FAKE CERTIFICATE SAGA: Mayor seeks legal protection

The Mayor of Buea, Ekema Patrick Esunge, is not new to controversy. He has, within the period of his visible political career regularly had controversy and squabbles spun all over him like cobwebs. The trending controversy now is a certificate racket involving him. He is kicking back, pretty hard and legally. The municipal head is said to have surreptitiously slithered into the University of Buea, UB, eventually obtaining a Bachelor and Masters of Arts Degrees in History, in 2006 and 2013 respectively.
A recent deliberation of the UB Senate decided that Ekema fraudulently misled the University Board into admitting him to the History Department and ruled that his degree certificates be withdrawn. The institution was acting on the report of a committee set up by the Vice Chancellor, VC, sequel to the instructions of the Minister of Higher Education. But just about when the public thought Ekema’s fate was sealed, given cast iron exhibits provided by the GCE Board to the effect that he was academically deficient as and when he slipped through varsity portals, the battle mongering mayor has turned on the legal heat on his alma mater and former employers, UB.
According to documents The Rambler procured, the embattled Ekema is, seeking temporary and perpetual injunctions that should, hopefully, restrain his alma mater and the state of Cameroon (First and Second Defendants respectively) from interfering with his academic degrees.
The Buea based VERITAS LAW OFFICES, are authors of the document. Acting on behalf of the Mayor, they first mooted the matter in a correspondence addressed to the Registrar of UB. Dated April 12, 2018, the head of the law offices, Barrister Emmanuel Nkea wrote inter alia:
“…We have thoroughly read through a headline article on The Rambler newspaper of April 10, 2018, captioned ‘UB halts mayor’s academic fraud! Withdraws degree certificates’ wherein it is alleged that our client’s degree certificates have been withdrawn by Senate of the University of Buea on grounds of fraud. This is highly injurious to the reputation and integrity of our client, and we intend to institute legal measures to restore same. In this regard, it is necessary to ascertain from you whether or not Senate took these purported decisions.”
Ekema’s Counsel say their client insists that he was regularly admitted into the University of Buea; that he effectively pursued studies therein and was duly issued with Bachelors’ and Masters Degree certificates in History.
The advocates claim that their client was never heard during the Senate meeting in which these “purported decisions” were taken. Referring to “the highly inflammatory and defamatory nature of the said publication, and the urgent necessity for remedial legal measures,” they demanded a confirmation within 24 hours whether or not such decisions were taken by Senate of the University of Buea.
“Should you fail, neglect, or refuse to act as afore stated,” the mail to UB stated, “we shall assume that the afore stated article in The Rambler newspaper is based on information provided by the University of Buea, and we shall, without any further notice on you, legally challenge these decisions as being manifestly illegal, unjust and unwarranted, selectively biased and politically motivated.” Apparently, UB either opted to ignore the 24-hour ultimatum or “The Place to be” simply did not fathom the potency of an impending court action.
A day later, the advocates fired yet another legal salvo; this time, an ‘application for writ of summons.’ In it, the Plaintiff (dixit Ekema) claims against the defendants the following reliefs:
– A declaration that Plaintiff was duly admitted into the Department of History, Faculty of Arts of the University of Buea.
– A declaration that Plaintiff is entitled to a statutory and equitable right to retain the academic degrees awarded him by the University of Buea.
– A declaration that any purported adverse decisions issued by the University of Buea to rescind the degree certificates of the Plaintiff are arbitrary and capricious and null and void.
– A perpetual injunction restraining the Defendants jointly and severally, their servants, agents and workmen from any interference with the academic degrees awarded the Plaintiff by the University of Buea.
Ekema’s solicitors submit inter alia, in the ‘application for writ of summons’ that from time to time, the First Defendant’s faculties fix the entry requirements for their programmes and invite prospective students to apply for admissions thereto. That the First Defendant enjoys and exercises some prerogatives on the entry requirements into its degree programmes… that at all material times, the Plaintiff never concealed or otherwise misrepresented any fact or facts relating to his academic qualifications at the time he applied for admission into the University of Buea and that the Plaintiff shall at the trial, require the Defendants to prove the contrary.
Ekema’s solicitors claim that the Plaintiff was never given notice of the Senate meeting, neither was he invited to make representations or to be heard by Senate before “the purported decisions were taken.” The Plaintiff, the Solicitors claim, did not receive any notice of the charges against him, neither did he receive notice of the possible consequences of such charges nor were his rights ever communicated to him with respect to “the purported Senate meeting.”
Ekema’s Solicitors construe the First Defendant’s actions as constituting a breach of its policies and procedures, negligence, negligent or intentional misrepresentation, and breach of a duty to act in good faith, and have caused the Plaintiff enormous psychological pain, and damage to reputation.
“Wherefore, the Plaintiff claims against the Defendants, jointly and severally:”
– A declaration that Plaintiff was duly admitted into the Department of History, Faculty of Arts of the University of Buea.
– A declaration that Plaintiff is entitled to a statutory and equitable right to retain the academic degrees awarded him by the University of Buea.
– A declaration that any purported adverse decisions issued by the University of Buea to rescind the certificates of the Plaintiff are null and void ab initio.
– A perpetual injunction, restraining the Defendants jointly and severally, their servants, agents and workmen, from any interference with the academic degrees awarded the Plaintiff by the University of Buea.
Attached to Ekema’s legal file are facsimiles of the two degree certificates which he risks losing should his prayers to the court go up in a haze. Plus his academic record duly signed by UB authorities.
Pundits hold that ordinarily, Ekema ought to have long resigned from public office, sequel to the grave charges of certificate fraud in which he is mired. They wonder why criminal proceedings have not been opened against the Mayor, based on what is said to be overwhelming evidence of certificate fraud after the GCE Board released Ekema’s results and which results did not qualify him to be admitted to the University of Buea, UB. Plus, they are asking if the mayor is some sacred cow who simply enjoys selective impregnable political protection that prevents him being prosecuted each time he is accused of contravening the law.

Bishop warns against abusive use of olive oil

The Auxiliary Bishop of Bamenda, His Lordship Michael Miabeseu Bibi, has, in a warning address, forbidden lay Catholic Christians from the use of olive oil for healing, praying or whatever purpose. He sounded the warning during a Chrism Mass that held at the Saint Joseph Metropolitan Cathedral, Bamenda.
“The Code of Canon Law, Canon 1003, paragraph one, teaches us that the oil of the sick is used only by Priests to administer the Sacrament of Anointing on our sick brethren and so, it is not proper then for a lay Christian to buy olive oil or take olive oil to a Priest to bless for his/her personal use because a lay Christian has no power to anoint himself or another person.” Bishop Bibi quoted while delivering his homily. As customary in the Catholic Church, Chrism Mass is an occasion where Priests renew their ordination vows, Christians offer gifts bountifully in cash and kind to help the less privileged and three oils are blessed; the Oil of Catechumen, the Oil of the Sick and the Oil of Holy Chrism. These oils are used to administer the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation, the Sacrament of Healing and the Sacrament of Holy Order respectively. These oils are primarily obtained from olive but by virtue of Liturgical rites, lay Catholics have no power to anoint themselves with olive oil.
Informed on the abuse of olive oil by Catholics where some Catholics buy olive oil for healing from self-acclaimed prophets and pastors deemed to be “anointing oil” Bishop Bibi committed ample time of his homily during the 2018 chrism mass on this topic. Bishop Michael Bibi was acting in his sacred capacity as Jesus Christ (known in Latin as in persona Christi) so he told the faithful that “anyone carrying olive oil with the hope of presenting this oil to a priest for blessing, should know that no blessing would be achieved and any Priest or Bishop who blesses this oil is misleading people.”
The prelate told Christians that the faculty of anointing reserved only for Priests, is backed by Sacred Scriptures in the Letter of Saint James chapter 5 verses 13-16. “If anyone is sick, let him call on the elders of the church, they shall pray for him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord, the prayers said in faith will save the sick person and the Lord would raise him up,” he quoted.
The Bishop however told the faithful that it is their responsibility to invite Priests when anyone is sick and it is also their responsibility to pray for the sick. As he continued his homily, Bishop Bibi clarified doubts surrounding the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick whereby a cross section of contemporary Catholics thinks that the Sacrament facilitates the death of a sick person “the sacrament of anointing of the sick is not to kill but to heal. Truly, if anyone is anointed when he/she is at the point of death, this person gets the grace to share in the Kingdom of God. The catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 1,520 to 1,532 teaches us that when we receive this sacrament, we receive the grace of preparedness towards our final journey to eternity, courage and forgiveness of sins.”
By Mildred Ndum Wung Kum

UB halts Mayor’s academic fraud! *Withdraws degree certificates

An overwhelming decision to withdraw the certificates of Ekema Patrick Esunge, Buea Council Mayor and one other was taken on Friday night, April 6, by the 73rd Senate of the University of Buea, UB. A lone Ekema sympathizer objected to the verdict. His argument was that the withdrawal process was initiated only after “Ekema’s detractors staged a demonstration.” The contestation was considered lame, inconsequential and of no effect.
Unknown to the Ekema ally, the University had, before the demonstration saga, discretely investigated and found Ekema and a few dozen others to be of doubtful academic credibility. It was a matter of time and strict procedure before the bubble burst. And even though it was proven that Ekema fraudulently acquired an academic qualification, the UB Senate, by its terms of reference, hadn’t the mandate to hand him over to the competent quarters for criminal prosecution.
A committee that was set up by the resent Vice Chancellor, VC, of UB, on the instructions of the Minister of Higher Education had found inter alia:
That in the 2003/2004 academic year, Ekema Patrick Esunge submitted an application and was eventually admitted to the Department of History. Then, the GCE Board was consulted and it was found out that the said candidate had registered for the Advanced Level, AL, seven times and effectively wrote four times. On each of these occasions he passed only the History paper, with an “E” grade.
The committee was perplexed. Its members imagined that since he was a UB staff, he could have been influenced by the academic environment to sit for and obtain other qualifications without its knowledge. The committee wrote to Ekema, giving him a fair chance, a considerable length of time to appear before it and defend himself. Ekema snubbed it.
The committee proceeded to finding out if it could identify any accomplices to what appeared very much to be an Ekema racket. For example; who could have keyed in the information that led to Ekema being unusually admitted to a university degree? It was pretty difficult because from time to time, the admissions office destroys files that are older than five years for want of storage space.
Undaunted by the lack of hard copy, the committee have resorted to soft copy to find out who keyed in, and, or verified the credentials Ekema would have surreptitiously slipped in to solicit for admission. It is here that the fraud stared them in the face. Entered against the current Buea Mayor’s name as requisite qualification was “AL French-C and History E.”
This didn’t add up to the relevant section relating to admission in the Decree No 93/035 of January 17 that created UB. The Decree in question prescribes that candidates must have earned a minimum two papers in one sitting or two papers in two sittings with ‘C’ grades at the very least. Ekema didn’t have two ‘Cs’ even if it turned out that by some rare twist of providence his Advanced Level French was genuine, valid. He didn’t meet the cut off points for admission into UB for that particular year.
As a support staff of UB, it was imagined, his performance might just have provided a build up for special consideration as one that should be able to survive the stress of acquiring a degree. It wasn’t the case.
Ultimately, the committee considered that Ekema “probably” misled the UB admission board into admitting him to the History Department. Ekema did not fulfill conditions for admission and therefore, his certificate should be withdrawn was the verdict.
Another victim of certificate withdrawal was a lady, whose exact identity The Rambler couldn’t immediately establish with certainty. With just two ‘E’ grades at the AL, the Vice Chancellor’s committee found out that she had fraudulently misled the university into admitting her. Her forged qualification was to the effect that she possessed four AL papers with 13 points, qualifying her to read the much sought after Journalism and Mass Communication, JMC.
The then Registrar, Professor Abangma worked in tandem with the GCE Board, following a whistle blower’s claim and found out that she didn’t meet the admission criteria. Unfortunately, the Registrar did not to take the appropriate action to have her sanctioned and she effectively “earned” a UB degree. The whistle blower of the admissions department in question was reportedly issued death threats and advised in her own interest to shut up. She fraudulently misled UB into being admitted. A unanimous vote withdrew her certificate.
That wasn’t all. The data bank of the UB system, inasmuch as she is concerned has been blocked, such that she can’t access it with the intention of benefitting from any further academic favours.
It would be recalled that the Southwest Secretary of the National Commission for Human Rights and Freedoms, NCHRF, Christopher Tambe Tiku had on several occasions drawn the attention of public and judicial authorities to the fact that transparence and justice in the Mayor’s certificate scam was being unduly blurred by a silence that looked suspect.
But even if political cover up was being introduced into the fray and slush funds employed to compromise academic principle, the UB authorities were apparently carrying out due diligence; working prudently and steadily within laid down universal norms. This is probably why instead of resorting to treating the issue executively, the Vice Chancellor elected to set up a committee, and which committee eventually submitted its findings to the UB Senate. In the final analysis, it was the Senate that found Ekema Patrick Esunge and one other, unworthy in character and withdrew their degree certificates.
Postscript:
At press time, we were informed that criminal charges are very likely to be pressed on Ekema, after a commission established that he scammed his way into university degrees. Judicial police are said to be investigating the mayor. Plus, human rights activist, Christopher Tambe Tiku, who has since been on the mayor’s scamming trail, has been invited by the cops to record his statement on what he knows about the “Ekema certificate gate” as well as other issues of impropriety relating to community land grabbing and selling.

Uba VC commissions newly appointed collaborators

The Vice Chancellor of the University of Bamenda, Professor Theresia Nkuo Akenji has commissioned new officials of the institution appointed by a March 7 ministerial text. The event held on March 15 at the university campus.
The newly appointed comprised, Vice Deans, Heads of Departments and Division Heads, Heads of Service, Faculty Officers, Coordinators and Unit Heads. Speaking at the installation ceremony that held at the university’srestaurant, the Vice Chancellor cautioned the appointees to work for the growth of the university and play their respective roles in making the ‘University of the Future’to keep moving. She also, called on them to have the psyche that exudes collective zeal to make Uba a reference university, noting that “either as new comers or people who have changed functions, much is expected from you.
“As servants in a public institution, you must be law abiding, exhibit a sense of moral rectitude, respect human rights, and promote equity, justice and tolerance which are essential components of peace. Respect hierarchy, avoid gossip, slander and involvement in corrupt practices. You must not look at your appointment as opportunity instead of responsibility. You should not transform your subordinates into domestic staff,” she cautioned.
Those commissioned into new functions include Dr. Cheo Victor Ngu, appointed as Pioneer head of Division for the Printing and Publishing, Dr. Nfah Eustace as Deputy Director of National Polytechnic Institute, Teghen AdriaIjang as Head of Service at the university infirmary and Professor Kongyuy Patrick, Vice Dean in charge of Learning in the Faculty of Arts.
Prof. Akenji was presiding at the March 15 installation for the fifth time since her appointment and installation of as the second Vice Chancellor of the Bamenda University in December 2014. Created by Decree NO 2010/371 of the December 14, 2010, the University of Bamenda aka ‘University of the Future’ is the last of the eight state Universities in Cameroon and currently the fastest growing with 12 schools and seven faculties.
By Jean Marie Ngong Song

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.

By NGENDE ESTHER

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