Monday, June 28, 2010


The HIV/AIDS infection is mainly transmitted through sexual intercourse. In fact more than 95% of the disease is transmitted through sexual intercourse. Africa South of the Sahara has about 76% of all the persons infected in the world.

By A.S Ngwana

Africans traditionally have an excessive love for many children. Normally if a man marries a woman and she cannot produce children or the number of children he wants, he usually marries another woman or women. That is why Africans are traditionally polygamous. This encouraged fornication and promiscuity. Fornication is not considered an offence or a sin by many African cultures. Instead it is admired as veritable manhood.

The HIV/AIDS virus thrives and spreads mainly in promiscuous societies and has found Africa a fertile ground.

The Catholic Church has been criticized for being too conservative and too strict against sexual matters, but the Church does not bulge and insists on teaching God’s Commandments on all matters concerning faith and morals.

Abortion is a criminal offence in Cameroon and in many African Countries. The law only permits abortion in cases of rape, incest or where the life of the woman is threatened. The Catholic Church however forbids abortion in all cases under penalty of excommunication, as happened of recent in the case of the American nun Margaret McBride. Divorce, Adultery, Prostitution, Fornication, Homosexuality, all types of artificial birth control methods, including Condoms and the Pill, are forbidden by the Catholic Church as sinful.

In particular Catholics are forbidden to use the Pill, or artificial birth control methods or condoms as means of spacing out their children. Instead they are advised to observe abstinence, fidelity, self control and mortification.

These moral teachings of the Catholic Church have helped in the prevention of the spread of the HIV epidemic in those African Countries with a higher Catholic population.

For example:

In Uganda where Catholics are 43% of the population, the HIV rate has fallen from 15% in 1991 to 4% in 2004 using the formula ABSTINENCE and FIDELITY (but only using condoms where fidelity and abstinence are unacceptable or impossible). (ABC formula)

In Swaziland where Catholics are 5% of the population, the HIV rate is 42%

In Botswana where Catholics are 4% of the population, the HIV rate is 37%

In South Africa where Catholics are 6% of the population, the HIV rate is 22%

The most effective way to fight against HIV/AIDS epidemic is prevention since no cure has been found yet. Africa has been flooded with condoms and the more condoms imported the higher the HIV infections rates. Condoms have failed and instead aggravated the situation.

Therefore the only effective way of prevention as proven, is ABSTINENCE before marriage and FIDELITY in marriage.

Sex education in schools, should be restricted to teaching children the values of sex and not the biology and techniques of sex. Youngsters will want to experiment if given the wrong information about sex. There is time for everything.

People should know that sex is a wonderful thing created by God for the continuation of His work of creation. Couples continue this work by procreating other human beings. As such, the main object of sex is procreation, joined to it, the happiness, enjoyment and satisfaction in mind and body of the couples. Therefore the sexual act is a monopoly of married people-a man and a woman.

Until a cure is found for the HIV/AIDS infection, we Africans have to modify our sexual behaviors, and control our excessive love for many children.


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Cameroon: Pantheon of Hypocrisy

In opening the 17th Ambassadors’ conference in Paris on 16 August 2009,Nicholas Sarkozy said “2010 will be an important year for the relations between Africa and France: fourteen former colonies will celebrate the 50th anniversary of their independence.

It will therefore be a year dedicated to faithfulness in friendship and solidarity. But I also want 2010 to signal the completion of a substantive overhaul in our relations with the continent…” This was like a sneeze that set various actions in motion in “former colonies”.

Probably considering Cameroon as one of the “former colonies”, Paul Biya jumped onto the bandwagon, and announced on 31 December 2009 that 1st January 2010 is the 50th anniversary of “Cameroon’s” independence, before adding that 2011 will see the celebration of 50 years of reunification!

For 13 years from 1976 to 1989, the USA celebrated the 200th anniversary of the U S Constitution: 1976 being the 200th year since their Declaration of Independence, and 1989 representing the 200th year of the adoption of their constitution. Rather than jump onto the Sarkozy bandwagon, Paul Biya who usually prides himself with a concept he calls national unity, and presents it as one of the main achievements of his 28-year reign, would have done something similar to that. He would have declared a unified celebration of the independence of Cameroon from January 1, 2010 to October 1, 2011.

His decision to rather declare 1 January as the day to be celebrated as Cameroon’s Independence Day only further polarizes the country, confirms him as a nationalist of the “Republic of Cameroon”, and again plays into the hands of nationalists of “Southern Cameroons”.

Following the decision he created a 50th Anniversary Commission piloted by his civil cabinet;the commission has since announced on 22 February 2010 that a Pantheon would be built for “heroes” of the independence struggle!

If Voltaire wrote about “independence” rather than about “reason”, he would have probably written that many fought for independence, others did not at all, and others persecuted those who fought. This would have fitted the story of Cameroon very well. This decision to celebrate “heroes” vilified in the past,gives the impression that there is now a synthesis of the divergent views thatcharacterized our politics before and after independence.

Of course, it is not true.
The way in which Cameroonians came to understand themselves and their relations to one another was not the result of their own free choice – it was imposed on us.

First, upon gaining self-rule, the tension that always exists between the free individual in society and the autonomous society, and ultimately provides each citizen with opportunity and incentive to use common sense, imagination and their God-given talents to contribute to national advancement, was felt to be unbearable by those to whom the French handed the country. So Ahidjo quickly sought a synthesis between the free individual and the autonomous society, at the cost of loss of individual freedoms, and the autonomy of society; at the cost of the eradication of the culture of democracy.

One party and one man rule was instituted at the cost of the KNDP and its leaders, the UPC and its leaders,Bebbey Eyidi, Charles Okala, Andre Marie Mbida, Victor Kanga, Goji Dinka,Bishop Ndongmo, Albert Mukong, and many others.
The repressive mind-set that prevailed just after independence still prevails in our society today. Indeed, we are not yet vaccinated against the ills of the past that have kept us in the league of countries that are rich in all aspects,and yet are among the poorest countries in the world. We are daily reminded that like the one-party rule that was “given” us, “democracy” has also been“given” us by an all powerful “monarch”.

We should never lose sight of the fact that in such a culture of “giving” by strongmen, he who gives can take back at will, as we are witnessing with ELECAM.

The CPDM,like the CNU in the past is still the only source of new ideas, even if their new ideas are limited to designs to keep Paul Biya in power in perpetuity. This is unlike in open societies where the source of new ideas, especially long range goals and strategic paths towards them, originate mainly from outside government and outside a single political party. The Cameroon regime in power since 50 years has done its best to control grassroots organizations, and to make business and financial operators that are essential to the economy,members of the CPDM; the regime has co-opted and gagged scientific institutions and universities in which independent thinkers may threaten the power monopoly of the rulers.

The decision to build a Pantheon for “heroes” of the past requires that such“heroes” be identified by people. Invariably, such people will be members of the 50th Anniversary Commission, or some other such commission created by the regime in place. What is clear is that such people cannot recognize in other persons the quality they do not have themselves!

Our society is still governed as a single, “unified” collective, oriented towards the adoration of one man. It is not yet a democracy - a truly plural society - whose inherent divisions and tensions make it constantly open to the new. The recognition of “heroes of the past” is a statement against a past whose habits did not serve us, and yet there is as yet no rupture with that past. The Ngondas are still being murdered for selfish interests; the Fubes are still being arrested and locked up for their opinion; the Lapiroes are still being jailed for their opinion; public meetings and manifestations are still being banned at will and disrupted violently; students are still being killed in campuses, or banished from studying in state universities because of their effort to better their study environment…

The place of political culture in Cameroon is still occupied by populist “democracy”;the culture of democracy as epitomized by reflective public judgment has been subsumed under a culture of motions of support.
Creating a Pantheon for“heroes of the past” is nothing short of hypocrisy!

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Cameroon: A Country Not Measuring Up To Its Vast Potential

In May I went back for a week to my last posting in the Foreign Service - Cameroon in Central Africa. I served there as U.S. Ambassador from 1993 to 1996. I wanted to see how this country of such great potential had changed - or not - in the intervening 15 years.

By Harriet Isom - Former US Ambassador To Cameroon (1993-1996)

I had forgotten how beautiful this country is. There are the white and black sand beaches, the volcanoes, the lakes and lush highlands, the tropical forests, the old grassland kingdoms bursting with history and art and the totally different north with its terrain similar to America’s southwest and boasting a nice game park. Cameroon should be, but isn’t yet, part of the tourist route in Africa.

This is a country about the size of California with still enviable potential. It has abundant energy resources, still unexploited mineral resources, bountiful timber and superb agricultural conditions for crops and plantations. It has ethnic groups who excel in trade and entrepreneurial ventures, although they are not in power. How nice it was to visit it again. I enjoyed such a warm welcome from old and new acquaintances. I traveled to several areas and talked to many people.

Here are my observations:
-In spite of its internal tensions, Cameroon remains comparatively stable in Africa.
-It had respectable annual growth in 2009 of 2.9 percent. -It has retained remarkable religious tolerance among Catholics, Protestants, Muslims and traditional religions. Radical, violent Islam could invade through northern Cameroon or the mosques, but so far this has not happened.
- Its ruler, President Paul Biya, and his ethnic group, who have ruled since 1982, show no signs of relinquishing power and will seek to control succession. He has persuaded the legislature to abolish term limits in the constitution. He is, however, 77 years old; hence his still frequent trips to Europe are carefully parsed for health clues and succession maneuvering is underway.
- Cameroon’s political opposition remains unable to agree on a single candidate to oppose Biya and his political party in elections and is regularly bought off with ministerial positions.
- The gap between rich and poor appears to be growing.
- Education has improved but job opportunities have not. A pool of “nothing to lose” people is growing who sparked riots in 2008 and could do so again.
- Corruption is pervasive at all levels.
- While the lines are blurring a little, the dichotomy between the former British colonial part of Cameroon and the larger, dominant, former French colonial Cameroon still exists, as does a north/ south separation.

New developments of note:
1) Completion of the Exxon-Mobil pipeline from landlocked, oil rich Chad through Cameroon to ship loading facilities. The U.S. imports 1 percent of its oil from this pipeline and 1 percent from Cameroon’s off shore oil wells.
2) President Biya’s creation of a special rapid intervention battalion (BIR) to protect oil rigs and new drilling in the Bakassi peninsula and to quell pirate hostage taking in the Gulf of Guinea and the country’s criminal gangs. BIR has also been used in cities to quell riots.
3) A positive diminution of police and gendarme harassment on the roads for petty bribes.
4) A heightened and welcome use of micro-financing.
5) A greater Cameroonian appreciation of being bilingual. Both French and English are the official languages in Cameroon, but French has long had the snob appeal. Today, Cameroonians recognize the dominant role of English in the global economy and francophone Cameroonians are newly sending their children to private English language schools. Chinese is now the third most studied language.
6) The brand new allure of China. China is interested in Cameroon’s minerals and has already funded several infrastructure projects to gain favor. Cameroonians told me they really liked the no-strings-attached aid of the Chinese. And they liked the cheaper prices of Chinese imported goods.

Emerging Economy?
With the above changes, does Cameroon qualify as an important emerging economy in Africa?
I might have been more impressed with its incremental changes if I hadn’t been traveling and seeing many other emerging economies in the world. I believe Cameroon has seriously neglected adequate investment in infrastructure. It should by now have a four lane highway between the major port of Douala and the capital of Yaounde and beyond into its agricultural highlands. Its major cities still have horrific street conditions. Cameroon suffers constant electricity blackouts in spite of its energy potential.

Its water distribution is totally antiquated. I was unable to use credit cards except in one or two hotels because of the primitive communications system. I saw cell phones but not in the abundance of other emerging nations. There are no modern shopping malls. The proliferation of high rise buildings in other countries that attest to middle class and business development are not yet seen in Cameroon’s cities. There is still only one major international hotel in the capital of Yaounde; and in the large port of Douala, the so-called international standard hotel where I stayed closed its business center and main restaurant on weekends.

I tend to blame this lack of focus on economic engine building on a government which has been in power for 28 years, permitting its members to use profits and aid to their own advantage. And I blame too the influence of the French colonial system that created “African Frenchman” who too long have been more interested in investing and interacting in France and Europe than in their own country.

And that same system has allowed French business interests to block or otherwise delay other domestic and foreign investment in Cameroon. Added to this heritage is the government’s failure to streamline investment procedures and the traditional lack of social prestige in being a local businessman as opposed to being a government official.

It’s painful to have to conclude that while Cameroon has made improvements, it is not yet measuring up to its vast potential. Therefore the hope rests on succession and another day.

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Cameroon: NDI official Blemes Gov't Over Journalist’s Death

Dr. Chris Fomunyoh, the Africa Director of the National Democratic Institute, NDI, a US-based NGO concerned with the promotion of good governance and democratic principles has expressed regret that no one has been punished after the death of the publisher of the Cameroon Express, Bibi Ngota at the Kondengui Prison on 21 April 2010.

“When a Cameroonian dies under such conditions it remains disheartening. Many Cameroonians around the world were so worried about what happened. I am consternated by the fact that after almost two months no one was sanctioned and no one was dismissed from his functions.
No one even had the courage to resign. I think the Cameroonian people would want to see very clearly how sanctions have been meted out,” Dr Christopher Fomunyoh said.

On Elections Cameroon, ELECAM, he also hoped a consensus would be reached before the 2011 presidential elections.

“I do hope that before the upcoming 18 months we would have a consensus that would facilitate the organisation of credible elections in Cameroon. We do hope the results would not be contested.

He made the statement in Douala, on the sidelines of the launching of the 2010 sporting and cultural activities of the Moghamo elite resident in Douala. Moghamo people are good orators. I am flattered by the idea of my candidacy for the upcoming pools. It is not a matter of personal ambition but something all the 20 million Cameroonians should have for our fatherland. As a Cameroonian who loves his country I would not hesitate to bring my modest contribution without putting personal ambitions ahead,” he said.

The launching of the 2010 edition of sporting and cultural activities of the Moghamo community in Douala saw the display of their cultural know-how which culminated in the slaughtering of a goat. The high moment was the performance of the ‘chibi’ traditional dance which forced all the guests to take to the floor.

Addressing his kith and kin the President of the Moghamo Cultural and Development Association, Douala chapter, Ferdinand Tah, said the intention was to bring sons and daughters of the clan resident in Douala together and to think of harnessing resources so as to develop their well being.
“Unity is my watchword. While in Douala we are thinking of development projects back at home. We are giving priority to water and we are thinking about the Batibo district hospital where we intend to give assistance”, he said.

For the chairman of the sports committee, Mathias Warangi, and another elite, Robert Tingwei, there was need for peace to reign in the whole of Momo, the North West Region and Cameroon through such an event.

“The Moghamo people are a hardworking people. We are known as people who provide palm oil, coco yams and other food crops. I think that with the hospitality that the Douala people especially those of Bonandale have shown us, they too can be assured that they have partners with whom they can work with. My main message is that we should come together and live as one and not try to fight against ourselves so that our contribution to the development of this nation would be felt,” Dr Fomunyoh told his host.

The queen mother of Bonandalle II a village in the Douala IV municipality Mme Jacqueline Ikollo who sat in for the Chief said she hopes to close ranks with the Moghamo people who she described as dynamic.

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Friday, June 11, 2010

FIFA World Cup 2010: Africa’s Big Six Set For World Cup History

The 2010 FIFA World Cup kicks off in South Africa Today - June 11, 2010. The Football Fiesta, hosted on African soil for the first time and in which the continent is fielding six teams for the first time also, is the heartbeat of all Africans, and the entire world, for the one month (june 11 - July 11, 2010) that it will be on.

In its recent edition, one of Cameroon's leading News Papers of English expression - The Post, begins a blow-by-blow coverage of the soccer jamboree, with incisive sizing-up of the strengths, savvy and chances of the African sides to hold their own to the end.

Africa's Missing Stars

The World Cup will begin in South Africa in less than a week; yet Africa might not be fielding some of its brightest stars not just due to injury, but problems of fitness. Ghana, Ivory Coast, South Africa, Nigeria and Algeria might be missing some of their biggest stars who were dropped from the final list of 23 by the coaches of the respective sides.

Ivory Coast is one of the flag bearers, which shall not be having all its stars at the World Soccer Show piece. Strikers Bakary Kone and Kanga Akale have been left out of the Ivory Coast squad as Coach Seven Goran Eriksson decided to stick with Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou, Aruna Dindane and Seydou Doumbia

The Swedish born coach also overlooked midfielders Emerse Fae, Gilles Yapi Yapo and Traore Lacina, but there is space for Koffi N'Dri Romaric, who was recalled after missing the Africa Cup of Nations in January. West Bromwich Albion defender Abdoulaye Meite is the only other notable absentee. Nigeria coach Lars Lagerback also created surprise as he left out Real Zaragoza's Ikechukwu Uche and Everton's Victor Anichebe out of his squad for the World Cup.

Uche was the top scorer for the Super Eagles in qualifying and had recently recovered from a knee injury. Another surprise exclusion is Nice defender Onyekachi Apam who was also struggling with a knee problem. The two home-based players, goalkeeper Akpan Bassey and defender Terna Suswan also failed to make the cut. Chelsea FC midfielder, John Mikel Obi will also not be available to play his first World Cup ever, having sustained an injury during a warm up match.

South Africa coach Carlos Alberto Parreira made the most impact in the omissions for the World Cup when he dropped West Ham United striker, Benni McCarthy from his final 23-man squad for this summer competition. The 32-year-old, who is his country's record goal scorer, has struggled with his fitness and came in for criticism at home, for being overweight. McCarthy was one of five players cut from Parreira's provisional squad.

Premier League midfield duo Steven Pienaar of Everton and Fulham's Kagiso Dikgacoi were both selected. Other surprise omissions from the squad are goalkeeper Rowen Fernandez, who plays for German side Arminia Bielefeld, and defender Bryce Moon, who plies his trade in Greece with PAOK.

Ghana will be having their biggest star missing from the World Cup when the tournament kicks off. The country's football association (GFA) announced the news which break the heart of many a football fan. The Chelsea midfielder has been struggling with injury and has been told he will not fully recover until the end of July. The Ghana Football Association, GFA said that the decision was taken after a joint evaluation of his fitness by them and his club.

His last competitive match was for Ghana, during the Africa Cup of Nations earlier this year. The Black Stars will also be without Hearts midfielder Laryea Kingston who is the biggest name to be dropped from Ghana's final 23-man World Cup squad. Portsmouth's Kevin-Prince Boateng has been included but there is no room for several other senior players.

The omission of Kingston comes as a surprise, after the player had a long-running battle with his club mid-season over his commitment to the national team. He was desperate to play in South Africa after he missed the trip to Germany in 2006, through suspension. Coach Milovan Rajevac also left out two veterans of Ghana's 2006 World Cup campaign, Eric Addo and Haminu Dramani, after their training camp in Europe.

Ghana: Africa’s Rising Star

The Black Stars of Ghana will be in South Africa, but handicapped by the absence of their star and playmaker, Michael Essien. Bison, as he is fondly called, is out but the future of the Black Stars burns bright. Having qualified from a group which had Mali and Benin, the Black Stars know the responsibility they carry to make the continent proud of one of its representatives.

Black Stars Coach, Milovan Rajevac, knows his team is not a star-studded side like Ivory Coast; so, he has based his tactics on collective play and tactical discipline. The Serbian coach has included five members of the youth side that won the Under 20 World Championships in his squad, for South Africa and he will be counting on the experience of some of the senior members of the team.

Ghana will not be going as favorites, in a Group having the likes of Serbia, Germany and Australia. So, the Black Stars will have to work extra hard to make it to the next round.
Apart from the agility of youths like Inkoom, Dominic Adiyah and Andre Dede Ayew, the Black Stars will be fielding a side full of players honing their skills in some of Europe's top clubs.

Dede was a jewel to watch during the 2009 World Junior Championships and, in a good day, might prove the difference in a tight game. The side will be boosted by the return of Champions League winner and the combustible Sulley Muntari of Inter Milan. The midfielder, who was dropped from the African Cup of Nations for disciplinary reasons, has since returned to play a central role for the team.

Defensive lynchpin, John Mensah, is also back after missing the African Cup due to injury. The experienced defender will be expected to bring in vivacity and stability in the Ghanaian defence.
John Paintsil is another great asset for the team. The West Ham United full back has had some outstanding displays in the last months with clubs and he is expected to replicate his club form.

An impressive Stephen Appiah will help to bring solidity and ambition to the Black stars. Nicknamed the Tornado, Ghana's inspirational captain has been a precocious talent and started playing for his country. The Bologna midfielder has struggled at club level over the last two years but was still picked by Milovan Rajevac for the competition.

Eventhough he is not guaranteed a starting place Appiah says he is excited about the opportunity to play in another World Cup and is confident he is fit for the rigours of it despite his recent injury history. Ghana will draw on the memories of their World Cup debut in 2006 where they enjoyed two group stage wins before being outclassed by Brazil in the second round.

They fear nobody and have every chance of progressing with Group D looking wide open. Replicating their performance at the 2006 World Cup, where they reached the second round, would be a superb achievement given how difficult Group D could be to get out of.

Algeria: The Light Of North Africa

Algeria will be one of Africa's flag bearers at the World Cup in South Africa and the Desert Foxes know the enormity of the task that lies ahead for them. The team shall end a drought of 24 years when they touch down in South Africa for the finals of the FIFA World Cup, after their 1-0 win over Egypt in a one-off play-off match secured that their status in the biggest global sporting spectacle.

Their manner of qualification for the World Cup against Egypt rate for a long time as Africa's best, make many believe that the Desert Foxes might go places this time. The Desert Foxes or the Fennecs will be at their third attempt at the World Cup after Spain in 1982 and four years later in Mexico. On both occasions, Algeria failed to make it past the group stages and will have their work cut out qualifying up against the might of England, the USA and a hopeful Slovenia.

The team has been widely reputed for upsetting the favourites and we might just see more of that when matches of Group C get underway. Memories are still alive of Algeria famously beating West Germany in the 1982 World Cup and infamously being knocked out unjustly from the competition. The national team of Algeria has been unable to lift any silverware since 1990 but there is much quality within the team at the moment. Observers expect the team to be a major player in their group.

The Desert Foxes are a side bubbling with talent and courage. The contingent of French-born players is a plus to the already skilled and fast pace players honing their skills in the local championship. Algeria will be counting on a number of stars who have the experience playing at the highest level of club football in Europe.

Majib Bougherra is rated high and plays at the heart of the Algerian defense. The Glasgow Rangers centre back is reputed for his tough tackles, overlapping runs and is the current Algerian player of the year. Bougherra, alongside Anthar Yahia and Rafik Halliche will form a defensive backline that has proven its resilience in the past.

The Desert Foxes will also be hoping Captain Yazid Mansouri brings in his experience and flair to the side. The most-capped player in the squad has both French and Algerian nationality and even though he has struggled with club side Lorient this season is hoping to bring in much firepower.

Star player Karim Ziani will provide the much needed pace and tact in the midfield, capable of overcoming England, the USA and Slovenia. The Algerian national side has an abundance of speed and natural agility which makes them a difficult team to handle. Nadir Belhadj is a bright spark down the left-flank, currently with Portsmouth, possessing plenty of pace and will provide the forwards with some decent service.

Rabah Saadane, himself an experienced coach, knows if his team should perform well, they must have to show plenty of courage and will. He will be banking on Matmour and Ghezzal for the much needed goals upfront but also on the experience of veteran forward Rafik Saifi who plies his trade in France with FC Istres. The relatively unknown Algerian forward line has great attacking potential and their opponents should be watchful, as unity in strength, which the team possesses, can take the Desert Foxes to the knockout stages.

Cameroon: Hope Of Africa

The Indomitable Lions of Cameroon will be one of Africa's six representatives at the global soccer showpiece that starts in South Africa on June11. Many soccer pundits around the World believe if Africa must perform well at the competition, then Cameroon should be able to deliver. The Cameroon national team qualified for the World Cup from Group A of the joint qualifiers of the African zone fending off challenge from a rejuvenated Gabonese side, 2006 World Cup participants Togo and former World Cup finalist, Morocco.

Gabon had taken an early lead in the last round qualifying stage and Togo were just behind them before the Lions woke up from slumber. Cameroon were on the verge of missing out on the competition as they began the last round with a defeat and a draw at home, until Frenchman Paul Le Guen, was hired in July 2009, to turn around the dwindling fortunes of the side.

Le Guen did not disappoint, and is the man widely credited for the success after he led the side to four successive victories; twice against Gabon in four days, against Togo in Yaounde and, finally, against Morocco in Fez, to seal a World Cup spot. Since then, he has tried to change the dynamics and mentality of the side and is racing against the clock to get the team ready in time for the World Cup.

Le Guen has also brought in some fresh legs into the side to replace the ageing generation and he knows that glory in South Africa is a must for the four times African champions. Despite his initial impact on the team, Le Guen has failed to properly install the required discipline as the players are now reported to be in camps.

In South Africa, Cameroon will be counting on the skills of its talented and hugely young side. The likes of Enoh Eyong Takang, Georges Mandjeck, Alexandre Song, Nicolas Nkoulou, Joel Matip, Stephane Mbia and co., will be expected to produce exceptional football against some of the World's greatest sides.

The hopes of the millions of Cameroonian fans will also lie on ageing defensive duo; Rigobert Song and Geremi Soreil Njitap who are in their "swansong" stage. The coach of the national team has already indicated they will not be playing front line roles at the competition, but their experience will be needed to galvanise the young and less experienced generation.

Inter Milan striker, Samuel Eto'o Fils, shall lead the side after threatening at the end of last week to leave the team, following criticism from an old Lion and football icon, Roger Milla. In Eto'o, the Lions have a world superstar, albeit one on the wane, who scored eight goals in qualifying, and is expect to score vital goals that should take Cameroon to the knock-out stages. He now has the pressure to prove his mettle after Milla's remarks.

Cameroon will be participating in its sixth world cup since the inception of the competition - an African record. The Lions were present in 1982 where they created sensation and finished third in a group that had Italy (eventual winners and Poland who emerged third).

The climax of their participation came in 1990, when they reached the quarter finals, thanks to unrivalled team spirit and also the efforts of one man, Albert Roger Milla. It was during Italia 1990 that Milla cemented his place in history as the greatest ever footballer Africa has ever produced. The Lions were a disappointing presence in 1994, 1998 and 2002 when a dispute over bonuses spoiled the soccer party in Korea/Japan.

The Cameroon national side, which rose to prominence in the 1982 finals in Spain, has what it takes to go right to the depth of the World, according to football analyst, Darren Tullet, who wrapped up a week long tour of Cameroon at the weekend. The only major handicap might be the inexperience of most of the players within their ranks who shall be taking part in the World Cup for the first time. The Lions are expected to put a tough fight against Group E opponents Japan, Denmark and the Netherlands.

Ivory Coast: The Superstar Team

Ivory Coast are sweating on the fitness of their captain Didier Drogba's after the striker broke a bone close to his elbow in a friendly with Japan on Friday. Drogba left the pitch holding his right arm and he underwent a successful operation Saturday that might see him return to the field within ten days.

But coach Sven-Goran Eriksson said there was still a chance the talismanic Drogba could feature in South Africa. Chelsea's powerhouse striker is one of the most feared forwards in world football. His international career has been just as prolific as his club career. Nine goals in qualifying was the impetus behind the Ivory Coast reaching their first World Cup in 2006.

Eriksson is in South Africa with a star studded side and despite the uncertainty of Drogba, the Ivory Coast will be expected to do battle. The team is rated high not just for the depth of quality of their team but because of the charisma of the man now charged with presiding over their destiny. The Swede is noted for his classical tactics and his work ethic and this might have a positive impact on the Ivorian side.The West Africans are in their second shot at the World Soccer fiesta after the 2006 expedition.

They have within their ranks some of Africa's brightest stars honing their skills in Europe. Assistant Captain Habib Kolo Toure is an established defender, first with Arsenal and now with Manchester City and his younger brother Yaya is a lynchpin for Spanish giants Barcelona. Salomon Kalou is a highly rated striker with Double Cup and Championship winners Chelsea while Aruna Dindane has proven that he can score from any part of the field.

Apart form the experience of Kolo and co. the younger generation is represented by the upcoming Gervinho who plays with Lille and Seydou Boumbia who plies his trade with CSKA Moscow. The two will be facing the toughest test of their careers. Ivory Coast, many observers, say were unlucky during the draw as they found themselves in what is being referred to as the "Group of Death" involving Brazil, Portugal and North Korea.

Brazil seen as one of the favourites is expected to be a tough test for the Elephants who know they must put up a fight against the South African Champions if they need to emerge from their group. Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal will also be a hard nut to crack for the Ivorians.

In spite of the delicate task many still reckon the Elephants may overcome and reach the knockout stages. Eriksson's late arrival to take charge of the team is seen as a major handicap for the side. The Swede has barely had any time to work with his squad and met most of the players for the very first time when they arrived at a training camp on 24 May.

It is not the sort of preparation you need when preparing for the might of Brazil and Portugal. Emerging from Group G will be the target but that looks like a major task for Eriksson's men. Avoiding defeat in their opening match against Portugal is a key to attaining that objective.

Nigeria: Africa's Heartbeat

The Super Eagles of Nigeria shall be one of Africa's representatives at the Global Soccer show piece and are the continents second best rated African team in the FIFA Rankings, one place off Cameroon in19. The Nigerians will be happy to be in South Africa after qualifying for the competition on the last day of the qualifiers in dramatic fashion.

Some analyst say the footballing Gods were with them as Tunisia had to be defeated by Mozambique (1-0) in Maputo and Nigeria beat Kenya ( 2-3) away in Nairobi in the dying minutes of the game, to ensure the Super Eagles go through. Nigeria had to scrape through African qualifying by the skin of their teeth and securing their spot in the finals by a narrow one point margin as they did not loose a single game.

The Super eagles will be counting on the experience of the plethora of stars they have within their ranks, who are honing their skills in the top leagues around the World. The likes of Captain Joseph Yobo, Taiwo Taye and Danny Shittu, will bring in much energy and robustness in the defense. Dickson Etuhu, Sheyi Olofinjana and Chelsea's John Mikel Obi will be there to destroy any potential threat at the midfield as the blistering pace of Peter Osaze Odemwingie and Obafemi Martins, combined with the tact and skill of Yakubu Aiyegbeni, will be vital to propel the Super Eagles to higher heights.

The Nigerian attack has seen goals that had to come during the qualifying stages and in Angola during the Nations Cup, it wasn't any different. Portsmouth's goal poacher Nwankwo Kanu will be there for a swansong. The veteran striker will be sticking around as his experience shall be needed when the chips are down.

The West Africans side shall also be counting on their huge fan base which is seen as a vital element during crucial games. The country has the biggest and most organised fans around the continent. Over 40 thousand fans are expected to make the trip down south to cheer the Super Eagles who must beat South Korea and Greece to eye a second round spot. Nigeria is also expected to face Diego Maradona's Argentina in what pundits rate as one of the toughest games of the group stages.

Nigeria's main advantage is their abundance of pace and strength boosted by their physical stature. But they seem to lack the necessarily technical ability and tactical know-how when it matters most, observers say. The team will be expected to show plenty of endeavour and enthusiasm on the field and the new coach, Lars Lagerback, expects his big talents up front; Obafemi Martins, Victor Obinna Nsofor, Chinedu Obasi and Yakubu Aiyegbeni, to slot in some important goals.

The Swedish born Lagerback was appointed to take over the helm of the team late but his experience with previous sides should be a plus. Another handicap of the Super Eagles is their lack of mental strength which is very important if the team must go far during such competition.

Nigeria in its fourth attempt in the World Cup this year and with the competition being played in Africa, many around the continent expect them to make the second round. The Super Eagles had their first attempt at the trophy in 1994 and four years later they answered present in France. They were present in Korea/Japan 2002 and missed out on the 2006 event just like Cameroon.

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Gaps in Kamerun’s Political Debate

Whether Cameroon was enjoying 50, 30 or 100 years of independence is an issue that has kept Yaounde authorities divided. That is why they have hung on to Unification and the Africa 21 summit as some achievements of half a century. Cameroonians do not need any special mind engineering to realize that the brouhaha about the Cinquantenaire (50 years anniversary) only provides a further alibi to a corrupt regime to justify its misappropriation and embezzlement. In the next couple of weeks we will be getting the scoops and rackets surrounding the whole farce and the billions embezzled by the Tonton Belingas (celebrated fine pilferers) and their cronies of the anniversary commission.
By Christopher Fon Achobang

As to an independence anniversary, I would like to submit that Kamerun’s colonial experience ended in 1916 with the end of World I in the German colony. After World War I the League of Nations had to supervise France and England to manage the destiny of the territory in two mandated territories. The question history and world politicians refuse to answer is why Kamerun was divided into two and not allowed to be managed by one country, England or France. In their mandates over Kamerun, the League of Nations cannot claim that the territory had been allowed to be colonized by France and England.

If the United Nations that succeeded the failed League of Nations was a community of independent nations, we may want to know whether it was compatible with its charter to condone the colonization of Kamerun. If not, as the British were virtually uninterested in meddling with the daily business in Southern Cameroons, why did the United Nations frame two options for the self determination of Southern Cameroons? These options; attain independence by joining the Federation of Nigeria or independence by joining la République du Cameroun. Answers to the above questions will help an appraisal of the self-interested roles played by the members of these august world bodies; League of Nations, United Nations, World Bank, IMF and their affiliates. It is always the will of one of the members that prevails over the common interests of the others pushed around like pawns on a chessboard.

Africa in general, Cameroon in particular has only been responding to the wishes of its imagined and imposed patrons. France was imposed on Cameroon and Cameroon has continued to behave as if it cannot survive without France. The pseudo leaders in Cameroon always have to return to France for advice on how to resolve basic matters concerning the country. I wonder where Rwanda has been going ever since the 1994 genocide. Rwanda has completely rejected everything French. They are now an Anglophone country and member of the Commonwealth by choice; they rejected all colonial vestiges and are not compelled by any agreements to deal with their former masters. They could even resort to the use of Kirwanda in official business, without reproach. This is a truly independent country.

For Cameroon, 1916 should mark the end of its colonial experience. When I visited Zimbabwe to explore the Shona stone sculpturing tradition, I observed what real colonialism can do to people. The country had been dependent on England for centuries, whereas Kamerun’s real colonial experience lasted only 30 years under Germany. Historically, German colonial reign over Cameroon covered 1884 to 1914. After that period, Kamerun was virtually free but became a mandated territory of the League of Nations. Cameroonians in their private ventures take initiative to do things, while government and those under a dependent colonial psychosis always wait for somebody from above or outside to make things happen for them.

There is a deliberate attempt to fabricate the history of Kamerun to suit the whims and caprices of some elite. To the minds of some, the name Ahidjo should be a taboo and banished. This is personal. The leadership tussle between two individuals at the helm should not push them to hijack the national debate to mean only what pleases their ears. The architect and person who declared the independence of la République du Cameroun is not even honoured on the Cameroonian soil. Ahidjo’s remains are still buried in foreign soils in Senegal. His only crime against Cameroun is to have preferred the present leader as his successor. His family is in exile also avoiding calling the names of those in power in Yaounde.

If the Cinquantennaire had to be celebrated with a view to history, then 1st January should be the culmination of the celebrations. It should be the anniversary date. Or if the preference is for reunification then Cameroon is only 38 by 20 May 2010.

Beyond dates, what are Cameroonians doing to show that they have an independent mind? Culturally, predating the German Kamerun was a loose federation of chiefdoms coexisting in harmony and peace. From my native Widikum in the North West Region, my forebears used to travel to the coast through Mt Sabi in Manyu without any hostility. The traditional neighbours of the Widikum, the Bayang, Mbo, and Bangwa were not feuding. No tribal wars characterized these peoples. Right across to the Centre Region of Cameroun, anthropologists and linguists will confirm that there are some linguistic and cultural similarities between the Widikum and Beti. Recently, three Cameroonian ethnic groups scattered across three regions and two official languages converged in Yaounde to celebrate the Mandjara Festival. Mandjara is a festival of the Nso (Southern Cameroons), Bamoun (Ouest Region of la République du Cameroun) and Bambouthe (Centre Region of la République du Cameroun) who trace themselves to one common ancestor in northern Cameroon, around Ngaoundere. This highlights the fact that before the Germans came we were one people.

Even though the Nso are Anglophone, while the Bamoun are Francophone, they do not go to war just because of this linguistic and historical error of the League of Nations. It is an error of the League of Nations to have simply ruled a line across the territory separating brothers in this careless manner. If they did not choose to remember their history, the two brothers will be going to war to serve the whims of a colonial dispensation. What are we as independent Cameroonians doing to avoid the accentuation of these minor differences; colonial based linguistic disparity?

As recently as 1990, Cameroon embarked on a genocidal course as it went ahead to brand people as indigene and halogene; son of the soil and come no go; settler and indigene. Such debates and discourse in other countries like Cote d’Ivoire have led to serious conflict and bloodbath. These same Cameroonians, who oversaw the elaboration of this negative divide and rule schemes, are clamouring to be honoured as patriots with monuments on our streets. It is also sheer hypocrisy that somebody who had an epitaph engraved for him in the early 1990s as ‘The one who brought democracy to Cameroon’ will call Cameroonians mad men and amateur sorcerers for protesting against a corrupt election commission. It is interesting that all this negative characterization is happening at the culmination of the Cinquantennaire celebrations.

Today, as we are eager to have an identity, let us truly name ourselves. Are we Kamerunian, Camerounese, Cameroonian or Mungonian? Why not? Can the people found on both sides of the Mungo not be called Mungonians? As a nation, what is our history? What is our language and what are our common aspirations? As part of the debates during the bogus Cinquantennaire festivities, we would have been trying to give ourselves an indigenous identity. What is the vision we have for this beloved country or for this polity? By the time we would have answered some of these questions, we may just have started liberating our minds from the colonial ingrains.

Some of my Southern Cameroonian brothers may accuse me of vacillation. Deep on their minds they know that if we were not confronted with a formidable enemy who frowns at dialogue, we will not be at this zero option of secession. Our forebears, in the best interest of the peoples of Kamerun took a logical decision that brothers and sisters across the territory should not be subjected to colonial boundaries and lines. We also believe that if the discussions were not hijacked, this diverse country should have been a robust garden of diversity, variety and celestial beauty. Let us hope that the Cameroons find a common table to dialogue on the best route for its evolution. Let us talk to one another like brothers from the same womb only interested in protecting and fostering their common heritage. Maybe, just then will we be celebrating a genuine liberation and independence of the Mungonians, Kamerunians or Cameroonians.

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