Monday, September 19, 2016

Cameroon Prison Administrators Told: Protect Inmates’ Human Rights!

   By Josepher Mbako  Zakah*
   The Secretary of State in the Ministry of Justice in charge of Penitentiary Administration, Doh Jerome Penbaga, has reiterated the importance of Human rights promotion and protection in Cameroon prisons.

       Mr. Penbaga laid the emphasis in Buea, last Friday September 16, during the graduation and epaulet-award ceremony of some 389 trainees from the National School of Penitentiary Administration, ENAP Buea, which he chaired.

Graduates( kneeling) receive epaulets from officials
 He noted that one of the functions of prison administrators is never to torture inmates, but rather to help transform and prepare them for social reinsertion in society.

      The Secretary of state, who hailed the various categories of graduates, implored them to be assiduous and disciplined to attract more successes in their career.

    “The force of any armed forces is discipline. The Penitentiary Administration is   enriched by 389 staffers. We are grateful because the work in the field is too much”, he told the press, noting that the graduation of the trainees came shortly after Cameroon adopted a new penal code, with alternative imprisonment terms.Mr. Penbaga assured that once the text of application for the new modalities is available they will be respected.

     He said the specialization by ENAP trainees in domains such as health and agriculture is in line with Cameroon government’s resolve to professionalize penitentiary administration and rehabilitate the 79 prisons in Cameroon.

    “These personnel with different specialties besides increasing the manpower in our prisons have contributed strongly in  the realization of various rehabilitation works   in the 79 prison establishments that are operational in the country”, the Secretary of State said

       For her part, Administrator-General of Prisons and ENAP Director Mrs. Fonkem nee Immaculate Manyi Fofung,   congratulated the graduates, urging them to serve and remain good ambassadors of the school.

      The 389 graduates were of seven   different batches: the 8th Batch of Trainee Administrators of Prisons, 14th Batch of Trainee-Superintendent of Prison, the 7th Batch of Student-Administrators of prison, the 2nd Batch of Student-Administrators of prison civil engineers, 8th Batch of student superintendents of prison, 3rd Batch of student superintendent of prison state-registered nurses and 10th Batch of student -prison warders.

      Chief warder Mr. Nkelewa Christian told The Recorder that, the  ENAP graduates are expected to be  job-placed two weeks after their passing out from the school.

     Some dignitaries who witnessed the colorful graduation included Southwest Governor Bernard Okalia Bilai and the mayor of Buea,Ekema Patrick.

*Josepher Mbako Zakah is a University of Buea Journalism intern


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Cameroon:Justice Ayah visits detained SCNC activist Oben Maxwell

The Persecution of Oben Maxwell

Hon.Lord Justice Ayah Paul
A human rights’ organization, JUSTICE4ALL, sent a team to the Buea Central Prison  on  September 9, 2016, to visit Oben Maxwell. 
     One of the organization’s lawyers did offer  to seek legal redress for Oben who has been in prison custody since February 2, 2014 – upwards of 30 months; whereas, by Camerounese law, such custody should not exceed six months…
     Low-spirited and with waning sight, Oben was utterly depressed that schools have reopened but his children are all out of school. He sobbed that one of his daughters is marrying without his even knowing the date of ceremony. And all these odds against him without his knowing what his crime is, or why, if any crime he has committed, the case against him cannot be heard.
     He informed the team that when his case last came up on August 30, the court did not as much as sign any warrant to bring up prisoner. That means that he is not aware of the next appointed day. His apprehension is that he may join the many who have been in custody in perpetuity because their cases have lapsed from the current cause lists.
     The team, led by the founder of JUSTICE4ALL, Justice Ayah Paul gave him assurance that they would contact his counsel to pursue the matter. The question remains though: why is Oben Maxwell in custody in perpetuity? And that begs the further question as to why any case against cannot be heard and determined within the law.
     Some learned person somewhere may wish to edify us on why we should not view this as organized persecution?

Source:Justice4all Secretariat

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

2016 Feast of Tabaski: Buea Muslims told to shun corruption

The Imam of  Buea Central Mosque and some local  administrators  in familly picture

By Josepher Mbako Zakah*
 Muslims in Buea, Monday September 12, celebrated the Feast of Tabaski under the theme “SACRIFICE”   with a call by the Imam of Buea Central Mosque Mohammed Abubakar on them to shun corruption, which he said is the root of poverty and to remain obedient servants of God.
     The Imam also prayed for peace to continue reigning in Cameroon and called on celebrants to be advocates of peace, noting that Islam is a religion of peace.

     The Feast of the Ram is celebrated annually among Muslims world-wide and it is a moment of great merriment.

Highlight of the celebration is the slaughtering of  bulky rams in remembrance of Abraham’s sacrifice to God.

      The Muslims shared their slaughtered rams with their families, neighbors and the poor.

      This feast is considered very important as it reminds Muslims of the special position of sacrifice in the Muslim community and it is also a call for Muslims to pay lesser attention on worldly values and rather focus totally on God’s commandments; for this is what Abraham did when all he needed from God was a son and even when he was given that son he did not hesitate when God asked him to sacrifice him (Ishmael); but he was only stopped by God himself.

      According to Imam of Mile 17 and Molyko in Buea, Dr. Ibrahim  such an important feast  makes them feel as new-born  and free from sin and iniquity after it celebration ,conscious that man’s heart inclined towards worldly things. I

     The Imam then advised Muslims worldwide: “Be ready…and free yourselves from the shackles of this world. And concentrate on Allah alone.”

   According to the Imam of Buea , President of the Council of Imams  and Muslim dignitaries, Mohammed Abubakar,  this feast signifies obedience to God’s order -as has been legislated and is in three dimensions: the spiritual, the moral and the social.
Muslim Women at the prayer ground in Buea
 He said the moral part compels an individual to follow instructions as given which will go a long way to making that person a law-abiding citizen, while socially, the symbolic meat slaughtered on this day is shared with the poor as God is neither in need of meat nor blood.

  The Secretary-General in the Southwest Governor’s office Clement Fon Ndikum,among other regional dignitaries, joined  the Buea Muslims in the celebration.

*Josepher Mbako  Zakah is a University of Buea Journalism Student

Monday, September 12, 2016


Ugly Things They  Do That Parents least Suspect

By Josepher Mbako Zakah*

Josepher Mbako Zakah
   Getting university education is the aspiration of many a Cameroonian student.

Certainly, not all university hopefuls are lucky to pass through the tertiary institution; those who gain admission there try to make the most out of it by striving  to achieve not only what is rightly expected of them but also some secret goals. After all, many say that being a university student means you have become mature, independent and responsible for your own actions.

It is for these reasons that many students are allowed to live far away from their parents or guardians with the latitude to take control of their own lives.

But it is unfortunate that some of these students exploit this opportunity to indulge into immoral and illegal activities that bring nothing but shame to their parents and to an extent to the community.

Some of the questionable activities of varsity students include but are not limited to: scamming, flirting, online prostitution/sexting, habitual night-clubbing, occultism and cohabitation. The above -mentioned are the most common among university students in Buea. 


 Scamming- simply defined as a fraudulent deal- seems to be a selfishly profitable activity for many university students. They want to grow rich over night and live in kind of luxury.

Interestingly, scamming formerly seen as a male activity now attracts female students. Student-scammers think that it is not wrong at all to trick a Whiteman and get money as some form of punishment for latter’s wanton exploitation of natural resources for centuries.

Tony Sone, a student in Buea gave testimony of his friend imprisoned because he was found guilty of scamming. Another testimony from one student Kenyi Immaculate revealed how a teenager suddenly became mad after fraudulently receiving huge sums of money from an unknown person overseas.Such are some of the ordeals many student- scammers go through. Others have reportedly been struck dead by evil spirits, believed to have been sent by scamming victims.

 But it’s rather a surprise that a growing number of youths especially university students still get involved in this confidence trick business.

Some parents think that students from poor backgrounds easily get involved in scamming-finding it hard to foot their bills in a rather expensive university milieu.

To Pastor Meshach   of Full Gospel Church Malingo-Buea, it’s  peer pressure and the love for money that push them to do such, alluding to the Bible ,which says “The love for money is the root of all evil”. The Clergyman adds that, it’s that the urgent need for money that makes the students see scamming is the only solution whereas there are other legal ways by students can raise money to help cater for their school needs.


  It’s now fashionable among university students to have more than one dating partner not withstanding the prevalence of venereal diseases. The female student chooses to have more than one boyfriend so to have greater chances of satisfying her basic/material needs. According to a female student, “If I have two boyfriends and in need, if Boyfriend A fails, Boyfriend B   will supply”

 An interesting story is told how a boyfriend discovered names of so-called rival boyfriends in her girlfriend’s phone saved as Loser 1, Loser 2 and Loser 3.And using the girl’s phone to dial his number he discovered to his utter dismay that despite his huge expenditure on girls she saved his name in the phone as Fool International, since he was only visiting Buea from the USA.

Dishonest girls attach suitors’ names to particular needs and save as such hoping only to get financial or material gains from their suitors while deliberately toiling with their emotions. Who cares in a materialistic world?

Promiscuous young men on their part choose to have several girlfriends at a time in order to have sex more frequently and to have their chores done for them-and these guys schedule the visits of the girls to avoid clashes. Two girls realizing that they are dating the same boyfriend have fought against each other.


    Many university female students shamefully use their genitalia as a source of income by secretly embracing prostitution, which is illegal in Cameroon but common .They travel to other towns  where they are  not known to  meet  “sugar mommy or sugar-daddy” from whom they receive usually financial returns in exchange of sex. A newfound practice that is common now is online pornography/prostitution/sexting whereby nude photos and videos of ladies are sent in exchange for money.

This is a demonic exercise as testimonies of people reveal that demonic spirits go through these pictures into the lives of their victims   and cause mental and other spiritual damages.

Orock Ndip Romeo, an ex-student from the University of Buea testified that his friend got mad after having online sex on Skype with an unknown person and was taken to TB Joshua in Nigeria for deliverance.

Another testimony from Tony Sone, says nude pictures of a girl named Edith was posted on face book and investigation later revealed that  were  pictures she had sent to her online lover.

                                   Habitual Nightclubbing  

    Some university students have cultivated the habit of night clubbing at the expense of their studies. They don’t buy book but spend elusive FCFA gulping alcoholic drinks. . A day without clubbing leaves them with a feeling of emptiness This activity exposes them to many dangers: they risk being attacked by thieves o their way back home; drunkenness, sexual harassment, lie-telling, lateness to classes the next day due to hangovers etc.

                                 Armed Robbery

    Having Buea as our case study, robbery is one of the most rampant activities particularly during the rainy season. Although one cannot say for sure if the thieves are actually university students, considering that Buea has student residential localities and coupled with extravagant lifestyles some engage in, one can’t help but conclude that some of these students partake in robbery as a means of getting fast money. Some of these night robbers stop at nothing to get what they want and this includes killing their victims or leaving them seriously wounded. Thieves are been beaten, imprisoned and others even put to death before the arrival of police men on regular intervals on the streets of molyko. A thief last year broke into a room only to find the occupant whom he stabbed before escaping.

 Luckily enough the sound of the victim’s scream drew the attention of his neighbors who immediately went into the room to find their neighbor in a pool of his own blood. The armed robber in trying to escape fell from the fifth floor and broke his leg, facilitating his arrest and detention.


Belonging to a cult in school has become almost fashionable in varsity milieus in Cameroon. Members of such groups enjoy the pride and power the gained belonging to such but are treated with suspicion by God-fearing students as they are seen as blood suckers

 Their activities equally involve invoking of demonic evil spirits for self-fortification.

This happens when a boyfriend and girlfriend live together and enjoy the advantages of marriage as though are legally married. This is usually done without the knowledge of the parents and most cases it’s the girl that chooses to cohabit with her boyfriend. It’s referred to by some as “small marriage” as they indulge into activities of married couples. Some say it’s a way of practicing how to live with a husband or wife before marriage.

 This may work out well with some who end in a legal marriage but a good number of cohabitants part ways sometimes in disappointment. It has caused ‘broken hearts’ drop out from school and unwanted pregnancies while others get sexually transmissible diseases. 

  It is necessary that everyone should contribute in one way or another toward helping university student live and do only morally correct and legal things. Parents should seek to know the kind of people their children keep as friends, pay surprise visits to make them conscious of their goals as university students.. Pastor Meshach of Full Gospel church Malingo advises that, students must not be allowed either by parents or guardians to do anything in the name of democracy-“otherwise people will start killing others on street in the name of democracy”. He urges frequent police patrol in and around cyber cafes to check illegal activities of users. The clergyman calls on   churches to persuasively preach word and commandments of God to all and sundry using every possible means.

Students should therefore be careful in choosing friends to avoid negative influence for the scripture says bad company corrupts good manners. They should equally have a goal to achieve and be conscious of why they are in school.                                                                                        

The above mentioned issues of university student life are a problem that needs the intervention of almost everyone in the society for a solution to be arrived at. This will not only help the student but everyone who contributes to it. By helping students by laid down regulations and the laws the land, is in effect, reducing the incidence of immorality and illegality.

NB:Josepher Mbako Zakah is a University of Buea journalism student on internship.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Gabon opposition chief calls for general strike after disputed election

-Gabon's opposition leader Jean Ping called on Monday for a general strike to protest against what he said was a fraudulent re-election victory by President Ali Bongo.
   Ping, who says he is now the leader of the Central African oil producer, said in a statement on his website that his fight was not over, even as calm returned to the capital following deadly riots last week.
  "I ask you from today onward not to use violence but to resist by blocking the country's economy," he said, addressing all Gabonese.
   "I propose to cease all activity and begin a general strike," he added.
At least six people were killed and more than 1,000 arrested in violence after Wednesday's announcement of a slim vote victory for Bongo, whose family has run Gabon for half a century.
    In the capital Libreville traffic began to pick up along the main boulevards on Monday and it was not immediately clear whether Ping's call to strike was being heeded.
   Bongo has dismissed all allegations of vote fixing.
(Reporting by Gerauds Wilfried Obangome; Writing by Nellie Peyton; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Save Gabon From Election Fraud


By Jean Ping*

New York Times -September 2: On Saturday, Aug. 27, presidential elections were held in my country, Gabon, in West Africa, and I was the candidate who won by a substantial vote margin. Nearly a week later, I would have expected to be addressing the world as Gabon’s president-elect, ready and willing to work with the United States and all our international partners to fight terrorism, build our economies and improve the lives of our citizens through increased development and cooperation.

Instead, I am hoping that the American people, and all others who care about democracy, will help my country through a crisis for our democracy. I’m in Gabon where the current president, Ali Bongo Ondimba, is using our national security forces — armed with valuable military weaponry provided by the United States to fight terrorism — against our own people. In the reports I’ve heard, at least a dozen are dead — probably more — and hundreds wounded; thousands have been arrested, including 23 of my campaign workers.

In order to keep these people from telling their own stories, Mr. Bongo has been shutting off the internet for hours at a time. But thanks to social media and brave Gabonese citizens, the story will be told. Online it is easy to find images of the horror and violence that Mr. Bongo’s repression of protest has set loose over the past week. As I write, on this Thursday morning, helicopters from Mr. Bongo’s presidential guard are loudly circling above my campaign headquarters, and the streets are full of protesters clashing with Mr. Bongo’s security forces.
Why is Mr. Bongo doing all this? Well, when the people of Gabon voted for their leader, they chose me. They chose a change from the dynastic regime that has ruled our country since 1967. Mr. Bongo’s father, Omar Bongo Ondimba, ruled from 1967 to 2009, when the son took over. Now Mr. Bongo is throwing a deadly and dangerous tantrum because the people of Gabon told him that it’s time for him to go.
Specifically, after Saturday’s vote — which was peaceful, orderly and open to international observers — election officials, provincial governors and international witnesses could see that I had a double-digit lead across the country, and Ali Bongo got nervous.

These results were not surprising because the two other major challengers withdrew from the race before the election and backed me as the unified opposition candidate against Mr. Bongo. The votes — 373,310 in all — were collected, and preliminary counts from eight of nine provinces showed me with a solid lead as late as Tuesday.

But on Wednesday, when Mr. Bongo’s interior minister announced the “official results,” including the ninth province — Mr. Bongo’s own base — he shocked us all by announcing that the voter turnout in that province had been 99.9 percent (in contrast to a national turnout elsewhere of 59 percent) and that 95 percent of the province had voted for the incumbent. Curiously, the total number of voters there included several thousand more than actually live in the province.
On that basis, Mr. Bongo claimed victory by 1.57 percent of the national vote and declared himself president until 2025.

We have seen “results” like these before, but only from sham elections, most often in dictatorships. The citizens of Gabon had peacefully and respectfully exercised their right to freely and fairly choose our country’s next president. Mr. Bongo did not approve of their choice, so he substituted his will for theirs. While we are disappointed, we were not surprised. Mr. Bongo did the same thing in 2009; he was up to his same tricks again.

We, the people of Gabon, demand that Mr. Bongo end the violence and stop ordering our brothers, sisters and children in the security forces to attack our own. We demand that he stop seeking retribution against his political adversaries and their supporters. We demand that he release the election results by bureau and polling place so that independent observers can verify a recount of all the votes and confirm the will of our people.

As I said in a public appeal to the world last Wednesday, we also want the United States to accept nothing less than true democracy in Gabon, as officials in Canada, France and throughout the European Union have already committed to do. And we hope America’s citizens, its leaders and its policy makers will send a clear message to Mr. Bongo that he cannot steal an election.
I have already called on my fellow Gabonese citizens to protest peacefully until our demands have been met. I will continue this fight until our voice and our will are respected and accepted.

*Jean Ping, an economist and former foreign minister of Gabon, is also a former chairman of the African Union and was president of the 59th session of the United Nations General Assembly, in 2004 and 2005.