Friday, August 29, 2014

Emmanuel Kouontchou: NASPW Buea Director & Patriotic Civil Engineer

By Christopher Ambe

Engineer  Kouontchou Emmanuel
     Kouontchou Emmanuel, 50, is a senior civil engineer who is committed to the development of Cameroon. As the Director of the Advanced School for Public Works (NASPW),Buea Annex  now for nine ,he has ensured that graduates of this institution  are assets  to nation-building. This is evidenced by the hundreds of students who have graduated the NASPW,Buea Annex  after their quality training and are now actively involved in either the public  or private sector helping in the realization of various  development  projects in the country.

     The NASPW which, was created by decree No.82-464 of October 1982, has its main campus in Yaoundé with Professor George Nkeng Elambo as its director and the annex in Buea headed by Kouontchou Emmanuel as its director. The NASPW,Buea Annex  offers specialized training both at the Ordinary Technical cycle and the Higher Technical Cycle, in the following fields: Civil engineering, Land Surveying, Rural Engineering and Town Planning.

  Mr.Kouontchou Emmanuel   argues strongly that graduates from his school are contributing significantly their quota to Cameroon’s Vision 2035 and should be commended for their sense of patriotism.

     Conscious that many English-speaking Cameroonians are not interested in enrolling in NASPW Buea, Mr. Kouontchou who has worked in different capacities in the Southwest region for over 20 years has appealed to them to take advantage of what is at their doorsteps. “I call on many more English-speaking Cameroonians to seek admission into NASPW. Graduates of this institution, I can assure you, are bid farewell to poverty and unemployment. With their marketable skills, they are needed every        where”, he said.

    Mr.Kouontchou who hails from Bandrefam in Koung-khi Division of the West Region, graduated with flying colors from the NASPW Yaounde in 1986.

      Upon his graduation, this workaholic was absorbed into the public service and posted to the Ministry of Public Works, Department of Roads. From 1988 -90,he served as  head of service in the then Southwest  Provincial Delegation of Public Works; In 1990, Mr. Kouontchou was appointed Divisional Delegate for Public Works in Ndian Division and after three years he was appointed  Divisional Delegate  of Public Works  for Fako  Division and after four years, he was was promoted  to the rank of  Southwest Provincial Delegate for Public Works  where he served in that capacity for three years. From 2000-2005, this duty-conscious civil engineer was lecturer at NASPW Buea where he demonstrated the mastery of civil engineering skills. That professional brilliance further worked in his favor. He would in 2005 be appointed as Director of NASPW Buea, a position he has held to date.

    As recognition of his valuable services to the State of Cameroon, Mr. Kouontchou has honored by the State with the medal of knight of the National Order of Valour. A father of several children, Mr. Kouontchou is married to Victorine kouontchou, staff of Divisional Office Limbe 1.

  Mr. Kouontchou is frontline CPDM member and has been subsection President of CPDM Mile 4.He is also councilor of Limbe 1 council.

He is also a philanthropist, often assisting the underprivileged.

     Asked about his general opinion about Cameroon, Mr. Kouontchou declares, “The country is good. But we can make it far better, if all Cameroonians become more patriotic, selfless, development-oriented and God-fearing”

( First Published in The RECORDER Newspaper, Cameroon, of August 27, 2014)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Cameroonian Politician, Chief Albert Samba Ngwana, Dies at 80

Chief A.S Ngwana: Died August 17,2014
  By Christopher Ambe 
When the telephone number of Chief A. S. Ngwana ran this reporter on Monday morning, I thought he wanted both of us to have a lengthy exchange on a number of issues as we usually did in the past several years.
     But unfortunately, it was a female voice I heard, which gave me an unpleasant surprise: “Mr. Ambe, Chief is no more !  He died last evening.” That is how the sad news was broken to this reporter who served as a communication adviser to the senior citizen.
    Albert Samba Ngwana,( popularly known as Chief A.S Ngwana), the Chairman of the Cardinal Democratic Party (CDP), a Douala-based opposition party, last Sunday evening, August 17 died in a hospital in Douala, where he was hospitalized on Thursday August 14, 2014,family members told The RECORDER.
    The politician died at the age of 80 plus .He was born in Beba, Northwest region of Cameroon on December 19, 1933 and he gave up the ghost on August 17, 2014.
    Chief Ngwana, a career British-trained banker, became the pioneer Managing Director and Chief Executive of the now defunct Cameroon State bank, the Cameroon Bank Limited, from 1961 to 1966.
     It was in 1983,that the courageous  Chief Ngwana launched the first opposition party in Cameroon, the Cameroon Democratic Party(today known as the Cardinal Democratic Party),to challenge the one party dictatorship of President Biya.
     In 1985, he was forced into exile to Nigeria for six years by the Biya regime.
     Upon his return, following the re-launch of multi-party politics in the 1990’s, Chief  Ngwana became actively involved in the political life of the nation by regularly expressing his views  via  the audio-visual media , the Internet and the print media on sensitive matters of national interest  .
He was also a devout Catholic Christian, pro-lifer and Human Rights crusader, who organized anti- condom and anti-abortion public lectures in some major towns of Cameroon such as Buea,Limbe,Douala and Bamenda.
At one moment, Chief Ngwana, as a moralist, urged the Cameroon government to arrest and prosecute known prostitutes, since prostitution is a crime in the country.
    Chief Ngwana  was a sharp critic of the Biya and at  a press briefing at Akwa Palace Hotel, Douala on  August 10 ,2012 ,he  made public an open letter he had written to Cameroon President, Paul Biya ,calling on him to rescue the country from breaking up because of various crises, but without any response.
Chief A.S Ngwana is no more
   Chief Ngwana, no doubt, was an advocate of a two-state federal government for Cameroon and sympathizer of the SCNC, which is campaigning for the restoration of the independence of Southern Cameroons.
   The politician and senior citizen believed that the marginalization of Anglophones or better still, the Anglophone problem could only be resolved if Cameroon reverted to the 1961 federal constitution.
   He was also an advocate of population growth. “Development is by the people for the people. Where there are no people, there is no development. Development is for people. Abortion is the greatest hindrance to development,” he argued.
   Chief Ngwana was an author of several books such as: “The Cameroon Democratic Party (1983-1988)”,The Struggle for Political Pluralism and Democracy in Cameroon” and “Population and Development”
    He was married and had five children, as well as many grandchildren and great-grand children.

(Funeral arrangements will be announced by the family in a later date. The family can be reached by Tel: +237 33 43 1072 or +237 77757173)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Cameroon: Fako Elite Groups Unanimously Call For Judicial Inquiry Into Fako Land-Grabbing Scandal.

By Christopher Ambe
For the first time in recent memory, several influential Fako indigenous groups have come together to condemn the abusive grabbing of Fako indigenous lands by traditional and administrative authorities, leaving the villagers with little or nothing. 
    Although  the Cameroon Government has set a commission of inquiry and the National Anti-corruption Commission (NACC) is currently probing into the land scandal, Fako elites want but a judicial inquiry, so that the prosecution of the culprits could be faster.
Following is an August 14, 2014 communique that emerged after the Fako elites met in an extra-ordinary session in Buea, Southwest Region of Cameroon:


We, the members of the Bakweri Indigenous Cultural Association (BICA), the Fako Elements Cultural Association (FECA), the Fako Elite Development Organization (FEDO), the Fako Resource Management and Environment Rehabilitation Network, the Molongo mo Wakpe and the Bakweri Lands Claim Committee (BLCC) representing the diverse socioeconomic aspirations of the men, women and youths of Fako origin met in an extraordinary Fako Forum to address the current Fako land crisis related to the notorious dispossession of Fako people's land, under the guise of a "land surrender" from lands occupied for the past 67 years by the Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC).
     We reaffirm our legitimate role to promote broad based development in Fako using the land resource as a fundamental input in the developmental process, and note that nothing is more fundamental to any people's existence, development, survival and prosperity than the ownership and control of their own territory, their own ancestral lands. Despite this aspiration, we recognize the enormous challenge to our survival - the control and ownership of our own ancestral lands - a challenge that has lasted 130 years since the inopportune arrival of the colonialist Germans (and later the British) on our native territory and perpetuated thence by successive Government administrators, land surveyors and land registrars in Fako, in utter disregard of our indigenous land rights. 
      We recognize that the dispossession of Fako ancestral lands, perpetuated by Administrative authorities, is not limited only to the lands occupied by CDC. This nefarious practice also manifests itself in the Land Grabbing practices of churches, the illegal creation of "New Layouts", the carving out of private plots for private use in Government Residential Areas (GRA's) and the continuing abuse of some government officials' privileges and powers through which fraudulent land certificates are issued without the knowledge of, consultation with, and in total exclusion of the land owners themselves - Fako Indigenes.
    We also recognize that some chiefs in Fako, either through pressure, manipulation, connivance or intentionally play a major role as auxiliaries in the illegal sales, dispossession and deprivation of Fako indigenes to their ancestral lands. We, at the Fako Forum, call upon all the Chiefs of Fako to take their responsibilities to protect Fako ancestral lands seriously and for the leadership of the Fako Chiefs Conference to re-examine the ongoing fraudulent processes of the creation and "fabrication" of chiefs and chiefdoms in Fako for the apparent purpose of giving illegal access and opportunity to sell Fako ancestral lands. 
       We acknowledge the Ministerial Commission of Inquiry into the Fako Land Crisis, and express our disappointment with the work of the Commission whose results have not even been made public three months after their work.
      We are aware of the visit of the team from the National Commission in the Fight against Corruption (CONAC) to Fako to investigate corruption in Fako land issues. We expect that CONAC will do a thorough job with an edifying report.
     Mindful of these historical abuses, we therefore recommend as follows, to the key stakeholders on land governance:
  1. Fako Chiefs Conference must liaise with Fako elites to combat the continuing illegal alienation of Fako ancestral lands, mindful of heroic sacrifices of our ancestors in safeguarding this land from marauding colonialists, lands whose proceeds thereof belong not only to the living but to the yet unborn as well.   
  2. Administrative authorities including the Governor, Senior Divisional Officer, Divisional Officers, Lands and Surveys Officers, Land Registrars and others who play key roles in the process of land management and land surrender in Fako to desist or ensure that their collaborators desist, from the illegal practices of fraudulent alienation of Fako ancestral lands, including lands currently occupied by CDC and all other lands in the GRA's, Clerk's Quarters, Federal Quarters and other village communities in Fako. 
  3. The Ministry of State Property, Surveys and Land Tenure to pay critical attention to the issuing of land certificates in Fako and that the Ministry should re-examine ALL land certificates issued in Fako over the past 50 years and more, and take immediate corrective and punitive measures, where fraud is detected and ascertained, to restore the status quo ante of the dispossessed indigenes.
  4. We request the government of the Republic of Cameroon to setup an Independent Judicial Commission of Inquiry to probe into this matter and find lasting solution.
  5. The President of the Republic should use his good offices to look into the possibilities of redressing the present chaotic management of Fako lands.
Finally, we acknowledge the important role played by the National Commission of Human Rights, through its Secretariat in the South West Region, in raising the awareness of local communities regarding their inalienable rights to hold, control and protect their ancestral lands from illegal and abusive sales by some chiefs and administrative authorities. We pledge to stand by the Secretariat and collaborate in fighting against the continuing illegality surrounding transactions over Fako lands.
1)Mola Ikomi Mbua Koto,
President, The Bakweri Indigenous Cultural Association (BICA).
2)Victor Elame Ikome,
President, The Fako Elite Development Organization (FEDO),
3)Benard Fende Eko ,
Adviser, The Fako Elements Cultural Association (FECA),
4) Prince Ndemba Endeley,
Coordinator, The Fako Resource Management and Environment
Rehabilitation Network
 5)Sango Ndive Njoh Paul
General Coordinator, Molongo mo Wakpe
6) Barrister Ikomi Ngongi
Deputy Secretary General, The Bakweri Lands Claim Committee (BLCC)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

'Billions' on table at Africa summit in US

 Officials brush off questions over whether major meeting is in response to China's growing influence.
        The United States will announce nearly $1bn in business deals, increase funding for peacekeeping and commit billions of dollars to expanding food and power programs in Africa during a summit this week, officials said.
       US officials said the August 4-6 summit in Washington of nearly 50 African leaders hopes to showcase US interest in the continent through a series of government-private partnership deals to boost trade and investment.
     The spread of the deadly Ebola virus in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone is also a reminder of the vast development needs that persist in some of the continent's poorest countries, despite rapid economic growth and investment. 
     Administration officials have played down questions over whether the summit is in response to China's growing presence in the continent.
Instead, they say American interests go beyond Africa's oil and minerals, areas on which some say China is focused.
"You will see a series of announcements on agriculture and food, and power and energy," Rajiv Shah, the administrator of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), told the Reuters news agency.
"We will make big announcements that demonstrate these are big ambitions we can take on with our African partners and the private sector."
     Shah said there will be new support for Power Africa, a privately funded program launched by President Barack Obama last year to install 10,000 megawatts of new generation capacity and connect 20 million new customers across Africa by 2018.
Shah said while companies pledged $7bn to the program last year, next week "there will be several billions of dollars" in new investments. The World Bank is also expected to make a major contribution, according to Bank officials.
    The program is also likely to be expanded from the six nations - Ethiopia, Kenya, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Tanzania- that are currently included.

                                                    Peacekeeping boost
      There will also be significant increases in private sector support for US-backed food and agricultural programs in Africa, including the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, US development officials said.
       Donald Kaberuka, president of the African Development Bank, said the summit represented a shift in the US-Africa relationship from a focus on aid to investment and trade.
"There are still bits of aid needed here or there but fundamentally the relationship is now defined as one of trade, investment, growth and opportunities," Kaberuka told Reuters in an interview.
"It responds to what Africans are looking for and responds to expectations of American business," he added.
     The summit will include a business conference on Tuesday bringing together African leaders and American CEOs. 
     In other funding increases, the State Department is expected to announce a further $60m a year for peacekeeping training in six African countries, according to US officials.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Cameroon:Chief Ayamba, the SCNC, and the CPDM Regime

By Tazoacha Asonganyi  in Yaounde.
The CPDM regime wrote a “Vision-2035” in which it considers its first challenge to be the consolidation of democracy and the enhancement of “national unity” in a “united and indivisible nation enjoying peace and security.” “National unity” is said to be a “permanent and ambitious goal” in a country where “threats, risks and obstacles” include the management of the “dual Anglophone-francophone heritage,” having succeeded to ensure “original cohabitation between the English-speaking and French-speaking systems…” Although there have been “divergences as seen in the violent representation of remote identities as well as outbreak of tensed or even irredentist conflicts,” they were contained by a “pro-active and strong state, capable of containing centrifugal forces and enhancing national solidarity…”
The “consolidation of democracy” is said to imply “the existence of a constitutional state, (and) promotion and respect for individual and collective freedoms.”
It is within this backdrop of the declaration of intent in the so-called “vision-2035” that we recall a cardinal principle of modern international law, binding on all nations, especially members of the United Nations: the right of self-determination, or the right of a people to freely choose their sovereignty and international political status.
Although consensus on the type of groups  or “peoples” that can claim the right to self-determination is not well defined, Anglophone Cameroonians - Southern Cameroonians as they are known - enjoyed the status by their treatment as an entity, as a League of Nations Mandated Territory and a United Nations Trust Territory. Further, their walkout en masse from the Eastern Nigerian House of Assembly in Enugu in 1953, their self-governing status in Buea from 1954-1961, and their participation in a UN-organised plebiscite in 1961 more than defined them as a people that enjoys such a status. In addition to all these, the recognition of persons of Southern Cameroons origin as “a people” with the right of self-determination by the African Commission for Human and People’s Rights was a reflection of these historical acts that marked them out as such.
Of course, the decision to gain independence by joining the Republic of Cameroun in 1961 did not abrogate this right. Unlike the Americans that sat down in 1789 and hammered out the conditions for a “one and indivisible union,” the Southern Cameroons delegation refused the use of the word “indivisible” in Foumban, leading Ahidjo to state in his concluding remarks that: “in order to avoid a certain confusion that might arise from the word ‘indivisible’, we admit that it should purely and simply be omitted.”
Indeed, it is because such union status did not always abrogate the right of self-determination that many other such unions in history ended in reversals. In this wise, the September 18, 2014 vote on independence in a referendum in Scotland after a 307-year union in the United Kingdom, is an example of the continued right of self-determination of peoples that join such unions. It will be recalled that Ireland opted out of the UK arrangement since 1922, through a similar independence referendum. No need to mention Quebec in Canada, and many other peoples in similar unions.
The ban in Cameroon on the creation of political parties that “threaten national unity,” is against the spirit of international law. The consequence of the ban is the emergence of organizations like the Southern Cameroons National Council (SCNC). The constant confrontations with the security forces of the Cameroon “nation state” as recently occurred in Mamfe at the burial of the Chairman of the SCNC Chief Ayamba, is an affront to the right of self-determination of a people that consider themselves oppressed in the Cameroon union. Indeed, the slogan of the organization that professes “the force of argument, not the argument of force” is a disarming slogan that exposes the “pro-active and strong state, capable of containing centrifugal forces” as an oppressive state that uses totalitarian methods.
Those with a good knowledge of human nature like Malcolm Gladwell usually say that endurance and survival of the trauma of constant brutalization by security forces has a liberating effect which gives birth to courage. Excessive use of force creates legitimacy problems, which give birth to defiance, not submission. Defiant persons can be killed or maimed by brutal use of state power, but invariably, it only leads to the appearance of more defiant people.
It is usually said that some revolutions are started not by revolutionaries in the first place, but by the stupidity and brutality of regimes. The “pro-active and strong state, capable of containing centrifugal forces” in Cameroon should worry about what organizations like the SCNC think about the regime because, like it or not, their opinion counts! When unjust laws are applied in the absence of legitimacy, it leads to disobedience, not obedience. Power is not just physical force; it has many forms.
The CPDM regime should reflect deeply on the consequences of the constant arrest, torture and detention of SCNC members. The regime should reflect on the consequences of their standoff with the organization in Tiko following the demise of Martin Ngeka Luma some years ago, and more recently, in Mamfe following that of Chief Ayambe Ette Otun in Mamfe - both leaders of the “irredentist” SCNC.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Cameroon Suspends 38 Mining Contracts to Combat Smuggling

 YAOUNDE, Cameroon–The Cameroon government has suspended contracts for 38 of the 125 mining companies operating in the West African nation, accusing them of opening the way for the smuggling of diamond and gold by traffickers, who could sell the gems to neighboring countries, secretary of state at the mining ministry, Gentry Calistus Fuh, said on Thursday.
Calistus Gentry Fuh, Cameroon’s secretary of state for the ministry of Industries, Mines and Technological Development-Bloomberg News
“Those with valid contracts are companies operating in the diamond, iron ore, bauxite, cobalt, nickel and marble,” said Mr. Fuh, who didn’t identify the companies sanctioned.
   Citing ministry figures, he had told Dow Jones Newswires last week that 140 gold deposits are spread out over 20,000 square kilometers in the country, which expects 16,653 kilograms of gold output from small scale miners between 2010 and 2015. But some 90% of the gold produced goes to traffickers.
     Revenue from mining contributes only 1% to the country’s gross domestic product, as just two mining companies have exploitation licenses, with the rest exploring for minerals. But the Cameroon government wants to transform mining into a mainstay of its economy.
    Cameroon has found it hard to control trafficking of gold because 40% of 6,000 mining permits in the country are in foreign hands as a result of cash-strapped Cameroonian artisanal miners’ reselling their licenses to foreigners.
This year, Cameroon created diamond monitoring units around its borders and airports after it became a member of the Kimberly Process in 2013-The Wall Street Journal