Monday, February 29, 2016

Nigeria sacks thousands of ghost workers, saving millions

Lagos (AFP) - Nigeria's finance ministry said Sunday that it had saved millions of dollars for the cash-strapped government by removing more than 20,000 "ghost workers" from the state payroll.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari (R) speaks to members of the National Assembly after submitting his record budget for 2016 in Abuja, on December 22, 2015 (AFP Photo/Sunday Aghaeze)
The eliminated ghost workers represented just a "percentage" of "non-existent" staff who had been receiving monthly wages, highlighting the brazen corruption in Africa's biggest economy.
"The salary bill for February 2016 has reduced by 2.293 billion naira ($11.53 million)," finance ministry advisor Festus Akanbi said in a statement.
Akanbi said that stricter payroll regulation would boost the budget at a time when Nigeria's state coffers are depleted as a result of the collapse in global oil prices.
Trimming personnel costs "is key to funding the deficit in the 2016 budget, as savings made will ultimately reduce the amount to be borrowed," Akanbi said.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari announced a record budget in December promising to stimulate growth and build infrastructure in the oil-rich but import-dependant nation.
He has vowed to infuse the budget with money recovered in his quest to stamp out endemic corruption in Nigeria.

Book Review: Churchill Monono Repositions Buea on ‘Map of Unforgettable Cities’

By Mbenju Mafany
Yaounde, Cameroon (The – Buea is a city! Any shot at ridding it of this status, overtly or covertly, will be vile and deceptive. Of course, the Buea-based Centre for Research on Democracy and Development in Africa, CEREDDA, has published an illustrative, revolutionary and visionary book to expatiate this point.

Churchill Ewumbue-Monono’s Buea, Capital of the Cameroons: Symbol of the Nation and of Reunification rubs out what tinges of doubt there may be on the might of the 120-year-old multi-dimensional capital, which has been pilloried with a string of mean but futile “ruralisation” campaigns.

He states his case for Buea in three parts: the city’s administrative evolution; important events and dates; and a photo gallery of pre-colonial and post-colonial structures.

With instructive stats and facts, the 305-page landmark publication weaves Cameroon’s contemporary history, beginning with an overview of Buea, which served as the first religious, educational, and administrative capital of Cameroon.

However, the kernel of this thoroughly researched piece is the outright debunking of the perception that Buea was a village and only witnessed pockets of urbanisation when it hosted the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Cameroon in February 2014.
According to the author, Buea already enjoyed the status of an urban area in the colonial and post colonial epochs. For example, Buea was destined to be the capital of not only Kamerun, but also of the entire German West Africa, which stretched to Togoland under Governor Otto von Puttkamer (1895-1906). In addition, Buea was ranked in the same category with Douala, Edea, and Yaounde when the town’s urban character was confirmed in Decree No.68/DF/272 of 15 July 1968 that zoned the towns of the Federal Republic of Cameroon based on urban indicators and standards of living.

One cannot undermine the official visits of Prime Minister Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, President Leopold Sedar Senghor of Senegal, and President Albert Bernard Bongo of Gabon to Buea in 1959, 1966 and 1969 respectively.

Nonetheless, these glamourous narratives were tainted along the line. There was a structural and administrative neglect of the mountain station. Even the visionary schemes of Dr. E.M.L Endeley and Solomon Tandeng Muna were quashed. “The former German capital of Kamerun was even downgraded to a rural council area in 1977 although an urban master plan for the town existed since November 1926”. Ewumbue-Monono argues that Buea has faced an important challenge in managing its urbanisation, de-urbanisation and re-urbanisation. Consequently, he has meticulously examined this systematic, and maybe systemic, “ruralisation” of the town especially during the Unitary State. 

Yet the ongoing rebirth or re-urbanisation of Buea has been highly attributed to President Paul Biya’s New Deal regime. Most importantly, the book solidly propagates the ever-increasing contributions of the post 1982 government, through the revival of abandoned infrastructural projects and the establishment of never-imagined “gifts” to the population of Buea.

It took the eagle eyes of a geo-strategist fused with an enviable career in diplomacy and a profound mastery of his hometown to produce this fact checker. In fact, this is authentic testimony for Buea’s burly roots and its habitants’ clarion call to reposition it on the real map of unforgettable cities.

This justifiable appeal has hit unapologetic minds and deaf ears in the past decades, but Ewumbue-Monono has rekindled it with a persuasive, gentlemanly and credible voice laced with a royal and feathered pen.

N.B. Buea, Capital of the Cameroons: Symbol of the Nation and of Reunification will be launched on March 1, 2016 (6:00 p.m.) at the Solomon Tandeng Muna Foundation in Yaounde.
(First published on The on  February 25, 2016)

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Cameroon:Motions, Calls and The People

By Tazoacha  Asonganyi,Yaounde.

Political discourse is like advertising. Both are meant to have an effect on people. For both, the first effort is to get the attention of the audience; the next crucial one is to get the idea across.

The political discourse in town is the divisive issue of the next presidential election. Somehow, the CPDM has used motions and calls about the next presidential election to force the more unifying war effort against Boko Haram to the backwoods!

Their first step was to surprise us at a most unexpected time by presenting the next presidential election supposed to be held in October 2018 as an urgent matter. Bizarrely, they were clamouring to “beg” their natural candidate to accept to be a candidate!  When they were sure that we were all attentive, they put the joker on the table – they called for the the election to be anticipated!

They themselves say that it is their “democratic” right to behave this way. Fair enough for the “democratic” environment that their policy of one strongman with extremely weak institutions has foisted on all of us. It has permitted that their desire can become the rational and the irrational can become their desire.

Whatever the case, election is the single most important issue that unites the people with its leadership. Curiously, the CPDM takes it seriously only in the effort its leadership makes to detach the people from the outcome of the electoral process.

The dialectics of the responses of some opposition actors to the “calls” is likely to contribute to this uncoupling effort of the CPDM. Some are engaged in Orwellian doublespeak - saying that there will be war if the election is anticipated,but preparing for the election all the same, as if the “war” will be prosecuted by some outsiders. Others are calling for the revision of the electoral process as if it is a stand-alone problem, not part of the problem of the whole failed system.

And yet others are calling on the actual initiator of the “calls” not to accept the calls. In this, they forget the saying that in politics it is irrational to follow the wishes of your enemies. In politics, you cannot easily make an opponent to change an idea; the more you encourage them to do so, the more you stiffen their resolve to do it!

In the cacophony, the bottom line is the unpredictability of politics – the effect of unknowns. But it is no excuse for those who want to ride two horses at once! Since pity is said to be a kind of affection, we can actually pity some of us! There is no need for duplicity and hypocrisy, or for touting a public persona that is very different from the private self. There is a point beyond which people with deeply felt convictions in politics cannot be dragooned, so there is no need to give the impression that strong willed persons are being dragged in by the weak. Whatever you accept to do in politics, it is all your choice!

Everybody is saying that soon the bandwagon will lay its case at the feet of parliament. Every schoolboy knows that that is where the cacophony will end up. Who does not know that parliament has become not an effective but a dignified element of the political chessboard? Who does not see government ministers giving long and empty replies to questions in parliament, that avoid the questions; giving brief and inadequate responses in the confidence that there can be no follow-up questions? And parliament enjoys it, like we all do!

So, sure enough, the bandwagon is heading to parliament. Like in 2008, this other one will have its way, and all the bluffs floating around will be called by the fact.

Some CPDM people are begging their hero even more frantically not to say “No”. They say such an answer would cause the “house” to collapse on itself because of the feuding factions in the house. In other words, they are engaged in the folly of solving a problem by shifting it forward so that the factions can sharpen their weapons and strategies and prepare for a bigger fight ahead. Or maybe some serious God-sent kaleidoscope may just shake the glass pieces into another pattern that will avoid conflict and disorder?

Time has a way of solving apparently complex problems. Invariably, people with a sense of indispensability always end up humiliated when such indispensability is entirely dissipated by the timelessness of the life of the nation, and the emergence of new leadership that leads differently and much, much better.

My advice is that those inhabited by fear should shed the politics of make-believe, and embrace the only effective political vaccine against fear – the people.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Suspect wants homosexuality decriminalized

By Jones Ngwabih
            A  Cameroonian homosexual suspect, Ndive Lyonga Nacknise, has added his voice to those who publicly advocate for the decriminalization of homosexuality in the country.
Ndive Lyonga
Ndive Lyonga- who had before reportedly been arrested in connection with his alleged involvement in the crime of homosexuality, told reporters that it should be left to individuals to choose their sexual orientation and not other wise.
      Ndive Lyonga, first detained in Fako Division sometime in 2009 accused of being gay but released on bail, would not admit or refute the accusation that he is gay; he preferred not to comment on the accusation in the absence of his lawyers.
    “The promotion of Human rights should be everybody’s concern”, he said emphasizing that Cameroon is signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), adopted by the United Nations in 1948, as well as the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) since June 27, 1984.
    Family members say Ndive Lyonga remains a likely target for arrest, especially as he advocates homosexuality openly.
 Homosexuality is a crime in Cameroon, punishable under section 347 of the Penal Code.
 “Whoever has sexual relationship with a person of the same sex shall be punished with imprisonment from six months to five years and a fine from 20.000Fcfa to 200.000 Fcfa ,”states Section 347 of the Cameroon Penal code
     Ndive Lyonga was a university student when he was first arrested as a suspected homosexual in 2009.But reports add that, he would later be summoned at least twice for police interrogation still in connection with alleged homosexual activities . 
 Homosexuality /lesbianism is legal in Europe and parts of the USA
     But the practice is generally seen as abomination in the continent of Africa even if South Africa has decriminalized it
     Amnesty International argues that international human rights laws cover the protection of the rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people around the world.
It is on this strength that Amnesty International wants that, all people, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, should be able to enjoy their human rights.
      Yet over 60 countries still consider homosexuality as a crime and out of that number over 45 of them have ratified both the UDHR and the ICCPR.
Cameron is one of those countries still hesitant to legalize homosexuality.
Despite the prosecution and persecution of gays, many Cameroonians are still identified with the same-sex sexual orientation.
    Only recently, a Buea resident named Nkwenti Peazy Emmanuel was accused of being a bi-sexual but fearing that he could be prosecuted and persecuted, the father of four reportedly abandoned his family. His whereabouts is not known since January.
   Even as the prosecution and persecutions of homosexuals continue to draw sharp criticism from international organizations and first-world countries, it remains to be seen if Cameroon will muster the courage to repeal the law on homosexuality.


Sunday, February 14, 2016

Cameroon:Restitution of Bambuko First Class Chiefdom May Soon Become A Reality

By Christopher Ambe                                        

Mention the name Bambuko (interchangeably called Bomboko) and someone knowledgeable about the history of Fako Division of Cameroon will tell you that it is the origin of Bakweri people.                           

     Although the Bambuko clan is found in two administrative units of the Southwest Region of Cameroon namely -Fako and Meme Divisions, the Bambukos are said to be people of the same descent and tradition.

Bambuko used to be a first class chiefdom until “something went wrong administratively” and for decades it was not referred to as such.  

     In the past, “The Bambuko traditional Community was organized into three classes of leadership stools ,and succession to all was purely hereditary: from father to son. The First Class was kinghi .This stool was held by the successor of the Bambuko Ancestor, Founder and Tribal Chief,Namolombe whose area of jurisdiction was the ‘ Bambuko Country of Victoria Division’. He was the Bambuko Chief Priest and occupant of the ancestral abode, ISUMA’

Chief Kinghi Liwoto II
    “On the advent of the British, the occupant of this stool became the Chairman of the Bambuko Native Authority and Customary Court President”, according to Chief Kinghi Liwoto II of Efolofo,of the Bambuko area.

It emerged during a recent consultative talks that in the traditional Bambuko community, kinghi was first-class chiefdom, Ekwulu Mesangwu was second-class chiefdom and Bewangi was the third-class chiefdom.

     Chief Kinghi Liwoto II of Efolofo, who now has been fighting for 22 years- by way of petition-writing to the Cameroon Government, for the restitution of the First Class chiefdom of Bambuko , is said to have recently won the attention of Prime Minister Philemon Yang, who reportedly instructed the Senior Divisional Officer for Meme to investigate the situation and report his findings and recommendations back to the former’s office.

    It was on the strength of the PM’s instruction that last February 6 the 2nd Assistant SDO for Meme, Nelson Yongkuma,sitting in for the Senior Divisional Officer Koulbout Aman David, visited Bambuko and met with chiefs of the area, in the Palace of  Bokosso, to find out if actually Michael Liwote,successor of Namolombe who  founded Bambuko was  a first class chief.

      Chief Kinghi Liwoto II of Efolofo,who succeeded late Chief Michael Liwote in 1994,  made during the February 6 consultation talks, a presentation justifying his clam to be recognized as a first-class chief and provided some documentary evidence to  Mr. Yongkuma for his appreciation and onward transmission to hierarchy.

     Talking to reporters after the talks, the PM’s envoy Mr.Yongkuma noted, ‘It is possible that Bambuko clan can be classified as a first class chiefdom in Meme Divison. Since the matter is at hand and there is a correspondence from the Prime Minister’s Office, we will prepare our report and send to the powers that be.”

Mr. Nelson Youngkuma
 Mr. Yongkuma said the holding of the meeting was prompted by the fact that some chiefs of the clan argued that Chief Michael Liwote was not first-class chief.

But at the February 6, 2016 meeting, there was no public opposition to Chief Kinghi Liwoto’s request for restitution as first-class chief.

    According to Chief kinghi II, he was not happy that the Meme Administration in 1995 classified him rather as a third-class chief.

 “ This was a grave  administrative  mistake that… let usurpers continue on the throne of First Class Chief of Bambuko Chiefdom Stool of Limbe  ’’ noted  Chief Kinghi Liwoto II  in his address to the PM’s envoy last February 6.

Chief Kinghi Liwoto II argued that F.B Manga Williams who died in 2005 had only “usurped” the throne of First Class Chief of Bambuko Chiefdom Stool of Limbe. He added that he (Chief Kinghi Liwoto II) had opposed the “pre-consultation talks convened by the Senior Divisional Officer (SDO) for Fako on January 1, 2007 meant to return usurpers to the throne of the First Class Chief Bambuko Chiefdom of Limbe contrary to the 1977 Decree.

“This ushered in an era of a vacancy in the throne of the First Class Chief of Bambuko Chiefdom stool of Limbe which has run for over ten years now”

Thus, the visit of the 2nd Assistant SDO for Meme to Bambuko for consultative talks on the instruction of the Prime Minister, is widely interpreted as the imminent assertion of Chief Kinghi Liwoto II as First Class Chief of Bambuko Chiefdom Stool of Limbe”

      The Bambuko Chiefdom, according to Chief  Kinghi Liwoto II,is  “the land of history and origin of the bantu Culture in Cameroon.

“The aborigines of this chiefdom are Bambuko people and the language spoken is Bambuko

“The chiefdom stretches around the lower slopes of the Cameroon Mountain on the North and East, from about longitude 9o 15’ East, towards the West and South down to the coast of the Atlantic Ocean at Sanje in latitude 4o15’ North, and 9oEast”

     Chief Kinghi noted, “The Bambuko chiefdom covers an area of 1198 square miles administratively shared into five subdivisions namely:Mbonge,Muyuka,Limbe 1,Limbe 2 and West Coast, in line with the Government Policy to bring the administration closer to the people”

He added that “all these people were originally included in the administrative Division of Victoria in the German and British Colonial eras as the ‘Bambuko country of the Victoria Division’. Victoria Division was made up of five ethnic groups, namely:Bambuko,Bimbia.Moungo,Balong and Bakweri.To these five was later included bakolle(Bamuso) now in Ndian Division yo make six in 1930”

     But today, the Bambuko Country of former Victoria Division is administered under five administrative units called subdivisions: Mbonge, Muyuka, Limbe 1, Limbe 2 and West Coast.

    Chief kinghi stated that Efolofo means the chieftaincy stool of Limbe. adding that the Efolofo palace has only two graves-that our late father and mother.
 “Here we are standing on the roof of the ancestral abode, “Chief Kinghi Liwoto II, who has been fighting for 22 years for the restitution of the First Class chiefdom of Bambuko, told reporters. In 1924, my father Michael Liwote was removed from Victoria and sent here to kumba division …”

 Chief kinghi II strongly considered the consultative talks of February 6,2016  “ as a mile stone towards bringing to a close the vacancy in the throne of First Class Chief of Bamabuko Chiefdom stool of Limbe as it assures the beginning of the end of our restitution struggle for the ‘assertion of chief kinghi Liwoto II as the First Class Chief of the Bambuko Chiefdom stool of Limbe”
Origin of Bakweri

 In his expose to the PM’s envoy, Chief Kinghi Liwoto II, who graduated with a law degree from the University of Yaounde many years ago, pointed out that Bambuko is the origin of Bakweri.

    He stated: “History, tradition and culture show that the Bakweris are the descendants of Bambuko. In paragraph 12 of his Bakweri Intelligence Report of 1935, Mr. W. M Bridges, and DO wrote that the name Bakweri means emigrants from Bambuko who settled to the South of the Cameroon Mountain. In fact, Mr. Bridge’s explanation of the name suggests the absence of any ethnological distinction between the descendants of Bambuko and settlers from the original villages, a premise which holds that every true Bakweri man or woman must have a relation in Bambuko”

      The Chief used the meeting to launch an appeal to “our bakweri brothers to lend their support to this restitution struggle, noting that “No matter how fresh a branch of a tree is, the future of the tree depends on the stem of the tree. If the stem dies, the branch too must die”

     Chief kinghi Liwoto II expressed regrets that some so-called 3rd chiefs of the Bambuko area had on January 27, 2016 visited the Office of the SDO for Meme to express doubt about his claim to be recognized as First class chief.

As at now, the people of Bambuko are patiently for the government to restitute Bambuko as a First Clas Chiefdom with Chief Kinghi Liwoto as their Paramount ruler.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Cameroon:“The People’s Call” of Shame !

By Tazoacha  Asonganyi in Yaounde.

Tazoacha Asonganyi
  In the absence of clean policy and vision, the wheels of a political party can groan on monotonously, trudging along old paths and chewing the same cud over and over again. We surely are not strangers to motions of support and “the people’s call.” But the timing of this other bandwagon of “calls” to which many CPDM structures and barons are desperately trying to jump on, and take it over, is strange! The “calls” seem to be a calculated indiscretion meant to give out a little but important message to the rest of us.
    The CPDM has been in a state of mental turmoil for quite some time now, aggravated by the fear of the unknown. It has been teetering on the edge of crisis, trying to keep up appearances, with no confident vision of the future in front of it. What we are witnessing now is just a symptom of alarm in the party, and of its God-sent leader. Only this can explain this other disingenuous manner of expressing what seems to be a long-laid devilish plan.
    True, what appears as the same action, performed by several individuals in different places, may have a variety of different psychodynamic reasons and explanations. The “callers”may not necessarily be all willing follower; and some of the “calls” are talking of 2018, while others are talking of “the next” presidential election. Our take is that this is all about “the next” presidential election that may happen in 2018, or sooner.
    One of the central purposes of spin-doctoring is to form public opinion before the act. Many politicians usually blame the press not only for its partiality, but also for its not checking and cross-checking information dished out to form public opinion. This is obviously the reason for the strong condemnation of journalists by Paul Ayah in a write-up he titled “journalist sans pareil” [a strange type of journalist]. All because, judging by the gesticulation of the CPDM and its hero, some journalists concluded that the signs are that the presidential election will be anticipated.
   Ayah reminded them that the fundamental law of the land (the constitution) provides for anticipated presidential election only when the incumbent president dies, or steps down, or is declared by the constitutional council to be no longer capable of exercising his duties. He charged that since none of these was the case, the journalists were living in a dreamland.  Fair enough: I think all of this would be true if we have an agreed basis for democracy in our country. But we do not.
   Macky Sall, the Senegalese president, has committed himself to organizing a referendum in May 2016 to ask the Senegalese people to decide on his proposal to reduce the presidential term from 7 to 5 years. He says “if they (the people) say yes, the presidential election will take place in 2017 instead of 2019.”
   This may have given Paul Biya an idea on how to “anticipate” the presidential election in Cameroon, especially because of the ease with which he removed the term-limit clause from the constitution in 2008. He must be reasoning that if he could so easily carry out such an operation that most of his peers are finding difficult to carry out, he can easily amend the constitution any time he wants, to reduce the presidential term in Cameroon from 7 to 5 years too (renewable once). His griots will easily argue that since it was the decision of the Tripartite Conference of the ‘90s, it is the wish of all Cameroonians. When it is done, he can then call a snap presidential election for October 2016 (instead of the October 2018 we are all focusing on).
   Those trying to unfold this plan are arguing that he needs more time to finish “his” development projects. This is like taking all of us for the fools they have always wanted us to be. They forget that development is the perpetual struggle of humans to live a better life. A development project can never be finished to the extent that further development would no longer be necessary. As the philosopher would put it, the new is a question or problem; it is at once a result and a catalyst for step-by-step amelioration. The ludicrous deification of leadership given expression by the CNU/CPDM regimes for over half a century is a frightful aspect of human bondage that reduces human choices by freezing human ingenuity and passion.
   In Cameroon, the governing system has been so screwed up that we regularly vote, but we do not elect. Abdoulaye Babale’s declaration that ELECAM’s role is to protect national institutions by blocking any transition at the summit of the state, only confirms what all of us have been saying!
   This voting without electing has caused the people to slowly lose their pride, dignity, and self-belief. It has affected the nurturing of attitudes, behaviors and feelings of solidarity, and the cooperation and attachment to society that the election of leaders is supposed to nurture. It has blocked the development and practice of civic, social and emotional skills needed to make informed decisions in society. Indeed, it has subverted the use of elections to cultivate the soft skills of human capital needed to produce engaged, responsible citizens and their capacity to be, to know, to do, and to live together, as some would say. And so the pent up anger, and the explosion of violence that is slowly engulfing all of us!
   Sycophants in the entourage of a leader can give him ideas, but since the leader is human like me and you, they always selects from a maze of ideas only those that assuage their ego and boost opinions that were already in their minds. This is true of Paul Biya. Like a Jacobin with trust in “le peuple” as the generic source of his actions, he knows fully well that he has been there for 30-some years because “le people” vote, but his regime elects him. He will go in for “another term” without the slightest fear of being humiliated at the polls like some of his peers. Abdoulaye Babale, there is no need to worry!
   And so, as Paul Biya prepares to go in for another term chanting the slogan of “emergence,” he should remember that for the magic word to have relevance, it must be hinged on an implacable logic and an imperative of efficiency that can neither surrender to the “calls” of “le people,” nor to electoral favours, or bribery, or the arbitrariness of a political party incapable of looking reality in the face and taking the hard decisions that are necessary.
Those “opposition” people that will jump into the arena to give this other “call” of shame some respectability, or those that will claim that they will call its bluff, will no longer be a subject of bewilderment and ridicule. They all know that the regime can only be stopped through the streets, not the ballot box!