Saturday, October 15, 2016

Cameroon: Anglophone Lawyers Prolong Strike by One Week Over Government's ''Divide and Rule Tactics'

* Urge traditional rulers to join them fight for their constitutional rights
By Christopher Ambe

Common law lawyers in Cameroon have celebrated the huge  success of their last week's  four-day sit-in strike rather with a prolongation.The announced extension of the strike  from Monday, October 17th to 21st  is intended  to mount more pressure on the Cameroon Government to critically look into their demands and react to them appropriately,instead of what the lawyers refer to as Government's  "Divide and Rule Policy"..
Shaken by the strike, Government reportedly was  trying to meet the lawyers demands but without total commitment,lawyers say.  Following is the communique issued to prolong the strike:


We thankfully congratulate members of our four Associations (FAKLA, MALA, MELA & NOWELA) for their heeding to the call to protest strike and observing it across the entire common law jurisdictions of the North West and South West Regions;

After duly evaluating the strike of 11th to the 14th of October 2016, and carefully deliberating on the way forward at the local levels of our various Constituent Associations, we have synchronized the common position which provides us with a consensual platform as follows:


2.      We note with regret that the Government instead of responding to our demands spice by the strike action is still employing its traditional policy of divide and rule. Consequently, we call on our members to remain resolute, determined, steadfast and focus and not to lend themselves to any Government manipulation;

3.      That a crucial enlarged meeting will be held in due course to decide on the next steps to be taken should the government continue to ignore our demands;

4.      That we shall be calling on all elected Public Representatives from the North West and South West Regions, to discharge their obligations to their constituencies which fall within the Common Law jurisdiction of North West and South West Regions to make their joint statements in the protection of the legal and legitimate rights of their constituents-cum-users of the Common law in Cameroon, failing which they shall be adjudged as haven compromised their representative positions vis-a-vis their constituencies;

5.      That we call on the members of the North West Fons’ Union to reassert and reconstitute their Union and stand up along the South West Chief’s Conference, as one person, to protect the children of their respective Fondoms and Chiefdoms in their efforts to protect their constitutional rights to have the common Law restored and protected;

6.      That we call on our sister syndicates, with similar sectoral plights to continue pursuing their demands trusting on the support of Cameroon Common Law Lawyers in any legal pursuit of their complaints, whether separately or jointly with us until such time that we would have exhausted local remedies within the national jurisdiction.

7.      We shall be synergizing  with SYNES, Cameroon Teachers’ Trade Union –(CATTU), Teachers Association of Cameroon (TAC), Traders Associations, Taxi Drivers Unions, Bus Companies, and Commercial Motorbike Riders’ Associations, as well as “Buyam Sellam” Associations, across the North West and South West Regions;

8.      We finally appreciate the understanding and cooperation of our clients and emphasize that they and us have a joint interest in protecting the common law. 

It should be noted that we are not against any personnel of the courts and consequently they are enjoined to eschew any hostility against us or our clients for they are better placed to understand the legality and legitimacy of our demands as corrective and protective measures in the recovery and rebuilding of judicial integrity and performance for the benefit of all out of our diversity.



Friday, October 14, 2016

Cameroon: Barrister Ngek Ngala is New Representative of Lawyers’ GA Presidency for NW Region

By Christopher Ambe
Senior Barrister Ngek John Ngala has been appointed as the new Representative of the President of the General Assembly of the Cameroon Bar Association for the North West Region
Ngek Ngala

     His October 13, 2016 appointment by Barrister Nico Halle, President of the General Assembly of the Cameroon Bar Association, came following the resignation of Barrister Harmony Bobga Mbuton from the position .He resigned while Anglophone lawyers were still observing a four-day strike to  attract Government’s attention to their worries.
     In a resignation letter dated October 11, 2016 and addressed to the Bar GA President, Barrister Bobga   cited circumstances he did not longer find “comfortable to continue to represent a body that works against the interest of lawyers I am expected to serve from my appointive position of your representative for the Northwest Region and elected leader of the Northwest Lawyers’ Association…”
     Reacting to Barrister Bobga’s resignation, the GA president regretted it but added that he had a right to resign if he did not feel comfortable to continue working in that capacity, Barrister Nico Halle told The Recorder by phone.
   “I can only thank Barrister Bobga for the services he has rendered to the Bar as my representative in the Northwest Region since he was appointed one and a half years ago. We thank him for the services he has rendered to the Bar; much is still expected from him...”
   Barrister Nico Halle said the “terms of reference of his (Ngek Ngala’s ) duties have already been communicated to him.
    The Bar GA President urged those concerned to give his new Northwest   Representative “the support necessary for the accomplishment of his duties for the good of the Bar Association.”

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Cameroon: Anglophone Lawyers on four-day strike over Government's indifference towards their plight.

Shaken,Government is reportedly looking into the lawyers' concerns after Bar's General Assembly President met Justice Minister.

By Christopher Ambe
Cameroon Common Law Lawyers on October 11 began a four-day sit-in strike intended to protest against Cameroon Government's snobbishness towards concerns they addressed to it for solutions.

 According to reports,the strike was 95% successful on day one and may hit 100% in the rest of the days.
Already shaken  by the protest,the Government  has reportedly  ordered the Ministry of Justice to look into the problems for solutions.

According to Barrister Nico Halle,President of the General Assembly of the Cameroon Bar Association,who spoke with  The Recorder ,this morning ,on phone from Yaounde,he  and others met the Minister of Justice yesterday  to press for solutions to the lawyers' demands.He revealed to The Recorder that,an order has already been issued by the Minister of Justice Laurent Esso, for the complete  translation of the OHADA law  into English from French,which is one of the lawyers' demands.

" I met the Minister of Justice yesterday and he has ordered for the translation of the OHADA law...Is that not success?" he said in a phone conversation with The Recorder. Asked if he was  for the strike or against or against it , Barrister Nico Halle  quipped: " If my colleagues are on strike and I know the reasons,I should rather be fighting for the solutions to the problems...which is what I am doing."

Below is the release from the Cameroon Common Law lawyers,before the start of the sit-in strike:


The President of the Republic of Cameroon
Presidency of the Republic,
Yaoundé, Cameroon.

Whereas it is over two years since we served on Your Excellency’s government our Resolutions of the Bamenda Inaugural Conference of the Cameroon Common Law Lawyers (Anglophone Lawyers) and till date we have received not even an acknowledgment;

Whereas on the 13th of February 2016 we held a second conference over the non-respect of our demands in the resolutions referred to in the preceding paragraph;

Whereas recently, some of our members attempt to exercise the constitutional right of freedom of expression through the medium of Press Conference and were stifled with administrative bans and Police harassments;

Cognizant of the fact that the real power and responsibility of government resides in Your Excellency, as Head of State, Commander-in-Chief, Head of the judiciary, Primary and even sole initiator of legislation in both legislative houses;

We the Presidents of the constituent Associations of Cameroon Common Law Lawyers (Anglophone Lawyers) –Fako Lawyers’ Association [FAKLA], Meme Lawyers’ Association [MELA], North West Lawyers’ Association [NOWELA], and Manyu Lawyers’ Association [MALA], after carefully reviewing the attitude of government towards all the complaints of Cameroon Common Law Lawyers’ over the erosion of the common law in Cameroon as manifest in the OHADA Legislation, The Insurance Legislation [CODE CIMA] and virtually every other piece of legislation since 1972, have this 6th day of October 2016 decided to table the following requests to the President of the Republic of Cameroon in his capacity as Head of the Judiciary, the Head of the Executive and principal initiator of legislation in both legislative houses:

1.     That we extend our patience albeit, non elastic to call on Your Excellency to set up an Ad Hoc Commission to respond to our Bamenda  Resolutions of 9th May 2015 and the Buea Declaration of 13 February 2016  regarding the erosion of the common law in Cameroon;

2.     That Your Excellency should hold an emergency session of the Higher Judicial Council and re-deploy ALL CIVIL LAW MAGISTRATES from the two Common Law Jurisdictions of North West and South West Regions), and in the same vein redeploy ALL COMMON LAW MAGISTRATES from the civil law Jurisdictions to the two Common Law Jurisdictions of North West and South West Regions).

To demonstrate our present feel of government’s negative attitude towards our plight notwithstanding our patience, which can only be saved by meeting the foregoing requests, we hereby give notice that from Tuesday the 11th of October 2016 to the 14th day of October 2016; All the Lawyers of our above Associations shall have a sit-down strike from all court actions.

We enjoin all members of the Cameroon Bar association to support in this constructive strike action for a better rule of law in Cameroon.




Saturday, October 1, 2016

Cameroon: Becky Effoe ends civil service career amid calls for extra services.

Rebecca Limunga Effoe  being decorated for meritorious services  to the State by Governor Okalia Bilai /File
By Christopher Ambe, and Josepher Mbako Zakah*     
Rebecca Limunga Effoe(fondly called Aunty Bex),Director of State-owned Intensive Vocational Training Center for Office Employees(IVTC) ,Buea has   officially joined the club of Cameroonian  senior citizens .
    Aunty Bex, in her early 60’s, Tuesday September 27, smilingly bade farewell to Cameroon Civil Service, after serving in various capacities for 30 years, to begin her retirement. She has been replaced as Director (alternatively called Chief of Centre) of IVTC by Nchituh Ndifor Charles, who was her assistant for three years.
    Southwest Regional Delegate for Employment and Vocational Training, John Atosoh, who presided at the handing over ceremony and later chaired a cocktail party in honor of Aunty Bex, showered praises on the senior citizen, describing her as a motherly and assiduous person  whom many would enjoy working with.
     Apparently still in need of the services and collaboration of the out-gone director, Mr. Atosoh quipped: “Madam Limunga Effoe, I would like to say that, you are still the Chief of Centre here, appointed by the Regional Delegate”.
   The “unofficial appointment” by the same official who chaired the handing over ceremony drew a long applause from the guests and staff at the send-off party -and observers said it was indicative of the strategic role Aunty Bex played in making IVTC a famous resource center in Cameroon.
    The new  Chief of Centre,Mr. Nchituh,who admitted having
Aunty Bex & Successor Nchituh
worked  well with the retiree and learned much from her, said his administration would adopt an-open door policy and build from where his predecessor ended.
  “My coming to IVTC is God’s design; I call for teamwork and solidarity, so that in the end it should be our success story and not mine alone.” Mr.Nchituh likened Aunty Bex “to a resource that we cannot do without”-a hint that her services would be sought after from time to time.
    Mr. Nchituh promised to work honestly with hierarchy in order to help realize Cameroon development goals in the area of capacity-building.      
   Retired Aunty Bex, is holder of a Diploma in Secretaryship from Pitman Central College -London and another Diploma in International Business, as well as a Post-Graduate Diploma in Management Studies from Kingston Polytechnic (today Kingston University in London).
    She is on record to have served as Private Secretary to four Cameroon Members of Government after her studies in London.
   For several years, a  duty-conscious Aunty Bex  served as Private Secretary to  two  Ministers of Higher Education, Professor Peter Agbor Tabi (1994-97) and Jean Marie Atangana Mebara;and later  Private Secretary and Research Assistant to two Public Health Ministers respectively: Professor Gottlieb Monekosso and Laurent Esso.
   Even before becoming Private Secretary to the mentioned  ministers, Aunty Bex on her return from studies  in London, worked at the then University of Yaoundé as Administrative Assistant. She had earlier worked in the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication before traveling abroad for further studies.
   As director of IVTC, Aunty Bex’s noticeable commitment to nation-building attracted State recognition and within five years she was   honored with three different categories of state medals, especially in a country where many work  for decades and go on retirement without such honour.
    On May 20, 2015, Southwest Regional Governor Okalia Bilai decorated her on behalf of the state with the medal of Knight of the Cameroon Order of Valor.
   Several years earlier Aunty Bex was decorated with the Knight of Cameroon Order of Merit, followed with the award of the Officer of Cameroon Order.
Delegate Atosoh(in suit) oversees handing over  keys
   The soft-spoken senior citizen is a strategist of the ruling CPDM in Fako Division. Aunty Bex, who is a native of Buea is also a noted event organizer
A Devout Baptist Christian, she likes to attribute her successes in life to the hand of God.
    Speaking at her departure party on campus, she was very much thankful to God for providing her with good health and a high sense of direction in  executing  all her state-assigned tasks while  a civil servant for 30 years.
She encouraged students and staff to work hand in glove with her successor.
 “I know you will be able do the task. We have worked together and I know the stuff you are made of”, she said to Mr.Nchituh.
   IVTC Buea offers specialized diploma courses for a duration of nine months, in several specializations, such as: Bilingual Secretary ship, Office Automation secretary, Computer Maintenance & Repairs, Accounting Secretary, Computerized Accounting and Management

Short/tailored certificate courses too are offered such as: office administration, secretarial procedures, stress and time management, meeting and minutes taking.
   The institution has graduated thousands of Cameroonians who are gainfully employed in pubic and private sectors.
*Josepher Mbako Zakah is a University of Buea Journalism student