SW jamboree to nurse Fako Cultural Festival

After several hectic days of showcasing and savouring the rich, diverse cultures of the Southwest Region, through the second edition of the Southwest Cultural Festival, Fako elite have been emphasizing the need to revive the Fako Cultural Festival which has for a while been forgotten. Churchill Ewumbue-Monono, General Coordinator of the Southwest Cultural Festival echoed this much in his closing remarks.

Members of Bakweri Male dance on display

Going down the lane of cultural festivals in the Southwest in the 1960s and 70s, and in the backdrop of the new impetus given by the Ministry of Arts and Culture to improve cultural tourism and the Government policy of multiculturalism through festivals, the General Coordinator said it was time to especially, revive the Fako Cultural Festival of the 1970s.

In doing this, he said, nobody is being copied, because there is a Government policy on festivals and they have or could mobilize the necessary expertise in public relations and event planning to design, plan and manage special events such as festivals.

He assured that the envisaged Fako Cultural Festival would be people-driven and will not be taken hostage by special interests or people who feel that without them the Division ceases to exist. He added that the Fako Cultural Festival will become a platform for every person to have the opportunity of participating and contributing toward the making of the Fako identity and personality.

Ewumbue-Monono said that this year’s host of the event, Fako is still culturally very much alive. He said that the massive participation illustrates that no group of people can take the Division hostage and that culture is that which can unite and bridge the gap between the elites and the ordinary grassroots people of Fako.

He saw in the Southwest Cultural Festival, an opportunity to bring the people together and to highlight what unites them with the rest of the nation. He said it was Mr. Biya’s vision of using culture as a tool to promote peace and dialogue.

Ewumbue-Monono added that it is a medium for the expression of those common values that make up the Southwest personality and include peace, the Region’s legendary hospitality, solidarity, the central role of women and youths in culture, respect for the elderly, hard work and creativity.

He said that the festival would serve as a barometer for the rate of national integration, social inclusiveness, living together and legendary hospitality. It would above all be an opportunity to showcase what unites the Region with the international community and highlights the Region’s strategic importance as one of Cameroon’s gateways to globalization.

According to Ewumbue-Monono, the institutionalization of the Cultural Festival has once more demonstrated the tradition of collective Regional action as a Southwest people. To him, such collective Regional action earlier found expression in Pan-Southwest organizations such as SWELA, SWECC, the Southwest Support Committee for the Reunification Celebrations, to name but a few. He added that such action based on alternate leadership and hosting has itself become a Southwest Culture and trademark which has distinguished it from many other Regions.

The General Coordinator preferred not to enumerate how many other Regions that have attempted to copy the Southwest example of Regional associations and platforms but failed. He, however, said that, emphasizing on the Southwest way of doing things is as a result of his observation that many young political and traditional leaders who have elbowed their way to power through money and high influences, unfortunately are still devoid of political education on the essence of the Southwest common destiny as elaborated in the early 1990s.

He hoped that the Southwest spirit and solidarity in approaching issues should also prevail in managing their cultural heritage. Just as other organizations have never jeopardized or threatened the existence of tribal, clan, village and town organizations, so too according to him, will the Southwest Festival never threaten or jeopardize the existence of secondary and tertiary festivals in the Region, let alone Fako Division.

By Relindise Ebune

‘Sourobat’ promises 50% execution of Kumba -Ekondo road by April 2018

Following the numerous complaints about the bad nature of the Kumba Ekondo Titi stretch of road, slow pace of construction and rumours of abandonment of work by ‘Sourobat’ Company, its director has reassured users that construction work has resumed.

The Tunisian road construction company has announced that by April 2018, they must have attained a 50 percent realization rate of work done.

This assurance was made public on Wednesday, November 29, 2017, to the Governor of the Southwest Region Bernard Okalia Bilai and his entourage as they paid a working visit to the construction site and equipment pool at Small Ekombe village during his just ended administrative and security coordination meeting to Kumba.

Addressing the press shortly after a technical presentation of the situation by the head of the company, the Governor said: “we came to see how work is going. We are satisfied that work has actually resumed.” He further explained that, “the company has told us the work was delayed because of the heavy and extended period of the rains this year. But the company is promising that by March to April they will obtain a 50 percent execution of work done.”

In order for the company to meet up with their promises of execution, the Governor equally used the media present to appeal to the people of the Southwest and particularly to the people of the area concerned to ensure a safe working environment for the workers.

“We know that recently there are a lot of threats and if those people are threatened, work will not continue. That is why I came with all my stakeholders to reassure the population that they are secured.” He said the Government that initiated the project is ever determined to develop the Region together with support of the population.

Talking to the chiefs of Small Ekombe H.R.H. Lawrence Kombe expressed satisfaction. “Seeing the calibre of dignitaries present here, we are very happy. From today, we expect to see a different colour of the road and of course a different colour of the village. My people at first thought this company was joking because of the numerous postponements but seeing this visit today they are assured the work is a reality,” Chief Kombe added.

Though ‘Sourobat’ is so confident of 50 percent delivery by April, critics hold that this promise might not be fulfilled, given that statistics revealed by Wallington Tanyi Tanyi, Regional Delegate of Public Works holds the company with eight percent work done so far as of November 29, 2017 with 48 percent time already consumed. This therefore means that for the company to meet up with work and time, they must employ more workers and will have to work 24/7 daily till April.

By Ngende Esther

 

Did Mugabe’s disgraceful ouster trigger Biya’s hasty return?

President Paul Biya’s penchant for prolonged absences from the country, particularly, after fulfilling diplomatic obligations abroad has weighed in with his sudden return to the country after the recent EU/AU Summit in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, instigating in its wake, a pristine debate relating to the accurate manner to assess such unusualness.

In this light, some observers have applauded the president, for breaking his own record by unusually returning to the country immediately after an international forum. They have, also, commended him for not sojourning in Abidjan for as long as he had done recently, in Switzerland after the 74th UN General Assembly.

Fault finders have, however, posited that the President’s swift return to the country which he visits from time to time only to fulfill constitutional righteousness has been occasioned one of two factors. The first could be the fact that he was out in an African as opposed to a European country where he is apparent greater luxury. The second could be fear that a Harare-type incident, which culminated in the disgraceful exit of sit-tight Mugabe from power may be restaged in Yaoundé. In their defense, they have opined that it explains why the President thundered against “acts of terrorism propagated by adherents of a divided Cameroon” as soon as he touched feet on Cameroonian soil on Thursday, November 30 2017.

As if to explain why he failed to lengthen his stay as was expected, Mr. Biya, took to the stage upon arrival at the Nsimalen International Airport in Yaounde to condemn the purported recent killing of four soldiers in Agborkim Waterfall in the Southwest Region. Extending condolences to the bereaved families, the President regretted that his country is facing recurrent terrorist attacks which he claimed, are sponsored by secessionists.

Trying to reassure the citizenry that the culprits will be brought to book, the President announced that measures are underway to intensify peace and security within the national territory.

Pundits threw up at his threats, warning that he is singlehandedly worsening an already bad situation. They warned that intimidation and threats have failed woefully to reinstate normalcy in the country since the Anglophone crisis broke out over a year ago. They cautioned Cameroon’s second President who has ruled the country for the last 35 years to tread softly.

The 84 year old had gone to defend what he calls the rights of young people in the future of Africa even though his Government is anything but youthful.

People are asking whether military life is more important than those of other Cameroonians, or if those lives that the military has been mowing down in the recent past; those very people who elected him are lesser mortals.

Meantime, the boisterous Communications Minister, Issa Tchiroma Bakary, had in a press briefing, besought the international community to take note of the goings-on in the Northwest and Southwest Regions.

“This escalation of indiscriminate violence and murder, specifically targeting those to whom the republic has entrusted the responsibility to defend the territorial integrity and the security of people, calls more than ever, on the international community to take full account of the current situation in the Northwest and Southwest Regions of Cameroon. We will continue to protect every Cameroonian living in these two Regions against the situation of hostility and captivity. The Government will take its responsibility to free its citizens from the state of captivity, terror and trauma resulting from the anti-republican conveyed by the secessionists.”

Ironically, this responsibility of the Communication Minister’s imagination has largely been taken by way of killing the very people like flies and chasing others into foreign exile.

As if to put the President’s words into action, the Senior Divisional for Manyu, Oum II Joseph, on Friday, December 1, signed a communiqué strongly advising inhabitants of Akwaya, Mamfe and Eyumojock Sub Divisions to “relocate to safer neighbourhoods of their choices in the hours that follow.” He warned that failure to do so would be treated as accomplices and perpetrators of supposed ongoing criminal occurrences registered against security and defense forces. At whose expense and where they are expected to relocate is a puzzle.

By Claudia Nsono

Curfews, brutal repression fuelling Anglophone fury

Many an Anglophone, it could be said, see Governor Bernard Okalia Bilai, as a villain, with hardly any human feelings. The Governor’s paymasters or those he strives to satisfy on the other hand, construe him as astute and strict. Political opportunists are cashing in and reaping cheap benefits by siding with what Okalia represents.

But whatever the case, the Regional administrator’s brash utterances and actions in recent times are, to say the very least, hurting the very interests of those he purports to govern and pretty hurtful to the socio-economic life of the Region under his rule. And the fear is that the man’s high handedness and intransigence might, in the long run, beget boomerang consequences, gravely compromising a peace that has become very elusive.

Proof is: the day land and sea borders between Cameroon and Nigeria were closed at the level of the Southwest and Northwest Regions, traders were stuck with perishable merchandise at the Tiko wharf. A cargo boat that had anchored was about transporting the vegetables to Nigeria. The Governor ordered that the boat returns to Nigeria unloaded. Even entreaties to the effect that the goods be off-loaded from the trucks and sold locally were refused.

As a consequence, 700 baskets of fresh tomatoes got rotten. Thousands of water lemons also got bad and were thrown away. The owners wept and counted their losses while the Governor apparently counted the political gains he had made for the regime and his career.

Impoverished commercial bikers

Even as citizens of the Region are yet to recover from the carnage inflicted on their relatives and loved ones on September 22 and October 1, his gubernatorial edict prohibiting the movement of commercial motorbikes from 7:00pm – 6:00am has occasioned confiscation of 10 more bikes in addition to over 50 earlier seized after their owners were adjudged to have violated the law. This, in the reckoning of the Governor is in a bid to reduce what he has dubbed terrorism perpetrated against the forces of law and order by barbaric extremists hiding amongst the population.

The Governor’s edict has totally disregarded the important role commercial motorbikes perform in the community transporting people from one interior neighborhood to another and the discomforts that come with the absence of such services in the country. Since the curfew was placed on commercial motorbikes, the population of Buea has been challenged, trekking from one place to another, especially in the evenings. Even old people are forced to trek long distances at night due to the absence of bikes. Bikers, who dare go against the curfew and pick up passengers out of pity, have often fallen prey to the Government dragnet.

According to a biker at Muea who gave his only name as Evaristus, 50 bikes were seized last month and have not been released since then. In continuation of the constant seizure of bikes, Wednesday, November 22 saw another seizure of about 10 commercial bikes that were still plying the streets after 7:00pm. He stated that some Gendarmes came in mufti and pretended to be passengers.The few of his colleagues who fell for the bait had their bikes apprehended. Evaristus narrates life with and without their bikes. He also explains how he as a biker feels about the curfew prohibiting their activities from 7:00pm. Read him:

“It is through commercial bikes that we are able to pay our rents, feed, take care of our wives and children. In a day we can make a profit of FCFA 10.000. Most often we receive more customers as from 6:00pm – 10:00pm. So saying that we should halt our activities as from 7:00pm is really not the best. We are greatly affected by this. I think that 9:00pm could have been a better and more convenient time for us to stop business, not as early as 7:00pm when the business is at its peak.

“There are neighbourhoods in the outskirts of Ekona not frequented by taxis. Natives from such villages prefer using bikes owing to the adaptability and convenience of this mode of transportation. Most often they come to town to either sell or buy. When it is evening we always have so many of them scrambling to get a bike. And now with the curfew, it is worsened. Most often when we are unable to transport all of them before it is 7:00 pm, those left are found in a situation where they have to trek very long distances. We pity them but cannot do otherwise because we could fall victim and our bikes apprehended.  Hence it is not just affecting us but the whole community.

“Before now, I used to save some monies. But the curfew has dealt a devastating blow to me; I am now forced to go into my savings just to meet up with my daily needs and that of my family. I need to pay all my bills because the various companies are not interested in knowing if I am viable to pay the bills or not.

“Just this act of the Government has already corrupted the society.The number of bikes which have been apprehended is even uncountable. The lives and hope of people are lying in the cold in some institutions. The economy is already grounded. They are in their offices giving orders for bikes to be apprehended forgetting that it is the life of another.

“Worse of all is that, we don’t even know when this disturbance to our businesses will come to an end. We are dying and suffering but the Government has no interest in the life of commoners like us. We of the bike sector are plagued with so many challenges. It seems the Government is bent on handicapping us. From various controls at night demanding for money and also with various curfews placed on us.

“I am begging that the Government should look down on us with pity. Even if the Government wants to kill or execute us, at least they should give us water on our dying bed. We are soaggrieved and even feel discouraged working at such times because the time for us to work is not favourable. They themselves don’t go to bed at 7:00pm. So why do they prevent others from working at that time? It is just commercial bikes. Don’t taxi drivers and even private cars transport criminals too? They are on the contrary gradually turning some bikers to criminals since they have so many needs and yet no job to fend for those needs,” Evaristus lamented.

Even denizens have condemned the impoundment of commercial motorbikes, pointing to the devastating effects on the economy, social life of the people, insecurity, the upgrade of crime and difficulties moving from one place to another in the absence of such services.

According to Ngong Cletus businessman, there exists a very high rate of unemployment in the country. To him, at the moment when young boys in the neighborhoods have taken up the initiative to make a living out of riding commercial motorbikes to support their families, a curfew is placed for them to halt their activities by 7:00pm.

“That is when their business sector is booming. I think the authorities placing such order are not in any way doing good to the society. They just want to render our young boys hopelessly jobless. Very soon we’ll start hearing of theft here and there because they need money. It is already affecting the economy. Thieves are not transported only via commercial bikes; taxis and private bikes also play a role in transporting criminals,” Ngong stated.

Security forces as the people’s enemy

Since the beginning of the Anglophone problem, security forces have not in any way rested peacefully. The programme of those undergoing training has been halted and they have been deployed to the two English speaking Regions for maintenance of law and order. Our source, an Anglophone Gendarme whose identity we have retained for security reasons told us his experience as a gendarme at this period of crisis.

“As a gendarme officer at this time of the country when the atmosphere is tense, especially in the Northwest and Southwest Regions, I am going through tough times during this period. Those in these Regions regard us uniform men and gendarmes in particular as enemies since we are those at the fore front.

“Personally as a gendarme, I am disgruntled about all what is going on. The gendarmes have painted a very negative impression to denizens whereas, we are the ones to protect them and bring peace to the society.  It is rather unfortunate that, we are seen as a nuisance to the public. That is why whenever some denizens see us, they either run and hide or scamper into safety. It is a very challenging moment for us because some of us left our sites where we were posted some five months back and came to Buea for a mission. At this moment I am speaking to you, most of us haven’t seen our parents or family for the past six months. If things were normal, I would have been with my family. We are even prevented from calling our loved ones or visiting them. It is so challenging because as gendarmes, we don’t have that freedom.

“Moving into the neighbourhoods in our uniforms is what we cannot dare to do. We are afraid of what may befall us in the neighbourhoods. Remember that some gendarme officers were killed in Bamenda as a result of that. We now walk in Binoms (in pairs) which is not supposed to be so. We are supposed to interact and share with the people, fight for the people but the scenario has changed since this Anglophone problem. On the contrary, we now hide from the people as we cannot move freely. I am not at peace with all these, which is why I am pleading with the authorities to rectify the problem because not just civilians are dying but the military too are being killed.

“Imagine one assigned to guard a school for five days, turning around the same spot from morning to evening. We are so vulnerable, exposed to so many hazards. Many gendarme officers have lost their lives while guarding an institution. Despite all odds, we have no choice but to do it since we work for the Government.

“We have been faced with so many embarrassments in attempts to buy food. Most often, business people run away from us that we are their enemies and may want to harm them. They don’t even interact with us. Most often we have money to buy but those to buy from are either running away or not friendly while selling to us.

“My family now regrets why they enrolled me into the National Gendarmerie, because they are disgruntled about what is ongoing in the nation. At the moment, they have no choice because I am already into the service. All they do is to caution me to be very careful and avoid the malpractices which some of my colleagues engage in.

“I will say I am totally not in support of actions some gendarmes have executed like the killings and rape. I condemn such acts. When we go out as a group on mission and such things happen, I always talk to some of them. But they sometimes do not adhere to my advice. They say that they are military men and so, have the right to do whatever pleases them. The bad thing in the country is that, we do make laws but fail in executing them. In school we studied the Military Penal Code since there is a code we follow for everything we do. But we the military people still execute so many things which are not in the Code. You can’t go out to maintain peace and order, and on the contrary you kill or rape the people. In maintenance of law, a gendarme officer is not warranted to shoot and kill a civilian. In cases of riots, we are advised to use teargas and not live bullets. But there are situations which civilians have been killed. It is out of the law. Because in the military, we are permitted to use a gun only when an opponent comes armed and you know he will fire at you, then we are permitted to shoot him down. But that is not the case with the Anglophone crisis because most often they come unarmed. I think the authorities should investigate those who go about with the killings and rape. They should be punished.

We were not taught in a single day in English

“Even when I went in for training, I discovered that the marginalization up there is even at its peak. Throughout our studies and training, for almost a year, we were not taught a single day in the English language. When an Anglophone decides to ask a question using the English language, he would be told that “l’arme c’est la force francais”, meaning that the military is a French force and that English is not allowed in the military, whereas we are a bilingual country.

An Anglophone gendarme is hardly made the leader of a group.

The opportunities given to Francophone gendarmes are not given to the Anglophones. It is very difficult seeing an Anglophone made the head of a group. Anglophones are seen to be right down there while Francophones are superior.

Even as an Anglophone soldier, I play my role

Before now, I was also one of those who were against the marginalization against Anglophones. Even as a gendarme officer, I still play my role. It is not everything that I am asked to do which I do. While on the field, I cannot watch Anglophones being oppressed and I take part in it. I try to protect them, and pull them back. At times my colleagues behave like animals.

It is time for Anglophones to stand their grounds

“The Anglophone crisis has reached its peak that the authorities have to look into it because Anglophones are being marginalized in every sector in the country. It is also the time for Anglophones to stand their grounds; they shouldn’t give up and I know they may achieve their aims some day.

As a Gendarme, my hands are tied. If I weren’t with the National Gendarmerie, then I would have had the opportunity to put in my contributions to the struggle. But, now I am unable to do what I could do. Remember that you can’t bite the finger that feeds you.We were told that we don’t have a friend and made to understand that it is Government fight, so we are placed to fight the people.

I’d rather die than to be against my family. At the end of the day I am going back to my family. It is my friends and family members that will be there for me. So why should I fight the very people I may need their help someday?” he pondered.

By Relindise Ebune

 

Another fire guts 40-year old GBHS Fontem

Government inability to locate and eventually punish perpetrators of arson on public and private buildings in the last one year has seemingly heightened the criminal desire to inflict more drudgery on populations of the Southwest and Northwest Regions.

The latest in the series of incendiary occurrences is that which has just been visited on the administrative block of Government Bilingual High School, GBHS Fontem, rendering the edifice useless by burning to ashes most documents that had been carefully stored therein. This unfortunate incident has come barely a few months after a previous fire had wreaked havoc on the Francophone section of the school.

The Principal’s, Vice Principals’, Bursar’s, Discipline Master’s offices, including the Principal’s Secretariat were all reduced to ashes by the unfortunate inferno that occurred during the early hours of Saturday, November 24.

According to the Principal, Nyilua Zinkeng Alexander, he has not been able to immediately estimate the loss incurred from the damage. He has however, affirmed that only the destroyed roof can be estimated at over FCFA 10,000,000. He said lessons were timidly resuming in his school when the sadist arsonists executed the unpardonable act. He noted that the only thing recovered from his office were some certificates which were kept in a safe.

The arsonists did not end at burning the school; they also dropped warning notes against school resumption in the campuses of GBHS and Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College Fomtem. One of the notes read:

“Students and teachers are hereby advised to immediately stop schooling and teaching and wait for the appropriate time to be given by the Government of the Federal Republic of Ambazonia. Failure to do so, you will face the consequences, I repeat, you will face the consequences. Those of you in the dormitories, we give you 48 hours to pack and go home safely. Note: no amount of La Republique forces will protect you from our action if you don’t respect this note. We love you and want the best educational system for you and not this one of La Republique… Parents take note!!! Beware and be warned!!!

The Vipers in collaboration with the ADF (Ambazonia Defence Forces)’’

The perpetrators of this act have equally named names, warned certain individuals in the community engaged in sensitization relating to schools resumption.

There was also a failed attempt to burn one of the cars belonging to the gendarmerie. It was parked right in front of the Gendarmerie office.

A day before these dastardly acts, the Bishop of Mamfe and native of Lebialem, Andrew Fuanya Nkea had sensitized the population on the importance and need for them to send their children to school during a Holy Mass service.

“I was in the US, and had the opportunity to celebrate Mass with those clamouring for schools boycott. I told them that if they were serious, they should withdraw their own children from school in solidarity with those at home,” the Bishop recalled.

He advised the people of Lebialem that, failing to send their children to school, is failing to prepare a brighter future for them and they will end up doing the most menial jobs.

Some inhabitants of Menji have been quick to conclude that, the arsonists are not indigenes. According to Denis Lekeateh, a Menji denizen, he is very convinced that the forces of law and order are not all ignorant of what is happening.

This is happening when schools were timidly reopening in Lebialem Division, after long struggles by the administration and some elite. Parents, according to the SDO, Zachariah Unghitoh had promised their children were all going to return to school yesterday Monday, November 27, 2017. The SDO regretted that the 40-year old school has been reduced to point zero, given that all records have been destroyed.

Following accusing fingers at the forces of law and order in Menji by inhabitants, the SDO has told them to prove their innocence by investigating, arresting and presenting suspects of such mischievous acts for legal proceedings to be engaged.

By Nester Asonganyi

‘Grace’ before Mugabe’s fall

At 93, Robert Gabriel Mugabe has been ruling Zimbabwe for 37 years. Until last week, Mugabe was stuck to power like a tick on a dog’s back. Then, his very trusted goons in military fatigues turned up with their smoking guns, practically converting the old man to an “unwilling guest” of the State House which he has freely inhabited for 37 years.  The freedom fighter had, over the years, allowed the sweet, intoxicating wine of  power to leave his stomach for his head. All because of a woman and the groveling sycophants, who flattered and prodded him on to [despite his diminishing faculties and frail physique] contest the presidential election due for 2018.

First lady, Grace Ntombizodwa, originally from Gauteng, South Africa started off as Mugabe’s typist while still married to an Air Force pilot. She started an intimate affair with the president in the early nineties. In 1996 she officially married her boss, 41 years older than Grace. Reputed to be a bad influence on Mugabe, Grace manipulated the old man into doing her bidding.

It was to culminate in the sacking of Mugabe’s hitherto trusted Vice President, Emerson Mnangagwana. The ultimate intention was to render the position vacant for Grace to occupy and eventually replace her ailing husband who, from every indication planned and hoped to die in power. The doting Mugabe fell for it. All advice to the contrary fell on Mugabe’s old, deaf ears. The nagging Grace, through her old hussy had grabbed too much for Zimbabweans not to notice.

Mugabe would not be admonished into stepping aside for someone more competent than his overly ambitious wife. Then, like the legendary Humpty Dumpty, the old man had a great fall and shattered to ribbons. Like the proverbial fly that refused to take advice, he followed the corpse into the political grave.

The story sounds like Mr. Mugabe’s “Grace before the euphemistic meal of political doom.” But it is certainly a big lesson for dictators and others who lie, cheat and steal; who rape democracy and cling to office.

Can Cameroon and its leadership learn from Mugabe’s ill fate? We put this question to our teeming readers. Their responses would definitely serve as notice to sit-tight rulers and fawning sycophants that place banana peels on their paths and flatter them to step on…

 

Any lessons for Cameroon from Zimbabwe?

 

The fire in Zimbabwe is fanned by the British

You must start by distinguishing between the behaviour of those in Zimbabwe and those here. We are said to be a bilingual country where French is dominant and English is on the back seat; that’s one serious problem. In Zimbabwe it is either English or Swahili. The mentality here is very different from theirs. There is this clash between the Anglophones and the Francophones and we have a system that has been deliberately put in place where, the Francophones have a huge edge over the Anglophones; you do not have that in Zimbabwe. In Zimbabwe it is just a simple tussle between political parties.

Although I accept democracy, Robert Mugabe fought so much for that country for donkey years. Even if it is against democracy, let’s give it to him as a gift because the truth about it is, by the time he was fighting this war, a lot of people did not understand until the day he was interviewed; the ordinary Zimbabwean had nothing but one white had 15, 20 farms, whereas the black man does not have even one farm and that is why he grabbed lots of farms and gave them to the black man.

This fire is being fanned by the British. They had tried every time to get that old man out. But the Zimbabweans are very sensible; what they have done from the declaration we are hearing, is not a coup d’état as such. They haven’t thrown the man out, taken over power and gotten him into prison. They have kept him cool in his house as an old man and they are trying to sort out their issues. But I think if his assistant, the Vice President who was sacked could be brought back in and peace established, Mugabe will reign until the day dies.

I cannot say such a thing can never happen in Cameroon but we can learn a lesson from Zimbabwe. For example, in Zimbabwe, with rioting, how many people have been thrown into prison? But see how many are imprisoned here for just asking for what is their right. I have always said, if you have a migraine (permanent headache) and in a show of bravado with friends, you say let’s go and have a drink, after all, I don’t have a headache, that headache can never go away. The only way it can go away, is, go see your doctor, let him examine you and prescribe medication.

The situation in Cameroon has and is radicalizing many young Cameroonians. If you have a child who has never been villain but finds out that he is hungry whereas, his other brothers are not hungry… He comes to you and asks for his own food; you keep pretending as if you have forgotten, then in the end, you say, ‘ok, you are really hungry, I will see what to do. You pinch little morsels and give him, but will not give his full meal. In the end, that child becomes radical. Sort out his problem before it is too late; because the child will say, ‘what do I have to loose? When I was quiet, they were troubling me, so if I get troublesome, we shall all be in the same trouble.

80-Year-Old Retired Engineer and Former Delegate of Transport – Buea

 

Biya should leave power gently, the same way he got it

If the situation in Zimbabwe happens in Cameroon, it will mean it is divine intervention because Zimbabweans have more of the Englishman mentality – to fight for a commonwealth unlike the case of Cameroon where, the majority Francophones are self-centred like the French. It will be difficult because, our leaders, but for some few are all thinking of personal gains and not the general interest.

But I will advise that let our Government learn at least something from Zimbabwe; that they can’t reign forever. Let the President be honourable enough to leave power gently, the same way it was given to him.

Anonymous, Businessman – Buea

 

It’s possible in Cameroon

Following the trends of things in Cameroon, I think it is a possibility that CPDM is dominating and has been the ruling party for long. Individuals have power over institutions. We are in a complete dictatorship. Given that Paul Biya has been in power for 35 years and his Zimbabwean counterpart has been for 37, I think that the next point of stop in chasing these African power drunk leaders is Cameroon.

Calistus Konda, Teacher-Bamenda

 

 Our military is too loyal

I do not see that happening in Cameroon any time soon. The Cameroon military has over the years distanced itself from the people. I think they are being trained in school only to respect the commander in chief, Paul Biya. They are just too loyal to him and in turn they are well paid and on time. They are trained in one language and that’s the language of their master. I do not see that soon in Cameroon.

Sabina Fai-trader Bamenda

 

Biya would not allow

President Paul Biya is constantly creating different segments of the army to avert such a thing in Cameroon. He makes sure they are not united. Tell me why put in place a special group known as ‘presidential guard and the BIR’ when we are not at war with our neighbours if not of solidifying grip in power?

Tomoh Sandra- Uba student

 

It’s possible for Biya to suffer Mugabe’s fate

The truth is, they both have stayed in power and have been dictatorial in their leadership. What I know is that what has happened in Zimbabwe was unexpected and it has sent a strong signal to Cameroon. So as it stands, the Government is in panic and if something is not done fast, I see a similar situation happening in Cameroon. I spoke to my friend who is an army. He disclosed to me that they too are tired of the situation. They wish a war should break out that’s when the president will know he has no army because they are tired of him. So you see, when a military friend can disclose such to a civilian, then you should expect nothing less from what is happening next door.

Primus Mukete, Animal Farmer- Kumba

 

Coup not impossible in Cameroon

You see, a coup in Cameroon like what’s happening in Zimbabwe now is far reaching. Though not impossible, but I think the Cameroonian army is more of Francophones and as such they are more local to their Francophones president of the Republic who is the Commander-in-Chief. Again, the situation of the two countries though similar in terms of long stay in power, our Cameroon president is not dismissing people from power, especially those of opposition that could stir up trouble but instead he is trying to bring more opposition to power in a bid to solve the problem.

Nani Victory, Teacher – Kumba

 

 I don’t want to compare the two countries

I like what happened in Zimbabwe and will even be happier if same could happen in Cameroon. What I am more concerned with is liberation of Southern Cameroonians and a coup will certainly not bring that because the army is dominated by Francophones and since they don’t even want us to separate, they can’t attempt that. But just to say that if Cameroon was a united country, then a coup would be best in removing the dictator from power.

Anonymous – Kumba

 

All heads of security units are President’s henchmen

Zimbabwe and Cameroon are two different countries; while in Zimbabwe the control that the President has over the military is somewhat loose. Here in Cameroon, we have a feeling that the President and his men have completely strode up the system. They have tightened up the system. If you observe very keenly, you will realize that all heads of security units belong more or less to a tribe I will not like to name here, but I think everybody understands. In Yaounde and even in the peripheries when you observe, you will realize that they are the President’s henchmen and even his tribesmen. I believe our own military here is not so patriotic. They are a kind of Bourgeoisie – they feed fat, they spend time not thinking about the people. They are more concerned about the preservation of the regime since they benefit so much from it. Even though it is not impossible, it is very unlikely.

Teguia Isidore, Teacher – Buea

 

A successful coup would be difficult in Cameroon

Since the first attempt failed in the earlier years of his reign, the president has successfully manipulated his military to and extent that it is difficult for them to stand against him. But God is doing a natural overthrow for Cameroon. God is already showing signs and I hope they are wise enough to understand that. Why do you think of all buildings, fire consumed the National Assembly building? Time alone will prove all that. Apostle Praise – Kumba

 

I don’t think it can be replicated in Cameroon

The two contexts are different, though with some traces of similarity. Recent actions of the Zimbabwean President have indicated that he is preparing his succession. Unfortunately, all indicators pointed to his wife after he sacked the VP; this is the situation that I believe triggered the reaction of the military.

However, the Zimbabwean army demonstrated maturity and professionalism by respecting the republican role of the military. No civilian was shot (not even those they wanted to arrest), no building destroyed, no economic activities and freedom of movement halted. The military acted with one voice.

Most Cameroonians still remain unaware of the situation of their country, be it political, social or economic.Those who even are aware of the situation are simply cowards and toothless bulldogs that will bark but cannot dare bite. They will grumble and stay and blame God for their fate.

Also, the socio-cultural diversity of the country makes it very complex to ascertain who can be an enemy at one time. The multiplicity of lobbies – spiritual, professional, economic, cultic, has accentuated the conflict of ideas so much so that everyone is fighting to protect the little they have achieved.

Additionally, the quality of our military recruits appears to be preoccupying. Such a peaceful revolution can become very bloody with the kind of mindset our soldiers have.

All in all, the situation in Cameroon cannot be given a clear cut interpretation because of its complex context.

There is a great possibility that it never happens in Cameroon or if it does, the magnitude may be beyond understanding.

Richard Deng – Yaounde

 

Not from a military trained by Biya and cohorts

I doubt if our military can do what their Zimbabwean colleagues recently did. These guys are so cowardly they have no brains of their own. They are brainwashed to protect the powers that be to their last blood drop. That tells you they can’t bite the finger that feeds them nor dare rise against their “gods.” Let’s forget such a thing can come from Cameroon. Not from the military trained by Biya and his cohorts.

Rudolf Esuka, Yaounde

 

He should not announce his candidature for 2018

It is very possible that the circumstances that have befallen Mugabe can befall Biya. When you look at the current crisis in Cameroon, (lately we heard General Ivo – Chief Commander of the presidential guards is nowhere to be found and they are looking for him.) if a General of that magnitude can leave the Presidency, it means there is a high probability that the military can turn against their boss. They can just turn around, put him under house arrest and tell him to step down.

If I were to advise our president, I will just tell him to step down and give another person the chance. He should not announce his candidature for 2018, even though the people whom he is feeding, CPDM are saying he should go ahead. In order to spare himself the disgrace of power leaving him, he should step down. Zimbabwe is an African country and there is a probability that it can happen here. Let him learn his lessons and start clearing his way out. President Biya was wise when he came to power and decided to declare himself Commander of the Armed Forces. He did that because he knew that to an extent, the actual power lies with the military and they can decide at any time to ask him to step down.

Even though he is from the majority ‘Francophone’ extraction of the country, many of them are not happy with the way he is maltreating Anglophones. And even some of the Francophones have their own grievances too despite all what he is doing to favour them as Francophones. Besides, the Head of State should step down because scientifically, there is a certain age which when you attain, you start reasoning and behaving like a child.

Daniel, TV Correspondent – Buea

 

Foreign nations have roles to play

We cannot say that what happened to Mugabe will happen to our president. They are not too identical; the countries are not the same, the scenarios are not the same. I don’t know why they held President Mugabe but I think it is more political and I think in political game, you cannot say what happened to ‘A’ will happen to ‘B.’ I am not a politician but behind what we see and are analyzing physically, is actually not what it is.

Foreign nations too have parts to play. We all know the west has not been a fan to Mugabe because he is not the type that appreciates them. Sometimes he even abuses them in UN assemblies and they have been looking for every opportunity to bring him down.

I cannot tell if they are the ones responsible for what is going on in Zimbabwe. What I know is that, for instance, we have the Anglophone crisis and our leaders fighting may make us the common people to understand that they are fighting because this or that is not there. But if you look at the hidden political agenda of it, there might be some forces and that is what I don’t know and cannot determine how strong or weak those forces are.  I don’t know the strength of my president; I don’t know how much he can withstand.

I am an Anglophone and what I can advise our president is simple. Whatever is going on is not a difficult task to handle; it is just because of so much greed; seriously, I am not advocating for separation because I don’t see that as a solution. The better option is federation. The problem is the way the Government sees it. If we keep our greed aside, the country will progress.

Stanley, Engineer – Buea

 

I wish it could happen

Wow. Nice question. I wish it could happen but, it is impossible. Some say impossibility is not Cameroonian but, this would be a tough nut to crack. The guys are not united. Everyone has their interest and would fight to protect it. Some people can be for a coup while others are not. Trust me that those who are not would sell their colleagues for favours from the big man. That is the way it is, so, let’s forget it.

Angela Nlon, Teacher – Yaounde

 

A coup can never succeed in this country

Too much greed. If the 1984 failed just know none will ever succeed. First and foremost, our army kills the people they should be protecting, very different from what we witnessed in Zimbabwe. Our own military have been trained to protect the oppressor against the harmless oppressed. How do you expect them to overthrow their President? And even if it happened by miracle, they will begin fighting on who should become president. The Northerners will want the presidency just like the Southerners. I know how greedy we are, so it cannot even happen.

Ekane Cornelius – Yaounde

Compiled by Nester Asonganyi, Ebune Relindise, Jean Marie Ngong Song, Ngende Esther & Claudia Nsono

Has Assembly fire caught Tchiroma pants down?

Cameroon’s Minister of Communication, Issa Tchiroma Bakary, has been slammed for flaring angers within ranks of English speaking Cameroonians. The smash was dished out by observers recently, following the Minister’s declaration that the four floors of the National Assembly ‘Glass House’ razed on Thursday, November 16, 2017, was an accident.

They argue that the Government mouthpiece would have hastily blamed the occurrence on supposed terrorists, extremists and secessionists, had the same incident been in either of the two English speaking Northwest and Southwest Regions. Their annoyance is that the same thing is given different names on both sides of the Mungo; the saintly name to the “privileged” Francophone Regions and the impious name forced on the “underprivileged”Anglophone Regions. Such acts which they, commentators, spitefully noted are aimed at flaring up Anglophone anger which has been on a steady rise since Common Law Lawyers joined teachers on an indefinite strike action last November.

While security officials have opened investigations to establish the cause of the disaster, Minister Tchiroma on state media, CRTV, noted that “according to the clues we have today, the cause of the fire is accidental. He bluffed Government efforts in redressing the situation, stressing that the loss had not been estimated.

“All available national expertise is being used to assess the damage and tell us precisely the origin of the fire.  The Government has taken and will take all measures to make sure that the National Assembly will sit as normal without experiencing any disturbance,” he boasted.

His address met very stiff resistance from regime fault finders who gritted that he (the Minister) is seizing every opportunity and creating some just to get the worst out of Anglophones. Nkengmeyi Gideon, a doctoral Political Science student in Yaoundé, wept that hoes, machetes, pick axes and other farming tools had been seized from farmers in the crisis stricken Regions. He swore that until the same is done for farmers in the former French Cameroon; and the Minister indicts terrorists and secessionists for the Glass House smouldering, the country might be unconsciously bidding farewell to its propagated oneness and indivisibility.

Meantime, the Thursday razing which witnesses first spotted at about 10pm gutted the fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh floors of the ‘Glass House,’ leaving pillars for posterity and affecting the third floor. The flames were contained by National Fire Fighting Brigade six hours later. Though they succeeded in saving nothing from the administrative offices, they saved the auditorium from the mayhem and recorded no human losses. The people’s representatives have been meeting for about a week to lay down laws for the nation.  Although the lawmakers are said to be endorsing laws already drafted by hierarchy, they have not failed to record their traditional triennial sittings.

House Speaker, Honourable Cavaye Yeguie Djibril and his younger ilk sauntered to the Ngoa Ekelle scene to have first hand assessment. They joined the Governor of the Centre Region, Nasseri Paul Bea, the Senior Divisional Officer for Mfoundi, Jean Claude Tsila, security details of the area, and a crowd who watched in bewilderment as hard earned tax money charred.

Witnesses say Cavaye expressed regrets over the loss as if it were his private property.  Critics teased that such feelings are legit for someone who has headed the house for 30 years.

It is still cloudy what the tale would have been like had the building caught fire during the day when members of the lower house of assembly were concerting in their last session for the 2017 fiscal year.

Pundits have been busy linking the mishap to the boycott of this session by SDF MPs. They equally want to make belief that it is not unconnected to the Anglophone crisis. In the meantime, denizens are still flaring with anger at the fact that the House head had supposedly warned opposition SDF MPs he would not tolerate any debates on the Anglophone crisis in parliament.  He is reported to have spewed the threats in a behind-the-scenes meeting to ascertain the raison d’être behind the SDF’s  boycott of the opening plenary and threats to steer clear of the November session save satisfactory measures are taken.

CRTV reported that only five fire fighting trucks battled to contain the flames. The question that remains unanswered is, where the many such trucks which parade every 20th May could be.

It should be recalled that as the Anglophone crisis rages on, fire has reduced markets, schools and have recently upgraded to administrative structures. Could the duo be unrelated? What is its next destination?

By Claudia Nsono

 

 

 

 

 

Bamenda honours fallen soldiers

As part of the customary rituals that accompany Government articulation of concern for fallen servicemen, four soldiers alleged to have been killed by unidentified “terrorists” in the Northwest and Southwest Regions have been elevated to higher ranks and posthumously decorated with army medals of bravery by the Head of State, Commander in Chief of the Defense Forces, Paul Biya, symbolizing sympathy of the entire nation.

Bokam decorates one of the fallen soldiers

A ceremony to this effect held at the Bamenda Commercial Avenue Grand Stand on Friday, November 17, 2017, featuring full military honours and presided at by the Secretary of State in the Ministry of Defence in charge of the National Gendarmerie, Jean Baptiste Bokam.

The slain soldiers include, Gendarme- Major, Djonlay Bienvenu, on duty at the 51 Squadron in Bafoussam, but detached to reinforce the Jakiri Brigade, Bui Division who was allegedly attacked and shot dead by assailants on November 6, 2017 while hunting down with his comrades, “hooded terrorists” who had attempted to set ablaze GTHS Jakiri. His body had been reportedly found a few moments earlier, riddled with bullets, not far from the scene of events.

“Marechal- des Logis Chef,” Hinma Rene, another Gendarme had been killed on the night of November 7, 2017, at about 11:30 pm at a combined security check point in Bafut, Mezam Division while student Gendarme, Sali David met with his demise on the night of November 8, 2017 in the neighborhood of Bayelle, Bamenda.

Yaya Emmanuel, a soldier serving with the 22nd Motorized Infantry Battalion attached to the 21st Motorized Infantry Brigade Battalion had also, been “brutally murdered by another gang of terrorists” on the night of the 9-10 of November in Akwen near Mamfe Town, in Manyu Division in the Southwest Region.

The caskets, each draped with the national flag were placed at the Bamenda Commercial Avenue Grandstand where the Secretary of State in charge of National Gendarmerie, Jean Baptiste Bokam and his close aids, top military officers, colleagues, relatives and well-wishers had assembled to pay last respects to the fallen soldiers.

The Head of State through the SDO of Mezam, Songa Pierre Rene, promised the bereaved families that the nation will continue to hold the fallen soldiers in high esteem and will ensure that all their statutory benefits are paid.

Dignitaries at the solemn military ceremony included the Chairman of the opposition SDF, Ni John Fru Ndi, Divisional Officers of Bamenda I, II and III, Members of Parliament, MPs from Mezam, the Government Delegate, Bamenda City Council, Mayors of Bamenda I, II and III Councils, Divisional Delegates and traditional rulers in Mezam.

Speaking to prying journalists after the brief ceremony, Fru Ndi condemned the killing of the soldiers and also civilians. He blamed the killings on President Paul Biya, whom he said has refused to solve the problem by calling for sincere dialogue.

This ceremony had been preceded by a security evaluation meeting chaired by the Secretary of State in the Ministry of Defence in charge of the National Gendarmerie, strictly behind closed doors.

By Jean Marie Ngong Song

Fake certificate ghost still haunting Mayor

Buea Mayor, Ekema Patrick Esunge like anyone else would, under any given circumstance love for the fake certificate scandal involving him to be buried deep in the bowels of history. But NO! The malefaction appears to have entangled him like cobwebs and keeps reappearing like a bad coin in the market.

Months back, the Registrar of the GCE Board, issued what was by all means cast iron proof that the Lord Mayor had scammed his way past GCE certificates into university degrees. A statutory institution, the National Commission on Human Rights and Freedoms, NCHRF, partly relied on the Board’s exhibits to decry academic fraud from which the Mayor ostensibly benefited. Students of the University of Buea, UB, aka the Place to be, seized the occasion of the Higher Education Minister’s visit to the institution, to brandish placards and booed the Lord Mayor for fraud. The Minister, Jacques Fame Ndongo addressing the placard carrying students noted: “we have heard your problems. You have to trust your Government, your Pro-Chancellor and Vice Chancellor. I will look into the problem.” And then, mum! Then, business, as usual!

The latest in the sharp practice scandal is that the NCHRF has drawn the attention of the legal department, practically reminding its authorities of what danger there is in letting flim-flam men off the hook, even the one is a politically protected sacred cow.

To this effect, Southwest Secretary of NCHRF, Christopher Tambe Tiku has addressed a letter to the ‘Procureur General’ of the Southwest Region with ‘Allegation of fraud by Mayor Ekema Patrick Esunge’ as the subject matter. The Regional Secretary notes that he is availing himself to the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code, which enjoin anyone having credible information relating to the Commission of an offence to bring to the attention of the judiciary.

He recalls, as though it was already a fait accompli that Ekema was engaged in academic fraud by introducing fake certificates to earn an admission in the Department of History, University of Buea, UB.

Noting that it was important not to underestimate the gravity of the offence of academic fraud he added that such an act would impact adversely not only on the moral fibre of society but on the economic growth of the country. That it discourages potential students from going to school and working hard, leads to loss of respect for authority and Government and is inimical to public administration.

“It is vital for the public to have complete confidence in the integrity and efficiency of public servants but fraud from a Mayor emasculates that very trust and confidence.”

Tambe Tiku continues: “…cases of this magnitude are not new in our courts. The attitude of the courts has been to give an exemplary punishment. The Mayor’s conduct is to be deplored. He did not succumb to sudden temptation and then resist.

“He participated in the offence in a cynical manner and introduced fake certificates to be reclassified (from grade 7to grade 8).”

Going by the Human Rights Regional Chieftain, the Lord Mayor’s act has caused tremendous loss to the university. It cannot be gainsaid, he states, that the university is an organ of the state adding that it is a public institution through which the state discharges its constitutional obligation to make access to education realizable.

The Human Rights activist thinks that an investigation ought to have been opened and all undue earnings resulting from the fake certificates reimbursed. “What is more perplexing is the fact that he has shown no remorse and his refusal to attend a disciplinary hearing is particularly revealing.”

The NCHRF Regional Secretary states that he is prepared to assist the police in the investigation of the matter and that when the need arises, he “shall furnish the investigators with relevant documentation to establish his guilt.”

The Minister of Justice and Keeper of the Seals, the Chairperson of the NCHRF and the President of the Southwest Court of Appeal are all copied.

By Charlie Ndi Chia

New Wouri Bridge overwhelm by snarling traffic

Persistent traffic jams on the two bridges over Wouri River linking Bonaberi and Deido neighbourhoods in Douala have rubbished the economics and even politics of the new 800-metre long bridge that went operational barely a month ago. Government circles had touted the impression that the bridge on completion will spring up some solace to persistent traffic congestion, particularly, in the mornings and evenings when workers are going and returning from work.

The edifice that has been fully opened to vehicles is still far from meeting the people’s aspirations as long queues have been found throughout the day on and around the venue making movement and business around town slow.

At least 60,000 vehicles use the bridge daily, according to statistics from the Douala City Council. Throw in bikes and pedestrians in that lot and the situation becomes denser.

As early as 6am on a Monday morning, denizens are rushing to beat the traffic congestion in order to be early to work. Coming from Bonaberi, traffic is smooth until you hit a snag on the bridge. Taxis tussle with each other to get access while bikes sneak past the pedestrian footpaths all to beat the traffic on the bridge. Trucks heading or leaving the seaport as well as those leaving the industrial zone in Bonaberi are all in the mix.

“We have been on this bridge for one hour now and nothing seems to be moving. This time I am wasting here is money I am losing and I am not sure I will be able to meet up with my financial expectations at the end of the day,” Sani, a taxi driver stuck in the traffic on a Monday morning says.

However, the traffic is an opportunity for bikers to make brisk business due to their flexibility and ability to negotiate tiny bends in order to sneak out of the traffic. The distance between Bonaberi and Rond Point which averagely costs FCFA 250 is no cheaper than five hundred francs upward.

“The traffic is an opportunity for us to make a lot of money and we charge a lot because it is too risky. You can easily be crushed by one of these trucks in the traffic while trying to take a bend,” Gilbert Bena, a biker trying to beat the traffic says.

The traffic has not left the Governor of the Littoral Samuel Ivaha Diboua indifferent as he has been forced to make a stop on several occasions on the site for personal assessment.

“We hope the road users can help make the situation easier by driving responsibly.  If we are all in a hurry and want to pass at the same time, there is bound to be traffic and in the end we will blame the police for not doing their duty,” the Governor cautioned.

The situation is fluid in the day but it is back to business after work hours as workers struggle to beat the traffic to get back home. For how long will they continue like this in Douala?

A flyover to decongest the bridge

The cup will only be half empty if you suffocate on the bridge without moving forward. Just after the bridge, technicians work even at night constructing a flyover that should decongest the traffic on the bridge.

Though access is forbidden on the site, a worker who spoke on condition of anonymity says the flyover will direct traffic as vehicles moving to the seaport will be redirected from those going straight to the rest of the town.

Built at an estimated cost of 139, 5 billion FCFA, the bridge is expected to decongest traffic from all trucks from the industrial zone in Bonaberi, as well as vehicles coming from the Southwest, West and North Regions.

It is equally a strong link between goods from the Douala seaport to the rest of the Central African sub region.

By Francis Ajumane