Arrogance, looted cash haunt former GCE Board registrar

“…They should not look for trouble where there isn’t, or looking for lice on a bald head; my head is bald, so they should not look for lice on it.”
This is how metaphorically Humphrey Ekema Monono, the immediate past Registrar of the Cameroon General Certificate of Education Board, CGCE BOD, elected to refer to the arrogance, sleaze and underhand deals that purportedly characterized his headship of the examination outfit, especially in his ebbing days in that office.
Yet, The Rambler sources were categorical when painting a picture of what they described as the former registrar’s “trademark arrogance, bloated ego and propensity to denigrate others.”
The sources that that spoke on the sidelines of the installation last week of the new GCE BOD Chairman, quoted highly placed authorities in Yaounde as saying that the unusual rush to have Monono replaced at the helm of the examination outfit was strategically meant to keep him off some FCFA 1,7 billion earlier disbursed to facilitate business at the BOD.
The Rambler was told how President Biya had, months before Monono was replaced, ordered the disbursement of FCFA 1,9 billion for the BOD, to ease the conduct of examinations and payment of marking dues to teachers. This was supposed to be one strategy of warding off the disturbing schools and examination boycotts that were particularly rife in Anglophone Cameroon at the time.
The cash was duly made available to the Prime Minister, PM, who, in turn, handed it over to Secondary Education Minister, Jean Ernest Messina Ngalle Bibehe, with firm instructions. The Rambler learnt that Bibehe proceeded to disbursing the GCE BOD cash piecemeal. That he gave the former BOD Chair, Peter Alange Abety, FCFA 25 million “for his back pocket” and FCFA 100,000 million to Monono, the out gone registrar.
Part of this subvention, The Rambler learnt, must have precipitated a widely publicized press conference in December, 2017, at which it was gleefully announced that GCE markers who had since not been paid, would finally receive their dues in a matter of weeks. Yet, as we write, teeming numbers of these markers are yet to be paid a dime, despite Biya’s near FCFA 2 billion lifeline which was duly passed on by the Prime Minister.
News of grumbling unpaid markers and apparently misapplied cash disbursement is said to have gotten to the PM. Yang summoned Monono to his office to explain the “ding-dong” with public funds, unpaid markers and shoddily run examination BOD. The then registrar reportedly passed the buck, onto his minister, Bibehe. Equally summoned by the PM, Bibehe is said to have accepted that only FCFA 100,000 of the FCFA 1,9 billion had been effectively paid to Monono.
Yang instructed that the rest of the money be immediately wired to the GCE BOD account. But then, our sources, quoting “their antecedents,” said the authorities decided that the former BOD managers could not be allowed access to the remaining FCFA 1,7 billion “for obvious reasons.” It is for this reason, we were told, that PM Yang hurriedly effected the change at the helm of the GCE BOD “without due process.”

The cash discrepancy apart, Monono was also accused of influence peddling and laying undue claims to political protection as it were. This attitude, the subordinates alleged, was responsible for his “arrogance towards the Minister and the new BOD Chair when it came to last week’s handing over and installation ceremony.”
“He was clearly seen to be trying to downplay the dignity of the BOD Chair while giving impetus to the Registrar.” He is quoted as telling the Minister that he (minister) is supposed to conduct the handing over between the two chairmen in his (Monono’s) office and go out only to install the registrar in the open which is not supposed to be so. The Minister is said to have been taken aback and blasted him; questioning why he should place the Prime Minister’s decree over the Head of State’s, given that the BOD Chair is appointed by a Presidential decree and the Registrar by a Prime Ministerial decree.
According to Monono’s protocol arrangements at the installation ceremony, the incoming chairman was allegedly assigned an inferior seat, while the incoming registrar had a prominent place. “But the Minister opposed such protocol and told the BOD Chair, Professor Ivo Tambo Leke that it was his occasion and so put him on his rightful seat. Monono refused to come out for the installation and stayed locked inside his office.”
FCFA 1,9 billion rears ugly head again
Inside sources claimed that Monono may be facing the anti-corruption body, CONAC, once again in connection with the FCFA 1,9 billion cash which might not have been put into the right use and for which the PM summoned him and his supervisory authority. “The Head of State made available this huge sum, ostensibly to fight off this current crisis. It was FCFA 1,9 billion, confirmed to have been for the GCE Board and a similar amount for the BAC Board. Out of the money, the Minister gave Monono FCFA 100 million to start with. But he is said to have held a council meeting and told councilors that money had not yet come but was going to come. He did not mention that he had received FCFA 100 million,” our sources stated. Repeating the obvious, one of our sources noted:
“When the Prime Minister learned that Monono didn’t as much as mention that he had received money, he was surprised and called him to Yaounde for questioning and Monono told him the Minister gave him FCFA 100 million and gave the BOD Chair FCFA 25 million. The Prime Minister then invited the Minister and gave instructions for him to go and prepare the rest of the money, that is some FCFA 1.7 billion and send to the GCEB.”
Our source added; “the PM knew that if he waited for the council to meet, elect a registrar and go through the various processes, it would take time and the money might enter unsafe hands. That’s why he went ahead to appoint a new registrar since he now had the problem of who will come and handle the money in Buea since Monono had not explained what he did with the FCFA 100 million.”
It would be recalled that certain elites, including the teachers’ trade unions petitioned the Prime Minister for violating the GCEB and an Anglophone institution text at this time of the year and at this state of the nation. But the PM’s office acknowledged their fault and after revealing the above situation to some of them.
Some of Monono’s collaborators are of the opinion that he has also “spoiled everything for the chairperson.” As they put it, the BOD Chair’s office is like a small stall, with scanty furniture, while the registrar has a very big office that even the minister cannot boast of.
Notwithstanding, the aggrieved complainers are convinced that as long as the new Chairman, the Minister and the Prime Minister have realized that a mistake was made, the GCEB text was violated, the BOD is not in danger as many might have thought.

Monono claims lice free bald head
Asked if and why he boycotted the installation ceremony of the new BOD Chair and if it was as an act of arrogance and insubordination to the Minister, he replied; “I wasn’t at the incoming BOD Chair installation ceremony because I was busy somewhere else.”
Asked if he was insolent to the Minister, dictating and directing his boss on the procedure to be adopted during the handing over exercise, Monono spat out:
“Who was there with me when I was talking to the Minister? Well, if you are looking for excuses for the Minister, be sure that I wasn’t rude to anybody. The Minister and I had cool words in the session, a peaceful handing over. I was not at the ceremony because I obtained permission from the Minister. I was also carrying a teaching lesson; we were to select invigilators that afternoon and collect their textbooks which were instructions from the Central Committee as simple as that; and that is why I went to see the Minister to obtain permission that I wasn’t going to be able to be at the ceremony. So who is putting salt and pepper? Or is it because I took permission?
“Even if I have left the office, it is not the right time to look for trouble. I would repeat and accept that I wasn’t at the installation ceremony because the Minister and even Prof. Tambo were aware of the reason why I wasn’t at the ceremony. I said it in front of him and the new registrar and the secretary general that we have this meeting of collecting electoral applications which were instructions from the Central Committee. How could I have divided myself to be at both events probably at the same time?”
He continued: “If I didn’t hand over, then that could have been a different thing. But I handed over in peace and tranquility. We had a working session the day before. The new registrar came and he met me when I was preparing to receive senators’ files. That day I think up to about 8:00pm, I was still working with him. I left from one office to another. I was quite patient to listen to anybody who wanted my attention. What does it mean that I was impolite to the Minister?
“Saying that, I set out to diminish the new BOD Chair’s integrity by dictating and directing which procedure to be adopted or not, I say it is false. The Minister has his own procedures and I cannot go against his modus operandi. He is a Minister in Government; and whatever principles I have in my head, remains in my head. I don’t see how I should be above the Minister. If I am above him, then tomorrow, I would certainly be above the Prime Minister and the President. What my ideas are should not override the Minister’s position; he is my boss and if he says handover, I should do it. Did your source say I refused to hand over?” Monono asked laughingly.
Hear the former registrar: “Oh my God! So people are busy looking for reasons as to why I wasn’t at the installation ceremony? They should not look for trouble where there isn’t or looking for lice on a bald head; my head is bald, so they should not look for lice on it.”
On the issue of the alleged mismanagement of FCFA 100 million, Monono stated; “Few months back, the Minister of Secondary Education gave me FCFA 100 million and I have given him the papers and statements of what I used. The documents are still in the office where I left them; you can either go back to the office I left or ask the Minister if I have justified the use of the FCFA 100 million he gave me. Before I even took the money, I had given him a plan on how to use it and he approved it before I used it. So, what is the trouble? It is well accounted for. Anyone who took any farthing from the money signed. The catholic mission secretaries were part and they all signed and gave me attachments to the documents that were handed to the cashiers. So please, my management cannot be faulted for FCFA 100 million.
“The documents for the money are there. I know that justification papers may be signed by anybody or you can ask anyone to give you a receipt, but this one, people to whom I paid the money signed for and are not traders who signed the receipts. The people who signed for the money are there and can be questioned.”
Asked if he sees CONAC revisiting him anytime soon, Monono said he was a Cameroonian and I saw nothing wrong with CONAC revisiting him after his term of office. Hear him:
“Visiting me woll the papers for all the money that I have spent for the last 12 years and above. Anyway, CONAC visited me, they were there a few months ago, did uld depend on the records that they have; if they are not sure of what I did, my accounts and justification… But the office that I have left has acontrol. In 2013, it was already news that I was in prison; but when they checked their records they found me faultless and let me go and I ruled the board after then for five more years. I think as a Cameroonian I’m free to be audited or interviewed, there’s nothing wrong with that.”

By Nester Asonganyi & Relindise Ebune

GCE Board autonomy shattered

The Cameroon General Certificate of Education Board, CGCEB now has a new Board of Directors Chair as well as new Registrar. While Prof. Ivo Leke Tambo replaces Prof. Peter Abeti as Board Chairman, Dang Dominick Ako, takes over from Dr. Ekema Humphrey Monono as Registrar.

Both men were appointed on Tuesday, January 30, and Wednesday January 31 by separate Prime Ministerial Orders.

The appointments have put paid to months and, even years of politicking and attempts to jettison unwritten gentleman’s agreement relating to rules of succession at the helm between functionaries of the Northwest and the Southwest Regions.

Monono and Abeti are being relieved of their functions after unconstitutionally being in office for more than a decade, contrary to the institution’s statutes. Officially, the registrar has a three-year office term, renewable twice; meaning after every three years, the post of registrar is up for grabs and may be advertised by the Chairman of the Board for interested candidates to apply.

Now that there has been change of guards at the education board, many are hoping that like their predecessors, they will put in their all to maintain the statuesque of the Board. It is also expected that the duo would use their profound educational experiences to ensure the independence and efficiency of the GCE Board.

Prof. Leke Tambo hails from Lewoh in Lebialem Division, Southwest Region. He has served in various capacities, rising from primary school teacher to University Professor. He was also, for 10 unbroken years, Secretary General in the Ministries of Basic and Secondary Education prior to his retirement.

Dang Dominick Ako is from Menchum Division of the Northwest Region. Upon graduation from the University of Yaounde, in 1982, he immediately embarked on a career in the Examinations Department of the then all-encompassing Ministry of National Education, a circumstance that has made him a very square peg in a square hole in his current appointment.

GCE Board’s wings clipped?

A handful of direct interests and hangers-on are certainly celebrating the changes at the GCE Board, Yet, underlying such celebrations is a hidden potent blow that the GCE Board has been dealt and which has, tacitly watered down the examination body’s powers and ability to uphold the values of typical Anglo-Saxon like educational system.

Under laid down terms, the GCE Board members should have met in conclave, deliberated and had one of their choice appointed to the position of Registrar. This wasn’t the case in the recent exercise. The PM merely appointed the new head without due process. And from the look of things, the autonomy of the Board has been lost to Yaounde, given that it is, from every indication been made to become a department in the Ministry of Secondary Education.

By Nester Asonganyi


Journalists charged with being peace ambassadors

The advent of sociopolitical agitation climaxing in the Anglophone crisis of the last 15 months or so has brought into being a perilous circumstance for the media in Cameroon. And, in a profession that had initially exhibited a pronounced shortfall in both tact and proficiency propaganda for either of the contenders represented by Government and aggrieved Anglophones has become customary through the inadvertence of wanting to be seen to belong to the Joneses.

It is against this backdrop that during a press dinner organized by the Cameroon Community Media Network, CCMN Wednesday January 31, journalists were advised to practice peace journalism.

According to Alexander Vojvoda, Technical Organizer of CCMN, journalists should keep themselves safe first in order to be able to report on conflict situations. He however stated that as the fourth estate, reporters have the voice to either escalate the crisis or to join the peace voice. While calling on journalists to go in for peace journalism, he advised that information from the field should be weighed before dissemination. Vojvoda added that the effects of disseminating information should be put into consideration prior to its being propagated. “Since journalists are the voice of the voiceless, they should consider the effects at the school, economic, and social levels for the good of the public,” Vojvoda advised.

Going by him, there is a need for journalists to take a step back and see on which side they are standing; they should weigh each side and bring possible solutions to the crisis rather than being propagandists on either side which may instead fuel the crisis.

Journalists present during the press dinner where asked to each give their experiences and how they handle the current situation. It was discovered from almost all the media organs that journalists are often threatened for speaking the truth or for not being part of either of the propaganda. Many shared the ordeal they have experienced and are still going through since the crisis broke out.

While painting a picture of CCMN in 2017, the Secretary General, Kum Leonard said for 2018, they had a board meeting to look forward to activities for the year. According to him, it was agreed to design projects for workshops with journalists in 2018, set up a monitoring and evaluation scheme to follow up the projects. To him, it is their objective this year to increase membership and involve journalists in the network, especially, in this year of crisis and elections.

By Relindise Ebune

Ghosts still ‘remote-controlling’ Anglophone Cameroon

At the outset of the now simmering crisis that has pitted Government against aggrieved inhabitants of the Northwest and Southwest Regions the general impression was that the restiveness of the latter hinges on swaying propaganda spewed by exuberant youths in the Diaspora. Fifteen months down the road, the situation is yet to show any signs of abating soon as ghost towns, incinerations and gunfire exchanges still hold sway even with the overflow of security operatives and combat ready soldiers.

Yesterday, the two Anglophone Regions were, again, in yet another immersion into unfounded rumour of imminent invasion by ‘Ambazonian forces.’ In Buea, children had been warned not to go to school and the order was religiously harkened to. Taxis were scarce, just like most shops were closed except in Clerks Quarters where Mayor Ekema Patrick Esunge went the extra mile to ensure that business places stayed open. Not even banks were left out in the drive into ensuring that security measures were in place to bar any unauthorized access into their business premises. The main BICEC branch in town was closed just like many other banks in Molyko and other neighbourhoods.

Reports from Kumba, Limbe and Bamenda bespeak the same inclination to conform to ghost edicts from ‘Ambazonia’ leadership. The irony is that with the announcement of arrest and repatriation of the Ambazonian headship from Nigeria to Cameroon, the thinking was that there would eventually be a thaw in the aggressiveness of aggrieved Anglophones. Unfortunately, this has not been the case. Schools are yet to resume in most parts and the timing is already two years and counting. On the contrary there has been an added fillip to the boldness and ruthlessness they employ in their recrimination against the Biya regime. There is criminal disregard for human lives on both sides just like the tendency to disavow Government institutions is rife among Anglophones.

Yesterday, Monday, February 5, after a long period of effective schooling in Buea and other Divisional headquarters in the Northwest and Southwest Regions, a massive boycott of school, business centres and daily activities reared its ugly head contrary to expectations. The boycotts came as a result of fear induced in people after reading messages of threats from the ‘Ambazonian interim Government’ on social media on the dangers awaiting those who refuse to adhere to ‘operation ghost town’ in support of their leaders under detention by the Government.

The panic and tension have been aggravated in the hearts of people in this part of the country after a weekend of gunfire exchanges which may have caused parents to fear sending their children to school. They have, instead, opted out of fear to toss out Government’s calls for effective school no matter what. Questions championed by the ‘Ambazonian interim Government’ on whether Sisiku Julius Tabe and co are alive and their whereabouts have also incited fear in the public and doubts of what the future holds.

It appears that while the Government is delaying in solving the current issue, some angered citizens and separatists are further radicalized each day and there is no sign of things getting better any time soon. Cameroon, originally known as a peaceful country has become one which on a daily basis, especially, in the Southwest and Northwest Regions, the military ordinarily briefed to protect its own is on the contrary in confrontation with them. People are dying almost on a daily basis; others are rendered homeless, economy being grounded but the  Government is unfortunately, rather indifferent to all of these.

Earlier on, most of Anglophone Cameroon had been in frenzy when rumours of an impending invasion of schools by ‘Ambazonian forces’ hit the main towns of Kumba, Limbe, Buea and Bamenda. Frightened parents scurried into schools and ferried their children into safety of their various homes only to realize that they had been taken for a ride into ghost information. Not even assurances for the Regional Governors have succeeded in assuaging fears of such attacks.

By Relindise Ebune

Meme schools loss steam after ghost panic

As if they had been anticipating a last straw that will be the tipping point to withdraw their children from school, parents in Kumba, Headquarters of Meme Division are still reluctant to send their children to school after rumours of impending attack by ‘Ambazonia Defence Forces’ spread like wild fire throughout the Southwest Region last week.

One week after, most schools are still to get even a quarter of the students they had by December.

Following rumours of ‘Ambazonian Forces’ attack on schools Monday January 15,  which caused commotion as parents ran helter-skelter to secure the safety of their children, parents of most primary pupils in particular, say they are in no hurry to stage the same drama. This explains why most of them are still keeping their kids at home, a teacher and parents told The Rambler.

As we spoke with some parents around the streets of Kumba, they revealed that last Monday’s panic caused a lot of trauma to their kids, especially, those at the nursery level who up to now are not psychological strong enough to go back to class.

Apart from schools like CCAS Kumba, GBHS, GTTC and other famous private institutions which are fully operational, others have witnessed just a handful of students this week.

Schools in Konye and Mbonge Sub-Divisions shutdown

These areas are now counting almost two wasted academic years. After schools stopped abruptly last academic year, most, if not, all schools in these Sub-Divisions are still to open their doors even for the first time. With most of them located in rural areas, they had promised to begin school by January 8 following their ‘Ambazonian school calendar’ but the recent escalation in these two Sub-Divisions have not only enforced permanent closure of campuses, but also the massive movement of persons, especially, youths to the bushes for safety.

However, after last week’s panic, the Senior Divisional Officer, SDO for Meme Charmbalin Ntou’ou Ndong has in a communiqué dated January 15, 2018, reassured the population of Government’s relentless efforts to protect the population  particularly students and teachers.

He has therefore called on the population to remain calm while reminding parents to continuously send their children to school.


Youth Day to regain fanfare in Southwest

Guided by hindsight of a possible thaw in the current face-off between Anglophones and the Biya regime, Government, represented by the Head of Division in charge of Cultural and Social Affairs in the Southwest Governor’s Office, Mathew Theophile Doumbe has expressed optimism that the devastating socio-political atmosphere which characterized Buea in particular, and the Southwest Region in general, last year, is no longer the case, and so Youth Day (11 February) would be celebrated customarily.

This assertion was made Thursday, January 18, in Buea during the first preparatory meeting for the 2018 Youth Day which brought together stakeholders.

Unlike the 51st edition of the Youth Day celebration in the region, where many activities which usually graced the day were omitted, and crowds virtually rented, momentum is building up among stakeholders who are working to bringing to live the essence of the day once more, especially, in the English speaking part where counteracting efforts have been made to minimize such occurrences.

Chairing the event, Doumbe said after being deprived from so many social interactions and learning opportunities, the youth, especially, students have the right to, on this day, relax and socialize with their peers.

As a result, 13 major committees have been put in place; including Prize Award, Socio-cultural and Sporting Committees which were omitted last year due to unfavourable security atmosphere. Even though activities of the youth week would be carried out at various centres, on the event day proper, all will converge at Bongo Square. This to him is to ensure tightened security.

Making her point at the event, the Southwest Regional Delegate of Youths and Civic Education, Susan Fende Lyonga affirmed that the 52nd and 2018 edition of the National Youth Day has some peculiarity in that, it would be celebrated within the context of  ’11-day celebration’.

“In the previous years, following the school programme, we used to organize activities just for five or six days. This year is special because the idea is to spread the campaign of civic education, promote civic values, national integration, harmonious living and volunteerism. The 11-day celebration comes in only to check the activities carried out in schools, communities, and villages within the 11-day activities,” she stated.

Stakeholders from primary to tertiary institutions as well as well-wishers were charged with varying financial contributions to facilitate the smooth running and success of the day.

The second preparatory meeting has been schedule for tomorrow at the Southwest Governor’s Office. The National Youth Day launching will take place on Thursday February 1 in the Littoral Region, while the Southwest Regional launch will be on Friday February 2.

By Nester Asonganyi

Anglophone crisis: Teachers’ feet on the accelerator again!

Instead of experiencing a thaw as many had expected given that Government is at present having an apparent upper hand as exemplified in the arrest of separatist leaders in Nigeria, the simmering Anglophone crisis has, on the contrary, picked up steam with a recent petition to the Prime Minister and Head of Government by the consortium of teachers’ trade unions that had ignited it in November 2016.

The various trade unions that came together in October and later November 21, 2016 to call for schools boycott across Anglophone Cameroon have again in their end of year memorandum petitioned the Prime Minister, calling for total suppression of examinations fees for basic education candidates.

The new memorandum collectively signed by Tame Valentine of TAC, Gilbert Lakinyu of CEWOTTU, Afuh Stephen Nkwah of PEATTU and Ayeah Emmanuel of BATTUC, after evaluating the 19 points reached during the inter-ministerial ad-hoc meeting created by Cameroon’s Prime Minister to look into their grievances, claims there is an overwhelming need for the creation of a follow up committee as requested in point 25 of the ad hoc committee resolutions document in other to ensure a strict follow up of the resolutions agreed on last year.

The same petition assesses some of the actions already executed by Government in response to their grievances. To that end, the petition notes that the teachers’ demand for the creation of another Higher Technical Teachers Training College to reduce the pressure brought to bear on that of Bambili and, by that token, putting the Anglo-Saxon culture at risk has been executed as well as the creation of the French Department in the University of Bamenda, the creation of an Engineering and Technology Faculty and a Polytechnic for the English sub system and the recruitment of the announced one thousand teachers have either been engaged, advanced or have been executed at 100  percent.

The same memorandum expresses disgust against the continuous victimization of teachers’ union leaders and members for calling the school boycott of November 21, 2016, despite the fact that it was suspended on February 4, 2017.

“It is regrettable that some authorities clamp down on union members and leaders and still hold them accountable for the present impasse; meanwhile the industrial action of 21/11/2016 had since been long suspended as of February 4, 2017/2017. Dynamism is recommended to accommodate these stakeholders in the education industry and none payment of salaries to teachers for 2016/2017 has been an act of bad faith with attendant consequences that their children are kept at home, thereby forestalling effective school resumption.”

They condemned the manoeuvres of some education agencies said to have resorted to selective and individual resolution of teachers’ problems, punitive transfers and reluctance to document the facts. The same memo condemns the Baptist Education Department for what it styles denying teachers’ entitlements for the 2016/2017 academic year.

By Jean Marie Ngong Song

University of Bamenda bubbles with innovations

Who can gainsay the fact that change is a necessary ingredient to spice the quest to do better? At least not those who have witnessed the case of the University of Bamenda, Uba, that has been garnering one distinction to the other in the wake of the appointment of Prof. Theresa Akenji-Nkuo as Vice Chancellor, VC.

Prof. Akenji, UBa VC

Since the creation of Cameroons Baby University, it has been in the lime light fromvarious angles. This has been more frequent since the baton of command changed hands from the university’s pioneer VC Tafah Edokat Oki to Theresa-Nkuo Akenji. The new administration has superintended the operationalization of almost all the faculties, the HND programme that was functional like a private affair has been made official with all programs sent to respective schools which have the competence, the successful hosting of the 2016 university games, the recent transfer of some 125 French staff of the university in replacement of Anglophones has been described by many as a blessing to the new administration. The latest of them is the creation of an Anglo-Saxon oriented polytechnic as another school of the said university.

President Paul Biya on November 24, 2017 created a National Higher Polytechnic Institute in the University of Bamenda. The institute was created to amend and supplement some provisions of Decree No. 2011/45 of March 8, 2011, to organize the University of Bamenda, UBa.

The mission of the institute, according to a separate decree signed the same day to lay down the administrative and academic organization of the school is to “provide initial and continuous training as well as research in the fields of engineering and technology, carry out the retraining and further training of professionals in the aforementioned fields and to provide development support, particularly through service sustainable development management”

According to the above decree which amends provisions of article 49 of the March 8, 2011 decree organizing the University, UBa now has six faculties and six schools.

Created by Decree No 2010/371 of the 14th December 2010, Uba is the last of the eight state Universities in Cameroon. It inherited the structures of the Cameroon College of Arts, Science and Technology, CCAST, and ENSAB.

According to a source at the university, the estimated space available is 699 hectares and enrollment has grown from 5600 students in 2011 to 16,000 in 2016 representing a growing rate of 25 percent per year.

Since creation, the University has been grappling with lack of infrastructure which has acted as a stumbling block to its effective kick off. Insufficient lecture halls, offices and a very deficient teaching staff is a threat to the quality of teaching and research in the university.

By Jean Marie Ngong Song

UB VC counsels freshmen; shun vices, hug studies

The event could not have been otherwise than representing a replay of what must have been UB Vice Chancellor Prof. Ngomo Horace Manga’s experience some 37 years ago as freshman of the University of Lagos in Nigeria, in archetypal Anglo-Saxon tradition. As replication therefore, over 6,000 newly matriculated students of the University of Buea, UB, have been told to stay disciplined, focused on their academic duties and avoid unnecessary distractions.

Prof. Ngomo Horace Manga was speaking recently in Buea while matriculating the 25thnewly admitted batch of students into the University.

“You must shun habits like drunkenness, theft, sexual promiscuity, corruption.Please don’t be part of those who hide on social media to propagate inimical information to the growth of this university. Your watchwords should be discipline, hard work and respect of the rules and regulations that govern this institution,” the VC counseled.

He told them that the university world is a race which they will need their health, energy and financial resources to win. Prof. Ngomo said they should redouble efforts in order to graduate from the university with their heads high.

“Excellence does not come from spending 24 hours daily in the library or praying 12 hours a day; all-night vigil or spending all your time on social media; or being an all-time night clubber or partying all-week.  The amount of time you spend on your books should be balanced by that spent on social engagements and other forms of social learning.”

Given that it was the VC’s first batch of matriculation after his appointment, he named them‘The Vice-Chancellor Batch.’He said as a result, they are expected to be true ambassadors who will safeguard and improve on the reputation of the institution. Prof. Ngomo assured the students that the university will do its best to protect their interests.

Delivering an academic discourse to the students, Prof. Giselle Morfaw told them they were now masters of their own destinies. “Be assiduous, inquisitive and enthusiastic. You are here because you understand that you don’t know and want to know. You must be organized because it is the key to success,” she told them.

The Professor of Mathematics reminded the students that they were the pillars of the nation and as such, in all they do, they must strive for excellence.

The matriculated students promised to heed to all the advice given them. According to one of them, Lesley Rian Awah, they have learned so much. “We have been given advice and objectives.The VC has told us the things to do in order to obtain these objectives. Classes have already begun and we are doing all it takes to attain these objectives,” Awah said.

Students still on Mayor’s fake credentials

Some students used the occasion to remind the powers that be about the fake certificate still in the possession of the Mayor of Buea. Moris Orock, a postgraduate student in the Department of Law expatiated why they were still carrying placards against Ekema.

“This is a demonstration we have been at for a long time now pertaining to the fact that the Mayor of Buea has fake credentials in his keeping which are not just affecting the University of Buea but Cameroon in general. The last time the Minister of Higher Education, Prof. Jacques Fame Ndongo, was here for the VC’s installation, he promised us he was going to see into those fake certificates of the mayor and how he will be brought to book. Today, we are here to remind the VC and the Pro-Chancellor to help us see that all our pleas of retrieving Mayor Ekema’s fake certificates come to pass.”

By Nester Asonganyi

Pan African debaters condemn violence in Cameroon

The management of the Pan African University may be operating purely from the perspective of contributing to the emergence of a more integrated and economically sturdy Africa through inclusive governance in each of the member states of the African Union, its silent proprietor. However, its recent decision to ingratiate the University of Buea with the rare honour of hosting for the first time in the Central African sub region, the 10th edition of the Pan African debate, involving nine African countries with “21st century alternatives to violence” as theme could not have been more timely, given the current circumstance in the country and the role the upcoming city of Buea has been playing in the unfolding of the Anglophone crisis saga.

As the Anglophone crisis chronicle has been negotiating dangerous twists and turns recently, The Rambler took advantage of the presence of foreign perspectives in the University to debate on violence in Africa and in Anglophone Cameroon in particular, to tickle the minds of some of the foreign debaters, who barred their minds about the present crisis rocking Anglophone Cameroon which they have been following keenly on social media, in their respective countries before landing in Cameroon.

In the opinion of Mahlatse Kotope of South Africa, “I have heard much about violence in Cameroon and the authorities have to find the root of the problem and solve it peacefully, rather than pushing in for violence as I have seen.” He added that this crisis halted schools and many other activities in Cameroon which doesn’t develop Africa but leaves her stagnant.

When people talk of war, it is not all about settling scores but putting education and growth to a standstill he said. There are many unwarranted reasons of violence in African countries mainly because of differences in identities, especially, the case of English speaking Cameroonians and French speaking Cameroonians, which is all due to colonization and slavery. “Borders we have were not set up by us” he mentioned.

Just like Kotope of South Africa, Tagumanashe Gahanje of Zimbabwe didn’t like what he saw on social media as he said “Africa is becoming mature and things are changing, just like in Zimbabwe in which Mugabe left power peacefully without any form of violence as highly unexpected.”  He mentioned that mutual understanding is quite important and the differences between Anglophones and Francophones have to be slimmed down and the two parties have to be treated equally. He said violence in Africa as a whole is mostly triggered by leaders, who don’t want to leave power. “People who have stayed in power for too long must step down to give way to new and creative minds, for a better Africa.”

GathoniIreri of Kenya also says, with just a few days spent in Buea, she has discovered Anglophones to be very kind, peaceful and hospitable and so she wonders why they have to face such miserable violence she sees on social media back in Kenya. Shumo Trust of Cameroon says he has been a victim of violence in Cameroon and is so obsessed with what happened on October 1, 2017 in the Anglophone Regions. He says “the main reason for the propagation of violence in Anglophone Cameroon is because of the failure of the Government and the failure to meet up with the demands of citizens. “Violence is not an option and will never solve any problem.”

By *Atembeh Ngewung Lordfred

*UB Journalism Student