Revisiting Paris climate change summit

In the aftermath of Rio de Janerio, Brazil Earth Summit in 1992, concern for mother earth began assuming fever pitch as many countries prodded by conservationists, Community Based Organizations, CBOs, International Non-Governmental Organizations, NGOs and the academia began sounding warnings of a possible nosedive into Armageddon, judging by the unguarded manner in which the world’s natural resources were being depleted.

From Rio to Kyoto, Durban and now Paris, fretfulness about the future of a world in which the winner seems to take all has been haunting many world leaders to the point of even assuming an apocalyptic allure, with some exhibiting genuine concern and others paying lip service.

However, what has come to be an incontrovertible verdict is that we are all condemned to a very rough deal if the issues inherent in climate change are not given the calibre of attention they rightly deserve. Do not mind the distraction emanating from some academia naysayers who are wont to ascribe paranoia to warnings of an impending retribution from mismanagement of the earth’s resources.

Be that as it may, the youthful French President Emmanuel Macron must be accorded the necessary accolades and support in his contemporary bid to ensure the world’s natural resources are managed in such a manner as to conduce to a global reduction in avoidable crises. His decision to convene and host the immediate past climate change summit in Paris is much acclaimed and puts him in the pantheon of visionary world leaders who ascribe much importance to what our generation is indebted to posterity. For, it is obvious that most crises in the world have been caused by divergence in perceptions of resource allocation mechanisms – be they nationally or internationally.

Even so, what seems to be raising a snag is the manner in which this newfound love for preserving nature’s endowment to humankind has been carried out. Nobody can gainsay the interconnectedness of a world that has today been reduced to a global village by technology. By this token therefore, our generation’s legacy to posterity has to reflect goodwill, as well as being the brainchild of all and sundry. There should be no big country and small country or developed and underdeveloped country.

On the contrary, the idea of developed and underdeveloped countries should be visible in the complementarity that ought to be inherent in steps geared at curbing the current insecurity relating to gas emissions the world over.  To him that more has been given, so too, would much be expected. What this easily translates into is that the developed nations of the world must be prepared to make the requisite sacrifices to usher into a healthier global environment with regards to ecological sanity. We cannot begrudge the advanced economies of the world for being where they are. However, if they have made commendable strides, it has been thanks to depletion of resources that would have been useful as buffers to the ozone layer.

In this regard, developing countries that by some twist of fate still have their natural resources, particularly, forests, intact must be accorded some compensatory mechanisms to cushion the adversity derivable from sacrifices that they must now make to ensure that the advanced countries do not reach the point where everybody would have been condemned to be permanently wearing gas masks.This must be the epicentre of further discussions in the realm of climate change.

The Amazon Basin, Congo Basin and parts of Indonesia and other Southeast Asian countries must be seen as ecological hotspots that require global attention in terms of financial assistance in the implementation of programmes whose conceptualization ought to be the result of specialist inputs from all over the world. This way, the complementarity necessary for a world devoid of permanent fear of annihilation by poisonous gases would have been floated for good. When this would have been done, leaders of the world shall then be au fait with the essence of governing for posterity – nothing akin to the present here-and-now mentality that seems to drive many world leaders.

Whatever the trajectory from which it is perceived, climate change ought to be of utmost concern to all. While admitting that there might have been elements of exaggeration in the approach conservationists and other apostles of doomsday- being- around-the-corner have treaded this far, the fact that urbanization that is inherent in population growth and technological advancement materializes in more and more pressure being exerted on resources, impels world leaders to see the need to immerse themselves into the global quest for a more sane approach to managing the earth’s resources.

This can only be achieved through consensus and not the dispersed pattern that is currently en vogue, particularly, the posturing of the United States of America where ironically, consumerism is at its peak. America’s current big brother swagger that makes her feel she can bully her way through any situation in the world does not, certainly, augur well for a world in quest of stability- ecologically, economically or in the realm of politics.

As a cautionary dispensation, local measures too, have to be conceived as deterrents to unscrupulous granting of concessions to logging companies and agri-business corporations. Admitted that in our skies, the ground rules are charming at the level of the Ministries of Forestry and Wildlife, what obtains at field level leaves much to be desired.

The appalling complicity between administrators -sometimes including Government ministers and forestry officials is such that calls for immediate truce. Not only are the logging companies indulged in unorthodox methods that do not make for reforestation as felling ignores safety of other trees, more vexing is the fact that some of the harvested tress have been abandoned in the forests. Reforestation projects have been hardly respected while sizes of logs are left to the discretion of the logging companies.  Indeed, agri-business corporations are sometimes even accorded the luxury of logging in their concessions contrary to existing statutes.

In the Amazon basin, the internecine war between alienated natives and large-scale plantation promoters has meant that more and more forests have had to be erased. While clamouring for assistance from the developed world, we should sit back and think globally while acting locally. This way, the essence of Paris climate change summit would have had its intended impact and, the minds of the likes of French President Macron-arrowhead of a world devoid of ecological disasters would have been put to rest.

By Ngoko Monyadowa

 

POET’S DELIGHT Don’t just read, weigh each line and give it a weight. Oke Akombi

 

THE KINGDOM OF THE REPUBLIC

 

When a republic’s got a king for a ruler

and the ruler kills the forest for its leather

who’s the fool? The people or their leader?

The people – they don’t taste he’s king

they don’t smell he’s king

they don’t hear he’s king

they don’t feel he’s king

they don’t see he’s king.

Yet he’s their king in wishes, time and number

These people – they need a sixth sense to stop being fools.

Dialogue, war and inviolability of state authority

Mr. Biya has finally proclaimed what had all along been expected of him –he has, upon return from the European Union/African Union, EU/AU Summit in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, declared an unremitting war against those he has persistently characterized as terrorists operating under the aegis secessionist Cameroonians. This atavistic posturing, in any case, is the outgrowth of feigned concern for four soldiers who recently lost their lives in the vicinity of Agbokim Waterfall under Manyu Division.

Whether the lost lives had been represented in unarmed civilians or soldiers out to defend the national territory, the opprobrium raised by such conduct has remained untainted. Human lives are sacred and must not be toyed with for any reason whatsoever. In all fairness, nobody still in possession of mental balance would support such grisly termination of human lives.

However, while appreciating the fact that as President of the Republic it behooves him to come out strongly and decry such barbaric conduct, the prevailing circumstance in the country is such that induces every cautious observer to wonder if Paul Biya, is not shedding crocodile tears or selling after the market. This is so because opportunities to divest Cameroon of the ingredients that have been fueling disaffection between the state and Anglophones had been served to him on a platter of gold, but he opted to ignore same with provocative callousness. Moreso, the president had been too emotional in his approach to the issue. Coming from a journey that had required him, considering his age, to have a good rest before immersing himself into such demanding state assignment, the President’s outburst reflected a badly rehearsed drama-and a bad drama it has been.

Are those who write speeches for the President telling the world that he cannot, extemporaneously, comment on a simple national issue? Did he have to read such a short declaration from a prepared communiqué? By the way are wars declared from airports or terse announcements from addresses to the nation and unusual appearances on the floor of the National Assembly?

By the way, President Biya’s outpouring was immediately accompanied by a security meeting in Yaounde alleged to have had in attendance only militarysector Commanders and Gendarmerie Legion Commanders subsequent upon which the Minister of Defence, and Chair of the event, Beti Assomo purportedly proclaimed that the Head of State’s edict of all-out war will be implemented to the letter. No way, Mr. Minister! War is not an issue that ought to have attracted such boastfulness. Does the minister need to be reminded that without American and French support Boko Haram would have laid siege on Yaounde? Must he be told that there is danger looming from renegade soldiers of the Central African Republic in East and Adamawa Regions? Or is he unaware of the fact that no belligerent comes out of a war unscathed, be they victor or vanquished.

Mr. President, ignore any inclination to war. Come out of your bloated ego cocoon and initiate inclusive national dialogue, instead of your current grandstanding that reflects fatuousness unfathomable from the patriarch represented in your current age.

Moreover, what your declaration of war has inadvertently or advertently exposed to the world at large is the fact that some lives are more important than others. This is so on account of the roaring silence that accompanied the carnage perpetrated on peace-flower carrying protesters in Anglophone Cameroon on September 22 and October 1. In the aftermath of these insalubrious acts, the country had been treated to an immeasurable level of callousness emergent from the now customarily provocative outings of Communication Minister Isa Tchiroma Bakary, denying loss of lives during this near–pogrom. There is however, incontrovertible evidence that these sad occurrences had wasted the lives of no fewer than 100 valiant Anglophone youths. Indeed, the same spectacle was visited on the unsuspecting fringe of Cameroonians after soldiers were killed in Jakiri, Bafut and Nkwen in the Northwest Region. Tchiroma in his archetypal buffoonery had been highly unguarded in his declaration that Anglophone “secessionists” had been responsible for the killings.

Being ever so carried away by his penchant for errant twaddle, our all-knowing Communication Minister cum Government Spokesperson allowed himself to be marooned by a BBC journalist who was at a loss to appreciate his unthinking inclination to the conclusion that the killings in the Northwest had been perpetrated by Anglophone irredentists even before investigations had been carried out. This cavalier approach to serious matters of sovereignty raises the spectre of a dangerous nosedive into a precipice. Indeed, governance or statecraft has been reduced to comedy in Cameroon. The impression being floated is that given the shortcomings that usually attend advancement in age, our President has reached the frontiers of mental menopause; by this token, some war mongers have taken control of the country, if only to continue to benefit from extra-budgetary security allocations to line their pockets.

This is why in the current circumstance wherein the President is being told only what he would like to hear, anything goes. Nobody is inclined to tell him that majority of Anglophones are not in support of the killings and incendiary crimes that have gained currency in the Northwest and Southwest Regions. The disdain for such barbaric deeds is not limited to civilian deaths but extends to all other Cameroonians who in one way or the other have fallen victims to the vagaries of Government intransigence to dialogue with aggrieved Anglophones. Nobody as well, has been honest enough to tell him that in normal circumstances, all Anglophone children of school ages would have been in classrooms unlike what currently obtains, particularly, in rural settings.

On the contrary, Philemon Yang, Prime Minister and Head of Government had been so insensitive to the plight of Anglophones to the point of telling his kith and kin of the Northwest Region that President Paul Biya has his already laid out agenda and so cannot be stampeded into visiting the Anglophone Regions, even if this were to be the most rudimentary move expected of him as father of the nation in furtherance of appeasement to an aggrieved portion of the Cameroon commonwealth.

By the way, is it not shameful that armed security goons have been constantly exposed to premature deaths in the hands of seemingly unarmed “terrorists?” Is this not an indication that such victims are outcomes of a moribund command that has occasioned loss of loyalty?  The temptation to ask these questions is very high and underlined by the much bandied conspiracy theory that ascribes unscrupulousness to our military commands and civilian administrators who would stop at nothing to ensure ceaseless flow of state budget into schemes to combat imaginary danger.

The Secretary of State for Defence in charge of the National Gendarmerie is on record to have mooted that no fewer than 360 million will be needed as emergency funds to counter “terrorism” perpetrated by “secessionists.” This is certainly extraneous of what would have been put at the disposal of Governors, and by extension, Senior Divisional Officers and Sub Divisional Officers for the same purpose.

Imagine the number of water points and boreholes or health centres and rural electrification projects that have been sidelined because money has been directed to a pointless cause? This is really shameful and parodies a country that ventilates schemes for emergence by the year 2035. We should concentrate on making Cameroon the Eldorado it ought to have been 57 years after independence.This cannot be possible under circumstances of criminal disregard for humanity, in terms of wellbeing, through livelihood improvement and ensuring security of lives. It cannot also, be possible in a country held hostage by warmongers!

By Ngoko Monyadowa

 

 

Adjusting to the Anglophone crisis realities

The protracted Anglophone crisis has taken its toll on high-profile personalities in ministries and other state institutions in the country’s political capital as far as bilingualism goes. Most Ministers, Directors, and other high-ranking state functionaries now devise various strategies to adapt to the trending dispensation. They are ready to make utterances in English language, but not without serious preparation.

If one must conduct an interview with any of them, the one is beseeched to first submit a questionnaire to their secretariat at least 24 hours before the appointed time to be translated and mastered. This explains why hitherto uncommon phrases such as ‘ladies and gentlemen’ ‘distinguished guests’ ‘long live the president of the republic’ ‘Long live Cameroon’ etc, now punctuate official speeches.

The other day, this reporter decided to seek the opinion of an ICT expert, a Director in the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications. My French speaking colleague had just finished interviewing this official and I was about doing same in English.

Guess what? The Director held my hand firmly, manipulated the recorder’s stop button, pleading that he wasn’t ready to grant an interview in English just yet. All attempts to persuade this official that I imperatively needed the interview without which I could not compile my reports met with a brick wall. Interview postponed, I went home that day, still puzzled, and unable to figure out why he was unable even to utter a word or two in English, and what magic he was going to employ overnight to be able to smatter off in some rare English.

I was in his office the next day to conduct the interview. And to my greatest consternation, he told me to pose my questions, as he sat bossily on a sumptuous office sofa, with shining eye-glasses blinking through the screen of a laptop. It was at this point that it dawned on me that his insistence for interview for that day was for him to instruct his collaborators to translate the answer of the question which he had turned down the previous day, into English. Whether by chance or by design, after his ‘’excellent answer’’ to the ‘’premeditated answer’’, I pressed on with a series of other questions, which needed some reflection before any response. At this point, my interlocutor started fumbling in an attempt to have an appropriate word in English, sweating as he could not make a phrase or sentence in English. Unable to bear the brunt of this inadvertent embarrassment, the Director declared that he had given me enough answers, and that I should stop asking him ‘’boggling questions.’’

This incident mirrors the disquietude witnessed in most public offices these days in Cameroon, in the desperate attempt to overcome the new dispensation; that of ‘’being a bilingual Cameroonian,’’ “a one and indivisible Cameroon,’’ that of ‘’being an Anglophone – je suis Anglophone, j’ai les enfants Anglophones,’’ and above all, that of ‘’proving my bilingual administrative ability to my bosses.’’

All of which is occasioned by the ongoing Anglophone crisis that has been a bête noire to the present administration for slightly over one year now. One might be tempted to ask: is this feeble effort by our Francophone brethren to speak English against their consciences, egos and capability, really what the ‘’separatists,’’ ‘’federalists’’, ‘’secessionists’’, “terrorists’’ as Anglophone advocates are often derogatorily tagged want? Is it only today that they can understand the necessity to be bilingual, when the calling of being bilingual was enshrined in the federal constitution since 1961?

If anyone feels today that the much talked about Anglophone problem or crisis is all about bilingualism, then they all got it wrong. They should be informed that “bilingualism” in itself is just one out of a number of justifiable and legitimate demands/grievances that Anglophones are clamouring for. That the Anglophone problem or crisis is a socio-political issue rooted in Cameroon’s colonial legacies from the Germans, the British and the French. That Anglophone nationalism is the result of state policies of the francophone-dominated Government in post-colonial Cameroon, and persistent stratagem to limit discourse on Anglophone nationalism by post-colonial administration.  And that Anglophone resentment today is about resources and representations and not necessarily about Francophones speaking English.

I once engaged in an exchange with a francophone taxi driver. He vowed to me, including other passengers in the taxi that Anglophones are fighting a lost battle/war because most Francophones tend to bring up their children in the Anglo-Saxon education, and that in the nearest future, Cameroon will entirely belong to Francophones. This pushed me to start finding out the true meaning of the word “Anglophone” especially in the Cameroonian context.

The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines an Anglophone as ‘…consisting of or belonging to an English-speaking population especially in a country where two or more languages are spoken.’ Collins Dictionary further adds that ‘Anglophone communities are English-speaking communities in areas where more than one language is commonly spoken,’ citing the example of Anglophone Canada and Anglophone Africa. It adds that ‘Anglophones are people whose native language is English, or who speak English because they live in a country where English is one of the official languages.’

The same school of thought defines Francophones as using French as a lingua franca-or someone who speaks French as their first language

In the light of the above definitions, isn’t it proper to question whether the strategy by our francophone brethren to “indoctrinate” their children with Anglo-Saxon education is out of “Anglomania” – an exaggerated liking for an imitation of English customs, manners, institutions, et al, thereby rendering them anglophiles rather than Anglophones in the strict sense, or on the contrary, if their inclination to Anglo-Saxon education is out of Anglophobia (hatred or fear of England or its people, culture, customs and influence)?, and consequently, the hidden agenda to cheat Anglophones of their dues?

However complex the jigsaw puzzle may be, what is clear historically and culturally speaking, is the fact that British Southern Cameroons still constitutes an “Anglosphere” – a group of English-speaking countries that share common roots in British culture and history, usually the UK, US, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. In the same breath, La Republique should constitute the “Francophere” – permit me use that neologism.

In Cameroon, some define ‘Anglophone’ as an English-speaking person while others define it as “a person who speaks English.” Can anyone bring out the nuance between the two?

Conversely, in Canada, ‘Anglophone’ is commonly used in areas where French is spoken, to refer to English-speaking populations. Likewise, ‘francophone’ is used in English-speaking area to refer to the French-speaking population. Thus, you won’t commonly hear an English-speaker referred to as an Anglophone in parts of Canada where there isn’t a significant French-speaking population. Meaning, therefore that the word “Anglophone” is not interchangeable with the word “English-speaker” in Canada unlike what obtains in Cameroon. Furthermore, in Quebec, (the main French-speaking area of Canada), a person whose mother tongue is something other than English or French is called an “allophone.”

Conclusively, the term ‘Anglophone’ implies a certain culture; probably because an Anglophone country is one whose primary language is English- and which outside the British Isles, usually means one originally colonized by English when she was an imperial power. Anglophones are therefore representatives of whole linguistic communities.

Back to our context, no matter how we might pretend to be either a francophone or and Anglophone, the natural intonation will always be there to disprove our hypocrisy. For, inasmuch as most Francophones will continue to murder the Queen’s language by saying for instance “revandicate your right” instead of “claim your right,” Anglophones for their part will continue in their own way to murder Moliere’s language by saying for instance ‘’tum’avoir?’’ instead of ‘’tum’a vu?’’, even as national languages have their own axes to grind with these Western languages. For, it is very easy to identify a typical “Eton”, “Beti” speaking the French language saying for instance ‘’cravailler’’ instead of “travailler” the same way a typical “Mankon” or “Bakwerian” would pronounce English words with intonations influenced by their dialects.

This write-up is not in anyway intended to incite Anglophobia or Francophobia. Rather, it is an objective demarcation in the interchangeability between an Anglophone and an English-speaker in the midst of the ongoing Anglophone crisis. In fact, it is out to send the message that the concept ‘Anglophone’ implies fluency and not merely survival-level language ability incarnated by most Francophones today. And that falsely adopting the Anglophone posture today merely by appellation and not through their plight cannot help much in the present context. Urgent and deep rooted grievances warrant urgent responses.

By Nalova Akua Mambeh

Lessons from Addis Ababa

What had begun like an innocuous incursion into the sphere of community support sometime in 2010 has since metamorphosed into full time advocacy against spiteful land grabbing and unscrupulous Government concessions to large- scale plantation promoters and lugging companies. In this regard, from being an ordinary participant in a workshop relating to the quest for free, prior and informed consent of communities faced with agri-business promoters and lugging companies, last March, I have found myself being part of a select team designated to meet the Chinese ambassador to Cameroon to make known our discomfiture regarding the exploitative and sharp practices that have become trendy among his compatriots. From this pedestal, I have automatically become an influential member of the Network of Traditional Rulers for the Sustainable Management of Forest Ecosystems in Cameroon, under whose auspices I have also, been accorded the rare privilege of traveling to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia as one of the participants to the African Conference on Land policy that held from November 14- 17, 2017.

The thrust of the conference is, The Africa we want: ‘Achieving socioeconomic transformations through inclusive and equitable access to land by the youths,’ with high premium on creating avenues for youths and women to access land for development. This perception of the conference organizers is premised on the realization that most African governments do not have well thought-out and implemented policies that specifically take on board the interest of women and youths. This, to them, is calamitous, given that farming that is mostly on a subsistence scale in most countries is driven by this category of persons who form no less than 80 percent of the work force needed to sustain Africa’s teeming population. As therapy, the African Land Policy Initiative of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, UNECA that has now been transformed into the African Land Policy Centre, organizers of the Conference, had thought it wise to bring together no fewer than 500 persons to brainstorm and by extension, exchange notes and learn from variegated experiences through engagement of the academia, civil society, Governments represented at very high levels and, of course, traditional rulers on whom land is supposed to have been vested by tradition, prior to the advent of colonialism .

Even so, the journey to Addis Ababa had not raised any particular expectation given that, Ethiopia had to my hazy imagination, been engaged in drawn- out civil war against Eritrea, its current western neighbor – the longest in Africa barring that between North and South Sudan. Images of the drought that had caused the whole world to be submerged in sympathy with victims consequent upon millions of deaths and had also, given rise to Bob Geldorf’s groundbreaking initiative to raise money through the famous ‘We are the World’ star-studded musical recording resonated in my sub consciousness.

However, this was not to be the case as the classy Addis Ababa International Airport that has nothing to envy from many European Airports dispelled any misgivings that I might have had about the development strides that have been in motion in the country of Ras Tafari Makonen (aka) Emperor Haile Selasie. From the more than 50 airplanes, mostly carriers with capacity of at least 200 passengers that adorned the hangers, to the meticulously constructed infrastructure and mouthwatering services offered by efficient ground staff, Addis Ababa is owe inspiring right from the airport.

Eilily International Hotel where most of the 50 and counting Traditional Rulers were lodged is barely fifteen minutes from the airport. From its aesthetic configuration to the services provided, our overvalued Yaounde Hilton- the only five-star hotel Cameroon boasts of would in all honesty be relegated to backwater. Granted that Addis Ababa is a 10 million inhabitant city in a 100 million inhabitant country, there is still need for the splendour of the city and its infrastructure, particularly, roads to be fore grounded. The sizes and cleanliness of the streets float the impression that work on them had been carried out by extra –terrestrial beings. Juxtaposed with the UNECA Conference Centre which in itself is a modern architecture marvel and other must-see sights like the palace of the legendary Emperor Haile Selasie, in the heart of the city,  the awesomeness of the city takes a different allure to be likened only to some well constructed and planned European cities.

As for take-away from the conference proper, trading ideas with traditional leaders from other parts of Africa left one with the regrettable realization that Francophone sub Saharan Africa and Cameroon in particular, have the least attractive conditions to fulfill the vision of ‘the Africa we want’ in terms of access to land by youths and women. The example from Ghana was shortlisted and eventually proposed as the ideal that other countries must strive to emulate even as its government has been enjoined to scale up existing progress. The commendable example from Ghana materialized in 78 percent of all land being vested in traditional and community custody. This way, Government can only come in to request for land when the need arises, while income accruing from land transactions are shared into three parts- one to the local stool (the chieftaincy institution) part to government and another to the community. This way investors deal directly with local communities instead of the government. Can we contrast this with the land grabbing perpetrated by unscrupulous administrators and complicit chiefs in Cameroon?

Of much interest too, is the fact that Ethiopia is a federation, floating a pronounced devolution of power from the centre to the periphery. While paying allegiance to the Prime Minister in Addis Ababa, the Regional Governors have ample discretional powers that permit them to envision and implement development agendas that require no vetting from the central administration. Patriotism has been elevated to a pedestal where even the pauperized fringe still sees hope in a better tomorrow. The citizens have faith in their country and this must be the result of credible governance emergent from transparency and accountability despite military incursions on two to three occasions to infuse greater stringency in managing the commonwealth by some erring leaders. Unfortunately, in our skies, federation has been disrobed of its glittering qualities and ascribed anathema status by the current regime.

Whether we like it or not, the world is on the move. We will either have to join them as a response to inevitability of change or be constrained to experience the Zimbabwean or Burkinabe patterns and kowtow to prevailing trends.

By the way, could someone remind Aeroports du Cameroun, ADC that the Douala International Airport is an eyesore and greatly needs attention in terms of clearing surroundings of the tar mark and providing air conditioning!

By Chief Ekue John Epimba

 

 

When guilt and shame prod us on

Many things in the world are caused by human consciousness and the obnoxious. The political landscape in Cameroon has reached an all-time low. Southern Cameroons reawakening has left stooges of the ‘ancien-regime’ spellbound and reduced them to become magic consultants striving to secure a remedy. Political intimidation, serial killings, seizure from homes; harassments have become physical phantoms living amongst the innocents. But as it is, this attitude when sandwiched with justice renders man made avalanche of political mumbo-jumbo nonsensical. The fear of the unknown is not an ingredient of those who look up to justice with clean hands. When a fight is more spiritual than physical, then, those endowed with higher graces wait patiently for retribution to engulf propagators of injustice.

Ngugi and Ngugi, in their book “I Will Marry When I Want” said, “an aging hero needs no admirers.” The Biya Regime is an aged one, so need no admirers; so, they should pack their bags and leave the Etoudi Seminary premises before they are caught by nemesis. This disgraced regime with their greater ambition programme topped by bribery, has dispatched a bandwagon of corrupt supposedly free from corruption elites to Anglophone Regions to placate inhabitants with retold lies.

We don’t need such erroneous delegations as their intension to preach reconciliation has missed its track and is bound by an imminent fiasco. Accompanied by certain broadcasters and other media workers mischievously out to defile the tenets of journalism and credibility expected by the media, they have still been unable to shoot on target.This is because conscious and educated people can’t be dissuaded from their believed ideology.
The worst war one can fight is a war against an intellectually pregnant community; who know their constitutional right. Many have come to believe that wars and dissatisfaction continue to reign because the door of dialogue has been shuttered by bribery and political intimidation. The evidences of these mishaps Cameroon is experiencing.

The so called elites who claim to be agents of Biya’s lamp in the various Regions are rather using the political brouhaha as a means to line their pockets instead of seeking solutions to direct the old handpicked scorn who needs prompt resolutions to quench the quenchless fire.

A year ago if the Etoudi stooges were told that Cameroon will one day be like this, they would have held press conferences, blighted with pride to castigate such ideas. But, today, the realities predicted by those with clairvoyance; free from myopic intransigence have proven their declarations authentic. Now, I understand what Winston Churchill in his Book, “The Bodyguard of Lies” said. ‘In wartime, the truth is so precious, that it must be guarded by a bodyguard of lies.” The Biya regime is making use of this doctrine pretty well, but how can you lie the author of his used words? Only within this period, even the senseless that never thought deep or got a second thought over this saga have started doing so.

Death is now as common as the air we breathe. Accidents seem to be a movie with episodes projected everyday for Cameroonians to watch. Who is to blame? The African mind will blame it on witchcraft.
However, understand this magic which had succeeded
for centuries but now had been brandished impotent in
the 21st Century. Nowadays, you have educational vampires in the positive sense of the word and not academic dwarfs coached into certain ideologies by the “big wings.”
The love of peace is not a sure sign of weakness
neither is it the inability to pick up arms. Genuine
dialogue can ease the tension, and not the amount of blood collected to renew ungodly calabashes.

By *Ntumfoin Fidelis Bongasey

*UB Journalism student

Harvesting the wrath of reckless governance

A stitch in time, they say, saves nine. Unfortunately, this admonition that counsels us not to subject what can be done now to procrastination that may eventually lead to avoidable danger diminishes in applicability when directed to governance in Cameroon.

This is to the extent that we have been sitting and watching how the emergence of a time bomb has been panning out without having recourse to tangible solutions that reflect mindsets of true patriots. We have consoled ourselves in the illusion that we have been insulated by cocooning capacity of ill-gotten wealth and disregard for the ordinary Cameroonian.

It could never have occurred to us that the yearnings of a portion of the polity that had begun more than 40 years ago had some basis in reality and so warranted appropriate attention. How could we have cared when we were being carried away by the trappings of intoxicating elixir from power that had been handed down by default? In the event, the necessity to ensure that such newfound helmsman status be used for the good of the commonwealth could not have arisen, given that there was no articulated agenda or manifesto at the time of ascension.

The correlating effect of this combined tragedy and comedy of governance under Ahmadou Ahidjo and, particularly, Paul Biya as represented above, has been, to say the least, traumatizing to Anglophones. In what has now turned out to be obeisance to neo-colonial edicts imposed on La Republique du Cameroun during the tumultuous rivalry between the nationalistic UPC and opportunistic UC, to lead Cameroon into independence, successive regimes have made Anglophone marginalization their governance credo. Which is why, even as far back as the Foumban Conference, French constitutional experts had been assigned the primordial task of ensuring that there was no match between Ahmadou Ahidjo-led La Republique du Cameroun and Southern Cameroons. At Foumban,  Ahidjo did not only succeed in planting seeds of discord among Anglophone politicians, but more deprecatingly, the road for the eventual assimilation of West Cameroon had already been traced with all the necessary road signs anticipated. The upshot of this indiscretion was the institutionalization of the one party state and prodded by the ease with which this had been attained; Ahidjo headed for the 1972 political coup d’état, euphemistically ascribed the epithet of referendum.

It is this adherence to the dictates of neo-colonialism that has led to recklessness relating to governance in Cameroon. All is done to ensure that the French have their way in Cameroon in exchange for elongated stay at the pinnacle of power. Surprisingly, the current regime sees more sense in allowing the French to cart away as much of Cameroon’s wealth more possible than barring them from access and thereby making available wherewithal for run-of-the-mill necessities like water, light, food and housing. No, Bollore must have 90 percent shares of CAMRAIL for a period of 30 years. Do not worry what the Government got in exchange for such largesse that borders on lunacy.

Yes, oil from Bakassi must be mortgaged solely, to the French for as many years as only a select clique in the country is entitled to know. Yes, we must allow the same Bollore to control more than 75 percent interest in the management of the Douala Port. Oh yes, we are this daft. Our children do not deserve any future as long as those of the ruling oligarchy have the possibility of lording it over the progeny of currently less privileged Cameroonians. They had risen from children of paupers and peasants to the governing class and by that token became inferior whitemen. With the whiteman’s departure they have automatically become the colonial masters.

However, as God does not allow evil to prevail over good, he slipped the Anglophone component into the boundaries of Cameroon and this has been the enfant terrible of successive regimes in La Republique. While admitting that Francophone culture disposes them to containment of excesses from ruthless regimes, the fact that the Anglophone component of the country, although indubitably in the minority, has been taking the lead in demanding more humane governance should have effected a change in mentality among the former much earlier than now. However, as the saying commonly goes, it is better late than never. And so, many Francophones are now in the fray to denounce not only poor governance but the unfathomable alienation being perpetrated against their own kind. With the resoluteness that has all along accompanied the quest for emancipation by Anglophones, Francophones have sighted in the former, viable and valiant partners in the project to effect a change in governance in the country.

This explains why despite all the brutality and barefaced resort to feudalism as governance credo that has sprung from Government, the youths particularly in Anglophone Cameroon have instead been radicalized to the point of daring combat ready soldiers. What began like a joke on October 1 when peace flower wielding youths dared armed-to-the teeth soldiers, is gradually turning into guerilla warfare. The news from Jakiri, Bafut and Bayelle Nkwen are not the least impressionable.

This time it was the turn of soldiers to lose their lives. The circumstances under which these gruesome murders took place are still hazy even as Government megaphone Isa Tchiroma Bakary has been quick to ascribe the heinous occurrence to Anglophone “terrorists of the secessionist” tribe.

While not imputing approval to such dastardly inclination, the fact that Government had shown very little or no sign of remorse relating to the carnage of October 1, must have courted retribution from aggrieved families and concerned Anglophones.

Whatever the situation, the question that has been permanently beckoning like green amber light on traffic is do we really deserve this avoidable mayhem that is now being constantly visited on our kith and kin? Should we be in this muddle to the point where our egos ride roughshod on rationality? It is the hope here that there are still traces of humanity that should cause us to retrace our steps into the right direction. Mr. President Paul Biya, the time for all- embracing dialogue is overdue. Stop this carnage! Whether from innocent soldiers, dying to keep you in power or daring Anglophone youths fighting for the emancipation of their compatriots the number of deaths are already appalling.

 

 

 

 

‘Dimabola’ stages another circus show in Church

If there were any reasons to harbour illusions of countering the recurrent contention that consummate lunacy has taken hold of the top brass of CPDM party, last Saturday’s Requiem Mass at the Saint Anthony of Padua Catholic Church, Buea Road Kumba – part of the obsequies of late Richard Ngu Njikam, certainly, dispelled such artifice.

Ordinarily, the presence of the CPDM during funeral activities in honour of one of theirs, who in our case, had attained the enviable positions of permanent resource person, Charge de Missions and Alternate Senator should have called for no raised eye brows. At least, there is always pride of place that should automatically accrue to it by virtue of its status of ruling party. This privilege leaves no one in doubt that it has the right to officiate during moments of sorrow occasioned by the loss of one of theirs. However, when such involvement raises the spectre of callousness to the animosity that a messenger can invoke owing to avowed illegitimacy among those he is supposed to shepherd, the upshot is chaos. This time around in the House of God by representative of a Government that has not been very adroit in its relationship with clerics.

Last Saturday’s event in Kumba tallies with earlier concern that had been raised on the pages of this newspaper relating to the criminal disregard for humanity by certain Government functionaries. Since no distinction has been made between the CPDM party and the current regime, there is no use imputing such when the issue to be addressed concerns one or the other. Concern then had been consequent upon the carnage perpetuated in the wake of September 22 peaceful protests and October 1 independence declaration by irate Anglophone youths cannot exit the memories of concerned Cameroonians this soon and calls the sanity of our governing class to question. Whether it is the CPDM or its executive wing that passes off for Government, the reaction to governance is the same.

Indeed, what had begun the previous evening with an unprecedented show of solidarity by friends of Senator Richard Njikam, during a well-organized and managed wake keep, witnessed uninvited scarring by Meme CPDM top brass under the tutelage of Benjamin Mutanga Itoe, Alternate Senator, CDC Board Chair, Coordinator of Meme Divisional Coordination Committee of the CPDM and Member, Commission for the Promotion of Bilingualism and Multiculturalism.

Itoe did not content himself with mounting the rostrum and foisting his calamitous coldness to the presence of the Bishop of Kumba Diocese and other non CPDM dignitaries in Church but went further to rant for close to 20 minutes on issues that ordinarily should be discussed in joint section conferences of their party.

His persistence to make his presence felt at all cost via his ad-libbed eulogy, whose length was upsetting enough, attracted the ire of many who felt that he had crossed the bounds of tolerable indecency, and so began leaving the Church while he was still twaddling in the presence of a patient Bishop. This oddity, obviously, did not go down well with the authorities of the Saint Anthony of Padua Catholic Church who, unfortunately, were in front of a fait accompli and could not to that effect, intervene to stop the pompous CPDM Man Friday.

What is even most intriguing is the decision to intervene in Church. There was the opportunity to take their messages from the party hierarchy to the funeral grounds in Ikiliwindi, where it would have been read as part of the last intervention to the select crowd that had showed up. This way, no feathers would have been ruffled, given that the crowd was mainly constituted of family members and close friends who would not have been perturbed by such private issues.

However, the indiscretion of mounting the pulpit and without any consideration of the environment inviting CPDM Section Presidents and a Senator including Special Adviser in the Prime Minister’s Office, Mrs. Bertha Ndoh, whom he obsequiously referred to as “Her Excellency,” to the chagrin of all who know that her position, as exalted as it sounds, does not deserve such prefix exuded pomposity and ignorance all rolled in one. Apart from the fact that lining up Section Presidents and other party dignitaries had conjured the image of school boys to be ordered around, their insistence on adorning party paraphernalia put off many who felt that the Church’s status as a sacred institution was being desecrated.

As if desecrating the institution of the Catholic Church was not bad enough, Benjamin Itoe, usurped the positions of Secretary General of the CPDM Central Committee and the Head of the Regional Coordinating Committee by speaking extensively in his own right before reading the speeches of his bosses, making them resonate as after thoughts or asides of no significance.This notion of surrounding himself with an aura of inflated importance seems to be as worrisome as it is recurrent among Anglophone politicians. Itoe, at one point in a meeting of Southwest elites had boasted that he has the most impressive curriculum vitae among active politicians in the Southwest Region. One has had to wonder about the job that had been advertised deserving such puerile outburst from a seemingly well-bred individual by status and stature. However, it is only here that CPDM politicians brandish their clout to their constituents by invoking how much influence they wield through acts of denigration to the persons of party adherents and sympathizers they consider potential threats to their current positions instead of fighting to ensure many more aspirants climb to higher rungs of the party and Government ladder.

Indeed, the display of arrogance and puerile leaning towards inflated importance by Itoe had been clearly uncalled for from a person who has in the last 35 years been in the limelight relating to one appointment or the other. However, since rationality is a commodity in short supply among CPDM chieftains, it is not surprising that the former Justice Minister had conducted himself in such impish manner. While admitting that his “Dimabola” inclination in the early nineties [he took to street protests against multi-party politics] had clearly indicated a proclivity to kowtow to the whims of Paul Biya, even if it had meant being blindfolded to the war front, Benjamin Itoe, as a legal mind ought to have drawn a thick line between state funeral and one wherein CPDM presence has to be barely tolerated as was the case in Kumba, where the opposition is in control of all the three Councils and Parliamentary seat. Itoe, apparently, has forgotten that his leadership of the CPDM in Meme Division still remains a highly contentious issue, especially, among young Turks who see in him a patriarch who should have retired to an advisory role instead of rubbing shoulders with valiant, viable and enterprising youths. Such lack of legitimacy forcibly explains why his uninvited appearance at the pulpit of the Buea Road Catholic Church, attracted so much discomfiture with many voting with their feet and leaving before the final blessing by the  clearly flustered officiating Bishop.

Oh, yes! We are local champions in Churches and among our kith and kin but cannot stand up for our folks when occasion calls for exhibiting bile and balls. For the avoidance of doubts, no one is advocating any play-down of the attributes people acquire while they had been alive. On the contrary, whether coming from the party, family, Church or other social groups, such affiliations need to figure strongly to portray the characters deceased persons had represented while they had lived and how much they had influenced their immediate vicinity positively and even negatively. However, what is of essence here is that the Church is not a place for self-aggrandizement or parade ground for our inflated egos. It is a sacred ground, reserved for those who have reverence for their Creator and not for those prodded by forces in the realm of the occult that blinds them from ascribing sanctity to humanity. This way, they conduct themselves as if death were meant for lesser mortals, and by that token, making it much less concern of theirs. No way! Except our CPDM politicians want to leave us with no doubt that theirs is a party undergirded by uncertified lunacy, they must rethink their approach to representation and conduct during public events otherwise, the sobriquet of irrationality of actions as is currently the case would doggedly stick to it.

 By Ngoko Monyadowa

 

Biya, there is life after power

During 57 years of Cameroon’s independence, the country has been ruled by just two individuals. Ahmadou Ahidjo spent slightly over 20 years as head of state and handed over to Paul Biya, aka “natural leader,” a euphemism for life president. His Excellency, it would appear, is very comfortable with having spent over half a Century as a civil servant, with a record 35 uninterrupted years as head of state.

Yesterday, Monday, November 6, work in Government institutions nationwide was stalled. Cabinet ministers and other ranking officials were traditionally expected to fan out to the Regions to oversea routine Biya anniversary funfairs.

CPDM adherents and other political hangers-on took to celebration grounds, flattering, ululating and hailing the celebrant with tom-tom drums. For very obvious reasons, heavily armed troops were planted in practically every strategic street corner in key towns of English speaking Regions. It looked as though they were defending the place against external aggressors.

At 84, Mr. Biya is being prodded on, by political zealots and cheerleaders, to run for yet another seven-year term, come 2018. A wee too much has been given to His Excellency during his 35 years in power. Whether Biya has given back even a tiny fraction of what Cameroonians entrusted him with is everyone’s guess.

Official media propaganda and calculated official spin notwithstanding, critical questions are being asked. Has Biya’s leadership been characterized by true service, love and sacrifice or by crass ineptitude, ethnic and Regional bigotry? Is there any intrinsic value in his mode of governance? If there has, then why the heavily armed troops at tax payers’ expense in every street corner even in the heart of his “second home” on what should be a celebration of his political birthday? Some have said he needs protection from those who love him.

Thirty five years in power, a mood of affection to his countrymen and women is clearly lacking in Mr. Biya. Each time he travels abroad for the lengthy, ritualistic “brief visits,” Diaspora Cameroonians rudely remind him that the country has gone under, collapsed under marathon ruling and ruining. They picket him, to vacate revenue sapping luxury hotels, head back home and handover. Yet, toadies will hear nothing of the old man stepping aside after more than a generation in power.

Our reports and analyses in this edition seek to establish that there is life after power. Patriotic Cameroonians want Biya to benefit from this fact and leave “before he is left.”

By Charlie Ndi Chia

Letter of love to President Biya

Your Excellency,

Welcome back to our skies, even as you have elected to spend more time on other shores than ours. I am sure that you have taken note of the drastic deficit in enthusiasm to welcome you from your numerous trips abroad. If you have not, be informed that the situation is so bad that sycophant elite from your South Region and other lazybones have had to rise up to the occasion and be drafted in to cajole public attention that people are still interested in your going out and coming in.

Mr. President, we are really worried about your eternal love for puerile indulgence in the luxury of rooms in European and American hotels. This does not only impinge on our lean purse that has been attracting the peering eyes of Bretton Woods  institutions, but more disparagingly, you seem not to be making any distinction between private and official visits. While admitting that representing our country at international diplomatic arenas had since graduated into contemporary statecraft requiring every sovereign nation to have representations in as many countries as possible, and why not international organizations, such emissaries, including you, not surprisingly, represent your interests instead of Cameroon’s. Mr. President, our concern here is the seeming lack of direct involvement you have brought to bear on Governance in Cameroon via your one too many foreign escapades.

Which is why, you, as the number one of everything Cameroonian; from Head of state to Head of lives, you appoint ambassadors to countries you deem friendly enough to perpetrate your  visceral inclination to power even when prevailing circumstances, indubitably, indicate disavowal by the citizenry? This ordinarily offensive disposition has, unfortunately, been heightened by a peculiar feature in your statesmanship that impels almost permanent incursions into the jurisdiction of diplomatic appointees. This way, you do not only render them uncomfortable, but make governance back at home pernicious and invariably, unproductive. Just imagine your last over 35-day stay in America and Switzerland! Imagine the heebie-jeebies that must have gripped Cameroon’s Ambassador to Switzerland, from being in the knowledge that you, with all your dictatorial proclivities had been in Hotel Continental breathing down his neck daily. That could have been next to hell.

Even more, important decisions that require presidential fiats are being ceaselessly directed to other quarters in the knowledge that you are perpetually not available. What is even more derisive in your demeanor is not just the fact that you spend much time abroad, but that such marathon sojourns have hardly borne useful fruits for the commonwealth. Framed in exorbitant hotel bills that your hirelings inflate to line their pockets and hired praise singers at home and abroad, your foreign trips constitute inexcusable drain on Cameroon’s economy whose insolvency is causing sleepless nights to financial experts locally and internationally. Since the centerpiece of your diplomacy is to be seen and heard even when what you say has nothing to inspire in relation to contemporary world power play, you carry your delirious self about oblivious of your frail physique barely supporting your 84 years.

In the event, it had to take the planned stop-over of the UN Secretary General on Cameroonian soil to chase you out of Switzerland. This puerile affinity for the ephemeral instead of awe-inspiring accomplishments like the Bakassi “Green Tree Accord,” unequivocally lends credence to hues from badmouths associating you with occult practices that immunize against concern for humanity. To this effect, while you were on the podium addressing a visibly empty auditorium at the United Nations Plaza in New York, Anglophone Cameroonians in the most spontaneous, simultaneous and intensified display of discomfiture over a system that had raised bestiality to sainthood, exposed your anachronistic, nay, sadistic statecraft to the world via peaceful protests back at home last September 22. As peaceful as the demonstrators had endeavoured to carry out their enterprise, regime toadies with atrophied notions of peace keeping still snuffed lives out of many. As counterpoise and in retaliation against what they had seen as betrayal of their long guarded secret employed to extort security budgets from state coffers, your apologists pounced on the opportunity to steal from, kill maim and rape with glee on October 1. On a Sunday for that matter! Yes, the September 22 riots had exposed unscrupulous administrators to you and the world that agitations from Anglophones have not been a matter of a few misguided elements. They are emanations from pent-up frustrations.

For 35 days you enjoyed the comfort of hotels in foreign lands while your country was boiling and heading for Armageddon. Yes, after the despicable carnage of October 1, massive arrests, looting, maiming, and unwarranted public provocations have been the lot of Anglophone Cameroonians. To this moment, many inhabitants particularly the youths of many towns in Anglophone Cameroon still endure the pangs of life in virgin forests occasioned by fear of being victims of programmed arrests and slaughter. Indeed, no fewer than 1000 youths are in detention in various parts of the Northwest and Southwest Regions. Apart from the atrocious conditions of detention, magistrates, both civilian and military have struck a gold mine in detainees from whom they extort money ranging from FCFA 25,000 to one million. Indeed, the issue of irregular detention has become favourite pastime for law enforcement agents who swindle each other just so that control over victims remains within their jurisdictions. Police, like magistrates, like prosecutors are all in the fray. Yet neither you nor any of the elected or appointed political elite from the Anglophone Regions has been bold enough to deprecate such carnage as had been unleashed on their kith and kin.

However, in their moronic acquiescence to anything you incarnate, they have found themselves saddled with the ungodly task of having to carry so called goodwill messages from you, who all along, have been making derisive utterances to their persons and shown no concern for their plight. The messengers themselves had since been disavowed, consequent upon overtly displayed repudiation of the Anglophone cause.  Who then had they been intending to address? As naïve as they are, they had forgotten about the African wise saying that counsels us to be nice to people along the road because we might one day be in need of their assistance. Surprisingly, Senator Pa Achidi Achu had not reminded them of his famous “scratch my back I scratch your own” political scam. These are very unpromising moments. While Musonge was preaching the indivisibility of Cameroon on the slopes of Mount Fako, Philemon Yang was telling whoever had cared to listen that you could not have been stampeded out of the comfort of Unity Palace in Yaounde to personally come to Buea and Bamenda and soothe the gaping wounds of Anglophone wretchedness. Musonge even proclaimed from his house in Buea that Southwesters are against secession! If he were to really mean what he said, his advice to you ought to be directed to a referendum that would allow the voice of the majority to prevail.

Whether you pretend not to know the truth, or not, one thing is certain and it is the fact that current occurrences in the country have exposed the depth of Anglophone despondence in a system that reserves no hope for them. The teams sent out with your so called goodwill message of peace, by their composition mandate and scornful reaction to their presence in the various localities visited are very telling of the abysmal illegitimacy that surrounds you and the remnant of what can be termed governing class in Cameroon. However, being essentially progenies of a species with integrity and humanity, we are still willing to give you benefit of doubt opportunity to redeem your erstwhile iniquities and this can only be done by sober reflection, devoid of any triumphalist posturing. It is obvious that the likes of Okalia Biali, Rene Sadi and Beti Asomo will be telling you that the situation is under control. No way! Mr. President, what they have planted is a ticking bomb that has no specified time to explode. And when this happens, there will be no Cameroon to run to because all what the current generation has worked for would have gone into ruins.

Considering the above scenario, which to all intents and purposes is very unpromising, you are hereby called upon to heed to this clarion call of convening a nation-wide meeting of all Cameroonians. This means that participation has to be as inclusive as there are interest groups. This exercise ought to have preceded the buffoonery that has just ended in the name of carrying goodwill message of peace to the various sub Divisions. Representations should be based not only on population but on it and the principle of contribution to the state budget. This way, the form of state and resource allocation based on derivation will come on board and a compromise reached on how to determine the form of state. Do not forget that the discussion ought to be between aggrieved Anglophones and a recalcitrant Government and not Anglophones and Francophones. This way we can begin envisioning the advent of a new Cameroon where fear and suspicion would have been consigned to dustbins. But before this, you must have ensured that all those responsible for the carnage of September 22 and October 1 are brought to book to face retribution. Over to you Mr. Biya!!!

By Ngoko Monyadowa