Friday, December 31, 2010

Chris Gardner Crown Traditional Ruler in Ghana – Africa

Chris Gardner, a dedicated African – American, philanthropist and motivational speaker of high repute has added one more feather to his cap – that of ‘Mpontuhen, of Biriwa’. The award according to the people of Biriwa, was in recognition of HRH Chief Gardner’s dedication to improving the well-being of people around the world including those of Biriwa. He is also a devoted and inspirational speaker addressing the keys to overcoming barriers and breaking negative rotations in life.

By Yemti Harry Ndienla

Chris Gardner - the world acclaimed author of ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’, was crowned under the stool named ‘Nana Kofi Akom I, by the chief of Biriwa, HRH Nana Kwa Bonko V, assisted by a college of kingmakers and notables of the clan

Biriwa, is a fast developing village in Ankobea division of Nkusukum Traditional Area in the Mfantsemen Municipality, of the Central Region in the Republic of GhanaWest Africa. And the said honor confirm others awarded by many respected organization including but not limited to the NAACP Image Awards with awards for both the book and movie versions of The Pursuit of Happyness; Los Angeles Commission on Assaults Against Women’s (LACAAW) 2006 Humanitarian Award; The Continental Africa Chamber of Commerce’s 2006 Friends of Africa Award; The Glaucoma Foundation’s Kitty Carlisle Hart Lifetime Achievement Award; The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA); Covenant House, Common Ground and other organizations committed to combating violence against women, homelessness, and financial illiteracy – issues of the utmost importance to Gardner.

Prior to his coronation Chris Gardner, was head-cried by palace guards to the village shrine for more traditional powers. “I feel elated and touch by this great honor given me and my family by the people of Biriwa”, said Chief Gardner, who was accompanied by his daughter - Jacintha.

As the Mpontuhen, of Biriwa, Chief Gardner, identified the village health clinic as one of his major projects and pledged to transform the facility to a modern health center stocked with equipment of International standard. The clinic which serves over 30.000 patients is out of basic necessities and in need of assistance. After a visit to the facility, Chris Gardner, who was visibly disturbed by what he saw re-assured the Biriwa people of his decision and commitment to the dilapidated health clinic.

A successful entrepreneur based in the US, Chief Gardner, was in Ghana, also to share his hard-won wisdom to encourage the youth to pursue new challenges, search for fulfillment at a new stage of life, or craft the legacy they want to leave behind. Thus, he used his real-life experiences to stir the emotions of these young Ghanaian entrepreneurs and lift them to the realm where they believe everything was possible. He was on this mission by Rev. Fr. Caeser, a Ghanaian man of God based in The Vatican.

Though others might judge Chief Gardner’s coronation as the return his roots – Africa, he sees it differently. “The world is one - same people, different villages. You need not to be in Africa or African to solve Africa’s problem”.

Gardner is currently working in partnership with Rev. Fr Caesar, and the Vatican to develop more opportunities for young entrepreneurs. And his meeting with Pope Benedict XVI, next month, is expected to boost this initiative.

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Exodus of Top White House Aids and The Obama administration

Significant exodus of top aids is no doubt affecting the young Obama presidency. Top on the list to pull the plug in the two year Obama administration is Rham Emmanuel who resigned his post as chief of staff on the eve of his long awaited announcement to run for mayor of his native Chicago. But for the rest, political analyst attest Emanuel’s exit was widely anticipated after serving two years - a typical term for White House chief of staff - a job that brings arduous hours and unforgiving demands.

By Yemti Harry Ndienla

Rahm Emanuel, now joined a handful of top White House aides who have headed for the door, less than two years into President Barack Obama's term. Mr Emanuel's departure activated a profound shake-up for a White House built around strong personalities. Though critics of the ‘Yes We Can’ administration might be excited in seeing this as a failure or a means to an end in the administration loaded with copious promises to the people of America, at a time when its leader (Obama) is going through a single digit approval ratings, others hold firm that it is not unusual for White House staff to turn over at this point in an administration.

The man fondly called “Rambo” left the White House on the hills of last November mid-term elections, which saw the president’s Democratic Party losing the house and almost the senate to opposition – The Republican Party. Today, Emanuel, is faulted by some members of his Democratic party for leaving ahead of time and paying less interest in some of the president’s tough policies (while they were being crushed by the Republicans) However, Emanuel, can add some of the president’s accomplishments (the healthcare overhaul and financial regulatory reform) to his resume after leaving the White House.

For sure Emanuel, is not the only top aid to have left the young White House administration. One of only few women in senior positions in her time, Communications Director, Ms Moran who lasted less than three months in the administration, announced her sudden departure in April 2009 to become chief of staff to Commerce Secretary Gary Locke. Prior to her departure, Ms Moran, was speculated to be having difficult time breaking into Mr Obama's tight-knit circle of close advisers - most of whom had worked with the president for many years - making it hard for her to carry out her role. Disturbingly, she was one of just a handful of senior staff who had not worked on the Obama campaign. Before joining the White House, she was director of Emily's List, an organisation dedicated to supporting liberal women in politics.

A long time environmental activist, Mr Van Jones, who became special adviser for Green Jobs, resigned amid controversy in September 2009, after he became the target of conservative outrage over his previous political activities. Enraged conservatives, led by Fox News host Glenn Beck, charged that Van Jone’s former involvement with a San Francisco area radical group and his signing of a petition asking whether Bush administration officials "may indeed have deliberately allowed 9/11 to happen, perhaps as a pretext for war" made him an unsuitable public official. As the campaign to oust him gathered steam, Mr Jones resigned, saying that he had been the victim of a "vicious smear campaign", but he could not "in good conscience ask my colleagues to expend precious time and energy defending or explaining my past". He was accused of being a Marxist, and was caught on videotape using a swearword to describe conservatives.

Mark Lippert Deputy National Security Adviser had worked for Mr Obama since 2005, when he was appointed then – senator’s foreign policy adviser. The two men were both colleagues and friends - they used to play basketball together - and Mr Lippert was considered part of Mr Obama's "inner circle" of advisers during his presidential campaign. But his resignation in October 2009 (to rejoin the US Navy, after being a reservist for several years) came as a surprise at a time many thought he was being groomed for an even more senior role.

White House Counsel, Greg Craig, announced his decision to resign in November 2009, while President Obama was travelling in Asia. The man who had worked for President Bill Clinton, Senator Ted Kennedy and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, was both a friend and adviser to Mr Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign. Critics however believe Mr Craig’s role in overseeing the closure of the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay was a poisoned chalice. Consequently significant political pressure rendered him unable to deliver on the promise, and he was blamed for the Obama administration's perceived missteps in handling the matter. Some reports indicated Mr Craig was forced out of the administration by disgruntled advisers who believed both Craig and the Guantanamo issue had become serious liabilities. Others portrayed him as the fall guy for the failed policy as well as controversies over torture.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) manages the federal budget - overseeing spending, analyzing the effectiveness of federal agencies and advising the president on budgetary decisions. Its director, Mr Peter Orszag held this critical post during the worst of the economic crisis, but decided to call it quits in June 2010. Orszag was a prominent public figure. His position made him a key advocate for the economic stimulus. But he also generated headlines of his own - fathering a child with his ex-girlfriend just weeks before becoming engaged to an ABC News correspondent who he had dated for seven months. Since leaving the White House he has become a contributing columnist for the New York Times. His first piece reportedly raised the hackles of some of his former colleagues, who viewed it as critical of President Obama.

Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, Ms Christina Romer played a pivotal role in crafting and overseeing the stimulus package. Cheerful and articulate, Ms Romer became one of the administration's most useful economic advocates on television news programs. For some reason, she had signaled early in her tenure that her work in DC would be temporary and is now back to her previous post as an economics professor at the prestigious University of California, Berkeley, since September. The White House cited family commitments as the reason for her departure.

Director of National Economic Council, Larry Summers, an acclaimed economist and experienced presidential adviser, has attracted controversy throughout his career. He had announced he would resign his post and return to his previous job as a professor at Harvard following November's midterm elections. He was ousted as president of Harvard by his academic peers after he commented that the dearth of women working in science may be the result of a biological gender disparity.

In the White House, he quickly gained a reputation from some for brusqueness and arrogance. He reportedly had tense relationships with other members of Mr Obama's economic team, and his ties to Wall Street aggravated some in the Democratic left. He’s expected to leave at the end of December. Obama, is expected to announce Summer's replacement after his (Obama) vacation in Hawaii.

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Friday, December 24, 2010

American Embassies to open doors to civil society activists - Hillary Rodham Clinton

In her statement on this year’s human rights day, US secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton, says she witness small and large acts of courage every day in every part of the world like Liu Xiaobo, this year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner, who helped author Charter '08 calling for peaceful political reform in China and lost his freedom for the cause. On this occasion Mrs Clinton, reiterated her country’s call for Liu’s immediate release as well as other civil rights activists.

By Yemti Harry Ndienla

The US secretary of state brought up the cases of groups and individuals elsewhere in the world including; the group Damas de Blanco which faced harassment and intimidation while advocating for the release of political prisoners, focusing international attention on Cuba’s poor human rights record, and Magodonga Mahlangu and her organization, Women of Zimbabwe Arise, who suffer arrests and abuse as they continue working to empower women to mobilize and take non-violent action against injustice.

To her, Citizen Heroes from all walks of life draw strength and hope from the promise that every country in the world has made in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. “The work of these activists to “reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person,” and their courage to persist is a testament to all that is good in the human spirit.”

Civil society is composed of the totality of voluntary civic and social organizations and institutions that form the basis of a functioning society, as distinct from the force-backed structures of a state (regardless of that state's political system) and commercial institutions of the market. The theory of the legal state considers the equality of state and civil society as its most important characteristic. Being a civil society activist entails courage, love and dedication to a particular fight. But for some reasons activists face human rights abuse by ruthless governments in most part of the world.

Though a vibrant civil society is an essential component of free nations, the US secretary of state noted with regret that many governments around the world continue to employ intimidation, questionable legal practices, restrictions, detention, and willful ignorance to silence the voices of those who defend human rights.

While maintaining her country’s commitment to promoting and defending civil society around the world the number one US diplomat made it clear that her country will continue to remind leaders of their responsibilities to their citizens under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. To support this “I have asked our embassies to open their doors to civil society activists today to listen to their concerns and demonstrate our support.”

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was presented to the UN General Assembly by Eleanor Roosevelt (Chairperson of the commission), and on December 10, 1948, the world moved to recognize and protect the equal and inalienable rights of all people, inspiring individuals around the globe to claim the rights that are our common heritage. Human rights are "rights and freedoms to which all humans are entitled". The Declaration has long served as a beacon to those seeking the protection of fundamental, internationally recognized rights and liberties.

Proponents of the concept usually assert that everyone is endowed with certain entitlements merely by reason of being human. Human rights are thus conceived in a universalist and egalitarian fashion. Such entitlements can exist as shared norms of actual human moralities, as justified moral norms or natural rights supported by strong reasons, or as legal rights either at a national level or within international law.

“Sixty-two years after Eleanor Roosevelt laid out those clear, inviolate principles, we again stand upon a threshold as the need to support and defend civil society has taken on renewed urgency. Today, and every day, the United States stands with those committed to making the vision enshrined in the Declaration a reality for all people. We call on every nation to join us in working to fulfill the Declaration’s promise, at home and abroad”, Ms Clinton, appealed.

But Hillary Clinton came short of mentioning Cameroon, where veteran activist – Bernard Njonga, is under fire by the repressive regime of President Paul Biya, for fighting corruption in government and particularly the agricultural sector. Njonga, and some members of his group - Ctizen Association for The Defense of Collective Interest (ACDIC) are serving suspended sentences as technique by government to keep them away from serving the people of Cameroon

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Barack Obama: An all-round relative Related to seven former presidents and possible this reporter

In an interview with Esquire Magazine, disgraced former governor of the state of IIIinios, Rod Blagojevich is quoted as saying he is “blacker” than US president Barack Obama. Though many questioned how this could be possible owing to the fact that the former governor is completely a lighskin person, I picked no fault in Blago’s widely criticized statement. His father was a polygamist who gave birth to numerous children scattered around the world. The mother too was no different though with fewer children.

By Yemti Harry Ndienla

Obama, by no fault of his is today related to almost everybody including this reporter. Genealogists once said the president and Massachusetts senator, Scott Brown, are 10th cousins. Both Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, and Brown’s mother, Judith Ann Rugg, descended from Richard Singletary of Haverhill, Mass, The New England Historic Genealogical Society
“I think it’s a really interesting thing, where you have the separation between a Democrat and a Republican, but you have one link,” said David Allen Lambert, the society genealogist who co-discovered the connection with colleague Chris Child. Lambert said the work was aided by prior research about Obama, as well as Brown’s cooperation with the society when researchers first contacted him in about a year ago.

Besides the republican senator from Massachusetts, the society discovered in 2008 that Obama is related to seven former presidents of the Unite States, including George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, Harry S. Truman, Lyndon Johnson, James Madison, and actor Brad Pitt.

Like Obama, the society found also that Brown is related to six prior presidents, including George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush and Richard Nixon
However, if these same genealogists were to research on Obama and my family they would probably discover we are related. Yes, Obama’s father came from Kenya – the same continent as my parents. And knowing fully well that he came from a tribe whose roots can be linked to those of my parents I have every reason to believe we are somehow related.

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Vincent Thomas Lainjo – ‘The last man standing’

Vincent Thomas Lainjo fondly called Pa Lanjo – was the last living person of the 13 Members of Parliament in the Eastern House of Assembly in Nigeria, who came from the then Southern Cameroons. His journey on earth made a final full stop at the Kumbo Cathedral Cemetery where his mortal remains took permanent residence four months after he died in Buea.

By Yemti Harry Ndienla

Lainjo, who was elected MP into the Nigerian Eastern House of Assembly in December 1951, later served as Prime Minister of the Republic of Cameroon and Special Adviser to the Governor of Southwest Province, call it region. He died after living for over a century

Voted together with Pa Lanjo, were; Dr. E. M. L. Endeley, Peter Motomby Wolete, Nerius Namaso Mbile, Richard Ndobede Charley, SA George, Martin Forju, John Ngu Foncha, Solomon Tande ng Muna, JT Ndze, AT Ngala, Rev. Jeremiah Chi Kangsen and Prince Sama Ndi.

"I was the Prime Minister, Minister of Education, Minister of Natural Resources which included Agriculture, Minister of Forestry, Minister of Cooperatives and Minister of Human Rights, I was Minister of Social Welfare, serving both in Nigeria and in Cameroon" Pa said in an interview granted L'Effort Camerounais in April 2006, adding that he personally examined the whole Bakassi situation from beginning to end and put up a memo, which was presented to the International Court of Justice.

He was also voted alongside Dr. EML Endeley, Nerius Namaso Mbile, Rev. Jeremiah Kangsen, AT Ngala and John Ngu Foncha to represent the Eastern Region in the Federal House of Assembly. Even though he joined Dr. EML Endeley in advocating that the then Southern Cameroons joined Nigeria, he is said to have endorsed the unification of Southern Cameroons with La République du Cameroun.

Pa Lainjo, was a mentor to many. “I first met the late Pa Lanjo, while I served as Confidential Secretary of the Resident of the Cameroon Province in Enugu. We also worked together when I was Adviser to the Governor. He had a retentive memory and was referred to as 'the dictionary'; he was straightforward and everyone liked him. He was very honest. Considering his great opportunities, many were surprised by his moderation. He served the nation selflessly and did his job without fear or favour. There was hardly gossip that he received any kickbacks” Thomas Mbua Ndoko, described the late elderly statesman.

To the children, Pa was such a loving and caring person to them and all those he came across. “His life and character brought the children together and helped us work harder to be what we are today. We will greatly miss him.”

Above all Pa Lainjo was God-fearing. And that’s where I knew him. Before Pa became my bench mate at St. Anthony’s Parish Buea Town, I first meet him closed to two decades ago, when I stopped by his house in the company of my longtime girl friend to pickup a package from the daughter who was visiting from Chicago - USA. We had walked through the darkest of nights and stones, as we passed along the bush path from Buea town, to Pa’s residence situated behind the old stadium in Buea town. We spent closed to 15mints with him in the absence of the daughter. He would ask about my parents, my life and my sweetheart in a jovial manner.

Thereafter, Pa and I became bench mate at St. Anthony’s parish in Buea town, participating actively in church activities. He was the leader of our “sector” and new everybody by name. Though Pa’s sight was failing him, he would still recognize us, most often from our voices. “Who’s this by me”? He would ask each time he took his seat. And if you sound strange, he would know you didn’t belong there.

He was very active during mass and his voice was conspicuous in responses during mass rite. He was the last also to go for offertory and Holy Communion. He could only wait for a while for either the Rev. sister or Father, to stop by his sit to administer communion.

Pa would spend about 10-15 minutes greeting people around his sector, and others from his village, who came regularly to say hi. Like these people, we would all miss him.

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

USA: Lone African – American Senator Ends mandate in disappointment. Says his departure “is a solemn reminder of how far we have to go."

Roland Burris, the lone African – American senator at the end of the 111th Congress of the U.S senate, is back home in Chicago, , Illinois, after serving nearly two years in Washington. Though short, the former junior senator from Obama’s political base commended his time spent in the Senate describing it "a remarkable testament to our nation's ability to correct the wrongs of generations past," intimating however that his departure is a "solemn reminder of how far we have to go."

By Yemti Harry Ndienla,

Burris was appointed by Rod Blagojevic, former governor of Illinois, after Senator Barack Obama was elected president in 2008. But his appointment was challenged based on the fact that Blagojevic who had the right to select Obama's replacement was arrested by federal agents and charged amongst others with trying to peddle the said appointment to the highest bidder. After the controversal announcement, Burris marched on the Capitol demanding the Senate accept his appointment from the disgraced governor. And was sworn in as the junior senator from Illinois less than two weeks later

The Senator later became the centre of negative attraction after making implicating and controversial statement to the Press concerning relations with the disgraced governor. Burris who prior to his appointment told the world he'd had no contact with the governor about the Senate seat, later admitted there had been some contact. Consequently Burris was reprimanded by Senate Ethics Committee, amid calls for his resignation from prominent Democrats, including Illinois governor Patrick Quinn (who at the time was acting after the impeachment of Rod Blagojevic ) Yet Burris withstood the calls while maintaining his appointment was legitimate, and that his explanations had been misconstrued by the press.

"When the 112th Congress is sworn in this coming January, there will not be a single black American who takes the oath of office in this chamber," Burris told senators in his farewell speech last month. "This is simply unacceptable. We can, and we will, and we must do better. In this regard, and in any other, our political progress has proven less accessible -- and less representative -- than it ought to be, and although I have never allowed my race to define me, in a sense, it has meant that my constituency as a United States senator has stretched far beyond the boundaries of Illinois," he said further. Yes, his departure leaves the upper chamber of Congress without any African-American lawmakers for at least two years, a fact Burris is hard to consume The former senator took on government, criticizing what many would describe as racial discrimination. Hear him, “our government hardly resembles the diverse country it was elected to represent,”.

In course of his tenure Burris boosts of more than 60 bills he sponsored and 300 others he co-sponsored including his work on President Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul and increasing funding for Pell Grant which he mentioned with self-importance. "Together we have achieved passage of the most ambitious legislative agenda since the Great Depression," said Burris who called his time in the Senate "the honor of my lifetime."

A Democrat, and attorney with a background in banking Burris has been replaced by newly-elected Republican Rep. Mark Kirk, who trashed Democratic nominee Alexi Giannoulias – Obama’s political son, during last mid-term elections of 11/2, to fill the remainder of Burris' term and a full six-year term leaving a debt of $630.000 to lawyers who helped him in his battle to get seated and fight ethics charges

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The SDF seems to have reduced its struggle to an elite pastime of memoranda, ultimatums, and court actions – without the people! – Tazoacha Asonganyi

In other circumstances, one would let sleeping dogs lie. But the present circumstances are so central to our political life that it is difficult to let them just lie by. There are conflicting signals all around us, like: there will be no elections organised by ELECAM; the SDF is in the Supreme Court to nullify the activities of ELECAM; the SDF is calling on the people not to register to vote; the SDF has forced Paul Biya to legalise ELECAM; the SDF is going to Geneva...the SDF is calling “on Cameroonians to take their responsibilities.... and do what others have done under similar circumstances...”!

All this is cacophony that confuses the people more than it empowers them! The SDF seems to have reduced its struggle to an elite pastime of memoranda, ultimatums, and court actions – without the people! They are going to court with elite lawyers to argue for the legalisation of a structure they tell the people they do not want. They are giving instructions to the people not to put their names in electoral registers, and punishing those who call on the people to do the contrary, instead of descending to the people to convince them about the wisdom of their instructions, and the folly of the counter call. After all, politics has always been a competitive endeavour in an arena where the people are the sole judge.

Since 1990 the National executive committee of the SDF has always been composed of different categories of people, including elected and co-opted members. They enjoyed the same honours and prerogatives, except when it came to voting on issues in NEC. Of course, co-opted members could always lose their status of member of NEC through the same process by which they were co-opted – that is, by decision of NEC. Until that was done, NEC members were never at the mercy of lower structures of the party on issues of discipline!

Since 2006, NEC members are only handpicked by an all powerful Chairman of the party, not elected. It is difficult to understand that co-opted NEC members like Kah Walla suddenly became so unequal to handpicked members that they are left at the mercy of an Electoral District, in spite of precedence, and the existence of other regulations in the party that protected her from such ridicule. Bringing up cases that have been lying silent since 2007 just when she expressed a different opinion in 2010 on the need for the people to enter their names in electoral registers, smells of the type of settlement of political scores we are witnessing with “Epervier”. For the hierarchy of the party to have watched silently while a lower structure ridiculed her within the party and in the press only added salt to injury. The rule of law is the rule of law, whether it is within political parties or in the country as a whole. Those who cannot respect and enforce the rule of law within a political party cannot convincingly promise to enforce and respect it in the society as a whole.

In 20 years, the SDF has failed to come to terms with the complexity of human nature, and so has failed to develop the humility to deal with strong human egos, to be tolerant of divergent views; and the intelligence to understand the varying motives and desires of their members, so as to overcome personal vendetta, humiliation, and bitterness.

Like the rest of the opposition in Cameroon, the SDF has since become an instrument for the validation of oppressive state power, since they have been reduced to the impotence of barking while the caravan of the dictatorial power we sought to overthrow trudges on. They have ended up becoming managers of the image of a repressive regime because the more they are heard and seen trading repartees with the regime while it calls one bluff after the other, the more the regime is thought to be...“democratic”, since everybody seems to be doing and saying what they want to.

Repressive regimes always want to give the impression that they are in power because of the ballot box. However, every school boy knows that such regimes are in power because of tanks, guns, truncheons, water canons, and sometimes the courts, not because of the ballot box. Interestingly, most repressive regimes that are usually overthrown by the people, are overthrown because the opposition engaged them around the ballot box on the terms of the regime. The core strategy of such opposition groupings has always been to turn election fraud – which the regime always engages in – into an advantage; to turn it into a trigger for protests to humble the weapons that keep the regimes in power!

The opposition in Cameroon should mobilise the people to deal with the ballot box as it is, because the regime is not ready to change the substance of its game plan around the ballot box. The people should be taught their own strategy to use the ballot box as it is, to gain their power. It is foolhardy to indulge in the endless distraction of enumerating the obstacles the regime has consciously put around the ballot box. The ballot box is an inanimate thing; it is only as powerful as the people want it to be. Since people’s power has overcome tanks, guns, truncheons, and water canons, it can overcome any obstacle put on the way to the recapture of their power.
The SDF should encourage the people to register massively in electoral registers, in order to be able to exercise their ballot box power when the time comes!

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Cameroon: MP advocates for Absolute right to strike and peaceful marches

Hon. Ayah Paul Abine, CPDM Member of Parliament for Akwaya, in the republic of Cameroon, has published what he describes as “My vision of a born-again nation”. Ayah, who doubles as Chairman of Foreign Affairs Committee of the country’s national assembly and Second class Traditional Ruler of Akwaya Town is advocating for the abolition of cash payments to contractors, road barriers, extension of length of service in the Public Service. A supper scale judge since 2003, the legal mind is calling also for the abolition of capital punishment (death penalty), and all forms of extra-judicial killings.

By Yemti Harry Ndienla

Read Ayah’s vision of a Born-Again Nation below:

FUNDAMENTAL VALUES: Obligation to share with others, Love of mankind and nature- Protection of family, Compulsory moral teaching in schools, Compulsory manual work in schools, Compulsory civic education in schools, Recognition of religious knowledge, Absolute patriotism, General interest first, Work before play, Naked truth ever, Absolute freedom of movement, Absolute freedom of expression and the press, Absolute right to strike and peaceful marches, The law is supreme, The sacredness of life

TRANSITIONAL TIME-LINE: Transitional President of the Republic for a unique five-year term, Transitional government of at most 20 cabinet ministers, Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Compulsory declaration of assets as by law required, Resolve the Anglophone Problem second half of first year. Constitutional Commission first half of second year, Public debate on draft constitution second half of second year, Fair copy of draft constitution first half of third year, Constitutional referendum second half of third year, Put in place new institutions in the fourth year, Put in place Independent Electoral Commission, Abolish list system of election, Create individual electoral constituencies, Elections at all levels in the fifth years, Transitional President of the Republic hands over, End of transition


FORM OF STATE: A ten-state Federal Republic, Territorial Organization, Federation: - elected President of the Republic, elected Vice President, Ministers vetted by the Senate upon nomination (b) States: - elected Governor, Secretaries of State, one-chamber House per State (c) Councils: - elected mayors, elected councilors

Capitals: Federal Capital Territory, State Capitals, Council Seats



A. THE EXECUTIVE: President of the Federal Republic: five-year term renewable once (b) Vice President of the Federal Republic (c) Prime Minister vetted by the Senate (d) Ministers: 20 Federal cabinet ministers at most (e) Nominations vetted by the Senate (f) Regulate presidential foreign trips

B. THE LEGISLATURE: Two-chamber House: - the National Assembly - the Senate- 5-year terms renewable (b) Each chamber headed by a speaker elected for 5 years (c) Exclusive jurisdiction in legislation (d) Full power to control government action (e) Single-member constituencies (f) All senators to be elected (g) Referendum on Houses of Chiefs (at States level only)

C. ELECTIONS: Independent Electoral Commission with an elected head (b) Candidate with absolute majority of above 50% wins (c) Second round if no absolute where and whenever necessary (d) Independent Electoral Commission conducts all elections (e) universal suffrage direct and secret, save for mayors (f) voting age from 18 years

D. THE JUDICIARY – (fully independent) (a) Supreme Court headed by a Chief Justice (b) Members to be vetted by Senate upon nominations (c) Hold office till 75 years old (d) States’ Courts of Appeal headed by Appeals Justices (e) States’ High Courts headed by Senior Judges (f) Council Courts headed by Senior Magistrates (g) Once on the Bench ever on the Bench (h) Customary Courts/Alkali Courts headed by court clerks (i) Supreme Judicial Council headed by an elected man of God (j) Set up a consolidated fund (k) abolish “frais de justice/emoluments”

CONSTITUTIONAL COURT: Permanently functional (b) Headed by Federal Justice (c) Composition: 09 (nine) members (d) All nominations to be vetted by the Senate (e) Hold office till the age of 70 (f) Simplified commencement of actions

HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE (IMPEACHMENT): One Federal (b) One per State (c) Judges nominated and vetted by Senate/States’ Houses (d) To function regularly (e) Simplified commencement of actions

MILITARY TRIBUNALS: exclusively for court martial

BILINGUALISM: English and French: official languages of equal status (b) Every primary school becomes a bilingual school within 5 years (c) A bilingual secondary school at every council seat within 5 years (d) Eliminatory entry point into universities from 2020: - GCE ordinary level French for Anglophones - BEPC English for Francophones

Bilingualism as eligibility condition from 2020 for the office of: - President of the Republic – Minister - Member of Parliament - Member of Constitutional Council - Magistrates and Judges - Member of Independent Electoral Commission - Principal of a bilingual institution - States’ Governors - Secretaries of State - Manager of a semi-public corporation - Vice Chancellors, their deputies, Registrars etc

Heads and their deputies at sea and air ports (f) Train bilingual teachers in priority (g) Annual awards to best bilingual students nationwide (h) Absolute bilingualism in tourist establishments within 5 years (i) All official placards identically bilingual

THE FLAG: Green – Red – Yellow with one star as it now is

THE NATIONAL ANTHEM: Revision Commission (b) identical meaning in the two official languages (c) Adopted by Parliament


ADVISORY STATE COUNCIL OF THE WISE: Initial membership of at most 11 (eleven) (b) Membership of former Heads of State for life (c) Return/burial of remains of deceased national/nationalist leaders (d) Monuments for deceased national/nationalist leaders (e) Rehabilitation of all national/nationalist leaders


MINISTERIAL TEAM: 20 cabinet ministers at most (b) cabinet: 60% youths; 40% adults (c) youths’ age range: 18 and 40 (d) absolute gender balance – 50/50

ROAD INFRASTRUCTURE: All council seats accessible by earth roads within ten years (b) tarred roads to all State capitals within ten years

AGRICULTURE: Direct subsidies to farmer groupings (b) special grants to youth farmer groups (c) adopt mechanized agriculture (d) a school of agriculture per State

RURAL DEVELOPMENT: Stem rural exodus (b) harness hydro-power through State/private sector partnership (c) rural electricity equitably distributed (d) potable water equitably distributed (e) built and equipped health centers equitably distributed (f) staffed and equipped schools equitably distributed (g) classrooms equitably distributed (h) recreational centers equitably distributed (i) grant loans for building dwelling houses

NATIONAL BUDGET: Investment/recurrent budgets = 50/50 at all levels (b) 20% of entire federal budget evenly distributes to councils (c) 10% of entire federal budget evenly distributed to States (d) grand projects reserved for the Federal Government (e) equipment of the military reserved for the Federal Government (f) equitable distribution of national natural resources

PUBLIC SERVICE: Single entry method for all (b) Federal Public Service Commission for establishment (c) apolitical Public Service (d) entry without competitive examinations (e) automatic establishment five years from entry (f) no establishment solely on indiscipline/poor output (g) career profiles esp. for teachers at all levels

RETIREMENT: Automatic retirement for all (b) automatic pensions upon retirement

EDUCATION a) compulsory primary education (b) free education at primary/secondary school levels (c) half fees at high school level (d) substantial annual subventions to missionary schools/colleges (e) compulsory moral education – Christianity – Islam (f) university fees to be halved for Cameroonians (g) more university hostels at reduced rents (h) building on-campus hostels with loans from Credit Foncier (i) teach affirmative cultural values

CRIMINAL JUSTICE: free at all levels including records of appeal (b) two-month maximum period of custody (c) strict limitation of adjournments (d) custody beyond two months only for capital offences (e) extensive reform of prisons and prison conditions (f) release all political prisoners (including the branded)

NATIONAL DAY: To be examined by a commission (b) to be determined by referendum

TOWN PLANNING: Master plan for each settlement (b) avert demolitions in consequence (c) easy loans for building dwelling houses

ENVIRONMENT: Transparent timber exploitation (b) direct timber royalties to the relevant communities (c) compulsory immediate reforestation (d) protect all water courses

SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH: Create a fund for research (b) rationalize Cameroon Science Academy (c) exact result/output from researchers

TAXATION: Extensive reform of tax system (b) the rich to pay more (c) induce investors with lower taxes for industries

MINORITIES: Protection (b) special political rights

TRADITIONAL RULERS: Map and classify chiefdoms (b) grant allowances to all chiefs (c) strict observance of customary rules of enthronement

THE MILITARY/OTHER FORCES: Build barracks for all (b) build schools/colleges in barracks (c) build health institutions in barracks (d) provide adequate working tools/equipment free of charge (e) build recreational facilities in barracks: courts, messes etc (f) automatic risk allowance (g) official education insurance for orphans of fallen servicemen (h) official insurance for widows of fallen servicemen (i) absolutely apolitical

EXTRAVAGANCE: Reduce the number of presidential rest houses (b) reduce the number/size of departmental vehicles (c) reduce the number of television sets in public offices (d) maintenance of equipment nation-wide (e) curb luxury furniture in public offices/residences (f) control consumption of power in public offices (g) limit the use of public telephones, vehicles, fuel etc (h) curb distant and expensive seminars, workshops etc

PRIVATE SECTOR: The growth of private initiative (b) public/private sector partnerships (c) attract foreign banks/investors

SOCIAL AFFAIRS: Insurance cover for all persons (b) special insurance for the unemployed (c) insurance cover for the handicapped (d) effective compulsory civil status registration (e) computerized civil status registration

PEACE/SECURITY: Combat crime at all levels (b) re-education of criminals (c) propagate internal individual peace (d) combat all forms of arson (e) investigate every instance of arson in public structures (f) no duty as private watchpersons by police/soldiers (g) public enquiry into road accidents

FOREIGN RELATIONS: maintain traditional allies (b) seek/secure new allies (c) peaceful coexistence with all neighbors without surrender (d) reciprocity in international relations (e) renovate and revitalize diplomatic missions abroad

INDUSTRIALIZATION: secure and protect investments in all industries (b) indigenous/foreign partnerships (c) equitable/compatible location of industries

CORRUPTION: Compulsory declarations of assets (b) encourage/reward probity (c) investigate and punish all culprits without exception (d) serve as a model (e) whistle-blowing

HEALTH: Special status for doctors/nurses (b) free consultations in all public health institutions (c) subsidize basic drugs (d) annual subsidies to private missionary health institutions (e) annual awards to exemplary doctors/nurses

BRAIN DRAIN: Immediate increase in salaries (b) stem ghost workers phenomenon (c) promote and support private initiatives (d) instill hope in the youths (e) no persecution for dissention (f) induce the return of our (scientists): engineers, doctors, etc (g) stem clandestine emigration

TOURISM: Make Cameroon a tourist destination within two years (b) encourages tourism from the abolition of road barriers (c) simplify the establishment of tourist facilities (d) create tourist police for the safety of tourists (e) build and let tourist facilities to the private sector (f) stricter protection of fauna and flora (g) maintenance and protection of monuments (h) maintenance and conservation of natural tourist attractions (i) encourage private initiatives on tourism

INCREASE IN REVENUE: Stem embezzlement by stricter control of movements of funds (b) decrease in the allowances of ministers and equivalents (c) curb waste as per 318 supra (d) foreign exchange from increase in produce export (e) revenue from increase in tourism (f) taxes from the rich (g) stricter accountability from extractive industries (h) increase in industrial export (i) savings from reduction of ministerial cabinets (j) savings from the trimming of ghost workers (k) stricter control of capital flight (l) revenue from mining

EXPORT/IMPORT: Encourage more export (b) ease rules on export (c) control/scrutinize import of second-hand goods (d) encourage the consumption of local products (e) duty-free medicines (f) duty-free agricultural equipment e.g. tractors (g) duty-free aids for the handicapped

DIASPORA: Commitment to building the fatherland (b) grant the right to vote (c) define and grant double nationality (d) grant eligibility to hold elective office (e) encourage and protect investment back home (f) census of every Cameroonian outside the Fatherland (g) guarantee the safety of every Cameroonian abroad

PUBLIC CONTRACTS: Trimmed tenders boards (b) reduce the number of tender documents (c) no physical contacts between contractors and tender boards (d) no physical contacts between finance department and contractors (e) independent bodies for supervision and evaluation of projects (f) time lines for the treatment of contract documents

INDUSTRIAL FREE ZONE: Establish an industrial free zone soonest (b) consequential boom of stock market (c) boost in export (d) quickened mechanized agriculture

TRANSPARENCY: All salaries and allowances without exception to be published (b) all State vehicles to be registered exclusively officially (c) inventory of all State property to be published on websites (d) strict documentation of exhaustible State property (e) regulate the closing of doors in public offices (f) publish annual profits from all public and semi-public corporations

WOMEN: The right to remarry after widowhood (b) the right to own land (c) legal protection from domestic violence (d) the right to succeed deceased husbands e) the right to loans and investment (f) the right to personal bank account (g) unconditional freedom to travel

THE YOUTHS: The right of self-organization (b) access to jobs (no insistence on experience) (c) Grooming: preparations to take over power (d) encourage self-reliant initiatives (e) patriotism (f) instill working spirit (g) leisure after work

SEAPORTS: Kribi and Limbe to be built latest 2016 (b) renovation of the Douala port in 2 years (c) Creek ports to be renovated soonest (d) renovation of seasonal river ports in 5 years (e) establish strict time lines for customs clearance (f) heighten security for the safety of goods (g) conspicuous identification marks to flush out intruders

AIRPORTS: Reopen all existing airports as of 1961 (b) maintenance of all international airports (c) build airstrips in areas inaccessible by road (d) establish time lines for customs clearance (e) acquisition of modern equipment for safety checks (f) uniforms for identification

SPORTS: No preferred sport (b) a world-standard stadium per State (c) build modern playgrounds (d) no interference from Youth and Sports ministry (e) genuine regular elections in federations (f) checks and balances to stem fraudulent conversion (g) a sports school per State


Transformation into faculties: ENAM, Public Works School, P & T School, IRIC etc make the Yaounde Polytechnic school professional apolitical campuses and one federal university per State

ABOLITIONS: Probatoire, collateral ‘courts’, unlawful disruption of work e.g. “keep-clean” days, cash payments to contractors, road barriers, extension of length of service in the Public Service, capital punishment (death penalty), all forms of extra-judicial killings




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Abraham: First Opposition to Biya

Abraham Fon slipped into a coma on 6 November 1982 and died seven days later on. He had heard over the local language programmes broadcast over Radio Buea that President Ahidjo had resigned, handing over power to a Beti from the South of Cameroon. I was in the village over the weekend to collect food supplies for the month. I was in school in Bamenda 29 kilometers away from Nyen, my village.

By Christopher Fon Achobang

When I met my father, he was very restless and he called me to scan his toes. I was the only one who defied the stench from his athlete feet to scan his toes for jiggers. My father had worked as a road labourer and stayed in muddy waters for long helping in the building of bridges and culverts. My brothers refused to scan his toes for jiggers because of their messiness. Every time I went to the village my first assignment was to take out the offensive insects that laid their eggs in Abraham’s toes.

As I massaged his toes plucking out the egg-filled jigger shells, he asked me, “What is this I am hearing about Ahidjo resigning? And who exactly has he handed power to?” I cleared my throat before attempting the answer. Usually, I let him entertain me with his plantation stories and going on steamers to Espana or Fernando Po, today Malabo. I had much to learn from my father as I had been away for over five years. I told him the exact biography of President Paul Biya as I heard it read on Radio Cameroon Yaounde, and rebroadcast on Bamenda provincial station.

When the old man came out of his long reverie I noticed he was breathing heavily. I asked him what was wrong. He said this Biya was from the same ethnic group as Etoundi, his farm supervisor at Chop Farm near Man ‘O’ War Bay, Victoria (Limbe). Etoundi earned over £1.50 while Abraham earned just over 75 Shillings. In fact, Etoundi earned twice as much as Abraham. My father said Etoundi was always in debt as he squandered all his money within a week. He drank spirits that came from Espana and bought the fattest fish. Etoundi never repaid his debts and created trouble for everyone whenever he was poor. He had a brother called Amougou who came in from Wututu near Bojongo. He had been a servant in the house of the Catholic priest, but was fired for drinking the wine meant for Holy Communion.

These people are “Chop broke pot,” Abraham exclaimed. “It means before long, no money will be left in Cameroon. I will not even get money for my coffee. I will not live to see this type of ruin,” he concluded.

Before I left the village that Sunday evening, Abraham was already very sick. I learnt he had slipped into a coma and was there for about seven days. I remember how Frida was jittery when I went to visit David. She had learnt from my elder brother that my father had died the previous day but nobody told me. She was trying to find courage to break the news to me. When she finally found the right words, she announced the passing of Abraham on 13 November 1982. She expected me to collapse or start wailing. Frida was surprised that I did none of those things children do when they learn of the death of one of their parents. I reminded her that I knew my father was going to die as he had vowed not to live through Biya’s reign.

I inherited a couple of things from Abraham. Abraham was a blunt man and would not mind insulting the perverse and liars, no matter whoever they were. He taught me to always frown at lies, pettiness and ill-gotten wealth. It was fashionable for all road labourers to own bicycles as transport to their work places. Abraham died without knowing how to ride a bicycle. What I heard about Biya’s tribe from my father shaped my opinions about the ethnic group. Every statement my father made was proven correct in a few months. As a poor man, many folks ignored him in Nyen. They said if he knew so much, he should be living in affluence. The few who listened to him never stumbled at the foot of the mounting social challenges of the time.

Abraham lived insulated in his isolation and looked at the rest of the world as an illusion. He never envied others’ wealth, associations and ways. He said those who rose dishonestly fell the same way. I learned from him that life was not a race to be won but an experience to live. His brothers who were caught cheating in their race for survival all died disgracefully. Every time one of them passed, Abraham grunted, ‘people died the way they lived.’ Abraham’s frankness knew no limits as he did not hesitate despising even the dead who had lived dishonestly.

When Biya came to Bamenda for the first time around youth week of February 1983, I was on SONAC Street with other students to receive him. My school mates were surprised that I was not clapping and cheering like the others. I was simply staring at the presidential motorcade returning to Station hill with Biya. Biya himself noticed me standing quietly and indifferently a few steps from the cheering frenzied crowd of students.

In 1985, we were assigned in our Civics course to comment on the New Deal developments in Bamenda. That was barely two years after Biya took power in Cameroon. I started my answer with what most praise singing teachers will call off topic. I used the first ten lines of my answer to state that it was not because Biya inherited projects from Ahidjo that they became New Deal or his projects. Interestingly, my Civics teacher, Tazifor John gave me a 19 on 20 in the assignment and asked me to copy the assignment and paste on the school notice board for all to read. This action encouraged me to be more critical at a time when everyone was handclapping for Biya. In fact, I found no fault with the attempted bloody Coup d’état of 6 April 1984, terming it a missed opportunity at good riddance. My principal was visibly embarrassed and they thought I might be demented.

Since Abraham’s passing, I am still to see one reason to blame him for quitting the stage a few days after Biya took power in Cameroon. The ethnic oligarchy has plundered the resources of the land in the typical “Chop Broke Pot” manner my father warned. His coffee plants became useless as prices plummeted terribly by 1986, something Ahidjo guarded against. For many years, in the 1990s, there was no money in the State Treasury as workers went for many months without a salary. Yet Beti boys and girls had glutted their private accounts in banks around the world. Things came to a head in 1995 after the devaluation of the Franc CFA and salaries were slashed down by 66 percent.

Just like with Etoundi and Amougou, Mendounga and Ondo Ndong, the “Chop Broke Pot” fraters are still sending other Abrahams to the grave. As a chip from the old block, I continue to oppose the Etoundis and Amougous laying siege to the Cameroonian pot. Like Abraham, we will prevent them from Chopping and Breaking the Pot, Cameroon. A few weeks back, Cameroon celebrated 28 years of Biya, while I am still unable to lay a befitting wreath on Abraham’s grave after 28 years of his passing. I am still jobless for opposing Biya since 28 years like Abraham did. Like Daniel in the Bible, I will emerge from the Lion’s Den unscathed and find grace in the lord, while the lion and its cubs shall perish. Those accomplices of the Chop Broke pot dispensation petitioned their master to say I, the proud descendant of Abraham was anti Biya, anti-CPDM and pro-Southern Cameroons. So be it. With integrity and endurance no hair on my head will break under their pressure. Abraham chickened out. In reverence to him, I vow to fight on till the ethnic oligarchy is chased to the darkness of the abyss. In remembrance of Abraham’s heroic pioneering opposition, I scratch my toes in mock victory over the jiggers I plucked off his toes. Those economic, social and political jiggers menacing Cameroon, I bound and cast them deep in the flood of the waters of perdition. On your tombstone, Abraham, receive my last tears. Let the tears water the guavas blooming over your grave for your grandchildren for generations to come, while those of Etoundi and Amougou wither in the desert of their crimes against God’s people.

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