Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Hon Njong Supports Bobong CS Project

Hon Njong Evaristus, MP for Boyo, was recently guest of honour in Bobong, a small village in Njinikom Sub Division where he supported their Catholic School project with the sum of FCFA 326,000 francs. On The occasion took place at the Bobong Unity Hall.

Following a challenge by the Archbishop of Bamenda, His Grace Cornelius Fontem Esua during a pastoral visit to Bobong on Saturday February 28, 2009 to train more Catholic children and into the sacred priesthood, the Bobong people have left no stone unturned to make their lone Catholic School a haven.

The Bobong people under the dynamic leadership of Mr Ncham George, and Agricultural Engineer, and Divisional Delegate for MINADER in Donga Mantung, supported strongly by the untiring Asuh Terence of the Bamenda regional Treasury, have mounted an energetic fund-raising campaign that is yielding enormous fruits. It is this fundraising and part of political campaigns that brought the MP to this village last weekend.

He was bearer of a message of hope for the Bobong people; hope for the completion of the ongoing project for the lone catholic school.

The Parish Priest of St Charles Borromeo Parish Fuanantui, the mother Parish of the Bobong Mission Station, Irish born Fr Rory O’Brien, has been wonderfully instrumental in the erection of a 42 million francs Church building in the place and now the primary school.

Acccording messages gleaned from the Net Fr O’Brien had promised the Bobong people, who are predominantly Roman Catholic, that if they raised the sum of 2.5 million francs he was going to do the rest.

So far Bobong elite in particular and Kom elite in general have been putting in their own support. These include the Myor of Njinikom Council, Mr Chiatoh David Ngong; Mr Sam Francis Chuo Proprietor of several schools and Kom Fon’s representative in Yaounde; Mr Ngong Christopher Diang – National Coordinator of the Fertilisers in the Ministry of Agriculture in Yaounde; Mrs Tilder Kumichi Ndichia alternate member of Parliament for Boyo (to Hon Njong); Swiss-based Dr Munteh Louis.

In a message of gratitude to donors, Mr George Ncham wrote in one of the several Kom Internet for a:
“When we launched this school project completion to each and everyone of us, we never knew this is how it will gain huge support and applause. You have made this community and her children realize their dreams in a very short space of time and work has to commence as promised by the priest if we had the amount he requested in the days ahead. You have just pushed us to attain this target. If it was left only to us alone, it would have taken another two years and the priest could have left. We are extremely grateful to all of you.”

So far the list of contributions stands as follows with a total contribution of 2,156,315F.CFA, which is 343,685 F.CFA short of the 2.5 million francs target. The President is grateful to all who have contributed so far and will be most grateful if this remaining 343, 685 can be completed.

Hon Njong Evaristus 314.000
Dr Louis Munteh of Germany 150.000
Bobe Pascal K'Kongson 120.000
Dr Chrsantus Akem of Australia 100.000
Maitre Andrew Fultang Akem 100.000
Bobe Sam Francis Chuo 80.000
Bobe Ngong Christopher 50.000
Nawayn Njuakom Hortencia- USA 50.000
Nawain Tilder Kumichi 20.000
Nawayn Hortensia Njuakom's daughters 30.000 (support for their mother).
Mr Nsom Canisius - Yaounde 20.000
Mrs Titang Pamela Bih - Bamenda. 5.000
Bobe Anthony Kufoin - Fuanatui. 1.000
Note that the list is not complete.

By our news desk

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Cameroon Minister of Communication Kills Journalist with HIV/AIDS

Calling a dog a bad name to hang it is as old a proverb as human relations go. After torturing a journalist to death in Yaoundé – Cameroon, the griot Minister of Communications violated every rule on patient privacy. Upon the death of Bibi Ngota, Minister Issa Tchiroma initially left open a window that among other pre-detention medical tests, results for HIV-AIDS were still expected.

It was a beautiful set-up to his eventual conclusion following what can only be called a predetermined autopsy corroborating the wish of the Minister: the diseased Bibi Ngota was a victim of HIV/AIDS.

That he was privy to that information not only speaks to the issues of medical practice, it also tells the tale of a Minister that lacks judgement, compassion, respect and demeanor. In the following piece by Ntemfac Ofege, the veteran journalist and avid observer of Cameroon’s media and political landscapes takes us into the devils den.

Changing the System or the Incarnator,
By Ntemfac Ofege,
In reply to Ateba Eyene and the ‘Taliban of Communications’ aka ‘Comical Ali’.

My dear excellent young colleague, Ateba Eyene: The furore within other Camerounians about the Germain Cyrille Ngota Ngota murder is not motivated by ethno- regional (hence tribal and trivial) considerations. In fact, Bibi Ngota’s origin is irrelevant.

The fact about the matter is that like many others in the far–off and recent past, the murderous system in Cameroun has claimed yet another victim - one too many perhaps. That other journalists, members of the Beti Supremacists who hold sway in the government-controlled media (CRTV and Cameroun tribune), have even voted with their feet and are keeping mum in the wake of the inane and cold blooded murder of one of theirs is not a deterrent. It will not deter us simply because tyranny anywhere is tyranny everywhere.

A certain cynicism would demand most folks (like me) abstain from taking sides in this matter… after all, a CPDM Minster-Secretary General by decree has (mis)used the much decried instruments of torture and repression inherent in every quasi failed state cum dictatorship to murder a member of the ‘Pays organisateur’ in Ateba Eyenespeak. Dog eat dog.

Mr Biya’s tribesmen (even journalists from the South Region, especially those at Cameroon Tribune and CRTV) and their political accomplices from the Centre and the East have always formed a bulwark whenever Camerounians have shouted from the rooftop that the system is wrong.

Members of Bibi Ngota’s home region are not only supporters; they systematically vote for and defend their ‘frère de président’ and the monstrous system he incarnates. These often parochial cum ego-centric folks have often confused the ardent desire to modernize and democratize Cameroon with the case of changing Mr. Biya for foibles more real than imagined.

Several things:
Point one. The fact about the matter is that Bibi Ngota hails from Mr. Biya’s Bulu-South province, Laurent Esso is from Deido- Douala… hence, per Ateba Eyene, Bulus want the Duala-Deido to account.

This is preposterous! It shades the trees from the forest. I find Abeba Eyene subtle tendency to methodically tribalize, if not localize+regionalize: and hence trivialize, political issues parochial, suspect in very bad taste.

The problem, dear excellent colleague, is about terminating a dictatorial, clientelist, gulag created by one man for the benefit of one patron and his clients. This is a system wherein so-called top civil servants invented by clientelist presidential decrees no longer perceive themselves as ordinary.

They are now omnipotent, yet they lack omniscience or basic wisdom. These persons confuse respect for constituted authority with fear of constituted authority.

In this system government is not defined as the provision of services but the display of power and authority. M’as tu vu? This is unfortunate.

Were I to use your own imagery, Mr. Ateba Eyene, I would have said that we are in a restaurant and the time has come to pay the bill. You are now paying for what you consumed and knowing what other Cameroonians have known before. After savaging and murdering Cameroonians of other strains and ideals, the ‘revolution’ is now turning its own homicidal rage on its own supporters of yore with equally murderous vengeance.

Point two:
Like Mathias Owona Nguini, I also openly denounce your (Ateba Eyene) sophistry and hypocrisy. With your tribal affinity to Mr. Biya’s home province and allegiance to Mr. Biya himself – an unmistakable supporter – you systematically vomit the hackneyed ‘Biya has nothing to do with it’ ad infinitum ad nauseam. Per Atebe Eyene, everybody and everything else is wrong while Mr Biya is right. Rubbish! Mr Biya is the problem… he created the contemptible system and he incarnates the system, he sustains the system and he defends the system.

What was Mr. Biya’s take on the fact that his Secretary General was directly involved in the murder of a Camerounian? The president’s stand was that Bibi Ngota was not arrested for a press crime or delit the presse. In other words this young man was a common criminal, arrested, tried, sentenced and murdered for an ordinary crime like theft, forgery etc. Lord have mercy! Defending the system, right? Obstructing justice, right? Whereas on March 2, 2010, the local press reported that Mr. Biya had suspended Mr Esso’s signature on official documents.

Who will receive the copy of the so-called Commission of Inquiry instituted by Mr. Biya to look into the murder of Ngota Ngota? Who will read its findings for his boss? Laurent Esso, the very one indicted by popular verdict for murder most vile. Mr Biya must think we are all fools! And, in every political system, Commissions of Inquiry were invented to sweep scandals under the carpet. Ask the Americans and the British.

Mr Ateba Eyene’s tendency to denounce all around Mr Biya while proclaiming that the president is a saint is illogical and suspect. This is the prototypal vintage Atabe Eyene - His Master’s Voice and a notorious two-timer. At best, this is base native and tribal all over again. Mr. Biya is either the greatest thing that ever happened to Cameroun or he is the most unfortunate thing to have happened to Cameroun. Take your pick Mr. Ateba Eyene.

The Ngota Ngota Murder in Kinescope

Let’s survey the facts and the issues again:
•Mr Biya’s Secretary General, as Board Chairman of the National Hydrocarbons Corporation, SNH is involved in a dyadic network of Jacob Zuma style kickbacks and graft following the purchase of a luxury ‘Hotel-ship’ for SNH. Whatsoever SNH wanted a ‘hotel-ship’ for is irrelevant, but since the taxpayers are paying for the stuff who cares.

Mr Biya himself attempted to siphon SNH money to a dubious Camair account (far away from the eyes of the World Bank+IMF) to wards the purchase of an airplane – the Albatross. That this other nebulous deal was mismanaged and Cameroun lost anything between circa 31 and 71 million dollars is neither here nor there. Atangana Mebara etc are sitting smug in jail over this other heist.

•Word about this unorthodox transaction, plus a list of beneficiaries of the cuts and takes, was leaked to a collective of Yaounde publishers with Germain Cyrille Ngota Ngota among them. Serge Sabouang (La Nation) and Robert Mintsa (Le Devoir) also had the documents. Whosoever leaked this document is also immaterial. As Mr Biya’s reign ir-recoverably grinds towards the inevitable end, and as rumours of another cabinet shake-up looms, the crocodiles are eating the dogs. That too is understandable in all dictatorships.

•Like any good journalist Ngota Ngota tabled a questionnaire to the omnipotent Secretary General in the presidency Laurent Esso, who is also Board Chairman of SNH. Crime de lese majeste! How dare a mere journalist question the Sec Gen in the presidency about anything let alone rackets and kickbacks! The Secretary General owes his allegiance and accountability to one man, you see. The one who appointed him, period!

What Ngota Ngota forgot was that while the Sec. Gen. may have no direct control over the police and the gendarmes, this man is a super magistrate (magistrate hors hierarchy) who has titular control over the DGRE…direction general de la recherché exterieur – the country’s counter terrorism+espionage outfit.

In an obtuse case of abuse and misuse of power and authority, Laurent Esso caused the Directorate-General of External Intelligence (DGRE), to arrest Ngota Ngota, Harrys Robert Mintya of Le Devoir and Serge Sabouang of La Nation.

•It has now filtered that Ngota Ngota did not even have the 100.000FCFA demanded by the source to acquire the indicted document!

•During their February 5-12 detention at the DGRE, the journalists "were submitted to a number of barbarous acts of torture.’ And indicated by Cameroon’s Syndicate of Journalists. They were tied up and beaten nightly with metal bars, deprived of sleep and food and held naked in icy cells.

•Ngota, a sickling (asthma+hypertension+hernia) was thus savaged tortured… not because of the authenticity of the document, but to state his source! By law, a journalist can only release his source in chambers before a judge. If this was a common law crime, like Mr. Biya says, why was this poor boy not arrested by the police or the gendarmes? Why the DGRE? Was Ngota a dangerous terrorist or a spy?

•Issa Tchiroma, Cameroon’s Minister of Communications; a man whose pronouncements borders on the fringes of lunacy, a man who has a Taliban’s views to free speech, governance and government communications, a man who in his more mercurial moments is spokesman for the regime, says the DGRE intervened because by attacking the Secretary General in the presidency, the journalists wanted to bring down the state! Tchiroma says it was not Laurent Esso who was being questioned but a major institution of the state called the President’s General Secretariat - PGS!

•In violation of any decency know to all cultures, especially the African culture of respect for the dead, no matter the circumstances, Tchiroma now goes public to say Ngota died of AIDS. Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad. Let’s just reason with this revolting persona. What if Bibi Ngota was actually HIV positive? Was he arrested for being HIV positive? Was he tortured occasioning death for being HIV positive? Is Tchiroma now saying that government policy is to torture HIV infected persons to death? This is what the government of Cameroon now has as spokesman! Comical Ali!
•After a brief release by the DGRE following which Ngota checked into the Yaounde Biyemassi Hospital for treatment Laurent Esso caused Ngota to be pulled off a sick bed on February 25. He was dragged to court and accused of forgery and using forged documents.

Mr Esso’s accomplices and compradors in the magistracy unleashed expedite and thus jungle justice on the boy. He was despatched to Kondengui – speedily! I defy anyone to prove that Ngota actually forged these documents. Remember that the boy did not even have the 100.000FCFA needed to acquire the documents when they were leaked!

•In Kondengui, Ngota was heaved into the section for common criminals amid the filth and the stench.

•Ngota’s ailing (hypertensive) poor mother, Ngoulou née Edima Geogette, did bribe an official of the Kondengui prison (30.000FCFA) to get the boy move to better quarters. The official received the money but refused to move the boy.

•Mrs Ngoulou Edima Geogette pleaded with the prison registrar for her son to be hospitalized. For fear of incurring the wrath of the man above, the registrar refused.

•Mrs Edima managed to get 150.000FCFA for the boy to be hospitalised an operated upon. That failed and Ngota died April 22, 2010. This boy’s body would not even be given decent treatment after death. Issa Tchiroma, the Taliban, Minister of Communications told some lies, Tchiroma caused journalists to attend a fake autopsy, etc etc.

•The press has just leaked a segment of a letter written by Bibi Ngota to Laurent Esso stating clearly that he never forged nor did he use the document… “… En toute franchise, je n'ai ni fabriqué, ni exploité le document, Je mets quiconque au défit de me prouver le contraire…”, Mr Ngota wrote before his death.

•Consequent upon the death of Ngota Ngota, the Committee to Protect Journalists, Federation of African Journalists (FAJ), the Cameroonian Syndicate of Journalists, the French Foreign Ministry, etc etc, roundly denounced the Biya regime….and note, Ateba Eyene, not Laurent Esso. If Mr Esso was such a liability why has he not been fired! Birds of a feather…

•On April 25, 2010, the Committee to protect journalists sent this missive to Mr Biya. Your Excellency, we hold the government of Cameroon responsible for the well-being of the three newspaper editors currently held in state detention facilities, namely Mintya, Sabouang and Lewis Medjo of the defunct weekly La Détente Libre.

Imprisoned since September 2008 at New Bell prison in the commercial city of Douala, Medjo’s health has deteriorated while in custody. He lost hearing in his right ear as a result of a severe ear infection while serving a three-year sentence over his coverage of a presidential decree, his brother Michée Medjo Gatheu told CPJ.

But this is my grouse with Ateba Eyene. The Camerounian problem is not a quarrel with individuals. It is a quarrel over political systems, their structures and functions. Any undemocratic, clientelist, dictatorial system with entrenched patron-client structures, networks and one based on the personalization of power, one man rule, etc., would show all the tractions, transgressions and contradictions that led to the death of Ngota Ngota.

It is unquestionable that the following are systemic:

1 - A Biya decree invented the-full-of-it Laurent Esso, an ordinary man and a dubious magistrate. Because of that decree Mr Esso now sees himself as omnipotent. He Who Not Only Cannot Be Questioned By The Press But He Who Must Be Obeyed.
2 - To add insult to injury, Mr Biya made Esso Board Chairman of SNH…when all the country’s money or most of it emanates

3 - The Sec Gen controls the DGRE

4 - Public contracts within this system are never transparent; the SNH is run like a Ngumbah house or secret society with zero transparency

5 - The courts and magistrates are avenues for clientelist networks and the magistrates can be influenced by the executive. The magistrates not only recognize but know their own and one of these is Sec. Gen. in the presidency and this position is the president’s ears. This Sec. Gen. holds the key to upward mobility in the profession.

6 - These journalists were kidnapped and tortured and these practices remain a given in Cameroon especially for those suspected of attacking politicians.

7 - Cameroun’s magistrates still use evidence obtained via torture as evidence.

8 - Cameroon’s prisons are hell on earth.

9 - The system operates on fear from above hence the prison authorities are zombies

10 -The system does not have a Freedom of Information Act or an Official Secrets.

11 - Every idiot created by decree is accountable to none save the president.

12 - Only the system would do itself the kind of disservice of appointing an Issa Tchiroma into government as spokesman.

13 - etc. etc.

All of that as Mr Biya presides. Ateba Eyene’s suggestion for journalists to jump-start a massive inquiry into the management of their petroleum and its spill-overs is a non-starter. Without revisiting the inane pronouncement of a Biyarite, the late Jean Assoumou Avebe, that petroleum matters are too sophisticated for the common man to understand, democratic systems with even a modicum of transparency operate under the FREEDOM of Information Acts and Charters.

Such systems volunteer information to the press and by inference the public. In such systems, journalists are not killed because the send interview protocols to the president’s secretariat. What makes Ateba Eyene think that as a matter of causality - the same causes producing the same effects - and given the stakes, another journalist would not be killed for proceeding with this kind of investigation?

One thing is clear. Camerounians of every creed, tribe and colour wish for their country to become a modern, democratic, transparent country, with checks and balances, free and unfettered press, etc. Mr Biya and his regime have neither the will, nor the savvy or even the ability to change their ways, their system and reach for these ideals. In fact, Mr Biya and his regime are in the way of a modern Cameroun.

At best, Mr Biya owes Camerounians one favour - clean the Augean stable he created before he leaves - a Herculean and exalting and interesting task.

Consequently, Mr Ateba Eyene, dear young and excellent colleague, you cannot eat your cake and have it.

We cannot have any more deaths. So, between changing the system and/or the incarnator, the choice is not Hobsonian. The choice is clear.

Special report with an introduction by Innocent Chia and story by Ntemfac Ofege

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Ahidjo's Wife Wants Husband Immortalized

Germaine Ahidjo, wife of late President Amadou Ahidjo, living in Senegal since the death of the husband in September 1989, has decried the neglect of the husbands legacy as Cameroon's first Head of State.

In an interview granted the French daily Tabloid Mutation in her Senegal Abode, Germain Ahidjo stated that her late husband had transcended family live into the public realm. She stated unequivocally that whether people like it or not, the husband works as Cameroon's first Head of State makes him a national patrimony that some Cameroonians are afraid to recognize.

Germaine Ahidjo stated unequivocally that her husband who implanted the first pillars of the institutions in Cameroon cannot be waved aside with the back of the hand for his works have entered the annals of Cameroon history.

She said she does not actually know what her husband did to President Paul Biya to merit the type of treatment being meted on him, which resulted to his death in exile. According to Germaine Ahidjo, the celebration of the Golden Jubilee of Cameroon and reunification cannot be complete without the recognition of her husband who was one of the architects of independence and reunification.

The embittered former first lady said she is still waiting for the opportunity to bring the corpse of the husband home for burial.

It should be recalled that Germaine Ahidjo was granting the interview just when Martin Belinga Eboutou, chairman of the organizing committee for the celebrations of independence and reunification was unveiling in Hilton Hotel Yaoundé the logo competitions for both celebrations.

During the occasion, Martin Belinga Eboutou said those who were being recognized and monuments erected for them are those who had contributed enormously to the history of Cameroon. He said the founding fathers of Cameroon have faith in the nation and sacrificed for its growth.

But Belinga Eboutou was very careful not to mention the name of late President Amadou Ahidjo. He ended at drawing allusions to those who would be immortalized because of their works towards independence, reunification and nation building.

It is worth noting that since President Biya decided that the Golden Jubilee of Cameroon would be celebrated in 2010 culminating into the celebration of reunification in 2011 there have been mixed interpretations. Some political pundits have said it is a ploy to silence the SCNC.

But others have said for President Biya to celebrate the golden Jubilee of Cameroon with the corpse of his predecessor still outside would be hypocrisy.

However, for all the monuments earmarked for erection to mark the Golden Jubilee none has been that of Ahidjo. Even the idea that the celebrations would take place in Omni sport Yaoundé fondly called Ahamadou Ahidjo stadium was shelved at the last minute.

By Teneng Lucas

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Monday, May 10, 2010

Kom Fon gets tough on unscrupulous successors

The Fon of Kom, HRM Vincent Yuh II, has instituted very drastic measures modifying certain traditional practices in order to curb excesses and also check the transmission of tuberculosis. The laws which were enacted by the Kom Kwifoyn , the Supreme law making institution of Kom, were made public recently.

Prior to the institution of these measures that were taken at the Kwifon session of March 10, 2010, the Kom traditional society has been experiencing some sort of human rights violations, particularly in the areas of succession, and inheritance; a subject that made other tribes abhor the Kom tradition.

“We know of successors (brothers or nephews) who drive away the widows together with their children, who seize property from the children given by their late father, who sell all the land they inherit,” says Nsom Joseph of BUCREP Yaoundé.

The measures instituted included the prohibition of successors from selling out or giving out any parcel of land they have inherited without the consent of the widow(s) and children of the deceased. It obliged every successor to abide strictly by the rules of succession in Kom.

The other laws, still bordering on succession problems, insist that that the village head must endorse any such act when the parties are agreed. It puts the enforcement of these laws squarely on the village head who is answerable to the Kwifoyn in case of any such violations.

On the village heads themselves the law obliges them to give out or sell any piece of land only after the consent of the Village Council. Furthermore the laws prohibit any village head who has not performed the traditional rites of initiation as a Bobe (Compound Head) called in the Kom language iyuo, from presiding over any such ceremony. It empowers but the Bochong (owner of the Chong society) to preside over such rites in any village where the village head is not qualified.

On health, the Kwifoyn, considering the rampant spread of tuberculosis in the Fondom, prohibited the habit of a senior or father sipping wine from a cup before offering it to the junior of child. This measure was meant to curb the spread of the deadly disease. These laws were enacted against a backdrop of so many complaints especially from widows and orphans whom successors have chased out of their own compounds where they were born and bred.

The Kom tradition of matrilineal succession has often come under fire from some unscrupulous individuals who do not even understand what it means. Recently in Njinikom during a funeral Mass the Rev Father Yufanyi Evaristus exhorted the relatives of the widow from behaving like others. This pulled a lot of criticisms from some diehard proponents of violation of widows’ and orphans’ right condemning to poor priest for daring into a domain which was not his.

According to this reporter the matrilineal system of inheritance faces the same problems like patrilineal inheritance. All of them would have been perfectly good if those who inherit keep to the laws. It is not uncommon to hear in a patrilineal system how a child succeeded the father and threw out even his own blood brothers and sisters out of the compound and owned all the property. Thus it is not the system that destroys the people but the people who destroy the system.

Since Fon Vincent Yuh's accession to the Kom thrown he has carried out lots of modifications that have been welcomed by the people. One such modification concerned death celebrations. He banned all night death celebrations following complaints of atrocities and excesses committed in the night in the name of these celebrations.

Also the exploitation of widows and orphans to present a big basket of corn flour was curbed. The basket was reduced to half, just about 3 tins as against close to seven tins before. He also banned the consumption of beer in entertainment houses during death celebrations.

Kom sons and daughters all over have seriously acclaimed these recent laws although it generated a lot internet wars.

The last part of the laws was a levy on all villages to contribute the sum of 15,000 francs into the njong-Kom secretariat yearly the sum representing the njong goat (Njong Kom is the errand boy of Kwifon).

The laws were signed by the Fon HRH Vincent Yuh II, Bobe Kwifon (the head of the Kwifon lodge) and copied the Divisional Officers, the Mayors and the Gendarmerie Brigade Commanders of Belo, Njinikom and Fundong, the Chief of Police Post Fundong, the village heads and all the Bo Chongs.

By Nke Valentine

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Friday, May 7, 2010

In Cameroon, CPJ seeks untainted inquiry in Ngota death

May 6, 2010
H.E. Paul Biya
President of the Republic of Cameroon
Yaoundé, Cameroon

Via facsimile: (237) 22 20 33 06

Dear President Biya,

We are alarmed by investigations that appear to be flawed and marred with political interference into the April 22 death in prison of journalist Germain Cyrille Ngota. We hold Cameroon’s government responsible for Ngota’s death and the well-being of three other journalists in the custody of the administration. We call on you to address these concerns, along with allegations of torture of journalists by a security agency accountable to your office.

Mr. President, we were heartened by an April 26 statement issued from your office stating that “with a concern of objectivity and impartiality, the President of the Republic has wanted to assign this case to a body independent of the Executive and its parties, namely the judicial power, in view of the establishment of the truth.”

However, the same statement asserted that Ngota’s case was “not a matter of restriction of freedom of the press but of submission of every citizen to the rule of law.” In fact, agents of the Cameroon intelligence agency DGRE first arrested Ngota—while he was receiving home medical care for high blood pressure—with three other journalists investigating a document that implicated presidential adviser Laurent Esso in corruption. The administration has not addressed allegations that DGRE agents used psychological and physical torture to force the journalists to reveal sources for the document.

The president’s statement further asserted that Ngota died only of poor health and not because of poor medical care at Nkondengui prison. However, in an interview with weekly La Météo, Ngota’s mother, Georgette Edima Ngoulou, said her son had complained of being trampled while sleeping on the floor of his cell and of exposure to rainwater. She said the prison warden “categorically rejected” a written plea for his medical evacuation, which his mother said had been endorsed by the prison doctor.

We are troubled that on April 28, the minister publicly disclosed that Ngota had been tested positive for HIV and died from infections arising from this condition—a claim refuted by Ngota’s widow. Local anti-AIDS activists and Cameroon’s national medical association have condemned the public disclosure of Ngota’s HIV status, raising concerns of violation of privacy and medical confidentiality rights enshrined in Cameroonian laws and the U.N. Programme on HIV/AIDS. The minister’s statement was based on an autopsy he said would be held “in the presence of independent personalities” and Ngota’s family, according to Agence France-Presse. However, Ngota’s younger brother, Bruno Ntede, and Félix Cyriaque Ebolé Bola, a local journalist who was invited by the minister to represent the independent press at the autopsy, said they were not present, according to press reports.

Mr. President, you tasked Cameroon’s judiciary with independently investigating this matter. Yet, we are troubled that the integrity of the probe may have already been compromised by a series of assertions from the administration that are at odds with claims made by family and friends of Ngota. In the interest of transparency and safeguarding the integrity of any judicial investigations, we call on your leadership to address these concerns, including allegations that DGRE intelligence agents used physical and psychological torture to force four journalists to reveal sources of the document at the basis of their arrests. We finally ask that you release all journalists held in Cameroonian prisons.

Thank for your attention to these important matters. We look forward to your response.


Joel Simon
Executive Director

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speak your mind and take part in any discussion.
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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Embezzlement scandal rocks Ako WCPDM

Militants of the women's wing of the Cameroon People's Democratic movement (CPDM) party of the Donga Mantung III - Ako section are pointing fingers at their president madam Susan Giwe for embezzling money they contributed ahead of their Section Conference that held at the Ako Municipal grandstand last 23rd of March 2010.

Talking to this reporter in Ako, militants of the WCPDM expressed worries of having raised the sum of about 360,000 CFA for the Section Conference but just about a hundred and sixty thousand was spent.

“We were surprised that no dance group was given a thousand francs with all the money that was contributed,” a diehard militant of the WCPDM told this reporter in Ako.

While others were expressing disgruntlement to the nature in which dance groups were treated, some were of the opinion that militants from distant sections were supposed to be given transport for the conference that ended late and they could not trek to their various destinations.

“The president told us that we were going to eat and drink at Pa Ntoi's house but we were surprised that she was giving drinks to family members and friends who did not even contribute towards this day,” another militant lamented.

Asked to comment on the worries of her militants, Madam Susan Giwe only told The Vanguard that over 300,000 CFA was spent for the conference but was unable to justify how it was spent.

A reliable source had hinted The Vanguard's reporter to Ako that only the MP's support with that of Minister Fuh Calistus could run the conference irrespective of whatever the militants contributed. Though their contribution to the WCPDM conference was not disclosed, the source however said not up to a hundred thousand francs has been spent and the contribution of the MP and H.E. Fuh Calistus would cover all the expenditures of that day.

“This is not the first time she is doing so,” our source revealed. “She did the same during the first WCPDM section conference that she organized here,” the militant said.

Some of the militants we talked to have vowed that if Madam Susan Giwe does not call back the militants to explain explicitly how she spent the money contributed for the conference, they're going to do everything possible to unseat her from her present post as WCPDM section president for Donga-Mantung III - Ako section.

Meantime, although at daggers drawn with militants for mismanagement of funds, the WCPDM section president says militants of the women's wing of the CPDM in Ako are fully prepared to welcome the National Chair.

By Ndi Eugene Ndi

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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Journalists groomed on Development Research Reporting

Members of Cameroon Union of Journalists from March 16 to 18 were trained on Development Research reporting in Cameroon. The three days' exercise took participants to the Institute of Agricultural Research for Development (IRAD) Ekona where the Chief of Centre, Dr. Mafeni Mase, revealed that the centre is plagued by the lack of funds, skilled workers and non-replacement of retired workers.

The Chief called on the journalists and other research officials on Wednesday March 17 during the visit, to acquaint themselves with activities of the Research Institute, its worth to the community notwithstanding.

The visit was within the framework of the three day workshop organized by the Union of Cameroon Journalists, UCJ, in Buea to strengthen the capacity of journalists in reporting on Development Research in Cameroon under the auspices of International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

The workshop was to bridge the gap between Researchers and Journalists to fine-tune strategies to cause policy markers exploit research findings for the good of the Nation. Briefing the workshop participants on the mission and services of the Research institute, Mafeni lamented that the centre lacks sufficient funds and skilled manpower to function full capacity.

Besides, obsolete equipment and non replacement of retired Researchers and feedback from beneficiaries of their services (local farmers) was another worry. Although timid application of research findings by authorities that be, was another discouraging issue raised, he expressed satisfaction that their services were widely exploited by plantation farmers.

Created in 1954 under the auspices of Cameroon Development Corporation, CDC, to research on the cultivation of oil palms and cocoa, activities of the centre were expanded to maize, tea and rubber by 1956.

In 1972, the research service was transformed to Institute of Agronomical Research when CDC handed it to Government. In 1996 IRA was then merged with other research institutes to form the Institute of Agricultural Research for Development, IRAD.

The Public Administrative Establishment is managed by both the Ministries of Technical Research and Development and Finance, he said.

The workshop participants visited the laboratories where they were briefed on some Research methodology and application results by local farmers in a bid to improve yields. Research on rubber nursery is said to be at teens but the plant is reportedly doing well in the region, Muenyi Paul, an agronomist, Head of the Agronomic Departments briefed the visitors.

He cited a number of research projects carried out over the years and how they are exploited by local farmers to improve on yields. “We most often give them technical assistance on use of farm inputs,” amongst others.

On his part Fritz Ndumbe Lyonga, Head of Rubber Technical Department, briefed visitors on the grades (Standard African Rubber - SAR 10, SAR 31 and SAR CV3) processing of rubber, its use and packaging for exportation.

By Chifu Edward

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Hon. PC Fonso wants West SDF Regain lost Glories

Hon. PC Fonso NEC delegation leader for West Provincial election who is SDF Parliamentary group leader and oldest MP in parliament has called on SDF militants and especially newly elected provincial bureau executive to restore the lost confidence of the party in the West.

The MP PC Fonso was cautioning the SDF Provincial delegates and the new bureau members at the conference hall of the Youth Centre in Mbouda of the West Region on Saturday March 27, 2010 during a Provincial Conference.

The NEC Special Envoy for the provincial election in West reminded over 24 new provincial executive members that although the SDF party scored a low percentage in the West during the 2007 legislative and municipal elections, the party remains the stronghold of the West.

He called on the new provincial bureau chairman, Jean Tsoumelou, to put aside any side talks by detractors in the name of party militants. He warned the new provincial chair that he and his team should wear rain boots and rain coat during their mission of preparing grounds for any elections that will be called by the CPDM regime in the name of independent election body ELECAM.

On the position of the party in the forthcoming elections, Hon PC Fonso clarified that the SDF party is not for boycotting of elections but to stop the elections if good laws are not put for the participation of any political party and not only the SDF. He went on that the party is ready and more determined for free and fair elections in Cameroon.

The new Provincial Chairman, Jean Tsoumelou, in his policy speech promised that as a youth who one time has tested fire during the 90s; he will make sure that the grassroots militants are mobilized. He called on the collaboration of the new team but warned that legal actions will be taken on anyone of them who dares this time to stir trouble of any nature in the West.

The Divisional Coordinators were equally cautioned to prepare grounds for effective start of fieldwork because any election is to be won by the SDF in West. Those elected among others to head the SDF Party in West included Jean Tsoumelou from Bamboutos Division, Vice - Samuel Tagne Ngeko from the Mifi Division, Secretary - Florent Nchinda from Koung-khi Division and Feulefack from the Menoua Division.

By Wambo Emmanuel

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Ntumazah's Widow reveals secret of his mysticism. Says Soldiers, Gendarmes, Police were UPC Patriots

The fallen UPC hero and Nationalist who was laid to rest last Saturday, Winston Ndeh Ntumazah's life was replete with stories of his mystical disappearances. It was believed he had wonderful magical powers. Anxious to know more about this The Vanguard's Yusuf Yerima accosted her and she debunked the tales.

Fortchou Elizabeth who had three children with Ndeh Ntumazah said people erroneously held that Ntumazah had mystical powers because he usually escaped from soldiers, police or Gendarmes who set out to arrest him. The truth according to Madam Fortchou is that the police, gendarmes and soldiers who came looking for UPC militants were all sympathizers to the UPC cause.

“They will meet Ntumazah but will let him go because they knew he was more of a patriot than those who wanted to kill him”, Fortchou told The Vanguard.

According to the woman, some times the soldiers and gendarmes would escort Ntumazah and his colleagues away into safer grounds because they knew Ntumazah's cause was that of liberating Cameroonians fron fangs of the French colonial masters.

Madam Fortchou nee Ngongem Elizabeth, third wife of the UPC fallen hero, Winston Ndeh Ntumazah, declared that they were soldiers, Gendarmes and policemen who were patriotic and sympathetic to the UPC cause. Madam Fortchou Elizabeth was speaking to The Vanguard on Saturday 27th march, after the burial of UPC National President Ndeh Ntumazah in Bamenda.

Talking about her life with Ntumazah, Fortchou said she has hardly lived together with him because he was being hunted by French colonial forces. She explained that in 1968 with Ntumazah's permission, she got married to another man.

“I left him in Ghana in 1964 and went to Albania with the children and later left Albania for the Congo", Fortchou explained.

She said after Kwame Nkrumah was overthrown in 1964, Ntumazah left Ghana for Morocco. “It was difficult for us to live together due to his political agenda and since he did not have a fixed place to live he permitted me to remarry in 1968,” Fortchou said.

The woman told The Vanguard that before his death, Ntumazah's wish was to see all three factions of UPC reunited as the one great UPC of the 1940s. Ntumazah's dream was to see all three factions viz UPC Kodock, UPC Hogbe Nlend and UPC Mckit united, Fortchou said.

By Yusuf Yerima

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Sunday, May 2, 2010

Draft law on firearms handed to Cameroon government

The Board Chair of the NGO known as Women in Alternative Action abbreviated WAA-Cameroon says recent statistics on the proliferation of firearms show that of the well over 639 million illegal guns circulating in the world, more than 2 million of them are found in the Central African sub region.

Madam Gladys Shang Viban was speaking in Yaoundé last Monday March 29, 2010 during a ceremony to present a draft law proposal for the reform of firearm decree N° 73658 of the 22nd October 1973 in Cameroon.

Amongst other things, Madam Gladys Viban said gun violence places a heavy burden on human health, security and development for “It’s said that there are about 600 gun violence related deaths every day and when we come closer home, just under a month, two people died of gun shots in Awing village during a funeral celebration," she said.

This does not only apply for Cameroon and the Central Africa sub region as in the world today, the index of the proliferation of firearms has reached disturbing proportions.

According to the draft law proposals submitted to government by WAA Cameroon, this disturbing proportion is because most transitional crimes like terrorism, piracy, hijacking and drug trafficking require the use of firearms.

In Cameroon the rising rate of armed robbery, civil unrest and murder amongst others is promoted by the easy way by which arms are acquired. This is due to the fact that Cameroon is found in a strategic position at the Gulf of Guinea that serves as a corridor for most landlocked countries like Chad and Central African Republic.

It is therefore because of this that Women in Alternative Action, WAA-Cameroon, thought that that the 1973 law on the proliferation and use of firearms be reviewed and therefore came out with the draft proposal that was submitted to representatives of government and other international bodies.

Given that the effects of the illicit circulation of firearms will not only affect Cameroon, “It’s therefore imperative that strict laws regulating the circulation of firearms into and out of Cameroon are put in place,” says the Executive Director of WAA-Cameroon, Madam Justine Kwashu Kumche.

She adds that the existing legislation in Cameroon, the 1973 Decree is obsolete and outmoded, and cannot properly regulate the circulation of firearms and ammunition.

It is thus with the failure by the current legislation that WAA Cameroon embarked on a research and their findings according to the draft law shows that despite the possession of firearms in the country, there are no official records of the number and types and that the procedure for the acquisition of various categories of licenses is anachronistic.

Hence the draft law by WAA is a product of intensive research, consultations, interviews and debates with Professors, Magistrates, Members of Parliament, Politicians, senior jurists, Traditional Rulers, Religious Authorities, Customs Officials, amongst others who were also present during the presentation ceremony.

According to the Moderator of the PCC, the Rt Rev. Dr. Festus Assana, who sat in as the representative of the religious authorities, "When a bullet is flying it does not discriminate even a pastor, hence the church is not left out when it concerns the fight against the proliferation of firearms," the man of God said

The government was represented at the presentation ceremony by the Ministries of Women's Empowerment and the Family, Defence, External Relations, and the National Assembly.

By Ndi Eugene Ndi

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Comments with racist, homophobic, sexist, hateful, extreme Christian or extreme Islamic content will be removed. Leave the CAPS-LOCK off, no reason to SHOUT. FCFA missing

Louis Paul Motaze, photographer: unknown

More than FCFA 3 billion allocated. Anglophone Regions sidelined in construction of Millennium Villages. The government of Cameroon has signed a joint convention with two development partners; the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Japanese Embassy in Yaounde.

Signed on behalf of the Cameroon government by the Minister of the Economy, Planning and Regional Development, Louis Paul Motaze, the resident representative of PNUD Lisa Simirique Singh and on the part of the Japanese government by the Japanese Ambassador to Cameroon, Keiji Yamamoto, the accord states that the Japanese government and PNUD will offer Cameroon a non refundable sum of CFA 3 985 777 500 Frs for the development of the aforementioned localities in Cameroon which has been baptised "millennium villages".

The first phase of the project that starts this April has duration of 5years and according terms of the agreement, UNDP will contribute CFA 322.500.000 Frs, the Japanese government CFA 3.663.277.500Frs while the Cameroon government will put in CFA 860.000.000 Frs for the development of some 78 villages in the two pilot localities. As usual, none of the villages of the two Anglophone provinces has been earmarked.

Speaking at the ceremony to sign the partnership accord in Yaounde last Wednesday March 31st, 2010, the Minister of the Economy Planning and Regional Development, Louis Paul Motaze who signed on behalf of the Cameroon government said the accord confirms the determination by the Japanese government and PNUD in assisting developing countries attain the Millennium Development Goals.

To the Japanese Ambassador to Cameroon, the money will be used to improve on the agro-forestry techniques of the concerned localities as well as facilitate the access to primary medical treatment. "In the same way, the project is going to render educational institutions very attractive through the amelioration of services like the creation of canteens, latrines etc" say the Japanese diplomat.

Like the Japanese Ambassador to Cameroon, the resident representative of the United Nations Development Program, Lisa Simrique Singh says the program targets the local communities in order to let them understand that they are their own development agents as they posses the potentials.

She however said Cameroon is not the first country where such a program is being carried out. "Cameroon is the 10th country after Ethopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania and Uganda who have already benefited from the millennium villages project", Lisa Semirique revealed.

It should be noted that the March 31st 2010, convention comes barely ten days after two other conventions were signed between the Japanese Embassy in Yaounde and the Cameroon government to the tune of about CFA 7 billion Frs for the amelioration of the living conditions of Cameroonians especially those of the forest zones.

To MINEPAT boss, "This is clear indication that the Japanese government and PNUD are very ready and willing to accompany Cameroon in poverty reduction and attainment of the millennium development goals by the year 2015".

PIB executed only at 70%

In a related development, the Minister of the Economy, Planning and Regional Development Louis Paul Motaze says the he will not hesitate contacting the supreme state audit in case of any poor execution of the Public Investment Budget, PIB.

The Economy and Regional Development boss was speaking at the Yaounde Hilton last March 31 as he opened a capacity building seminar on the appropriation and follow up of the physico-financial execution of the Public Investment Budget in Cameroon.

Holding at a time when his ministerial department is intensifying the campaign on the 2035 strategic development document published by the ministry, Louis Paul Motaze said the document gives much priority to the public investment budget which as of now is only executed at seventy per cent.

To Motaze, the rate is very low and the projects already executed are not up to standards. The MINEPAT boss cited the Regional delegation of MINPROFF in the Northern Region where he visited recently.

Just two years after construction Motaze said, it is already facing depletion. He cautioned that if these acts are not avoided by the follow committee as hierarchy recommends, he is going to inform the supreme state audit for more drastic measures

By Munketi Michel

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