Shredded Cameroon can still be recuperated – Nico Halle

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

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

Last kicks of a dying regime

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

Open letter to GCE Board Chairman

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

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

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

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

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

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

Azong-Wara Andrew