Who rules the roost? ‘Amba’ or army?

“Even though I was scared stiff, my journalistic instincts remained alert. At least, I was able to establish that there were 10 of them. They brandished sophisticated guns, which nozzles they trained tauntingly at us. One of them said: ‘this car has a CE registration number, so it must be from Yaounde. You are the people we are looking out for. You have put us in this mess and must pay accordingly.
“We pleaded, explaining desperately that even though our car was matriculated in the Centre Region, we don’t necessarily hail from there. We are actually from this part and we came to bury one of our brothers.”
This was part of a difficult conversation with ‘Ambazonia boys’ last week in Boyo Division, Northwest Region. Like elsewhere in the English speaking Regions of the country, they now man checkpoints, check passengers and in some rare cases collect small ransoms from them. Occasionally they would pick out an unfortunate security operative or saboteur/informant and abduct him to their camp.
Barely some two kilometers from here, the once bustling Belo town that was sacked some two months back by regular security forces is as dead as a graveyard. But for patrolling troops in armoured cars, it is difficult to see any sign of life here. The tens of thousands of inhabitants have fled into the bushes. Many others were brutally killed by the forces, reason it is claimed, the ‘Amba boys’ decided to constitute their militia.
Very often traffic between Fundong, the chief town of Boyo Division and Bamenda is blocked by the ‘Amba boys.’ They only open it to travelers when “Biya’s soldiers behave themselves by not harassing the innocent,” someone told this reporter.
Ironically, regular soldiers are stationed less than two kilometers away from their ‘Amba’ opponents. From the look of things, the soldiers are aware of the activities of this militia, but are rather reluctant to confront them for reasons best known to them. What they perpetrate, which annoys both the militia and villagers is that they shoot to kill anyone on motorcycle, regardless of whether the one is a certified member of the militia or not.
A middle aged lady by name Juliana Fung called The Rambler from where she said was her hiding place and claimed that her eldest son was summarily executed by regular soldiers who also burnt down homesteads in the Sub-Division.
“I am now in hiding with my other children, especially as I witnessed how a man and his entire family were burnt alive in their own home,” she claimed.
Narrating his ordeal further, the Yaounde based journalist who was home to bury a departed relation said the ‘Amba boys’ requested that every adult passenger in his car hand over their voter’s card. “We all said we didn’t have any but they would not believe and almost proceeded to body-search each and every one of us. It was then that I quickly pulled out my national identity card and presented it to them. On seeing that it was preserved in a CRTV folder, they got even more furious.
“So you work at CRTV? We have to go to the palace where your case would be determined by our boss. They added for effect in Pidgin English ‘… na dat Yaounde people dem dis wey we di fine am. Why wuna want disgrace we so?’”
He said although this lasted for some five minutes only, it appeared as though the whole episode had taken a life time. “We were apparently saved when upon sighting an oncoming vehicle, their attention was divided. The one who looked to me like their commander instructed that the vehicle be intercepted just in case it had on board a military man or anyone else in uniform.
“Then he turned his attention back to us and without as much as raising his voice he requested: ‘give the children water.’ This was a euphemism for a bribe or tip. My wife took out a FCFA 10,000 note from her purse and stretched it. They politely asked that it be placed on the ground. And then with the admonition; ‘God bless you, wuna waka fine ya, they let us go.
The Rambler learned that a member of the newly constituted Constitutional Council was, during the same period a victim of the militia. That he had to both sweet-talk and buy his freedom from the boys. While members of the regular army are said to have gone haywire, looking out for whom to brand and summarily execute, the ‘Amba boys’ have seemingly had employment in compiling names of potential ‘elite sponsors’ of their ‘independence project.’
Fung Juliana quipped: “The military have killed my first boy child and I won’t wait here with my other children to be also brutally murdered. Neither would I wait to be caught in the eventual crossfire of ‘the boys’ and soldiers.

Governor asks refugees to come out of forests

Feigning indifference to the persistence of turmoil emanating from the current crisis pitting Southern Cameroonian separatists against the Biya regime, Southwest Governor, Bernard Okalia Bilai has declared that his Region is under control even as he acknowledged what he terms manageable disturbances that call for collaboration from the entire population to put an end to violence and embrace dialogue. He was speaking in Buea during a recent Regional administrative and security coordination meeting.
He referred to the meeting a traditional ritual, aimed at assessing the administrative and security situation in the Region. “We have had exchanges with Senior Divisional Officers and the Regional Chief of Defense forces and I will say the Region is under control. There are some disturbances but with the collaboration of the entire population, people of goodwill, traditional rulers, political leaders, the elites and the media, I think we will overcome all the challenges,” he said. Okalia added that preparations for future events are already underway given that the current school year will soon be over and, preparation for the next school year must be embarked upon because all the activities begin now, which circumstance justifies the presence of all SDOs in the Region and other collaborators.
In this connection, the Governor said: “We wish to continue in sensitizing the population to be aware that the truth is for them to come back to their homes; the forces of law and order are there to protect them against all acts of terrorism, hence they shouldn’t be afraid of the forces of law and order; rather they should be confident and be reassured in the presence of the military.
“We are inviting the elites, traditional rulers to come back and continue to work and sensitize their children especially, those who have been misguided and are now in the bushes for them to return home because dialogue is on the lips of everyone and we cannot dialogue with people who are in the bushes; let them return and the administration is there to exchange with them so that the situation should return to normal everywhere in the Region.”
Emphasizing further on the need for refugees to come out of hiding, the Governor added that, at the grassroots, traditional rulers, all leaders including family heads, elites, should return and go to the village to discuss with some of the children or the young men who to him are misguided and are now in the bushes. He said that what they are doing is detrimental and has no future emphasizing that it is the discussion with the entire community that can solve the problem.
Okalia assumed that it is only when people will return to their respective villages that dialogue would continue and one would be able to meet with the hierarchy for possible solutions. He also, appealed for violence to be put to a halt and “things returned to normal, before any other initiative because today the entire society is disturbed by the prevailing violence.” He talked of the Head of State having allocated many projects to the Region, many of which portend much hope to the population.
All the assurances notwithstanding, the governor admitted that the meeting was taking place within a peculiar context “that continues to be marked by the socio politically tense environment which is now commonly referred to as the Anglophone crisis.”
The governor acknowledged that the nation has registered the loss of many defense and security forces, school authorities, traditional rulers and even denizens assassinated under various circumstances by what he dubbed “the so called Ambazonia Defense Forces.” He however, appreciated the authorities present who have despite the harsh and tense atmosphere carried out their duties smoothly.
By Relindise Ebune

Rampaging military destroying lives, property

Consciences have been hardened, defiled by the warring factions. The ruling class is, by and large, hell bent on ensuring that coercive state authority triumphs over good governance, political reality and compromise. “Diaspora separatists” look to have vowed that “their people” will die on their feet rather than live on their knees.
Foreign interests appear not to be very clear yet, where to definitively pitch their tents of corporate greed. Militias are growing by the day, with unemployed radicalized youth eking out a living by kidnapping for ransom and bullying for cash handouts.
Rural populations, especially have melted into the forests, retreating from the regular soldiers who are not only burning down their homesteads; they are also shooting at unarmed men, women and kids. Most towns of the two English speaking Regions now look like conquered territory. The military are, by and large, calling the shots, especially in the Regional capital of Buea. They seem to be having their way all the way, and beyond what whatever specific tasks have been assigned them by the ruling class.
Armoured personnel carriers drive through the town recklessly, and in wanton disregard for rules of the road. The safety of other individuals using the same road means little or nothing to the soldiers. BIR soldiers especially drive without care and attention, purposely disregarding the safety of other persons or property. Many cars and other automobiles are being bashed in Buea and Kumba. Pedestrians have been wounded, at times fatally through such dastardly acts of military bravado.
Yet, none of the rampaging drivers in military fatigues is known to have ever been cited by the police for driving unsafely on the highway or in crowded municipalities. The apparently lawless men in uniform would not even stop to see if someone was hurt following their reckless driving patterns. Only on one occasion did they bash someone’s car on the Likomba hill from Tiko and after driving off for about one kilometre, they made a u-turn back to where they had done their worst and had their bewildered victim kicked and taunted.
A similar case of recklessness was recently recorded in Kumba, during which a military truck reduced a taxicab to twisted metal on the bridge near the Town Green.
Last week at the Molyko neighbourhood of Buea, chief town of the Southwest Region, the BIR soldiers were at it again. Driving at breakneck speed and in total disrespect for traffic rules, their personnel carrier almost killed a newspaper Publisher and the lone occupant in his car. But rather than atone for their crudeness, they rather drove on, wielding their weapons and mocking their traumatized victims and other onlookers.
From every indication, there isn’t just a breakdown of law and order, with sophisticatedly armed soldiers having a field day unperturbed. Fidgeting, scheming political elite are looking the other way. Consciences, especially those of soldiers whose lives are effectively jeopardized as they fight separatist forces have at best been defiled. Part of the human psyche that induces mental anguish and feelings of guilt is to say the very least, dead in these boys.

Kumba still cut off from Buea

Routing the Ambazonia militia from their stronghold near Ekona in Fako Division must have been pretty good news for the regime. Freeing certain important abductees, including a Police Superintendent would have been equally relieving to the regular forces and their paymasters. But somehow this seeming edge over the separatist fighters may turn out to be but a pyrrhic victory for the Government or at the very best, a good joke in bad taste.
Vehicular traffic from Kumba, Meme Divisional chief town, to the Southwest Regional capital, Buea has, for almost a week, been completely disrupted. The dislodged militia is said to have blocked the highway with heaps of sand and other obstacles, totally disrupting movement to Kumba and vice versa.
It is also alleged that the Amba boys went haywire, and have since been physically stopping every single automobile from getting into or leaving Kumba. Consequently, thousands of visitors who entered Kumba from Fako Division are all stranded here. Others who came in from Mamfe, hoping to proceed to Muyuka, Buea or Victoria are reportedly still stuck in this Meme chief town. The same goes for those that were trying to reach the popular K-town from Yaounde, Douala or even from abroad.
A source informed The Rambler that the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon, PCC, Moderator Emeritus, the Most Rt Rev, Nyansako ni Nku is one of those stuck in the small village of Bombe. He was said to be on his way to preside at a memorial service for a prominent PCC Christian in Victoria when he was caught up in the melee. We were told that the army opted to improvise some means of getting him out of the seeming captivity and enable him carry out to his Pastoral duties but that the former Moderator would rather be holed up with the rest of the stranded crowd in the tiny village.
By midday on Tuesday, June 19, bulldozers, escorted by heavy military tanks left Kumba, ostensibly to clear the road and make for traffic to start flowing. But by nightfall, on the same day, not even a single automobile had arrived Fako from Meme or vice versa. Hundreds of anxious passengers were still eagerly waiting on both sides of the divide.
Elsewhere on the streets trucks carrying foodstuff destined for other parts of the country from the agriculturally rich Meme Division were stranded, packed in long lines on the highway. Some of the foodstuff was, of course, rotting away.

Digression from matters of the moment

Penultimate week, the social media was awash with reactions to what has now come to be termed the Messanga Nyamding challenge. The substance of this gibberish is the self-acclaimed Biyaist’s contention that Southern Cameroonians are supposed to be grateful to President Biya whose so called magnanimity has permitted them to enjoy the luxury of elite professional schools whose doors would ordinarily not have been opened to their dim-witted tribe. My take on it is to refer all those who feel their feathers have been ruffled to the anecdote in one of Chinua Achebe’s novels that throws up the scenario of a mad man in rags who went into a stream where villagers usually bathe and carried away the hanging clothes of someone who had gone into the steam. The narrative continues that instead of reflecting for a while on the issue so as to come up with a palatable solution, the victim jumped out of the stream and set out behind the mad man in his nakedness.
The account continued that, the madman ran into a crowded market with his pursuer valiantly behind him. Note that in African mythology the simple act of a mad man entering a market automatically renders his affliction incurable. To aggravate issues, mad man was known all over for his weird attitude but, the victim whose clothes he had taken from the improvised hanger at the stream had been known to be a rational being. However, his appearance in the market in Adam’s suit conjured up no other explanation than that he too, had suddenly gone mad to the point where he had entered the market and cannot be cured. The lesson here is that when somebody who is supposed to have been educated up to a certain level suddenly opts to rant using statements that cannot withstand the cannons of incontrovertible data especially, if such a person more than usually associates himself with the CPDM, the conclusion is that very little rationality should be ascribed to him.
Not being inclined to waste useful time on worthless name-droppers and mean attention seekers like Messanga Nyamding the suggestion here is to redirect our energy to more poignant issues that foretell grave danger to Southern Cameroonians if requisite attention is not brought into play. The issue is of course, is Professor Jacques Fame Ndongo’s revelation on Radio France International, RFI, that the CPDM party is ready to discuss federalism with the aggrieved component of Cameroon. Straight-out nonsense! What a cheap form of digression! Where has the indivisibility of Cameroon been consigned? Are they now willing to negotiate with terrorists? Or, like the Southern Cameroonians who have opted for separation as worst case scenario in their quest for greater autonomy they too, are giving the impression of embracing federalism to entice moderate Southern Cameroonians.
Without subscribing to the extremism of those who want out of Cameroon, the temptation nevertheless arises to query the sudden capitulation? And, why is it that it is coming from the ruling party and not the Government even though such a distinction is irrelevant in our skies underpinned by politics of next of kin. If there is any realism in Fame Ndongo’s claim, then it must be borne out of avowed impossibility of imposing their will on Southern Cameroonians. Should this be the case, then its import must be relied upon heavily in the event of any negotiations for a federal system of Government in Cameroon. They shall be negotiating from a position of weakness and so must not be accorded the privilege of dictating the pace of deliberations. The worst case scenario of a return to the status quo antes 1972 but, without the one party system instituted by Ahmadou Ahidjo in 1966 must be relied on as our pathfinder.
While conceding that this might be the first step towards an armistice in the current mutually devastating hostilities, the fact that this is coming so suddenly and more than half a year since President Biya declared war against unseen terrorists, floats the perception of weary warmonger pretending to be inclined to peace when the reality is that underestimation of the opponent has occasioned a drastic reversal in fortunes. In the event, what Southern Cameroonians had begun clamouring for since the late 70s, and followed up in the 80s and 90s is now being proposed on the airwaves of a foreign radio.
Our president is too big or has surrounded himself with an aura of inflated importance such that he cannot address the nation on the issue. A lesser being must be the one assigned to talk down on people he still considers second class citizens. How unrepentant and daft!
Granted that a modicum of seriousness can be ascribed to Government intention to discuss federalism; did it have to take so much loss of lives and property for the regime to be jolted to reality? How are the mighty fallen! Fame Ndongo, of all people in Cameroon was the one saddled with the announcement that the regime is disposed to engage in discussions on federalism after he had derisively posited that “Southern Cameroonians are just two cubes of sugar in a basin of water, ” meaning their grieving voices do not count. Nevertheless, circumstances including resilience of Southern Cameroonians and pressure from the international community even though not enough is rubbing off on the abysmal callousness that the Biya regime has brought to bear on governance and conflict resolution in Cameroon.
When international observers voice what trenchantly reflects its modus operandi of their governance, the regime opts for trading insults with an organization that will still do the same thing the next time the opportunity arises. Driven by a disposition that sees every issue as being susceptible to quick fix provided a reasonable wad of money comes into the fray they had hoped Amnesty International would succumb to fleece bait. Unfortunately, for them, not having their umbilical cords buried in our skies, the same indicting reports with corroborating evidence have kept rearing their heads to the chagrin of an irredeemable regime mired in ruthless abuse of the rule of law.
The desperation is clear. What is certain is that the country is down and out! Stone broke! But this does not seem to mean anything to an old man whose very close association with an avaricious wife has induced puerility and outright freebooting into his mind-set. And, so no matter the hue and cry out there, he is steadfast to clinging onto power until his dying day. He wants to see the stadium named after him go operational like a kid anticipating new dresses at Christmas. A man who chooses to host Africa in a sports fiesta whose alternative is many more hospitals, schools, houses and improved livelihood for every Cameroonian is certainly not in tune with the prerequisites of android-age governance. He wants to be adored, venerated and even pampered. Too bad, the nimbus clouds are gathering and soon the storm will appear with a ferocity whose end will be difficult to determine.
Oh yes, the diversionary tactics will not change what God has reserved for those who have wholeheartedly embraced the devil and are occasioning avoidable pain on ordinary citizens whose only request is an enabling environment for peaceful living. Nemesis has decreed retribution and the price shall be incalculable.
By Ngoko Monyadowa

Amnesty International’s fallacy

Conflict reporting that draws criticism from opposing parties is often assumed to be objective and balanced. The recent Amnesty International, AI, report on the Southern Cameroons crisis is a perfect example of how misleading such an assumption can be.It is by no means a dependable report just because it got the Yaounde regime’s ‘vuvuzela’ blaring so loud in protest as usual, while at the same time drawing salvos of censure from Southern Cameroonians.
If anything, this report seriously dents Amnesty’s image in the eyes of those who are looking up to it as a faithful watchdog on whose probity and integrity the world can count when it comes to conflict reporting and resolution.
This editorial would be far longer than that report itself if we were to itemise and comment on all its half-truths and omissions. Suffice it to say that if Amnesty International were a media outfit, a great part of this report would qualify for yellow – even armchair – journalism.
Whether all those truncated facts and all those errors of commission or omission were just the result of sloppiness or a deliberate act of misinformation, the report raises a crying need to set the record straight.
Let’s begin with the identities of the actors. In total superficiality the report echoes and amplifies Yaounde’s image of the conflict as being between the State of Cameroon and some band of secessionists. One would have expected AI’s reporter to dig up background information on this struggle. Such information, available at the UN if nowhere else, would have told AI that the parties to this conflict are two states, each of which had had an executive, a legislature and a judiciary, and one of which had made a sovereign decision to join a sister nation.
AI would thus have been able to qualify the present conflict appropriately as a reversal of that first decision – by seeking to relinquish and sunder a marriage that has proven faithless, loveless and hopeless after half a century of groaning. Amnesty would have helped the world to remember that Senegal and Gambia tried a union in the same circumstances and when it proved inconvenient, they were sensible enough to sunder it and remain good neighbours.
Coming to the nature of the conflict, it is most unhelpful on the part of AI to stop at saying there are acts of violence on both sides. Undeniable as this is, it is a half-truth. If AI had carried out a credible investigation it would have found out that there is no chicken-and-egg question as to who is responding to whose violence. Violence started, not the first day when somebody was killed, but the day the regime started trampling on the dignity of Southern Cameroonians in all those socio-political acts of marginalization that have been enumerated times without number since this crisis began. It increased when, over a period of more than 50 years the complaining partner was ignored or bullied into silence. The regime’s “what-can-you-do” attitude was sheer provocation and a call to another form of violence. With restraint, Southern Cameroonians responded with peaceful protests which gave the regime the pretext to crank up multiple forms of violence – arrests, rape, extra-judicial killings etc. Violence begets violence. When young people who have seen these bestialities visited on their kith and kin take up muskets and machetes and start fighting back – yes you can say there is violence on both sides, but one side is fending off an aggressor.
Even as an embedded reporter, AI would have seen that while the armed ‘restorationists’ direct their fire and fury at the instruments and agents of Government, the security forces are indiscriminate in their murderous repression. Soldiers or ‘restorationist’ fighters who are killed in combat will have died serving a country or a cause they believe in. But killings are reported every day of people who by their age and condition are manifestly non-combatant. Some are too young or too old to know anything about this conflict. One would expect all non-combatants suspected to aid or abet the insurgency to be arrested and tried, with due process respected, not summarily executed. Actions in the field show a level of impunity which the modern world cannot, must not, tolerate.
The report also indicated that both parties attack the civilian population. At this point one would challenge AI to actually go to the surviving towns and villages in Southern Cameroons and ask the frightened population who of the two forces they consider as the aggressor and who as their protector.
Amnesty is a well-known and respected human rights pressure group whose reports are expected to inform the international community’s conflict prevention and resolution action. The shortfalls of this report trigger three levels of alarm. The first is the beclouding impact it could have on the understanding of the Southern Cameroons conundrum by those who, over the years have come to rely on Amnesty’s probity. The second is the fear that this report bespeaks a break from that probity and a slump into unusual sloppiness. The third and highest level of alarm is the fear that Amnesty may have willingly allowed its reputation to be compromised by some interest one can’t put a finger on. This gets the more disturbing, knowing the Yaounde regime’s own reputation for undermining the credibility of whoever it does business with. Could AI also have been infected by the equivocation virus that has reduced the UN, the AU and the Commonwealth to shadows of themselves, or even quislings? If organisations like AI also start speaking with forked tongues, on whose account of anything can the world now rely?
Conflict reporting that draws criticism from opposing parties is often assumed to be objective and balanced. The recent Amnesty International, AI, report on the Southern Cameroons crisis is a perfect example of how misleading such an assumption can be.It is by no means a dependable report just because it got the Yaounde regime’s ‘vuvuzela’ blaring so loud in protest as usual, while at the same time drawing salvos of censure from Southern Cameroonians.
If anything, this report seriously dents Amnesty’s image in the eyes of those who are looking up to it as a faithful watchdog on whose probity and integrity the world can count when it comes to conflict reporting and resolution.
This editorial would be far longer than that report itself if we were to itemise and comment on all its half-truths and omissions. Suffice it to say that if Amnesty International were a media outfit, a great part of this report would qualify for yellow – even armchair – journalism.
Whether all those truncated facts and all those errors of commission or omission were just the result of sloppiness or a deliberate act of misinformation, the report raises a crying need to set the record straight.
Let’s begin with the identities of the actors. In total superficiality the report echoes and amplifies Yaounde’s image of the conflict as being between the State of Cameroon and some band of secessionists. One would have expected AI’s reporter to dig up background information on this struggle. Such information, available at the UN if nowhere else, would have told AI that the parties to this conflict are two states, each of which had had an executive, a legislature and a judiciary, and one of which had made a sovereign decision to join a sister nation.
AI would thus have been able to qualify the present conflict appropriately as a reversal of that first decision – by seeking to relinquish and sunder a marriage that has proven faithless, loveless and hopeless after half a century of groaning. Amnesty would have helped the world to remember that Senegal and Gambia tried a union in the same circumstances and when it proved inconvenient, they were sensible enough to sunder it and remain good neighbours.
Coming to the nature of the conflict, it is most unhelpful on the part of AI to stop at saying there are acts of violence on both sides. Undeniable as this is, it is a half-truth. If AI had carried out a credible investigation it would have found out that there is no chicken-and-egg question as to who is responding to whose violence. Violence started, not the first day when somebody was killed, but the day the regime started trampling on the dignity of Southern Cameroonians in all those socio-political acts of marginalization that have been enumerated times without number since this crisis began. It increased when, over a period of more than 50 years the complaining partner was ignored or bullied into silence. The regime’s “what-can-you-do” attitude was sheer provocation and a call to another form of violence. With restraint, Southern Cameroonians responded with peaceful protests which gave the regime the pretext to crank up multiple forms of violence – arrests, rape, extra-judicial killings etc. Violence begets violence. When young people who have seen these bestialities visited on their kith and kin take up muskets and machetes and start fighting back – yes you can say there is violence on both sides, but one side is fending off an aggressor.
Even as an embedded reporter, AI would have seen that while the armed ‘restorationists’ direct their fire and fury at the instruments and agents of Government, the security forces are indiscriminate in their murderous repression. Soldiers or ‘restorationist’ fighters who are killed in combat will have died serving a country or a cause they believe in. But killings are reported every day of people who by their age and condition are manifestly non-combatant. Some are too young or too old to know anything about this conflict. One would expect all non-combatants suspected to aid or abet the insurgency to be arrested and tried, with due process respected, not summarily executed. Actions in the field show a level of impunity which the modern world cannot, must not, tolerate.
The report also indicated that both parties attack the civilian population. At this point one would challenge AI to actually go to the surviving towns and villages in Southern Cameroons and ask the frightened population who of the two forces they consider as the aggressor and who as their protector.
Amnesty is a well-known and respected human rights pressure group whose reports are expected to inform the international community’s conflict prevention and resolution action. The shortfalls of this report trigger three levels of alarm. The first is the beclouding impact it could have on the understanding of the Southern Cameroons conundrum by those who, over the years have come to rely on Amnesty’s probity. The second is the fear that this report bespeaks a break from that probity and a slump into unusual sloppiness. The third and highest level of alarm is the fear that Amnesty may have willingly allowed its reputation to be compromised by some interest one can’t put a finger on. This gets the more disturbing, knowing the Yaounde regime’s own reputation for undermining the credibility of whoever it does business with. Could AI also have been infected by the equivocation virus that has reduced the UN, the AU and the Commonwealth to shadows of themselves, or even quislings? If organisations like AI also start speaking with forked tongues, on whose account of anything can the world now rely?

Cavaye dribbles MPs on elections delay bill

Against a backdrop of effervescent anticipation from the public in general and lawmakers in particular emergent from a Presidential edict to Senate and House of Assembly Speakers urging them to facilitate postponement of parliamentary and municipal elections, Speaker, Cavaye Yegue Djibril took lawmakers and the lone Government Minister in attendance on Tuesday during deliberations at the National Assembly complex completely off guard when he instead announced the lone item on the agenda to be a bill authorising upward review of the 2018/2019 budget.
The surprise evoked by failure or deliberate eschewal of discussion on the much anticipated bill stems from the monumental import it ill will eventually have on Cameroon’s political landscape and, more significantly, the fact that Government statutorily had up to yesterday midnight to table the bill to the national assembly for eventual deliberation and promulgation into law. This is in addition to common knowledge of the eventuality of such a discussion, given that it had already been posted on social media and by that token would be accorded priority.
In the event, pundits are lost in contemplation as to whether a regime not known for respect of constitutional provisions will keep to its requirement that the head of state consults the National Assembly and Senate presidents for such an issue to be discussed and eventually given quietus for enactment into law.
Cameroon’s constitution, the supreme law of the land provides for postponement of elections under special circumstances including palpable insecurity and acute treasury malaise that may impinge on hitch free organisation of the ecercise. In the event that the constitutional provisions are met, the head of state has the prerogative to postpone elections for up to 18 months. And, this must be done 40 days before expiry of current mandate of the body whose mandate is to be extended or abridged.
This currently being the case in Cameroon, it is not surprising that the head of state had to write to the Presidents of the Senate and the National Assembly intimating them of his intention to postpone parliamentary and municipal elections for a period of one year, predicating his decision on the impossibility of organising three elections of universal suffrage within a month.
However, badmouths have been adroit in gainsaying the president’s inclination on grounds that he was very much aware of the task ahead of Government and confirmation of this is his allusion to it during his end of year’s message on December 31, 2017. How come it is only now that he is realising it shall not be possible?
They further contend that Biya is just a trickster who is seeking legality to perpetuate his stay as head of state after being convinced by prevailing circumstances in the country that he has lost legitimacy. More so, they continue that given the intensity of the crisis pitting his regime against Southern Cameroons separatists, Boko Haram insurgence in the Northern Regions and dire straits financial standing of the national treasury, he ought to have also, postponed the presidential poll.
The general impression is that postponement of the elections although justifiable at face value is a ruse to keep afloat a moribund regime that has been disavowed by the citizenry. They give teeth to their contention with occurrences like the invasion of the social media by a memo from the presidency that was yet to be acted upon by those to whom they were directed.
The president is said to have even been dumped by staff of his office who are supposed to have maintained a level of confidentiality commensurate with its stature and status. It is upon realisation of this uninviting turn-around of events and his avowed determination to cling to power until death that he has resorted to the current election roguery.
By Sampson Esimala

Akere sees Esso’s hidden hand in Muna family feud

It is certainly not what the venerable Honourable Solomon Tandeng Muna would have loved to be happening. Unfortunately, it is the case. But, thank God he did not live to see it.The media is awash with news of Akere Muna accusing the Government of attempting to foil his presidential ambitions by prodding his younger sister, Ama Tutu Muna to engage in a succession battle over their father’s estate.
Akere, who has declared to run for the Presidential election, was dragged to court earlier this year by sister and former Minister of Arts and Culture.
The former head of the Cameroon Bar Association, Akere, has since denied charges of forgery and attempts to side-line his sister in the partition of property left by their late father, one of the architects of Cameroon’s reunification, Solomon Tandeng Muna.
In a press conference to give his own version of facts on Thursday at his Bastos residence, Akere Muna didn’t pull any punches in addressing his sister.
Akere does not believe his sister would have engaged in such a battle after the family stood by her in all difficult moments, paying her debts and saving her from going bankrupt on several occasions.
He, also, dismissed the notion that he and his brothers are ganging up against their sister to side-line her from the family property.
“All the family has done is to assist her in her business, pay her debts all along, the only person who has benefitted to that degree from the estate is her (Ama Tutu Muna),” Akere said.
“She has risked two buildings to be sold; my brother, Humphrey (Muna) sold his only property…to pay her debt, my brother Humphrey was put to ridicule in Dakar (Senegal)…Hussiers (bailiffs) came to her house and carried all the things outside to sell because of her debts.
“So to think we will be ganging up against her is unfair and untrue,” Akere cried out.
However, the former Bar Council President feels the ensuing legal battle today is the handiwork of the Government through Justice Minister Laurent Esso, who wants to foil his presidential ambition.
“I am a declared candidate for the presidency, the Ministry of Justice is campaigning for another candidate (incumbent Paul Biya) If I am sentenced to jail (then) I am disqualified to be a candidate. I can only assume that if I am sentenced to a prison term, it will serve the other candidate, hence his surrogate,” Akere lashed out.
“So I don’t think there is any doubt about the fact that this matter is being handled from somewhere else and I can only see the Ministry of Justice.”
He went ahead to reveal the case has l taken a heavy toll on him financially as well as in his various legal battles but has vowed not to give up and even promised a “tsunami” if he was to be disqualified from the presidential race as a result of the succession battle.
Ama Tutu, last born of the Munas has remained tight-lipped since her brother’s outing but, a close aide who was contacted by The Rambler dismissed all claims made by Akere and promised to retaliate at the “appropriate” time.
By Francis Ajumane

Mr. Biya, embrace zero tolerance accountability!

Those who have worked with projects where accounts have to be rendered to donor agencies are quite familiar with the title of today’s missive. What this means is that deliverables are known through planning workshops and outcomes can easily be monitored through well set out monitoring and evaluation mechanisms that eventually lay bare reasons for successes or failures and in the event of the latter corrective measures are evoked pronto. Even as this is conceptualized at the micro level, no insurmountable impediment bars it from being transposed to the macro realm. This way, the maneuverability that engenders corruption is profoundly marginalized.
What is being marshaled here is the fact that we are afflicted by our current woes because of absence of proper planning, monitoring and evaluation in the course of managing our economy. Our approaches have been ad hoc at best and, not surprisingly, our outcomes are anything but reliable or reflective of inputs in terms of human and material resources. In the event, bread and butter issues like food, health, housing, electricity and education have become luxuries instead of necessities.
We have found ourselves in this quagmire on account of abysmal disregard for human suffering. Some say it is inherited from Jacobin fixtures traceable to Napoleonic France while others parry such inclination by positing that France wherefrom such philosophy is deemed to have emanated had since moved to governance that tallies with current technological and managerial realities whiles we are still ensnared by medieval European feudalism. Our quest for undeserved comfort reflects unbridled profligacy that has eaten deep into the internal fabric of the ship of state to the point of boring holes that are now threatening it with possible capsize.
Even so, the horror of imminent Armageddon does not seem to impel us to embrace caution through eschewal of unwarranted provocation and wanton acts of misrule. After mismanaging the economy of a potentially very rich country like Cameroon for the past 36 years, President Biya and his coterie of CPDM political gangsters still think that they ought to be given another chance. Ordinarily, there would have been no axe to grind with such a decision, given that it is a constitutional right for every eligible Cameroonian to aspire to the highest office in the land. However, 36 years of profligacy and callousness in governance have reached the limit of tolerable indecency. Fortunately, Francophone Cameroonians are beginning to clean the cobwebs from their faces and coming to terms with the essence of Anglophones’ clamour for imperative constitutional reforms that would bail us out of impending descent into hell.
Not surprisingly, as if hit by some demonic affliction, Mr. Biya and his regime are still to see that we are all in the same boat in the middle of the ocean without life jackets. This means if the boat were to capsize, there would be no survivors, including those of them at the forefront orchestrating disaster. The atmosphere is still that of business as usual, despite immutable signs of regime end. We are still deluding ourselves of our invincibility even in the face of a tough adversary like the United States of America. In our delirium we see ourselves crushing every obstacle along the way to eternal bliss at the helm of state. We have hired chiefs, some inconsequential in terms of their chiefdoms and the legitimacy of their suzerainty over their subjects to sing lullabies, all in a bid to console ourselves that we are still in charge.
While this revelry in utopia lasts, our children are dying on a daily basis. Indeed, youths who are derisively referred to as “leaders of tomorrow” are the greatest victims. Whether on the Government side or separatists, the story is the same. Young men between 18 and 30 are sent to die in a senseless war that would have been averted if we had not allowed our bloated egos to have the better part of us. This does not mean anything to a regime blinded by inordinate focus on perpetuating itself in power despite glaring signs of having been disavowed by the citizenry and by extension total loss of legitimacy.
At the last count, no fewer than 40 youths were slaughtered in what will henceforth be remembered as the Menka-Santa carnage. As usual the barbaric act has been justified by the regime’s Joseph Goebbels as retaliatory action against terrorists who had been kidnapping Government officials and killing law enforcement agents on official assignments.
Whatever the stigma that is attached to the slaughtered youths, nemesis is bound to catch up with the perpetrators. This is so because power is always ephemeral and no matter the length of time it spans, there is always a beginning and an end, given that change is the only immutable fixture on planet earth. While we deceive ourselves by sending a few who have deprived the rest of us of water, light, food, housing and healthcare facilities to Kondengui Central Prison, we should be preparing our way to the International War Crimes Tribunal and eventually to hell as retribution for condemning whole generations to eternal misery through acts of commission. We have over the years watched how an avoidable conflict was degenerating to intractable internecine war. And, because we were not prepared for what we have foolishly embraced out of bravado, our otherwise valiant soldiers have needlessly fallen prey to more determined separatist forces with a genuine cause to defend.
This is in no way an extolment of the puerile bravado of the separatist forces that have taken up arms against their fatherland. Far from it! On the contrary, this exuberant youths who hardly master the stakes of the cause they are supposed to be defending must be told that world history is replete with cases of intransigence that has led to decades of senseless bloodletting. While admitting that the process of courting peace had been mismanaged by the regime, there is no excuse for the callousness that has taken hold of an otherwise commendable initiative to bring to world attention the excesses of the Biya regime as concerns alienation of the Anglophone component of Cameroon.
We are all culpable: that is those that have taken arms against a legitimate Government no matter their grouse against it and a Government that embarrassingly sees no fault in its decision to embrace bloodletting instead of dialogue with a component of the state that has every merit to be aggrieved, judging by the decades of misrule that adorn Mr. Biya’s Governance report card.
If his CPDM cohorts and he are driven by the illusion of invincibility to think that they can begin crying Uhuru then they must have their brains examined by a neurosurgeon. This is no time for bland rhetoric like not negotiating with terrorists. It is not time also, to worry how we found ourselves in this avoidable miasma. On the contrary, before it becomes too late, let this whole frenzy over perpetuating himself in power through elections whose outcome is already determined despite unmistakable signals of having been disavowed by the citizenry not stoke the embers of an already looming genocide. We still have time to trim and even prune our bloated egos for the good of our country. No one can claim greater allegiance to a “one and indivisible Cameroon” than the other. We are merely failing to see the pitfalls to such a desired vision. Once more, Mr. President retrace your steps and save the country from imminent cataclysm otherwise, you will have to render account to posterity and face retribution that may inexorably, bring your children on board.
By Ngoko Monyadowa

GCE Board sloppiness exposed in massive exam leakages

Wonders they say will never end. Contrary to the much vaunted preparedness to organize, supervise, mark and release results of the Cameroon General Certificate of Education, GCE, Ordinary and Advanced Levels certificate exams even in the face of pernicious variables underpinned by the tense socio-political environment in the Northwest and Southwest Regions and a new management team yet to master its act, cracks have surprisingly begun appearing on the wall of this year’s management of the much revered examination.
As if shortage of answer sheets for multiple choice questions was not incriminating enough the GCE Board has yet again allowed itself to be dragged into the mud of leaked questions. Yesterday, students could be seen returning to classrooms to rewrite English Literature which they initially wrote on Friday, June 8. Also in the fray of leaked subjects are Advanced Level Geography Paper 3 and Ordinary Level History, which are supposed to be written later this week.
According to the GCE Board officials, the subjects already written by students were cancelled because it was only discovered that the questions were leaked when students were in the middle of writing. To this effect, a notice was pasted informing students of the cancellation of the papers and a date scheduled for the re-sit.
The question many are asking is, how come and what sort of negligence has the new management team displayed in their teething months in office. Others are pondering how the questions were leaked out and students sat for the exam without the knowledge of the Board.
Despite the negligence displayed by the team, the question is yet, what becomes of those in remote areas who are not aware of the changes or those who had sneaked into the big cities due to the insecurity and have since returned? For those who were not aware of the changes and consequently didn’t sit the rescheduled exams, will their results be cancelled or will the Board rate them on the supposed question papers which were leaked?
This has caused so much commotion as in the early hours of Monday, June 11; some Ordinary Level students could be seen running helter-skelter following a rumour that Ordinary Level Mathematics had also been cancelled for similar reasons. The high level of unpreparedness so far exhibited by the Board has caused many to raise eyebrows, leading to loss of trust in the Board.
Candidates who thought that they were done once and for all with the exams had to and against their will rush back for the rescheduled exams. Many have lost faith in the Board while others are determined not to sit for any subject the second time this year.
According to Ashu Bright, an Ordinary Level candidate who took part in this year’s exams, her programme has been disrupted. She stated that her uncle who in an invigilator of the exams advised her to be very alert and cancel any trip because if the board has started cancelling Advanced level subjects, it could also lead to the cancellation of some Ordinary level subjects.
By Relindise Ebune