Thursday, February 18, 2010

Cameroon: Government Forces continue to Incarcerate Journalists

Security agents in the Republic of Cameroon, a country noted for torture, and human rights violation have detained two journalists, in an apparent effort to learn the source of a purported memo from the chairman of the state oil company about the purchase of a luxury boat, according to local journalists and news reports.

Agents of Cameroon's Directorate-General of External Intelligence (known by its French acronym DGRE) took reporter Simon Hervé Nko'o, of the weekly Bebela into custody after searching his home, according to news reports. Another journalist, Serge Sabouang, editor of the bimonthly La Nation, has also been held at the agency's headquarters in Yaoundé. La Nation and other news outlets have raised questions in recent weeks about the boat purchase, based on a purported June 2008 memorandum from Laurent Esso, board chairman of the state-run oil company SNH. The memo purportedly directs a subordinate to disburse a total of FCFA 1.3 billion in "commissions" to three officials who were involved in the boat's purchase, according to local journalists.
Bebela's Nko'o was investigating the memo but had not yet written a story, according to Editor-in-Chief, Joseph Olinga.

DGRE are alleged to have interrogated two other journalists, editors Bibi Ngota of Cameroun Express and Robert Mintya of Le Devoir, on Friday, Ngota is believed to have since gone into hiding. Security agents are also said to have seized documents from Mintya's home, according to journalists. Mintya had sent interview questions to Esso and SNH Director General, Adolphe Moudiki, in preparation for a story, sources said.

Neither Esso nor any other SNH official has publicly commented on reports describing the memo.
Communications Minister, Issa Tchiroma Bakary, did not return CPJ's call for comment.

In addition to his oil company position, Esso holds the high-ranking administration jobs of minister of state and secretary-general of the presidency. The boat, whose type and cost of which were not immediately clear, is alleged to have been purchased with the intention of entertaining potential investors.

"We are alarmed by the detention of Simon Hervé Nko'o and Serge Sabouang in what appears to be an attempt to intimidate journalists into revealing confidential sources," CPJ Africa Programme Coordinator Tom Rhodes said. "We call on the authorities to release them immediately."

Nko'o and Sabouang are the latest journalists to be arrested by security agents without a warrant. Editor Jean Bosco Talla of the weekly Germinal was similarly jailed in December 2009 on charges of insulting the president.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Decolonize The Mount Cameroon Race

When the Mount Cameroon Race started in the 1970’s, it was like daring the ancestors led by the divine supremacy of Epasa Moto (god of Mount Cameroon). Traditionally, the race reached the summit and was won by indigenes except the reverend believed to be using white wizardry. Timothy Lekunze, Sarah Etonge, Tata Thomas conquered the Mountain under different companies, and fell from glory leaving the mountain in the same place, growing in height and reputation as the most gruesome race in the world.

By Christopher Fon Achobang

Daring competitors come from across the world to reenact the feats of yore. Running through Hut 2 to the summit becomes the epic tradition to uphold. Most of the runners come for fun and not just to win the prize money pledged by various business outfits. The race continues even after such businesses quit in the guise of not succeeding to impose modifications.

Yaounde authorities headed by the Ministry of Sports and Physical Education almost jeopardized the Mount Cameroon Race of Hope this 2010. In typical Yaounde colonial mentality and style, they unilaterally modified the race itinerary, claiming that they were subscribing to calls for globalization of the race. Whatever globalization means to tropical pundits, to me, it is only a tendency for people to sell their birthright for peanuts.

Fortunately, his Royal Highness Chief Endeley, the suprimo of the Bakweri chiefs, supported by Lord Mayor Charles Mbella Moki of Buea and others stood up to defend the uniqueness of the Mount Cameroon Race of Hope. The globalized Ministry of Sports and Physical Education bowed to the will of the people of Buea and the race of hope, to be run on 20 February 2010, will maintain the same itinerary adopted by the ancestors.

Albeit all ancestral arguments advanced against the globalization of a simple affair like the Mount Cameroon Race of Hope, the Bakweri folk just paved the way for another race to bring hope to Southern Cameroonians and real ‘independence’.

The race begins with the current independence celebrations. It is a reminder that after 50 years Cameroonians are first of all Cameroonians and not French, English, Chinese, Arabs or Yaoundeans.

After 50 years of ‘Independence’ it seems most minds are finally being decolonized. We should pause and doff our hats to those who have been resisting the colonial attitude of Yaoundé for years. In 1984, Bamenda went up in flames after the Ministry of National Education attempted harmonizing Cameroon’s education systems starting with the General Certificate of Education (GCE). An infamous decision was taken by Yaounde imposing 6 subjects as the minimum for passing the GCE Ordinary Levels. I remember how we marched from downtown Abakwa (Bamenda) to present our petition against the infamous unilateral decision to Governor David Abouem à Choyi, at the governor’s office in up station, Bamendankwe. Yaounde bowed.

In 1993, Yaounde tried to force the two shifts work day on West Cameroon. At ‘reunification’ West Cameroon maintained its one shift work day. Work started at 7 A.M. to end at 3 P.M. After closing from official duties, West Cameroonians quickly changed into farm clothes and went to work on their farms, sometimes around the offices. The fresh tomatoes around the Buea Prisons are a product from such labour. Others went home and prepared to attend evening classes or study for correspondence courses to improve their academic level and professional performance. In East Cameroon (la République du Cameroun) work started at 8 A.M. and by 12 P.M. workers were rushing home for break (MIDI). This break lasted till 3 P.M. and some people never succeeded to make it back to work for the second shift from 3 P.M. to 5 P.M. Once more my uncles and aunts marched in Abakwa against this change. Yaounde bowed.

For the first time opposition against Yaoundé machinations is coming from Buea. It is quite revolutionary, and should send a signal to Yaounde that the days of DIMABOLA (praise singing march to show support and present motions of support to Yaounde) on the streets of Buea are gone. Every decision taken in Yaounde impacting people across Cameroon will no longer be swallowed by Buea.

Above all, Buea’s reaction and Yaounde bowing tells Cameroonians that we are not doing enough to protest against the excesses of Yaounde. It is now clear that putting reasonable pressure and opposing Yaounde will cause the authorities there to backtrack from the perilous course they embarked on since independence.

In this anniversary year of Cameroon’s ‘independence’, Buea sends a clear message through the mediation of Yaounde, for the world to learn to accept what is good in these parts. Globalization should no longer mean Yaounde and Western capitals approving our traditional values for us to recognize them as unique and good. Egypt just proved it at the African Nations Cup. I refer to this as we have been told Cameroonians love football more than their lives. The ‘Lion Fighting Spirit’ was there, but the Indomitable Lions failed because Cameroon’s coaching bench was globalized and occupied by global coaches. China and ASEAN Tigers are strong because they recognize the uniqueness of their values in the global village.

May Epasa Moto protect Cameroonians and instill the love of fatherland in them. May it strengthen the fainted of spirit to stand up and resist infamy and stir Cameroon to higher glory, convinced that the course we steer is inspired by our deepest aspiration for our people, and not for a global people. Charity begins at home. Charity begins at home because we must be the best for ourselves and not the best students of Paris, London, Washington or Beijing. The best student of Africa, the best student of Cameroon will be that person who has understood the peculiarities and needs of the intelligent and hard working folk of this continent and land, and sets out to satisfying them. The global village will be most beautiful when its component parts become beautiful pieces of the globalization jigsaw puzzle.

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Cameroonian Youths to Endure More Lies

When I passed my Advanced Levels in 1987, I was excited to enroll in the University of Yaounde, Ngoaekelle. I hadn’t the faintest idea how I was going to raise the money to live in Yaounde and attend lectures. My mother had labored so hard making garri (dried manioc flour) which she sold at Tad Market to sponsor me through secondary school. Garri in the 1970’s was not the gold it is today. Eni, my mother sold 30 cups of garri at only FCFA 100 then. She needed two basins of garri every market day to be sure of a weekly income of FCFA 2,000. This financial insecurity, notwithstanding, I reassured Eni I will make it through University.

No tuition was paid in Yaounde University from its creation in 1963. When I enrolled in the Faculty of Laws and Economic Sciences in 1987, it was in the hopes of benefitting from the university bursaries (EPSI) graciously distributed then. EPSI ranged from FCFA 25,000 to FCFA 80,000 a month. Even the undeserving students collected bursaries for 10 months in a year. Those who were not lucky to benefit from the welfare state from the beginning of the year were given ‘EPSI pitié’ (solidarity financial assistance) of a flat FCFA 100,000 at the end of the year. The university restaurant was doling out good quality food, by today’s standards, at FCFA 55 a meal. “Yaounde fine,” we used to say.

With this background, peasant girls and boys like me could afford to aspire for higher education. Even some of the corrupt ministers, secretary-generals and professors who think today’s peasant girls and boys don’t deserve a decent education, all benefitted from the welfare state, colonial or independent. One of these poor boys, cum professor, still in active service advising the president took an infamous decision towards the end of 1991 to end bursaries at university. Later on, he imposed the payment of FCFA 50,000 as tuition by university students.

In his New Year message to Cameroonians, President Paul Biya promised FCFA 3 (three) billion to deserving Cameroonian students at university level. At the beginning of February, a month after the president’s speech, some research fellows and I went to a university administrator to ask what has happened to the financial assistance the Head of State promised in his New Year message.

“Politics,” the university administrator retorted.

Four days to the celebration of Youth Day on 11 February 2010, Prof Jacques Fame Ndongo, Minister of Higher Education released the blueprint for payment of the financial assistance to ‘deserving students’. It emerged that 60,000 (sixty thousand) students will receive FCFA 50,000 each. To qualify for this amount, applicants must have paid their fees of FCFA 50,000 each.

There are more than 200,000 Cameroonians at post secondary level. Mr. President pulls his political gamble right. The figures add up neatly. Government makes sure over a 120,000 students pay in fees of 6 (six) billion for it to give back 50 percent to ‘deserving students’. In the context of Cameroon and its intractable corruption, anybody will chuckle at the term ‘deserving students’.

It is baffling that Prof Biya and the other learned dogs, or is it lions imagine that Cameroonian youths are so stupid, gullible and cannot do simple arithmetic. In fact, this political gamble is so dismal that even the blind can see. It reminds me of the puerile games we played, removing pebbles from one hand and placing in the other, while trying to hide what the left hand gives to the right. Many students give their money to the shitstem, and only half of the givers are called to line up and receive some of their own money and thank government in ‘motions of support’.

Honourable Ayah Paul Abime, CPDM Member of Parliament, incorruptible judge and a talkative zombie like me raised some objections on the excesses of the 2010 budget. Surprising that Mr. President’s promised assistance to ‘deserving student’ is on no budget head in the gloated annual budget. As Cameroon has always faired through improvisation, all promises and budgets are only ‘politics’. Yet the billions budgeted for members of government to misappropriate and swim in could sincerely be invested to encourage deserving students.

The government of West Cameroon and that of East Cameroon, headed then by primary school teachers with only elementary certificates, saw so much wisdom in giving scholarships to the present learned idiots ruling Cameroon to study abroad. Most came back with fabulous certificates and were integrated at the highest levels of policy. The very system that nurtured and groomed them is today being destroyed through their conspiracy.

Cameroonian youths are condemned to endure more lies as they will wait till ‘Thou kingdom come’ for a system that will promote their interests. More, political lies, gambles and platitudes will be pronounced on 20 May 2010, New Year, Youth Day and ‘Forever and ever, Amen’.
Christopher Fon Achobang

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Friday, February 5, 2010

Ghanaian Man of God voted one of “Top Ten” of 2009

Ghanaian born clergy, His Eminence Cardinal Peter Appiah Turkson, has been voted one of “Top Ten” individuals of 2009, by Inside the Vatican Magazine. “Our selection of Cardinal Turkson as one of our “Top Ten” of 2009 is in part the selection of all those in Africa, and around the world, who labor to bring justice and peace in their countries. He himself doesn’t waste a thought on the idea — he is focused on doing what he can now to help bring the Gospel to Africa, and in so doing, to bring a better life to the people of his troubled continent” the Magazine uphold.

By Yemti Harry Ndienla

Inside the Vatican Magazine has selected 10 people each year for the past 10 years to bring to the attention of readers around the world the important work that these people do, and the courage, wisdom and charity with which they carry out that work. The Magazine is the world’s most well-informed, comprehensive monthly Catholic news magazine on what is going on inside the Vatican, at the heart of the Roman Catholic Church.

This year’s “Top Ten” which focused on people working in situations of political and theological conflict is headed by Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, Former Prefect of the Congregation for Clergy, who doubles as former President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei. He is followed by; Ghanaian born Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, new president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, who doubles as leader of the Church in Africa, Leonid Sevastianov, Executive Director of the St. Gregory Nazianzus Foundation, working for the renewal of Russia and Europe, Don Luigi Maria Epicoco A parish priest in L’Aquila, Abruzzo, who saved people during the earthquake in the region in April 2009, and Suor Giovanna Gentili an Italian nun who retired this year after 25 years of service in the Vatican Press Office.

Others include; the energetic head of a religious order of nuns in rapid expansion worldwide, Abbess Maria Tekla Famiglietti, The new secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace who advised the Pope on his last encyclical, Bishop Mario Toso, The director of the Vatican Museums, Professor Antonio Paolucci, who is said to have great responsibility for the cultural patrimony of the Church, Dr. Johann Marthe, An Austrian scholar, whose work with the “Pro Oriente” Foundation has brought Christians closer together and Archbishop Antonio Mennini, An Italian papal diplomat who successfully negotiated the upgrade in Vatican relations with Russia recently.

Though many would have loved the Magazine to expand the list to “Top 50”, Inside the Vatican, published since 1993 noted, “We make no claim that this list is exhaustive; we wish we could choose 100 persons instead of just this small number. The essential point, however, remains: that there are people in the world today who are “signs of hope”.”

Meanwhile Cardinal Turkson, who is widely believed to be the next Pope (“If God would wish to see a black man also as Pope, thanks be to God,” Turkson once said.

) has been called to Rome by the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, to become the highest-ranking African in the Roman Curia, following the retirement of Cardinal Francis Arinze of Nigeria. The man of God who was appointed on October 24, 2009, replacing retired Cardinal Renato Martino, will head the Vatican’s Justice and Peace Council, which deals with the great social issues of our time.. Cardinal Turkson will work with the secretary, Bishop Mario Toso, appointed two days previously, on behalf of peace and justice around the world.

The cardinal, who clocked 61, last October 11 during the bishop’s synod on Africa in the Vatican, is a man who knows media well. And that is not small news. Especially in a time when the communication of the Church is in deep crisis. “Africa is always present in the mind and heart of Peter Kodwo (Monday) Appiah Turkson”.

Cardinal Turkson is also a man with a profound insight into the great global problems of our time, including the emerging conflict between the West and Islam. Turkson told the Synod on Africa, which met in Rome, that in his native Ghana, but also in many other countries, religious diversity has never been a problem and that in the same family there may be Catholic, Methodist and even Islamic brothers and sisters.
For Turkson, the intrusive and dangerous Is­lam now emerging is not the “classical” Islam but a new, politicized Islam which spreads and sneaks into the souls of simple people. This is a concern for everybody, not only for Christians.

Among the internal problems of the Church, on the other hand, Turkson believes one of the most serious problems in Africa is the education of priests and faithful alike. The catechists often only have a superficial education, and old beliefs often continue to live in the hearts of the converts. If some of them choose to become priests, the danger is doubled.
The cardinal believes that the future priests should study in Africa, and not be sent to study in Europe before their ordination. Local seminaries must be strengthened and African anthropology and philosophy must be studied deeply in order to shape a formative and informed theology, he says. As bishop of Cape Coast in Ghana, Turkson invited deacons to live with him some months before their ordination, in order to know each other better and to learn to work together.

This cardinal from Ghana believes that the most important thing of all is to stimulate the Africans’ capacity, their positivity, their richness, their "Africanness. "
His curriculum of studies starts in Ghana continues in New York and at the Gregoriana University in Rome with a Doctorate at the Biblical Institute in 1992, and with the unexpected appointment to bishop of Cape Coast, after the sudden death of his predecessor. He is at ease with languages: English, French, Italian and German, not to mention Greek, Hebrew and Latin.
As new President of Justice and Peace he talks about justice in Africa in the family, in the relationship between man and woman, with their children, and says: “When I talk about family I also think about the tribe, which in Africa is a broader family. We don’t even have a word for cousins and nephews: in our country, my cousin is my brother.”

In the text of the propositions of the Synod there is also a piece of advice for Iustitia et pax. The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace is asked “to promote an African Peace and Solidarity Initiative.” In Ghana, Turkson presided over the National Peace Council, composed of five religious leaders and of six cultural, economic and social leaders. “I have discussed it with the bishops of Togo, where there will be elections in February. We must not leave the politicians to their own devices; they must feel that someone is controlling their actions.”

Inside the Vatican Magazine welcome nominations from readers for next year's "Top 10." They equally welcome new subscribers to both the printed and electronic edition of the magazine.

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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Cameroon: Operation Sparrow hawk snatches one more Anglophone

Operation Sparrow Hawk, better known by its French language acronym “Opération Epervier” is one of the most broadcasted antiphons to the battle against corruption and embezzlement of public funds in Cameroon. The operation so describes the attitude of the sparrow hawk when it stalks and snatches its victims - individuals who are alleged to have embezzled public funds. Reason why many believe the operation is a targeted political action.

By Yemti Harry Ndienla,

However, some Cameroonians highly acclaim the operation as a traceable proof in the war against embezzlement, and to stamp out corruption in the country which took world corruption trophy for keep. The truth is that corruption wouldn’t have been rife in Cameroon if operation “epervier” went into effect 29 years ago when President Biya, became president. Yes, ENAM graduates would not have been swindling tax payers’ money with impunity. Today, every vote holder in the Biya regim wants to retire a billionaire or at least a millionaire

The country’s Minister of Justice is said to have the dirty files of all those who have embezzled, waiting instructions from the head of state to activate prosecution. "I can assure you that I have many corruption case files on my table who will soon be arrested", Amadou Ali, is reported to have told the press in Cameroon. The minister who revealed that there were some scandalous cases of mismanagement called on the judicial family to fasten their belts and be courageous enough to give the right sanctions especially on cases of corruption and embezzlement.

Amadou Ali reassured Cameroonians that they will see more victims as Supreme State Control keeps investigating budgetary transaction in various ministries to fish out irregularities. By so doing the Minister knows who will next be arrested, detained, judged or jailed for embezzlement.

One of those preys is Tadzong Abel Ndeh, former Government Delegate to Bamenda Urban Council. Ndeh, who is presently on detention at the judicial police in Bamenda, was arrested last Feb, 1, 2010, on charges of mismanagement and embezzlement of state funds during his tenure as Government Delegate. Since his arrest and detention the former Bamenda landlord had been helping element of the judicial police carryout their investigation. On this score his residence had been searched by investigators on several occasions. The main idea behind the search was to uncover incriminating evidence that would help nail the former government delegate who is also a senior member of the ruling CPDM party of President Paul Biya.

The arrest and detention of Ndeh – the latest Anglophone victim in the fight against corruption in Cameroon, came a couple of weeks after those of former basic education minister, Haman Adama, former secretary of state for basic education Christine Abena, amongst others.

At the end of the day, the critical question is whether the money they have embezzled is being recovered? If yes, where is the money?

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Monday, February 1, 2010

Cameroon: Of Motions Of Support and Supporters

A compilation of motions of support to Cameroon’s President, Paul Biya, hit the stands a few days ago. Of 364 pages, the compilation of messages from the President’s supporters is only a figment of the thousands of motions allegedly sent from the four corners of the country. It stands out from such declarations of support, therefore, that Cameroon’s Head of State for over 28 years enjoys popular acclamation, after all.

By Christopher Fon Achobang

In the context of Cameroon, a motion of support is a written or verbal statement sent or said to somebody in authority, usually Paul Biya, as a sign of solidarity and agreement. The messages will come thanking the President for appointing a family member or tribesman as a minister or senior member of the administration, or manager of a corporation. Such motions of support come in anticipation of the gains to accrue from the position. ‘Mon frère est en haut’, they say. Other motions of support condemn detractors of the regime for writing or saying what the madding crowd is politically engineered to see as subversive or defamatory.

When the ‘Wind of Change’ unleashed its violence from the East blowing fiercely towards the West and heating Cameroon in 1990, some political lame dogs mobilized dozens of people to march against multipartism. The Biya they thought they were supporting declared to a cheering jammed full Congress Hall of RDPCists that ‘Je vous ai bien compris’. A few days later, he did the exact opposite and opened the political floodgates for a plethora of opposition parties to mushroom through a barren democratic wilderness. Once more, thousands of motions of support poured in, to the bemusement of Biya and myself, as I saw an illiterate chief from my village leading a constellation of ‘fons’ from my tribe to present what was called a motion of support from my people.

I find one definition of support from Webster’s Third New International Dictionary quite appropriate to Cameroon: to endure especially in silence or with courage: BEAR, SUFFER, TOLERATE. 1) To keep from fainting, sinking, yielding or losing courage: COMFORT, STRENGTHEN. 2) To maintain in condition, action, or existence.

We may say that all Cameroonians support President Paul Biya in that we have shown a lot of courage and fortitude in going through his 28 years, and beyond, of inertia, corruption, and bad governance. These three condemnable ills have regularly been criticized by Biya in his messages to Cameroonians. Therefore, no overzealous supporter should accuse me of reproving the President. We Cameroonians have borne, suffered and tolerated Biya beyond the wildest human imagination and tolerance, and most neighbours conclude that maybe there is a spell over Cameroon.

A supporter in Cameroon, today, appears to be somebody who decides to hide under the umbrella of the Cameroon Peoples Democratic Movement (CPDM). English, at least in great expectation, calls this political team ruling Cameroon a democratic movement. The French counterpart of the same political outfit does not hide its lack of vision and aspiration by calling it ‘Rassemblement Démocratique du Peuple Camerounais, (RDPC). We may translate this as a Willing Group of Cameroonian People. The French appellation of the party does not indicate an aspiration for democracy, but a free association of some Cameroonian people, which justifies the English saying that ‘birds of the same feathers flock.’ A supporter of the CPDM, it would be agreed, is all those who wished to hide behind the party and flock towards immunity from prosecution for crimes committed against the Cameroonian people.

I have always believed that to be called a supporter, one had to comfort and strengthen the person we so claim to be supporting. If I declared that I was supporting President Paul Biya, it will mean that I was ready to go an extra mile with him. Support to me means standing by the person I declare my support for, sustaining that person’s vision and helping to crystallize and realize it. Support means, if Biya is condemning corruption, I will elevate myself into an anticorruption crusader and do everything to combat it wherever it raises its ugly head.

Short from being supporters, the alleged millions who support Biya do so only in words. How can a supporter of Paul Biya be the one embezzling, rigging elections, corrupting society, blackmailing and perpetrating inertia and bad governance? Baffling indeed! Perhaps, I qualify among the nincompoops who over credit Biya for being a victim of a sinning and criminal regime. History will judge us.

From the outset of the Biya era, he declared that he was for Rigour and Moralization. It means on coming to power, Biya determined that he had inherited a country which was morally bankrupt and institutionally lax. To restore morality in Cameroon, Biya has indeed, for 28 years, been sparing no energy in combating the many evils he acknowledges every day. Yet, every passing hour, Cameroon slides steadily into the infernal abyss of moral decadence and institutional perfidy.

When supporters become Judas Iscariots, experts at debauchery and deceit, then we may see them as people only interested in maintaining their conditions, actions, or existence. They are not participating in preventing Cameroon from fainting, sinking or yielding to the enemy as Biya publicly preaches.

The condition of the ordinary Cameroonian is that of the wretched of the earth. To get to this categorization, Biya’s supporters have taken actions like increasing taxes, prices of basic commodities to raise money which they eventually embezzle. Remember Polycarpe Abah Abah; Olanguena, who after waving banners of support at the G11, bled Cameroonians white through their embezzlement of billions. Remember hadja Haman Adama, even though a grandmother is alleged to have misappropriated and embezzled billions meant for basic school needs in primary schools for the education of her grandchildren.

May we also remember the hundreds of other state functionaries, Prime Ministers, Ministers, Vice-chancellors, Deputy Vice-Chancellors, directors, commissioners, justices, lawyers, mayors, tax inspectors, customs officers, registrars and all Honourable Crooks who claim to be supporters of Biya, yet turn around to perpetrate the moral tsunami which has wrecked Cameroon.

I am probably dimwitted to be presenting President Biya as a victim of the RDPC gangsters waving motions of support. Forgive me if I mentioned that a prominent conman, today serving as a cabinet minister was whisked out of the New Bell Prison in the last part of the last century to present his motion of support to the Biya government. Also ignore my defamation when I remind you that the billions Biya promised best students at university level in his 2010 New Year speech, acclaimed with more motions of support, had been embezzled or misappropriated in 1991 by one of the current Deputy Secretary Generals at the Presidency. As Chancellor of the University of Yaounde, this illustrious son of Southern Cameroons reminded striking students, that university bursaries were a luxury and free education was a policy aberration. This poor boy, himself a beneficiary of the welfare State, failed to remember his background and chose to forget where he was coming from. Today, he sits at the Presidency engineering and receiving fictitious motions of support in hopes to be appointed Prime Minister.

Biya might not be a fool like me. He is calm like a dove but wise and scheming like a serpent. He waits patiently for the criminal and lays ambush for them close at home, and then strikes them with the precision and deadly venom of a green mamba.

Such lip service supporters, perpetrators of our hard times, remind me of the ironies of Coketown in ‘Hard Times’ by Charles Dickens. Remember the lady serving Josiah Bounderby, the Bully of Humility. So angered by the master checking her, would point her sweeping broom contemptuously at his portrait on the wall, saying “you this noodle”.

Since Ahmadou Ali, Vice Prime Minister, Minister of Justice has declared that he has a long list of public servants to arrest, I am sure these lip service supporters, the righteous Catherine Abenas will be pointing whips at the thousand Biya portraits on their walls saying “You this bi-Mvondo, we shall see how you follow us down.” Another thousand motions of support will flow, like palm wine, if Biya declared that Camerounese should put on sackcloth and cry for the beloved country his supporters are spoiling.

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