Saturday, 27 August 2016

Limbe SDF Opposes Purchase of 70 Million Frs Car For Gov’t Delegate

ZAMA: THEY BETTER RETHINK!
The Limbe Electoral District of the Social Democratic Front, SDF party, is strongly opposed to the purchase of a 70 million Frs CFA car for the Government Delegate to the Limbe City Council.

ANDREW MOTANGA: GOV'T DELEGATE
In a press statement issued on August 26 2016, the Chairman of the SDF in Limbe, in reaction to a call for tender published in a local newspaper, said the move is 'unconscionable, immoral and plainly wrong.'

Godden Zama argues that the petroleum producing city has pressing issues that affect the municipality such as the lack of roads, classrooms for learning, portable drinking water, street lighting and the council’s plans were not in tandem with what the people need and untimely. 

Below is full press statement.

PRESS STATEMENT ON THE DECISION OF THE CITY COUNCIL TO ALLOCATE 70.000.000 Frs CFA  FOR A NEW SERVICE CAR FOR THE GOVERNMENT DELEGATE.

We have read with much disdain the Open National Tender No.017/0NIT/GD-LCC/LCCTB/16 of 24TH August 2016 for the Supply of a service vehicle for the government delegate. The Estimated cost of the tender stands at 70.000.000 frs CFA for the service car.

It is our opinion that at a time when most Cameroonians are facing extreme financial hardship and struggling to get the necessary finances needed for their children to go back to school the Limbe City Council is allocating a preposterous 70.000.000 frs CFA to purchase a single vehicle for the government delegate.

For most Cameroonians this is unconscionable, immoral and plainly wrong.
We think it is untimely, misinformed, and extortionate for tax payer’s money to be spent like this when we have pressing issues affecting the municipality such as the lack of roads, classrooms for learning, portable drinking water, street lighting etc.

TENDER FOR CAR
What makes it even worst is that the council is telling the people of limbe to fasten their belts due to their inability to finance portable drinking water schemes in the communities. They a mulling the idea of privatizing public taps because as they say they have no money to spend on essential and critical social projects of that nature but they can afford to splash out 70.000.000frs of tax payer money on a single car. God save Cameroon.

Considering that the estimated cost of this tender is 1/5th of the budget of the subdivisional councils in Limbe and almost equal to their annual subvention from the city council it calls into question the rationale for elected mayors in limbe and other Cities throughout the country were appointed government delegates pull all the strings.

The impropriety of this tender makes us to question what happened to virtues such as modesty that this nation was built on. It is our fervent desire that this Tender be withdrawn and put in the trash can because that is where it belongs.

Ndenge Godden ZAMA
Limbe SDF Electoral District Chairman.

United Support For Peace, USP,(NGO) Encourages Talents In Bonavada, Buea

An international USA based Non-Governmental Organisation, United Support For Peace, USP, which is helping to promote youth activities in communities and fighting for peace in different war torn areas around the world, has stretched its activities to the Bonavada youths, a community in Buea Sub Division, South West Region of Cameroon.

BONAVADA YOUTHS DISPLAY 

USP in August 2016 supported the Bonavada University Graduate Association (BUGA) in organising two scintillating events 

dubbed ‘Bonavada Got Talents to Show’ and the other event named ‘Mister and Miss Bonavada.’

Bonavada University Graduate Association (BUGA), a Community Development Association was formed in 2016, under the guidance of Dr. David Makongo, an elite of the community, an international business lawyer and philanthropist. 

DR MAKONGO: GIVING TO COMMUNITY IS MY PASSION
He has also been donating scholarships and paying school fees for youths of communities in Cameroon and has facilitated the studies of many others in different universities and higher institutions in Cameroon and Africa.

Between 23rd of July to the 20th of August 2016, BUGA, brought together all youths in Bonavada for the ‘Bonavada Got Talent to Show and the Miss and Mr Bonavada competitions, sponsored by the USP founded by the Makongo Family in the USA. There was a cash price of some 300, 000 Frs Cfa amid other awards.

For close to one month, the youths of Bonavada were engaged in singing, poetry, comedy, dancing and the display of the rich and incredible Bonavada culture. 

DISPLAY OF TRADITIONAL WEARS AND DESIGNS 
With the project “Bonavada Got Talent Show Mister And Miss Bonavada”, the Bonavada University Graduate Association through a fashion parade, gave an  opportunity,

for both local and international stylists to display their designs by using those who took part in modeling competition. 

Designing and  modeling according to the BUGA executive is  a profitable alternative to young people who could otherwise turn to harmful  activities in order to make a living.  

PARTICIPANTS AT BONAVADA  TALENT SHOW 
At the end  Peter Johnson Molute finally won the Mister Bonavada competition while Marie Crescence Mbella emerged as Miss Bonavada. Other winners included Fanny Josso Ekongolo who displayed her musical and singing talents. 


Other youths like Andrew Nango also mesmerized the jury. “We are very grateful to United Support for Peace and especially its founder, Dr David Makongo and family for engaging the youths and keeping them busy throughout the summer holidays.  

FASHION PARADE
The event was a great success and everyone in our community remains very happy. We do hope to have more of such opportunities as we the youths constitute the future of our community our country and continent,” BUGA President Freddy Esuka said.

 “ We are committed preserve  the rights of the Bonavada Youths in particular and the Bakweri young scholars in general by trying to propose solutions that improves the livelihoods for young graduates in the BONAVADA community and the entire country. 


BONAVADA YOUTHS 
As a group, the youths are putting hands together try and address the issues of unemployment, poverty, sanitation, health and education. 

The youths must be busy always not only during their long summer holiday,” Dr Makongo said. 

“It is my own way of giving back to the community, my country and the world,” he added.

North West Coffee Farmers Unite under NWCA to Improve Sector*

By Aaroon Yancho Kaah*

There is a buzz of excitement in the air for some 35000 coffee family farmers in the North West Region of Cameroon who now constitute an extended network of hope and self-reliance under the North West Cooperative Association (NWCA).

NWCA  HEAD OFFICE, BAMENDA 
This cooperatives recent tireless crusade to build the capacity of these coffee farmers and to improve their lives through incentives with basic farm inputs 

and better financial remuneration has provided new safety nets to lift the production capacity of members this association from almost zero tons of coffee in 2013 to 850 ton’s in 2016. “2017 promises to be another year of progress and success,” recounted Fonguh Peter marketing manager of this cooperative.

The new general manger of NWCA - Waindim Timothy Ntam, has proven that the simple but powerful act of collecting, processing and marketing of cocoa and coffee can benefit farmers and their communities if well articulated. “Working to bridge the long standing gaps between our member’s and cooperatives, we have proven that sustainable development is possible,” remarked the GM.

Working and doing business with some 12 Secondary Unions and 43, Cooperative Producing and Marketing Societies across the region, NWCA is braving the storms to tactfully manage the obsolete equipments at its disposal to meet its needs and demands. “We are determined to keep moving step by step in building the formidable  value chain of taking coffee from the farm to the cup despite all the odds” said Timothy. And true to this endeavor, at least 96 packets of coffee are processed a week form organic green Arabica coffee beans farmed across the Region.

NWCA was built with the sweat and pennies of farmer’s in the 1950, as the only leading farmer organization in the NW Region of Cameroon. This association is accredited for having helped its member’s source income for their personal emergency needs and development. “This was the hope of farmers,” recounted the  GM.

NWCA GM , WAINDIM TIMOTHY NTAM
Waindim Timothy who had work for this association in various portfolios in the last 16 years also recalled that it was thanks to this association that the first sheets of corrugated zinc were nailed in houses across the Region. “Things were shaping up well but the liberation of the coffee sector in the early 1990’s changed the farmer’s involvement with the Association,” the GM lamented. 

The resulting consequence led to a decline in coffee production. The lack of land, limited resources and the sensitive nature of the Arabica coffee to the climate changes made a bad situation worse. Hardship rocked the Association to financial debts. “Not wanting to give off, desperate times called for desperate measures,” he added. So without hesitation the cooperative went into some structural internal reforms and the global marketing of some of its finished products.
 KOLA –COFFEE TEA
 With enough action, this Association began processing and distributing the beans of the green Arabica coffee into powder-rich in flavor and aroma.  Processed with care and craft, every crisp and a mouthful of tea coffee celebrate not only one of Africa’s mountainous coffee beans but kola tree shade grown coffee in Cameroon. 

‘To identify with our region and our coffee farming system we opted to name this final product as KOLA coffee” disclosed the GM.    According to Achu Frederick, the coffee roaster of this cooperative of cooperative -the adage that he who brings kola brings life, has improved the taste and sunshine in kola coffee tea. The credibility in handling this venture successfully saw NWCA breaking into the US market in 2008 under the kola coffee company LLC. 

NWCA PROCESSED KOLA COFFEE TEA 
“Our principal objectives were to invade the US markets with this kola tea and to enhance our cooperative visibility,” the GM added.who said  the least this dream was nibbled in the bud due to limited financial means. In keeping the steam afloat, recent quality controls of the coffee bean’s and modernize processing techniques which involve the processing and packaging of this Africa’s indigenous tea has continuously kept Kola –Coffee  a trump card for  resurrecting cooperative.
 “For the moment NWCA has plans to take this product to the wide world and they are visible plans to improve the production and marketing capacities,” added the GM. 
NWCA AND LAND
Some NWCA projects are specifically designed to help NW farmers adapt to the climate changes. “Seasonal uncertainties had long obstructed the coffee growing season the high prevalence of pest and diseases also became a big worry for us “the GM said. These climatic changes, brought in by high temperatures also distorted the metabolic process in coffee beans bearing. Form statistics 1*c rise in temperature led to approximately 137kg lost in production for one hectare of coffee farm land.  All these evidence gave rise to the Agro-forestry strategist which NWCA now propagates across the region. “High canopy kola nuts trees are cultivated side by side with the coffee plants to help reduce the high day time temperatures” the GM said. 

NWCA COFFEE AT EXHIBITION 
This shade grown coffee projects also benefited ecosystems and biodiversity as these shade trees save as habitat for birds and wildlife. Through this shade grown coffee, farmers benefit high food crop yields in areas like Oku, Belo and Donga Mantung as the leaves of these kola nut trees are rich food crop and plant fertilizer. 

“This Kola trees also provide kola nuts for food and extra additional income for these farmers,” remarked Mbah Linus a farmer in Boya division and an active cooperatives member.
This method portrays a site specific adaptation strategy to help mitigate the effects of climate change on the coffee sector in this region of Cameroon. No doubt this has curved a unique niche for NW coffee. 

According to North West Cooperative Association management grevilea is another tree specie  which is highly encouraged to be cultivated. All these integrated tree planting projects will boast land security and care for the earth in this region.

This cooperative dreams for a better future on the coffee business sector is very interesting according to its GM Waindim Timothy Ntam. He proudly opines that the future will be very engaging at the national and international levels. “Owing to the fact that most NWCA farmers fall between the 58-60 age brackets across the Region, more dynamic ways are being introduce to get youth into the sector and to boast production” he recounted. This is a magic wand the cooperative is counting on to sustain its business around its cherished farmers across the seven divisions of the region.

Though private buyers and middle men have not helped matters for the farmers and for the cooperative in the past years, NWCA is more determined to help every farmer to enjoy the sweat of his labor through good pay according to the General Manager. “While our dreams are wide we are more self-confident to build a stronger vibrant Association of NW coffee farmers and to continue to thrive in cooperative and in synergy with the Cameroon government” He added.  

There is already good news in the making. NWCA has signed (MoU) Memoranda of understanding with the Italian Farmers Union to assist it articulate projects that will better and lift the aspirations of the association in the near future. “At the heart of this partnership will be the creation of Micro-Financial Institution that will serve as a bank for our farmers,” the GM said.
NWCA COFFEE FARM 

The North West Cooperative Association is looking to the world and would  solicit genuine partnerships and grants that could help steam up good life around the coffee farming sector in this part of Cameroon. 

Waindim Timothy Ntam and his team of collaborators are also in a notable struggle to get the NW green Arabica coffee beans certified at the world market as part of its Foot steps Towards Progress.

*Aaroon Yancho Kaah, Bamenda, Cameroon based Journalist and guest writer

Freelance Writer Launches ‘Celebrity Profile Show’ September 2 2016

A freelance writer and social critic, Daniel Richard Assako, popularly known as Don Chaele on social media is due to launch on September 2, a program dubbed The Celebrity Profile. The show is to be powered by sound cloud and shared via facebook every Friday as from 4:00 pm.

DON CAHELE: MORE TO COME!
According to the host and creator of the show, Don Chaeule, it would not be  limited just to actors, models, designers, artists and bloggers but everyone who is making an impact in their communities whether a teacher, doctor, businesses men, authors, photographers, pastors, politicians etc. 

Don Chaele said the show with tagline Arise and Shine, seeks to showcase the celebrities of the world.

DON: THE SOCIAL CRITIC IN ACTION
The University of Buea, journalism graduate has already shortlisted celebrities in the likes of Goretti Egbe, Renata Ndisang, Mark Bareta, Krysten Enem and Jovynuy Joybert  and would be interviewing them to enable the public share their experiences.

“Questions would be very professional but intriguing. There is a slot called 'Question of the Month', a common question mainly on societal issues which the celebrities are expected to answer," Don said.


Don Chaele who is also an MBA in Finance graduate from the University of Gloucestershire in UK where he is based, is also an estate agent and private tutor and has a strong passion for the entertainment industry.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Exclusive : 15 Detained Buea Prison SC Activists Petition K.Annan

Buea Cetral Prison
South West Region,
Republic of Cameroon
31,July 2016
His Excellency Koffi Annan,   
LETTER TO ANNAN   P 1
Former Secretary General,
United Nations Organisation.
Your Excellency

ILLEGAL DETENTION AND TORTURE OF SCNC ACTIVISTS,     17th JULY TIL DATE                                                
We write to draw your attention to the fact that Cameroon continues to arrest and torture Southern Cameroon National Council (SCNC) members inspite international pressure and legal counsel to the contrary. 

This in no way is provoking the SCNC to adopt violent reactions so that they can blacklist SCNC as a terrorist organisation .

For 55 years, advocates of the Southern Cameroons independence have been killed, `maimed, imprisoned unlawfully, raped and robbed of their basic human rights and their right to a sovereign homeland. 

ACTIVISTS(L-R) NKE VALY, TEBOT T. & NJOUSI ABANG
Successive generations of SCNC activists have stood for “the force of argument not the argument of force.”  

This has yielded few fruits because of the intransigence of the brutal and repressive successive regimes of la republique du Cameroun.


As recently as Sunday 17th July 2016, 16 SCNC activists were arrested by a mixed contingent of SED (state secretariat for defence) Public Security and Special branch police, while they waitied to be served food at a roadsisde restaurant in Molyko, Buea and whisked off to police custody.

LETTER TO K.ANNAN P 2

After spending four days in an airtight, dark and dirty police cell they were taken before the State Counsel who wasted no time to remand all in Prison Custody. 

When 14 of the activists were arraigned before Court of Firist Instance  Buea, the Presiding Magistrate, Beactrice Nambangi refused to grant them bail.

 They are consequently still languishing in the overcrowded prison cells the Buea Central Prison.



Excellency, on this score, we are appealing to you to use high offices to find a lasting solution to our plight. 

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Why Is Cameroon Gov’t Not Paying E. Akwanga’s 1.5 Billion FCFA Compensation For Torture*?

Five years after the UN Committee on Human rights in Geneva, Switzerland recommended that the Cameroon government among other things, pay compensation to former political prisoner Dr Ebenezer Akwanga, it has failed to respect the decision of the UN body.
Dr AKWANGA WANTS JUSTICE

The Cameroon Government, a signatory of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, violated the covenant when it arrested, tortured and imprisoned Akwanga and dozens of other English speaking activists in 1999.
According to Kevin Laue of the London based Human rights Charity Redress, and Defence Counsel for Akwanga in Geneva Cameroon has done very little, or nothing to abide by the obligations.
"What we tried a few years ago to get things moving but there is a deadlock. We wrote directly to the government of Cameroon and the President and other state officials copying the Human Rights Committee. In order to get some kind of dialogue going, we said that we thought it was reasonable to claim 3 million US dollars (some 1.5 Billion FCFA) and that we were quite willing to discuss this further to resolve the compensation case," Laue said.
KEVIN LAUE : TORTURE VICTIMS  DESERVE JUSTICE
Defense lawyers for the Cameroon government have since insisted Ebenezer Akwanga, who has a warrant for his arrest back in Cameroon, returns to the country before any kind of negotiations can take place.
Dr Akwanga himself is not amused by the long wait to get compensation considering that other victims who also won cases against the government at the Geneva Human Rights Committee, have since been compensated. “I never asked them to torture me. I am saying that if the state of Cameroon does not pay me now, they are going to pay tomorrow or after tomorrow so there is no way they are going to escape out of it. If the state thinks that it is good to keep torturing people and taking tax payers money to compensate them, so be it,” he stated.
In October 1999, Ebenezer Akwanga and dozens of other Southern Cameroon activists were sentenced to long prison terms by the Military tribunal in Yaounde for subversion and armed insurrection, a charge they denied.
Akwanga received a 20 year jail term but escaped from Kondengui prison 7 years later. He was tortured and almost lost his while in prison. Most of his prison comrades died in detention. In 2006, Akwanga was granted refugee status in the USA.
In 2008, he contacted London based human rights organisation, Redress that fights for the rights of state tortured victims. The case was taken to the UN Human Rights Committee that ruled in Akwanga's favour in 2011. In Communications no 1813/2008, the UN Committee ruled inter alia that “…the state party (Cameroon government) is under an obligation to provide the author (Ebenezer Akwanga) with an effective remedy , which should include a review of his conviction with the guarantees enshrined in the covenant, an investigation of the alleged events and prosecution of the persons responsible as well as adequate reparation, including compensation.”
STILL BELIEVES IN  A FREE SOUTHERN CAMEROONS
Almost 20 years after he was first arrested for “state subversion”, Dr Akwanga is still suffering from the intense torture while in te hands of security officials.

His wife Agnes Akwanga confessed that he still suffers from nightmare’s, can go for long periods without sleep and is now partially sighted because of the harsh prison light he was subjected to periodically. He was half paralysed in prison and sometimes loses his balance. Redress defense Counsel Kevin Laue says some kind of compensation will gravely reduce the sense of injustice he suffers from. “ If he can get a measure of justice which is what we are seeking for him, that will help a great deal.
CO-AUTHORED BOOK
It always helps when torture victims get some compensation and acknowledgement from the government. If they get some accountability and some of the people who did wrong and are brought to account, all of this helps because it will make people feel they have not just been tortured and forgotten about,” he said.

"Southern Cameroonians should not give up the struggle to gain their freedom and independence," Dr Akwanga insisted.
The Cameroon Government is expected to begin the process of redress by paying Dr Akwanga some compensation as the UN Human Rights Committee recommended

With field reports, from Francis Ngwa in London, UK.

Saturday, 6 August 2016

OPINION :THE RIGHT TO LEAVE: SOUTHERN CAMEROONS AND UK EXPERIENCE. BY BARRISTER AJONG STANISLAUS*

BARRISTER AJONG: WE SHOULD LEARN FROM UK 
BY BARRISTER AJONG STANISLAUS*

As a resident in the UK, fate has made it possible for me to part take in two elections for my short stay here. First, it was a pleasant surprise to learn that I was eligible to be entered into the electoral register of the United Kingdom! 

When I decided to, it took less than two (2) minutes for me to be regularly entered into the register (online) and my voters’ card delivered in just two weeks! I voted in the local elections of Members of the Scottish Parliament of 5th May 2016 and the European Referendum of 23/06/2016.

Don’t ask how I voted! I am concerned here with two things;
-          -The fact that a referendum was called for the British people to exercise the right to stay or leave the EU and
-          -That they voted to leave.

Though not generally encouraged, there is nothing that is brought together that cannot be given the opportunity to separate. Because separation is not an ‘of course’, the then British Prime Minister David Cameron thought it wise to organize a national referendum for the people to decide whether the Union with Europe should continue. 

It is being labelled here a gamble that failed because the PM actively and energetically campaigned for a ‘remain’ which never won. So, question; if the PM really wanted a remain, why did he call the referendum? Was it absolutely necessary for a referendum to be called?

This is a society of rights and the respect of the rule of law. This is a Country where politicians vote as per their conscience and the aspirations of their constituency and not necessarily on Party Lines. Unlike other Countries the world over, Great Britain does not have a written Constitution. 

However, they have succeeded in maintaining high moral standards in managing public office. The public eye does not blink! The British are very proud of their System. Very proud of their Pound Sterling. Very Proud of their Public Order. The idea of the European Union started in 1950 with the Schuman Declaration. It took off as the European Coal and Steel Community. 

DEMANDS FOR RESPECT OF HUMAN RIGHTS

The six founding countries were Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. This progressed to the European Economic Community or the Common market in 1957. 

The government and people of the United Kingdom only joined the Union in 1973. The Maastricht Treaty brought in the European Union in 1993. Membership of the Union has grown from the six founding members to 28 when the British voted to leave on the 23/06/2016.

The relationship between the Union and the UK has not been honey and milk. This is not the first time the British have been consulted by referendum whether they want to stay in the EU. In 1975 when it was still called the Common Market, a referendum was called and 67% voted to remain. Though voting with a comfortable majority to stay, the British never really fully integrated into all the facets of life of the Union. 

When the Shengen Agreement was signed in 1995 allowing for free movement within the Union, holders of the ‘Shengen’ visa were and are not allowed entry into the UK. Where a visa is required for entry, you must obtain a UK visa before you could be allowed through the border control. The Agreement instituting the EURO as a common monetary denomination in the Union has never been functional in the UK. As one Briton asked when the EURO was introduced, “Does this mean that Her Majesty’s Pound Sterling will be controlled from Brussels?”

It can therefore, be safely stated that from inception, the British have been ‘one foot in, one foot out’ in their relationship with the EU. This raised concerns amongst certain members of the Union who thought rightly or wrongly that the British had preferential treatment in the marriage. 
BARRISTER AJONG:  WE SHOULD GET SERIOUS
While there were complaints from outside that the British were given privileged treatment, there was growing discontent at home that too much of the Tax payers’ money was being used on Europe. That locals were losing jobs in favour of the new influx of Europeans from member states of the union.

This led the government of David Cameron to go into negotiations with the Union for certain guarantees in order to go for full integration. He did obtain positive guarantees which he deemed favorable for the UK in the case of full integration. Being a democracy, he then called a referendum to sell his new brand full integration with the EU or leaving it altogether. The leave campaign won with 52%. 

David Cameron resigned and Theresa May was asked by the Queen to form a new Government. Today, the government is on the path of negotiating the exit.This is a democracy that is ready to listen to the people! David Cameron went out of office smiling, though he ‘lost’ in the referendum. He respected the wish of the people. Calls for a second referendum have simply been ignored.

Can we and the government of Cameroon learn anything from the British Experience? Theresa May campaigned with the PM on the remain Ticket. Today as PM, her Foreign Secretary is someone who was very vocal in the exit campaign team!
No political marriage or union can last forever if the people wish otherwise. We might just be playing with a time bomb if we decide that ‘the right to leave’ does not apply in the case of Cameroon.

*AJONG STANISLAUS
Barrister at Law,
Chevening Scholar,
Aberdeen, UK

Disclaimer: All the views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent the position of the Chevening Secretariat or the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO)