Monday, March 31, 2014

Cameroon's noted singer ,LAPIRO de Mbanga,cremated in USA as willed !

By Bless Zoshe* on special assignment to Buffalo, New York, USA
Some Cameroonians in the USA  paying their last respects to departed hero Lapiro de Mbanga
    Hundreds of mourners from across the USA and beyond converged on the Lombardo Funeral Home in Buffalo, New York, March 28-29, 2014, to bid farewell to one of Cameroon’s most celebrated musicians, 
    Pierre Roger Lambo Sandjo artistically called  Lapiro de Mbanga, who died on Sunday, March 16, 2014, at the Rosewell Park Cancer Institute of Buffalo, NY, after a long battle with the disease,had willed that his body be cremated  in the USA,and not returned to his native Cameroon,where he had said authorities  mistreated him. He died in the USA where he was granted asylum.

   Officiating at the funeral mass at the St Gregory the Great Roman Catholic Church, Williamsville, NY, was Fr David Richards,who  likened LAPIRO to the Biblical boy, who selflessly offered five loaves of bread and two fish, for Jesus to miraculously feed the crowd. The prelate explained that just like the boy, LAPIRO gave his all, and suffered horrendous conditions in prison, fighting for justice, and for the poor in Cameroon. While expressing sympathy to the bereaved family, Father Richards urged all to make relevant contributions through which Jesus can perform miracles.

   Speaker Celestin Monga,a Cameroonian, saluted LAPIRO’s courage and consistency, in the line of political opposition even before the advent of multi-partysm in Cameroon. While citing other fallen heroes like Pius Njiawe and Mongo Beti, Monga he said “It is ironic that LAPIRO spent all his life fighting for his people, but ended up so far away. However, this is ultimate justification of his dedication to the struggle, and it is my hope that his children and the entire family will keep the legacy of his contribution to the quest for freedom, and democracy in Cameroon and Africa. LAPIRO will never die, especially in the consciences of those who persecuted him”.

   To former CRTV ace journalist, Hurbert Boh, the deceased was more than just an artist, but a fighter who proved to Cameroonians that freedom was attainable. “I will not speak of him in the past tense; he lives, because he will never die. That’s how great people go. They die, but never die. LAPIRO will live in our conscience, he will live in the services he has rendered to our country and to our people, he will live in the freedom he has fought for us. The contribution he brings as a musician, as someone raising awareness, was a one-man army; taking down the one-party system, and causing Cameroonians to realize that freedom was attainable. But better than that, he went out and fought for it. He went out when the moment was called for”.

    Speaking of the millions of fans across the world, Boh added that “LAPIRO has given them the vacuum, and they have to fill it. They have to make sure that what he fought for, we can accomplish it, working together. It is everyone’s responsibility to mobilize forces as we go along. We will not get this liberty on a Plata of gold; we will have to work for it. LAPIRO showed us, a luta continuum”. 

   Beyond the musical and political spheres where LAPIRO will always be remembered for, the artist also inspired those of the literary world, such as Bate Besong and Dr Joyce Ashuntangntang.
   Dr. Joyce Ashuntantang lamented the loss of an icon, whose works she had successfully integrated into her teaching program for Graduate students at the University of Hartford, USA.
   Also present to pay tribute to the fallen hero were fellow artists like Jacob Nguni and Amisa Asima, who worked with, and remembered LAPIRO as someone who stood for, and died for the truth.  To Amisa Asima, “LAPIRO was the voice of the voiceless. He spoke for the down-trodden, and despite the fact that he is gone, he still will live forever because those of us who are left, have learnt a lesson; you need to speak out. As an artist, I will miss his inspiration. LAPIRO was an animator.  We have missed LAPIRO just like Charles Ateba Eyene who spoke the truth, and he too is dead”.

   To some fans and Cameroonians from the Washington D.C metro area, making a 16 hour bus trip to and fro Buffalo, New York, was worth the pains. To one of the leaders of a close to 50 man ACCDF delegation from the DC area, Christmas Ebini, LAPIRO was “one of the most relevant Cameroonians of his generation“. To another fan, Kenneth Ndeh, the passing on of the artist marks “a great loss of originality in Cameroonian music”.

  Unfortunately, the mortal remains of LAPIRO de Mbanga was cremated on Saturday, March 29, in Buffalo, NY; thousands of kilometres away from his beloved Mbanga, and out of sight of his millions of “complices”, “sauveteurs” and “bend-skineurs” across Cameroon, who would have wished to take one last look  their hero. Sources say it was LAPIRO’s wish that his body be cremated, rather than repatriated to Cameroon. Meanwhile, another event to celebrate the life of “Ndinga Man” has been slated for Friday, May 2, in Washington DC.

   Pierre Roger Lambo Sandjo, aka LAPIRO de Mbanga was born on November 3, 1957, in Mbanga, Littoral Region of Cameroon. He began his musical career as a guitarist in the early 1970’s, and became a household name after the release of  many albums with “provocative” lyrics in French and broken English. His songs are highly critical of the present regime, but appealed to, and reflect the plight of the ordinary Cameroonian. This earned him a three year jail term from 2008 to 2011. In 2012, LAPIRO de Mbanga and his family relocated to Buffalo, New York, USA, where he immediately started undergoing treatment for a cancer, which had allegedly begun during his jail term in Cameroon.
 “Ndinga Man” lost his long battle with the disease on March 16, 2014, leaving behind his wife Louisette Noukeu, his kids, and the music world to mourn him. He will always be remembered for his unique lyrics and style, in albums like: “No Make Erreur”, “Constitution Constipe’e”, and his most recent, “DEMISSIONNER”. 

 * Bless Zoshe  is a Cameroonian journalist currently living in the USA 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

United Nations General Assembly Vote Isolates Russia

UNITED NATIONS — In the first barometer of global condemnation of Russia’s annexation of Crimea, Ukraine and its Western backers persuaded a large majority of countries in the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday to dismiss the annexation as illegal, even as Russia sought to rally world support for the idea of self-determination.

The resolution, proposed by Ukraine and backed by the United States and the European Union, represented the latest effort to isolate President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia over the annexation, which followed a March 16 referendum in the peninsula that has been internationally regarded as Ukrainian territory.

The resolution garnered 100 votes in favor, 11 votes against, with 58 abstentions. The two-page text does not identify Russia by name, but describes the referendum as “having no validity” and calls on countries not to recognize the redrawing of Ukraine’s borders.

Ukraine’s acting foreign minister, Andriy Deshchytsia, called Russia’s actions “a direct violation of the United Nations Charter.”

Russia said Crimea should not have been part of Ukraine anyway and appealed to another element in United Nations principles: the right of Crimeans to self-determination.
That assertion was disputed by Samantha Power, the United States ambassador, in the debate that preceded the vote. Coercion cannot be the means to self-determination, she argued. “The chaos that would ensue is not a world that any of us can afford,” she said.

The most poignant argument came from Costa Rica. Small states have only the power of international law “to defend our sovereignty,” its ambassador, Eduardo Ulibarri, said. The resolution proposed by Ukraine, he said, would help to reaffirm that power.

The resolution was regarded as an important pressure point on Russia by the United States and European Union, which had been lobbying intensely for its passage. “This is critical for the U.S.-Europe strategy to isolate Putin and condemn him internationally for Russia’s violation of the U.N. Charter in invading Crimea,” said Nicholas R. Burns, a former American diplomat in the Bush administration.

Although the resolution has no enforcement power, it is symbolically significant in the history of General Assembly votes. The United States has rarely corralled a majority of General Assembly members, especially after the American-led invasion of Iraq more than a decade ago.
Mr. Burns added: “It is also, indirectly, a warning to Putin to not go further in invading either Eastern Ukraine or Moldova or else face even greater global criticism.”

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Cameroonian-born US Citizen Appointed Africa Ambassador for China International Economic and Cultural Development Fund

              By Christopher Ambe
Dr. David Njie Makongo

   Cameroonian-born and now US citizen, Dr.David Njie Makongo who is an expert negotiator and international lawyer, has won the confidence of the noted  China International Economic and Cultural Development Fund, which has in turn  appointed this Cameroonian –American as  its “ Authorized and Mandated Specialist(AMS)” for Africa.

    According to the authorization letter signed last January by Zhou Yang, Vice-President  & Secretary-General of the China International Economic and Cultural Development Fund, Dr. David Makongo- who is President of MAP LLC and Founding Partner of the AAC-3(Afro-American Consortium) has been  particularly assigned the responsibility of “liaising with leaders of African Governments, identifying business opportunities, sorting out strategic partners  and negotiating for China International Economic and Cultural Development Fund’

    Dr. Makongo, according to sources, is already in contact with some African leaders to see how they can benefit financially from the China fund so as to speed up development projects  and  businesses in their various  countries.

   Learning of Dr.Makongo‘s appointment, some Cameroonians have expressed the hope that, Cameroon President Paul Biya would take advantage of this “born in Cameroon” financial /business negotiator to secure loans for the implementation of his “Policy of Greater Achievements”

Reaction to George Ngwane’s Open Letter to Charles Ateba Eyene

By Augustine Tita, in Buea.
In an open Letter to Charles Ateba Eyene (deceased), published online and later  in The Post Newspaper of March 3,2014,  Mwalimu George Ngwane joined thousands of mourners at home and abroad to pay glowing tribute to the fallen hero who was also one of his former students.
 We all weep for the loss of this widely acclaimed  social critic who for many, despite his unflinching support for the ruling party that is arguably responsible to a large extent for the political cacophony and buffoonery the country is going through, had come to represent the voice of the voiceless.
    In the said letter,Mwalimu George Ngwane,taking us back to an encounter he had with Ateba Eyene in 2002,while he was Vice-Principal of the Anglophone section in the Government Bilingual High School in Kribi,states inter alia”You (Ateba Eyene) asked if you could use your high connections to propose me for the position of principal and I said I would rather follow the  legitimate path to upward career mobility”
   Curiously enough, the writer tells us in the ensuing paragraph that he was appointed Provincial Delegate for the Southwest in the Ministry of Culture in 2004 a post he held for three months, certainly creating a record in the annals of administrative appointments in terms of longevity.
   Two things, however spring to mind from this: 1) In spite of all his pronouncements about good governance, was Ateba Eyene also an influence-peddler ready to use his high connections to secure juicy appointments for his comrades?
 II) Was it the natural order of things for Mwalimu George Ngwane to leave from the Ministry of Secondary Education to the post of Provincial Delegate of Culture?
By the way, after his “functionless appointment” in the Ministry of Culture, can he tell us what is his present function in the Ministry of Secondary Education where he was sent since 2010?
   Lastly, I would like to take exception to the comparison he makes between Charles Ateba Eyene and Albert Womah Mukong.Whereas the latter identified  the ruling party(CNU as it was called at the time)as source of  all the political transgressions and other societal ills afflicting our beloved nation and consequently refused to identify himself with the political regime emanating from it, the former remained until death a fervent militant who believed- despite all signs to the contrary, that change could still be effected from with

Monday, March 24, 2014

Egypt court sentences 528 Morsi supporters to death

The authorities have cracked down harshly on Islamists since Mohammed Morsi was removed in July
A court in Egypt has sentenced to death 528 supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.
     They were convicted of charges including murdering a policeman and attacks on people and property.
    The group is among over 1,200 supporters of Mr Morsi on trial, including senior Brotherhood members.
      Authorities have cracked down harshly on Islamists since Mr Morsi was removed by the military in July. Hundreds have been killed and thousands arrested.
      They are expected to appeal.
     The verdict now goes to Egypt's supreme religious authority, the Grand Mufti (a senior Islamic scholar), for approval or rejection, says the BBC's Orla Guerin in Cairo.
Campaigners say that while death sentences are often handed down in Egypt, few have been carried out in recent years.
    The final trial session will not be held until 28 April. so there is some time left before the sentence is confirmed and there will be time to appeal in that period, our correspondent adds.
    The Muslim Brotherhood's spokesman in London, Abdullah el-Haddad, told the BBC the sentences showed that Egypt was now a dictatorship.
"It may be just a threat message and there will be appeals to the court and the decision of the court will change, but this is the new Egypt after the coup. This is the new dictatorship that [army chief and defence minister Field Marshal] Abdul Fattah al-Sisi is trying to establish."
    Mr Haddad said the Muslim Brotherhood's general guide Mohammed Badie was among those convicted, though other reports say Mr Badie is only due in court on Tuesday.
In absentia
     The court in Minya, south of the capital, Cairo, issued its ruling after only two sessions in which the defendants' lawyers complained they had no chance to present their case.
Lawyers have accused the presiding judge of "veering away from all legal norms" and denying justice to the accused, our correspondent adds.
    They were convicted, among other charges, of the murder of the deputy commander of the Matay district police station in Minya.
Some 147 suspects were in court for the trial - the others were convicted in absentia, reports say.
   The court also acquitted 16 other defendants.
  The attacks took place in August after security forces broke up two camps of pro-Morsi supporters in Cairo, killing hundreds of people.
   Mr Morsi was ousted by the military last July following mass street protests against his government. He is facing four separate trials
  There has since been a severe crackdown on his Muslim Brotherhood group, as well as on other activists seen as hostile to the military-backed interim government.
   The Brotherhood has been declared a terrorist organisation and authorities have punished any public show of support for it.
   A second group of 700 Morsi supporters is due to go on trial on Tues
Source: BBC NEWS

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Five underground mining companies exposed in east Cameroon

(Business in Cameroon) - The Departmental Delegate for Mining in Lom and Djerem has just made an odd discovery while touring mining sites in its jurisdiction. Margueritte Ndeh, reveals in the daily Cameroonian government publication that five companies absent from its registry have been discovered quietly engaging in the illegal mining of gold in Bétaré Oya and its environs.
    The discovered mining companies which have no authorisation from the Cameroonian authorities are Gipo Mining, Ging Ma SA, D’or de lion, Danshang Ming and Fuhaï Ming. Without any other recourse, the head of the mining oversight body warned the company heads to regularise their activity as soon as possible.
   In addition to the discovery of these underground companies, Marguérite Ndeh denounced mining companies’ disregard for the physical boundaries contained in their permits. They (the mining companies) go beyond the borders of the plots of land they have received,” she confided at the end of her on-site walk.
    Gold production in Cameroon is estimated at approximately 100 tonnes per annum. But, the government confesses that 90% of national production is based in the informal trade run by smugglers.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Bello Bouba Maigari: Laughingstock of a Politician!

By Asonganyi Tazoacha
Bello Bouba Maigari
Christian Cardinal Tumi wrote a book “The political regimes of Ahmadou Ahidjo and Paul Biya, and Christian Tumi, priest” in which he brought out the following mentality of state authorities he encountered in northern Cameroon: 1) “One Divisional officer even dared to say that Christianity was for the south and Islam for the north of Cameroon;” 2) “A senior divisional officer even went as far as to say that he had the power to take a decision that went contrary to the provisions of the law;” 3) “There was the impression at that time that a Moslem could commit any crime and go unpunished by the laws of the land. One divisional officer even had the audacity to declare that laws of the land only applied to the southern part of the country!” 4) “… [M]any young, non-Moslems of the north believe that they can only get work with the government if they become Moslem; or at least, bear Moslem names.  That is a moral pressure that violates the individual’s freedom to choose in conscience his own religion…” 5) “Even to this day, I still wonder why some senior divisional officers allow certain Lamibe to act the way they like…dreadful traditional rulers, who are dreaded by their people. The senior divisional officers give the impression that they are powerless in the face of the excesses of those uncompromising Lamibe…I had the impression that in the north, the senior divisional officer who represents the Head of State, is the auxiliary of the Lamibe…”
    Bello Bouba Maigari hails from Garoua in North Region. He is the president of the National Union for Democracy and Progress (NUDP) political party. The party was founded in the early ‘90s in his absence, while he was on political exile in Nigeria. The first president was Samuel Eboa, who hailed from Nkongsamba in Littoral Region. When Bello Bouba returned from exile he schemed with other northern barons of the party at a controversial convention of the party to replace Samuel Eboa as the president of the party; Eboa stormed out of the party in anger and founded his own party, Movement for Democracy and Progress (MDP).
    One would think that Bello Bouba was anxious to take over the party to use it as a vehicle to end once and for all the appalling human rights abuses described by Christian Cardinal Tumi. This has turned out not to be the case. The violations described here are a testimony of this.
    During the legislative elections of 1992, Bello Bouba’s party won 68
seats, including three from Mayo Rey constituency (Haman Adama, Ahmadou Bakary, and Koulagna Nana). On January 8, 1996, while Haman Adama and Ahmadou Bakary were carrying out their parliamentary activities in the field, the militia of the Lamido of Rey Bouba attacked their convoy, got them well beaten, and Haman Adama eventually died on February 18, 1996 from the injuries he sustained from the beating. No investigation was carried out, and no arrests were made; the crime went unpunished!
    Just before the parliamentary elections in May 1997, Koulagna Nana – another NUDP MP - was conducting his election campaign in Mayo-Rey Division on behalf of NUDP; on May 12, 1997 he and other NUDP members were attacked by the private militia of the Lamido of Rey Bouba. Two NUDP members and three members of the militia reportedly died in the confrontation. In spite of his parliamentary immunity, Koulagna Nana and 15 other NUDP members and supporters were detained, but no member of the private militia was arrested. All but Koulagna Nana and six others were subsequently released without charge. The judicial authorities in Garoua later ordered Koulagna's release without charge, but he remained in administrative detention in Garoua Central Prison until October 1998 when he and the six others were charged by a military tribunal with murder, arson, looting, illegal possession of firearms, and other offences related to the events of May 1997; he only regained
 his freedom in 2000!
   All this can be contrasted with the vigorous reaction of the Social Democratic Front (SDF) political party following the murder on August 20, 2004 of John Kohtem, SDF Electoral District Chairman of Balikumbat, by Fon Doh Gah Gwanyin, traditional ruler, MP and Mayor of Balikumbat. From August 23-26, 2004, the SDF organized marches in Bamenda to protest Kohtem’s murder, converging at the governor’s office. On August 25, Fru Ndi and many of us NEC members led a group of opposition politicians to Balikumbat to visit John Kohtem’s family; on August 27, SDF members wore black mourning suits to attend the corpse removal ceremony at the Bamenda Mortuary and vowed revenge.  With pressure mounting, investigations into the murder were opened and some two weeks after the murder, 11 suspects were arrested and locked up.
   Under increasing heat from the SDF, the government issued a press release assuring Cameroonians and the international community that the people suspected to have contributed in beating John Kohtem to death, would face the law, their social standing notwithstanding, claiming that “Cameroon is a state of law, which has established the equality of all before the law, as well as judicial independence guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic.” In February 2005, the National Assembly lifted the parliamentary immunity of Fon Doh, paving the way for him to stand trial on murder charges with respect to the death of John Kohtem; he was later found guilty and sentenced to 15 years in prison for masterminding and participating in the murder of Kohtem.
    Let us get back to Bello Bouba’s party again. During the elections of September 30, 2013, one of the cherished victories of the NUDP was in Touboro Council in Mayo Rey constituency. One of the architects of the victory was Celestin Yandal the president of the “Collectif des jeunes de Touboro,” and one of the candidates on the council list of the NUDP. Following that victory, none other than Koulagna Nana was elected Mayor of Touboro Council. The reaction of the Lamido of Rey Bouba did not take long to come; in December 2013, Municipal Councillor Celestin Yandal was arrested and locked up. Following shortly after that, Yandal’s wife died from some medical complications and Yandal was refused bail to attend the funeral of his wife! To add insult to injury, Mouhamman Toukour, NUDP Mayor of Ngaoudere II on his way to attend the funeral of Yandal’s wife, died in an accident on Ngaoundere -Touboro road on Feb 9, 2014.
   All this confirms the fact that in the northern part of Cameroon, more than anywhere else, administrative officials have the power to take decisions that go contrary to the provisions of the law; laws of the land only seem to apply to the southern part of the country, not the northern part! In that part of the country, Lamibe are dreadful traditional rulers that violate the rights and freedoms of their subjects with impunity, with administrative officials acting virtually like auxiliaries of the Lamibe.
   And so Celestin Yandal is still languishing in detention! And Bello Bouba Maigari is sitting in government, watching all this in silence!! How else can a politician make himself a laughingstock? How else can an evil regime collude with traditional rulers to trample on the rights and freedoms of citizens?