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Monday, December 31, 2018

Cameroon:Head of State’s New Year Message to the Nation




Fellow Cameroonians,
My dear compatriots,
The seven-year term that has just begun should be decisive for our country. It could even be one of the most defining moments of our post-independence history.
Let me explain.
During the past half-century that has just ended, we progressively established democratic institutions. We strove to maintain security throughout our territory. We made every effort to switch from an obsolete economic model to a more modern system that is more consistent with our national interest.
Of course, this was a long haul. Some objectives, such as the establishment of democracy, were achieved. Those related to security were only partly achieved, due to serious internal and external threats. Lastly, others, the most ambitious ones which aimed to transform our society, were implemented patiently.
Unforeseen difficulties compounded our task. In the 1980s, the sharp deterioration of terms of trade jeopardized our progress. Ten years later, the global economic and financial crisis put a stop to our momentum and slowed down our growth. More recently, falling oil and commodity prices had the same impact.
However, we did not give up. In the face of adversity, we designed a three-phase development strategy: greater achievements, major accomplishments and great opportunities. We hope that this last phase will steer us to the threshold of emergence.
It is perhaps not futile to clarify what we mean by emergence. Generally, the term refers to an improvement in a situation. As commonly understood, it means the transition from an underdeveloped to a developed country. This is our meaning of the term and that is why I instructed that it should be considered as a “national cause”.
I believe that the coming years will be decisive regarding the achievement of this objective. To that end, we will have to get down to three key tasks, namely restore security, enhance our economic growth and significantly improve the living conditions of Cameroonians.
Considering that SECURITY is a sine qua non for civil peace and economic and social progress, it should be prioritized.
Given that the situation in the Far-North has been stabilized and on our eastern border brought under control, I will focus on the situation in the North-West and South-West Regions.
Recently, I had the opportunity to express myself regarding the issues concerning them. I stated and I reaffirm my deepest concern for the populations of these two regions. I am very sensitive to their worries about their safety and their aspirations for a return to calm and normal social life.
If my appeal to warmongers to lay down their weapons remains unheeded, the Defence and Security Forces will be instructed to neutralize them. I am well aware of the distress these rebels are causing the populations of these regions. This situation cannot be allowed to continue.
In a spirit of national harmony, I decided to set up a “National Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Committee” to avoid the use of extreme measures. The duties of this body, which is under the authority of the Prime Minister, are to organize, supervise and manage the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants of Boko Haram and armed groups in the North-West and South-West Regions willing to respond favourably to the hand of peace extended to them.
I wish to emphasize that this initiative provides a dignified way out for ex-combatants and prospects for social reintegration, and should pave the way for a return to calm and normalcy.
On the other hand, measures will be taken as soon as possible to give the local communities of our country the powers that would enable them to play a greater role in the management of local affairs. At the same time, the promotion of bilingualism and multiculturalism will be fast-tracked.
Furthermore, I intend to continue the dialogue initiated with people of good-will to bring about lasting peace.
Paradoxically, one of the effects of the unfortunate events that have been affecting social life in the North-West and South-West Regions for months now may surprise many of us. The populations of these two regions have noticed the sincerity of the intentions of authorities concerning the new powers delegated to local communities and the solidarity of the rest of the Nation towards them. My wish is that, eventually, national unity will be strengthened.
 It will also be necessary to accelerate the GROWTH RATE of our economy.
Earlier on, I mentioned the external factors that slowed down our economic growth. Our economy is gradually recovering thanks to the measures we have taken. However, we will have to redouble our efforts to stay on the path of emergence.
Without going into details of our projects which I talked about recently, I would like to simply recall that one of our priorities should be the modernization of our agriculture by meeting its production and diversification targets, and providing it with the required technical resources. The broad outline of this “agricultural revolution” was defined at the Ebolowa Agricultural Show and is still relevant.
The same is true for our major industrialization project which should be implemented in line with the orientations of our Master Plan. Its priority should be the processing of our agricultural commodities to give them value added and reduce our imports of goods and services.
We will continue to provide our country with energy infrastructure to meet the needs of our agro-industry and various industrial sectors, as well as the demands of our people. In addition to hydroelectric dams, solar energy plants will be constructed for rural electrification.
The remarkable efforts that have already been made to develop our transport infrastructure (roads, motorways, ports and airports) will be continued to boost our economy and ease the mobility of our compatriots.
Furthermore, by concluding an economic and financial arrangement with the International Monetary Fund in 2017 under the “Extended Credit Facility”, we undertook to pursue the implementation of our structural reforms, maintain our fiscal balance and ensure the sustainability of our external debt.
It is against this backdrop that we will have to finance our major projects. To that end, we will need to increasingly resort to financial institutions that apply more accessible concessional lending rates. It is inadmissible that our projects should take much more time to mature than in countries of a comparable level of development. Maturation periods of time should be reduced.
Some of our problems stem from the fact that the structures of our economy make us to depend heavily on the external world, especially the prices of our commodities. I have often said that we are in a position to produce most of what we import, be it agricultural or industrial products. It is absolutely necessary to take this into account. We have no choice in the face of growing protectionism.
In the same vein, it is necessary for us to do more to incorporate digital progress into the functioning of our public services and our economy. The developing digital society will not wait for laggards.
Once our security is restored and our growth revived, we have to give our democracy the SOCIAL DIMENSION it deserves.
Significant progress has already been made in that connection over the past decades. More effort will be  required to build a society that ensures equal opportunity and decent living conditions for the entire population.
We will therefore continue to:
- extend a system of quality education at all levels by focusing on professionalization;
- build more health centres, extend our network of referral hospitals and finance our social security scheme;
- solve the nagging problem of low-cost housing;
- further improve access to drinking water and electricity, including in rural areas;
- and, lastly, promote the role of women and youths in our society.
In so doing, we will eventually roll back poverty which is the source of the diverse exclusions still existing in our country.
A problem of particular concern to me is still to be addressed. I am referring to unemployment, especially among youths. Naturally, the government services responsible for addressing the issue will do what is expected of them. However, it should be acknowledged that this social ill which is affecting most countries on the planet is closely linked to the level of economic activity, in other words growth.
That is why we will do all we can to encourage and boost the growth rebound we are currently experiencing.
Fellow Cameroonians,
My dear compatriots,
That is the triple challenge we are facing. I have no doubt that we will overcome it if we remain united, supportive and committed.
As you are aware, our country was poised to host the great African football jamboree in 2019. Based on certain information, the African Football Confederation decided that the date should be shifted. We have taken note of the decision. As I have already said, all investments relating to the organization of AFCON will be carried out. I avail myself of this opportunity to urge you to remain mobilized to ensure the eventual construction of our road, railway, hospital and sports infrastructure for this major event: our country deserves it indeed.
My dear compatriots,
Believe me, in these difficult moments, I am devoting all my energy and all my experience to ensuring peace, unity and progress in our beloved and beautiful country.
I count on each and every one of you to help me in this endeavor.
I wish you all a happy and prosperous 2019.
Long live the Republic!
Long live Cameroon!
                                                                     Yaounde, 31 December 2018

Friday, December 28, 2018

Cameroon:"Emanga Foundation" Assists Victims of Anglophone Crisis

By  Che Tanji 

The worsening humanitarian crisis occasioned by the ongoing Anglophone Crisis, which started in November 2016, is begging for more national and international assistance to alleviate the suffering of hundreds of thousands of Internally Displaced Peoples (IDPs) and refugees.
Mrs.Baron(in trousers)  of Emanga Foundation comforts a Crisis Victim

The crisis which has degenerated into armed conflict between government forces and separatists has forced about 50,000 fleeing Cameroonians to seek asylum in Nigeria and at least 300,000 people are internally displaced.
Close to 1000 people including soldiers have reportedly died as a result of what pundits describe as a “senseless war.”
 British Southern Cameroons (today’s two English-speaking regions of Cameroon otherwise also called Anglophone Cameroon) gained its independence on October 1, 1961 by joining La Republique of Cameroon which had on January 1, 1960 got its independence from France. But all the legal requirements, according to Article 102 of the UN Charter, were not fulfilled
Since then Anglophones-the minority, have been complaining and agitating against their gross marginalization in almost all aspects by the majority Francophones, who have since 1961 produced the only two presidents (Pioneer President Amadou Ahidjo and sitting President Paul Biya) the country has had  till date.
Thus, Anglophone separatists are advocating for the Independence of an Anglophone country, which they intend to call Ambazonia;but  the  Cameroon Government has been responding to their demand with  a crackdown.
Since the Anglophone crisis erupted  in October 2016, resulting in hundreds of deaths, it was only last Jun the  Cameroon Government launched an Emergency Humanitarian Plan worth 12.7 billion FCFA ,to assist those(especially IDPs and victims of arson) who have suffered damages unduly.
But the Government relief package is too insufficient, reason why other humanitarian organizations including are United Nations are coming in to assist the increasing number of the crisis victims.
The Ayah Foundation has been widely acclaimed for its enormous assistance so far given victims of the “senseless war.”
This December, the EMANGA FOUNDATION,a Germany-based NGO,created to assist “help  African Girls who come to Germany and became traumatized by circumstances there” came to the assistance of some victims of the crisis in Buea.
(The Foundation is also aimed at creating” awareness about Mental illnesses among African migrants”)
But worried by the Anglophone Crisis, which has left many in poverty and pain,the Cameroonian-born currently resident in Germany, Honorine Emanga Baron who is founder of EMANGA Foundation,  visited some of the crisis victims and offerd them assistance.
“From my visit to the crisis victims, I would describe the living conditions of some victims as very pathetic. I met nine to ten persons crammed in a one  or two-bed room house  with almost nothing to eat”, she noted after offering foodstuff and other items to Saint Maria Orphanage in Mile 16 Buea, which because of the crisis, the orphans were relocated in Great Soppo.
The Emanga Foundation also donated  material assistance  such as mattresses  to some Internally Displaced families from faraway localities, now living in Buea.
The Foundation has reportedly made arrangement for some female IDPs to engage in tailoring for a year on its bill.
The founder promised to look for more assistance for the IDPs on return to Germany.
It should be noted that Honorine Emanga Baron was the 2016 winner of the Cameroon Career Women’s Award (CCWA) in the Health care category, which took place in March that year in London.
Mrs.Baron is a triple-qualified general nurse,psychiatric nurse and nursing instructor in Germany. 
This kind-hearted lady grew up in Buea(Cameroon) and graduated from University of Buea  before traveling to Germany in 2003, where she later  studied and graduated from prestigious LWL Akademie Nursing School in Munster.
Also an advocate against torture and suffering,Mrs. Baron has personally assisted many African Women in difficulty living in Germany for years,before recently launching Emanga Foundation



Thursday, December 20, 2018

University of Buea:3500 graduates urged to be more of job creators

         

By Bako Fowzie Abiba*

Graduates of the University of Buea(UB) for this year have been implored to keep improving on their intellects and be willing to face the job market more as job creators


The all was made by UB Pro-chancellor, Professor Edward Ako Oben, who represented the Minister of Higher Education, Professor Jacques Fame Ndongo at the 22nd convocation of the University of Buea, which took place, December 15, on campus.

A total of   3478 graduated from the University with bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees or doctorate degrees from the various degree programs.

 The College of Technology had the largest number (19) of first class degrees with Tcheukounang Kennedy Grace studied computer engineering (network engineering), scoring the highest GPA, 3.85
 The Faculty of Social and Management Sciences emerged with largest number of h graduates, 1263.
According to UB Vice Chancellor, Prof .Ngomo Horace Manga, “the graduates have done the more difficult part by graduating from the University of Buea, taking along with them the master key …by obtaining a certificate from the university”.
 He hoped that they would easily find their way in the job market since the graduates had been well prepared by the University for the Job Market Challenges.
 He expressed satisfaction that a female student emerged overall best student, urging female students to keep the flame burning.
In all, the VC implored graduates of the Anglo-Saxon university in Cameroon to be worthy ambassadors of the institution.
 The guest speaker at the convocation was Monseigneur Andrew Nkea Fuanya, Bishop of Mamfe Diocese, who gave a talk on “The intellect as an essential property of being”, stressed the constant need for intellectual improvement   and research so to enhance development in society.
The guest speaker called upon the graduates to be proactive and use their brains to job-creators, and not wait for employers to give them jobs
He also advised students to be honest in order to prosper rapidly. 
*Bako Fowzie Abiba is a Journalism student of University of Buea















































































































































































































































































































































































































































In her valedictory remarks, overall best graduate,Tcheukounang  Kengne  Grace who scored a  GPA 3.85, first Class honor in Computer Engineering (network engineering ,was thankful to her teachers and encouraged all students with emphasis on  girls to embrace  computer engineering, so to increase  the number of computer engineers  in Cameroon, in this computer age.


Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Torture of University of Buea Students: 2 years after

By  
 We pay homage to over 85 students of the University of Buea and several other innocent civilians on and off campus who on 28 November 2018 were tortured by state security officers (police and gendarmerie) as a result of a protest within the main university campus in Buea, South West Region (Cameroon).
The right to education was attacked the moment Dr Nalova Lyonga, then Vice Chancellor, ordered or acquiesced the deployment of at least or about a hundred anti-riot police and gendarmes within the campus to disband peaceful protesters.
On that day, at about 11am, students were chased from the university campus into the streets and were arrested, severely beaten in public and asked to roll in mud.
Following CHRDA’s fact-finding visits to the affected neighborhoods of Malingo tarred, Malingo untarred, Dirty South and UB Junction, we concluded that over 85 students were victims of one or more acts of torture, hundreds of students abandoned their hostels and dropped out of school that year and moved out of the university town for fear of repression; over 14 student hostels having about 140 rooms were all considerably vandalized and rendered uninhabitable by the state security officers who did not only destroy the doors of over 90% of these rooms but did not also hesitate to use tear gas into student rooms, forcing some to open their doors which enabled them loot personal items, brutalized their occupants in their bedrooms and in the streets regardless of their gender.
Soon after this event, about 40 to 60 students, both males and females, were arrested and detained for up to 3 days. Some students who were arrested were asked to pay exorbitant sums of money, usually 50,000 XAF before they were released from detention.
CHRDA reminds the government that this and several other events are the root causes of present-day crises.
CHRDA holds the government accountable for these crimes against university students and civilians which it has never addressed or demanded public excuse for.
CHRDA states that so long as the root causes of present-day crises are not addressed, the hopes for peace, justice and reconciliation to occur are minute.
CHRDA once more pays homage to all university students and civilians who have been tortured since 2016.
CHRDA demands the government to observe and enforce its national and international laws seeking protection of students and civilians and stand by human rights principles.

NB: CHRDA  stands for Centre For Human Rights and Democracy in Africa, Cameroon



















































































































































































































































Sunday, November 25, 2018

Man of Wigs:Retired Justice Ayah Paul Now Barrister

By Christopher Ambe 
The name Ayah Paul Abine ,in Cameroon in particular and the world in general, is mostly known to revolve around the law: he has been a prosecutor, judge, lawmaker and today he is a barrister. 
In fact, Ayah Paul Abine, now aged 68, also means different things to different people:he is a rights activist, traditional ruler, politician (party leader), dissent, philanthropist, social critic, a caring husband and father.
It was last November 21 in Buea during a court ceremony that this grey-haired legal luminary, several months after his retirement at the age of 67 as Deputy Advocate-General (or Deputy Attorney-General) at Cameroon’s Supreme Court, that he was sworn-in as a lawyer. Retired, but not at all tired!
 In his decades of judicial practice, one of the things that disturbed this legal luminary was/is the fact that the judiciary in Cameroon is not independent as it obtains in advanced democracies. But he distinguished himself and emerged as a magistrate of exceptional class.
Legally speaking, Justice Ayah Paul strongly believes in (and has applied) the principle that “a judge is supposed to be guided by the law and his conscience” in deciding on cases, and also the principle that “Justice must not only be done but seen done!”
Conscious that as a judge the public too judges your objectivity and impartiality in the dispensation of justice, Justice Ayah Paul’s judgments, legal analysts have admitted, were, more often than not, outstanding.
 In so doing, Justice Ayah Paul attracted public accolade but unknowingly stepped on some hierarchical toes that would want things done their way. As such, Ayah  received what some pundits have  described as various forms of torture, which only emboldened him and made him more outspoken in his efforts to right wrongs.
“The law is the law and even the President of the Republic is not above the law,” he likes to say.
 Credited for his high sense of objectivity in adjudication, and after serving as a no-nonsense law maker for a decade, many had hoped Hon.Justice Ayah would be appointed a judge at the Supreme Court of Cameroon, but he was rather appointed Deputy Advocate-General (prosecutor) at same court.
“In the Cameroonian system, you can be on the bench this year and next year you go to the Legal Department. Or, you are in the Legal Department and the next time you are on the bench,” Justice Ayah Paul had told this journalist in an interview in 2015, in reaction to his appointment as Deputy Advocate-General.
But he had insisted: “The point is that wherever you are, you do justice. So, wherever I am I would render justice to everybody without fear or favor. The public can count on me.”
While still serving as Deputy Attorney-General at the Supreme Court of Cameroon, Hon.Justice Ayah was on January 21, 2017 “illegally arrested and jailed without charge” for eight months in Yaounde.” He was only released from detention, along other Anglophone rights activists such as Barrister Felix Agbor Nkongho, by a presidential pardon on August 30, 2017.
In December 2014, Hon.Justice Ayah, who had served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Akwaya for eleven years, became so involved in rights advocacy that members of the (now outlawed)   Southern Cameroons National Council (SCNC) elected him in absentia as National Chairman of the liberation organization, which was created in 1994 to ensure the restoration of independence of British Southern Cameroons.
 But Hon. Justice Ayah, although a noted minority rights crusader, turned down his election on grounds that he was not yet a registered member of SCNC, which at the time was in fractions.
Hon.Justice Ayah, as required by law, was supposed to have been re-integrated into the Ministry of Justice as a career magistrate as soon as his two-term parliamentary mandate ended in September 2013.
In the National Assembly, he had resigned as Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee to the embarrassment of the ruling party, on whose platform he entered Parliament in 2002.
Hon. Justice Ayah would later be the lone CPDM MP who sharply and openly criticized a 2008 constitutional amendment that removed presidential term limit, which if maintained  would have barred President Paul Biya from standing for re-election in 2011.
This jurist-turned law maker later resigned from the ruling CPDM, convinced that he being “gagged” from effecting positive people-and development-oriented changes within the party, for national interest.
In the National Assembly Hon. Justice Ayah was reportedly  considered within government circles  a thorn in the flesh of the Biya government; but this fearless elite of Akwaya subdivision who loves and speaks the “bitter truth” to power, always argued, and strongly too, that he was working for the interest of the nation, and not for individuals.
 It would be recalled that before Justice Ayah Paul became an MP, he was Vice-President of the Southwest Court of Appeal in Buea.
But even before occupying that position, he had served as President of High Court and Court of First Instance (Magistrate’s Court) in different localities for a total of eighteen (18) years: he was President of Ndian High Court for five years; President of Kumba High Court for two years; he was president of Nkambe Court of First Instance for two years, President of Wum Court of First Instance for two years and President of Buea Court of First Instance for seven years.
  After his parliamentary mandate, Hon.Justice Ayah requested to be re-absorbed into the Ministry of Justice. But for unexplained reasons, he waited for fifteen months-and without a salary, during which time he busied himself, among other things, doing rights advocacy.
But as the SCNC was still pleading with him to accept his election as their chairman, President Biya, coincidentally(some say strategically),signed a decree re-absorbing Hon.Justice Ayah into in the Ministry of Justice with his promotion as Deputy Advocate-General at the Supreme Court.

That did not, in any way, stop Hon.Justice Ayah from writing and educating the public on legal issues and minority rights, especially as he was not only Deputy-Advocate-General at the Supreme Court, but also remained the National President of the political party, Popular Action Party (PAP), whose candidate occupied the fifth position at the 2011 Cameroon’s presidential election. (Justice Ayah himself was the presidential candidate).

With the eruption of the Anglophone crisis in October 2016 over Anglophone minority rights issues, Hon.Justice Ayah, still sitting as Deputy Advocate-General, would be arrested and dumped in detention without being formally charged-a move, which, pundits think, contributed in radicalizing minority rights activists, fighting for the independence of English-speakers in Cameroon.
But political pundits thought that Hon.Justice Ayah’s support for and outspokenness on   minority rights, helped fuel rights protests by Anglophones, who make up 20% of Cameroon’s population of about 24 million.
 Hon.Justice Ayah who put at least 27 years in the judiciary with twenty(20) as magistrate and seven as prosecutor, and eleven as MP before retirement from the Civil Service of Cameroon, has just started a new career as a Lawyer/Barrister, a profession with greater solidarity.

 While in detention as Deputy Advocate-General for eight months only one magistrate reportedly braved the odds to visit Hon Justice Ayah, leaving many to question whether professional solidarity was not cherished by magistrates and or prosecutors.

Ayah  Paul ‘s career started upon his graduation, with flying colors, from the National School of Administration and Magistracy (ENAM) in Yaoundé in 1976.
Many critical observers think that Ayah Paul’s eloquence and mastery of the laws of the land will make him excel in his new career as a barrister.


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