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

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

Shredded Cameroon can still be recuperated – Nico Halle

Barrister Nico Halle is not a run-of-the-mill personality that can be cajoled into an interview if he perceives that long earned and nurtured reliability is on the line. The current Bar General Assembly president and international peace crusader was recently in Buea for a private function.
However, his concern for immediate return to peace and by extension social justice and equity had the better part of him, leading to acquiescence to an interview to edify Cameroonians on some very burning issues pertaining to the current crises in the country and governance as a whole.
Judging by his discourse, he eschews confrontation like a plague and sees no reason why other Cameroonians should not make it part of their personal mottos, if only as contribution to a society of enduring peace and stability.
He agrees that issues have been allowed to deteriorate to current levels because of mutual display of irreverence for the word of God that is encapsulated in love for one another and country.
Nevertheless, as gloomy as the prevailing circumstance may seem, he sees Cameroon coming out of the present doldrums fired by confidence, determination and love. The peace crusader in him makes him exude an aura of implacable optimism in the eventuality of reason prevailing over the current irrationality being exhibited by protagonists in the war of attrition pitting Government forces against alleged separatists with obeisance to a yet to be midwifed Ambazonia Republic.
As euphemistic as his pronounced modesty and training as lawyer could permit him to come across, his narrative is inexorably, suffused with a consensual and urgent need for Cameroonians to sit around a table and dialogue, akin to typical Bantu cosmogony of solving intractable issues under the shade of a tree in the village square.
As usual, it is a pot-pourri of dexterity in handling complex issues in a very readable manner that can only emanate from The Rambler stable. (See inside pages)
Cameroonis on fire.If you agree, would you want to discuss how things became this bad?
For about close to 20 months there has been tension in the two Anglophone Regions,so it is not news to anybody. You know so well as a peace crusader, spanning more than 28 years, I am saddened, disturbed, troubled and worried by the situation. Since the eruption of the crisis, everybody knows I have been on the field preaching peace, preaching harmony, preaching serenity and also praying that God almighty that created this great nation, Cameroon, should look down with pity and instruct his children, Cameroonians how they can come out of this quagmire. So that is what I have been doing and requesting also that all the stakeholders; that is, Cameroonians of various orientations should act with restraint. I have, since the beginning, condemned the killing of civilians, policemen, soldiers and gendarmes, I have condemned the destructions; all the property that is going belong to Cameroonians; those who are dying are our brothers and sisters. That is why I have been pleading with Cameroonians to go on their knees, reason better and come up with lasting solutions because nobody ever benefits from violence. People benefit from peace and I always say peace is the weapon of the strong,while violence is the weapon of the weak. In my peace crusading, I have also highlighted the importance of love, justice, equity, the rule of law, the respect for human rights and liberties, patriotism, accountability, transparency, the fear of the Lord.
These are all what we call core spiritual values which will constitute the platforms for peace to exist. That is my mantra. I stand on that and there is no problem without a solution.
You just reeled out, peace, justice, fear of the Lord and all that… The common assumption is that nature doesn’t entertain a vacuum.By the same token, if there is no justice, equity, rule of law, then nature would most likely fill up, make up foran apparent collapse of leadership so to speak…
When you talk of leadership in terms of…
Wherethere is good leadership, there would naturally be a concomitantwilling followership…
I am thinking of leadership in terms of all Cameroonians. All Cameroonians are called upon to contribute towards what we might call true leadership and it is true that there are people who might be in leadership positions starting from their homes, from schools and universities. Mayors, parliamentarians, ministers, senators, the justice system and all of these are leadership positions. If each of these groups were to perform their duties with love, justice, equity, respecting the fundamental law which is the constitution, what we have just described as a falling situation would be reduced to the barest minimum. There is no perfect system in the world but there are systems that are good.Good for me, is not perfect. So, when we talk of leadership, we should look at leadership holistically. You are a leader in your office.Youare interviewing me. I am in Buea for a thesis defencebut, I am being interviewed now because you approached me. You are the leader, the way you approached me showed that you are a leader. You were cordial, you were welcoming, you were nice and that is leadership.I am thinking of leadership in terms of people who have control over units, those small units globally now make the entire nation.
One istempted to think that in Cameroon, crass authority has taken precedence over humble leadership.Leadership is serving; it is serving the people humbly and not leading haughtily. But we are like stuck with a clique of people calledparty leaders, ministers, governors, et al, dictating to the people, breathing down their necks. We think that is the reason for the protests, the uprisings.
That is another way of looking at it and you do have the right to that approach. I am looking at leadership from a holistic point of view because itis this conceptualization that brings about passing the buck.If all the homes were being well managed… I remember when I was very active as Ntumfor, I did indicate that if each village were well managed in Cameroon, Cameroon will have no problem. But if some villages are well managed and others are not, there is trouble. So, I am looking at leadership from a macro point of view because in my house, I should be able to assume responsibility.But I should understand that my wife has a role to play, my children have role to play for serenity to reign in my house. If Nico Halle alone wants to install peace in my house, it will not work; my wife must say ‘yes, we need peace,’ the children also must be part of it, my cooks too must be part…
Which is why we think, we don’t have leadership per se; rather we are stuck with a clique that is to say the very least, assuming ownership of Cameroon.
Again, that’s the way you look at it, but another way of looking at it is informing the people that each and every one of us has a role to play for that kind of leadership that is in your mind to function because leaders cannot succeed when the people whom they are leading are not contributing their own quota.
We insist that the typical Cameroonian leaderinsists for everybody else to shiver and pander; offices must shut down, road must be blocked for hours when he is moving from one point of town to the other. It is a tin god phenomenon.
Thank you very much for that take. If it is a tradition or usage that when you must move certain arrangements must be made to enable you move because you are representing the people, if the people accept that from their will, then that is what they are practicing. The only way we can depart from that is by coming up with some other form that is better than what you are describing.
Are you in effect endorsing a situation whereby a woman in labour must postpone bringing forth her babyor that access to hospitals should be blocked for hours,because a leader is about to drive by?
No, definitely…
I don’t know any system that will…
But that is what obtains in Cameroon.
If you have taken note of that…
Yes, we have,
Then it is unfortunate but I don’t think that it is proper.
Or,that state institutions should stop functioning because a leader ismoving from pillar to post?
Again, I get back to what I said.How did we get to that? If it has been in vogue, how did we get to it and why must we not depart from it because we are moving modern. Why can we not depart from it? Can we depart from it? These are the questions…
Ok, we love that and we hasten to ask you; how did Uganda get to the stage of inventing an Idi Amin? It is either Ugandans were heckled or suppressed to a stage where they couldn’t do their own thinking or, they became such sycophants, that they couldn’t point out to Amin that he was naked; they might have been cheering him all along until he inevitably stepped on a banana peeling and kismet decided his fate. The same could be said of Romania’s NicolaeCeausescu, Slobodan Milosevic of Bosnia Herzegovina and the like.The dustbin of history is full of such impulsive tyrants.
Well, you have a mastery of…
Not exactly;What we are indicating here is thatCameroonians have cultivatedthis cringing culture of deifying ordinary mortals who should be their humble servants.
We don’t mean to flatter you, Barrister Halle, but you radiate humility, your social status notwithstanding.Candidly, to get rid of the collective suicide that Cameroonians are steadily committing, we think that something has to give sway somewhere and that is a clear cut moral, leadership restructuring. It is our honestview,Sir.
Yeah it is your observation
This question may have been addressed above, but maybe for emphasis, how, do you think, the arson that has so far been visited on some 70 Anglophone Cameroonian villageswith hundreds of people murdered be checked?
I don’t know. I am not privy to those statistics but I said and continue to say that there is no problem in the world without a solution. I just think we have to take our destinies into our hands, to be honest to ourselves, get together and chart way of getting out of this situation which you have just described. Of course, this problem which you have described could have been taken care of if we had love, justice, equity; if we loved this nation, you and me and all those who have gone down to say this cannot happen. But I am sure you know so well that there are people who are not happy when there is peace because they exploit this kind of situation for political or financial gains. I really ask myself where these kinds of people are coming from. People who don’t espouse peace, who don’t promote peace, who are comfortable in violence, who are comfortable in conflict, in quarrels, in misunderstandings; they can create chaos in order to take advantage and pull fast ones. With all of that, it accounts for what we have just described. So, it is possible that we can bank on what is done.Scales have fallen off our eyes, the masks have fallen too.Let us sit down.It is the moment for us to tell ourselves that we love each other; we are our neighbor’s keeper, we doesn’t deserve what is happening; that people are being killed, there are burnings, there are destructions, refugee migration problem.It is only sordid; it should not happen to a blessed nation like ours.
Barrister Nico Halle, this is a very pointed question.It is assumed that forces of law andorder are trained to be exceptionally disciplined and more methodical that the ordinary civilian. But when at the drop of a hat, they loot, rape, kill and burn villages it is dangerous for the polity, don’t you think?
No, nobody would say it’s normal. Nobody in their right senses would say it is normal so…
Would you then advise someone in distress to run to a gendarme, soldier or policeman for protection? That would be tantamount to nursing suicidal instincts, right?
I think I have said earlier on, that situations like this are exploited.Either way, the gendarmes are dying, the police and the army; the civilians are also dying in their numbers from what…
Unfortunately, hundreds ofinnocent, hapless, unarmedcivilians are being slaughtered like chickens;not the ragtag army that is said to be fanning the embers of secession.Note that those who are fighting the bush war hardly have houses anywhere.They are in the bush fromwhere they sporadically attack…
What I am saying is that the situation is very painful. I have said that whether a gendarme, a police, an army or a civilianis dying, they are all our brothers and sisters, who should notdie. They are burning property, whether private or public.It is our property, so, we are taking ourselves many years back. When people are displaced, it usually very difficult to…
By the same token you are stating that nobody should kill.
You can be sure. Nobody has the right to take the life of any person.
And the forces of law and order, how do we bring them back to start playing their constitutional role of protecting that life and property?
I have condemned this from Day One,that whether it is the forces of law and order or the civilians, nobody has the right to take another person’s life. You don’t deserve to die. I have said this across the board. So I look at it globally; I don’t go into specifics. I will tell you that for the past 13months, I don’t sleep.Anybody who goes to bed and sleeps in the face of this situation lacks love because when I watch certain images my heart bleeds.I am one person who is empathetic and sympathetic. I am compassionate; I don’t like to see a drop of blood. I don’t want to see a corpse; a corpse of natural death, fine, but when it comes from bullets, when it comes from rough handling and all of these, that tells me… and if you have noticed,I look emaciated. I do not sleep. It is not just because I am a Cameroonian but because of my role as a peace crusader. As a peace crusader, I am asking myself questions; why can all of us in Cameroon not be converted into peace crusaders?
Are we agreed that one or two institutions, whether traditional or corporate of our country have failed in their mission, in their assigned mission to Cameroonians, which is why people are being shot at, people are not listening, people are getting into the bushes, some people are burning down others’ homes?
Unless and until our mindset is changed and unless I start looking at you as my brother with love; I am not talking about brother from the same Region, no!Brother from the same nation, we are all brothers. That is how I look at it. Now, some people like I said when they go to bed they can sleep, they can eat, I lose appetite. When I just hear that there is burning in this part, no appetite and my day is shattered, my week is shattered. And that justifies why I am permanently on the field. Last time up to including December, I used to go… but I was advised, ‘take note Nico Halle, you are doing a great job, people are appreciating what you are doing but not everybody is happy that you want this situation to stop because of what they are benefiting from it. Please don’t announce your goings and your comings, just go.’ So now, I just target groups and I go, they don’t know where I am going.
Have your interventions and preachments paid off?
They have paid off. You know if I were not peace crusading, you shouldn’t even ask that. If I have reconciled journalists, families, traditional rulers, politicians, pastors, lawyers that you know, then you can imagine. If I were not on the field,… I am not blowing my trumpet, but maybe the situation would have escalated; it might have been worse. So, it is paying off and I thank God for that. I am sure that the fact that people appreciate what I am doing because they know the impact that my peace crusading has had in all of these.
Would you say the present imbrogliohas stainedwhat ought to be the immaculate canvas of legality in Cameroon? We are asking this based on the fact that security forces are on record as having beaten up Lawyers seized their wigs and gowns, muddied them; in short, desecrated the judiciary?Has this pristine act of the khaki boys compromised the third estate of the realm role of the judiciary in this country?
I did condemn that act very cogently,
We are asking if it has watered down legal prestige.
I am saying that these were people; these were lawyers who were asking for what is good for the nation. When you saw the grievances of the lawyers there was no trifling item in their grievances; they were asking for the OHADA Law to be in both languages…
And something else
And a few other things, ok, and then for them to have been vandalized, rough handled… I came out with communiqués condemning that and I still consider that that was not proper because nowhere in the world are lawyers treated that way. I think that things have escalated beyond just the lawyers and the teachers grievances to other proportions which God alone knows and so, to be very honest with you, I have not ceased condemning in the hardest of terms the behaviour of some of our Cameroonians; be they in the civil, in the army, in the forces of law and order, I have condemned that. It is on record that I have been very constant as far as that is concerned.
You have this antecedent of checking, attending to moral, social and why not, political values;ensuring that they are on course. In crusading for peace and changing mindsets, have you approached those who referred to other Cameroonians as ‘rats and cockroaches’ that ought to be exterminated and the local authority that repeatedly referred to a cultural entity in Cameroon as ‘dogs.’Have you reached out to change the hearts of those who assembled at the Buea Mountain Hotel and preached Rwanda-type xenophobia? Remember some of the xenophobes were rewarded with appointments to top national offices.

All of that is unacceptable. You will agree that it is decadence.
Have you been to them?
I don’t …
Let’s be blunt. We are talking about the ranking Regional administrator who kept calling people of a particular cultural expression dogs.
Did I need to go to the administrator? When I condemn a situation, when I condemn the violence and disproportionate words used, I don’t need to call… if the cap suits you, wear it. If I must name, then it is unfortunate. But you know what I have been doing and that is non-negotiable. I don’t compromise when it comes to the crime decadence. You know me and you have been following up and so, it is not about names.
But we thought if you don’t confront them, face to face, it would be like tacklingdisease symptoms and not the disease itself.
If I were to indicate that all of that including others is unacceptable, do I need to come to tell you that the words you used were inflammatory, were out of proportion? Otherwise, then I must visit every Cameroonian who has made a statement.
No, symbolically you might visit one or two persons, I think Jesus did it.
But do you know that I have visited people in Cameroon? When they talk of peace crusading, it means meeting people, meeting groups of people; using papers, interviews, making pronouncements on television and on radio. Once, you do that, you reach out to so many people and they understand my take on this whole thing. I think there is hardly any Cameroonian who up to, and including now has not known Nico Halle’s position.
We are also saying that interpersonal communication can only reinforce mass communication; if you came to me directly and said, ‘what you said go back and unsay it,’ you would have touched a heart.
You see, that is your own approach. I am Nico Halle and having my own approach. My approach is not confrontational. Peace crusading is not confrontational, that is the difference between Nico Halle and others. They will go confrontational, but Nico Halle is peaceful. There is no day you will hear me insulting anybody or promoting violence and it starts from my house, it starts from my office, it starts from wherever. I know that the fact that my stand for the truth is unbendable, uncompromising causes people to smear me, persecute me and blackmail me and each time I see that, I am happy, it means that I am doing something.
Would you die ready for it, if you died crusading for peace?
I am sure you know that in November, December 2017 when it was bad on the ground and I was out for two weeks in the Northwest and Southwest, I went to Mamfe; that was the boiling period.Just the day before, they had killed two gendarmes. I went to where the killings took place against all counsel. I went to all the military bases and I spoke with them. I told them that we need to respect our human rights. I prayed with them and I asked that the Lord should enable them do work for the nation. I went around; I met politicians in the Northwest, met some in Southwest and these are the two Regions that are greatly affected.
If you were to ask me if I will die, if I left Bamenda and everybody who heard I was going to Mamfe said don’t go. In any case I told them I will die eventually, if I die communing, fellowshipping with my people of the Southwest, I will not care. But I went and met the people; they embraced me and that impacted. The fact that somebody had showed concern at that time… I could have been shot if they wanted to, but to be very honest with you, they embraced me in the Northwest and the Southwest Regions where I went to.
Have the authorities recognized and appreciated what you are doing,whichothers could only set out to dowith blaring sirens in tow and for mouth watering per diems?
I want to let you know that, across the board, I have been appreciated and that is what for me is the motto; that is what motivates me to do more, because I have been appreciated for what I have been doing for peace to reign in this nation; not only in the Northwest and Southwest. My peace crusading is not limited to the Northwest and Southwest. You are aware that of recent, I had an international award for peace crusading not just in Cameroon, Africa but the entire world. It means that the ripples of what I have been doing are worldwide.
And has that included perhaps reaching out to the Diaspora Cameroonians who are like fanning the embers of the separatism?
When you preach peace, you are preaching peace for all. You don’t say this peace or what I am preaching should go for this people and this should go for the other people. You preach peace for all, because peace is good for everybody and that is my take on that. I am preaching peace and I will continue to preach until peace returns.If peace does not return, I will continue to preach. I am praying and I know sooner or later, peace will return to this nation. It is a beautiful nation blessed by God. God cannot allow Cameroon to be shredded and the state at which it is, it, can still be recuperated. I think that we just need to be confident, determined, and love and have confidence in each other, we will come out of this situation. I am very optimistic and positive.
On that comforting note, Barrister Nico Halle, we want to thank you for accepting to talk to us.
Thank you very much, may God bless you and bless The Rambler.
Interviewed by Nester Asonganyi & Charlie Ndi Chia

Last kicks of a dying regime

Professor Elvis Ngole Ngole seems to be regretting the fact that he had seemingly atoned for his erstwhile gaffe when he pitched his tent in the camp of those who had refused to acknowledge the Anglophone problem and its poignant existentialist essence for the corporate survival of Cameroon. His dismal outing on Cameroon Calling where he was pontificating as professor of political science evoked the impression of motorcycle rider handling an issue in rocket science. In a desperate attempt to justify the puerile outing of the Minister of External realtions in the matter pitting the American Ambassador against paul Biya, Ngole Ngole chided the former interferring in Cameroon’s internat affairs and even went to the extent of saying tthat Cameron as a sovereign state is legally and ligitimately correct to use any means to subdue insurrection within its territorial confines.
Unfortunately for the man who passes off for Professor, he had set his own question different from what was in issue, which is that the American ambassador’s grouse with the Biya regime was not on the legality or otherwise for it to quell a rebellion that is threatening its territorial integrity. On the contrary the ambassador, being the representative of a country in skies where due process or the rule of law is accorded its deserved primacy, is miffed by the fact that extra judicial killings, burning looting, maiming and even rape had become customary to the manner the regime was proclaiming its unilateral declaration of war against his citizens whose only crime is expression of discomfiture against palpable misrule.
In riposte to the above, some public commentators say the embers of cold war between CPDM genuine and pseudo intellectuals and Cameroonians with integrity should be stoked. By their reckoning, the protagonists are seeking strategic positions to facilitate accession to power given that Biya’s exit is already immutable. However, such hypothesis tends to diminish the strong presence of world acclaimed intellectuals like Achille Mbembe who have been clamouring for the departure of Mr. Biya and shining light on his horrendous misrule over the years for no other reason than altruism. His recent outing on the excesses of the regime, particularly, its reaction to chiding cum counseling by the United States of America via its Ambassador to President Biya is very telling. In his opinion, the best option for Mr. Biya is to make peace with the Americans and seek a peaceful exit from power rather than the perilous trajectory into which his hawks are pushing him.
Be that as it may, there is every reason to opine like Achille Mbembe and many other Cameroonians. Prevailing circumstances in the country do not require a crystal ball for the outcome to be discerned. The fall of the Biya dynasty is very imminent. Otherwise, how does it happen that a man, be him American Ambassador, with whom Biya was negotiating how to repatriate Cameroonians suspected of stoking the flames of “Southern Cameroon spring” in the US would turn around and instead use euphemism to the effect that Mr. Biya has done his best and it would be ungentlemanly for him to still be seen as wanting to advance his candidacy for the upcoming presidential. No matter the angle from which it is viewed, this is a blow intended to send our head of state to the surgery for some scrotal repair that may not be successful, given the might with which it was inflicted.
We can worry our self to hell and back regarding the territorial infringement undertone of the ambassador’s outpouring, but one thing is certain. We did not cover our flanks and with open flanks every enemy has free entry. Did the head of state and his advisers need the American Ambassador to tell them that what they have embarked upon in the guise of a war against citizens who were simply complaining against incontrovertible evidence of misrule is barbaric and smacks of callousness? Did it need the presence of the ambassador at the Unity Palace for Biya to know that more than 60 villages in the Northwest and Southwest regions have been torched by soldiers acting on the instructions of their high command? For God’s sake the regime should spare us ignominy inherent in this puerile drama being acted for a disinterested audience. We are certainly worth more and by extension deserve better perception in the comity of nations.
Indeed, the impression being evoked by the delirious outbursts of regime apologists only lends credence to the view that their days are numbered and since they cannot continue in their profligate revelry they must leave the country in an orgy of genocidal chaos. Oh yes, this is very evident in the callousness and opulence that panned out from May 20 celebrations in Yaounde. It is certainly not amusing that an old man in the last days of his sojourn on earth still finds pleasure in riding in a car whose cost is the equivalent of at least 10 well equipped Health Centres. And, on top of this, an integral part of the country is enmeshed in wholesale misery inflicted by forces loyal to the regime. This deos not mean anything to the head of state who bandies national unity. The American ambassador had to be the one to remind him that his inept governance has caused no fewer than 25000 Cameroonians to be languishing in refugee camps in Nigeria with another 200000 acceding the repugnant status of internally displaced people.
Mr. President, the American ambassador was simply echoing the fact that your misrule does not fit in a world that has advanced to android and other cutting-edge technology. It will not encourage our youths to come up with the much vaunted start-ups that government expects of them. Mr. President, you do not need the American ambassador to feel for your compatriots who are living in bushes owing to destitution brought into being by marauding soldiers who were supposed to have been their protectors. Mr. President, conventional wisdom would have informed you that cowards stand alive to point at the houses of stubborn heroes. What the American ambassador was politely telling you Mr. President is that you have not only mismanaged the current crisis pitting your regime against separatist Southern Cameroonians but, your tenure as head of state is overdue apart from being unmitigated disaster to Cameroon. What indeed, do you want to achieve that 35 years of free lease on the country has not permitted you?
Mr. President, did you expect respect from the American Ambassador when you had publicly declared that you are the best student of another head of state? Oh, common, spare us all this avoidable disgrace. What the American ambassador is telling you is that call your soldiers to order, make peace with your aggrieved compatriots and exit the political scene very quietly to avoid the wrath of the people that is already gathering and may reach a boiling point any time soon. You said in France in the early 90s that you will want to be remembered as the man who brought democracy to Cameroon.
It is difficult to fathom how what is going on now in the country can be likened to democracy. A war of attrition occasioned by greed, callousness of your regime and inexplicable intransigence is suffocating your compatriots but, you are sticking to your unshakable believe in the use of force. Mr. President, posterity will certainly hold you and your hirelings accountable for the chaos you have inflicted on our heavily endowed country in terms of human and natural resources. Repent and be on the right side of God’s eventual judgement.
By Ngoko Monyadowa

Open letter to GCE Board Chairman

Dear Mr. Chairman
Violation of GCE Board Texts
I write to you in my capacity as
1. The Emeritus founding President of the Teachers Association of Cameroon, TAC
2. The undisputed leader of the Anglophone movement that wrestled the Cameroon Government in 1992-1993 for the creation of the Cameroon GCE Board
3. Member of the Prime Minister’s Committee of reflection on the organization of the GENERAL CERTIFICATE OF EDUCATION, GCE, BOARD
4. The Pioneer Registrar of the General Certificate of Education, GCE, Board
5. Self-proclaimed Examinations Consultant to the GCE Board.
Many Anglophone Cameroonians have floated fears that the Government has plans to transfer the GCE Board from Buea to Yaounde. These fears are based on erroneous decisions taken by your predecessors to move the Board’s Regional Offices in Bamenda into the Regional Delegation for Secondary Education and Yaounde into the Ministry of Secondary Education. The Board’s silence and indifference in responding to matters of concern to the public about the function of the Board seem to bolster these fears. It is common knowledge that for more than 22 years the representatives of teachers and parents on the Council, through whom the teachers and parents can be informed, have made no effort to meet with their peers to educate them on resolutions taken in Council.
I believe that it is your responsibility to dispel these fears and rumours by reminding us that the all-important decree No. 93/172 of 01 July 1993, signed by the Head of State himself, President Paul Biya, states categorically in Article 2(2) that the seat of the GCE Board is in Buea. Only another decree of the Head of State can cause a change of that seat and we have not yet found a reason to suggest that this should happen.

The GCE Board Council
The Council of the GCE Board of which you are Chairman is, by Section II Article 7 of decree No. 112/CABPM OF 12 OCT 1993, the supreme governing body of the Board. Its composition is defined in Article 9(1) to include
i) The Chairperson
ii) The Vice Chancellor of the University of Buea or his representative
iii) One representative of the Presidency of the Republic
iv) One representative of the Prime Minister’s Office
v) One representative of the Minister in charge of Higher Education
vi) One representative of the Minister in charge of Finance
vii) Two Inspectors General of Pedagogy (Secondary General and Technical Education)
viii) The Director in charge of Examinations in the Ministry of Secondary Education or his Deputy
ix) Two representatives of parents
x) Two representatives of teachers
xi) Four representatives of the organizations of private education
This gives a total of 17 Councilors.
Article 9(3) specifies that representatives of parents, teachers and private education shall be elected for a period of 3 (three) years renewable. A closer look at this list tells us that the Government has 9 (nine) Councilors and, if we take the Councilors of private education to be the People’s Councilors, the People have 8 (eight). In a full Council session where decisions are taken by a simple majority the Government will willy-nilly have its way. It will even find it easier if the elections of the representatives of parents, teachers and private education were organized by agents of the Ministry of Secondary Education (RDSE).

The Gentleman Agreements
Mr. S. N. Dioh of blessed memory and I were members of the PM’s committee which drafted this decree and, whether by chance or by design, we were appointed pioneer Chairman and Registrar respectively. Realizing that the text left out the method of election of the representatives of parents, teachers and private education and that, in its current form it could be exploited by ill intentioned administrators to the disfavor of the people, we got the first Council meeting of the GCE Board to enter into what has come to be known as the Gentleman Agreements.
The first of these agreements spelt out the method of election of the representatives of the parents, teachers and private education. Representatives of Catholic Education would be appointed by the Bishops alternating between the Northwest and Southwest Regions while representatives of Protestant Education would alternate between the Presbyterian Church and the Baptist Church. The representatives of the Islamic Faith would be appointed by the corresponding education authorities. Lay Private Education would follow the same alternating procedure. The selection of the parents and teachers representatives was to be the reserve of the Confederation of Anglophone Parent Teachers Association of Cameroon, CAPTAC, for the parents and Teachers Unions for the latter. The method of selection was to be determined by these bodies with the proviso that the two Regions had a balanced representation. The respect of this agreement would ensure that the concerned organizations participate consciously in decisions of the Council of the GCE Board. The responsibility of inviting these various organizations to renew their Councilors every three years and, therefore giving fresh impetus to the Council, is that of the Chairman. When Regional Delegates begin to take it upon themselves to cause councilors to be elected under their supervision it is a travesty and creates an unhealthy environment for you.
The second of the Gentleman Agreements was that the positions of Chairman of the Council and Registrar of the Board would alternate between the Northwest and Southwest Regions. By this agreement no one Region could hold the two positions concurrently. The same applied to the two Deputy Registrars; they had to be selected one from each of the two English Regions.
These two agreements constitute what is known in GCE Board language as the Gentleman Agreements. Although they are unwritten, they have served as boulders to the GCE Board’s texts and have kept the Board running smoothly for the past 25 years. By June 2016, charlatans, pirates et al, started scheming for a share of the Board’s apparent wealth and, finding it hard to enter through the right process, went round the text and the two agreements above. Perhaps, bugged down by these charlatans, the Prime Minister Head of Government, H.E. Philemon Yang invited me to his office on 17th June 2016, for a briefing on the spirit of the Gentleman Agreements.

THE APPOINTMENT OF THE CURRENT REGISTRAR
Mr. Chairman, I welcomed your appointment as the 4th Chairman of the GCE Board, an appointment which conformed to the Gentleman Agreement as did all other appointments before then. However, whilst the Anglophone community which is served by the GCE Board was waiting for your installation and the holding of your first Council meeting which would elect and propose a new Registrar in conformity with Article 21(2) of the PM’s text of application, I was surprised that a new Registrar was installed simultaneously with you. The dust raised by this appointment had not yet settled when I learnt that the Registrar had proceeded with the installation of a Deputy Registrar for Technical Services even before you had had the opportunity to meet in Council to exercise your functions in this respect as required. (I would be doubly surprised if this was done with your blessing).

Election of Parents and Teachers Representatives
I am reliably informed that on Wednesday 23rd May 2018, the Regional Delegate of Secondary Education, RDSE, for the Northwest Region organized elections for representatives of parents and teachers on the Council. This action again violates the GCE Board texts and the long standing and very useful Gentleman Agreement. Should the RDSE for the Southwest Region also proceed with similar elections, the Council will have 13 Councilors for Government and only the 4 representing private education for the People. Mr. Chairman, this is unacceptable.

Conclusion
In total respect for the person of the Prime Minister, I have accepted the appointment of the current Registrar which, as I have stressed, violated Article 21(2) of the text of application, even if it respected the Gentleman Agreement in respect of the Region of origin. But to allow the administration of the Board to take advantage of this action of the PM to perpetuate illegality is totally irresponsible and unacceptable. Therefore Mr. Chairman,
1. I am encouraging the Teachers Unions and CAPTAC to formally elect their representatives to the Council under your chairmanship
2. I am urging you to
a) Reverse all the decisions of the present Registrar which do not conform with the text and the Gentleman Agreement and
b) Declare as inadmissible the elections conducted in violation of the Gentleman Agreement by the RDSE for the Northwest Region and advise his counterpart in the Southwest Region not to fall to the temptation to exercise power which does not belong to him.
Mr. Chairman I believe that such a stance by you will restore public confidence to the Board and its administration. I am consequently taking the liberty to make this message I am addressing to you public because I have written it in the overall interest of the GCE Board to which Anglophones, who I led, sacrificed their all to have created.
Yours truly

Azong-Wara Andrew

Enemies of national cohesion

While the entire country was reveling in respite from the gangrenous war pitting Government forces against Southern Cameroons separatists provided by the now fallacious story of a woman who resurrected five years upon being pronounced dead after a caesarian section in Mbanga under Moungo Division in the Littoral Region, two important events caught this chronicler’s attention.
The first is the blanket ban on sugar importation by the Head of State and the second- the fact that out of bizarre lethargy we have allowed ourselves to become infants or at best primary school pupils who have to be taught the rudiments of self control and survival tactics, in spite of our advanced ages and seemingly impressive academic standings. We are now contented with being managed by Bretonwoods institutions and we make no bones about it to the point where when these creditors are in our country for one working visit or the other, air waves of our audio visual media and pages of regime sponsored newspapers are inundated with swan songs of messianic presence.
Not surprisingly, “therefore, after over 57 years of misrule with the worst of them under the current Head of State and his swaggering CPDM political ruffians, we are shamelessly crying wolf in regard to the presence of spoilers in the country who are jealous of the indivisibility credo that has bound Cameroon together all these years”. Instead of engaging in serious introspection that would have led us to how we found ourselves beggars in the midst of plenty, we are reading mischief making in the activities of those who are daring to say that a people cannot be led by their noses to the slaughter in broad daylight.
In typical Bantu cosmogony, such occurrence would signify the absence of men with balls and chiming bells for the extinction of that generation. But since our motto is “rejoice while the good times last,” we have attributed wrong doing to everybody except the governing class that reckons to have been ordained by God to lord it over the rest of us.
Indeed, it would have been surprising if the country had not reached its current abyss of putrid governance. Take the example of the blanket ban on sugar importation as point of departure and add to it the fact that Government shares in SOSUCAM with plantations in Mbandjock and Nkoteng are not up to 20 percent, which translates easily to the fact that it is essentially foreign-owned. Government contention is that the ban responds to a felt need to protect locally produced sugar that cannot compete favourably with imported brands and by that token exposes many Cameroonians to the fang of looming unemployment. Impressive display of patriotism at face value one would say! However, how much is a labourer paid daily? When was the last time a comprehensive overhaul of their machinery was actualized for the close to 40 years that the sugar company has been operating in Cameroon?
You cannot plant grapes and harvest onions. In essence, their high cost of production must not be borne by hapless citizens. If Government wants to help local companies, it should subsidize them for competition in a world governed by the dictates of demand and supply.
Those who took advantage of inefficient and ineffective business style of local producers to complement and even supplement sugar availability in the country must not be made scapegoats of a deliberate effort to pander to the whims of colonial apron strings. In the face of this and,should the situation deteriorate to the point where workers go on strike and or are laid off because of inability to compete, who would have caused the ensuing social disorder,?
Is it the irate workers or an insensitive Government? Yet they want to be talking down on us about national unity from saintly pedestals. This same situation obtains at the Douala Autonomous Port, CAMRAIL and SOCAPALM where foreigners have a stranglehold on sensitive economic outposts.
And in a country where xenophobia and nepotism have become national pass time, brain wracking issues like availability of sugar in adequate quantities and at affordable prices or the economy being strangulated by foreign domination elude our intellectuals. We are more interested to fight to finish for undeserved promotions by sitting on television and radio panels or pages of newspapers to spew hate among compatriots.
Yes, it is Beti turn to run the affairs of Cameroon. Any attempt to curb Beti hegemony is anathema, despite the blistering misrule to which they have subjected Cameroonians. The credo is that issues of state are not amenable to immediate solutions. From the spectrum of their warped minds, such matters take time to be conceived and implemented. And so with this kind of mindset we have been exposed to over 57 years of contemptible misrule that has lingered to the point where some extremist have opted out of the union.
Over the years, seemingly innocuous issues like equitable revenue allocation based on derivation and devolution of power from the centre to the periphery were turned into rocket science that only political gurus from an outer space institution like ENAM could master. We have all of a sudden been reduced to receptacles that have to swallow hook, line and sinker nebulous notions like indivisibility of Cameroon as if the persistence of misrule and injustice are not in themselves greater ingredients driving the entrenchment of fissiparous tendencies and by extension irredentism in Cameroon. No one in the governing class wants to remember that at the outset two years ago there was a simple request for OHADA laws to be translated into English after which teachers asked for the Anglophone sub-system of education to undergo some overhauling to tally with their aspirations.
On the contrary, the purveyors of what is now sapping Cameroon of all traces of national unity have been rewarded for their provocative and incendiary outbursts before the current crisis deteriorated in the latter part of 2017. The roll call reads like who is who in heaping calumny on Southern Cameroonians. From our own Atanga Nji Paul, Elvis Ngole Ngole and Pauline Nalova Lyonga to Fame Ndongo , Laurent Esso, Isa Tchiroma and other hirelings, the inducements to radicalism had reached unbearable levels and with the radicalization of youths from persistent snobbery by Government, the conflagration has reached a point wherein if care is not taken what happened in Rwanda would have been child’s play. Actually, judging by the hate literature being propagated on social media, by adherents of the separatist Ambazonia republic, something must happen and happen fast for avoidance of a cataclysm.
But the justification being advanced by the separatists is premised on persistent Government incineration of villages in Southern Cameroons that has rendered many homeless and reduced others into refugees in Nigeria and, yet others internally displaced people with scavenging becoming customary to their daily existence. A Government fully aware of its responsibility to cater to the needs of its citizens, they reckon, will not engage in such callousness in the name of fighting separatists. Why, they are wont to ask, is it that soldiers do not comb the bushes in search of suspected separatist loyalists. Instead they raid villages and spray bullets that end up snuffing lives out of many innocent citizens. Yet we expect national unity to prevail. Unity is not an issue that can be decreed. It is worked for and earned like a salary at the end of each month.
By Ngoko Monyadowa

Political Sorcerers at it again!

While the drama panned out last week in the Senate, one particular issue reared its ugly head very succinctly. It is the fact that schooling has not in any way influenced the way Cameroonians behave when exposed to power and its perks. Indeed, the saying that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely cannot be truer for any country than Cameroon.
If this were not the case, how then do we explain the correlation between the fact that Biya’s tenure as head of state is direct antithesis to that of Ahmadou Ahidjo who never had the luxury of sophisticated education. With a degree in Law and post graduate certificate in political science, Biya is not very likely to be envied by the bikers who run commentaries at newspaper kiosks. See the drama that he caused in the senate, an issue that belies the eggheads that throng our universities and corridors of power. What a shame!
Correlated to the above is the combined comedy and tragedy that unfolded at the Conference Centre in Yaounde, last Wednesday. The denouement of the drama has established the belief that our pinnacle law making institution is a repository for spoiled regime faggots. From its conceptualisation by the architects of the 1996 Owona constitution, the wellbeing of Cameroonians was not on its framework. And, it is now clearly playing out.
That a simple fact like the incompatibility inherent in being a Senator simultaneously with Board Chair of a Para-public Corporation should become rocket science that arcane standing orders have to be invoked despite unambiguous provision by the Electoral Code bespeaks the levity that the Biya regime brings to bear on governance. Indeed, the common denominator of this action is that Biya is in charge and whoever is dissatisfied with his misrule may as well go to hell. If one may ask; which comes first, the Electoral Code or the standing orders of the Senate? What this means is that such incompatibility ought not to have arisen ab initio, if the President had been pre-empted from spewing such anomalies.
Even the coming into being of the overhyped Constitutional Council fails woefully to douse the reserve of many Cameroonians in respect of establishing the legality of the presence of Board Chairpersons and traditional rulers at the Senate. Interestingly, some of the offending Senators are lawyers by training. But, the law creating the Constitutional Council clearly states that it cannot on its own delve into the constitutionality of issues. It must be seized by either the President of the Republic, President of the Senate, National Assembly or two thirds of either house. Knowing the CPDM for its party discipline credo, is there any chance of its majority Senators shooting themselves on their legs by supporting the ouster of their colleagues?
For once, the effect of new blood and genuine representation was about being felt. Oh yes, people who had been genuinely elected into the Senate unlike those who represented the SDF during the last mandate when the CPDM treated the foremost opposition party in the country like an orphaned child that had to be accorded pity at all cost. Yes, Barrister Henry Kemende, now Senator, who had walked the talk by resigning as ELECAM boss for Ngoketunja Division owing to that position’s incompatibility with his legal practice, introduced a point of order and delved into the incompatibility issue and the possibility that the lady who purported to be the youngest senator may have just been benefiting from absence of due diligence in the conduct of business at the Senate. His axe fell ruthlessly on Senator V.E. Mukete’s head. Charles Salè, Board chairperson of Gynaeco-obstetric Hospital and Rene Ze Nguele, Board Chair of Institute of Research for Agricultural Development, IRAD, are also, senators, appointed last April by Presidential decree.
On this score, a flustered Centenarian, Nfon Victor Mukete was only bailed out of public opprobrium by Pierre Flambeau Ngayap the sharp-witted UNDP appointed Senator. Indeed, the standing orders of the Senate allow aspirants to sit as Senators before commissions are formed to put their eligibility under scrutiny. Imagine the disgrace in sitting there only to be told upon scrutiny that you are persona non grata and by that token must make an unceremonious exit! Imagine the Herculean task for a man of 100 years to engage in a volte face barely a few months after he had made it known in an interview with Jeune Afrique Magazine that federalism is the most appropriate solution to Cameroon’s current socio-political malaise!
That President Paul Biya had to reappoint Nfon Mukete as Senator is in itself a hallmark of spitefulness to the people of the Southwest Region. What this means is that not even one of the centenarian’s eminently qualified sons was fit to replace him as Senator, talk less of other burgeoning politicians and technocrats from the Region at his beck and call, whose vibrancy undergirded by youthfulness would have been more resourceful to the country. If the President must gratify Senator V. E. Mukete, is the Chair of CAMTEL not enough compensation for him to sit back and enjoy a deserved retirement?
With all due respect, Nfon Mukete represents more than that to Southern Cameroonians.
Although Senator Flambeau Ngayap succeeded in reinstating Nfon Mukete through some technical gibberish, the damage has been done. Three issues have been brought to the fore including the fact that the hand-picked SDF Senators from Adamawa and the West Region of the last mandate were either incompetent and by that token failed to come to grips with the incompatibility clause or they actually perceived it but refused to rock a boat whose owner’s benevolence had raised them from ordinary scums of society to the coveted positions of Senators. Secondly, it signifies the emergence of parliamentary debate at the level of the Senate. Unlike the last mandate when unqualified Senators were foisted on the SDF for political expediency, this time there are two eminent Barristers, meaning the days of business as usual are in the mortuary, heading for the grave yard.
Thirdly, as earlier mentioned, it has exposed the sloppiness that underpins the administrative machinery of the Senate. How come it that it is to a commission constituted by would be Senators whose mandates are still pending validation that credentials of elected and appointed Senators are tabled for scrutiny? The proverbial case of referee and player at the same time one would say. Knowing the system for its “come and see American wonder” modus operandi, anything can crop up after the concerned persons would have already sat in the Senate. The issue of the lady who was the youngest Senator during the last mandate and was assumed to be so this time around without prior verification confirms the skewed approach to Government business in Cameroon.
By Ngoko Monyadowa

Repugnant dross

It played out like a typical scene in Columbia during that Latin American nation’s 50 year civil war. Cheerleaders, rented from Dschang, to perform a well choreographed theatre of the absurd for the attention of Biya the dispenser, were intercepted, taught how not to pander for a few grains of peanuts, ruffled and sent back with a clear message for their paymasters.
A similar scenario was acted out with Professor Ivo Leke Tambo, GCE Board Chairman. The old man was snatched to a hideout and subjected to indignities, including being blindfolded, stripped down to his dross and held for 48 hours. The experience was harrowing for the learned professor and others of high polish and refinement.
Tambo’s captors were predominantly carefree lads, probably unemployed and frustrated victims of the crass ineptitude and moral turpitude that has characterized governance in Cameroon over the past decades. They were youthful “Ambazonians,” ostensibly eager to tell the world, that they, like their parents before them have endured enough of criminal marginalization. They were out to prove, albeit “repugnantly,” that both their kidnapped victims and those whose bidding they do, evince revulsion, to say the very least.
Such revulsion could be traced to an incompetent, corrupt regime, manned by intractable individuals, who would rather see the nation die than forego power and the filthy lucre which they daily reap from the whirlwind of confusion and political scamming they have been sowing. The bubble had to burst, one day or the other. And even here, prudent social engineering would have meant handling the issue better than it was and is still being handled.
By protesting against a malfunctioning system, lawyers and teachers were, by no means reinventing the wheel. Pig-headed Laurent Esso and Fame Ndongo didn’t need to further fan smouldering embers of provocative marginalization. Mr. Biya didn’t need to resort to swearing, insulting, intimidating and promising Armageddon. He had to listen and empathize. But he overly resorted to employ the military in solving a socio-political problem, trusting to the fickle support (or promise thereof) of his minders.
Notwithstanding the cunning resort to unsubstantiated Tchiroma-designed propaganda, suppressing democratic protests by benevolent autocracy and legitimized cruelty, the Anglophone problem is gradually but steadily stalemating. It will likely elude a resolution for decades to come. Biya ought to beat a hasty retreat from negative imaging, belligerence, justifying and legitimizing military violence to dominate the narrative.
Biya acted in bad faith. He pretended to dialogue, while continuing to engage forces that have massacred villagers, burnt down their ancestral homes and wheeled the nation’s economy into the intensive care unit.
Instead of ranting at unarmed protesters and declaring war on a part of the country he is so eager [not] to see divided, Biya should eat this very humble pie being so generously served him by posterity … Mr. President should ask himself what, indeed, is responsible for the Anglophone disenchantment. He should halt the slaughter of some of the very [nice] people he claims voted, have been sending motions of support and keeping him in power for 36 years. He should, unconditionally, release every Anglophone detainee from prison and apologize to those compatriots that have lost limb and life in this senseless war of inflated egos. That’s what is expected of leaders worth the name.
Only the free can dialogue/negotiate (dixit Nelson Mandela). Let him check the intractable looting machine oiled by his cohorts and rampaging security operatives. The occasional charade of selectively keeping away “suspects” in Kondengui won’t help Cameroon. It would, at best, only briefly extend Biya’s tenancy at Etoudi.
Biya ought to acknowledge the prevailing moral confusion in the nation, conceive and openly define his options. Let him know that many of his appointed officials, especially local administrators are irresponsible; stealing openly from local peasants, taunting and calling them vulgar names. The slipshod intellectual design of his policy content has set the nation adrift. What is evident is an unspoken transfer of political responsibility to the military.
Cameroon is sick. Her so called leaders are living in denial. Somebody just has to give up! “Sparrow Hawk” and other political shooting of the breeze notwithstanding, the nation is running on the oxygen of corruption. Look here! Security is not only about threats in insipid, coughing guns and pellets. Radicalization is staring Cameroon in the face.
Last line…
There is a definite human angle to the question, and this, Mr. President, is glaring in the Tambo kidnap saga; a euphemism for what barely hides what is so repugnant about Cameroon’s corporate dross. To have a happy family, you must have a conversation…

Proposal paper on the short and long term peace strategies: “Anglophone” crisis (V)

By Maxwell N. Achu, Diplomat,
(Peace Advocate, Conflict Transformation Researcher,
Academia, MA. International Relations) 2

• What are the drivers to ensure effective accomplishment of these short-term peace proposals?

The drivers that guarantee success in the implementation of these short-term peace proposals are collaboration, commitment and cooperation, which substantially legitimate its effect with time. The type of stress Cameroon is facing requires components that address political, economic or social inclusion. The case of Cameroon is internal divisions between social or geographical groups, which are the major factor in mobilization of violence.
Additionally, the type of problem facing the nation is somehow institutional. Cameroon has “fairly strong” capacity but inclusion is weak, reform action needs to draw marginalized “Anglophones” into decision-making and ensure they benefit from national growth, service delivery and welfare improvements
As highlighted above, commitment, coordination and cooperation are three core functions of institutional actors that are needed to ensure that peace accords and expected results are made possible.13
• Commitment: this enables the GoC and “Anglophones” to rely on the credibility of the dialogue resolutions so they can calibrate their behaviors accordingly. The case of Cameroon is most premised on commitment. The GoC with its people must reach credible agreements; first, to renounce violence and endow the state with the monopoly on the legitimate use of force – see the case of Somaliland wherein commitment was achieved by establishing institutional arrangements that provided sufficient incentives for all key actors to work within the rules. The bottom line is that, the commitment to deal between the GoC and the people must be credible, so that all parties stand to lose if any party reneges on those arrangements. When commitment to deal lacks integrity, contending sides (GoC and the “Anglophones”) walk away from the bargaining table and violence prevails.
• Coordination: beyond credible commitment is coordination. Independent credible watchdog institutions MUST regulate implementation commitments as well as coordinate the GoC decisions with the expectation of its people and other conflicting parties. This is very sensitive because coordination problems can occur at many levels of the peace process.
• Cooperation: herein lies the core to successful and effective peace plans; both at the long and short-term periods, as it requires the political will of the GoC and the “Anglophones” willingness to cooperate. The “Anglophones” must be willing to comply and cooperate. Cooperation is enhanced by credible commitments.

Enabling commitments, inducing coordination and enhancing cooperation are therefore essential institutional core functions for making peace policies effective. There must be an aggressive political will in the national arena. This is because; decision makers – elites-14 may have the right peace plan and objectives, such as this, and yet may still be unable to implement the right peace policies because doing so would challenge the existing equilibrium and the current balance of power. Thus, the balance of power in conflict and violent societies may condition the kinds of results that emerge from commitment, coordination and cooperation.
Ultimately, how peace resolutions through dialogue are effective depends not only on what resolutions are chosen, but also on how they are chosen and implemented. Peacemaking resolutions and peace agreement implementation both involve bargaining among different actors. The policy arena-the setting in which governance manifests itself, can be found at the local and national levels of Cameroon. Interested groups in Cameroon upheaval should be empowered to take part in the shaping of peace agreements – this would be a fundamental enabler to pacific agreements effectiveness. There should be an equal distribution of power in the bargaining process, as this power symmetry will definitely influence peace policy effectiveness. Power asymmetry is not necessary harmful, but negative manifestations are reflected in political clientelism as well as social and economic exclusions. Power 13

asymmetry excludes individuals and groups from the bargaining arena, and can be particularly important for peace and security, such as in Somalia. A cross country statistical analyses using the Ethnic Power Relations data set from 1945-2005 indicates that states that exclude portions of the population based on ethnic background are more likely to face armed rebellions.16/17
• Dialogue Procedure

Before nose-diving into this part of the proposed peace agenda, it is worthy to recall that violence is just a symptom reflective of discontentment. Just like unemployment, which is a symptom to a failed economy to grow enough to absorb all employable labour, violence as well, is a result of various economic pressures, rising job complexities, high levels of inequality, and even digital disruptions. Whether or not such discontentment are justifiable is usually immaterial, as long as lives are lost there is need for concern. Let Cameroonians remember that, the private sector, which is the engine of job creation, needs long-term view of the credible direction of the GoC’s peace and economic policies to be able make long-term investment decisions. Ultimately, any of such inconsistencies or impairments like violence only exacerbates economic downturn and lowers productivity. Consequently, it is a perfect breeding ground for protest from disgruntled citizens.
Most importantly, the “Anglophone” crisis is just as far-gone, because the discontentment of some frustrated “Francophones” can spark unrest, which tied with the present crisis, can plunge Cameroon into a full-blown civil war with unimaginable and maybe irrecoverable effects. During such circumstances, marginalization18, fragmentation19, and segmentation20 just to name a few, which the “Anglophones” condemn, might not be the same motives of the Francophones. Regime change, job creation, economic boom, equal distribution of political appointments, infrastructural development21, request for decentralization service provision, hassle-free border relations,22 other related Economic, Financial23 and Political risk might be at the forefront of such conflict-risk query. Such scenarios can easily be forecasted, especially as Cameroon’s growth experiences more volatility than the regional average. By this, this paper calls for the inevitable peace through dialogue between conflicting parties.
(To be continued)

Ode to our haunted youths

If there was any doubt as to the level of disaffection that Cameroonian nationality evokes among youths, the recent escape of athletes for the third consecutive time after being officially ferried to the Commonwealth Games has come to dispel such illusion. Come to think of it. The young men had been nursing dreams of going to countries where at least some attention is paid to budding talents who are nurtured and pampered to become assets to themselves and to the corporate image of their countries of origin.
Moreover, unlike others who have had to brave the vicissitudes that inhere in trans-Saharan misadventures through northern Cameroon to Chad and Libya and, eventually, life-threatening sea crossings between Libya and Italy or Spain they have had genuine travelling documents prepared by the state and transport fares paid from the public till. So why would they have bothered about coming back to drudgery when hustling out there bodes better prospects of livelihood improvement. Little doubt therefore that no matter what stigma is imputed to the deserting athletes, the unequivocal message they are sending is that “Le pays va mal.”
In a country that pays lip service to the youthful segment of its population, the reaction could not have been otherwise. Generations upon generations of youths have been sacrificed on the altar of greed and nepotism to the point where some people have reached the statutory retirement age of 55 without experiencing the ‘luxury’ of serving Cameroon even in Office Cleaner capacity. One contrivance or the other from the repository of Government magic represented in a skewed system of public service recruitment via competitive examination keeps knocking them off until frustration sets in and relegates them to permanent hangers-on to the apron strings of more fortunate school mates.Beer and food at least are hardly in short supply. And so they become executive beggars. This means that settled family lives of husbands, wives and children become unaffordable luxury. The drudgery, inexorably, accompanies them to their graves. How frustrating?

Oh yes, our youths have been sacrificed by a cabal that has raised gerontocracy to statecraft. Witness the recent clamour by traditional chiefs for President Biya’s candidacy in the upcoming presidential election. Can anything good be expected of chiefs who, out of unbridled sway to pecks from a moribund regime would sacrifice the wellbeing of their subjects? How would we expect youths not to rise against chiefs who spite their existential malaise just so that they may continue to await crumbs under the table? What these aggrieved youths are saying is that life has become unbearable in Cameroon and the only solution is a change of guards by any means.
Little wonder then that at a time when the rest of the world is capitalizing on tertiary industries’ contribution to generate wealth, we are still obsessed with second generation agriculture mantra in the face of abysmal incapacity to even engage first generation agriculture. That is our vision for our youths while oldies sit in state- of- the- art furnished offices, producing nothing but preying on the public till. Instead of creating avenues to engage the vitality of this rugged segment of our population, we contrive avenues to enrich kinsmen and regime loyalists. And so every means is sought to entrench the already asphyxiating centralized system of governance just so that a few sycophants with their youthfulness behind them continue to cling to the commonwealth like leaches. Where then is the place of our teeming youths? Why would they not see opportunity in illegal sojourn in more developed countries?
This explains why the Ministries of Education- Secondary, Basic, Civic, Higher and Youths and Sports that are all meant for the development of our teeming youths are all manned by individuals who have celebrated their diamond jubilees. Moreover, given that our statecraft makes no room for appointment of youths, all the Directors and Service Head positions are allocated to much older people. As if that is not enough, there are ministries in charge of development-Plan and Regional, Agriculture and Rural and very recently Decentralization and Local Development. Whatever this are supposed to mean remains a question to be answered by Biya’s spin doctors. If you add the Senate, and other moribund institution like the Economic and Social Council and Commission for Bilingualism and Multiculturalism, the picture of how the youths of this nation are deliberately fenced off becomes more glaring. These are moribund institutions whose leitmotif is reward to toadying the Biya regime. How then would the youths be encouraged to stay at home?
Were we expecting these frustrated youths to be patriotic on empty stomachs? Of course no! Patriotism stems from recognition of the value that the state attaches to the wellbeing of its citizens. It is certainly not a commodity that is sold in the open market and as such available to all and sundry. It is earned through governance that endears itself to the citizens via institutionalized populism. When this is raised to the pedestal of statecraft, obeisance to state emblems and constitutional provisions becomes automatic. Even in the circumstance where attempts have been made to concoct a simulacrum of concern for the youths, our pervasive inclination to line our pockets instead of serving the public deflects such initiatives into nothingness.
We do not plan for the benefit of the country but, for designated individuals and in the course of such insouciance, the country drifts into cataclysm. When the youths rise up in revolt as was the case in February 2008, the riposte from President Biya is that they had been under the instrumentality of some misguided political upstarts since they are not endowed with reasoning faculty. This explains why they have been taken off guard by Anglophone youths who have reached the point of sacrificing their lives for the improvement of governance in the country. Their resolve is informed by nothing else than the wellspring of frustration that has taken hold of their segment of society.
The situation has degenerated to the point where death means nothing to them. Whether it comes from joining the regular army or separatist forces, hesitance has been relegated to the background. Those who see no hope in fighting have opted for the misadventure of crossing the Sahara desert into Chad and Libya and eventually to Europe, with all the attendant risks of being sold into slavery, murdered or marooned on the high seas.
The country’s leadership has indeed lost legitimacy but, would not want to admit their condition and make way for a more dynamic system, powered by vibrant forces, whose youthfulness is an invaluable asset. Surprisingly, its headship keeps parodying the notion of youths being the leaders of tomorrow. Very impressive selling point, indeed! However, the reality on the ground is that our youths remain endangered species until such a time that they will take responsibility of being the potters that handle the clay to shape their destinies. This is very easy. They do not need the barrel of the gun as is currently the case. Let them register massively on electoral registers and vote out the Biya political rubble into obsolescence. This way there will be room for building a new Cameroon in which they will be pioneers.
By Ngoko Monyadowa