Saturday, May 7, 2016

Cameroon:Subversion of Due Process: The Presidency and “Epervier”

By Tazoacha Asonganyi in Yaounde 
The news of recent has been the condemnation of Yves Michel Fotso to life imprisonment for alleged embezzlement of public funds. The news was being distilled to us at the same time that newspapers like “Mutations” (No. 4132 of April 25, 2016) were questioning why barons of the regime like Paul Atanga Nji, Jean Tabi Manga, Max Ayina Ohandja, Roger Moise Eyene Nlom, Marc Samatana and many others, whom reports of “commissions of enquiry” have since presented as suspects to face trial for embezzlement of public funds, have never been charged with embezzlement.

    Further, a group called “REA-Mouvement Réaliste” said to be composed of grassroots militants of the CPDM (Génération Libre No. 221 of April 27, 2016), in a 10-year analysis of “Epervier” launched in Y2006, has concluded that the whole process seems to have been improvised because it was launched without adequate preparation and a clear intention to really fight against corruption.

    The group named G11 that seems to have suffered the most from the operation has since had presumed members publishing books from their prison abodes. The books have been unanimous in claiming that “Epervier” is a politico-judicial exercise to eliminate the perceived political rivals of the man of November 6, 1982.

   Many have criticized them for writing about the woes of Cameroon only when there was a divorce between them and the regime. To such criticism one can say that there is always a time and a reason for writing – to praise, admonish, propose, or some other – all of which are valid. In the end, we can only read the mind of characters like the taciturn and introverted man of November 6, through windows opened by those who worked closely with him – like Marafa, Olanguena, Edzoa, Mebara, and others – who write for any reason at all.

    Invariably, “rebels” always assume the posture of attack to alter psychological situation of their adversaries to force them to lose their sense of security. The windows they have opened by doing this seem to be comforting the suspicion that indeed, “Epervier” is a political gimmick, and what is euphemistically called “Tcs” – or the Scc if you like -  seems to be a kangaroo court to put icing on the cake of “Epervier. Those who use the tired argument of sour grapes as an excuse to avoid reading the books of the “rebel” writers as attentively as they deserve, miss facing the challenge of the comprehension that each of the books represents.

     It is obviously interesting that when “Epervier” came to being, article 66 of the constitution of 1996 meant to protect public funds and resources from embezzlers was a dead letter, and is still a dead letter today! “Epervier” was launched when all press condemnations of the corruption of regime barons were met with calls for evidence – “où sont les preuves?”

    It was therefore interesting to read a report titled: “Presidency rubbishes supreme state audit report implicating CAMTEL GM” (Guardian Post No. 0907, 13/04/16). The report says that allegations of misappropriation, mismanagement and outright embezzlement of  the general manager covering the period 2010-2015, and the recommendation of special proceedings against him by the Special criminal court (SCC) were “rubbished” by the presidency because: CAMTEL is not yet using OHADA rules and cannot be judged by those standard; that much work of restructuring was carried out before the GM’s tenure; and that CONSUPE was rather hard when it reviewed the human, material and health resources management - consequently there was a bias in the way the review was done by CONSUPE!

    These are most obviously supposed to be judicial decisions, not decisions of “the presidency”! The decisions leave the perception that they are for entirely partisan, if not personal reasons, and call into question the institutions on which “Epervier” depends.The man of November 6 wants to keep power by all means, so the presidency is seen as a partisan structure, and should not have the final say on issues of corruption.

    The “rubbishing” of the report by “the presidency” is wrong for several reasons. First, one would think that the government of Cameroon has what the government of West Cameroon had - "General Orders" and "Financial Instructions"- that guide governance activities and the work of commissions of enquiry.

   Second, in Africa, – especially in Cameroon - all power is secured and preserved through opacities and duplicities; indeed, power or the seeking of power is always the cause of corruption. Political power always trumps and stifles justice, development and even commonsense.

    Third, the courts have a technical way of playing idea-games with concepts related to questions of fact and questions of law, to reach the verdict of “guilty” or “not guilty”. In the process, some people are declared “guilty,” even though they did nothing; and others “not guilty” even though they committed the act! Each case depends on the ability to “prove beyond a reasonable doubt.”  It is wrong for the presidency to allow the courts to do this for some people, while protecting other people from facing the challenge.

   Fourth, corruption always starts with the subversion of due process allegedly for the greater good. It is this power to “rubbish” reports of duly constituted commissions or to “doctor” them, that CPDM militants in prison are describing as politico-judicial manipulations. It is this exercise of power at the presidency that feeds the suspicion that the fight against corruption is a fight for the preservation of power. Subverting due process is tantamount to subverting the authority of the judiciary.

    It is the people - all the people - that prosecute all successful fights against corruption. In this, the executive arm of government should be the facilitator, not a constitutive power. The executive should see to it that the fight is well prosecuted, not prosecute it itself!

   The fight against corruption as presently prosecuted by the presidency leaves the impression that it is more concerned with “prevention” rather than “cure”. The evidence gathered during the last 10 years of “Epervier” permits a serious government to pursue curative measures, rather than “rubbish” findings in their pretentious effort to “cure” corruption.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Nigeria and Cameroon seek closer security, economic ties

Leaders of Nigeria and Cameroon have signed a series of agreements as they seek to put old disputes aside. Both nations are currently fighting Boko Haram Islamists

Nigerian President Muhammadu (left) greets Cameroonian President Paul Biya (left)
In what appears to be an attempt to restart what were previously cold relations, Nigeria and Cameroon on Wednesday (04.05.16) signed a number of deals aimed at strengthening the security and economy of the Lake Chad Basin nations.
Abuja and Yaounde have long had a dispute over the ownership of the oil-rich Bakassi Peninsula which brought the two nations to the brink of war in 1981. The matter was resolved in 2002 by a decision from the International Court of Justice which handed over possession to Cameroon.
Currently, Nigeria and Cameroon find themselves united against the threat of terrorism. This is one of the main reasons that prompted a two-day visit by Cameroonian President Paul Biya to Abuja.

Tackling Boko Haram
The visit, the first of its kind in over two decades and a half, mostly focused on the Boko Haram insurgency as well as economic cooperation. Biya's last official state visit to Nigeria was in 1991.
Nigerian President Muhammadu and Cameroonian President Paul Biya march past soldiers parade.
The fight against Boko Haram seems to have unified the two leaders
Several agreements on military cooperation and trade were signed by the two leaders. Amongst them is the shared resolve to defeat Boko Haram completely.
"In as much as the security issues are important and we should focus on them, we also understood the need to focus on the economic issues," Biya said at the end of his visit. He said it was important to re-establish the livelihood and revamp the local economies in areas affected by the Boko Haram insurgency.
"We also touched on climate change and its consequences on our region and Africa in general," Biya added.

Military commended
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari applauded the contribution by Cameroon and other Lake Chad Basin Commission countries in the fight against Boko Haram.
"On the security aspect, I remain grateful to the Lake Chad Basin Commission, because on my arrival we found some of the efforts made and we have built on it," Buhari said
Soldiers inside a patrol boat in Lake Chad.
Boko Haram has increasingly been making cross-border raids via Lake Chad

The Nigerian leader also mentioned the role played by the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNTJF). The MNTJF was formed as a result of the need by Lake Chad Basin Commission member countries to jointly tackle insecurity, particularly the threat of terrorism. The headquarters of the task joint force is in Chad's capital N'Djamena.
The MNJTF was formed as a result of the need by the LCBC member countries to pool their effort together in a bid to provide a common and coordinated solution to the security challenges in the Lake Chad Basin region, especially the security challenges posed by terrorists in the region and beyond
Read more:
The MNJTF was formed as a result of the need by the LCBC member countries to pool their effort together in a bid to provide a common and coordinated solution to the security challenges in the Lake Chad Basin region, especially the security challenges posed by terrorists in the region and beyond
Read more:
The MNJTF was formed as a result of the need by the LCBC member countries to pool their effort together in a bid to provide a common and coordinated solution to the security challenges in the Lake Chad Basin region, especially the security challenges posed by terrorists in the region and beyond
Read more:
"We have said enough about the performance of both our militaries. We thank you and we thank other members of the Multinational Joint Task Force for occasionally coming in to our own country and securing it for us from Boko Haram terrorists," Buhari said.
Apart from the task of securing their borders, Cameroon and Nigeria also agreed to resume the demarcation of the nearly 1,500 kilometer (932 mile) long contested border.
Musa Ubale in Abuja contributed to this article.
Source: Deutsche Welle

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Cameroon: US$127 Million to Address Urgent Health Needs of Women and Children in Underserved Northern Regions


WASHINGTON, May 3, 2016– The World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved today a total of US$127 million to increase the use of and improve the quality of health services in Cameroon, with a focus on reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health (RMNCAH) and nutrition services. The funding includes a US$100 million International Development Association (IDA)* credit, and a US$27 million grant from the Global Financing Facility (GFF) Trust Fund.
The project will support the progressive national scale-up of the Performance Based Financing (PBF) program as well as implementation of other high-impact interventions supported by the GFF.  With coverage at 25 percent of the population in 2016, the operation would support a gradual scale-up of an additional 20 percent of the population per year between 2017 and 2020. During the first phase of the extension (2016-2018), the operation will focus on scaling up to the remaining 36 districts in the three northern regions of Cameroon (Far North, North, and Adamawa) to address the urgent and growing needs in those regions.
Women, adolescents and children under 5, as well as displaced and refugee populations affected by insecurity in the region, will benefit from the interventions. The project includes two components that aim to improve performance of the health sector: (i) Strengthening of Health Service Delivery; and (ii) Institutional Strengthening for Improved Health System Performance.
After six years of experience with PBF in Cameroon, the government has identified PBF as key strategy to improve the efficiency of how resources for the health sector are allocated and used, improve health worker performance through increased motivation and satisfaction, and increase the population’s use of essential health services through an increase in the quality of health services,” says Elisabeth Huybens, World Bank Country Director for Cameroon.
The GFF-supported interventions will have a multi-sectoral approach and improve both health and nutrition outcomes through investing in social protection and education as well as health. Priorities have been identified through the evidence-based and consultative processes now close to completion (and documented in the GFF Investment Case).  In line with the general GFF approach, this includes both RMNCAH interventions, cross-cutting systems interventions, and support to civil registration and vital statistics.
The Global Financing Facility is a multi-stakeholder partnership that supports country-led efforts to improve the health of women, children and adolescents by acting as an innovative financing pathfinder. The GFF Trust Fund is a multi-donor trust fund that leverages additional financing for RMNCAH by linking grant funding to IDA financing.
Through in-depth analytics and participatory dialogue led by the government, the GFF consultations in Cameroon have resulted in a geographical prioritization of the three northern regions and the East, where health outcomes are significantly worse than rest of the country. The interventions supported by the GFF Investment Case will address the multi-sectoral determinants of health and nutrition, with a particular focus on the economic, education, and demographic challenges in the northern regions of Cameroon, especially for adolescent girls,” says Paul Jacob Robyn, Health Specialist and Task Team Leader for this project.

* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 77 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.3 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 112 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $19 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent going to Africa.
- World Bank