Military Court hands panic sentences to Anglo detainees

It took the court 16 months to finally pass sentences on Mancho Bibixy and six other Anglophones detained in Kondengui but the sentences did not reflect the attitude the court had put on for all these months.
Mancho Bibixy, the coffin revolution activist was thus slammed a 15-year jail term by the Yaounde military court after he was found guilty of acts of terrorism, secession amongst other charges.
The military court also handed out jail sentences to six other accused Anglophones, ranging from 11 years to fifteen years and a collective fine of 268 million francs CFA; 64 million as damages requested by the civil party and 204 million as damages requested by the State.
They have 10 days to file an appeal from the day of the judgment, the presiding magistrate Col. Abega Mbezoa said as she reeled out the sentences.
Like Mancho Bibixy, Tsi Conrad was slammed a 15-year jail term, Tamngwa Malvin Tamngwa, Tha Emile Agwe, and Aselecha Martin were handed 13-year jail terms each.
Journalist Thomas Awah Junior was slammed an 11-year jail term while Guingah Valentine got the least of terms as he got 10 years.
They will each have to pay the sum of Four million Five Hundred and Twenty Thousand, Seven Hundred and Fifty Francs CFA as fines or spend additional two years in jail, the presiding magistrate decided.
For all the threats of life imprisonment to death sentences, the military court seemed to have panicked or better still bowed to pressure from the defense lawyers as well the detainees who had warned the judge on the consequences of a heavy sentence on the two English-speaking Regions.
In a previous session on Thursday, Mancho Bibixy warned the court that the situation in the Anglophone Regions was not getting any better since their arrest and any attempt at passing a heavy sentence on them could provoke the situation even further.
A warning that was not taken lightly as the court before passing the sentences the next day, seized all phones in court to avoid communication with the outside world and only handed them back when the sentences had been passed and the detainees taken away.
However, the sentences were received by Mancho Bibixy and co in a rather lighter mood as they sang their way back into the van which took them to their prison cells.
Despite the sentences, it does not look like the matter would be ending any time soon as the defense counsel have vowed to challenge the decision.
“We are going to challenge the [court’s] decision. You saw that there were no particular proofs to back the claims of the civil party, so we are very surprised with the court’s judgment,” Barrister Claude Assira one of the defense counsel said.
“After the court declared them guilty, we knew that it [their sentences] will not be more than 10 years but we couldn’t imagine that they will add one day on it because the charges were so weak because the court was unable to show any proofs during almost two years of hearing. The court has missed a golden opportunity to serve justice to Cameroonians and send a positive message,” he added.
By Francis Ajumane

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

MP shreds May 20, calls it ‘National Day of mourning’

The Social Democratic Front, SDF, Member of Parliament, MP, for Mezam North Constituency, Fusi Na’amukong Wilfred is disappointed with the way unarmed civilians are battered by the military unchecked. The politician also thinks Cameroon’s National Day, May 20, should rather be a day of mourning. He was addressing the press in Bamenda last week.

Responding to queries as to why the SDF was rather lukewarm about May 20, celebrations, Na’amukong said the people of the Northwest and Southwest Regions couldn’t be celebrating while thousands are in bushes; many separated from their families, some on exile and others internal refugees.
“When the crisis started, we, SDF MP’s marched in Buea and Bamenda and exposed the Government to adopt meaningful solutions so that all of us can be able to chart the way forward. Unfortunately, the Government has given deaf ears, only trying to use force. Those arrested were unarmed civilians.
“When he came to Bamenda, I asked the Prime Minister about the shutting down of internet. I asked him why people arrested are carried to Yaounde to be tried in a military tribunal. I am shattered by the atmosphere. I am in very bad shape. I cannot go for celebration when others are not comfortable.”
Alluding to history, Hon Fusi said two states came together. “1972 is when a unitary state was declared through a referendum. After that we became La Republique. Did you organize another referendum? How could you change things without coming to us? People are crying. Why can the Government not listen?
The MP blamed the Government for responding to the populations cry only when things get out of hand. He said it is only when people cry that Government realizes that there is a problem. He cited the creation of a section of ENAM for English Law, the redeployment of teachers and creation of the Polytechnic in Bamenda as too little, too late.
“These are babyish solutions. Why not come to the people and talk to them? They are your people. We belong to this country. The people are not happy; they are in pain and that’s why they cannot celebrate. The SDF decided that those who felt like celebrating could go ahead and that is why some of our members celebrated and others went out to protest.
“We are treated like third class citizens. People are tortured, raped. As a politician, I am not happy. Imagine that we live in a situation where people complain and they are arrested. I was in Mbingo and they complained that the military entered the hospital and mercilessly beat up the gateman because he couldn’t understand French. The whole hospital was in chaos.
“Houses are burnt. I don’t favour those who commit crimes or ambush the army or those who attack civilians but when crimes are committed, why not carry out an investigation. Civilians whose rights are violated have nowhere to report because the military are being supported for vices. In Bafut for example, over 30 bikes have been burned. I personally carried out an investigation. I am in a very terrible mood. There should be no celebration when people are mourning. It should rather be a national day of mourning.”
The MP wondered why Biya and his regime are indifferent. “You are aware of the fact that when this crisis started, we thought that dialogue was the best option but then, the president declared war against his own people. How can you declare war against your own people who are unarmed? By so doing you force them to go and look for arms to start fighting back. I cannot support the killing of gendarmes, neither would I support the killing of civilians. They are all Cameroonians. What future are we building for the nation when the younger generation of both military and civilians is being killed? Any country that has no young generation is bound to perish.
“We need a common platform where people would sit on and talk. Nobody should be left out. Why not even bring in a third party. The Government should also think of compensating those who have lost property. Every family has been affected. Let the Government do something and do it fast. We used to be a peaceful and lovely country but now it is chaotic. Let’s revisit the constitution and turn a new page in history.
“It started in 1961 and 11 years later, the constitution was changed. What is happening that we cannot change it again and start a new page to do what the people want? The use of force cannot resolve the problem.”
On the international community resolving the problem, he said a sovereign state is a sovereign state, adding that Cameroon should be able to solve her problems.
“We can invite others to come but I don’t believe that the international community can do more than what we in the nation can do. If those in exile, the Diaspora and those called secessionists are called back to sit round a table and dialogue, I believe we can solve our problems.”
He said his party’s leader, Ni John Fru Ndi has written more than four times to the Head of State. “He explained what meaningful dialogue is. That it’s not the PM coming to Bamenda five times and dictating what people should do. We are in a learned society now and you don’t expect people to just sit down and listen. Why can the Government not order for the release of everybody?
“We are bitter and believe the state has the yam and the knife. He branded the Musonge commission because as he put it, most of those who were appointed into it are those who said there is no Anglophone problem.”
By Mildred Ndum Wung Kum

Mounting xenophobia, threat to national unity

The social media has in the immediate past week been awash with hate literature underpinned by edicts constraining Francophones living in the Northwest and Southwest Regions to cross the Mungo River and return to their cradles. The same order has been given to Southern Cameroonians living in Francophone Cameroon. The leitmotif for this invitation to mutual hatred and collective paranoia stems from misperception of the issues that ought to encourage bonding among Cameroonians.
At face value, the idea evokes ranting from demented minds. Oh yes, it cannot be otherwise! This is so because it is difficult to fathom how anyone with perceptible claim to sanity would have floated such a gruesome idea? However, corroborating evidence lends credence to its being firmly rooted in reality, even as the timing and rendition leave much to be desired.
As deleterious as this may seem, given its xenophobic undertone that is very unrepresentative of the Cameroonian psyche, purveyors of this newfound delirium justify their callousness by parading unpalatable acts of decimation perpetrated against their kith and kin in the Northwest and Southwest Regions by Government forces acting on the instructions of their Supreme Commander Paul Biya, who had earlier declared war on “secessionists.”
In their opinion the war has unfortunately, tumbled on innocent citizens owing to incapacity of the much vaunted Rapid Intervention Battalion, BIR, to fight the mostly unreachable “Ambazonia Defence Forces” to finish. And, the beat goes on. Burning, looting, maiming and killing, they say, have become the refrain of aggrieved families that have been forced to seek refuge in cocoa farms and virgin forests in some worst case scenarios. Indeed, the report card already bespeaks an influx of no fewer than 25,000 refugees into the Southeastern and Northwestern states of neighbouring Nigeria.
They equally cite provocative caricatures of their plight spewed by hate brewers who pass off for intellectuals and Editorialists on Government controlled and/or sponsored media that have stoked hatred flames against Southern Cameroonians through innuendoes and sometimes unambiguous diatribes.
Nevertheless, whatever the justifications proffered by either side of the dichotomous divide between beneficiaries of Mr. Biya’s misrule and extremist Southern Cameroonians, the bottom line is that the nation is driving towards a precipice on a fast lane and, in a car whose engine is anything but reliable.
There is a consensus of urgent need for Cameroonians to draw the brakes, embrace sober reflection and engage in meaningful and inclusive dialogue to avoid a looming cataclysm.
In the event of failure we would have exposed ourselves to crucifixion by future generations of Cameroonians for incapacity to avert a genocide whose indications are unmistakable and, therefore, avoidable.

What sense do you make of ‘Ambazonia’ chieftains advising that Francophones should leave?
It’s a matter of negotiation, no longer dialogue
Intermarriages have crossed the national boundary. For those who are talking about others are Francophones and others Anglophones, it is a matter of cultural heritage and not of tribes. There are Yaounde people, Bamileke, Bassa born and bred here and they don’t have any link with that area where it is supposed to be their tribal origin; when they go there they refer to them as Anglophones so, they don’t have any home besides here.
The main theme about the problem in Cameroon is; ‘never ever let the slave become the master.’ This is simple; when you went to school and you knew that you were to become a magistrate, a lawyer or a doctor, you don’t get excited because you had programmed for it. The problem we are facing today is that you take a mechanic to be a magistrate, it cannot function, you take a mathematician to be a medical doctor, and it cannot function. The man knows that if he goes to CUSS after three years if he does 20 abortions a week multiplied by FCFA 25,000, it is FCFA 500,000. To me, he is not a medical doctor even though he has the certificate because; he did not vie to be in that position but only went there because of necessity to make money. This is what is plaguing our society and the situation is pathetic because even when you talk about chiefs, many of them were brought in because of political linkage; to steal votes so now they have a price to pay. Now it is a matter of negotiation, it is no longer a matter of dialogue.
You should know something that a child who is used to three square meals a day is very rational in thinking but the one who is not used to is not rational in thinking. So we have taken a lot of irrational people to come and rule us, so they steal because they are not sure about the next meal; but the man who is sure will not steal.
Commandant, Buea

We’ve gotten to a level where to separate us will be difficult
This thing has affected me a lot. My children are in Munyenge now with my sister and I don’t have the means to move them from there. The only thing is that I have hired a bike guy to travel there in the night and take them to pass through the bush to Kumba and I will go to Kumba to get them from there. The last time I went to Munyenge, the ‘Ambazonia’ guys were the ones controlling. They checked my ID card to know my origin (they controlled there for about three months; (from Bafia up to Small Ekoto) they were the ones controlling.
When they checked your identity card and you were a Francophone, you were in trouble. I was allowed easily simply because they knew my sister because they were saying my face was not familiar and so, what was I coming to do there. I spent three days there met some guys I knew but as I attempted greeting them they said, ‘no, don’t greet me grand, I am an Ambazonian.’
If you have witnessed this thing, you will know that the thing is dangerous because the day the military people came to Munyenge, I was there. I trekked from Munyenge to Muyuka. That was on May 1, 2018. This happened on the day my child was to be discharged from hospital, so that we could come to Buea, but when this happened, I left them there and ran. Since then, they have been in the hospital and the bill is increasing daily.
This thing is deteriorating because the military people too are not helping the situation because people thought hiding in their homes was a safer place but no, they break houses and drag people out, torture them and even burn their houses. I saw it myself not that I heard.
The truth is, we have gotten to a level where to separate us will be difficult because the mother of my children is from the Francophone area. If they are saying that, what happens to my children? This is the problem; people have intermarried a lot and separating the people will not help the situation at hand. The point is genuine dialogue; you know people should sit and talk things out because asking people to return to their respective areas will not help. Let what happened in Rwanda not repeat itself here. Many people in those remote areas believed in the Ambazonia guys very much. If you want to say something, they will tell you ‘no, no we don’t call General Ivo names here; if you do, he will just appear.’ The people trust but their security and no longer the military security. Even in my village Widikum because I am from there not long ago, the military broke into houses, burnt motorbikes; so the people don’t believe in the military anymore.
Anonymous respondent, Buea

The idea is not realistic
You will agree with me that there have been a lot of intermarriages. Saying now that Francophones should cross over to East Cameroon and Anglophones to West will mean that all those marriages must be divorced and I don’t know what will become of the children, or maybe they would be shared between the couples. But I must say the idea is not realistic and not in any way part of the solution to the problem. Remember the problem is not between Anglophone-Francophone. It is just that Anglophones have not been well treated in the union by the Government in place. They have been marginalized and that is why they are trying to ensure that there should be some equality in the treatment of Anglophones by the Government.
Didier Waindim, Post-Graduate student UB

The two people are interwoven in a way that would be difficult to separate them immediately
It is very unrealistic for anyone to think that by sending Francophones away from Anglophone territory and vice-versa is even possible or in any way going to address the current crisis. Even if the country is about to divide, you cannot send people packing just like that. I think they would be given the option to choose where they want to live even if it means paying residence permits. Besides, the two people are interwoven in a way that it would really be difficult to separate immediately. They are together in businesses, marriages and much more. Such an idea in the first place is a farce.
Emelda Anuzoh, businessperson, Buea
Compiled by Nester Asonganyi & Relindise Ebune

Mbonge Councilors told to calm irate youths

Councillors of the Mbonge municipal council have been challenged to preach such peace as should convince their youths to embrace peace and avoid the ongoing fighting which is only binging untold misery and death.
The Second Assistant Senior Divisional Officer, SDO, Hermia Njonje, gave the advice as he chaired the first council session dedicated to the deliberations and adoption of administrative/management account of Mbonge council for the 2017 financial year. During the session that took place at the Kumba City hall, the representative of the Meme SDO noted: “History will hold that Mbonge session is holding in Kumba due to ongoing fighting. Therefore, go back to your villages and hold strong talks with your children. All this ongoing fighting in the Sub-Division is done by your own children who are only sending them to early graves. This is a message from the Senior Divisional Officer for Meme to you, councilors,” she added.
Another daunting task assigned the councillors by the supervisory authorities is that of sensitizing their villagers to register on the electoral list given that it’s an election year in the country. Reacting to this, Abwa Rejis, a councillor told the supervisory authority that Mbonge Sub-Division seems not to be ready for election. He complained that even as a native of two villages in the same Sub-Division, he wasn’t able to live in any of them owing to threats on phone and social media ever since he voted at the March Senatorial elections. According to him if he, as a councillors can’t stay in his village where is he going to vote talk less of campaigning for others to vote. Like him, another councillor wondered why a war is declared on a people from same home.
Together, councillors decried that villagers are in the bushes while their homes are destroyed daily by soldiers. They called on the powers that be to withdraw the soldiers and embark on an inclusive dialogue for an everlasting solution to the Anglophone problem.
Mbonge council applauded for prudent investments espenditure
The 2017 budget of the council stood at FCFA 1 billion 54 million. Statistics from the council indicate that as of December 31, 2017, actual collection was FCFA 839 million while expenditure stood at FCFA 832 million with an excess of FCFA 60 million as balance of expenditure over revenue.
Although affected by the current socio-political crisis that has hampered the collection of revenue by the council, the supervisory authorities have hailed the council for spending 53.5 percent of their revenue on investments which is far more greater than the 40 percent stipulated by law. They were however disappointed owing to the fact that much has been spent to support schools infrastructure so as to improve education with children still kept at home.
Some of the projects realized by the council are construction of an office and toilet at the new motor park in Mbonge Marumba, construction and equipment of two blocks at GHS Bombe and Marumba Boa, maintenance of roads, up to date salaries to workers, support to most attractive livestock breeder amongst others.

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

Tough challenges await Musonge commission in Bamenda

Members of the National Commission for the promotion of Bilingualism and Multiculturalism, NCPBM, headed by Peter Mafany Musonge shall be in Bamenda from May 31 to June 1 for what has been termed broad based consultations talks with the people of the Region. The information was disclosed by the commission’s member David Abouem a Tchoyi Thursday, May 10, in Bamenda at a preparatory meeting.
Baptised listen to the people mission, the NCPBM shall for two days remain in the Northwest Region. According to David Abouem a Tchoyi, Jean Marc Afesi Mbafor, all commissions’ members, held a preparatory meeting with civil society leaders and institutions, and decided that there shall be speeches, audiences, expositions on the root cause of the Anglophone crisis, way forward for solutions and proposals for a possible bail out form the solution.
The meeting that brought together journalists representative CAMASEJ executive, opinion leaders like Dr Nicholas Ngwanyam, Chongsi Joseph Ayeah of CHRAPA, teachers’ representatives like Tameh Valentine Of TAC, were served with a foretaste of what awaits the commission in Bamenda come May 31. After what was seen as over two hours of frank debate and being served with the real situation on the ground, it was recommended that it would be a nice thing for the Government to give some signals of good faith, to indicate goodwill before the commission’s arrival in Bamenda.
One of the recommendations was that the Government allows the International Red cross to visit the Anglophone detainees repatriated from Nigeria and allegedly held incommunicado in a Yaounde detention facility and to make a public declaration on their state of being, call off the curfew, call for a ceasefire, bring everybody from the Diaspora and from the bushes to sit in an all inclusive dialogue and chart a way out of the current stalemate.
The meeting saw the commission as a weak institution and as one which does not have a link between the Anglophone crisis given that its functioning ends with culture and language, but finally gave them the benefit of doubt since the Government defined and oriented dialogue has been holding with the same people the commission shall be talking to with no results.
The president of the commission, Peter Mafany Musonge was given a vote of no confidence as one who does not qualify to head such a commission. He was described as one who had about a year ago, violently preached hate speech and spewed ugly messages intended to disunite Northwesterners from Southwesterners. Musonge was quoted as specifically advising that the Southwest people should have nothing to do with their brother of the Northwest; that he referred to his own kin and kith as secessionists, terrorists and radicals.

Cameroon is in a pathetic comma – Former Bar President

Jr. Eta Besong is an erudite, steadfast legal practitioner. He rose to the pinnacle of his profession as Bar Council President. His antecedents as politician within the Social Democratic Front, SDF, and football administrator with Prisons Social Club of Buea ascribed the sobriquet of Mister Integrity, to his persona.
Some teasers or anecdotes that correlate with the integrity insignia in instance include an article he wrote as a Form Five student of the oldest secondary school in Cameroon, Saint Joseph’s College Sasse, challenging the college administration for overturning a laid down tradition of making eggs and sardines part of Sunday meals. For this he was almost dismissed Only the intervention of his aunt transmuted the punishment to a week of grass cutting.
At the Bar Council, his open-mindedness was a source of concern to those who felt that presence at that institution was for self aggrandizement instead of altruistic service.
In an exclusive interview with The Rambler, he fielded questions on many issues including the opprobrium that some misguided SOBANS attempted to inflict on the prestigious institution, the role of the Bar Council in seeking redress to the current political upheavals which he agrees, has been mismanaged by a clique that makes no distinction between power and purpose and the inadvertence of the head of state and international organizations in seeking solutions to the problem between Southern Cameroonians against the Biya regime.
He paints a somber picture of the “Anglophone Spring” and by his reckoning, “this country is in a pathetic comma and until some stimulus is put to wake this body called Cameroon out of its pathetic comma, it might continue to be regrettable.”
He foresees worse disaster than what afflicted Rwanda in the event that the current business as usual attitude of the Head of State who, by the constitution is vested with powers to stop the current turmoil through a meaningful and comprehensive dialogue persists. As usual it is vintage The Rambler sizzling cocktail of alluring prose and fiery declarations.
St. Joseph’s College Sasse is trending in the news, unfortunately, for rather negative reasons. As a SOBAN, are you disturbed by this?
Honestly, I would say, without mincing words that you can’t be an ex-student of a prestigious institution like Sasse College and not feel disturbed by the present trend. So my answer is ‘yes,’ I am disturbed.

Never before has this oldest secondary school in Cameroon been embroiled in negative controversy like now, with contentious factions splitting loyalty to the institution. It took the courts to somehow halt the sinking image of the ‘enigmatic’ Sasse.
Yeah, you are right there. The truth about it is that this happens to be a novelty. I entered Sasse in 1965 and that is a good time now and I have never known of Sasse College getting into this type of muddy waters that it has found itself of recent and I think that if it is not checked, we might get into muddier waters. But as you say, it has taken the courts to halt this; I would say it hasn’t yet taken the courts to halt this; the courts have provided some speed breaks because some people think that the speed breaks are not high enough, so they can continue with the speed they are driving at, or which they began some few months ago. It has not ended yet, but it has been brought to a check somehow.

Why this seeming parochial interest of those you refer to as ‘some people?’ Why would they “brew” problems in a calm, venerated place like Sasse? Could their interest pecuniary by any means?
I don’t think that it is pecuniary…

Is it lust for power?
You know that when you are a member of an institution or group which, outwardly, is looked upon as prestigious and you think that you are in the shadows, sometimes you might want to come out of the woods to be recognized as being part of the prestige of the institution of which you are a member. But I think it is not pecuniary because I don’t see the pecuniary interest in wanting to cause trouble in SOBA. But you know some people believe that if they hold positions in SOBA, they could be taken from grass to grace.

In which side of the divide do you belong? Are you one of those striving to emerge; to be in the limelight, furtively using the Sasse platform to realize a clandestine project?
I must be frank about this and proud that I am SOBAN. And that is how far my pride goes. I am a SOBAN who went to the oldest institution in this part of the country and trying to be in the limelight has never really been my interest not… even in the lowest ranks; that is Chapter level. I have never really wanted to… I am interested in seeing Sasse go ahead as a prestigious institution; my male grandchildren have all been sent to Sasse. But you see, you can’t help when you see what you pride yourself as being a member of being dragged in the mud. So, my position is that I am Counsel to one of the sides to restore the dignity and legality of the constitution of Sasse College.

How “sober” are you or have you remained as a SOBAN in this infighting? More still, since by your own admission you are Counsel, if “Party A” and not “Party B” had approached you for legal expertise, would you have still taken their brief on the simple account of being a non partisan counsel?
No, no, I wouldn’t go in because I am Counsel to support just anything. So, if any of the sides had come to me as Counsel, that is not as SOBAN, and wanted me to take a brief, the first thing I would do and which my profession requires me to do is to find out what is the constitution of SOBA and if I look at the constitution of SOBA and I find out that the brief the party who has consulted me wants me to do runs contrary to the constitution of SOBA, honesty requires that I should turn down the brief. So, I would have turned down the brief if the other side had come to me.

Are you, by any means, guided by morality in law, considered by certain legal scholars to be an integral part of analytical jurisprudence…? By that same token are you telling us that you are a “sombre” SOBAN and that the side you have taken is that to be trusted, persecuted as it were by street wise miscreants?
Let me say this: whether I am “sombre,” is something for somebody else to judge. You know SOBA as an association is registered. It has a constitution. It has operative organs that run it. Now, the people who started all these ‘wahalah’ do not appear and this is where it is regrettable because you will find very senior SOBANS; SOBANS whom I have respected over the years; you find them even on that side…

On the side of mischief, of moral sleaze?
Well, call it mischief, but on the side of ignorance; that is what I will want to call it because, having left Sasse, having been even registered in Sasse for one year…

Blissful or culpable ignorance?
I think it is both, because you see, a constitution of an association is like the law of an association and there is a general principle that is international; namely, that ignorance of the law is no excuse. So, if you are ignorant of the law of your own association, it is both culpable and non-culpable. But to me, it is in the main culpable. You cannot pretend to be in an association and you don’t know the constitution of the association.

It may depend on why one is in it; it may depend on one’s target or even manifest interest.
Well, if you are there only because you want to be called a SOBAN, it’s regrettable…

Or perhaps as a stepping stone to the marble corridors of power…
Yes, but you cannot have power outside the constitution of SOBA. You must look at the constitution of SOBA for you to have the power you are vying to have. Now, if you want to have power outside the constitution of SOBA, then I think a psychiatrist should visit you. That is the way I look at it because you see, the organs of SOBA are so clear; there are four. The people who took this matter to court initially by what we called an ‘ex parte’ application, that is to say they didn’t notify the current executive. They wanted an order behind the back of the current executive which they did not make honest disclosures. They might have had a good purpose but once your disclosures are half-baked, surreptitious, you see that it is mischievous and this is exactly what happened. Secondly, they called a meeting because they said that the current executive had not called a meeting within three years or four years or whatever, whereas they knew a meeting had been called to hold in Douala which they failed to disclose. But they wanted a meeting called in a particular place because they wanted to come in sneakily or otherwise but they thought that was going to be a convenient forum for them where they could come in to achieve their mischievous aims. It is sad, but let me come to the main thing; they held what they called a revival general assembly meeting…

Can you get specific here and name some names? Would you want to name some names because when you say they, they…
As a professional, I would refrain from doing that but they know themselves; those who attended the so called revival general assembly meeting of Sasse Old Boys Association, they know themselves. There were senior SOBANs and junior SOBANs; when I talk about senior, I am talking about senior to me and junior to me. But the unfortunate thing is that those senior SOBANs whom I said before are people whom I had respect for apparently were led by their noses, by their juniors who thought these guys were so old enough that they had forgotten exactly the content of the constitution of Sasse…

Maybe by streetwise juniors…
Maybe. Let me give you an example; you hold a general assembly which you call a revival general assembly; the Sasse Constitution provides for a revival general assembly where the executive has not acted within a given time. The principal of Sasse College can call a revival meeting or a number of branches of Sasse Old Boys Association can call. But that very Constitution says once you call a revival general assembly meeting, that assembly appoints a new national executive; it doesn’t appoint a caretaker committee. So for you to have SOBANs of 50 years standing in a meeting like that and they say that they have appointed a caretaker committee brings to question what they learned in Sasse and what they retained after Sasse.

From hindsight, do you see an element of sour grapes in play here? Some SOBAN who failed to do due diligence and was democratically floored in an election might still not have come to terms with this fact…
There are so many. There are sour grapes; I don’t want to even say there is just one sour grape. I think there are many sour grapes and it is unfortunate that Sasse should produce sour grapes. We weren’t brought up in Sasse to imbibe a sour grapes culture. The education we had in Sasse was holistic; we weren’t brought up in Sasse to covet ourselves… because I have not seen a Sasse that coveted anybody but we have coveted ourselves into sour grapes and it is unfortunate.

By the way, have the courts taken any firm decision on which SOBA faction is the legitimate one?
Yes, the court has. When they had the first motion which was without notice to the existing executive, the executive through its national president consulted our chambers to file in to set aside the initial orders; we did that and the court did set aside its orders.

Temporarily or permanently?
No, permanently. The court set aside its orders permanently and the court said that, the status quo ante; that is, the position before the litigation, remains. So, you see now that by saying that the status quo ante remains, it is recognition of the SOBA executive that those mischievous individuals were trying to put aside.

Who qualifies to banish someone from their Alma Mater? Is it the authorities of the institutions, ex-student associations, the courts or any of the above?
Well, a SOBAN can be expelled from SOBA either by the Chapter or the national executive.

Let me complete my question; what procedure should be adopted to arrive at such a sanction or banishment if you will?
You see, the point is that a Chapter can expel a member if the one does not comply with the constitution of SOBA or if he is of such character that his presence might jeopardize the smooth running or the integrity of SOBA of that Chapter. It is the same thing with the national executive but generally, the person to be expelled would be notified and would be told that an investigation is ongoing. But there are interim decisions which are taken; any institution has a right to take interim decisions. Now, let me give you an example, I am an owner of a school, like the proprietor of Sasse College is the Bishop of the Buea Diocese. So, Sasse and all the Catholic institutions within that Diocese are considered his property.

You just brought in this element of proprietorship… His Lordship the Bishop of Buea Diocese and Proprietor of Sasse must be pretty embarrassed by the fact that SOBANs are like washing their dirty dross in the public.
The Bishop in my opinion, should be embarrassed because the truth about the matter is that, those the Bishop has declared as persona non grata, are people who went to the Bishop; they cannot deny that they went to see the Bishop but they fed the Bishop with lies and he turned around and realize what their real motive was, the Bishop now, declared them persona non grata, and that is correct. The Bishop has the right to say ‘look, Sasse College is my home, I built it, it is my property and I don’t want you here.’ I mean, if I don’t want you in my home, what’s your problem? I don’t want you in my home. You might have been my best friend, you have even been my best student but, I say I don’t want you anymore in my home.

But one thing or the other could [legitimately] propel one to visit a home where he is “unwanted.” In such a case, might the courts not intervene and say ‘ok Bishop, even though this is your home, but because this man has this to take from your home legitimately, let him have access,’ don’t you think?
You might be right there. If, for example, a tenant has left some of his property in the house of his landlord, he might seek redress for entry to take them, but until he gets the order of the court to say you can enter to retrieve what you forgot in your landlord’s house, you don’t have the right; the landlord stops you from entering.

Has the current SOBA executive been so far ineffective, or how did things degenerate to the level whereby, hairs are being split right and left?
I wouldn’t talk for the SOBA executive because as I told you from the onset, I am neither in the Chapter executive nor the SOBA national executive or any of the four organs of SOBA but I think that from my own personal knowledge, the SOBA executive has done a lot. There can’t be all Saints in any society and there can’t be all demons. But the point is, let us have the humility to say; here is somebody who has done something good or this is an executive that has done something good, irrespective of our vicious and personal motives.

You are known to have in the days of yore when you were you, brash and radical declared (I found that out) in Sasse when things were not going well between the student community and the school authorities that ‘Things are falling apart.’ Did you do that and what effect did it have?
I am very happy that you got that because truly, you must have done a lot of research because that is what happened in 1969 and that is nearly 50 years ago, in fact, 49 years ago and I don’t know how you did that and that is exactly what true journalism is all about. I must commend you for that. You know, this is what we must call research before you publish. I want to admit that I did what you said. Before 1969, Sasse was run by Reverend Fathers who in the main were Mill Hill Fathers in the likes of Mulligan, Cunningham, and Flynn. It was in vogue for students in the college to have eggs, chicken and all those niceties which we thought were special on Sundays… I mean we went to the refectory on Sundays expecting something better than Monday to Saturday; unfortunately, in 1969, things changed. Let me first of all state how I got to doing what I did. You know, while I was in Sasse College, I was given a Notice Board to publish articles that I used to write. I used to write articles and my “tabloid” was known as “Sasse Spotlight.” I used to run commentaries on football, write about Sasse College teams and so on. When the first black principal was appointed, the College asked me to carry out an investigation about that person and to put up a write-up.

The college authorities, the proprietor of the college asked you to write or the…
No, the principal who was leaving, the master of discipline and the others; they asked me to write an article about the incoming principal and I spent a long time trying to research because you know, he was a SOBAN. I spent a long time trying to dig into his past and I wrote an article which I headlined “No longer at ease,” no, “No longer at ease” was the second because when I wrote the first article, and put his profile and what I had gathered about him, when he read it, he invited me to his office and congratulated me for the research I had done. When things started going sour, I wrote “No longer at ease” and it brought a lot of trouble in that I was again called in a general assembly meeting of students and asked if cocks lay eggs. We were told that we had eaten all the hens so, we could not expect to have eggs anymore, but that was not true. For that I was asked to go and call for my parents because I was at the verge of being expelled. I told the principal that my father was an auditor with the CDC at the time and was moving from plantation to plantation, so I wasn’t sure he was at home. But unfortunately, the Master of Discipline at the time knew members of my family and knew that I had an aunt in Buea; Lawyer Elad’s mother and asked that I should come to Buea and bring my aunt which I did. She was taken to the Notice Board to read “No longer at ease” and they told my aunt that they were going to expel me. Note that I was in Form Five at the time and my aunt said well, they should give me another opportunity so, I was made to cut grass for one week in the orchard. It was a terrible thing but I was writing what was truthful but it didn’t sound palatable to those who had taken the helm of running Sasse College. That is exactly what happened then.

Were “cocks not laying eggs” a euphemism for the new administration that couldn’t tolerate the eating of eggs by students or students had truly eaten up every hen on campus?
No, all the hens had not practically been eaten. I think that it was just a joker they used in the absence of any other card to throw in so, it wasn’t true. It was just a means to say we are going to curtail the provision of eggs to students. We used to have sardines given us on Sundays but all of those things suddenly stopped because maybe they found out that they were too luxurious for students to enjoy. Unfortunately, I couldn’t shut up my mouth.

This little diversion if you don’t mind. The business of leadership revolves on communication; communicating how you are dealing with the issue, not how you dealt with it, or what decisions you took or what decrees you signed and imposed. How would you put this in the present day context, that is, the Anglophone imbroglio; who has been communicating, who has not? Why all the avoidable intransigence and why not, bufoonery?
The truth is, it is a topic I generally would not want to talk about because I have talked about it so many times. I was the President of the All Anglophone Common Law Lawyers Conference, and then in the conference, I was elected unanimously as the President of the Council. Now, there was the conference and there was the council. The council was like the executive but there were people who were in the council, one or two, I would say one, who thought that my method wasn’t good enough or maybe they should have been there and they were going to be more radical than I was. But we communicated with the Government; we held meetings with the Government, we talked with the Government but unfortunately, some people in that Government thought that their positions were threatened and that if what we were asking for came to fruition, maybe they would be put out in the cold. That is my opinion and I hold that opinion and I would hold it until tomorrow. I was happy, I must say this, I was happy when to meet the lawyer, to deal with the lawyers, the Prime Minister appointed the Minister Delegate in the Ministry of Justice; a level headed fellow to talk with us. You know all what has changed after our meetings are things which he promised he was not going to change. We got that, but that is not the end of the road.
This is where now it is painful; where we are now in Cameroon should have been avoided. It was avoidable but some people have given communication or dialogue a pseudo connotation. It is this pseudo connotation that… it is not by you talking with me that you will say we are dialoguing. You must look at the parties involved in a matter and meet the parties and their representatives and talk to. You don’t go on a frolic of your own and then you call it a dialogue. You don’t go to talk about bicycles and then you say you have dialogued about cars. These are the type of things we don’t agree with and I had said it before that what is happening in Cameroon now might be just the tip of the iceberg. We have seen countries where the things that happen are not half the things that are happening in Cameroon now or they are not as fundamental as what is happening in Cameroon now. My biggest problem is the silence of the person who has the constitutional powers to bring this nonsense to an end.

Let me take you on “the silence of the person with the constitutional power…” to add that apparently, the leaders of Cameroon have traded power for purpose and when power dominates purpose, performance suffers…
You are right there, I agree with you. That is exactly what has been done and there again, I say it is regrettable. Once you have constitutional powers to ensure respect of the constitution that is a super power that you must execute. All other things are subordinate. But you know I want to be truthful even to this individual who has the constitutional powers that he has allowed himself to be misled.

Now, when one’s ‘constitutional powers’ are transformed to a banana peel; when one is flattered to step on the banana peel after having transformed to a tin god, that constitution becomes a malleable, stretchable or bendable sheet of political metal; the constitution becomes subordinate to a little more than a tipsy power monger and broker, and dangerous for the polity, do you think?
It is not just dangerous for the polity. It is mortal. I think it is killing the polity because now in Cameroon, what we find is that some people have become so powerful that they are above the state. It is unfortunate. There are some people in this country who think that they are the untouchable; that they are the people who decide whether Cameroon goes forwards or backwards. It is unfortunate. We should respect the constitution… But coming back to your question on the Anglophone issue, as I said, initially they were Anglophones who were parading the corridors of power who said there were no Anglophone problems but, I have been so surprised that even when the man who has the constitutional powers to rule Cameroon said yes, there are problems, those people have been …

They have not been flushed down the political sewer, or drain pipe.
No, they have not been shown the way out and they have themselves sealed their lips. It is regrettable. Let us be honest; once you have made a mistake, we are all human beings, let those Anglophones who are in the corridors of power come out to the people they misrepresented and tell the people ‘we are sorry and now we are ready to tell the President the true situation of this country.’ Until they do that, they are still living in the woods and don’t want to come out and the president has a responsibility… If they don’t want to come out voluntarily, take them out by force.

Talking about being sorry, what propitiation or oblation would ultimately atone for the sacrilege that was visited upon lawyers by goons, khaki boys? You would recall how they were beaten up, dragged in the mud; their gowns and wigs desecrated and seized…
This is a very touchy issue. But you see, Cameroon is a hybrid. This mixture of the Anglo-Saxon and the civil system has created a hybrid and this hybrid is a dangerous one. So, who will atone for this? Only God knows who will atone for this but it is a dangerous hybrid; we could create a hybrid where we will take the good from each side and make something that will be better. I am not saying that we take it and swallow hook, line and sinker, but we should take the good from this side, the good from the other side and construct what is ours. But once people think that the good can come only from one side that is a fallacy. I mean it is a country wherein I regret to say, I practice a profession which is respected in the whole world but mine. I go out of this country and people see my passport. I am a barrister, I am an advocate. They give me a lot of respect which I don’t have in my country. It is touchy, and well, maybe that is one of the things that make me respect the Bible because the Bible says a prophet is never accepted in his home.
The lawyers are not given their place in Cameroon and I think that it is the reason why the Anglophone lawyers must rethink their steps. The Anglophone lawyers have thought that going to the Bar Council is just for the fancy of being there, no, I would tell you that the Bar Council is the administrative, executive of the Bar. It needs people who can stand up and talk and can be respected and be heard, but for now, whether that is the case, I don’t know.

Are you saying that your Anglophone colleagues of the Bar Council now are mere jokers or puppets?
No, they are not jokers or puppets but you know, first, they are few; we’ve even lost some of them to death but when you have to look across that table, and you see who you are talking to, sometimes you…

Maybe sometimes just to filibusters?
Sometimes the opposite party must doff their hat to you because they respect you, they know what you are talking, they are sensible; the one knows you have been there before him. But decisions at the Bar Council are taken by elections and so long as the Anglophones will remain in the minority, they can only grumble and stay.

One last question except maybe after this you may want to drop in a word or two more. We are living as Shakespeare would put it in “frighted peace,” especially in this part of the country. Do you see this time bomb or the ongoing carnage in Anglophone Cameroon coming to a happy end? That is, will the guns stop coughing? Will somebody somewhere see reason and start talking to and not screaming at those complaining?
Yes, this is another sad part of my living that I don’t see it. Not in the immediate future because what I see in the immediate future is stubbornness, self-preservation, people wanting to protect themselves and keep quiet. I wouldn’t keep quiet; I don’t care whether I would be the sacrificial lamb. I will give you an example. Just before the recent session of the senate, we had a working session or seminar with lawyers of Anglophone extraction. Christopher Tambe Tiku and myself were resource persons and fortunately or unfortunately, I had to talk about elections to the senate, the holding of the position of senate, parliament and national assembly, presidency and all of that. I talked about the incompatibilities in those positions. In that seminar, there were three senators elect and I asked them to go to that session and bring Cameroon back to the respect for the rule of law. And I am happy that Kemende did it. Kemende was one of those at the seminar and I said that it was wrong for one person to handle so many posts. There are many of them in Cameroon; nobody is more Cameroonian than the other. You see, I fear this protectionism continuing that the solution to the current problem seems to be too remote. I have a problem not only with the authorities of this country; I have a problem with the international community. Why is the international community turning a blind eye? Why are they looking somewhere else? Have they forgotten Rwanda, South Sudan and all the places where genocide and retribution have caused bloodshed? Why isn’t it time for them to say Cameroon, call these people to order and stop this bloody nonsense?

Let me put it this way again, leadership as far as I know is the ability to serve, not crass obduracy. You just talked here about self-preservation. Now you have an obdurate regime on the one hand and you have others who think that they must preserve their identity, themselves and enjoy a particular modus Vivendi. How do you think that all of these forces conflicting with one another will not as you just quoted a while ago, not end up in a Rwandan type situation?
It will be regrettable if it ends up there. But you see, we can avoid it if we want to avoid it.


But somebody has to take the initiative…
Yes, the leaders have to take…

But the leadership is obdurate, stone hearted, to say the very least.
Look, let me tell you very frankly, Anglophone leadership if you are talking about the…

No, I am talking about the ‘supreme leader.’
Well, the supreme leader does not think there is a problem yet.
Is he then sleeping the sweet sleep of a baby?
Oh yes, sometimes when you are a leader, you might not even be sleeping but maybe you are in a comma but you need a medical officer to come and get you out of your comma.

Some mental saturation or mental menopause may be at play here…
I would like to say that not being in the medical field, I wouldn’t know whether that is the situation but I think that Cameroon is in a comma. This country is in a pathetic comma and until some stimulus is put to wake this body called Cameroon out of its pathetic comma, it might continue to be regrettable.

Could that stimulus well be the ongoing Anglophone debacle?
The stimulus might be multifaceted, that is why part of my blame goes to the United Nations and to the international community.

Is there any international community with moral scruples? Why don’t we christen it ‘parochial interest community?’
I agree with you because where their interests are, even the wrongs are not considered as wrongs; they are considered as rights. But the international community is governed by charters, rules. If they decide to violate the rules and come at the 11th hour; they should have the humility to say they are part of the causes of the present problems.

Don’t you think that they do sometimes conveniently violate those rules; I mean surreptitiously breed, arm and sustain bloodletting cartels?
They do because, as they close their eyes to the wrongs of those from whom you know they can dig their gold, they can pillage, once they…

And sell their arms, their AK 47s for sure…
Yes, all of those factors. I mean they are numerous and it becomes their interest. There are too many interests involved here but I am taking the international community to task; the British, the French, United Nations, the Human Rights Commission, the Amnesty International, why are they not talking? This country was German from origin, it was partitioned. Why are these people not talking anymore? They are not talking because…

Maybe because they are growing their wealth, making it ready for harvest…
Of course, in fact, they are not making ready, they are harvesting and so, you know we say in all the vernaculars that a mouth that is filled with food does not open to talk or don’t speak.

One very last, quick one, does it take some obdurate power monger and power broker to decide that a country is ‘one and indivisible’ and that the constitutional architecture of the country could only be redesigned when it comes to the personal interest of that person; maybe abolishing office terms, or it should be a matter for the collectivity of “We the People” to decide by way of a referendum?
I am happy you’ve come to that; it is exactly where I was going to land. The constitution provides for a referendum. You remember that in 1972, we had a referendum to change the name of this country. We had it but thereafter, people thought and hand clappers clapped, thinking that because a bill had come from the supreme office, it was good. Why didn’t we say ok, this name was changed by a referendum, let us go back to a referendum. Why don’t we think that way? Why have we distorted our thinking in such a way that when a man coughs, we say he laughs, when a man laughs, we say he coughs, why? And why are the people who are there, the people who say they are representing us… I will ask you a question; how many times have you heard a meeting called by a senator, parliamentarian or people in the national assembly or senate come back to their constituencies to tell them what is happening there?
You are a representative that means you go to talk what the people want you to talk. The bills that come to parliament should be given to the national assembly and to senate before they are even summoned to appear so that they discuss this with their constituents. Is this what we do? They go to Yaounde, they sit there, after four days then they begin to find out what they are going to discuss. Is that how a democracy is run?

No. definitely no, and then again one is shocked that the head of a supposedly independent arm of Government – the Senate, gets up and the first thing he remembers is to kowtow to the head of state; almost like thanking him for the very air that he breathes. Don’t you think that for many, going to the senate or national assembly in Cameroon is a job for opportunists in dire need of food stamps, meal tickets?
No, I don’t believe that going to senate or to the national assembly should be a job for people who want to earn money.

But that is what many of them do there.

That is it, but I am saying I don’t believe that is what should be. It should be a job for people who can move their nation forward. What have other politicians said about things? They have said they would like to leave a country… even President Paul Biya said he would like to be remembered as somebody who brought democracy. Well, whether he has brought it or not, it is for people to judge, it’s not for him to judge. I think it is for the population to judge but I think that those we have in the senate and parliament are just going there because those posts have been created. They are not performing; a few are, but you know, in a country where no private member bill has ever passed, it makes one wonder.

I mean no opposition bill…

Even the Government, you can’t, anyway. For you to be in the CPDM and propose a private member bill should be like you want to commit suicide and I think that parliamentarians; those at the national assembly and those in senate should start asking themselves why they are there and who they represent. The truth about it, none of them represents me because they have never ever called a meeting of those in their constituencies and I have people who are in my constituency who are supposed to be representing me but who have never sought my ideas on issues. So, how can you say you are representing me or speaking on my behalf? You are an attorney, I have sent you there, yet, you go there and you take the decisions without consulting me?

But they have converted you to believe in, and hail the tin god.

They might have converted some people, they haven’t converted me yet. I wouldn’t get converted into nonsense. I think that Cameroonians, whether they want to get to parliament; to national assembly or senate should start thinking again and it is the highest time that people… some people think this is an Anglophone crisis; some people think this is a sectorial crisis, no! It is not…

It rains on every roof

Every roof, the only thing is, let the people speak and once the people speak, you will see that this is not an Anglophone crisis. It is a national problem which is aching every national bone and which is making people unhappy.
Interviewed by Nester Asonganyi & Charlie Ndi Chia

They promise killing us daily – Mancho Bibixy

Mancho Bibixy made the startling revelation to the Yaounde military court on May 8, shortly before their case was adjourned to May 24, for sentencing.
“Anglophones (detainees) are threatened everyday in Kondengui as they promise to kill us. One Anglophone was stabbed to death the other day and as we are speaking now, another Anglophone is almost dying in prison,” Mancho told the court in strong terms following a tensed atmosphere earlier that almost led to a showdown between the detainees and security forces in court.
“On October 1, Anglophones were attacked in prison but we never retaliated because we are not rebellious as you claim,” Mancho told the military court.
His outburst followed tense scenes in court which saw six of the detainees attempt to stage a walkout of the courtroom in protest to the decision by the Magistrate Col. Abega Mbezoa Eko Eko to order prison guards to handcuff and throw out one of theirs, Thomas Awah Junior, out of court for dissent.
The latter had verbally taken on the magistrate just before the start of proceedings accusing her of framing up charges against them and wasting their time in court.
The detainees had arrived the court shortly before nine in the morning but hearing could only start at exactly 18.53pm – a close to 10-hour wait, a familiar theme which Thomas Awah could not take this time around.
But the magistrate was not bowing to any pressure from the detainees alongside the state prosecutor as the pair ordered for military reinforcement to tighten up security, accusing them of trying to stage a “prison break.”
A move by the court which was not appreciated by Claude Assira, one of the defense counsel who told the court the detainees had their escorts and it was intimidation and a violation of their rights to call in the military, given that the detainees have their legal escort.
On his part, Tsi Conrad, one of the detainees stressed to the court that their action was not a show of rebellion or defiance but that they wanted the magistrate to understand that they are fed up being kept to wait in court for the whole day only for hearings to start very late.
The magistrate then took time to explain the frequent late starts as she partly blamed this on the lack of adequate court rooms, which means they have to wait for other cases to finish before they can have access to the hall.
The accusations and counter accusations moved on to the lawyers as the civil party firmly opposed a motion from the defense counsel to adjourn the case.
According to Barrister Honoratius Ndi Shey of the defense team, they requested for an adjournment for three reasons; firstly the lead counsel of the defense Barrister Bernard Muna was sick and absent, so they could not go on pleading for a lighter sentence in his absence. Secondly, most of the lawyers of the defense team were only notified of the charges retained against Mancho Bibixy and six others at short notice and it was thus impossible for them to prepare their alocutus. Finally, the defense counsel insisted on having a copy of the final submission of the civil party which they have so far, refused to give them.
However, the civil party took the floor to rubbish these arguments as they insisted that the defense must plead on the day for the court to move forward.
“We are all thirsty for justice, and this court badly needs it. Even the detainees need justice, so we need to move ahead,” Barrister Achu Julius told the court.
His arguments were pressed further by Barrister Mangoua Andre Duclaire who challenged the defense to go ahead and plead for a lighter sentence and stop playing with the court’s time. He also reiterated the fact that the civil party will not submit its final conclusion to the defense as they had said in the previous session. If the defense counsel badly needs it, then they can get to the court registrars and pay for a copy, he insisted.
They spoke in line with the prosecuting magistrate Engono Thadée magistrate praying the court to shove calls for an adjournment because the detainees have already been found guilty and whatever the case they will still be sentenced.
However the last word was reserved to the President of the court Col. Abega Mbezoa epse EkoEko who adjourned the case to May 24 but insisted it was the last time she was doing so and prayed the defense counsel to plead on that or the court will move forward.
It was a long walk from the court room to the van as the prison guards struggled to contain the strong exchange of words with the detainees before leaving the court to return only on May 24 for probably sentencing.
By Francis Ajumane

Kah Walah sees regime change as solution to war

“We saw injured children with deep wounds that have not been attended to for months. We saw empty villages with some having as few as five persons. We saw human dignity violated, and we saw that the war on the Anglophone community is real and dangerous.
“Soldiers have been shooting indiscriminately. The story in Douala and Yaoundé has been that schools are going on in the Anglophone Regions. We saw corpses, we saw women beaten with guns, and foodstuff mixed with kerosene, broken doors and traumatized people…”
The president of ‘Stand up for Cameroon,’ aka Mothers of the Nation, Edith Kah Walah who was addressing a recent press conference in Bamenda, following a visit to war ridden parts of Batibo in Momo Division of the Northwest Region, said only a change of the current regime in Cameroon can provide a permanent solution to the Anglophone crisis that has dragged on now for over two years.
With other team members from the Centre Region and the West Region, tales of gory scenes were narrated. “We saw injured children with deep wounds that have not been attended to for months. We saw empty villages with some having as few as five persons; violation of human dignity, and we saw that the war on the Anglophone community is real and dangerous. Soldiers have been shooting indiscriminately. The story in Douala and Yaoundé has been that schools are going on in the Anglophone Regions. We saw corpses, we saw women beaten with guns, and foodstuff mixed with kerosene, broken doors and traumatised people.”
According to ‘Stand Up for Cameron,’ the current regime is grossly incompetent, practices marginalization and employs violence to solve internal issues.
“We want a situation that is conducive for us to sit at table with neutral people, review what caused this current stalemate, because we want Cameroonians to continue living together. We can sit on a dialogue table, listen to all with nothing as taboo subject, come to a consensus and discuss the form of state. Here, we can call for institutional reforms before any elections are convened. We have a situation where the current regime does not want dialogue, while the citizens want dialogue and we should, as one group, stand up and demand for this dialogue. ‘At Stand up for Cameroon’/‘Mothers of the nation,’ we are going to take the lead and our men should have the courage to wade in,” she said.
Quizzed on how the much advocated and expressed need for dialogue could be effectively initiated, Kah Wallah intimated that should a political transition be reached, there would always be institutions and people who can do the dialogue, adding that the group of lawyers mostly Francophones that have been in court monthly, defending Anglophone detainees can do it alongside civil society leaders and not political parties. She added that like happened in Egypt and Tunisia, non violent and consistent peaceful street demonstrations in Yaoundé could flush out the current regime without need to consult any power brokers.
On the imminent elections, ‘Stand up for Cameroon/‘Mothers of the nation’ said, even though they are not a political party, they still perceive elections in Cameroon as a set up mechanism to ensure Biya’s continuous stay in power.
“We recommend a two round presidential election, effective biometric system, the rehabilitation of internally displaced people in the bushes and resolving the issue of election cards burnt in homes plus many eligible people yet to be registered.”
She even quoted the last senatorial elections wherein, councilors were airlifted from the Southwest too vote in the West Region. She thought that it could be worse and not representative enough, as many villages are completely deserted.
By Jean Marie Ngong Song