Friday, October 30, 2015

Cameroon :Philanthropist assists underprivileged pupils, students with didactic materials

By Christopher Ambe
Moki Vainda Liwonjo, a professional teacher with over 16 years of working experience, is fast becoming a philanthropist with focus on deserving but under privileged pupils and students in Cameroon.
Moki Vainda Liwonjo
    Barely one month or so that this category of school children in Bonjongo court area of Buea subdivision benefitted from his donation of didactic materials and financial support, Vainda Liwonjo on October 28 was special guest at the Hephizibah Handicapped and Orphanage Training Production and Ecstacy Centre (HOTPEC) in Mile 14 Buea to assist needy school children, as well as launch a clarion call to people of goodwill to always come to the help of underprovided ones.
     Some fifty one school children (16 students and 35 pupils) identified by their school authorities were happy recipients of didactic and financial support valued at over a one million Francs from Vainda Liwonjo, who is also First Vice President of the Teachers ‘Association of Cameroon (TAC).The beneficiaries were mostly orphans whose home is HOTPEC.
     Although a TAC official, the donation was Vainda Liwonjo’s personal contribution to human capital development.
  Mr.Liwonjo donating books
The donor said he decided to become a philanthropist because as a teacher, he has noted that many children don’t do well in school not because they are dull but because they lack even basic didactic materials.
    He argued that for any nation to emerge- in terms of dveleopment, it must invest enormously in the education of its citizens. In so doing, he emphasized: “the nation must not leave out or behind the underprivileged. We have to move with them along”
    Vainda Liwonjo urged other people of good will especially teachers to emulate his example and assist needy school children within their reach.
The donations.
“Peace only comes when you share freely what you have with the needy. We must be the defense of the defenseless in society. God loves cheerful givers”, the donor said, citing the Bible which says that, if you give to the poor, it is just as if you are giving a loan to God who will pay you back in abundance.
   Vainda Liwonjo said above all his donation to the underprivileged was intended to glorify God Almighty, who gives generously to us.

 He urged the recipients to use their gifts jealously.

The didactic materials dished out included text and exercise books, math sets, rulers, pens and pencils. The cash donation that accompanied the didactic materials was 400,000 Francs CFA.
The Beneficiaries
He also donated bags of foodstuff such as rice and soft drinks to the management of HOTPEC-the orphanage that was founded in and now has a nursery and primary school attached to it.
    Earlier, in his welcome speech, Shey Mostepha Sama, speaking on behalf of HOTPEC Management, hailed the donor for the gesture. An elated Sama told the donor, “Because you remember us here, these children will able to go to higher heights”.
    He prayed God to replenish the wallet of the donor, who told reporters that his donation project has come to stay and will touch the lives of other underprivileged children across the nation in the future.
   The ceremony, which took place in the hall of HOTPEC, was attended by some education officials and other dignitaries such as Buea-based businessman Tendonge Solomon.

Thursday, October 29, 2015


By Ayah Paul Abine*
Hon.Justice Ayah Paul
The press in Cameroun is regulated by the 1990 law on social communication. Section 17 (1) (new) of the law provides, inter alia, that, where the conduct of a news media is contrary to public order and good morals, the minister in charge of territorial administration may suspend the said media. I have not been privileged to find any other provision of that law providing that some other body has concurrent jurisdiction with the minister in question.
      The last but two sections of the law, (Section 88), did create a national communication council, specifying that the organization and functioning of the said council would be laid down by an executive order. A decree subsequently issued, defining the jurisdiction of the National Communication Council. 
     Without any necessity to go into the substance of the decree, it should be pointed out that, in the hierarchy of laws, a law in the technical sense takes precedence over an executive order. In the event of conflict between the two, the law of course prevails. One may be bold enough to say, without any fear of contradiction whatsoever, that that is the incontrovertible position of the law.
    It stands to reason, ipso facto, that the jurisdiction of the National Communication Council as spelt out by a decree crumbles in the face of the unambiguous legal provision granting to the minister in charge of territorial administration exclusive jurisdiction over the suspension of news media. The council would have had concurrent jurisdiction with the minister, ratione materiae, only and only if another law had granted the National Communication Council jurisdiction to suspend news media… A decree taken in the furtherance of a law may only hopelessly purport to fly on the same plane with the law; or dastardly venture to contradict it.
     As it is, the suspension of Afrique Media, as of other news media before it, was inconsistent with the law in force; and is, therefore, illegal, if need there is to emphasize in superfluity. Any member of the National Communication Council snarling and/or smarting from the urge of vendetta may simply be ignoramus.
 *Ayah Paul Abine is a judge of exceptional class,now serving as Deputy Attorney-General,Supreme Court of Cameroon

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

US Sending Troops, Vehicles To Cameroon To Combat Boko Haram

By Jen Judson, Defense News 

WASHINGTON -- The United States has handed over six peacekeeping security vehicles to the Cameroonian armed forces in order to help combat Boko Haram, a terrorist organization originating in Nigeria, a US Africa Command spokesman confirmed.
US Army photo by Pvt 1st Class Pernell Ports

Boko Haram has since spread its violent insurgency into Cameroon as well as Chad and Niger.
US Navy Lt. Cmdr. Anthony Falvo said the vehicles were transferred through the State Department to the Cameroonian military in Yaoundé on Oct. 16 in order to assist in the regional peacekeeping operations.

President Barack Obama also announced last week that the US would deploy up to 300 personnel for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations to Cameroon. About 145 personnel are already on the ground to set up a location from where ISR platforms will deploy and to train Cameroonian forces, according to Pat Barnes, the Washington spokesman for AFRICOM.

Boko Haram and other organizations have "ramped up their violent activities" in the region, Barnes said. Providing vehicles and more troops is part of a larger international effort to stop the spread of violent extremist organizations in West Africa, he added.

While ISR missions in the region are not new, the increased cooperation with Cameroonian security forces has prompted AFRICOM "to study the viability of ISR flights from a temporary location in Cameroon," Barnes said.
"The results of these ISR flights will better enable African partners to secure their borders against violent/illegal activities disrupting our common desire for stability in the region," he said. "Most importantly, all information collected by US unarmed remotely piloted aircraft is used to support international counter-violent extremist organization operations."

Barnes noted the deployment does not replace the forces previously operating in Chad or the current group in Niger. "This deployment is totally separate and distinct," he said.
The Defense Department has about 250 personnel in Niger and 85 personnel in Chad conducting missions that include training and ISR, according to Barnes.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Cameroon Government Fiesta: Cycle of Same People Meeting on Way Up and Down.

By Tazoacha Asonganyi in Yaounde.
Shakespeare’s villainous Iachimo may also advise us “to leave unspoken that which, to be spoke, would torture thee.” Nobody asked Paul Biya to express worry about the performance of his government in his December 2013 New Year address. Since he did so, Cameroonians expected him to proceed immediately to form a new, more effective and efficient government, especially because it was not the first time he was complaining about the performance of government.
      The government had been regularly discredited not only by scandals, but also by the appearance of its being incapable of meeting the tasks of the day, most of which were undreamt of in November 1982. Government had cut the image of a quarrelsome lot working in dispersed ranks; it seemed to have lost sight of its “core business.” Strategic thinking for the urgent transformative actions needed seemed to be absent, but all mind-readers were predicting that the “overall” boss, when he would decide to act, would only move ponds around the chessboard, as usual.
      All of 2014 was a long enough wait, but to extend it to 2015 seemed to be too much! Since nature abhors vacuums, the long wait filled the vacuum with doubt and complacency; the government seemed to be doing nothing, just resting on its laurels, waiting for the unknown. Inertia became the order of the day, and society became restive. The best option seemed to be to put pressure from outside to precipitate action. Dozens of “leaked” governments were published in the press. Stories of wrongdoing in the presidency were spun into sources of leaks of new governments. Protests by our valiant soldiers for their dues were mockingly linked to the advent of a new government. And. so expectation of a new government became the talk of the town.
      It is usually said that public opinion allows the nation to participate in its own affairs because it is an invisible power that rules even in the palaces of kings. Even if the limited political experience of the “opinion” makers caused public opinion to be dominated by general and speculative ideas, this did not diminish its power. It was all like our traditional smoking of the rat mole out of the comfort of its hole with the smoke of public opinion.
      And so the new government was smoked out at last! As mind-readers had predicted, it involved mainly the movement of ponds around the chessboard. It did not include the SDF and UDC that public opinion had so pompously included in the government. It did not also include those that feed on the carcass of Um Nyobe in total disregard of his legacy and his heritage.
      Once the list of the “new” government hit the public place, the paradigm of opinion shifted to critique. Most critiques and analyses have been directed more at individuals for their disobedience or corruption or lack of solidarity, less at systems. Politics may be more about the citizen than the private individual, but solidarity, whether between members of a government or between individual citizens, is the foundation of politics. If critical public opinion finds those who lost their ministerial posts guilty as individuals, it will mean that they were ill-prepared to be ministers; if they are guilty as ministers, it will be a condemnation of the whole system.
     The “new” government will most obviously continue to waste the time of the country because it will be operating in the same system. It will face the same internal struggles against entrenched bureaucratic interests and a power-distribution architecture that encourages fraud and corruption. It will enter the same self-serving routine that is usually blind to outcomes.
Systemic institutions need to be strengthened by large-scale overhaul in government and public-sector agencies. Clear, enforceable rules of discipline that create a meritocratic environment and ethical behaviors that are friendly to creativity, innovation, and talent have to be present in all fronts.
      The “new” government needs to shed its CPDM divisive mindset and build a social consensus around growth-oriented strategies and policies by providing equal opportunity to all citizens, irrespective of political opinion, area of origin, gender, or religion.
     If there are clear, transparent rules that can detect errors and fraud fast enough, the fallouts can be managed on a continuous basis. “Epervier” should no longer work in tedious cycles but on a continuous basis. With all the people that populate the prisons today because of corruption and fraud, there should be much familiarity with the tools and methods they used; these should be exploited to correct and strengthen existing systems, and to design tighter security of public funds. This will meet the common saying that prevention is better than cure. It will end the wasteful and shameful practice of punishing after the fact; of using the process to punish potential rivals.
     The visionaries and the all-knowing humans variously called proletariats, Bolsheviks, communists that Karl Marx and others envisaged that would be produced and would only speak the fact, not argue or convince, eventually failed to emerge where the experiments for their production were conducted.  They nevertheless emerged in Africa around the ‘60s at the head of the new countries that came to being at that time. Although they emerged without the “lightening of thought” that Marx said would cause their emergence, they have endured and prospered till today in Africa!
     And so one of the problems with our “new” government is that like the one before it, the members will consider themselves as “creatures” of this type of being, and will work in fear and total submission –with the being representing their own “specter” that will haunt them throughout their ministerial tenure.
    Societies can be governed only with ideas. Government must be open to itself and to society as a whole, so that governance ideas can be bounced back and forth to increase their chances of producing the good. All governments need strong leadership not only from the top but from all its members.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Ban Ki-Moon condemns suicide attacks in Cameroon

Almost 100,000 Cameroonians had to flee their homes due to cross-border attacks from Nigeria by Boko Haram insurgents. Photo: OCHA/Ivo Brandau
12 October 2015 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today condemned the suicide attacks in Kangaleri, Cameroon, on 11 October, suspected to be carried out by Boko Haram elements. 

“The Secretary-General extends his condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government and people of Cameroon. There is no justification for such indiscriminate violence and killings,” said a statement issued today by his spokesperson in New York.

“The Secretary-General reaffirms his solidarity with the people of Cameroon,” the statement further added.

Since July 2015, the Northern State of Cameroon has witnessed 15 separate suicide attacks, causing the death of scores of civilians.

Mr. Ban reiterated the support of the United Nations to the Cameroonian Government and the Lake Chad Basin countries in their fight against terrorism, grounded on international humanitarian, human rights and refugee law
-UN News  Service

Monday, October 12, 2015

Cameroonian Veteran Journalist, Sam-Nuvala Fonkem,Dies

By Christopher Ambe 
 One of Cameroon’s seasoned and finest journalists is no more. Michael Sam Nuvala Fonkem, aged 62, Public Information Officer for the United Nations Organization in Cote D’Ivoire, died last Thursday October 8 in Buea, after a protracted illness.
Late  Sam Nuvala Fonkem
      The Cameroonian journalist assumed the post of Public Information Officer for the United Nations Operation in Cote d’Ivoire (UNOCI) in 2010, after practicing critically objective journalism in Cameroon for many years.
        The veteran journalist, ace broadcaster and commentator who had worked for Cameroon state-owned audio-visual CRTV, was also a journalism teacher for several schools including the Department of Journalism of the University of Buea.
       After his “voluntary retirement” from the Cameroon public service as a journalist, he practiced with the independent media briefly and wrote a column in The Post Newspaper, called Snap Shots in which he commented on, and x-rayed, issues of public interest.
         Sam-Nuvala Fonkem graduated in 1976 from the International School of Journalism, Yaoundé (Ecole Suprieure de Journalisme de Yaoundé-ESSIJY) and thereafter was integrated in Cameroon public Service.He would later become a Cameroon presidential correspondent under the Ahidjo regime.
         His critical journalism landed him, several times, into problems with the Ahidjo/Biya Regimes. He was arrested on several occasions for speaking the bitter truth about the ‘bad governance’ of the country and at one time he was detained for almost a year at the Nkondengui maximum security prison, Yaounde
      As a journalist/broadcaster, some admirers described Sam-Nuvala Fonkem’s voice as golden, others said it was authoritative.
        Sam-Nuvala Fonkem recently authored several books including but not limited to “Incisive Journalism in Cameroon: The Best of Cameroon Report (1978-1986) and “Snap Shots: An x-ray of Cameroon’s Democracy, Governance and Unification”
       He was married to Mrs. Immaculate Fofung Fonkem, an administrator-general   of Penitentiary Administration in Cameroon and Director of the National School of Penitentiary Administration, ENAP Buea.He is a father of several children
     In 2012 the beloved couple celebrated their silver jubilee in holy matrimony. 
       Sam Nuvala Fonkem's funeral programme is yet to be announced.


Sam Nuvala Fonkem:A Journalism Hall of Fame

 Heaven must have great demand for excellent broadcast journalists. How do I know ?
 By Boh Herbert

Well – what else do you want me to say? How does one explain the loss, in rapid succession, 
of the likes of Epsy Ngum, Ben Berka Njovens, Charles Landze, Akwanka Joe Ndifor, Anne Nkwain Nsang, and more? How do I explain that God has just called back to Him the phenomenally gifted Sam Nuvala Fonkem?
Boh Herbert
     O’Sam, as he was affectionately called, passed into glory in Buea, Cameroon. No medical cause of death has been given. Except, of course, the sweeping cause of death in Cameroon known as “following brief illness” which has been mentioned in every obituary so far. The announcements do not also clarify if O’Sam was in Cameroon on vacation from Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, where he has now served several years with the United Nations.
      Whatever the cause of death, one thing is clear: Cameroon has lost one of its finest journalists – ever.
      God forbid that I pretend that O’Sam was my colleague-colleague. It would not be wrong to suggest that he probably had the status of an idol. A long line of junior colleagues, including yours truly, looked to him for help in being a deserving journalist. Long before many of us became journalists, it was an honor to role play the amazing Sam Nuvala Fonkem.
      After journalism school, we relied on the likes of O’Sam to learn how to apply academic learning to everyday practice. He never disappointed. He was a senior editor, a big bro, a mentor, and an inspiration… a true master of the art of journalism and a proud son of the Bali Kingdom of the North West Region of Cameroon.
    This to admit that I lack the critical biographical and background information to write a professional tribute on O’Sam. 
However, it feels to me that I would not have buried this big brother if I did not openly confess what an impact he made on me.
     Even after many years away from a radio microphone, it is my view that O’Sam dies with his stock as a journalist still soaring. He dies a darling to radio listeners across Cameroon; untainted by the “gombo” world of “two for five francs” journalists that pollute Cameroonian journalism today. He goes to his final resting place as he lived his life: unapologetically disgusted by the propaganda machine that state media was in his days has remained over these many years in Cameroon.
    The beautiful baritone voice that has gone silent served a man whose lifetime was dedicated not only to excellence in journalism, but also to the use of journalism to fight corruption, decry misrule, afflict the rich and powerful and defend the interests of the people, notably the welfare of Southern Cameroonians.
    O’Sam loved his drink and was, by my estimation, a heavy smoker. Spotting the traditional “danchiki” sleeveless shirt which he loved to wear, and bringing along his best High Life, Bottle Dance or “Banghalum” music on one of those old-time cassettes, O’Sam would help out the bartender whenever the right music was wanting and the ambiance during the happy hours he loved fell to the dull end.
   O’Sam never hesitated to tongue lash those who abused the power invested in government. He was never afraid to go after those he called “the bastards, lording it over my people”. O’Sam did not hide his disdain for politicians who had their palms greased. He lacked patience and, I would even dare say he lacked respect for those who had no balls to speak up. Those who chickened out when it came to defending the truth, or ensuring that they effectively represent their constituents or rebel against singing the propaganda of the regime. Taking on Members of Parliament for not speaking truth to power, O’Sam lambasted MPs – on “live” radio – describing the parliamentarians accused as nothing but “hand clapping monkeys”.
    The always grinning, always smiling, always laughing and ebullient O’Sam believed (like one of his former colleagues turned cabinet member, Henri Bandolo), that Cameroon’s government at any given time counted several “idiots”. Too many idiots are ministers in this country, Bandolo was quoted as telling fellow journalist while he was still at Radio House. “If these idiots managed to become ministers, what about someone with brains like me?” Bandolo wondered aloud. This was several years before the late Bandolo was invited to join what he considered “the idiot club” in power.
    Many who knew not how anyone could muster the courage against a regime with power of life and death over its citizens, simply dismissed O’Sam as crazy. Some even suggested that he had to be stoned each time he dished out those his sharp words on the air.
    His admirers could not care less. They loved and cheered his courage. As junior colleagues and students, we were inspired by it. When our turn came to call a spade by name, we largely followed the trail that courageous journalists like O’Sam had blazed. That trail included being suspended from broadcasting for speaking the unpleasant truth. It included going to jail. It included seeing his hair shaved against his will at Komdengui Prison. He served time in that big house; and, of course, he faced injustice at the hand of judges of the dictator’s kangaroo courts.
   Speaking of jail, it is my belief that O’Sam married the love of his life: an amazing woman who headed the Female Prison at Mfou (outskirts of Yaounde). Thanks to her, yours truly (then one of the BBC correspondents in Cameroon) got access to the then political prisoner, Barrister Yondo Black. This was shortly before Black was freed from detention in 1990 after being briefly held and tried on charges of trying to form an opposition political party.
    If I had my way in a sovereign Southern Cameroons, I would be first to lobby for O’Sam being raised to knighthood for his contribution to the struggle to restore independence to Buea. In one of his last emails to me, he regretted that certain Southern Cameroonians were letting their people down. The regime in Yaounde, he said, seems determined to reject dialogue, electing instead to be nothing except “master, conqueror and despot”.
   As a journalist, I would like to argue that Sam Nuvala Fonkem is a most deserving candidate for any future Southern Cameroonian Journalism Hall of Fame. O’Sam needs to be recognized and celebrated – not just mourned – for his role and activism; but also for his courage and sacrifice in defense of press freedom and of freedom of expression.
   It is not in doubt that O’Sam also had a big heart and a big mouth. He used both of these intelligently to serve the most deserving causes of our time and of our people. O’Sam loved journalism with an intensity rarely seen and practiced it with integrity. He also made mentorship of younger journalists his business. That is why for those of us (struggling to fit into the huge shoes he leaves) O’Sam was not only our oak; he was our rock; our journalism stronghold. Sam Nuvala Fonkem will be sorely missed.
Rest in peace, O’Sam!
Courtesy:Cameroon Journal

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Cameroon-Abdouramane Hamadou: Hero of FECAFOOT Normalization Saga!

By Tazoacha Asonganyi in Yaounde
Those who were given the task of “normalizing” FECAFOOT decided to think like most politicians. Their political thinking consisted in deciding on the conclusion first, and then finding good arguments for it. And so they were shocked by people like Abdouramane Hamadou who were really prepared to let their thinking reach conclusions.

Indeed, most politicians have lived in the state of lawlessness in Cameroon for so long that the “headiness” of people like Abdouramane Hamadou throws them completely off-balance, and they leave the stage looking more like twits. Faced with the realities of the rule of law, they act at best like clowns.

More often than not, social interactions in every society breed conflicts. It is the role of the courts to resolve such conflicts by enforcing the rule of law. Since democracy is a sort of conflict of ideas, passions and ambitions of humans prone to abusing their power, it can only thrive under the rule of law.

Simply put, the Rule of Law is the use of the law to secure the protection of the individual, groups, and even countries, without exception. In the spirit of the rule of law, all human beings are said to be equal and no one person, no matter their station in life, is more equal than others. It is the Rule of Law that preempts strong individuals, groups or countries from having the better of the weak, by hemming in their power with myriad restrictions concerning relationships and behaviors.

It is courts that say what the law is, and uphold the rule of law. Such courts include the various courts in a country, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS; or Tribunal arbitral du sport, TAS), the International Court of Justice (the World Court or ICJ), and many other arbitration bodies. In principle, at the end of the drama that usually marks conflict resolution in these courts, comes the court decision. Such decisions must be binding on the parties and be enforceable and enforced, otherwise the court system ridicules the rule of law, leaving the rule of the jungle to take its place.

We got to know more about the ICJ through the case that pitted Cameroon against Nigeria over the Bakassi Peninsula. We have come to know about CAS through Abdouraman Hamadou and the FECAFOOT normalization committee. The courts showed neutrality, and their decisions were binding, enforceable and enforced.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Cameroon:Biya’s post-2013 elections cabinet reshuffle

      By Christopher Ambe
 At long last Cameroon President Paul Biya has reshuffled the government after the 2013 municipal, parliamentary and senatorial elections that gave crushing victories his ruling CPDM at the three polls.
President Paul Biya:
       The constitution of the Country does not give a time-frame for the appointment of a new cabinet after major polls (whether municipal, parliamentary,senatorial or Presidential) but it almost became a norm in the Biya-regime that after major elections there were cabinet reshuffles.
      And so after the 2013 polls, Cameroonians waited anxiously for it to no avail until today, October 2, that President Biya, 82, who has ruled Cameroon since 1982, reshuffled the government.   Before the reshuffle, some Cameroonian newspapers -published several alleged cabinet reshuffles which did not become a reality. 
     Cameroon, now with a population of 22.25 million people (World Bank, 2013), has over 45 Members of Government
     President Biya, against wide speculations that Prime Minister Philemon Yang (he assumed that office in 2009), would be sacked, maintained the latter.

Find below the October 2, 2015 cabinet reshuffle:

 Minister-Delegate at the Presidency in charge of Defence: Joseph Beti Assomo;
Minister- Delegate, Supreme State Audit: Rose Mba Acha;
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development: Henri Eyebe Ayissi;
Minister of Arts and Culture: Mouelle Kombi;
Minister of Economy, Planning and Regional Development: Louis Paul Motaze;
Minister of Social Affairs: Pauline Onguene;
Minister of Secondary Education: Jean Ernest Ngalle;
Minister of Youth and Civic Education: Mounouna Foutsou;
Minister of Sports and Physical Education: Ismaël Bidoung Mpkwatt;
Minister of Posts and Telecommunication: Minette Libom Li Likeng;
Minister of External Relations: Lejeune Mbella Mbella;
Minister of Transports: Edgar Alain Mebe Ngo’o;
Minister of Mines and Technological Development: Ernest Ngwaboubou;
Minister of Public Works: Emmanuel Nganou Djoumessi;
Minister- Delegate of Finances: Paul Elung Che;
Secretary -General at the Prime Minister’s Office: Seraphin Magloire Fouda;
Assistant Secretary -General at the PM’s Office: Pascal Nguihi Kamte;
Special Adviser at the Presidency of the Republic: Dieudonne Samba.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Unification and the future of Cameroon