Thursday, July 23, 2009


During his first media outing Cameroon’s Minister of Communication Issa Tchiroma Bakary invited journalists particularly those of the private press to be more responsible and patriotic. Reasoning along the lines "all roads lead to Johannesburg" the minister said the Cameroon government can help the private press to make money if such press becomes responsible and patriotic. And to show the seriousness of his argument the minister parted with tradition and made the press outing simultaneously on state and private television stations.


This is not the first time that the press in Cameroon is classified as either loyal or rebel, patriotic or insurgent, well-fed or hungry, state owed or independent, responsible or sensational. The current president of CAMASEJ, the Cameroon Association of English Speaking Journalists, Madam Tricia Oben, says one of her objectives is to bridge the gap between journalists of the public and private press. I have been supervising Journalism students on internship since 2002 and I always try to find out what they intend to do after graduating from university. More than 70% of today’s Journalism students want to end up in the Cameroon Radio Television, CRTV and the remaining less than 30% want to get into things like Advertising, Public Relations, Private Television, or further their education and get into Audience Research or Teaching. Nobody wants to write for a Private Newspaper.

My objective here is not really to re-enforce or amplify the dichotomy between a group of journalists who are seen as trust worthy and another group that is expected to be worthy trusting. My real concern is whether anybody fears a journalist in Cameroon. If somebody were engaged in some wrong doing, or going astray in the presence of a journalist, will that person sit up? Do journalists in Cameroon constitute the Fourth Estate or Fourth Power at all? Is the power of being the master’s well-fed "ngong" dog or of being the toothless bull dog barking "en face" any power at all?

Those who initially described the Press as the fourth power, after the Executive, the Legislature, and the Judiciary thought that in democratic checks and balances, the Press could check the excesses of the other actors. Political Scientists define Power as "the ability to impose one’s will on others" or in euphemistic terms as "the ability to influence others". The Press is thus seen as a power because of its ability to shape and influence public opinion, its ability to set the political agenda, its ability to highlight and comment on the performance of the other arms of government, and its ability to seek and report the "truth" thereby serving as the voice of the voiceless. Logically the Press has so much power and is thus supposed to be feared but who fears journalists in Cameroon?

When one studies the Sociology of Max Weber, Social Status, Social Stratification, and Social Mobility, it is clear that Power does not stand alone as a status conferrer. Social status is a function of three Ps, Power or the ability to impose one’s will on others, Prestige or respect from others, and Property or wealth. If one considers that the Cameroonian journalist is high in Power, high in Prestige, but low in Property or wealth, one will begin to understand why journalists are not feared in Cameroon.

Journalists are not feared in Cameroon because they can be bought. Every journalist has his/her price and any actor who can pay that price has the journalist in his pocket. A journalist’s loyalty is like a commodity in an auction market, ready to go to the highest bidder. Journalists are not feared in Cameroon because they report the "truth" in a way to favour the news actor that provides transportation, accommodation, and pays their out of station allowances. He who pays the piper determines the truth. Journalists are not feared in Cameroon because they have ceased to work for the common good but want to make the most for themselves from a Cameroon that is fast becoming "troubled waters".

Journalists of the private or hungry press are poorly paid and are forced to supplement their incomes by attending "press conferences" where 5000francs and 10000francs notes are shared as taxi money, or to conduct interviews with "generous" news actors who will give them "gombo". Newspaper publishers cannot allow their reporters to write critical or truthful stories about individuals and enterprises that "give" adverts to the newspaper. Even journalists of the official press are more pre-occupied with defending juicy duty posts and lucrative missions than reporting the truth. I have always said that many of the journalists in government employment are locked up in Patron-Client relationships with the Prime Minister or top gun that got them recruited so much so that they cannot practice the kind of Journalism that will embarrass their godfathers. It is not such lame duck output that can ruffle news actors in Cameroon.

At the end of the day, many but not all journalists are not feared in Cameroon because they themselves have made nonsense of the "Fourth Power" by getting too involved and too vulnerable to be independent.

Sphere: Related Content

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Mr. President Sir,


Mr. President, I want you to reflect on what a great loss it would have been to the CPDM and to Cameroon if your mother had aborted you. What a great loss to the Democrats and to America if Barak Obama had been aborted by his mother. The world would not have seen a black man in the white house. In fact if any of us had been aborted by our mothers, we would have missed all the good things of life.

To be is better than not to be. The world’s population as of now stands at 6.707 billion people on this planet. In 1945 after the Second World War the population of the world was about 2 billion. In 10,000 BC the population of the world was just about 1 million.

At the creation of man (which could have taken place between 10 million and 10,000 years ago) the population of the world was 2 people : ADAM and EVE. According to the Holy Bible, God blessed them, saying to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and conquer it”. “Thou shall not kill”. These two people Adam and Eve, man and woman, have been able to fill the earth and now their descendants are today about 6.707 billion people. In fact it is estimated that since man inherited the earth there have been about 110 billion people on the planet.

The human population can only increase through births. Individuals have sought to increase their families for economic reasons as during the agrarian age to enable them produce more food and become rich. Countries and governments have sought to increase their populations in the past by enacting laws and regulations which encouraged Births and discouraged Deaths. The motivations have varied. Governments have been influenced by economic arguments to bolster their working force, so ensuring that the working population was big enough to sustain dependents; they have been persuaded that national defense requires a larger pool from which to recruit troops; and they have been seduced by the notion that national greatness is linked to population.

In 1873 the U.S. Congress enacted the “Comstock Law”, which regulated public access to birth control devices, medicines, or information for the next 60 years. It was illegal to distribute any device, (condoms etc), medicine or information designed to prevent conception, this was applicable even to physicians. In Europe totalitarian regimes of far-left and far-right and fascists regimes, imposed taxes on unmarried adults. State loans were giving at weddings, only to be written off when a couple produced children. State childcare and subsidized goods for children were meant to further encourage reproduction. In France in the 1920s, laws were introduced to limit the sale of contraceptives and payments were allocated to women who stayed (giving birth) at home

All countries and governments encouraged their population growth, and treated abortion, manslaughter, euthanasia and murder as serious criminal offences, punishable in some cases with the death penalty.

The world population increased 4 times faster during the 20th century. In 1945 the world population was about 2 billion, but within the last 64 years the world population is now 6.707 billion. This phenomenal growth of world population has been accompanied by immense wealth, economic development, technological progress and production of surplus food. From 1900 to 2000 world population has almost quadrupled, from 1.6 billion to 6.2 billion, while gross domestic product (GDP) increased 20 to 40 times, allowing the world not only to sustain the larger population, but also to do so at a vastly higher standard of living.

This of course disproved the fallacy of the Malthusian theory that utopia would be spoilt by fertility. That if everybody were happy, fed and peaceful, they would breed until there was not enough food to go round. According to this false hypothesis, this was mathematically inevitable because food supplies increase arithmetically (1,2,3,4…) and population increase geometrically (1,2,4,8…) Malthus was wrong when he said people would starve to death as a result of population growth running ahead of food production; so were the 1970s population-controllers who said massive famines would sweep the populous Third World and wipe out millions. This has been disproved by historical facts. The false Malthusian theory was grasped by the agents of death, and they started advocating “population control” (Contraception, Sterilization, the pill, condoms, abortion etc.)

Mr. President, the fact is that the world has developed so quickly and become so rich because the world population has exploded in the past 64 years, from 2 billion to 6.707 billion today. GDP has increase by nearly 40 times. The world is much more richer today than it was 64 years ago despite the great increase in population.

MAN is the center of development. Development is by people for people. Where there are no people there is no development. This is the basis of economic development. People produce technology and capital; they are discoverers of resources, the makers of communities, cities, the creators of wealth. As the population increases, it creates more needs and demands, forcing economic development and generating wealth. As the population increases, there is demand for more houses, more roads, more cars more schools, more markets, more hospitals etc. Increased population pressure and density provide the impetus for industrialization and development, which do not take place without pressure of expanding population. No population pressure, no development. A fast growing population makes it easier to acquire needed infrastructure like roads, electricity networks, accommodation etc. This is what happened to Europe during the industrial revolution, there was a population explosion in the 18th and 19th centuries. This is what is happening to China and India today.

Population density is directly linked to economic development and wealth.

Mr. President , Cameroon is under populated and poor. To develop and get out of poverty we require a dense population like that of our former colonial masters. Today, Germany has a density per square kilometer of 236 people and an income per capita of $46,350. The United Kingdom of Great Britain has a density per square kilometer of 250 people and an income per capita of $45,731. France has a density per square kilometer of 114 people and an income per capita of $32,700.

Cameroon has a density per square kilometer of 39 persons and an income per capita of $2,300. Compare the disparity of population and wealth between us and them. We have all the natural resources and we can acquire all the technology we want for development if only we can increase our population growth and control all the corruption, looting and stealing by functionaries.

Mr. President look at what is happening to all the developed countries including our former colonial master, all of them are trying to increase their populations and stop “population decline” by paying their women to have more children. But they are not succeeding because decades of false propaganda of “over population” have now taken effect and the “contraceptive and abortion mentality” are now part of their lives. They are afraid of the ageing problem, which has a great effect on their declining populations with disastrous economic and societal consequences. Japan is a typical example. The “Industrialize world or Civilize World” have legalized abortion, homosexuality, and other anti-life atrocities, and flouted the Natural Law and God’s Divine Positive Law. Today all the “civilized world” is regretting the consequences of ageing and declining population on their economies and wellbeing.

The Maputo Protocol is a veil attempt to stall our population growth, an attempt to slow our economic development. Looking at it closely, article 14 of that protocol is an attempt to destroy marriage, the family and all our moral values and respect for the dignity of life. Abortion is a crime punishable under section 337 of the Cameroon Penal Code. Abortion is against Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “Every person has a right to life, liberty, and security”

The fact that more than 90 countries have abused this fundamental right of man and legalized abortion, does not make their action right. We cannot imitate all the evil, all the wrong things, all the stupid things that they do. The colonial days are over, we are masters of our own actions. Abortion is against Cameroon culture, Abortion is against Natural Law, Abortion is against Divine Positive Law, “Thou shall not kill”. Abortion is very much against our economic development it stalls our population growth, Abortion is against our Spiritual Interest.

Mr. President, if article 14 of the protocol is not removed, then you must take Cameroon out of the Maputo Protocol. Mr. President, The Cardinal Democratic Party, and all Cameroonians of goodwill, call on you to withdraw Cameroon from the Maputo Protocol. Cameroonians will never accept the legalization of Abortion, Homosexuality and other anti-life legislation.

Mr. President, we trust that you will pull Cameroon out of this obnoxious Protocol before you go, or the next president after you will do so immediately.

We remain,

Your Excellency, Chief A.S. Ngwana

Sphere: Related Content

Cameroon: Parliament in the News!

Cameroon’s poor score of 5% on the 2008 Open Budget Index shows that the financial activities of public institutions in Cameroon are usually shrouded in secrecy that encourages corrupt practices.

By Tazoacha Asonganyi

The June session of parliament came to a close some weeks ago. The closure coincided with the much news about what is today known as the UK parliamentary expenses scandal, even if it was drowned by the announcement of a "new" government in Cameroon. Judging by the stir the scandal caused in the UK, it is clear that lack of transparency in the financial management of such institutions invariably leads to the abuse of public money, preventing the institutions from adequately discharging their assigned duties. The scandal led to "diminishing parliamentary and public confidence", and the resignation of the speaker of the UK House of Commons, especially because of his role in the expenses scandal.

Cameroon’s poor score of 5% on the 2008 Open Budget Index shows that the financial activities of public institutions in Cameroon are usually shrouded in secrecy that encourages corrupt practices. The strong current of public opinion that discouraged what was then known as the "radical opposition" from taking up its seats in parliament following the 1997 parliamentary elections in Cameroon, was based on the fear that the secrecy in financial management in the Cameroon National Assembly would be used as a cover to silence MPs of all political leanings, especially those of the opposition. The state of the opposition today, especially of the parliamentary opposition seems to have vindicated this fear of the public.

There is no doubt that lack of transparency in financial management has serious consequences on the ability of parliament to exert its full weight in the governance checks and balances equation. This is confirmed by an opposition MP who once complained that although he submitted 31 amendments prior to the adoption of the now moribund decentralization laws, they were all voted down in the Constitutional Laws Committee (to which he belonged), and not discussed in plenary because the Speaker stated that he had "agreed with my Parliamentary Group Leader" to limit debate on the bills in plenary... The MP left no doubt that there had been shady deals!

Indeed, shady deals abound in the Cameroon National Assembly. Unfortunately, in Cameroon, we do not have a Freedom of Information Act, which in the UK, allows members of the public to request disclosure of information from public institutions; and which was the basis on which the public was able to get information on MPs’ expenses claims.

We have always said that when such disclosures about expenditures in parliament become possible in Cameroon, the public would be shocked by the much money that changes hands in parliament to buy off MPs on various issues, and more. There is great need for a Cameroon Freedom of Information Act, to accompany the present lackluster fight against corruption.

Another issue that was in the air when parliament was in session was related to by-elections to fill vacant positions in parliament. With the advent of Barack Obama, Ghana seems to have become Africa’s measuring rod. The Ghanaian constitution of 1992 has this to say about by-elections: "...Whenever a vacancy occurs in parliament, the clerk of parliament shall notify the Electoral Commission in writing within seven days after becoming aware that the vacancy has occurred; and a by-election shall be held within thirty days after the vacancy occurred except that where the vacancy occurred through the death of a member, the by-election shall be held within sixty days after the occurrence of the vacancy..." This is time-bound and practicable. So what does our own 1996 constitution say about the matter? Nothing! And the electoral Law?

The electoral law states that: "...Where one or more seats become vacant either because of death, resignation of the substantive. .., by-elections shall be held within a period of twelve months following the occurrence of the the manner specified here..." Everybody knows that "in the manner specified here" means the list system! This is why we hear often from MPs of the New Deal that "we have a list system, so we cannot conduct a by-election for one person in a list"! Was this not known before the legal provision was written and adopted? Of course, it was known; but since a defining characteristic of the New Deal is the sabotage of the rule of law using sophistry to render some laws, rules and regulations inapplicable, the law was written and adopted this way to leave the field wide-open for the whims and caprices of one man to triumph! Indeed, the New Deal is involved in a game of self-deceit, to kill time so that the Prince can rule for

Another parliamentary issue that has been in the news is the lifting of the immunities of certain MPs. It is well known in Cameroon that parliament is usually a hide-out for crooks because of the parliamentary immunity MPs enjoy. Last week, there was much noise about parliament’s blocking of the lifting of the immunities of some MPs to allow for the due process of the law to take its course. And the shouting headlines in Newspapers included one that the opposition "botched" the lifting of the immunities. At first sight, one would applaud "the opposition" for the lame effort to show that parliament is not under the beck and call of the executive, especially as the reality is that the Cameroon parliament is a typical example of a rubber-stamp- parliament that exists just because Cameroon is said to be a Republic.

Yet, looked at more closely, the act of the opposition is nothing short of unprincipled politics that led them to be carried away by the illusion that two wrongs can make a right. Indeed, the argument that government ministers are usually arrested only after they leave government is frivolous; so too is the one that other investigations usually take longer! If the opposition wants to show that they want parliament to be independent of the executive in fact, they should do so more honourably. What they have done all looks like a botched lobbying assignment! The signal they have sent to a people that is restless about corruption does not speak well of the leading party of the opposition!

Parliament in a republican government is supposed to be the eyes, ears and voice of the people. Since elections that select MPs are usually marred by many types of electoral fraud, parliament ends up being just a regulator of the affairs of those who fraud themselves to power, to the detriment of the people who remain just pawns in a political "power" game. As the French usually say, "there is nothing more permanent than the temporary". What is going on now in parliament may look permanent, but by all measure, it is a temporary transition to a period when MPs will actually carry the proxies of the people, and listen to what they are saying.

Sphere: Related Content

Monday, July 13, 2009


On the 12th of July 2007, I said that if those who were scheming to manipulate Cameroon’s constitution succeed in making President Paul Biya a presidential candidate again in 2011, I too will run for the office of President of the Republic. My fear then was that we could end up with the same political actors, and a déja vu scenario in 2011 or a replica of the 1997 and 2004 presidential elections.

By Snowsel Ano - Ebie

And since 1990, there has never been any doubt in my mind that a new head of state will manage this country differently and lead it towards progress and development. What we obtain so cheap, we esteem so lightly, and that is how some people found themselves in the Unity Palace.

The wrong impression that a country like Cameroon gifted with natural resources, minerals and a conducive environment for its citizens to realize their full potential, but has not been endowed with talented young women and young men who are capable of providing leadership at the level of the presidency, pained my heart very much. I refused then to agree with the fact that those who in 1982 tried to give the former president the impression that only he was qualified to lead this country, should today stay around till kingdom come because they are being given the same impression.

Cemeteries are filled with many people who yesterday thought they were indispensable.
The office of President of the Republic is the most influential thing in Cameroon. Besides the traditional functions of serving as administrative head of the nation, commander in chief of the defense forces, head of the magistracy, making treaties, and granting pardons, in Cameroon, the president is so powerful that he appoints a new Prime Minister and members of his government on the same day, at the same time. He appoints all top administrative and military officials, he appoints all ambassadors and consular officers to foreign countries, and receives the accreditation of foreign diplomats. He designates the speaker of the National Assembly, is the only one who can succeed to get a bill through the National Assembly, and has the prerogative to single handedly appoint 30% of the Senate.

In Cameroon, it is the President of the Republic that appoints members of Board of Directors of all State Corporations, the president of the board, General Managers and his/her deputy. The president is a judge who appoints all other judges and decides which cases should be tried and which prisoners should be pardoned. His every act is portrayed as infinite wisdom even when he contradicts previous acts. In a nutshell, in Cameroon, the president is worshiped as a deity, venerated as a demi-god who decides the fate and destiny of the nation and its citizens, and "talented" journalists and "educated" intellectuals are forever singing his praises. Some people are even equating the office to one particular individual, not stopping for once to think that it could have been Ni John Fru Ndi in 1992, and it can be Snowsel Ano-Ebie in 2011.

The negative impacts of the world financial crises are already starring at us in the face, but the challenges of the 19th century have not been solved. The Ring Road has not been constructed, the Kumba-Mamfe Road has not become a priority, all our divisional head quarters have not been linked with tarred roads, and we still do not have an express train running between Douala and Yoaunde. We are still running an educational system that produces citizens who are not bilingual, technical education has not been made the bed rock of our development endeavours. Our food self-sufficiency has been taken for granted and agricultural production has not been mechanized. The public service has been transformed into a bastion of corruption, while its management is inefficient.

Our government is too big and the functional budget too huge for a country struggling with indebtedness and economic down turns. Wasteful government spending, coupled with tribalism, unemployment, widespread poverty, and a bankruptcy in moral values can best be addressed from the presidency, and I know that only a new president will have the guts to heal this nation. Conventional wisdom tells us that if you are the problem, you cannot be part of the solution. Only the keys to the Unity Palace can bring this country out of the doldrums.

The major political parties may be preparing to give us the same actors in 2011 but Cameroon desperately needs a new president. We need a young, dynamic and patriotic leader. A bilingual Cameroonian, born after 1972, with a broad based university education, a mastery of state institutions and at least five years in the management of public affairs, self-discipline, and the willingness to succeed can lead this country in 2011. This country needs a new head of state that is knowledgeable, available, and responsible. Let us stop pretending and deceiving ourselves that there is a deficit in the number of people who are qualified and who can rule Cameroon, because I know many of us who can.

Sphere: Related Content