Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Avoid High transfer fees, and help fight poverty by choosing the right transfer service!

By Hinsley Njila (a princereport contributor)

Many immigrants abroad have at one point or another used Western Union or similar services to send money to their families or friends around the world. Among the good things about these services; Western Union for instance is easy to access especially in third world countries, money can be sent quite easily (online, in-person etc), money can be picked up in minutes; their logo has bright yellow and other colors.

For all you who regularly use especially Western Union, take a second to see how just picking the right services can make an even bigger difference in the lives of your families, friends, communities, and above all help reduce poverty. No one can discount the great benefits of services like Western Union; they have breached the gaps in the complexities of currency trading markets, helped immigrants connect with their communities for decades now, and in so many situations have been the only reliable source of money that has actually helped to fight the severe poverty that exists in many of these communities.

Whenever you exchange currency through Western Union per say, you are simultaneously selling your own currency and buying the foreign currency. There are two main factors that affect your money transfer costs: the exchange rate and the spread. The spread is the difference between the bid price (the price you sell at) and the ask price (the price you buy at) of a currency pair, quoted in a decimal value called pips. Basically, the lower the spread, the better the exchange rate, and the less you pay in "fees" to your broker.

Pick up your last Western Union receipt and look at the price you sold your currency to Western Union for, then go to services like or, and check the rate the currency was being offered on the global forex that day and you’ll understand what I’m talking about. Western Union, which incidentally is the most used money transfer service, has the largest spread of any company. What does this mean for you, your family, friends and communities?

Well the immediate impact is that potentially millions in your local currencies are being withheld from your families and friends every time you use Western Union’s services. Money that would otherwise go to start a local business, send a kid to school or maybe just help a family put food on the table is being taken by Western Union because of reasons of excess profits. Choose a different service with a lower spread even by a few pips and you’ll get more money to your communities without actually putting more money in your transaction.

In addition to large spreads, Western Union also charges some of the highest transfer fees of anyone. If you think for a second that Western Union which has no employees of its own in these countries, no offices and therefore no operating costs besides a few percentage points paid to the banks as an outlet, it’s pretty amazing what they charge for transfers.

Several years ago when I withdrew money from Western Union at a location in Cameroon, I found that the services were NOT transparent, cost-effective, convenient or secure. The lack of transparency was due to the fact that the person dispensing the money is usually corrupt, exploitative and would often keep a few hundred of the local currency because the receiver did not know exactly how much the exchange rate was at any given time. It wasn’t cost-effective because it was certainly expensive and it wasn’t convenient or secure because people who receive money through Western Union are usually not respected at banks especially in Africa. The scene is usually a very long line, with people waiting several hours at a time, no privacy, no respect and often with a rude teller left to attend to them.

You would think a multi-billion dollar company like Western Union that has spent decades exploiting poor people in some of the most depressing conditions around the world; would do a lot to help some of these people get out of poverty, but you’d be wrong. I have NEVER heard of a Western Union scholarship in any of the poor African or South American Universities, or maybe there is a Western Union water project I missed in Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Kenya or elsewhere. At what point does social responsibility kick in for some of these companies doing business in third world countries?

Well, make the right choice by choosing the right service to send your money, and I bet these companies doing business in third world countries will have no choice but to embrace socially responsible that helps alleviate poverty. Social responsibility, accountability, and profitability should be mutually exclusive. In the fight against severe poverty like what we have in Africa, every little ‘pip’ reduction counts and could potentially mean the difference in whether someone stays hopeful or dies in poverty.

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Monday, April 28, 2008

Mbanga Pongo crash: Kenya Airways anxious to know crash cause

Airliner officials have begun urging the Kenyan and US governments to mount
pressure on Yaounde authorities to release a report on the cause of the crash

By Ntaryike Divine, Jr. in Douala

Almost a year since a Kenya Airways plane hurtled into jungle marshes at Mbanga Pongo seconds after take-off from the Douala airport, protracting information blackout on the exact cause of the crash has compelled the airliner to direct pressure on Cameroon authorities.

Kenya Airways CEO, Titus Naikuni, said earlier this week that his company was seeking the intervention of the Kenyan and US governments to oblige Yaounde authorities to release the report. All 114 passengers and crew members aboard perished when KQ flight 507
nosed-dived amidst violent nocturnal storms last 5 May.

A flurry of aviation experts from within and without Cameroon attempted hypothetical explanations on the cause of the crash in the weeks that followed. Some blamed Cameroon for her blatant lack of flight control radars that stalled a search and rescue operation for over 48 hours. Others pinned blame for the disaster on violent night storms.

At term, the wrecked craft’s black boxes were retrieved from the marshy crash site after days of a
daunting search and ferried to Canada for analyses. Cameroon authorities announced amidst sweeping grief at home and abroad that the crash cause report would be available in a year. In the interlude, Kenya Airways began paying indemnities to kin of deceased passengers, as DNA tests conducted at a Bosnian laboratory enabled the identification and restitution of corpses [mostly as body parts] to relatives.

Kenya Airways officials have said the crash significantly burdened the national carrier which has
been grappling to regain its once enviable poise in air transport in Africa. Speaking recently at the
carrier’s headquarters in Embakasi , Kenya , CEO Titus Naikuni said Kenya Airways is facing huge challenges in the aftermath of the disaster. He named shortage of aircraft following the loss of the Boeing 767-800 in the Douala crash and the ongoing unparalleled hikes in fuel prices as major sources of concern.

He however said Kenya Airways is acquiring more planes to inter alia, fill the shortfall from the Douala crash, but also noted that the delivery of new craft had been delayed by Boeing manufacturers for reasons he did not state. He even hinted that the airliner may be obliged to raise fares in two months time, in order to cater for unprecedented increase in fuel prices and
the continued weakening of the dollar that has continued to eat into its profits.

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Fear of another uprising: Biya orders Russian helicopters to shoot demonstrators, rioters!

The government is deeply apprehensive of the state of national security. The unpopularity of the recent amendment of the constitution and the ever-rising prices of food and essential commodities have combined to create a sense of nervousness among the masses which could easily find expression in a popular uprising. Rather than address the issues, Paul Biya has opted for the use of brutality

By Ntaryike Divine Jr. in Douala

President Paul Biya seems determined to have his way at all cost; and to use as much brutality as is necessary which is already the hallmark of his 25-year regime. To cope with the simmering tension in Cameroon following popular disapproval of the recent amendment of the constitution permitting him to stay in office beyond 2011, the government has placed armed troops across towns in Cameroon.

This is to forestall a poplar uprising similar if not worse than that of February.
Apart from popular anger over the amendment of the constitution, the hardship of the masses caused by ever-increasing food prices provides yet another reason for a real possibility of problems for the authorities.

Intelligence sources have told The Herald that the government is not taking the situation lying low.

In addition to the already announced intention of the government to recruit at least a thousand more hands
into the army, The Herald has learned that Russian war helicopters are on order to strengthen the government’s already heavy hand in dealing with any possible uprising.

The helicopters which are said to be nine in number and ordered through a private Swiss supplier will be used to shoot gatherings of rioters, our sources say.

The government’s fear of a possible uprising is so real that a fortnight ago President Paul Biya called off a journey abroad at the last minute.

A government decision last month to reduce the price of foodstuffs and essential commodities which received wide public approval has proved a failure. Not only is the public disenchanted, retailers are gradually being turned against the government because of the hard measures of authorities of the Ministry of Trade which
include locking up shops, seizing wares of recalcitrant traders and forcing down unacceptable
reductions on retailers.

These developments only add to the existing state of mass youth unemployment, which prepare the ground for a possible people’s uprising.

The civil society has also warned the government to try to act quickly and adequately to provide solutions to the crisis in which people live.

Closing a recent meeting of the Catholic Episcopal Conference, Archbishop Samuel Kleda who chaired the meeting warned the government that unless it acted in time it should be ready for another uprising which will embrace the whole of Cameroon and render last February’s riots a child’s play.

The government appears rather to be preparing for the use of brutal and excessive force instead of turning
the same resources towards lasting solutions.

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Friday, April 25, 2008

Malaria prevalence: One African child dies every 30 seconds

In Cameroon, at least 30 percent of deaths are caused by malaria, 40 percent of them children below five years

By Eric Venyui in Yaounde

Every 30 seconds, at least one child in Africa, especially sub-Sahara Africa, dies of malaria,
Plan-International has disclosed.

According to a document published by the child-centred international NGO, more than one million people, mostly children, across the world are killed by malaria annually, over 80 percent of them in sub-Sahara Africa. It confirms that malaria remains one of the biggest killers of African children,
accounting for nearly one in five of the continent’s child deaths.

In Cameroon, official figures show that annually, malaria alone accounts for between 45 and 50 percent of medical consultations, 23 percent of all hospitalised cases, 26 percent of absences from work. It accounts for 30 to 35 percent of deaths here; about 40 percent of them children below five years. More than 35 percent of these deaths are recorded in health facilities, and 40 percent of annual household health expenditure is spent on malaria treatments.

In many countries, malaria is treated as a public health threat. And every 23 April, all African
governments and their health partners organise activities to «roll back malaria». Activities on this
day are designed to sensitise the populations of Africa on the dangers of malaria and to seek ways to prevent it from spreading.

Plan-Cameroon is expected to join other community development organisations in the Centre province to organise an open-door event in Akonolinga in the Nyong and Mfoumou division outside Yaounde today to mark the African Malaria Day to roll back malaria.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Cancer: the silent but destructive killer that kills thousands of Cameroonians every year!

Courtesy - Harry Ndienla Yemti

Every year, some 12,000 new cases of cancer are recorded in Cameroon, the executive secretary of Cameroon National Cancer Control Programme, Anderson Sama Doh, has told Cameroon Tribune.

According to Sama Doh, statistics show that some 11 million people are suffering from cancer across the world, 50 percent of them in developing countries and the other half in the developed world. But, he adds, in the next decade, it would be 35 percent for the developed world and 65 for developing countries, given that developed countries are increasingly aware of the causes and how to prevent the disease.

Another problem of the developing world, he explains, is that most patients are not known until it is late. «More than 80 percent of our patients go to the hospital (only when the disease is already) in an advanced stage, and cure is no longer guaranteed.»

Sama Doh explains that cancer is curable if it is diagnosed in its early stage and advises that constant medical check ups are a necessary step to avoiding the risk of having to deal with chronic cancer.

Nevertheless, all is not lost for patients suffering from chronic cancer. He says patients with cancer in its advanced stage can still go for palliative treatment to relief the stress, pain, and other ills like fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, and short breath.

The expert explains that with palliative treatment, one needs to understand one’s conditions and choices for care. To him, palliative care helps patients to improve on their ability to tolerate medical treatment that would enable them go on with life.

Palliative health care, he says, could also be used to handle cases of such life threatening diseases as HIV/AIDS.

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Meeting to discuss Reproductive health issues affecting Africans across the continent

Representatives of civil society, NGOs and the media from six African countries have been meeting in Yaounde since Tuesday to try to agree on the most effective strategies to educate the public on reproductive health issues.

The three-day workshop seeks to implement the Maputo Plan of Action for the putting in place of a continental mechanism through which lessons on sexuality and reproductive health could be better served the public.

Organised by the Cameroon National Association for Family Welfare, CANMNAFAW, in partnership with the International Planned Parenthood Federation, IPPF, the
Yaounde meeting is seeking to define the practical modalities of collaboration between the media, NGOs and the civil society for the effective implementation of the Maputo Action Plan, build the capacities of media practitioners on how to facilitate the implementation of the Action Plan and to see how useful the media could be in the coverage of health related issues in the subregion.

According to the minister of Public Health, Andre Mama Fouda, who co-presided at the opening ceremony with the minister of Communication, Jean-Pierre Biyiti bi Essam, the implementation of the plan here would greatly help ease the universal access to integrated services in the domains of sexuality and reproduction.

Speaking during the official opening of the workshop, the deputy regional director of IPPF, Pamela Ebot Arrey, said reproductive health and the economy should be placed side-by-side so as to know the number of offsprings to bring forth. She noted that complaints of unwanted pregnancies and unplanned children being born are rife in the continent.

The initiative to limit these undesired happenings was born out of a 27 August 2004 sub-regional forum on sexual and reproductive health in Yaounde. African Public Health ministers underlined that there was an alarming child mortality rate, low use of contraceptives and a high rate of mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS.

As such, they took upon themselves and their respective governments to promote, develop and
reinforce public knowledge on these issues as part of measures to improve the situation.

The Yaounde workshop to round off Thursday, 24 April has participants from Burundi, Congo, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad and Cameroon.

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Can the private sector be the key to addressing some of sub-Saharan Africa’s poorly managed public health systems?

Courtesy - Harry Ndienla Yemti

A report by the International Finance Corporation, a World Bank subsidiary, says that a well-managed and effectively regulated private sector health system could be a panacea to health delivery problems in sub-Saharan Africa

Health care in most of Sub-Saharan Africa remains the worst in the world, despite decades of enormous foreign financial, material and human resource assistance.

The private sector department of the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) has reported that very few countries are able to spend the required World Health Organisation (WHO) minimum standard of 30 to 40 dollars per person per year for health care.

The IFC report, published recently, observes that in spite of billions of dollars from international
donors, a disturbing 50 percent of sub-Saharan Africa’s health expenditure is done through
out-of-pocket payments from its largely impoverished population.

In addition, the region lacks the infrastructure, facilities and trained personnel needed to provide
even minimal levels of health services, the report notes.

To the IFC, the private sector has a critical role to play if sub-Saharan Africans must have more and better quality health care.

A study conducted by the IFC shows that an estimated 25 to 30 billion dollars will have to be invested in health care in the region over the next decade for the provision of over half a million additional hospital beds, training of about 90,000 more physicians, 500,000 nurses, and 300,000 community health workers, and to create better production and distribution facilities for pharmaceuticals and medical supplies.

The study shows that it would take a combined effort of both public and private sectors to reverse existing trends.

And even though the report finds that the private sector already delivers about half of Africa’s health care needs, it calls for a closer partnership with the public sector and a better-managed and effectively regulated private initiative. Already most Sub-Saharan Africans prefer private
hospitals because of their staff courtesy, convenience, quality service, availability and shorter
waiting periods, says the report.

The report also highlights the role of the private sector in bringing significant improvements to health services to Africa’s poorest people and in reducing the financial burden on governments.

The report recommends that impediments to a productive private health care sector should be eliminated, burdensome regulations scrapped, increased access to capital and personnel training be facilitated, and risk-pooling mechanisms like health insurance services be encouraged.

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Monday, April 21, 2008

Oil prices drop as dollar rises against euro

Crude oil fell on the global market by 2 US dollars to sell at 12.80 US dollars on Friday

Oil prices dropped more than 2 US dollars a barrel Friday on the international market as the U.S. dollar rose against the euro.

Light and sweet crude for May delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange was down by 2.06 to 112.80 US dollars a barrel in electronic trading by Friday afternoon in Europe.

On Thursday, the May contract rose to a record 115.54 dollars as the dollar fell to a new low against the euro.

In London, Brent crude futures dropped by 76 cents to 111.67 dollars a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.

A host of supply and demand concerns in the U.S. and abroad, as well as the depreciating dollar, had pushed crude prices up more than 4 per cent last week.

Investors have been buying oil contracts as a hedge against the weakening dollar, betting that rising commodity prices will offset dollar declines.

But on Friday, the dollar rose slightly, after falling to an all-time low against the euro, which peaked at 1.5982 dollar. The euro stood at 1.5830 dollar in Europe last Friday.

«Oil has been taking so widely its directional clue from the dollar that when the dollar does not move, oil does not know where to go,» Olivier Jakob of Petromatrix in Switzerland said in a report.

Traders were also keeping an eye on unrest in Africa’s biggest crude producer. A militant group in Nigeria said it had sabotaged a major oil pipeline operated by a Royal Dutch Shell PLC joint venture and promised further attacks on the country’s petroleum industry.

A spokesman for Shell had no immediate comment on any attack. Attacks since early 2006 on oil infrastructure by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta have cut nearly one quarter of Nigeria’s normal petroleum output, boosting oil prices.

The militants say they are fighting to force the federal government to send more oil industry revenue to their areas, which remain desperately poor despite decades of oil production.

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86bn French debt relief funds lying fallow at BEAC!

The funds accruing from debt relief granted Cameroon in 2006 by the French government, following the attainment of the HIPC completion point, are intended to finance development projects in the country

By Ojong Steven Ayuk in Yaounde

The funds already accruing from debt relief following Cameroons attainment of the completion point of the HIPC initiative are quite enormous and are destined for the financing of urgent development projects in the country.

But in spite of the market under-development of the country and the abject poverty to which the masses have been subjected over the past two decades, government still seems short of ideas as to what viable projects could consume the money and better the lives of Cameroonians.

And because of this, over 86 billion FCFA of the nearly 160 billion FCFA so far deposited in accounts at the Central Bank, BEAC, thanks to debt relief granted Cameroon by the French government following a contract signed between the two countries on 22 June 2006, is still waiting to be used, and this until the government presents viable projects.

So far the government has only been able to withdraw close to 80 billion FCFA to finance mostly
rehabilitation works in Yaounde and Douala, and a smaller part to pay salaries of contract teachers. In fact, over 11 billion FCFA (8 billion in 2007 and 3 billion in the first half of 2008) has been used for payment of contract teachers’ salaries.

Following the 2006 contract for debt relief with the French government, money intended for servicing of debts owed France is deposited in two accounts at BEAC. This money is ploughed back into the economy to finance development projects under the HIPC-C2D programme.
At a press briefing here on 15 April, the Director of the French Development Agency, Pascal Collange, said that by the end of the first part of the C2D programme that ends in 2011, Cameroon would have benefited some 352 billion FCFA from France.

Pascal Collange said Cameroon has so far respected deadlines for the servicing of her debts, to the tune of 70 billion FCFA a year.

He said through an agreement between the two governments, the civil society has been brought in to contribute in the follow-up of the execution of projects under the C2D programme. This to ensure adequate use of the funds and proper execution of projects.

According to Marc Bikoko, president of the syndicate of public servants (CSP), the role of the civil
society is to identify problems with the execution of the projects and ensure that corrective measures are taken.

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

'The Nation's' Transparency Awards honors politicians and government managers in Cameroon!

By - Harry Ndienla Yemti

Professor Vincent P.K .Titanji, Vice-Chancellor (VC) of University of Buea (UB), otherwise known as “The Place to be”, and managers of some state corporations have been honored for their stringent and transparent management by 'The Nation', a Yaoundé Based News magazine, through its program, dubbed, “The Nation Transparency Awards”. Other winners of the award include: Henry Njalla Quan, general manger of Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC), Sama Ignatius, general manager of Cameroon Civil Aviation (CCAA) Obi Optun Wanobi Osang, general manager of PAMOL Plantations Plc; Richard Tita Fombon,Mayor of Tiko ; Daniel Matute,Mayor of Limbe 1 and Barrister Ntumfor Nico Halle,Northwest Representative at the National Elections Observatory (NEO).

Speaking during the award ceremony which took place last 4th April, 2008, at the Fakoship Plaza, in Buea, and chaired by Barrister Dang Alias, the initiator of the award, Asong Ndifor, who doubles as Editor of The Nation Magazine, made it clear that the yearly event is intended to encourage stringent management and
transparency in Cameroon, a country which has been ranked at least twice as the most corrupt nation in the world by Transparency International, a Berlin-based good governance watchdog.

Though the government of Cameroon has in the past few years been involved fighting corruption through arrests and jailing of some corrupt officials, Asong Ndifor belives “fighting corruption is not only prosecuting the culprits but also recognizing those who are promoting integrity and transparent management in the organizations they manage”. On this score, he made it clear that winners were selected from many nominations by a committee of people of integrity, based on objective criteria.

In his keynote address on the theme: “Transparency”, Ntumfor Nico Halle, himself a laureate, underscored the fact that "Transparency is instituted as a means of holding people in public offices or institutions accountable and it is also a big tool to fight corruption”. To him transparency equally ensures that; state action, budget and financial statements may be open and reviewed by everyone, and that enactment,
rules and decisions are open to discussions

While noting that transparency help to promote good governance and that good governance is not an end in itself, but a means to an end, the learned Barrister says Transparency ought to be the affaire of every Cameroonian. Though Cameroon is widely believe to be a very rich nation in both natural and human resources, Ntumfor Nico Halle expressed regret that the country is still plague by poverty, unemployment, underdevelopment, HIV/AIDS, crime wave and banditry among many social ills just because some Cameroonians continue to loot, plunder, pillage, and pilfer the nation’s patrimony. While commending government in the fight against corruption, the Ntumfor call on all Cameroonians to join in the fight to make it more effective.

Concerning the award, Ntumfor emphasized that awards in themselves are good as they encourage hard work but that they would be meaningless if they were negotiated or done in anticipation for money and material consideration. “I opine that it is owing to the integrity of The Nation Magazine which it has built for itself over the years, that has moved this large crowd of celebrated personalities to this hall”.
He also used the occasion to laud the Cameroonian press for its continued fight against corruption and embezzlement as well as the struggle for the strengthening of democracy in the country. “Though not a journalist, I know that the press is a formidable force to reckon with”, Ntumfor told the crowd.

On his part the chairman of the occasion, Barrister Dang, congratulated the laureates and urged them to continue to be management models, so that others can learn from them.

Meanwhile, On April 17, Christopher Ambe Shu, publisher of The Recorder Newspaper and special envoy of the award organizers led a two-man delegation that included Harry McYemti Ndienla(journalist of The Guardian Post) to the University of Buea to hand the Transparency Award to the Vice-chancellor who was conspicuously absent on the 4th April, 2008, due to other state matters out of the province.

Warmly received by the vice-chancellor, Christopher Ambe Shu then briefed Professor Titanji on the relevance of the award, handed it and urged him to keep up the spirit.

In response, the Vice –Chancellor said, "I feel greatly honored and I accept this award with all humility, knowing that the work of human beings can always be improved on. I will do my best to live up to the ideals of this award" The Vice-Chancellor appealed to other holders of public offices to be patriotic and put the common interest first in discharging their various duties. "I think it is very easy to work in the public sector because the rules and regulations are very clearly written down. All we need to do is, follow them intelligently and you have little or no problem"

Professor Titanji, who has been Vice-chancellor of University of Buea for less than two years, is one of few managers of public and private institutions in Cameroon identified by The Nation as laureates of The Nation 2007 Transparency Award.

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FEICOM case appeal: Ondo Ndong now to serve 20 years after Biya pardons 30

Using his overwhelming powers that put the courts under his control, Paul Biya reconsidered the
punishment meted out to his friend and ally who claimed that it was Biya who ordered him to abuse
FEICOM’s funds

By Roland Akong Wuwih in Yaounde

After much consideration President Paul Biya has softened towards Emmanuel Gérard Ondo Ndong, a close
ally and former FEICOM general manager who was given a 50-year jail sentence a year ago.

When the case came up on appeal, the president instructed the court to knock off 30 years. Ondo Ndong
will now serve only 20.

The former FEICOM GM will also pay 25.8 billion FCFA along with several other colleagues of his who were

Ondo Ndong had given evidence during his High Court trial that much of the 52 billion FCFA that he was
accused of both embezzling and misappropriating had, in fact, been the result of telephone directives by
the Head of State, Paul Biya, as well as generous contributions to the CPDM and friends of the party
some of whom were directed to him by Paul Biya.

While on preventive detention during the trial that lasted about a year, Ondo Ndong often questioned in
shock if indeed Paul Biya knew of his arrest and trial.

It seems that Biya had now acted in due recognition of the many unwritten directives to spend FEICOM’s funds

As a prisoner of the president, the courts normally refer their decisions to the president to obtain
approval before applying them.

The constitution forbids any clemency or other pardon even by the president to prisoners serving corruption
terms. Ondon Ndong who had been sure to end the rest of his life in prison now has hopes to be out in his
mid 70s given Paul Biya’s 30-year pardon.

13 suspects jailed, 4 acquitted

The Yaounde Appeal Court passed its verdict on Wednesday after a seven-month long hearing

It was a big surprise to many at the Yaounde Appeal Court Wednesday, 16 April when the presiding judge of
the Special Support Fund (FEICOM) declared some 13 suspects who were earlier freed by the Mfoundi High
Court in June 2007 guilty, and sentenced them to various jail terms.

They were involved, according to the court verdict, in the embezzlement of 29 billion FCFA at FEICOM during
the management of former FEICOM general manager, Emmanuel Gérard Ondo Ndong, whose prison term was
dropped from 50 to 20 years. According to the judgement some of his confiscated properties will be
refunded including two houses, jewelleries he bought for his wives, amongst others.

The prison terms of the other 12 FEICOM convicts were also reduced.

Four other suspects were found not guilty and acquitted.

The relatives and friends of the sentenced victims burst into tears when security operatives transported
them to the Kodengui Central Prison on Wednesday.

Those who had their prison sentences reduced expressed joy although their lawyers hinted of further appeals.

Yaounde Appeal court
Ondo Ndong – 50 years - 20 years
Moise Mbella – 48 years - 15 years
Dieudonne Nguema Ondong – 48 years - 15 years
Jean Bessala Nsana – 48 years - 15 years
Charles Ketchami – 35 years - 10 yrs
Roselyne-bi Ebanga – 20 years - 10 years
Justin Ze Ze – 30 years 10 years
Leonie Angue (on the run) – 25 years - 10 years
Oblavie Omballa – 10 years - 10 years
Eto’o Alain Monebam – 30 years - 10 years
Peh Daniel – 40 years - 10 years
Raymond Aaron – 20 years - 10 years
Bonaventure Ndema – 25 years - 10 years

Those acquitted earlier but condemned again
Grace Ellesa Soppo – 20 years
Laurentine Ngo Bayanak – 10 years
Berthe Kooh - 10 years
Ngot Cho Nyamsi - 10 years
Marie Carine Edjang - 10 years
Ruben Abel Ze - 10 years
Olinga Mvogo - 10 years
Venceslas Ndjomo - 10 years
Pierre Ndoukam - 10 years
Celestin Mibe - 10 years
Marie Gabrielle Etoga - 10 years
Ndode Jermiah - 10 years
Edmond Medjo - 10 years

Those freed
Tchuente Namtchueng
Janvier Onana
Evina Bidoung
Luc Albert Ekomessa

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BBC launches new FM station in Cameroon

Edited by Ndien Eric

The station was inaugurated recently and will broadcast wide ranging programmes in English, French
and Hausa

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) will celebrate the launch of its new 24 hours a day, seven
days a week BBC 94.4 FM station in Garoua with a special day of programming called Cameroon Day today,
18 April.

The new FM station will broadcast BBC programmes in English, French and Hausa to the city of Garoua and
the surrounding areas.

Programmes to be broadcasted on the Garoua FM station will include discussions around important issues
affecting the country such as migration, tourism, politics and culture as well as audience debates,
interviews with high profile Cameroonians, and music.

This station will extend the BBC’s already strong presence on FM in Cameroon to four- BBC 98.4 FM in
Yaounde, 95.7 FM in Bamenda, and 101.3 FM in Douala. Audiences can also listen to BBC programmes through FM partner station Real Time Music (RTM) on 106 FM in Yaounde and Douala.

Ruxandra Obreja, Controller of Business Development, BBC World Service, said: “The new BBC 94.4 FM is the
fourth BBC FM relay in Cameroon. It is wonderful that we can reach a wider audience on FM quality across the
country. I hope listeners will enjoy our programmes in English, French and Hausa and especially those on
Cameroon Day. As part of the activities leading up to Cameroon day, we are also pleased to announce that the
BBC will be conducting a special training course in broadcast journalism for media professionals in Cameroon.”

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Cameron’s «Right Royal President»

Paul Biya who has ruled Cameroon for more than a quarter of a century is more of a «republican monarch»
than an elected leader

By Bangsi Daniel Song in Bamenda

Shortly before the 1997 presidential election, BCC Focus on Africa magazine published a two-page portrait
of Paul Biya titled, A Right Royal President. At the time, Paul Biya had ruled Cameroon for 15 years and
many Cameroonians did not expect him to last in power for much longer.

But the author of the article, Vincent T’sas, who had reported for the BBC in Yaounde for several years,
knew better and presented Paul Biya portrayed more in terms of a monarch than an elected leader.

Ten years after, Paul Biya has modified the constitution to clear his way for a life presidency
and granted himself immunity for any crimes he might have committed or might still commit while in office.

After reigning at that time for 15 years «only», the BBC reporter in Yaounde had seen President Biya behave
and rule like a monarch». In the portrait, Vincent T’sas stated that for 15 years, Biya had been a
«republican monarch», often mixing force and acumen.

T’sas saw in the president a «monarch», in the way he dressed, in the way he moved and waved at his subjects
and at his frequent use of the royal «we» even when he meant himself.

Another factor that made President Biya look like a «monarch» to the profiler was the fact that he was
always heavily guarded by ‘’Isreali-trained guards’’ since the abortive coup d’etat in 1984.

Quoting an unnamed Brazilian diplomat, the BBC reporter stated: «Even in Latin America, I have never
seen a president so heavily guarded».

With recent events in Cameroon, where every move by the opposition and civil society groups is ferociously
repressed (often with the deployment of trigger happy soldiers rather than the police), it has become clear
to many Cameroonians that they are living in a society where democracy is not yet a reality.

Some have even compared the situation to that in fondoms where the fon is always right and any attempts
to defy him often leads to reprisals by the ‘ngumbas’.

In many cases, monarchs resort to repression because of the absence of democracy and the fear of rebellion.
The monarchs are not accountable to anybody and often give themselves immunity for any crimes committed
against their people.

Similarly, the BBC profiler states that Paul Biya and allies were quick to blame the 1987 economic crisis on
falling prices of raw materials in the world market, rather than acknowledging that it was caused by
mismanagement, squandering of resources and a heavy bureaucracy.

After making empty promises to clampdown on corruption, Biya finally started taking action two
years ago, following pressure from international donors. Quite a few regime barons have been arrested
in the anti-corruption crackdown. But as laudable as the crackdown may be, the case files of the culprits
reveal that Biya tolerated or failed to notice massive embezzlement by his collaborators for years.
Like a «true monarch», President Paul Biya left his «nchindas» to their own devices for decades until
Cameroon was classified the most corrupt country by Transparency International several times.

Observers today say the scales have fallen from the eyes of those who could not see the «monarch» in Paul
Biya in 1997 when Vincent T’sas wrote the portrait. Even though there are purportedly three arms of
government, and hundreds of «opposition» political parties, all powers are in the hands of the «royal

President Paul Biya is head of the executive, head of the judiciary and controls the legislature. Despite
his power over the legislature through carefully crafted laws, Biya has also given himself the liberty
of appointing 30 percent of senators.

At a seminar for ruling party MPs last year, CPDM secretary general, Rene Sadi, made it clear to the
supposed lawmakers that their major role was to support the policies of Paul Biya.

During the recent constitutional amendment session of the National Assembly, the president again
demonstrated that MPs are at his beck and all.

Although there are presidential «elections» every seven years, it has now become clear to most
Cameroonians that Biya would always «win». Long live the king!

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Friday, April 18, 2008

Tension after constitutional revision: Are security services cashing in on public disapproval?

The Biya regime is not at ease with itself. Suspicious of enemy action, it has posted armed troops all over.
But where is the enemy? Is it not the security services creating the atmosphere of uncertainty in
order to milk the regime? That is what the government is tending to believe

By Roland Akong Wuwih in Yaounde

After last week’s assembly vote of the constitutional revision that keeps Biya in office after 2011, the
Yaounde authorities are gripped by fears of an uprising. This has led to the militarisation of the
main towns of the five provinces that participated in last February anti-government riots.

Government is so unsure of itself that a planned trip out of the country last Saturday by President Paul
Biya was canceled at the last minute.

After lengthy meetings the exact source of the tension does not seem to be clear to the government. On Monday afternoon however, the government began to work on the hypothesis that much of the tension was being created by security forces themselves, as a way of obtaining funds from the government.

Our sources say that this is a technique that has sometimes been used, and the government was working on
the possibility that, given the unpopular nature of the constitutional revision and the February uprising
to challenge it there couldn’t be a better time for security chiefs to rake in a huge financial haul.

But that was only one perspective of the present state of uncertainty.

A security commentator admitted that the placement of armed troops all the towns was itself tension
generating. In parts of the South West, the government is reported to have given orders to shoot on sight
anyone seen destroying anything or behaving unusually.

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CAMAIR excluded from air transport association

The image-tarnishing ejection has been tagged to the ailing company’s lengthening failure to step up
security and allow independent operations auditing

By Ntaryike Divine, Jr. in Douala

Barely a month after new managers were designated at the befuddled national carrier CAMAIR, the company
that is yet to resume flights has been dealt a damaging blow. The International Air Transport Association, IATA, has excluded CAMAIR from its list of members.

Reasons for the image-tarnishing ejection pronounced last week have been hinged on prolonged security
lapses and other pitfalls in the administrative management of the ailing company. Concretely, IATA
blamed CAMAIR for the inexistence of viable accounts and reluctance to conduct an independent audit of its
operations over the last four years.

It also expressed worry over maintenance and the ageing nature of craft used by the company. The IATA
decision indicates the association is keen on shedding blame in the event of an accident suffered by CAMAIR.
The association advocates meticulous respect of air transport standards. Statistics hold that while air
transport in Africa represents a meagre 4 percent of worldwide figures, the continent.

In 2006, CAMAIR appeared on a blacklist of 92 airliners barred from European skies. Thanks to
vigorous negotiations, the government overturned the ban. But observers say last week’s ejection of CAMAIR
from the IATA membership list reiterates the lack of real political will to overhaul the carrier whose
planned privatization has snail-paced endlessly.

On the back of an IMF mission to Cameroon last month, CAMAIR’s three-year-serving provisional ambassador,
Paul Ngamo Hamani was fired in a terse presidential decree. The company activities were grounded for over
a week and upon his appointment as director-delegate, Adolphe Sammet Bell announced resumption of operations beginning with domestic flights two days later. But CAMAIR planes are yet to take to the air since

The IATA decision thus adds to customers’ waning confidence in the 37-year-old airliner drenched in
debts valued at over 70-billion-FCFA. The company that costs the state some 3 billion FCFA monthly to manage
also lacks craft of its own. It has still not cleared outstanding fuel debts valued at some 2 billion FCFA.
Only last February, Total Cameroun and Shell fuel suppliers refused to serve the company from unpaid
bills obliging the grounding of craft for several days.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Post-strike arrest: 729 people jailed in Cameroon, 157 still on trial, and 466 on appeal

Amadou Ali, Vice Prime Minister, Minister of Justice and Keeper of the Seal, of the Republic of Cameroon has revealed that of the over 1600 persons arrested during the February 24 to 29 social unrest in the country, 729 of them have been tried and sentenced to serve various prison terms ranging from three months to six years.

Speaking during a press conference which took place at the nation’s capital, Yaounde, the Justice Minister made it clear that of the 1671 individuals arrested nationwide, 199 were released in the West province by a decision of the local administration, 256 set free by the courts while 470 others who have been found guilty have appealed against the decision. Contrary to popular out cry that the victims most of whom were innocent did not have a fare trial, Amadou Ali assured
that the trials were being done under the strict respect of the law.

Meanwhile youths and some politicians who have been targeted as being at the origin of the wanton destruction that took place during the strike had gone underground. They are said to be escaping from security operatives who have intensified the search of those alleged to have been actively involved in the destruction of property. A couple of weeks ago Hon.
Nicheau, of the Social Democratic Front Party (SDF), was blocked at the Douala International airport, in an attempt to travel abroad.

During the unrest, furious youths in Bonaberi destroyed fuel stations, rampaging and looting shops. They were stopped at the Bonaberi Bridge on their way to Banonjo on grounds that they wanted to meet the Governor of the province Fai Yengo Francis. Trapped on the bridge most of them were arrested while others jumped into the river for safety. In a nationwide statement, the president of the Republic, Paul Biya, blamed politicians for manipulating the youths in order to reap political gains. He warned that their plans were doomed to failure as he would use all legal means available to ensure the rule of law. Biya’s threat became real as Courts held urgent sessions passing a number of summary judgments on youths arrested by the security
during the social action. During a press conference in Yaounde, a few days after
the strike the Vice prime minister, Minister of Justice and Keeper of the Seals, Amadou Ali, disclosed that of 1671 arrests made across the country, 671 came from the Littoral province. He said the arrests were made following instructions given out to judicial police officers by the state prosecutors, by virtue of Article 103 of the Criminal Procedure Code. Consequently some Courts in the various jurisdictions held in-camera summary session to try those arrested

In Douala, two people received sentences ranging from seven months to one year at the Douala-Bonanjo Court of First Instance. The same court acquitted 22 arrested suspects. In the Douala-Ndokoti Court in the same city 48 persons received prison sentences between six months two years while 17 were acquitted. In Nkongsamba, of the nine persons brought before the
court, two were acquitted; six sentenced to prison terms between four and 16 months while one case is pending. In neighboring Mbanga, the six arrested persons were each sentenced to 18 months in prison. In Limbe in the South West province, two of the six persons brought before the Court of First Instance were acquitted while four received sentences of six to eight months. In Tombel, three people appeared before the court. One was acquitted while two others were
fined CFA 50.000 frs or an imprisonment term of six months.

Meanwhile, armed security operatives still roam the streets of the main cities, especially Douala and Yaounde in search of the alleged perpetrators of acts of vandalism during the strike.
Parents who have not been able to trace their children after the strike are in a state of total bewilderment as to whether they are dead, alive, or locked up in one of the cells or prisons while awaiting trial. Mrs Wambo Madalene, of Ndogpassi, Douala, for example was lucky to find her son alive though locked up in the Bonnajo Judicial police cell. This situation of families seeking to have concrete information about their arrested offspring has been an embarrassment
even to the administration.

It is alleged that some of those recorded as arrested were released by some government officials without authorization, a situation that has created confusion on the check-list of those declared dead, arrested and detained. Amadou Ali said investigations were still underway in Buea, Tiko, Bamenda, Kumbo, Kumba, Dschang and Bafang. ‘Bush Faller’ Jailed Amongst Riot suspect
Meanwhile, Nkeng Thaddeus, a Cameroonian living abroad commonly referred to as ‘bush faller’ who was in Cameroon to prepare for the funeral celebration of his late father will have to spend one year at the Kumba principal prison before ‘falling bush’. Nkeng Thaddeus was jailed amongst nine others as they were found guilty as charged by the Kumba court of first instance for having committed offences contrary to and punishable under the Cameroonian Penal code. Nkeng and
the others, the court declared, were found with crates of beer and other valuables from less Brassieres du Cameroun and Transformation Reef Cameroon (TRC) during the recent strike that was characterized by looting, vandalism and destruction.

Though the state prosecutor Florence Nzene had called on the court to give maximum sentences with hard labour in order to deter looting and vandalism in future, the presiding magistrate, Maire Asong, tempered justice with mercy as pleaded by the defense lawyers, finding Pascal Ayuk Marnus Mbah, Thaddeus Nkeng, Augustine Nkeng, Patrick Tabe, Kamga, Philimon Nkemasong and Emile Forgwe guilty. They will serve an imprisonment terms ranging from 3 months to 1 year.

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Man of timbre and calibre: Ayah defies Biya, boycotts constitutional revision bill

The Akwaya CPDM MP tells Biya and Inoni that he won’t be part of the farce

By Roland Akong Wuwih in Yaounde

Much of a democrat, much too independent minded, Paul Ayah Abime, MP for Akwaya sub-division boycotted last Thursday’s plenary session that gave overwhelming endorsement to the constitutional amendment bill.

To eliminate all pressure on him, the deputy, a former senior Appeal Court judge, left Yaounde earlier that day to return to his residence in Buea.

He turned down all telephone calls urging him to change his mind. Ayah did not take his decision in a cowardly manner. He took time to inform his party overlords, notably René Sadi, CPDM secretary-general, and Ephraim Inoni, prime minister, and South West CPDM elite.

He pointed out to them that he was completely unable to bring his conscience round the joining in the adoption of the bill, and took no objections from them. It turned out to Ayah’s surprise that he had, in fact, voted by proxy when the bill was adopted.

Who was the CPDM deputy who faked the proxy? It was none other than Emilia Lifaka Monjowa who played the nasty trick.

She claimed that before leaving Buea, Ayah had asked her to vote for him. Ayah disavowed the manoeuvre, stating that he had not left either verbal or written authority to Lifaka Monjowa.

The Herald has since learned that Lifaka Monjowa who is deputy CPDM group leader had conspired with her chief, Ndongo Essomba, to turn in a hundred per cent vote by the CPDM.

The matter since generated a row among the CPDM South West group some of whom have qualified Lifaka Monjowa as a liar and traitor.

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Another strike? Frightened, Biya calls off trip abroad

Courtesy - The Herald

True or false the persistent rumours of another strike as an expression of the public’s anger at last week’s constitutional revision have pushed the government to adopt many more security measures

By Roland Akong Wuwih in Yaounde

The public did not waste time in reacting to last Thursday’s amendment of the constitution which opens the way for Biya to continue in office beyond 2011.

Since Friday, and all throughout the weekend there have been persistent rumours of another strike, as an expression of public anger at the political development.

Until this newspaper went to press yesterday evening, the organisers of the strike remained difficult to identify.

But, true or false, the government has reacted to suggest that they were not taking the rumours lightly.

President Paul Biya, in a striking reaction to the rumours, called off at the last minute a journey that he was about to undertake abroad on Saturday. The Yaounde town centre main street was in the process of being cleared to await his passage as is usual, when directives to halt the action and free the traffic were given.

The president was taking leave at his Geneva residence (Inter-continental Hotel) after successfully getting through the constitutional amendment, which has weighed heavily on him for the last one year. He may now have to wait until the coast is clear of any storm.

In other moves, there were movements and positioning of reinforcement troops. Molyko - the university quarters - was so heavily infested with armed troops amidst persistent talk of strike with effect from today, Monday that some students began to leave.

Truckloads of troop reinforcement arrived in Bamenda on Friday evening, waiting for deployment.

Nightly arrests of youths in Yaounde and Douala were observed. Even though the organisers of the strike are not known, they are said to target when the strike begins, CPDM parliamentarians who voted the constitutional amendment bill.

Last February’s strike which was initiated by transporters’ unions who failed to come to an
agreement with the government on rates, revealed a new sense of power of the masses.

Public authorities were stunned by the whole-hearted adherence to the strike by transporters across five provinces, and the discipline with which they took instructions from their leaders in Yaounde.

The strike, once it began, offered the opportunity for the determined expression of widespread public anger at the policies of the regime, and particularly the planned amendment of the constitution.

The strike was so successful that as soon as it ended there began talks of yet another strike in preparation - sure evidence of a new sense of confidence by the people.

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Constitutional revision: Biya’s risky adventure: People power is already rumbling!

Courtesy - The Herald Editorial

Paul Biya’s bill had hardly been voted on when the streets began to rumble. In fright, the president called off his trip abroad where he had to rest after the great task. Whether the strike is true now or not, people power threatens and is something to reckon with. From the Church, an unusual and forthright voice also warns the Yaounde authorities to beware of people power. Says February was child’s play.

Ask just anyone you meet their opinion on last week’s illicit tampering with the constitution to allow Paul Biya yet another term in 2011, and the answer you get is the same: ‘ Cameroon has fallen backwards; Cameroon is sinking.’

Twenty-five years so far (and 29 in 2011) of failed economic policies; patently corrupt and inefficient government, questionable governance and failed democratisation, and more, combined to render Cameroon, endowed with natural resources, fertile soil and a hard-working people, a failed, poor and beggarly nation.

With enormous patience, Cameroonians had very much looked forward to Biya’s retirement in 2011, in the ardent hope that with a new freely-chosen leader, Cameroon could have a new beginning and make up for the lost years.

It is just that hope that Paul Biya and his oligarchy are determined to deny Cameroonians. The assembly that voted the amendment bill is a fake one, derived from fake elections. And, contrary to spokesmen of the ruling CPDM click, the amendment was grossly unpopular. (A February 2008 poll by Gallup showed that an overwhelming 84% of Cameroonians disapprove of Paul

There was, of course, never a shred of doubt that the amendment bill, like any other government bill, would be voted as soon as it was sent to the assembly. The real issue was the mighty risk that the project itself held for Biya and his regime.

We already drew attention to Biya’s good luck so far in that Cameroon’s donor partners have never so far made up their minds to sanction him for his piling political misconduct. But this time he went too far in defying them. Can they continue to pardon him at the very high cost to Cameroonians?

We have also often noted the public’s new sense of self-confidence which manifested in last February’s strike. We are sure that when all fails that cannot because it is the very policies of the regime that nourish and strengthen it.

People power, as we call it, seems already to be rumbling. There have been persistent talks about another strike that is expected to begin today. Try as hard as we can, this newspaper has been unable to know who are its organisers. For this reason anyone would dismiss it as baseless.
Not until we learnt that Paul Biya cancelled a planned journey abroad at the last moment (see our
main story), and all the militarization of the main towns of the five provinces that took part in last
February’s strike.

Last year September, against rumours of a coup d’état, Paul Biya traveled abroad for three weeks, including a trip to the United Nations. That was followed by another long week in France in October. The story did not bother Biya because it was unfounded.

This time it is not a coup, only a strike. And if it could have such an effect, then don’t dismiss it. That only tells you how real the regime is considering people power.

The answer is not to go to war with the people but to respect their legitimate aspirations. In this regard, Samuel Kleda, the archbishop coadjutor of Douala, who chaired the very recent meeting of the Catholic Episcopal Conference made forthright remarks.

Kleda is absolutely in no doubt that the real problem of Cameroon is one of social injustice that has caused severe socio-economic dis-functioning. Consequences: youth unemployment, rising cost of essential commodities and weak purchasing power of the masses, and corruption that blocks economic development.

The archbishop calls upon public authorities to face the problems squarely and approach solutions with a spirit of dialogue, reconciliation and respect for Cameroonians.

Unless public authorities are serious and objective in this, let them know that last February’s violence was only a wake-up call. A greater shock is in store for them, ie a popular uprising that will embrace the whole country.

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Saturday, April 12, 2008


by - Hinsley Njila

HBO television channel in the US (, in the month of April 2008 has been airing a documentary - Lisa Jackson entitled ‘the greatest silence: rape in the Congo’. I watched the entire program with disgust of course, and I’ll recommend that everyone get a chance to watch the program and witness the damaging effects of poverty and bad governance in action. Because I watched the entire program, and have lived long enough and know a lot about Africa, I have gathered a few lessons that reflect what is happening all over the continent at this moment.

Read at your own risk.

For as long as I live, I will never get over images of Africans chopping each other’s heads off (especially helpless women and children) in Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Cameroon, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Congo, Zaire etc especially for some of the most asinine reasons imaginable to even a fly that’s left to digest a lot of these corpses.

I can understand a lot of discrimination, even though to me ALL discrimination should be criminal, but that which occurs in Africa which is often between people who cannot even tear each other apart if not for the languages they speak makes you think there’s some truth in what many think about Africans as being less of REAL human beings. I have a hard time telling the difference between Ivorians, Cameroonians, Nigerians, Gabonese etc, and I was born in Africa.

As much evil as I have seen and witnessed in Africa, I doubt I’ll ever be surprised in my life as to how far Africans will go to inflict pain on each other. Parliamentarians would take bribes and completely disregard the future of their country. But I'm not surprised because history tells us Africans for money sold their own children as slaves to white people.

In the HBO documentary, the translator makes a point to say that if a society cannot protect its women and children, then it’s a jungle. In my assessment, 90% of African countries are currently worse than jungles. You look at countries like Cameroon and Sudan where investment in women and youth is not only non existent but criminal if anyone attempts, and you find it hard to be hopeful about a system that is actively destroying its very own future. Paul Biya would much rather see the youth die a slow painful death, than do anything to help them for 25+ years. Bashir in Sudan would rather buy Chinese weapons, and bribe overseas bankers to hide his money while ordering his soldriers to rape and kill women and children in Darfur than help them out.

All the problems in the documentary would NEVER happen in such grand scale if Africa boosted leaders who thought more like humans than animals. I look at the likes of Biya, Mungabe, Mumbutu, Abacha, and you can go on until you hit 92% of them and realize exactly why the future for Africa is dangerously hopeless. Paul Biya would rather stay around and embezzle billions and destroy generations of Cameroonians while exerting his military powers than give them hope by building schools and allowing for free enterprise that generates wealth and end poverty. He would rather there be violence and for thousands to die and be psychologically scarred for life by pursuing selfish, asinine goals than leave and inspire the youth to take responsibility for solving problems that he created over the years.

The only way any of the problems in Africa would make sense to me is if somehow someday, someone successfully proves that Africans have less than a normal human size brain. In so many ways, I’m really hoping for that outcome…because when I saw 4, 11 etc years old girls raped in that documentary, I knew it couldn’t have been by monkeys. I saw a woman with elephantitis raped and killed, another about 60 years old and so on. Even some wild animals that live in the jungle like Lions, Tigers etc have been known to protect abandoned young children; human or order wise. The only way you wouldn’t care as a leader of a country in the face of all these is if your brain is not able to comprehend that these things cannot be ignored, and justified. If we cannot give the youth hope, and build a society that teaches them to give back and be better human beings then we'll fail without a doubt.

On my worse day, i'll be a better president that 99% of ALL current and 98% of former African leaders, especially since I'm confident I have a normal human sized brain that is capable of rational and critical thinking.

I hope this is proof that most African countries are ruled by Apes, at least they exhibit the cognitive abilities of Apes or lesser developed animals. We have have a responsibility to leave a better society than that which we inherited, unless you're the likes of Paul Biya, their militaries and the likes. God bless us all.

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Yaounde: More like a war zone in the wake of the constitutional amendment - Eyewitness account

By Harry Ndienla Yemti

Entering Yaounde-the nation’s capital nowadays is like passing through the eye of a needle. Traveling from Younde – Douala, which normally takes between 3-4 hours, has increased because of the unprecedented road blocks and screening exercises taking place along the

I had the experience when traveling to Buea recently. At each stop, all passengers were ordered to disembark at gun point, showing their National Identity Card before making a journey of about 200m to rejoin the bus. The same applies to all roads of entry to Yaounde either from the North West, East or North. Popular opinion believe the main reason behind all these is to forestall protesters from entering Yaounde as MPs prepare to vote the bill on Constitutional

The Bill is said to have been voted a couple of minutes ago. Meanwhile troupes have been stationed all over the country

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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Dog tails from Nigeria

Source -

The famous reverse news headline "Man bites dog!" is old news to some restaurants in Nigeria's capital, Abuja. "Welcome to animal kingdom where man pikin dey show dog pepper," says Chibuzo Eze in Pidgin English, meaning: Welcome to place where the son of man is giving dogs a hard time. Mr Eze then hungrily gets back to tugging his chunk of dog meat. He is standing under a mango tree in "South Africa", the name of an open-air restaurant hidden behind the living quarters of a Western construction firm in Abuja. "It is called South Africa because behind those high walls you'll find rich Europeans and outside here is Soweto, where we, ordinary masses, struggle with dog meat," Mr Eze explains with a smile playing on his face. 'Improves your
sex life' Mr Eze says he eats dog meat because "e dey protect person from all those nyama-nyama disease them" - it gives you immunity from different diseases. DOG MEAT TERMINOLOGY

404: A dog is also called 404 after the French-built Peugeot pick-up van, a tribute to a
dog's ability to run fast Headlights: A dish with the eyes of a dog as the most prominent component
Gear Box: Dog's liver, heart and kidneys (usually more expensive than ordinary meat)
Tyre: A dog's legs. Mr Umoh claims that eating a 'tyre' makes you a fast runner
Telephone: A dog's tail
Sentencing: The act of clubbing a dog to death
rather than slaughtering it

A few yards away Bassey Umoh, South Africa's owner and chief chef, pokes at larger chunks of sizzling meat barbecuing on wire gauze over an open fire. Mr Umoh, or Oga Bassey (oga is Pidgin English for boss) - as the "South Africans" fondly call him, says he has been selling dog meat since he completed a two-year apprenticeship in the business some 30 years ago. He also eats the meat he sells. "Eating dog meat gives you a special protection against the most potent juju (charm)," he claims, reeling off the benefits of dog meat. "Dog meat also improves your sex life. And if you eat dog meat, you cannot be poisoned." But not everyone is convinced by Oga Bassey's arguments. "The very idea of eating dog meat is absolutely disgusting," says Mary Iroanya, an office worker in the capital. "The talk about dog meat curing diseases and giving
protection against charms and the rest is mere superstition. "People who eat dog meat only use
those excuses to convince themselves that what they are doing is okay." Her colleague Adeola Osinuga is also less than convinced by such claims. "Besides, I cannot eat dog meat
because dogs are like pets," she says. Easy target Oga Bassey, however, says his cuisine is in high demand although his business is not doing so well because dogs are becoming scarce now in Abuja. "Everybody is eating dog meat openly now, that is why dogs are scarce," he says. Many Abuja dog owners complain that their dogs have gone missing, probably ending up in the likes of Oga Bassey's big dog pepper soup pot. Eaters of dog meat claim there are many benefits

Most Nigerians keep dogs not as pets, but as guard dogs. And instead of keeping them in kennels, the dogs are usually left to wander about freely, making them an easy target for people to kidnap and sell to restaurant owners like Mr Umoh. But Mr Umoh says he does not buy stolen dogs. He, however, admits that it is often difficult to tell whether some of the dogs sold to him have been stolen. "We have heard of people stealing dogs to sell. Our policy here in 'South Africa' is that we do not deal in stolen merchandise. So, we normally quiz our customers to be sure they are selling their own dogs," he explains. "Moreover, 'South Africa' is not the only dog-meat joint in Abuja," Mr Umoh adds. Indeed, there are three popular dog meat joints in
this district on the western edge of Abuja alone. Also as a rule, there is always a dog-meat pepper soup joint in every army or police barracks in Abuja. Dog meat is not any
different from any other meat. The claim that it cures malaria is definitely not true

Dr Yakubu Nyandaiti

Nigeria's riot police seem to have a thing for dog meat too as a popular dog-meat joint called Obalende sits in the middle of their barracks in Nyanya, another Abuja suburb. Another popular dog-meat spot is "Zimbabwe", an open-air joint next to a small river on the outskirts of Abuja. Unlike "South Africa", "Zimbabwe" is, however, notorious for its gamblers, pick-pockets, prostitutes and bootlegged spirits. Culture Another dog-meat eater, Beke Nnkwo says he was introduced to the cuisine as a cure for malaria. Oh la la! You don't know what you are missing.

Beke Nnkwo
Dog-meat lover

"People who eat dog meat have no business with malaria," Mr Nnkwo says. "So, I was introduced to the meat as a cure for malaria and I can testify that it works." Medical opinion, however, seems to differ. "Dog meat, to the best of my knowledge, is not any different from any other meat. The claim that it cures malaria is definitely not true," says Dr Yakubu Nyandaiti a consultant at Nigeria's University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital. "It cannot be true either that it boosts human
immunity," he says. For Mr Nnkwo, however, an Igbo from south-eastern Nigeria, eating dog meat is a question of culture. "I hear they eat frogs in certain parts of the world. But I tell you, no
matter how you cook or dress a frog, I can never eat it. "But dog is different. So, eating dog meat is a question of culture for me." Dog meat is also eaten in Plateau and Gombe states in the north and it is becoming quite popular in other parts of the country including Kaduna and Adamawa
with Abuja as the newest entrant. Asked how tasty the meat is, Mr Nnkwo beams and says: "Oh la la! You don't know what you are missing."

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Constitutional revision: Cameroon is sliding into an abyss of chaos, destruction

When the people will react again, what happened in February will be child’s play because soldiers and security forces will only be able to control the situation for a short time

By A.S. Ngwana in Douala

He heard in the news that the present parliament is considering a bill sent by President Paul Biya to amend the Constitution. We want to make it abundantly clear that any amendment of the constitution by the present parliament will be unconstitutional, illegal, null and void.

The present constitution, the 1996 Constitution, states exactly the procedure and the steps to be taken to amend the Constitution. It must be greatly regretted, that law makers, parliamentarians will want to do something which is unconstitutional and illegal, just to make Mr. Paul Biya a life president. Sorry, you cannot do it because you will destroy the constitution, make Cameroon ungovernable, and consequently anarchy and chaos will follow.

To amend the present Constitution Article 63(1) reads: «amendments to the constitution may be proposed either by the president of the Republic or by parliament».

Article 63(3) reads: «Parliament shall meet in Congress when called upon to examine a draft or
proposed amendment»

Article 14{1} reads «the legislative power shall be exercised by the parliament which shall comprise 2 (two) houses: the National Assembly and the Senate». Article 14 section 4 states that…… «The two houses of parliament shall meet in congress at the request of the president of the Republic in order to: take a decision on a draft or proposed Constitutional amendment.»

Although Part XIII under special provisions of the constitution section 67(3) states; «the National
Assembly shall exercise full legislative power and enjoy all parliamentary prerogatives until Senate is set up», however section 18(3) of the Constitution states: «only bills falling within its area of jurisdiction by virtue of Article 26(2) below may be included in the agenda of the National Assembly»

Article 26(2) a,b,c,d,e,f, gives the agenda of the legislative and its jurisdiction. There is nothing
like constitutional amendment in the above Article 26(2). Hence, parliament has the power only to propose a constitutional amendment and not to amend any Article of the constitution. Therefore parliament cannot legislate on a bill that is not within its jurisdiction.

Article 63(4) of this constitution gives power to the President of the Republic to « … submit any bill to amend the constitution to a referendum»

We therefore advise that the senate should be set up, before any bill for the amendment of the constitution is sent to Congress for consideration, and thereafter it is sent to a referendum. The Constitution is quite clear on its provisions for amendment, but if Mr. Biya wants to be life president at all cost by ignoring the constitution and amending it unconstitutionally and
illegally, then he must be ready to be fully responsible for the outcome of this illegality.

Mr. President do not say that people of good will did not advise you. Some people in your government are so greedy and irresponsible that they will like to see you destroyed by their irresponsible suggestions. One of your irresponsible men will like to see your government take Cameroon 20 years back by returning to media censorship, some even advocate ethnic cleansing.

Mr. President, you should know better, all these fake motions of support are not true, a few people only want to destroy you and ridicule you before the International Community for their own selfish ambitions.

The truth is that any unconstitutional and illegal amendment to the Constitution by this present
parliament will not be binding on us and will be treated as null and void. Cameroon is sliding into an abyss of chaos, destruction, and disintegration. Soldiers and security forces can only control the situation for a short time, and when the people react, what happened in February will be child’s play.

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Amending the constitution for one man!

Paul Biya has intimidated the people, who have clearly expressed their opposition to his life presidency scheme, in order to push through his selfish constitutional review project in parliament. But he should know that threat has always instilled obedience only temporarily

By Tazoacha Asonganyi in Yaounde

Following the recent upheavals in Cameroon, the regime got the people’s message very clearly: that the people do not want the constitution to be amended to give Paul Biya the chance to continue to hang on come 2011! The regime having got the message turned its repressive apparatus full gear. First, hundreds of those arrested during the upheavals were summarily tried and thrown in jail.

Second, the armed forces were poured into the towns and highways to harass and humiliate citizens on a daily basis to frighten them off any further prospect of open resistance.

Third, having locked up the media houses that usually allowed contrary views to be expressed, the government-controlled media were used to play the broken record of the regime that the point of view of barons of the CPDM on constitutional amendment is the point of view of all Cameroonians.

Fourth, the «ambitious» G11 was silenced through the so-called «operation epervier».

Fifth, on the same day that the government bill for the amendment of the constitution was sent to the assembly, the minister of justice held a press conference to drum up the dissuasive news that
hundreds of those who were arrested during the upheavals have since received heavy jail terms!

Following this intimidation of the population, the regime has hurried what it has been longing for to the National Assembly, so it is now sure that Article 6.2 of the constitution will be amended to remove term limits! The amendment is for the sake of one man: Paul Biya.

Since the will of the people has not been respected, the regime should know that threat has always instilled obedience only temporarily. Lasting authority only comes from respect: of the people’s will, of the people’s point of view, of the people’s aspirations. They have made it known that the way Paul Biya is going is not the way they want to go!

National and international opinion expected that the voices and counter voices we have heard about amending the constitution of Cameroon were calls for Paul Biya to step forward and provide a solid, firm and unshakeable foundation for our country and thus heal the rift over constitutionalism. He has failed to rise to the challenge. He has failed to put the interest of
the country before his personal interest. He has failed to realise that it is the collective interest
that is the national interest, not his personal interest… The people have recorded these failures as open provocation!

It is clear that Cameroonians are divided over the issue of the constitution. History will remember that during nearly three decades at the helm of state, Paul Biya refused to seek compromise - common ground on which monuments to progress in our country could be built.

In all of what is going on, he seems to give the impression that what happened to the first all
powerful president Ahmadou Ahidjo is haunting him. Having realised from the fate of Ahidjo that men are never anything but men, be they large or small, street sweepers or presidents, he is fully aware that he himself is only «powerful» because he is head of state, executive president and commander of the armed forces, not because of some supernatural force that he has.

He seems to be frightened with what he was capable of doing to Ahidjo, «father of the nation» whom he served so loyally. He knows that in our African jungle of power struggle, «loyalty» is a meaningless word! Anything can happen when the sources of power evaporate with quitting the presidency, so better to hang on!

In wishing to hang on, he has included a constitutional amendment that states that «acts
committed by the president of the republic in pursuance of articles 5, 8, 9 and 10 (of the
constitution) shall be covered by immunity and he shall not be accountable for them after the exercise of his functions»!

With what is going on with «operation epervier», this type of provision is frivolous to say the least.
Having taught us that the constitution of the country is a piece of paper that power mongers can toy around with at will, he knows that putting such a provision in the constitution can be a nullity. With the fate of articles like 6(2) and others, we now know that merely enumerating constitutional provisions on paper is not to guarantee them; they are not worth the parchment they are written on if they are so easily abrogated and unenforceable...

This other amendment to meet self-interest further undermines the power of the constitution in Cameroon, and so weakens the foundation on which the country is built. The constitution is supposed to be a binding force, a spring that provides life to the nation. The main challenge today is to ensure a stable future for Cameroon by completely changing the whole governance
system that makes the constitution vulnerable to abuses by governments and self-seekers. We need a constitution, a supreme law of the land that cannot be modified by factions according to their whims and caprices.

Following the departure of Paul Biya from the stage in 2011, we need to build a totally new foundation for Cameroon. Changing the political system and the institutional set-up he created to preserve his power will set the stage for a constitution based on the will of the people; this will release their talents and energies for the building of a strong and prosperous country.

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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Camair And The New Deal

Prof. Tazoacha Asonganyi, Yaounde

The fate of Cameroon Airlines (Camair) today reinforces the idea that ownership by the state is
ownership by an impersonal entity which amounts to control by politicians and civil servants.

The aim of the privatisation process started a long time ago was to sell off public enterprises in order to shift the balance from the inefficient, unaccountable state to the more efficient private

It was supposed to introduce popular capitalism by ensuring the widest ownership of shares by members of the public, to reduce the power of the State and enhance the power of the people. In State-owned structures like Camair, targets are set, new management appointed, performance monitored, warnings given; but these never work like in private business because it is the State that accounts for weaknesses to the State, not management to shareholders.

Crony-run public corporations like Camair have since discredited the public sector that dominated left wing and third world economies, because they allowed too much borrowing and expansion without due regard for adequate returns. The corporations were bossed by inexperienced civil servants and shielded from the discipline of the market, so they were run on unprofitable bases and created no wealth.

This failure of State-run services contributed to the convergence of certain economic views between the socialists and capitalists and led to the resurrection of the market in all modern democracies - whether they were run by the left or the right.

This is why with the collapse of Soviet communism and the re-emergence of Russia, the Russian republic launched a grand privatisation programme. By the end of 1993, some 6.5 million State-owned apartments (about 20 percent of total) had been privatised.

By 1994, more than 139 million Russians had invested their government-issued privatisation vouchers, a participation rate of 94 percent; 70 percent of Russian industry (20.000 of the 28.000 large or medium sized industrial enterprises and 90.000 small firms) had been sold off.
Indeed, by July 1994, cash in-flow into Russia was around $500 million a month due to the explosive growth in stock prices!

Within this backdrop, how did Camair get to where it is today? Following the collapse of Air Afrique, Camair was established on July 26, 1971, as the national airline of Cameroon, a company owned by the Cameroon Government, 96.43 percent, and Air France, 3.57 percent.

In June 2000, probably to catch-up with new economic exigencies, Yves Fotso took up duties as
"Administrateur Directeur Général". He was later replaced by Dakayi Kamga, and then by Paul Ngamo Hamani who was appointed provisional administrator in February 2005 to prepare for

In 2006, the Cameroon government reached an agreement with SN Airholding, the mother company of SN Brussels Airlines to revive the airline, without much effect. Then a Presidential decree created a new company known as Cameroon Airlines Corporation, CAMAIR Co, to
replace Camair.

On 14 March 2008, government sacked Paul Ngamo Hamani and the Minister of Finance extended the mandate of the Liquidator of Camair by 12 months, with a co-liquidator, who would handle judicial matters about the privatisation...

To understand the present fate of Camair, it would be appropriate to examine the situation of other airlines related to it in one way or the other. Kenya Airways is said to have expressed interest in the privatisation of Camair. Kenya Airways was established in February 1977, after the demise of East African Airways and was wholly owned by the Kenyan government until April 1996.

As far back as 1986, the Kenyan government expressed the need to privatise the airline, "in line with the country's need for economic development and growth". The government named a Board Chairman in 1991 with specific orders to privatise the airline. In 1992, government set the privatisation of the airline as top priority.

In 1994 the International Financial Corporation (IFC) was appointed to provide assistance in the
privatisation process which ended in KLM buying 26 percent of the shares in 1997 and becoming the largest single shareholder. The shares were floated to the public and the airline started trading on the Nairobi Stock Exchange. Presently, it is owned by individual Kenyan shareholders (30.94 percent), KLM (now Air France-KLM) (26 percent), Kenyan government (23 percent), Kenyan institutional investorsCorporate-Governance-Ira-Millstein (14.2 percent), foreign institutional investors (4.47 percent) and individual foreign investors (1.39percent).

Kenya Airways has won the 'African Airline of the Year' award five times in seven years. In 2007,
SkyTeam, the second-largest airline alliance in the world, welcomed Kenya Airways as one of the first official SkyTeam Associate Airlines.

What of Air France, a partner of Camair at birth? In September 2003, Air France and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines merged to form Air France-KLM. With the merger, Air France shareholders owned 81 percent of the new firm, (44 percent owned by the French State, 37 percent by private shareholders), former KLM shareholders the rest.

By reducing the French government shares from 54.4 percent to 44 of the newly created Air France-KLM Group, the airline was effectively privatised. In December 2004 the State sold 18.4 percent of its equity in Air France-KLM to own less than 20 percent of the shares. Air France-KLM is the largest airline in the world in terms of operating revenue and third-largest (largest in Europe) in passenger kilometres.

These are examples of success, while Camair moved from failure to failure. So, why have others worked these "miracles" of success while our own national airline continued to move from crisis to crisis? Why is the "transformative intelligence", other people use to bring prosperity to their countries, absent in Cameroon?

Why are others busy putting into practice the knowledge they got from the schools we all attended together while we in Cameroon are busy celebrating the certificates and bathing in cronyism, tribalism, corruption and other unpatriotic ills? Why is the government stock with the privatisation of Camair?

Central to using "transformative intelligence" to conquer underdevelopment and mass poverty and generate economic development is the ability of the individual citizen not only to form and hold conceptions of excellence but to realise them. This is only possible with "free", happy individuals! Such individuals are a product of the rule of law, checks and balances, strong social contracts and the attendant universal rights of the human being.

These concepts we parrot everyday were conquered through serious struggles in history to put the individual citizen as the centrepiece of the modern political and legal systems. The individual citizen is protected and glorified by the universal declaration of human rights and freedoms
and the African charter on human and peoples' rights, and highly valued and respected in their countries because all "transformative intelligence" is the product of the human mind.

Indeed, the material culture that defines much of what we call "development" flows from the minds of individual citizens. This is why it is usually said that the individual citizen represents the hen that lays the "golden egg" of development for a country, and so must be provided the environment to mature the eggs! The individual citizen has a lively, fertile mind full of ingenuity, imagination and creativity, but it all depends on nurture.

When the appropriate environment exists, the individual citizen meets the challenge of laying the
golden eggs everyday; when it is absent the eggs dry up! The chaos, injustice, corruption, favouritism, tribalism, immorality and deprivation in our society are the causes of the sickness that is weighing down Camair. Camair is a mirror that reflects the nakedness of the New Deal regime.

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