Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Prolonged Anglophone Crisis: President Biya reiterates indivisibility of Cameroon as he announces national dialogue

By Christopher Ambe
For close to three years, the two English-speaking regions of Cameroon, (formerly the British Southern Cameroons) have been plunged into a deadly conflict, which has led to the deaths of over 2000 people and over half a million others internally displaced. The conflict has resulted to a serious humanitarian crisis, as armed separatists seeking for the statehood of Anglophones clash, on regular basis with government forces.
Amidst clarion calls for an immediate cease fire and meaningful dialogue to resolve the crisis, President Biya on September 10, 2019 announced the coming of the much-awaited dialogue, but  quickly insisted that it must take place within the constitution of Cameroon, which country he added "remains one and indivisible”
Following is President Paul Biya’s address to the nation:
Fellow Cameroonians,
My Dear Compatriots,

For close to three years now, the North-West and South-West Regions of our country have been going through a crisis that not only jeopardizes the safety and        well-being of the population living there, but also has far-reaching consequences for the national community as a whole.
It should be recalled that the crisis was triggered by corporate demands made by lawyers and teachers calling for the translation of the OHADA Uniform Acts into English and the preservation of the specificity of the Anglo-Saxon judicial and educational systems in the two regions.
From the outset, and true to an option that I hold dear, I instructed the holding of dialogue between the Government and trade unions to seek appropriate solutions to these demands. The measures taken by the Government at the end of these consultations went well beyond the initial demands and include:

- the translation into English of the OHADA instruments which are now available in the two official languages;
- the creation of a Common Law Section at the Supreme Court to handle appeals filed against the decisions of lower courts in Common Law matters;
- regarding the training of judicial and legal officers, the creation of a Common Law Section at the National  School of Administration and Magistracy. This measure was accompanied by a programme for the recruitment of English-speaking pupil judicial and legal officers and court registrars;
- the launching of the special recruitment of bilingual teachers in secondary schools;
- at the level of the judiciary, the stay of proceedings against some persons arrested in connection with the demands;
- the setting up of a national Commission for the Promotion of Bilingualism and  Multi-culturalism to, among other things, carry out an in-depth review of all the sources of frustration suffered by our compatriots in the North-West and        South-West Regions.
Decisions were taken subsequently to fast-track the decentralization process, with the creation of a new ministry devoted thereto. The upcoming regional elections will complete the process by enabling our compatriots nationwide to fully participate in the management of their local affairs.
My Dear Compatriots,
Despite the efforts made by the Government, radical movements, mainly inspired from abroad, have exploited and distorted the corporate demands. They have thus hatched a secessionist plan to partition our country. In this regard, they have formed and financed armed groups that have caused untold harm to the population of the North-West and South-West Regions.
The whole world has witnessed the atrocities committed by these armed groups: maiming, beheading, assassination of elements of the Defence and Security Forces, administrative authorities and defenceless civilians, destruction of public infrastructure and buildings, and burning of schools, hospitals, etc.
I would like to avail myself of this opportunity to once again extend my heartfelt condolences and those of the entire Nation to those who have lost loved ones in the crisis. I also wish to send a message of comfort to the wounded and all those affected in one way or the other. I want to assure them that they can count on the solidarity of the Government of the Republic and the Nation as a whole.
My Dear Compatriots   
The atrocities committed by armed groups have forced thousands of our compatriots to seek refuge in other regions of the country and, for some, in neighbouring countries where they have been reduced to living under precarious conditions.
In the face of these intolerable acts, the Defence and Security Forces have taken energetic measures, often at the risk of their lives, to perform their duty of protecting citizens and their property.
These measures are currently bearing fruits with the improvement of security and the progressive resumption of economic activities in the two regions.
My Dear Compatriots,
Since the outbreak of this crisis, I have spared no effort, with the help of Cameroonians of good will, in seeking ways and means for its peaceful resolution.

In a bid to calm the situation, I even ordered the discontinuance of judicial proceedings pending before military tribunals against 289 persons arrested for offences committed during this crisis.
In the same vein, I extended a hand of peace to members of armed groups by calling on them to lay down their arms and benefit from the process of reintegration into society. A National Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Committee was thus set up. Regional Disarmament Centres are gradually receiving many ex-combatants who willingly accept to lay down their arms.  We will continue to make the necessary efforts to fully operationalize this process.

At the humanitarian level, I decided to launch a large-scale assistance plan for our affected compatriots of the North-West and South-West Regions. I also established a Centre for the Coordination of Humanitarian Action for its implementation. I wish to thank our international partners for supporting us in this initiative.
My Dear Compatriots,
The supposed feeling of marginalization by the people of the North-West and South-West Regions has often been advanced to justify this crisis. On this score, I wish to remind our compatriots in these regions, but also to those in the other eight regions of Cameroon, that marginalization, exclusion or stigmatization have never guided the work of the various governments I have formed since I became president of our country. Though no human endeavour is perfect and, in a developing country like ours with multiple challenges and limited resources, many needs are still to be met, in all the regions.
With the massive support you gave me during the last presidential election, I intend to work relentlessly, with all the sons and daughters of our country, towards meeting the challenges we are facing in order to improve the welfare of our population, especially in terms of infrastructure, water and electricity supply, healthcare delivery and youth employment.

My Dear Compatriots,
On 4 January this year, I made a vast government reshuffle, particularly with the appointment of a new Prime Minister, Head of Government. As usual, the choice of these officials was mainly guided by their human and professional qualities, their competence and experience. However, I would like to underscore that as faithful as I have always been to the regional balance policy, I chose a Prime Minister who hails from the       South-West Region. His predecessor who served in that key position for nearly ten years was from the North-West Region. In fact, since 9 April 1992, Prime Ministers, Heads of Government, have been appointed from among the people of those two regions.
Despite all this, some people will continue to talk of marginalization of the people of these regions. It must be acknowledged that such is human nature and there will never be enough duty posts to satisfy all the regions, divisions, sub-divisions, towns, villages, families and citizens of our country. Any choice that is made will always cause joy whenever one is honoured, and disappointment when one is not.

It is, however, crucial for us to change our mentalities in this regard. Though it is necessary to consider regional balance in new countries with a diverse sociological composition like ours, it should be recalled that ministers and other officials are not appointed to serve only their regions, villages or families, but to serve the entire national community. They must serve the general interest and not specific interests.
That is why since I came to power, I have and will continue to wage a ruthless war against corruption and the embezzlement of public funds, and to promote good governance.
My Dear Compatriots,
Since the outbreak of the crisis in the North-West and South-West Regions, the term dialogue has never been so much talked about, used and even misused.
In and out of the country, people have made proposals and suggestions. Some are realistic while others are clearly less so. There has been a barrage of advice. Some smart, others based on interests. Some people dared to issue injunctions.
There have also been multiple and varied initiatives, most of them made by people of good faith, by countries or organizations that are truly concerned about the future of our country and the well-being of our people. I wish to thank them for their effort and token of friendship.
It is, however, worth noting that the proliferation of such initiatives was sometimes unfortunately based on simplistic and false ideas, born out of secessionist propaganda. Such is the case with the purported marginalization of Anglophones, persecution of the Anglophone minority by the Francophone majority, Government’s refusal to engage in dialogue preferring a military solution to the crisis or even ridiculous accusations of genocide.
Talking about dialogue per se, the issue has always been, with whom?
New information and communication technologies, especially social media networks, have unfortunately facilitated the advent of self-proclaimed leaders, extremists of all shades trying to achieve recognition using insult, threat, hate speech, violence and murder.
However, in no country in the world, has the killing of gendarmes or civilians, kidnapping, mutilation, molestation, burning, destruction of public infrastructure, prevention of children from going to school or people from going about their activities in peace ever been a source of legitimacy to represent or speak on behalf of the people, the very victims of such atrocities.
In democracy, only elections confer such legitimacy.
My Dear Compatriots,
The many consultations I have continued to hold on this crisis have enabled me to size up the strong desire of the people of the North-West and South-West Regions to return to a normal life, to be able once again to safely carry out their economic and social activities, to witness the return of refugees and displaced persons, and to see their children return to school. The Prime Minister’s recent tour of the two regions has helped to confirm this feeling.
I therefore strongly believe that the time has come to rally all well-thinking and constructive forces in our country and in the diaspora to make this desire come true.
That is why I have decided to convene, from the end of this month, a major national dialogue that will, in line with our Constitution, enable us to seek ways and means of meeting the high aspirations of the people of the North-West and South-West Regions, but also of all the other components of our Nation.
The dialogue in question will mainly concern the situation in the North-West and South-West Regions. Since it will focus on issues of national interest such as national unity, national integration and living together, it is obvious that it will not concern only the population of these two regions.
The dialogue will therefore rally all the sons and daughters of our beloved and beautiful country, Cameroon, to reflect on values that are dear to us, namely: peace, security, national unity and progress.
It will also focus on issues that can address the concerns of the population of the North-West and South-West Regions, as well as those of the other regions of our country such as bilingualism, cultural diversity and social cohesion, the reconstruction and development of conflict-affected areas, the return of refugees and displaced persons, the education and judicial system, decentralization and local development, the demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants, the role of the diaspora in the country’s development, etc.
The dialogue, which will be chaired by the Prime Minister, Head of Government, will bring together a wide range of personalities: parliamentarians, politicians, opinion leaders, intellectuals, economic operators, traditional authorities, religious authorities, members of the diaspora, etc. Representatives of the Defence and Security Forces, armed groups and victims will also be invited.
Obviously, it will not be possible for everybody to effectively participate in this dialogue, but each person will have the opportunity to make a contribution.

Prior to the effective holding of the dialogue, the Prime Minister, Head of Government, will carry out broad-based consultations to solicit a wide range of views that will serve as a source of inspiration for the conduct of deliberations. In the coming days, delegations will also be dispatched to meet the diaspora to enable them to make their contribution to discussions on the resolution of the crisis.
In this regard, I am appealing to the patriotism and sense of responsibility of all our compatriots in the country and in the diaspora so that everyone, wherever they are, should seize this historic opportunity to help to steer our country on the path of peace, harmony, security and progress.
My Dear Compatriots,
The propaganda of secessionists has tried to present the recent court decisions taken against a number of our compatriots in the context of this crisis as an obstacle to the dialogue envisaged.
That is not the case. I also wish to use this opportunity to stress that respect for the rule of law and the fight against impunity are pillars in the consolidation of a State ruled by law to which we all aspire. Violating the rule of law and granting impunity to some citizens is paving the way for anarchy.
It is therefore crucial, at this stage, to dispel rumours that one can quietly loot, rape, burn, kidnap, maim, murder, in the hope that a possible dialogue will erase all these crimes and provide impunity to their perpetrators.
As shown by the experience of many countries in the world, such way of thinking will only encourage the perpetuation of violence in the crisis regions and even encourage it in crisis-free regions.
Admittedly, however, in the context of a dialogue, a peace process or national reconciliation, the possibility of pardon may be considered, under certain conditions.
It is equally true that in accordance with our Constitution, the Head of State is empowered to exercise the right of pardon.
It was, moreover, on the strength of this authority that I made a peace offer to members of armed groups during my recent swearing-in ceremony.
I wish to solemnly reiterate this offer today.  Those who voluntarily lay down their arms and place themselves at the disposal of the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) Centres have nothing to fear. Their fellow armed group members who are already there can testify to this. Conversely, those who persist in committing criminal acts and violating the laws of the Republic will have to contend with our Defence and Security Forces and will face the full force of those same laws.
The same applies to promoters of hate and violence who, comfortably settled in foreign countries with impunity, continue to incite murder and destruction. Let them know that sooner or later they will have to face justice.
I am appealing to the countries sheltering these extremists to take action against these criminals if they really care about the situation of the people of the North-West and South-West Regions.
Most of them no longer have Cameroonian nationality, but they spend their time raising funds to carry out terrorist acts in Cameroon, masterminding acts of arson, kidnappings and murder, and issuing calls aimed at preventing children from attending school and fellow citizens from going about their business peacefully.
My Dear Compatriots,
The entire national community has high expectations for the dialogue I have just announced and hopes that this will be an opportunity for our brothers and sisters in the North-West and South-West to close this particularly painful chapter, to forget their suffering and to return to normal life. It also hopes that our country will continue resolutely on the path of progress, through fruitful discussions on ways and means of creating conditions conducive to the optimal exploitation of natural resources and our country's enormous human potential. Therefore, we should all work towards a successful dialogue.
My Dear Compatriots,
Over the years, we have used our linguistic and cultural diversity, the talent of our sons and daughters, and our commendable efforts and sacrifices to build a solid country and a strong Nation. Together we have met many challenges and won uncountable victories. We have proven that united there is no difficulty we cannot overcome and no obstacle we cannot cross. We proved it yesterday. We will prove it again today and tomorrow. The future of our compatriots in the North-West and South-West Regions lies within our Republic.
Cameroon will remain one and indivisible.
Long Live Cameroon!

Saturday, September 7, 2019


By Barrister Ayah Paul Abine*
Few right-thinking people would cease to wonder which law Camerounese judges are applying. Their penal code has provided for three kinds of sentences: fine, imprisonment and death. Imprisonment is either IN TERMS or FOR LIFE.
Even the infant knows that there is only one life until the Resurrection Day. When the Camerounese judge sentences the convict to life in prison, plus a prison term (of, say, 5 years) upon the convict’s failure to pay the fine after that convict has died, is it that, on the Resurrection Day, the judge shall order Christ to enforce the additional prison term; or that the judge in question shall replace the Christ?
If it is true that the Special Criminal Court has just sentenced a convict to 104 years in prison; which penal code is he applying, given that, by their penal code in force, the highest prison term is 25 (twenty-five) years; and that the general rule is that the judge must order CONCURRENT sentence?
[In the interest of our lay readers, CONCURRENT sentence means that, if a judge passes several sentences on the sane convict at the same time, the judge would order that the convict should serve only the highest of the several sentences.]
Now, the penal code provides that, when a person is found guilty of embezzling public funds of from 500.000 francs, the sentence shall (must) be imprisonment for life. Which law permits the Special Criminal Court to sentence anyone to 104 years for the embezzlement of public funds? And, in any case, what is the difference between life jail allowable by the law, and the unlawful 104 years for a convict already above 50, in a country where life expectancy is far below 50? Is not this a glaring case of CHERCHER LA PETITE BETE?
CLEARLY, Common Law and Civil Law NEVER can be bedfellows!!!
September 7, 2019
* Ayah Paul Abine,is a former Supreme Court Judge  and Prosecutor, and l now Defence Counsel


By Chief Charles A. Taku*

A remarkable event occurred during the rebirth Conference of the African Bar Association that took place from 4th to 7th September 2016 in Harare Zimbabwe based on which I will can authoritatively make a personal assessment of the personality of the departed President Robert Mugabe. Some members of the opposition party and civil society activists who organized a demonstration against the government of President Mugabe and were detained by the Police were ordered released by a High Court in Harare but the government failed to execute the court order arguing that it had appealed against the court order.

The matter was reported to the African Bar Association by our colleagues of the Zimbabwe Bar and some members of the aggrieved political party and civil society activists. The African Bar Association summoned the Attorney General of Zimbabwe and told him to respect the court order and he promptly obliged, and the detained persons were immediately released. This is unprecedented in many countries that purport to hold the keys to democratic constitutional governance where the rule of law informs governmental action. Hardly, particularly in Africa, where the politicization and militarization of justice are the staying powers of dictatorial regimes. 

I found in this circumstance that the role of law operated in Zimbabwe under President Mugabe despite the excruciating sanctions imposed by the supposed democratic world which greatly stifled the economy of Zimbabwe and rendered its currency almost useless. The police intervention to abate the demonstrations in which the opposition officials and civil society activists were arrested, while condemnable, did not lead to the extensive bloodletting and destruction that is the hallmark of what I may venture to now call African vampiric endemic dictatorships. 

If the question were asked to supposed gatekeepers and town criers of democracy, whether Robert Mugabe was a saint or sinner? Many of them will be impeded by the biblical injunction of who has not sin throwing the first stone from providing an answer.
Let me begin with Great Britain. The Lancaster House Agreement was intended to address a historical wrong caused against the people of Zimbabwe by Great Britain. A critical issue that Robert Mugabe placed on the table for determination was that of land reform. That issue was central to the independence issue, because independence per se without a determination of the land ownership problem would have been meaningless. 

The saying in my Bangwa ancestral land of birth that land is life is not a subject of reasonable controversy in Africa. Otumba T.O.S Benson, the distinguished colorful Nigerian stateman and First Republic Minister of Information aptly stated that “land belongs to people, some dead, others alive and others unborn”. In putting the land reform issue on the table of negotiation when others were more concerned with power for the sake of power, Robert Mugabe distinguished himself as a visionary leader who was closer to the heartbeat of his people’s realistic humanity. Without land reforms, independence per se would be deceitful and meaningless, call it a scam for it would tantamount to granting sovereignty over land that did not belong to most of the people. Also, it would permanently deprive most of the people rights to their ancestral lands. 

History retains that it was the offers made by the British and American governments to compensate white citizens who sold land held by them no matter how it was originally obtained, to facilitate reconciliation, so-called the “Willing buyer, Willing seller” principle that pressurized Robert Mugabe to reluctantly sign the Lancaster Agreement. He signed on the condition that the land reform he sought and obtained the assurances about would occur after ten years.

 The funding that was to operate it from 1980 to 1990 by the American and British governments and their pledged support for the land reforms after ten years failed to materialize. They and not Mugabe reneged on their pledges on the land reform issue which was a central issue in the Lancaster House Agreement. This was the powder keg that ignited the disagreement between Mugabe and the West leading to the land seizures and the elaborate sanction regime imposed by the West and the campaign to “satanize” Mugabe. This brings back the question: Was Mugabe a saint or sinner? Can the land issue and related human rights violations based on which the sanctions were imposed on Zimbabwe be blamed on Mugabe? 

I submit that to the extent that Robert Mugabe made the land reform issue a critical component of the Lancaster House Agreement, he should be judged based on how the agreement reached was executed and not based on western media reports and ideologically tainted propaganda. 

From a dispassionate examination of this issue, Mugabe comes out as a principled, honest, patriotic, visionary and a selfless crusader for justice for his people. He must be praised and not maligned. 

Zimbabwe lies in economic ruins not because Mugabe desired it that way, but because of the sanctions that were unjustly imposed by the very powers that initiated and violated the Lancaster Agreement to the detriment of the people of Zimbabwe. Keen observers will conclude that the Zimbabwe sanction regime intended to cripple, and it indeed cripple the economy of Zimbabwe hoping to bring Mugabe on his knees for him to run begging for a return of Ian Smith or for a recolonization of Zimbabwe. The revolutionary that he was, Comrade Mugabe kept faith with his liberation ideology and refused to betray the independence of his people that he fought for through blood and toil. 

The persons to whom he handed over seized land might not have had the resources to develop the lands due in part to the sanctions emplaced to stifle the economy and cause potential regime change. The change of regime occurred. However, those who think that the present government or others to come in future will erase or reverse the imprints of Mugabe on land reforms or his ideological freedom agenda in Zimbabwe should be ready for a long wait. 

Mugabe was a commanding continental voice on economic sovereignty and resistance to the recolonization of Africa through unbalanced trade deals such as the Doha rounds of negotiations, reinvigorated neo-colonial onslaught on the continent, emerging challenges such as climate change, immigration, endemic diseases, and regime change.
Robert Mugabe was loved and hated in equal measure. 

Those who hated him did so passionately although they hardly ever provided cogent reasons to justify their hate. When challenged to do so, they caricatured him as a brutal dictator. Compared with dictators in the continent who are sustained and supported by the same powers that passionately resented Mugabe, Mugabe can be said to be a saint. He did not deploy the armed forces of his country to turn their guns to slaughter the people he swore to defend and protect when he came to power. He kept faith with his oath in this regard. He did not auction out the natural resources of his country to Western or Eastern economic predators for personal gain as it is the case in many African dictatorships.

 No matter how he was perceived, he compelled overt and covert respect from his admirers and haters alike. Indeed, everyone will find something good to say about him now that he is dead. 

Mugabe is dead but history has chatted a place for him among great Africa leaders and liberation revolutionaries of all times such as the Osegyfo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, Kambarege Dr Julius Nyerere, Patrice Lumumba, Amilcar Cabral, Milton Obote, Samora Marshal, Aghostino Neto, Nelson Mandela, Oum Nyobe, Ernest Ouandie, Thomas Sankara, Augustine Ngom Jua, Dr. EML Endeley, Dr. Bate Besong and many others. Africa has lost a great revolutionary leader. His shoes will hard to fill.

*Chief Charles A. Taku is an internationally-recognized  criminal defense counsel . This write-up was first  published today on  his Facebook timeline

Friday, September 6, 2019

Dr. Ernest Lytia Molua, New Registrar, University of Buea: The man behind the image

By Christopher Ambe 

Dr.Ernest Lytia Molua, New UB Registrar
Ernest Lytia Molua, Associate Professor of Agricultural Economics, was on August 27, 2019, appointed by President Paul Biya as the new registrar of  state-owned University of Buea (UB),Cameroon, in replacement of Professor Roland Ndip.

As registrar, Dr. Molua ranks as, and enjoys the rights and privileges of, Secretary-General in the Central Administration of Cameroon.

According to regulation in force, only someone from among those that possess qualifications in university administration or who can show proof of sufficient experience in university administration assumes the office of registrar.

The Registrar assists the Vice-chancellor, who is the chief executive and academic head of the university, in the day-to-day running of the varsity.

Dr. Molua, who holds a Doctor of Science degree in Agriculture with specialization in Agricultural Policy Design and Planning from Georg-August University of Goettingen-Germany, since November of 2002, was recruited in 2003 at the University of Buea as a Senior Instructor in the Department of Economics and Management, in the Faculty of Social and Management Sciences

In 2005, Dr. Molua was raised to the rank of Assistant Lecturer by the Ministry of Higher Education, and in 2006 he rose to the rank of Lecturer, teaching in same university.

In 2006 he was appointed Chief of Service for National and International Cooperation of the University of Buea.

 In 2008 and 2009, Dr. Molua embarked on some capacity-building projects which allowed him serve as a visiting African Scholar to Makerere University in Uganda; and also to the University of Pretoria, South Africa.

In 2009 Dr Molua was awarded the American Government-sponsored US Fulbright Research Fellowship to the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, USA.

In 2010, Dr. Molua returned to Cameroon and was appointed as pioneer Head of the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness in the newly created Faculty of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, University of Buea.

 He would, in June 2017, be appointed Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, and he served in that capacity until Tuesday, 27 August 2019,when a presidential decree catapulted him to the status of Registrar of University of Buea, which went operational in 1993 as the first Anglo-Saxon varsity in Cameroon.


Lytia Molua did his primary education at G.S Likoko-Membea, Buea   obtaining his First School Leaving Certificate in 1983; then proceeded to the prestigious St Joseph’s College Sasse, Buea for secondary education.

In 1990, following an excellent pass in 5-science subjects at the Cameroon GCE Advanced Level, Lytia Molua was offered Cameroon Government Scholarship to study abroad, and was sent to the University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria where, he obtained the Bachelor of Agriculture degree in Agricultural Economics and Extension Services in 1994, and gained admission for the Master of Science programme in Agricultural Economics, and graduated in 1996.

In 1997, he proceeded to Europe for further studies at the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University in Copenhagen, Denmark, where he obtained his second Master of Science Degree in Agricultural Land-Use and Natural Resources Management in July, 1999 and in September same year he started his doctoral studies at the Georg-August University of Goettingen,graduating  in November 2002 with the Doctor of Science Degree in Agriculture with specialization in Agricultural Policy Design and Planning.

Dr. Molua has won many awards and published extensively in national and international peer-reviewed journals. He is a visiting Professor to the University of Pretoria, South Africa, the United Nations African Institute for Economic Development and Planning, Dakar, Senegal; and United Nations University for Natural Resources in Accra, Ghana; as was well as the United Nations University for PEACE in Addis Ababa Ethiopia.

He has served as consultant to United Nations agencies including the FAO, UNDP and UNEP

He is recipient of numerous research grants and is a member of prestigious societies such as: The Royal Economic Society of The United Kingdom, The International Association of Agricultural Economists and The African Association of Agricultural Economists.

Dr.Molua is currently the Vice-President of the Cameroon Association of Agricultural Economists (CAAE).

Politically, he is not a fence-sitter, but an outspoken CPDM apologist .He loves articulating his views on issues of public interest on radio programmes.

A native and elite of Buea, Dr.Molua who is in his 40’s, is married and is blessed with several children.

Friday, August 30, 2019

MOHWA President urges womenfolk to be cultural boosters.

MOHWA President Mrs.Ogork Kate displaying money she received from a Manyu elite as support to the association
By Christopher Ambe
The  President of MOHWA Buea( the popular Manyu Women’s Association),has implored the womenfolk of Manyu Division of the Southwest Region of Cameroon to be more passionate about their culture and serve as cultural  boosters wherever the find themselves.
Mrs. Ogork Kate , a PhD student of African Literature and Chief of Service of the Teachers’ Resource Centre,Buea made the call ,August 24,2019, on the occasion of a Manyu cultural jamboree, organised by MOHWA ,which took place at Mountain Hotel Buea.
Mrs. Ogork Kate
Organised under the patronage of Southwest Governor Bernard Okalia Bilai( represented), the event, which  had as theme “Handing Down the Manyu Culture to the Younger Generation,” assembled not only Manyu womenfolk but also male elites of the division  who included  “sesekou”,as well as national dignitaries such Senator Mbella Moki and the Managing Director of SOWEDA,Buea Dr. Ogork Ntui Besong.
In her highly applauded welcome address, Mrs. Ogork justified the holding of the jamboree:
“Yes, we have to struggle to hand down our culture and tradition to the next generation so that they too can uphold it and eventuality pass it on to the succeeding generations.”
The dynamic MOHWA president expressed the hope that lessons learnt from the cultural come together would “spur parents and children themselves to become more passionate about issues of [Manyu] culture.”
But she lamented: “Just like many other cultures in Cameroon, we’ve realised that our tradition is gradually fading out. There are many aspects of our culture that even us, adults, do not know or do not remember. 
“Today, rural to urban migration has taken so many people out of the villages, and so we cannot take our children to the village because the village has come to us. 
“Civilization has caused many of us to abandon our prestigious native languages in preference to the Whiteman’s tongues; modern technology has caused our children to prefer wearing their trousers below their butts in imitation of American prisoners instead of dressing in our decent traditional outfits. 
“We have all abandoned our sweet palm wine and delicious ‘tanchot soup’ to poison our system with hamburgers and other unhealthy meals.”
The President further regretted: “Parents have become so busy that moonlit stories or even night-time family get-togethers where mothers used to recount folktales to their children have become very scarce.”
Noting that culture is an aspect of humanity that makes life more gratifying and pleasurable, the soft-spoken Mrs.Ogork boasted that, the culture of Manyu people is very rich, thus a cause for celebration. 
She disclosed that the Buea Cultural Jamboree was prompted by the fact that, Mohwa women “have looked at all factors that impede the continuity of tradition and decided that if we cannot take our children to the village, we shall bring the village to our children”. 
She was thankful to MOHWA patron,Senator Mbella Moki Charles ,who  forwent  his trip to Yaounde just to attend the occasion.
 “Actually, we all know that wherever MOHWA is, just turn around and you’ll see the Senator, “she remarked before acknowledging the presence of other invitees from different regions and divisions, who joined MOHWA in celebrating the rich Manyu culture. 
“In fact, when we talk about living-together, this population of non-Manyu people here present is proof of the fact that we Cameroonians support one another in everything.” 
The president extended special thanks to the General manager of Mountain Hotel, who,she said, “ is a Banso woman by birth and Manyu woman by education” for being  very supportive  to MOHWA ideals.
MOHWA girls perform a cultural  dance  
Mrs. Ogork equally had kind words for Mrs. Grace Ngoh Ewang,Southwest Regional  Delegate for  Arts and Culture, adding that the latter “ sounded more excited about this event than even some of us and  has remained enthusiastic about it to the point that she had to postpone her trip just to be here”. 
She urged MOHWA husbands to keep encouraging their children in matters of tradition and exposing them to all aspects of Manyu culture like Commissioner Takem Collins has always done.
The president  said MOHWA has  women of all walks of life:nurses,Judges  , divisional officers, medical doctors, academics  , educationists, business women  etc , all waxing strong in their various functions .She then challenged  Manyu girls to “use these career women and men as a catalyst for your future professions.”
The president noted that education is the Manyu man’s only weapon in life; reason why “we shall be celebrating academic excellence in this occasion”, by awarding prizes to students who excelled in their end-of-course exams such as GCE O and A levels.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Dr. Mbua Hannah Etonde :"The education of children should be collective effort".

Cameroon's  Southwest Regional Delegate for Secondary Education, Dr. Mbua Hannah Etonde, , has appealed to parents, teachers and the general public to help ensure that the 2019l2020  school resumption becomes  a huge success.
The Delegate, who holds a PhD in Education Administration, cautions parents to know that 80% of the future of their children lies in their hands.
Dr. Mbua Etonde sat down, last week, for an interview with The Horizon Newspaper's Contributing Editor, Christopher Ambe, on preparations for resumption of schools.
Madam Regional Delegate, schools are expected to resume on September 2nd, how has the back-to- school campaign been faring this far, especially with regards to secondary education?
We started back -to -school preparation as far back as June .Immediately after end- of- course   exams were written and marked; we started preparation for the new school year. We did interviews into form one; we had a coordination meeting in June; we validated lists of students who gained admission into form one. And, we looked at challenges ahead of us as education stakeholders of the Region and we came up with common grounds on which we are going to work; we looked at the instructions from hierarchy as far as the formation and running of admission commissions are concerned.
The fact that a good numbers of schools did not function last year and in an effort to get them function this year, we have created a taskforce, which has   stakeholders from all works of life- at the level of the region, right down to divisions and subdivisions; of course, this taskforce has to work with all stakeholders in their immediate communities to ensure that schools are functioning.
What actually is the taskforce supposed to do?
The taskforce is supposed to sensitize all stakeholders, give them roles for instance, that parents have the duty to send their children to school, pay the fees and supply every other essential school need prescribed by the Ministry of Secondary Education; and that parents cannot just sit and wait for schools to reopen. Parents should know that 80% of the future of their children lies in their hands,so they should try to give their suggestions to school principals, and PTA executives and school management boards; and even elites, that they put their own suggestions through to them on how they can best manage the schools and ensure security. The taskforce is supposed to liaise with the sub divisional administrations, divisions or depending on where the school finds itself; to liaise with the administration to ensure security in the schools; the mayors and councilors to make sure they have vigilante groups; liaise with elites and put all their efforts in one basket all intended to ensure the smooth functioning of the school.
We thought that if we allowed the effective running of schools in the hands of  just  principals, their collaborators or PTA executives it may not bear enough fruits as we expect. So we thought that everybody should put hands on deck; the education of our children should be a collective effort.
And so the task force is working and from the feedback we have got it is possible that schools will reopen and security will be reinforced; and many more schools will open their doors in September than we had  last year school year.
There is this problem of some internally displaced school children seeking admissions in their new-found localities rather late. How do you address this problem when confronted with?
Since the crisis erupted we have not denied any internally displaced student who comes for admission. We even have cases where children come without a single report card but once we are sure that the child’s house was burnt or that he or she ran from the village because of the crisis, we admit them. We have had cases without birth certificates, they are admitted; once we are convinced that they are IDPs we encourage them by admitting them to study. That is why some of the functional schools last year were overcrowded and the teachers overworked themselves.
So, internally displaced students are welcomed. But at the same time we think that if students had left say GHS Mile 16 and moved to GBHS Mutengene, and there is calm in Mile 16 now, we expect that such students should return to their original school.
With this crisis situation, are school fees for the various classes in government schools and PTA levies fixed ?
Nobody has changed school fees. There is a text that was signed long ago that stated that students who attend general secondary school-form one to five they pay 7,500frs as school fees; lower sixth and upper sixth they pay 10,000frs
Students of technical education, frist to the fourth year, they pay 10,000frs and for fifth to seventh year they pay 15,000frs.
This school money, according the development in Secondary Education, is paid through mobile money (either MTN,Express Union,Campost) and this year there is the introduction of the UDA bank. The ministry has arranged with Afriland Bank,and when the money is paid ,the bank will send it to the school accounts.
There is PTA for secondary schools. Every parent of a student in secondary school contributes depending on the demands of the school in question. And so PTA is not a globally fixed amount. If for instance, this year a school thinks that because of insecurity the PTA should assist in building a fence round the school, they decide an amount. The levy will not be the same in another school that has a fence and needs money to pay but teachers.
 While the Government spends so much money to pay teachers, the schools are too many, and there is no school in this region where we have teachers for all subjects. You will have teachers for subjects ABCD and no teacher for subjects E & and F. So the parents need to come in.
By now, schools that hoped to function already had their PTA meetings and projects to the PTA and school management boards and parents have already chosen what they can do to help the school.
Is the PTA levy also paid via online?
No! It is paid to the school directly. The Minister of Secondary education Professor  Nalova Lyonga  has done so well by giving a vast time span for payment; that for registration money, parents can pay gradually –even up to the end of December. But we need that at least they pay their PTA levies so parents can carry out what every security or pedagogic projects that they have accepted to carryout in the school.
How many secondary schools are in the southwest Region?
 We have four hundred and two (402) secondary schools including lay private and confessional schools.
Is there any banned school in the region?
For this year, there is none at least for now. Remember that the minister is doing everything to encourage schools to function and for children to go to school. We have written our reports about schools and submitted to the ministry and we are still waiting for decisions to come to us; but for now, no school has been banned.
What percentage of schools functioned last year?
As at last year the overall percentage of school attendance was about 32%. Thirty-two percentage because the whole of Lebialem Division no school opened its doors ;Kupe Munenguba juts about 7% opened their doors; Meme Division, only about 15%;Ndian Division had about 23%; Fako Division had about 72% of attendance.
In all, school attendance was about 32%, which was very poor.
We hope that by God’s grace the attendance will increase significantly. We are not expecting 100% because we know the challenges schools in very remote areas face.
Do you have any special appeal you to the public?
I am sure that from the way I am talking those [reading me] would know that I am talking as a mother. I am not talking like a boss but like a mother. I know the importance of education; I know what schooling does to people. I am a living example. If my mother did not send me to school I wouldn’t be sitting here as Regional Delegate for Secondary Education. And my dream for our children is that they should have a brighter future than we of this generation do.And the only key to that bright future is education. To all the children in Akwaya,Bakassi,Kupe Mueneguba,Bafia-Muyuka,Munyenge,Mbonge,konye and Lebialem, etc who have not gone to school for two years now ,I am appealing to them not to darken their future; anyone who advises that the child should not go to school doesn’t like that child. Any parents who do not want their children go to school want to kill their generation and the next generation. Education is the only thing that can change the situation of an individual, a family and community, and if we have schools at our doors please let us make use of it.Let parents send their children to school.
You are first of all a teacher; do you have a message for teachers?
I would like to appeal to teachers that, theirs is a vocation and not a profession; and in a vocation, there are times when things are really bad but as a teacher you understand that the future of children, the future of a whole community and a whole generation lies in your hands. I urge teachers to take their responsibility. They should work as the ones who have volunteered to be the torch-bearers of society and go and teach.
For those whose schools cannot reopen for due to insecurity, I am appealing that they redeploy themselves and voluntarily go to functional schools, take up timetables and teach.
For principals who think that their schools will not be able to function, they should move to safer sites following the recommendations of the Regional Delegation.
NB:This Interview also appears in The HORIZON newspaper,Cameroon,of Thursday ,August 29,2019