Sunday, July 18, 2010

Helveta to assist Cameroon Gov’t track illegal logging

By Nke Valentine - According to a Press release of June 16, 2010 the Government of Cameroon is introducing a new wood tracking system to protect and support the country's timber industry - and enable exports to continue to the EU. This initiative is supported by Helveta a UK based provider of CI World, supply chain intelligence software for forestry, food and extractive industries.

Map the location of individual standing trees
“Today we have announced that the government of Cameroon will be using our wood tracking system to prevent illegal wood logging - and enable exports to continue to the EU,” states Bridget Fishleigh an official of the company, in an email to our Amsterdam desk. She further revealed in the mail that trials will start shortly and national deployment anticipated in 2011. “We will map the location of individual standing trees in the forest. After harvest, we will track the wood products derived from them through the supply chain, therefore validating the legal provenance of the wood at export,” she said.

Forest Law Enforcement
The release further reveals that 80% of Cameroon’s sawn timber is exported to the European Union. In response to growing concerns about the damage caused by illegal logging, the EU has a Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) initiative. The main requirement is that all countries exporting wood to the EU must operate a national timber legality assurance system, seen as a key tool to reducing illegal logging.

Wood tracing system
The Government of Cameroon will be using a wood tracing system from a company called Helveta to comply with FLEGT rules. Trials in several timber supply chains will start shortly and national deployment anticipated in 2011. Helveta’s technology will be used to map the location of individual standing trees in the forest and, following harvest, to track the wood products derived from them through the supply chain, therefore validating the legal provenance of the wood at export.

Strict criteria
With such strict criteria in place for exports, the Ministère des Fôrets et de la Faune (MINFOF) is planning to significantly reduce the market for illegal Cameroonian timber and will be able to remove any identified illegal material from the supply chain using Helveta’s CI World forest management and traceability platform.

Third and latest country
Cameroon is the third and latest country to sign a FLEGT VPA with the EU (which it did on the 6th May 2010), after Ghana and the Republic of Congo. Ghana has also selected Helveta’s CI World as the underlying technology for its national wood tracking system. At present, about 80 percent of Cameroon’s sawn timber output is exported to the EU, and the FLEGT VPA will provide Cameroon with a gateway to US$362m[i] of potential timber exports to EU countries.

Necessary transparency
Patrick Newton, CEO of Helveta, stated, “Cameroon, in addition to Ghana, has now selected CI World to provide the necessary transparency and governance for their timber supply chains. This validates Helveta’s position as the chain of custody and legality assurance platform of choice for countries looking to demonstrate compliance and control across their timber supply chains and secure access to premium markets in the EU and US.” He added, “As environmental policy and regulation becomes an increasing priority on all national agendas, we expect to see private industry making use of technologies like CI World to source legally assured timber and avoid procuring unlawful material, in response to both legislation and consumer demand.”

Congo, Amazon and in South East Asia
CI World is currently being used to monitor in excess of 2.7 m hectares of forest across the Congo and Amazon basins and in South East Asia. Helveta is the UK based provider of CI World, supply chain intelligence software for forestry, food and extractive industries. CI World is a unique technology platform providing fully auditable traceability and chain of custody control for global supply chains. The Company was founded in 2004 and operates worldwide.This company should not be confused with the Swiss Association for Technical Assistance which later became Helvetas.


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British Cameroons-type Sanitary Inspection to be Re-instituted

By Chifu Edward - Bamenda- Our towns, cities and villages may soon witness a change in environmental sanitation if council authorities embrace and foster move by Hygiene and Sanitation Organisation. Worried by the neglect of environmental hygiene due to the influence of the loose and lacklustre French culture, a 15 days training course (1st -15th of June) on Hygiene and Sanitation was organised in Bamenda at the Presbyterian Church Centre Ntamulung. The key objective of the training, organised by the National Hygiene and Sanitation Foundation, was to train participants on sanitary values, especially as existed in those days of British Southern Cameroons corroded over the years by the French careless culture.

Participants groomed
Participants were groomed on waste management, domestic sanitation, methods of sewage disposal construction of good pit toilets, sewage treatment in towns/cities, general house hygiene, pollution (land, water and air), sources of good water supply, purification of water. They were also drilled on diseases and infections resulting from poor hygienic and sanitary conditions. These included, worm infection, vector control and epidemiology. The use of disinfectants and personal hygiene in restaurants, slaughter houses and beer parlours were also taught. Participants were also taught how hygiene and sanitation could serve as a subsidiary source of revenue for councils, Hygiene & sanitation Laws & the Public Health Ordinance Report writing on Hygiene & sanitation.

Put into practice
The representative of the Northwest Governor to the training workshop, Mr. Shey Henry, said he was happy that over twenty councils have sent representatives to be trained in this area of hygiene and sanitation knowing the importance Government attaches to it . “I expect you to put into practice all you have learned in the workshop,” he exhorted. He said tours of all council areas shall be made by the technical services of the regional office to see into it that proper hygiene and sanitation laws were respected after this training.

Don’t be corrupt, do the work
“You shall not only respect sanitation laws but fetch revenue for your councils in respect of Accounts number 710107 on Inspection Tax; number 713101 of proceeds on Sanitary Inspection Tax and the number 222140 on Household Refuse Disposal equipment to keep the environment of your various municipalities clean. You collect your certificates, do the work and not talk about your certificates,” he cautioned. Aware of the dubious and corrupt nature of most Cameroonians, Mr Shei warned against corrupt practices in the exercise of the hygiene and sanitation duties.

Cleaner City of the World
Speaking to The Vanguard shortly after the workshop, the Coordinator of Hygiene and Sanitation Foundation, Mbonde William, said his organisation is working in collaboration with Cleaner City of the World. He said the objective of the workshop was to train council workers on hygiene and sanitation facilitators who will be very helpful to the community. He expressed optimism that: “Once they carry out what they have been taught during the seminar, most communities would be kept clean,” and this will prevent diseases arising from poor hygiene and sanitation conditions under which people live.

The Sanitary Officer of old
Mr Mbonde recalled that in the 60s and 70s the cities and villages were immaculately clean due to the existence of the dreaded sanitary inspection officials. They were dressed in knee-high khaki shorts and white helmets. They paraded the streets; comb the villages and towns from North to South, East to West for our own interest. “In those days people were not allowed to sell food without medical certificate”. They ensured that all households had befitting toilets and kept the environment clean. “The story is pathetic today,” Mbonde lamented.

Worked together
Nevertheless he blamed failure of the sector on the lack of collaboration between the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Public Health. “The sector functioned well in the early 70s and 80s, because both ministries worked in collaboration”. He was worried about the fact that most councils do not have the Health Ordinance and the Laws of Hygiene and Sanitation. This fact further aggravates the poor living conditions of several village and city dwellers. Handouts to this effect were distributed to participants to serve as a guide to enable them know what to do and what not to.To ensure the proper functioning of sanitary inspectors, officials are going to work in collaboration with State Counsels to bring recalcitrant house holds to book, he said.

If on daily bases
He observed that collection of sewage by councils was too slow. Some councils are said to have complained of lack of logistics and broken council trucks destined for the exercise. “If the council workers collect dirt on daily bases, the situation would have been different. Land refuse could not have been found in the street for days,” Williams charged.

Not vote for enough budget
Another impediment raised was the fact that most councils do not vote enough budget for hygiene and sanitation or for acquisition of sewage vans or trucks to ease evacuation of rubbish. He exhorted Seminar participants to sensitise and educate other Cameroonians on the importance of hygiene and sanitation. He disclosed that measures have also been taken to check fraud by sanitary workers. With the registration number 146/9.37/D14/vol/1/126 of March 1999 activities of the organisation started effectively two years after with head quarters in Buea. A sub a sub office in Bambui Mezam Division, Bamenda to vulgarise activities of the organisation in the Northwest Region.

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Dr. Dewah bid’s adieu to mother in grand style

By our news desk - Bamenda - Mama Susan Mande born around 1918 slept in the Lord in May 2010. She was one of the fortunate Cameroonians who lived both the pre- and post-colonial era. Though gone, the son Dr. Dewah, Titan of Modern Traditional (African) Medicine remains her eternal achievement. Conscious of the role Mama Susan played in his life and professional career Dr. Dewah organized a burial of the century for his mother as a sign of honour and a moral debt he owed her as a mother. The funeral started with a Mass in Catholic Church Akum before proceeding to Balikumbat where she was laid to rest.

Convoy created sensation
At Bamali junction Ndop, a convoy of cars and motorcycle bike riders that led the corpse created sensation on Friday June 18, 2010. The noise generated by the horns of the bikes caused residents along the road to throng out of the houses to be discover what was happening. It was all fanfare when they discovered it was the remains of Dr. Dewah’s mother they had been waiting for. Many joined the convoy to St Mary’s Catholic Church Balikumbat where another Mass was conducted by Rev. Father Joseph Nchituh in the presence of family members and sympathisers. After the mass, she was conveyed to her final place in a journey which began at the Akum Health Centre mortuary as early as 8.30 am June 18. The mammoth crowd that flooded the church and Dr. Dewah’s new compounds still under construction and the messages delivered depicted the popularity and the love Balikumbat had for the man Dr. Dewah.

Drew lessons
Mama Susan Mande was a staunch Roman Catholic Christian like her son. At St. Mary Catholic Church Rev. Father Joseph Nchituh, Parish Priest drew his lessons from Mathew 25:31-44, in which he described the fallen mama Susan as a heart that brings together family members and friends. The Rev Father likened her to Prince Nico Mbarga’s ‘Sweet Mother’. Father Nchituh said though all were in grief, Mama Susan was in the Lord’s vineyard preparing a place for those to follow her.

Prepare for same call
As death does not announce its arrival, he urged those living to live a clean life in order to prepare for same call. Reiterating that Mama Susan had finished her work on earth, Rev. Nchituh said her departure was rather a feast than mourning. He said Dr. Dewah was true replica of his mother. This was manifested in his simplicity, gentleness and humility. Dr. Dewah told mourners at St. Pius X Catholic Church at Akum, that it was a pleasure for a son to burry his Mum. He thanked those who sacrificed both time and resources to honour his invitation for the burial of his mother.

White T-shirts with Mama Susan’s effigy
The funeral Mass was graced by St. Cecilia Choir of St. John’s Parish in Kumba that animated a greater part of the funeral Mass at Balikumbat. Family members, including Mayor Wasum Augustine, Mayor of Balikumbat were dressed in green dresses bearing the effigy of Mama Susan while other family members were in white T-shirts with Mama Susan’s effigy.

Curtains on her stay on earth
Remarkable at the burial was the presence of Chief Nwosu of the Nigerian community in Kumba, Dr. Dewah’s bosom friends. Several dignitaries, including family members came from Yaoundé, Bamenda, Douala and parts of the South West region to mourn Dr. Dewah’s mum. After the Mass at the St. Mary’s Church, Mama Susan’s body was taken to Dr. Dewah’s compound, where it was placed in the family chapel for viewing before burial. Curtains on her stay on earth were drawn at about 4.30 pm on June 18, 2010 with her burial. She died at the ripe age of 92.

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Archbishop Desmond Tutu urges African heads of state to repeal insult and criminal defamation laws

From our international desk - Source WAN-IFRA/IFEX - Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu of South Africa has endorsed the Declaration of Table Mountain, a media industry call to African heads of state to repeal insult and criminal defamation laws and place a free press higher on the political agenda.

"You, the media, have one of the most powerful instruments in helping our societies to value the truth," said Archbishop Tutu, addressing hundreds of journalists attending the Highway Africa media conference at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa.

Archbishop Tutu's endorsement of the Declaration of Table Mountain is a major boost for a campaign that has been gaining signatories and widespread support across Africa. Full details about the Declaration, an initiative of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA), can be found at http://www.declarationoftablemountain.org.

"The Archbishop's voice, added to those already committed to repealing insult and criminal defamation laws across Africa, will help deliver a clear message of change to those in power," said the WAN-IFRA CEO, Christoph Riess.

Archbishop Tutu, a leader in the South African struggle that eliminated apartheid, is known for his defence of human rights. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984.

The three-day Highway Africa conference welcomed close to 500 African and international journalists and media experts to debate the issues facing the African media. A majority of participants also pledged their support for the Declaration and signed up to actively promote the campaign in their countries.

The WAN-IFRA Declaration of Table Mountain Campaign is supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency. Sida and WAN-IFRA conduct an ambitious strategic partnership to advance media development and press freedom worldwide. A series of projects to support freedom of expression and to test new methods and approaches in strengthening media in emerging markets was launched this year.

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

IFJ Pays Tribute to Leading Cameroonian Journalist Killed in Car Accident in US

From our inernational desk - Source IFJ -The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today added its voice to that of journalists in Africa and around the world who have been shocked by the news of the death of leading Cameroonian journalist Pius Njawe who has been killed in a car accident in the United States.

"Pius Njawe was a great friend of press freedom and also a loyal supporter of journalists, not just in Africa, but around the world," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "As an editor he was courageous and as an employer of journalists he always respected the need for decent working conditions -- one of the key foundations of a democratic media culture. We mourn his loss and we send our sympathy to the journalists of Cameroon."

According to press reports, Njawe was killed on Monday 12 July as the car he was travelling in broke down on the free way and was hit from behind by a truck, killing him and another passenger. He was in the country to attend a conference in Washington organised by the Cameroonian Diaspora on the political situation in Cameroon.

Pius Njawe was editor -in -chief of le Messager newspaper which he created in 1979. He led various campaigns for press freedom and independent journalism in Cameroon and, as a result, was arrested on many occasions by the authorities.

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Monday, July 12, 2010

CCAST Bambili PTA Suspended

Chifu Edward - Bamenda - The Parent Teacher Association, PTA, of the age-old Cameroon College of Arts Science and Technology, CCAST, Bambili has been suspended owing to anti-school activities. A Source has hinted The Vanguard. The PTA of this reputed institution, for some time now, has been working against the Principal instead of collaborating with the administration to foster the education of the children.

Orchestrated by selfish interests
The Vanguard gathered that Northwest Secondary Education authorities had observed that the PTA /principal saga, reported in our last edition, was orchestrated by selfish interests. The Vanguard was told that the PTA and some staff, indigenes of Bambili, want to have one of theirs appointed principal. This explains why the PTA has been working against the principal of the school.

Numerous student strikes
Allegations hold that numerous student strikes have most often been fuelled by the PTA to humiliate the principal and cause education hierarchy sack him for incompetence. A probe into the intentions of the PTA was provoked by a recent petition to the Secondary Education hierarchy accusing the Principal of misappropriation and embezzlement. The petition was written by the PTA, under the auspices of the PTA Chair, one Eric Adangfung, a contractor. There was ample proof of malice in the whole affair. The conclusion was that clearly that the PTA was working against the administration of the school. The CCAST Bambili PTA had been acting rather like a supervisory authority to school, than the collaborator the PTA ought to be.

Yearned for the contract
The Vanguard found out that the bone of contention between the Principal Mr Langmia Forkussam Austin and Mr Andangfung Eric, the contractor, was the construction of a multimedia centre in the school and purchase of computers. The PTA accused the principal of having executed it single-handedly (without the consent of the PTA) as mandated by Education hierarchy. The PTA Chair, Andangfung Eric, being a contractor apparently yearned for the contract for the project. He, according to the principal, took offence and started writing all sorts of defamatory reports against his person.

Frustrating the aims
The most appalling thing about it was the open clashes between the PTA Chairman and the Principal in front of students, a very degrading situation for the Principal. The principal, unwilling to allow himself to be dragged in mud by the PTA, which had overstepped its bounds decided to check the situation. Such unruliness by the PTA, if not checked by Education hierarchy would influence others to do same thereby frustrating the aims and objectives of the PTA as originally conceived.

Knew ahead of time?
The Vanguard also learnt that the numerous student strikes in CCAST against the administration of the school were masterminded by the PTA. “Why is it that the PTA chair was always aware of the strike action by students ahead of time?” Mr Langmia wondered. The Principal told the Vanguard that the PTA Chairman, who wants him to run the school according to his whims and caprices, had always informed him of a looming strike by students. “If he was not the one inciting them why is it that he, Eric Adangfung, always knew ahead of time?”

No need to talk to the media
Several attempts by The Vanguard to get Mr Andangfung’s version of the story for about a week has been futile as he frequently gave excuses and refused to respect his appointments with us. “I will call you in twenty minutes, I am busy, come tomorrow”, etc were his words. At one time he told The Vanguard on phone that he had written to Education hierarchy and did not need to talk to the media.

Facing the Nation: the humiliating return of The Lions

By Sylvester Gwellem - The early humiliating exit of the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon from the on-going World Cup in South Africa has made the team the laughing stock of Africa. But it is a very much welcome sign to outsiders who believe that all is not well in Cameroon.

Anti – climax
It is a terrible anti – climax. For one thing, all the hopes of Africa were placed on Cameroon. Little did Africans know that instead of counting on their skills, Cameroon based their hopes on the power of witchdoctors? How could a supposedly Christian country carry 16 marabous to help the Lions to win matches? Who tells the managers of the team that Satan can lie on the same bed with God? The near misses the different players made were punishment from God who does not allow double-dealing. The defeat of Cameroon in three matches was predictable. Despite the galaxy of stars the Lions parade, their wrangling, instead of solidarity is a reflection of the political, social and economic wrangling back in Cameroon. Yet nobody is in a position to keep things in order.

In dispersed ranks at home
Just a week earlier, the Secretary General of the UN on a brief visit to Cameroon, Ban – Kin – Moon told Biya to win the hearts and minds of all Cameroonians irrespective of political leanings but the CPDM arrogance did not allow him to do so. How did he expect order to reign in the Lions when we live in dispersed ranks at home? Politicians never learn any lessons until they are caught pants down like Tamnja of Niger.

Worse things to come
The defeat of the Lions which the CPDM would have used for their campaigns has removed the wind from their sails. The South African Waterloo is an omen of worse things to come.

Wasted effort
In a poor country like Cameroon where very few people can afford a meal a day, each player was given 45 million francs each. Beside they were lodged in a luxurious and very expensive Hotel. If you multiply 45 million by 23 and others whose transport fares were paid, you would discover that many drugs and water points and roads could have been served with such a whooping sum. It was a wasted effort.

Opium of the people
For quite some time now the Cameroon government has used football to divert attention from teething national problems to it. Football has become the opium of the people where everybody swears by it.

Round table and look in the same direction
The Cameroon government should know that before going to any war citizens must all sit on the same round table and look in the same direction. But where the leaders feel that they alone could do everything, the disaster Cameroon has suffered in South Africa will be the end results and why not more. The regional balance in the selection into the national team might have contributed to the demise of the national team.

Allow the ball to do the work
That said, all African teams seem to have played the same way. Modern football has become more scientific than the old school where it was a matter of kicking and rushing. Modern football involves a lot of mathematical calculations to avoid kicking over the pole, out of the pole or simply miles away from the goalkeeper. Apart from that, allow the ball to do the work instead of each player trying to walk the ball into the goal post.

Humiliating return
With the humiliating return of the Lions back home, Cameroonians should now try to reconcile themselves otherwise the calamities predicted by some local and international NGOs will soon sweep us off our feet. After all, what has football brought to Cameroon in concrete terms? It has only enriched the individual players and their accomplices in FECAFOOT.

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Friday, July 9, 2010

NW Health Personnel Trained on Emergency Health

By Chifu Edward - Bamenda - Northwest health personnel and some Red Cross officials have been trained on emergency health services. Participants were Chief Medical Officers of all the hospitals of the region, Medicalised Health Centres, Nurses, medical officers in charge of emergency units of the regional hospital and some members of the Red Cross.

Civil protection
The training falls in line with the principles of civil protection following the vulnerability of NW to natural disasters, like landslides, wild bush fires, thunderstorms that kill, Lake Nyos gas disaster. Based on this the delegation decided to train officers to manage such disasters.

To assist in
The Regional Delegate took advantage of the Head State’s visit to the region to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Armed Forces to carry out the training in order to give the ceremony the health coverage it deserves. Thereafter, the team will remain in the region to assist in the management of man-made or natural disasters and health coverage.

Max health coverage
Equipment, drugs and consumables have already been made available for the team to ensure maximum health coverage of the visit.

International standards
The three-day training is said to have been modelled on international standards. Facilitators were professionals drawn from the Army Rescue Unit amongst other experienced health officials, Emergency Doctors as well. About fifty six health officials were groomed for the exercise.

Optimism
Dr. Ndiforchu Victor North West Regional Delegate for Public Health told The Vanguard Friday June 25 that training could be extended in future based on the diligence of the current officials and the demand for the service in the field. He expressed optimism that if there is effective networking the officials would do well.

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Friday, July 2, 2010

Police rough-handle Mezam SDO

By our news desk - The Rapid Intervention Unit of the Police, commonly known as ESIR, assaulted the Second Assistant Senior Divisional Officer for Mezam, Mr Mugambo Ekema William. It was during the riot of the bike riders as a result of the killing one of one of theirs by the GMI police unit in Bamenda.

Police brutality
The Second Assistant S.D.O. for Mezam, Mugambo Ekema William, who received punches on the face from some elements of the Bamenda Rapid intervention force mid May 2010, has pleaded with the Human Rights organisations to organise seminars with the forces of law and order and help to educate and sensitise them on human rights issues and law because according to him, most of them are very ignorant of the law and consequently very irresponsible.

With a swollen face
Narrating his ordeal with a swollen face in a training seminar organised by the Centre for Human Rights and Peace Advocacy (CHRAPA), a Bamenda-based NGO in special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, the ASDO said he was shocked and perplexed of what the police who are supposed to protect the citizens did to him. He said he parked his car at the entrance into the North West Governor’s office to make a call and all of a sudden, a police van stopped by and the occupants started raining insults on him questioning why he parked where he parked.

What about the common man?
To the surprise of the seminar participants, the ASDO said the police fell on him like bees and started giving him punches and kicks leaving him with a swollen face. “They said they did not care who I was even if I was the president of the Republic. If this happens to an authority like me, then what about the common man on the street?”

They do not know the law they have to uphold
Observing that most of the Cameroon police are picked from the quarters and recruited and so they do not know the law, the assistant S.D.O entreated the Human rights organisations to organise training seminars for the police to educate them in the law and on what they as the forces of law and order ought to be doing. "Because our police violate people’s rights on daily bases”, he however opined that the laws are there but it’s the people who violate them every day.

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WICUDA National Executive Pledges to Unite Mbum people

By our news desk - The new national executive of the Wimbum cultural and Development Association (WICUDA) has pledged to unite the Mbum people of Donga Mantung Division.

In one bundle and not in pieces
Presiding over the maiden executive meeting of WICUDA in Bamenda on May 22, 2010, the WICUDA National President, Shey Henry Nganji, enjoined his Mbum kith and kin to embrace those tendencies that bind them together and shun divisive tendencies. He said that his executive, which was elected at Nkambe on April 3, 2010, was challenged to keep the Wimbum people in one bundle and not in pieces.

Colonial administration of divide-and-rule
On a more serious note Shey Henry enjoined his executive to sensitize and bring Wimbum people all over the Country and beyond together for the common good of development. Hear him; “Let us make our villages at home to be veritable believers in the WICUDA launch that took place in Nkambe and the oneness promised”. He said the “tripod” brought by the colonial administration of divide-and-rule should not continue to divide the Wimbum people.

Accept responsibilities
According to the WICUDA scribe, posterity shall hold the members of his executive hostage if they do not unite the Wimbums for the sake of development in this era of globalization where people talk of global village. He challenged his executive members to work together and accept their responsibilities in times of failures and successes.

Empowered
The Shey Henry’s executive was empowered in Nkambe on April 3, 2010 by the General Assembly to put in place the standing committees, reasons why during the executive meeting in Bamenda, he entreated his executive members to make choices that fit into the various committees and people who are willing to work for the association

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