stay for toilet?” This suit wearing dandy is one of those who cannot afford the luxury of flushing the toilet after he has emptied the contents of his bowels. At times he would stand on the toilet bowl and acrobatically dump his lump into the bowl, usually messing the water closet.

  The sad news is that men are not the only guilty ones. The Bohemian peeked through the window of the ladies room of one of the high offices, in the quest to understand the poor toilet manners of beautiful people. This pretty woman in a well-tailored designer gown popularly called kabbah, long enough to cover the knees, found herself in a difficult situation. It seems she was suffering from the worst case of diarrhoea. She rushed into the toilet, closed the door and stood just behind it. Surprisingly she had no knickers. She lifted her gown, bent forward with her backside targeting the toilet pot, and then a greenish putrid liquid gushed out of her anal pore amidst thunderous anal blasts. Of course, only a few lumps that came out of the gusher made it into the toilet bowl. Most of the rich greenery of the slime enveloped the pot, almost covering the entire toilet in a mess of green slime. We Africans have a saying, wrong doing is a hill; everyone climbs his own and decries that of another.

   After observing that many toilets in this land of promise are not meant for ladies and gentlemen but for the type of villains who have graduated from the criminal dung pit institution, I, the Bohemian of Abakwa, born on the last day of the month in the land of the proud people, by the shores of the Atlantic, this day declare: on every wall and door of the toilet should be written the following words which are written at the Shisong Cardiac Centre; ‘If you sprinkle while you twinkle, please be neat and wipe the seat. If your packet missed the target, use the brush and then you flush.’

Prostitution: Scourge or source of solace


Some refer to it as the oldest profession in the world and see no reason why it should not be legalized and a professional deontology affixed to its practice as it is the case in some advanced countries. Others, especially governments in developing countries and religious bodies see it as an epitome of woes and tribulation in societies advancing towards modernism.

Whatever the angle from which it is viewed prostitution is simply paid sex- without any emotional attachment. The reason women and sometimes men engage in this nauseating enterprise (depending on the part of this sinful world it is being considered) range from poverty, lasciviousness and penchant for unaffordable frivolities.  

According to Philemon a science student, prostitution is when someone engages sex in exchange for money. From his prism, men and women practice this act of prostitution in our current society. Prostitution in the society he continues is caused by so many reasons. Firstly, some girls who are schooling face difficulties in buying handouts, payment of house rents and their personal needs turn to engage in such act so as to get money to meet up with needs or wants. Most times, men are also paid for prostituting not because they don’t have job but because they get pay for it. These men engage into such acts and earn the names < SUGAR DADDY>, and girls <SUGAR MUMMY>.

 One of the results of, prostitution is loss of self esteem and dignity. There is also the spread of so many sexually transmitted diseases like HIV AIDS, Gonorrheal, and virginal itching for women. The major way in which the government can use to eradicate or reduce the rate of prostitution in the society is by creating jobs for girls especially, those who are graduates or hold conferences to sensitize the youth about prostitution and its effect. By so doing, youths will change or deviate from such acts. Men and women out there should be counselled to embrace self employment or entrepreneurship. Self employment means you can get engage in petty trading businesses. We don’t need to wait on the government to give us job but to be self employed.


Prostitution is the act of sleeping with all kind of men and women in search for money. Prostitution here is like a profession not something for pleasure but aims at making money. Many girls here do it not engage in it because they enjoy or like it but because of money. According to her, the reason why girls get in to prostitution is because they were raped and because of that, they feel they don’t have that self dignity in them anymore. Some girls are forced by their parent to go in to such acts because of poverty so as to bring home some money to carter for their needs. Some girls also go in to it because they are frustrated that they can’t do any job so to them the best and easy way to get money is by sleeping with men in exchange for money. Girls see this profession as stress free because they don’t struggle to get the money. Other girls get into this act of prostituting because they come from a poor background for example those selling pure water on the street feel the money they earn is not enough so the only way to earn more money is prostitution. In the cause of doing it they find themselves not wanting to live because they enjoy it. To her the effect of such act is that it will make the girls never to have the desire for marriage, some might contract diseases even though they claim they live on drugs and take treatment. So they turn to live all their live on drugs because once they don’t take the drugs they do not get to treat these disease found in them. Some will end up not having children due to series of abortion they had and end up childless till they die. Her advice to young girls out there is that they should hustle because men cannot give everything to them. It is just to sit and think about any small business you can do. In my case, I sell eggs. You too, can as well borrow money from a relative or a friend to start up a business which can grow to yield you great profit in order to stop this prostitution. The government can create an intitution which can lend money to these girls.


Prostitution is the exchange of one’s self for money. To him the reasons why girls prostitute are so many and not just for money. Prostitution is not just standing at the road side or duping money from your boy friend. Some just prostitute because of their quest for money to buy the latest designer dress, phones in order to compete with friends. To him the effect of prostitution is that it will lead to unwanted pregnancy. The victims will also turn to lose trust because when people know you and the means through which you get your money, the news spreads because it is not something that can hide. Another effect is that it will lead to contraction of diseases like HIV AIDS. His advice to girls out there is that they should live a simple, pleasant and reserved lives because even when you do a bad thing people will not put eyes on you


UB Journalism Students on internship

Momo ACCOUNTS: Keeping your money closer to you or scammers?

*By Ewange Njenge Brenda, Enongene Lerise Mbulle, Tabe Clemantine and Narenga Lizzette

Besides life, money is arguably the next thing most treasured by mankind. Money is practically imprisoned in vaults and strong houses not because it has been found guilty and is serving a term but because it must be kept safe from thieves and other “predators.” The world over, individuals and nations are mostly respected on account of how rich or poor they are in monetary terms. They are valued mostly on how much they have “imprisoned” in the safety of bank accounts.

Cases of bank breaks abound more than those of penitentiary breaks at which prisoners are set free. In short, money as the common saying goes, opens every door. The rich West dictates to the poor Third World countries, including who should rule them and for how long. With their monetary wealth, the West easily decides who should have or be deprived of money. Sanctions, which are often obnoxious and mean are imposed on already poor countries that hesitate to open up their flanks for further exploitation. The case of Zimbabwe easily comes to mind.

It is also commonly said that money is the root of all evil. Little wonder, otherwise lazy school dropouts are adept at scamming themselves into fabulous monetary wealth; otherwise decent people succumb to the lure of money by carrying out unprintable businesses. Money is grown the same way cash crops are grown. Whereas cash and food crops are planted in the soil, money is planted in ideas, vaults, savings accounts and tontines, to name but these.

When armed robbers attack, it is most often because they are targeting one’s monetary wealth. Money buys cars, mansions, reputations, dignity, fame, women and more. Over the years, money economists decided that the cashless economy whereby purchases could be safely effected without the use of fiscal cash should be the order of the day. Yet, scammers and other people of doubtful credibility have turned out to be always a step ahead of the most intelligent and innovative monetary economists of the world.

Banks have been in existence for centuries. Business here is, under normal circumstances, characterized with first opening and running a savings or current account. At banks, customers are basically subjected to the acceptable tedium of queuing up in long lines if they must deposit or withdraw cash. Even if such cash was just a pittance, the depositor or withdrawer would be expected in certain cases to hang on patiently for hours on end. Advances have been made over time to beat this manner of time wasting at formal banks including the introduction of ATM machines and the like. Very recently, banking transactions were rendered even easier, brought to practically every fingertip by way of Mobile Money accounts, aka MoMo. It functions by way of the mobile telephone.

Mobile money appeared in the limelight in Cameroon in 2010. MTN mobile money first came, then a year later Orange Money was also launched. As at the last check there is a record 6,8 million MoMo subscribers with close to 1,5million being active users in Cameroon. The record kept on increasing year after year. Discerning Cameroonians have so far been enjoying this system of banking transactions, as everyone with a mobile phone could have an account, without undergoing the tedium of complicated paperwork often required in the conventional banking sector.

MoMo has saved the teeming Cameroonian population lots of headaches and a certain degree of privacy. It has also redistributed wealth, created lots of new jobs with thousands of mobile money agents were placed all over the country, doing brisk monetary transactions on roadside kiosks. The long waiting lines characteristic at formal banks with sometimes attendant rude clerks have dwindled.

Mobile money permits pretty easy business transactions. For example, if you go to a shop to buy goods and with money in your mobile wallet you could, with a few punches on your mobile phone pay for the goods through MoMo. Even university institutions enjoy this system. As for parents who send their children to school, instead of encountering the stress of physically going to school to pay their fees, they can sit back comfortably at home and send your money and register their children. Even more, you can be your very own callbox as you can buy credit from your memo account. Indeed mobile money has been a blessing to Cameroonians and beyond, we all enjoy the system.

Yet even though mobile money brought joy, it also came with its ugly aspects as scammers easily learnt how to hack individuals’ accounts without much ado, scamming them of all their money. Plus, the charges began increasing outrageously. Firstly let’s discuss about the knowhow of hacking a MoMo account. According to some persons we interviewed, individuals say to hack into an account is by knowing one’s password and it is shocking on how easy one’s hard earned millions could be thieved just like that.

Some of those we interviewed advised that different means of security should be put in place to better enjoy the mobile money system (MoMo). Now why will people hack accounts, under this topic several causes are included but all based under one motive and that is to unlawfully increase the hacking individual’s standard of living.

 Then concerning the withdrawal tariffs, was previously free but started increasing as now the principal telephony companies started cashing in on demand and charging between FCFA 50 and 500 based on the amount (FCFA 100 to one million) and even though till date MTN mobile money deposits are still said to be free the population can’t get off the shock of the outrageous increase in the withdrawal tariff.

But could these tariffs be reduced or cancelled outright? Zuumpay is a global mobile payment and financial service, and according to its founder a young Cameroonian named Ndamo Israel, this new system unlike mobile money doesn’t take or require charges to either deposit or withdraw.

Asked if a zuumpay system can be hacked his reply was: “The zuumpay system is built with state of the art security protocols securing from the system software, users account and every transaction. We are using from the required banking security system, applying compliance security protocols to ensure both software and system security. That is to say, no zuumpay account can be hacked.”                                                                                                                                                                                      *(UB Journalism students on internship)              

Licensed to drive, receive bribe or kill?

By Buma Bronhilda Wasa*

The road network is generally very poor. License issuing officials are largely money minded and hardly bother about who is licensed to drive on these death traps called Cameroonian roads. Other officials of the Transport Ministry charged with checking driving habits alongside gendarmes are to say the very least morally bankrupt.

What one sees daily on these roads is a bazaar being acted out without recourse to humanity. Men in uniform, including army generals could be safely said to be more interested on how many times television cameras are beamed on them. It is a show when it comes to being seen on television purportedly checking ills like excessive speeding or the poor state of vehicles. But away from the lenses of the television camera, the focus is very often on collecting fines or even converting crimes into fines. And pocketing them…

Drivers and commuters alike are stressed. Booby traps are set for drivers on the highways; frivolous claims and accusations are made when television cameras are absent and routine bribes collected. They give the impression that they are clean and straightforward but that is hardly true. Many people are duped into paying those filthy bribes. You would be told that you over-sped or overtook at the wrong point or dangerously even if you were actually crawling. All sorts of thieving schemes are invented to browbeat gullible motorists into submission. Your car and/or personal documents are then confiscated until you either bribe or pay the prescribed fine against a receipt.

Road signs are either completely nonexistent or covered by thick bush very often. What passes for toll gates are a huge disgrace and embarrassment to the country’s tourism and public relations. Pot holes and gullies gape all the way to most destinations. Every now and again a minister turns up at exorbitant cost to the poor tax payer, with television cameras in tow to give the impression that he is overseeing road construction and repairs. Then the minister suspends one agency or the other that has been involved in a fatal accident.

At the so called check points and other irritating roadblocks, routine checks are carried out on who possesses a national identity card or not. Those who don’t have are made to undergo unprintable indignities, before being ordered to pay bribe money. Smooth tyres are hardly checked, let alone the roadworthiness of the automobile and the comfort of its passengers. What is also routinely checked are the right banknotes gendarmes and police collect as bribe money. A commercial driver could have some passengers travelling in the boot of his car or bonnet. He could have them on the carriage. He is asked no questions as to their safety and even the illegality of his act.

Alcohol tests are almost never conducted on drivers. When schools are about to resume, huge amounts are thrown into this scam of road safety. It goes same for the Yuletide period. There is hardly ever any case of reckless driving brought as overnights to the law courts. Licenses of erring drivers are never withdrawn. Gendarmes and police are a court onto themselves. They accuse, try and fine. For their deep pockets. It is a crying shame. We are not even talking yet of the staggering billions that are extorted from vehicle owners on the dirt paths that pass for roads monthly. Yet hardly are new roads constructed or repaired with what from all indications is systemic loot. Where are all these billions from toll gates kept?

And so as days go by, road accidents have become more common in or country notwithstanding the growth in technology, developments and civilization. Licensed drivers have now become licensed killers. People now fear travelling especially by night because of the terrible scenes they have witnessed or heard of. Road accidents occur for a variety of reasons. Although the drivers are to be blamed for the causes of some of these accidents, we cannot entirely blame them. Bad roads, inadequate signs on the road and faults for the head offices of transportation could also be blamed for the accidents.

I have witnessed an accident whereby, luggage from the top of a bus got loosed and fell on a bike with two passengers on the highway causing them to have serious injuries. That is a case of overloading vehicles, criminal negligence, if you will.

Another situation is issuing driving license to people who can hardly differentiate between an accelerator and a brakes pedal’ or who the issuing official has never even set eyes on. That is how much damage bribing does to the conscience and by extension to precious human lives and property. That is the nadir to which the “man know man” syndrome has sunk Cameroon.

 Let’s return to the bad roads. Accidents happen in many because of the bad roads in every area of the country. In some areas you may even find signs on the roads indicating a bend or stop and also you might not see any indicating that there is a speed brake or bump.

There is no more excitement in travelling because of the fear of being involved in very avoidable accidents. In other cases, you will find a driver driving and taking a call, texting a message and also trying to eat, drink or smoke. These are distractions that often cause horrible preventable accidents. Sometimes they reach the point of “whatsapping” and flipping through images on “facebook” while driving.

 Also, drivers spend a long time driving and as a result of that they get tired and with the tiredness, they can commit errors leading to accidents. All this, added to the gendarme and police induced stress that they encounter at multiple roadblocks on the highway.

Also heavy rains can account to a cause of accidents. When the rains are heavy, the roads become too wet cars can lose their grip on the road and slide across which could cause an accident.

In our parks we see driving who drink in the bars strategically functioning at the park while waiting for passengers and when the vehicle is loaded, they just take off… We also have the case of reckless driving. Some drivers are very reckless while driving they go on high speed, changing lanes quickly and quarreling with other drivers on the road. Driving at night is also a remote cause of road accidents. At night, you might not be able to see the road clearly which might lead to an accident.

These are some ways which we could prevent road accidents.

Firstly, get as much supervised practice in driving as possible. Before you get a license make sure you go through proper training before you take the exams for a license to be issued.

Also, make it a habit of always wearing your safety belt while in the vehicle whether as a driver or as a passenger.

Limit driving at night because of the low visibility and also when it is rainy. At night you might not be able to see the road clearly. In Cameroon, most sides and signs on the road have been covered by grass and shrubs so driving at night might lead you to an accident. When it is rainy, the roads become slippery. Driving when the roads are slippery may cause the car not to have a total grip on the ground and can slide and lead to an accident. If you must drive when it’s raining, drive slowly, with extra care.

Cell phones should be used only for emergency on the road. Talking or texting with a cell phone while driving will make you distracted while driving and can lead to an accident.

Learn to always drive the vehicle that is in total good condition. Always try to check your car on a weekly basis. When buying a vehicle, also take into consideration the high safety rating the car has.

Avoid drinking or smoking before driving. Even if you have consumed just a bottle or smoked just a stick of whatever, there is a chemical that gets into your brain which can influence your attitude and judgement on the road.

         Sometimes these are the obvious things that have the largest impact. So follow every training you are given for road safety religiously in order to avoid accidents. 

Buea gets Ekema replacement

By Atembeh Ngewung Lordfred

Just three days after the startling demise of the Buea Mayor, Ekema Patrick Esunge, Dr. Efande John Lyonga has been appointed by the Fako SDO, Emmanuel Engamba Ledoux to fill the empty mayoral seat.  Dr. Efande who was appointed on Wednesday, October 30, 2019, will serve as interim mayor for 60 days, why waiting on municipal elections, to vote a new mayor.

The new interim mayor was the second deputy mayor under the late Mayor Ekema’s administration in 2013, but was promoted to First Deputy Mayor on July 27, 2019 following the dismissal of Motomby Mbome, by the deceased Mayor Ekema Patrick. With the political upheaval rocking the now “City of Excellence” Buea, the interim mayor may have a huge task awaiting him.

What most denizens are eager to observe, is the approach by which the new mayor will use in tackling major upheavals in the Buea municipality, most especially the “ghost towns” which Ekema fought to his grave. The Buea public also remains anxious to see if Dr. Efande John is a replica of their former Mayor, who broke into shops, sealed and promised hell to all business operators who respected the “ghost towns” or if he will take a more legal and humane approach in solving the crisis. Commercial bike riders on their part, are also uncertain if the new mayor could give them a chance to work normally, after years of being banned by the deceased mayor, but still bribing and dodging military men along the streets, to make a living.

The new interim will perform his first official duty as mayor on Thursday, November 7, 2019 during the installation of the new Divisional officer for Buea, which will take place at the Buea Independence Square.

Yet another promise to build Limbe deep seaport

By Francis Tim Mbom

 The General Manager of the National Ports Authority, Mr Josue Youmba, has for the umpteenth time given assurance that the construction of the Limbe Deep-sea port will soon be a reality.

Mr Youmba made this latest promise of a deep seaport on behalf of the Government in Limbe on Tuesday, October 29, while installing into office the pioneer Branch Manager of the Limbe Ports, Mr. Ojongeno Oben Eta.

“Mr Branch Manager, as pioneer in this port environment that will in the nearest future welcome a deep seaport… the Port community expects from you… the (effective) monitoring of this important project that will soon become a reality.”

The Government Delegate to the Limbe City Council, Andrew Monjimba Motanga, had earlier, in his welcome address stated that there have been countless pleas to the Government in the past calling for the construction of the Limbe Deep Seaport.

The most recent of these pleas, he said, was tabled during the just ended National Dialogue in Yaounde and he went on to add that he was happy because the construction of this long “cried-for” project was one of the recommendations arrived at.

“You will then understand why the opening of this regional branch of the National Ports Authority in Limbe gives us a lot of hope that there are better days around the corner,” Motanga noted.

The GM also indicated that the new Branch Manager was appointed on September 12, 2019, following a decision of the Board of Directors of the Ports. He said the Board’s decision came following an earlier decision that was taken in 2015, yet by the Board, to reorganize the Ports services in Cameroon.

And following the 2015 decision and in line with subsequent ones, the GM said, the Douala, Kribi and Limbe ports have been upgraded as branches of the National Ports Authority of Cameroon.

“Overall, the purpose is to anchor the National Ports Authority around its main regulatory mission: competitiveness of Cameroon Ports, reinforcement of security of port facilities and fair distribution of ports development,” the GM said.

The GM went on to state that this was all aimed to ensure more robustness in the functioning of the ports and an increase in the economic growth of Cameroon as a whole.

Meantime the new Branch Manager, Mr. Ojongeno pledged his readiness to live up to the expectation of his hierarchy and the Limbe public.

Motanga, still in his address, reiterated the fact that Limbe has the potentials to become not only the heartbeat of economic development in the Southwest but across Cameroon as a whole if the Limbe Deep seaport is developed.

“In fact, the prosperity and economic growth of our city depend on the harmonious, mastered and concerted development of port activities; as it is a fact that the City of Limbe holds a central position in the economic development, not only of the Southwest region, but the nation as a whole,” Motanga stated.

Born on April 7, 1981, the pioneer Branch Manager of the Limbe Ports, Mr, Ojongeno, the GM said, holds a Master’s Degree in Economics and joined the National Ports Authority in September, 2017. He shall, he added, be the one to oversee the construction project of the Limbe Deep seaport whenever it shall be launched.

It is worth noting that just as there have been countless pleas for the construction of the Limbe deep seaport by Anglophones, so too, there have been countless promises made in the past by the same Government that the said port will soon be constructed or that work will soon start. And shall the Ports Authority GM, Josue Youmba’s latest promise of Tuesday, October 29, be the last? This is the question on many an Anglophone lip.

Patrick Ekema: ‘Ambitious patriot’, burst bubble and fighting the dead

By Charlie Ndi Chia

Thomas Woodrow Wilson, 28th American president (1913-1921) is famous for stating that there is no higher religion than human service and that to work for the common good is the greatest creed. Admirers of Patrick Esunge Ekema, saw the late mayor of the Buea council as a patriot, ready to lay down his life for his people and country. Ekema acted foul and fair, to stamp his mayoral authority on Buea and enter regime good books. He was brash. He openly dared the head of state to toy with his Buea jurisdiction at one point.

Ekema once told off the Buea Divisional Officer, DO, in public, reminding him of his inherent powers as elected mayor, defender of ‘aboriginal rights’ and the indivisibility of Cameroon. Ordinarily, serving one’s country in any capacity is tantamount to serving humanity. It is a pleasant privilege. But such service ought to be sincere, radiating from the heart and soul. And it must seek basically to build and not to bleed those being purportedly served. This could have been late Ekema’s mission, why not?

However, Ekema’s modus operandi raised quite some worrying questions about his intensions. Was he a problem solver or a problem multiplier? Did he have an alternative to anger, poverty or even death? Going by the crass methods he employed did we see tangible results except on paper and through the propaganda machinery of rented media?

Ekema was rightly or wrongly accused of zipping the mouths of certain supervisory “hyenas” whose lifestyles were woven around taking undue advantage of the late man’s “inordinate ambition” to steal state money and expropriate native Fako land. The tourniquet around the bleeding spots he was purportedly healing or stopping is still loose, seeping out the odious fluid of corruption into the pockets of those who either flattered or duped him outright. Amba kidnappings, mutilations and ghost towns still exist; military summary executions and arson are still there.

With all the taunted facts of the Ekema era, with all the rented media propaganda and wrestling with demented ‘Amba’ generated terrorism and clumsy lockdowns, insecurity and attendant poverty and premature death still dwell in the Northwest and Southwest Regions. And as long as the turpitude continues to pour its rain of tears on these two beleaguered regions, young girls with beautiful futures will continue to join the ranks of prostitutes. Young men will remain entrenched in armed robbery, sadistic amputations and kidnapping for ransom. Young Cameroonians will gloat over signing up in Libya, Kuwait and Mexico with no desire to return home. Older men and women will be shamelessly recidivistic; singing for their supper on radio and television and hailing the old emperor’s stark nakedness. And Cameroon as a corporate entity will remain in a hoity-toity stranglehold, with or without the likes of Ekema. The Lord Mayor is back to the ultimate eternal Mayor. We could do with learning bitter lessons, not fighting ambition that is dead and buried…