Political Sorcerers at it again!

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

Repugnant dross

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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