Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Anglophone Crisis: SW Governor Worried Over Mass Exodus

Governor Okalia Bilai(left) discouraging exodus
By Christopher Ambe

The carnage that the Northwest and Southwest regions have witnessed since the eruption of the deadly Anglophone crisis in 2016 has put citizens of the said regions in a state of fear.
In spite of persistent assurances by the Government that adequate security measures have been taken to protect lives and property, panic-stricken residents of the Southwest are fleeing in search of safety, leaving the region’s governor,Bernard Okalia Bilai,worried.
Frightened families,in their thousands and carrying heavy luggages such as bed, kitchen equipment and even live domestic animals-are now abandoning the two English-speaking regions, hitherto their comfort zones but now battle grounds for armed separatists and government forces, to towns in French-speaking regions, an indication that there is a real or perceived security threat.
The mass exodus has been provoked by threats from separatists, who have been fighting for the independence of Anglophones. The separatists have vowed that they will not allow any movement of people and vehicles in Anglophone Cameroon, several days before the   October 7,2018 presidential election, which they plan to disrupt.
Also, the beeped up security measures by Government to counter any separatist attacks is increasing citizens’ fear, conscious that many innocent people have reportedly been killed by stray bullets.
The separatist leaders, who have a huge following back home, claim the two English-speaking regions have become a separate country called Ambazonia.
Faced with this predicament, a disturbed Southwest Governor, Bernard Okalia Bilai, has been pleading with the population of his region not to relocate, a call that many have decided to ignore.
The Governor, last Saturday, visited the Buea Mile 17 Motor Park, to personally discourage huge luggage-carrying citizens from fleeing their homes in the region to towns in French-speaking regions.
The governor’s visit to the motor park came after he had issued a communiqué dated 14 September 2018(broadcast repeatedly over CRTV Buea),urging people not to be scared of any threat from separatists.
“Since the beginning of the week especially a few days back, we have observed the mass exodus of the population out of the towns of Buea Kumba,Limbe and Mamfe etc to areas and localities out of the region on grounds that terrorists and other specialists of intoxication and manipulation are claiming that public authorities intend to prohibit all movements and circulation as from September 15,2018”,said Okalia Bilai, in the communiqué, insisting that “these are unfounded rumors being spread in order to terrorize and provoke panic among the populations”.
He called on the population to rather continue carrying out their daily activities as usual, and to send children to school,in a region where school resumption has remained  scandalously timid.
The governor appealed to the population to trust the administration, security and defense forces who, he noted,“for the past two years have guaranteed their security and protection against these same terrorists and secessionists”
Okalia Bilai assured: “Indeed, adequate measures have been taken to ensure the security and protection of persons and their property”.
Mass exodus from towns in the Northwest region has also been reported.
The Anglophone crisis has resulted in the deaths of hundreds-both soldiers and civilians.
Tens of thousands of Anglophones fleeing because of the crisis are seeking refuge in neighboring Nigeria. 
The UN estimates that about two hundred thousand people are internally displaced and badly in need of support. Thousands of others are said to be seeking protection in bushes.

President Paul Biya, who has ruled Cameroon since November 1982, is among the nine candidates for the next presidential poll, come October 7, 2018

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Cameroon’s Bijural,Bicultural Nature : New FAKLA President Vows to defend it !

Lawyer Enow Benjamin
By Christopher Ambe

Barrister Enow Benjamin of Liberty Law Firm in Mutengene, who was last Friday 7 elected as the new President of Fako Lawyers’ Association (FAKLA), in replacement of the firebrand Human Rights lawyer, Felix Agbor Nkongho, has vowed that his leadership will never allow the bi-jural, bicultural nature of Cameroon to be compromised.   
 In his acceptance speech after his election, at Buea Council where the polls took place, the new FAKLA boss urged his colleagues to be more professionally-conscious and work towards the promotion of the rule of law and Human rights.
“The most important thing now is to ensure unity in FALKA so that we can pursue the objectives of the association which predominantly are professional- being the watchdog of society and ensuring that lawyers live daily within the means of the profession,” President Enow said ,in a telephone conversation with this media outlet “We are for the preservation of human rights for all Cameroonians”
Asked if his leadership would follow in the footsteps of former FAKLA President, Felix Agbor Nkongho,whose crusade for the respect of  Human Rights contributed in provoking the ongoing Anglophone crisis, a confident-sounding Barrister Enow first commended what his predecessor did to raise the level of human rights consciousness in society, then quipped:
“FAKLA will do everything that is necessary to ensure that Cameroonians on both sides of the divide enjoy their basic Human Rights and are protected. We will ensure that bijural, bicultural and bilingual nature of our country can never ever be compromised.”
He promised to his colleagues  the putting in place of a reconciliation committee in FAKLA, and to reform the association’s constitution so that it meets up with the times, noting that the current constitution had not taken into consideration the power of the social media. 
Other members of the new FAKLA executive body are:Vice president, Atemnkeng Elizabeth; Secretary-General, Nji Valentine Aben ; Vice Secretary-general, Melle Didier Melle ;Treasurer,  Taminang Gilbert;      Financial Secretary,Njenje Kleber; Vice Financial secretary, Elizabeth Njonji; PRO,Tchana Anthony; Organizing Secretary, Ebi Stanley; Chief Whip, Charles Lyonga.
The new FAKLA executives have taken office in the midst of the current Anglophone crisis, which the association also contributed in provoking, by creating greater human rights awareness, especially in Anglophone Cameroon, whose citizens felt grossly marginalized. 
The Anglophone crisis started off in October 2016 with Common Law lawyers’ and teachers’ of the English subsystem of education protesting against the “Frenchification” of their adopted English way of life. 
Elected FAKLA president  early in 2015, Agbor Nkongho’s two-year mandate had since expired, but his exco was still in office, reportedly because he tried unsuccessfully to get an administrative clearance for an elective assembly plus  the fact  that some senior lawyers proposed that  internal wrangling in the association  be settled first. 
The outgone president had given teeth to the on-going Anglophone crisis when he doubled as FAKLA President & President of the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium (CACSC), which coordinated wide-spread anti-government protests in the Northwest and Southwest Regions.
Barrister Agbor Nkongho became too popular with a huge following in Anglophone Cameroon and a seemingly shaken Biya Government on January 17, 2017 banned the CACSC, then arrested him and detained for eight months in Yaoundé.
Last Friday‘s  FAKLA elective assembly  was scheduled to hold in the hall of  the Southwest Court of Appeal, but the President of the court Justice Bechem Eyong Eneke , in a letter dated September 6,2018 and co-signed by the Procureur-General for the Southwest Region,  rejected  the lawyers’ request ,arguing that “ a court is a sacred place reserved exclusively for the conduct of court business”. 
Lawyer Nji Valentine Aben
The rejection- even after an administrative clearance had been obtained from Buea DO for the meeting, forced FAKLA to use the Buea Council hall for their come-together, which was attended by over 100 lawyers, according to Lawyer Nji Valentine Aben, newly elected FAKLA Scribe.
 The new FAKLA Scribe, Lawyer Nji Aben and convener of the elective assembly, told this news organ that “we fought tooth and nail to have this elective assembly ”, casting doubt on the reason advanced denying  lawyers access to the hall of  the Southwest Court of Appeal, whereas  same hall had before reportedly  hosted similar meetings.
According to Lawyer Nji Aben, one of the new exco’s plans of action is “to put back the profession on the rails”
He stated, “There has been a lot of laxity on the part of magistrates and even with some of us lawyers. You go to the court and sometimes up to 2pm court sessions have not started”
Former FAKLA President, Agbor Nkongho, did not attend the elective assembly because he was en route to Nigeria to meet Cameroonian refugees, but he had reportedly called to express his wish to see the association emerge from the election stronger.
FAKLA was created in 1997 and the Protem chair was late Barrister Ngu Gordon. Other FAKLA past presidents include Barristers Charlie Sone,Njualem Charles , Ambilichu Emmanuel, Ntoko Justice, Bache Francis,Ajong Stanislaus and Felix Agbor Nkongho.
Bako Fowzie Abiba & Ayuk Oru M. Shevett, University of Buea Journalism Interns contributed to this report.

(This report also appears in The Horizon Newspaper, Cameroon,of September 11,2018)


Monday, September 10, 2018

Limbe City Council equips CRTV with modern furniture

Some of the office chairs donated to CRTV Buea by Limbe City Council

 By Sheron Tita  & Vera Muyang Ngu*
The Government Delegate to the  Limbe City Council(LCC), Andrew Motanga Munjimba, last September 6,donated modern furniture- reportedly  worth over Fcfa 10 million, to the CRTV Buea  to motivate staff improve on their performance.
Southwest Governor Bernard Okalia Bilai, chaired the donation ceremony at CRTV premises.

The donations included five office tables and 14 executive chairs and 16 visitors’ chairs. The modern furniture will now replace the “old-fashioned tables and chairs that make workers sigh looking at them”, a journalist at CRTV Buea said
Receiving the gifts, an elated kange Williams Wasaloko,manager of CRTV Buea  said the donation was the fruit of a partnership between the Limbe City Council and CRTV  Southwest Regional Station .

Kange, while expressing his gratitude to the donor, recalled how CRTV had elaborately covered FENAC 2018 organised by Limbe City Council to the satisfaction of all and sundry.

 He gave assurance that the new furniture would cause staff improve functionally- in informing, educating and entertaining the public within the ambits of the law.

"If you have a comfortable chair to seat down, you are forced to stay on,” the Station Manager remarked.

For his part, the Limbe City Government Delegate said the donation was significant and was eloquent proof of the win-win partnership between the two institutions. He thanked CRTV for partnering with his council, all in a bid to enhance development.

”The commitments with which our Limbe Festival of Arts and Culture  was covered by the CRTV stations in Buea  and at the national level remains fresh in our minds  and we are deeply  appreciative  of those gestures”, the Government Delegate reportedly said.

 He disclosed that the donation was a request from CRTV Buea, but which coincidentally was in order, because it falls in line with the corporate social responsibility of the City Council.

The   Governor appreciated the cooperation between the two institutions, urging other stakeholders to emulate their example and do same, especially with other media organs, which contribute a lot in the development of society.

Reacting to the donation, an official of CRTV Buea who is one of the furniture recipients said, “Before now we had tables and chairs but they were not presentable; we did not also have enough office equipment.

“The new equipment is a motivation; it is a call for us to work harder; they make our offices respectable and presentable”

* Sheron Tita  & Vera Muyang Ngu are University of Buea Journalism Interns


Wednesday, September 5, 2018

 Cameroon OIC staff placed on technical leave due to Anglophone Crisis

By Christopher Ambe  
Eighteen workers of the business unit of Buea-based Cameroon Opportunities Industrialization Center, OIC, have been placed on technical leave. The workers of other sections of the Center  are not yet affected. An official of the
Meoto P. Njie,Chair,OIC Buea
community-based skills training center, who confirmed the news to this reporter on condition of anonymity, said their technical leave takes effect form 5th September 2018, to 28th February 2019.
The official revealed that Cameroon OIC Buea, which is an affiliate of OIC International with headquarters in Philandelphia, USA, was forced to take such a measure because of the negative effect of the on-going Anglophone crisis on the businesses run by the center.

The source said: “You know with the socio-political crisis [Anglophone Crisis] hitting Buea the tourism sector is greatly affected.  Sales in the Buea OIC Pavilion have dropped very drastically. 
“At times for a whole week nobody comes to lodge in the hotel; very few persons still come to the restaurant so we cannot raise money to pay the workers, electricity bills, taxes etc”
He regretted that sometimes workers went for up to eight months without salaries.
" We felt that instead of keeping the workers there and start accumulating salaries, we sought the advice of the Southwest Regional Delegation of Labor and the Delegate came and tried to explain the situation to the workers.”
He said placing the workers on technical leave does not imply they have been dismissed.
“We are not dismissing them but putting them on technical leave and we will give them a small allowance”, he insisted, adding that once the financial situation improves, they will be called back.
Our source said few persons are retained to take care of the facility so that it may not be burgled.
“We have not closed the Pavilion yet. It is still open to the public because few part-time workers are in place.”
Hon.Meoto Paul Njie, former MP for Buea Urban and former Director of Cabinet at the PM’s Office in Yaounde, who is now Interim Board Chair of Cameroon OIC reportedly, signed the technical leave letters, already served to the affected workers.
Hon. Meoto, a stringent administrator, is at the helm of OIC Buea at a time when the center is facing huge financial difficulties; but observers hope that his stringency would usher in financial transparency and brighter future for the center, which had been rocked by financial scandals in the past. 
Cameroon OIC was established in 1986 as a non-profit, community-based skills training program. It largely depends on Government subvention, which in the past years used to stand at Fcfa 150 million yearly.

The Center offers vocational/technical training in the following fields: Auto-mechanics/Motor Electricity, Building Construction, Hotel catering and management, Information and Communication Technology, Metal Fabrication, Welding and spraying, as  well as Wood Work.
Tens of thousands of ttrainees (both Cameroonian youth and foreigners such as Nigerians) have graduated from the Center with marketable skills.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Buea Council distributes  Fcfa 20m scholarship to over 1000 beneficiaries

Buea Mayor Ekema Patrick Esunge  with some scholarship  beneficiaries 
By  Ayuk O. M. Shevett, Bako A. Fowzie, Vera  M. Ngu, Etta C. Nyangalo & Bongbawo S. Tita*
The Mayor of Buea, Ekema Patrcik Esunge,last Friday ,August 31 organized a scholarship award ceremony at  Buea Council premises, during which financial assistance , didactic materials  as well as  farm tools were given to three categories of beneficiaries- the needy, meritorious students and the physically challenged, all in a bid to better prepare them for the 2018/2019  school resumption.
The beneficiaries, who ranged from nursery school to the university level totaled 1206, broken as such: 740 primary pupils, 372 secondary school students and 127 university students.
The material donations included: wheel barrows, wheel chairs, chalk, blackboard, rulers, pens, hoes, pit axes and watering cans. 
A further breakdown of statistics showed that there were 12 government colleges, 17 primary schools and 34 Nursery schools
Some 100 university students each received Fcfa 25.000 FRS; 25 university students (holiday jobbers and interns) each got 50.000 FRS, donated by PMUC in partnership with the council. 
Books were given to 727 primary school pupils including 4 disabled who additionally received tricycles.
Some 97 successful GCE OL/AL candidates for 2017/2018 academic year and 184 students who excelled at the promotion examinations in the English sub-system (form1-4 and lower sixth) were also beneficiaries.
The Mayor, who has been fighting against ghost towns to no avail, used the ceremony to warn that perpetrators of atrocious acts shall be dealt with soon.
The mayor said since he  took over the council years ago he has  touched all the nooks and crannies in Buea Municipality, impacting lives  and enhancing development by way of improving hygiene and sanitation, new infrastructure, grant of scholarships, assistance to primary schools and colleges.
 He regretted that in spite of his development efforts “we have been faced with challenges posed to by the secessionist tendencies of some misguided and opportunistic citizens who have been on the onslaught terrorizing people by destroying lives and property. 
“One of their primordial goals has been to hatch actions that would perturb the smooth functioning of school establishments.” 
He revealed that he has taken measures to accompany students in to school by banning all Moto bikes around the Buea municipality .According to the mayor, motorbikes as a contributing factor to the numerous kidnappings in Buea
 The beneficiaries were thankful to the mayor for the gifts. Obasi Arrey Moneke Mary, a beneficiary from BGS Molyko- Buea attributed her brilliant success at the GCE Ordinary Level with 11 papers, to holiday classes the council organized last year.
 Another beneficiary, Halimatou Uba, a pupil from the Islamic school in Buea, said the assistance got would help her a great deal.
 Council assistance was also given to widows and children of soldiers who have died fighting during the crisis to protect lives and property
It should be noted that Buea council usually organizes six programs annually: scholarship, internship, holiday classes, holiday job, inter-quarter football and pension scheme. But unfortunately this year and due to the current crisis situation, budgetary allocations were made just for three: scholarship, internship and holiday jobs. 
*The authors of this article are University of Buea Journalism Interns
(This report also appears in The Horizon Newspaper, Cameroon,of Sept 4,2018)

Government intensifies campaign for effective school resumption

By Etta Cecilia Nyangalo & Vera Munyang  Ngu*

For two years, disruptions and boycotts of schools , imposed by  activists seeking the Independence of  Anglophones, prevented tens  of thousands of students and pupils in the Northwest and Southwest regions from attending  school, despite assurances from Cameroon government  that the security of all was guaranteed. 
As the on-going crisis turned violent, bloody and deadly, fear of organized attacks on schools forced parents to hold back their children at home.

But this year, Government, using different methods, has intensified its campaign for effective school re-opening.

For instance,in Buea, Capital of Southwest Region, Governor Bernard Okalia Bilai,on August 29, personally presided at a CRTV (Radio) Buea outdoor and live broadcast  on Back-to-school campaign,in continuation of education campaign.
The Governor reiterated the importance of education and re-assured parents, students and pupils that all security has been beefed-up   to ensure a safe return to schools.
He urged the populations to conquer fear by supporting and ensuring school resumption. 
“A man without education is useless”,he noted. “Though dialogue is what we need for peace to reign, it has to begin with each and every one of us, as individuals.”
 Schools were officially scheduled to resume on September 3, throughout the national territory.
Speaking during the on-air ceremony, the Mayor of Buea,Ekema Patricl Esunge,who strongly denounced the call for school boycott, said  he is the personality that he is today because he got educated.
He announced a scholarship package of twenty (20) million Fcfa for schools in Buea Municipality. He urged that the population to overcome fear and permit schools functional again smoothly.
It emerged that out of 390 secondary /high schools in the South West Region for the 2017/2018 academic year, 71 were not operational because of the Anglophone crisis

 In a review of last academic year, the South West Regional Delegate for Basic Education, Madam Dorothy Motaze, said in spite of the challenges such a low school attendance a, the sector still registered some significant successes

CRTV Buea station Manager, Kange Williams, who moderated, the outdoor broadcast,also invited   some university dons such as the Registrar of University of Buea (UB), Prof.Roland N.Ndip,who talked about the preparation of UB for this academic year, whose  registration was already  on-going.

Traditional rulers such as Chief Atem Ebako and a retired CRTV Journalist Robert Abunaw, joined voices to call for school resumption, stressing the role of education to the development of society

Also speaking was a representative of NMI Education publisher and Cambridge, Atemnkeng Nkafu Marie Ann, who gave the assurance that   78% of NMI Education and Cambridge- approved school textbooks were already available in the market and that 22% of the remaining books will be available before the start of the second week of September

*Etta Cecilia Nyangalo  & Vera  Munyang  Ngu are University of Buea Journalism Interns.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Cameroon:Why Mbua Etonde is New SW Delegate for Secondary Education.

By Chrsitopher Ambe

From L-R: Dr.Mrs. Mbua Hannah Etonde,Dr.Mohommadou & Mombakued Victor Yewoh after 
the handing over ceremony in Buea

Dr. Mrs. Mbua nee Ngoto Hannah Etonde, aged 51, on August 31, officially replaced Mr. Mombakued Victor Yewoh as new Southwest Regional Delegate for Secondary Education, following her recent appointment by the Minister of Secondary Education,Nalova Lyonga,PhD.
 Yewoh had occupied the position for barely one year.  
 Mrs.. Mbua is the first-ever woman to occupy that position in the Southwest Region.

  The technical handing over ceremony between the new and former delegates was chaired by Dr. Mohammadou, Inspector-General of Regional Services at Southwest Governor’s office
Dr. Mohammadou lauded Mr. Yewoh for his valuable services to the nation,and particularly commended the new delegate for winning the confidence of hierarchy to merit such  a high  public office.
As different speakers showered praises on Mrs. Mbua for her career promotion, during the ceremony that too place in the conference hall of the Regional Delegation of Public Service, the calm-looking teacher-cum educational administrator responded, “We give God the Glory. For without God I am nothing!”
In fact, as a devout Presbyterian Christian, Mrs. Mbua, this reporter gathered, believes strongly in the Bible principle that “everything works for good for those who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose”(Romans 8:28)
An Appointment to a post of responsibility is based on various considerations; but what is so obvious with Mrs. Mbua’s own is that her competence and qualifications-both administratively and academically, earned her the job, critical observers said.
Having served as principal of state-owned secondary/high schools for more than a decade running, her quest for purposeful knowledge would cause her journey for a terminal degree. 
And that is how she enrolled for a PhD in Educational Administration in the prestigious Anglo-Saxon University of Buea, and several years after, brilliantly defended it in October 2017.
Whether as principal of GSS Bonjongo (2000-2002) or as first-ever female Principal of Government High School (GHS) Buea (2002-2016) or as Principal of Government Bilingual Grammar School-Molyko-Buea(2016-August 2018, from where she was elevated to the rank of  Regional Delegate,   Mrs. Mbua, was described by both students and students as a disciplinarian par excellence
 Her school management style also attracted the admiration of not only Hierarchy but also the general public.
This Fako elite has put in a total of eighteen years as principal of the above mentioned schools before her new portfolio.
As recognition of her valuable contributions to nation-building, Mrs. Mbua has been decorated by the State of Cameroon with the Knight of the National Order of Valour medal. 
                          But what inspired her to choose teaching as a career?
 Mrs.Mbua,who first bagged an M.Ed in Educational Administration (University of Buea) before heading for her PhD in the same institution, told this reporter while still principal of GHS Bokwango-Buea that:  “From what my mother told me, I was actually born to be a teacher. As a child, I am told, I used to rally other children in my quarter, teach, advise and lead them.”
 Mrs. Mbua, now a career teacher for 24 years, confidently told this reporter in a 2014 interview that she had no problem blending teaching and administration.
 “I teach, I administer and lead both teachers and students. And, I perform all these functions smoothly guided by God”, she said.
 Mrs. Mbua  in 1992 earned a B.A (English) from University of Yaoundé and in 1994 graduated as teacher from Higher Teachers’ Training College (ENS) Yaoundé.
 Married to Njie Peter Mbua, a court registrar now on retirement, this mother of four, is also said to be motherly.
                                                     The Politician
       A member of the ruling CPDM since the 1990’s,Mrs. Mbua,has been  president of Buea WCPDM(WCPDM Fako III) since  March 2007 and  is member of the WCPDM National Bureau since 2011.  She had before held other duty posts in the WCPDM in Buea such as Section Treasurer (May 2002 –march 2007) and Subsection president of WCPDM Soppo Mokongo (1997-2002).
  As a Buea councilor, this courageous lady in September 2013 when the CPDM won municipal elections in Buea, contested the mayoral seat against Ekema Patrick Esunge but lost to him. 
Yet, she is ambitious. “I aspire to become something more than a mayor. Life is all aspirations and hopes.” 
                                                               The Teacher
She taught English Language and Literature in Bilingual Grammar School (BGS)Molyko Buea(December 1994-August 2000);taught ‘The Use of English’ at University of Buea(September  1995- July 2000);taught English & Literature  at Central GCE Evening School Mevick Bilingual Grammar School Yaounde( January 1993 –June 1994) and at Inter Comprehensive College Buea(1992)

Mrs. Mbua has been Assistant Chief Examiner (O’ level Literature in English) from July 2008 to date), and had been a GCE examiner for O’ level in English Literature (1995-2008) 
  Active Christian
   As a committed Christian, Mrs. Mbua has been an elder and lay preacher of Presbyterian Church Molyko –Buea; member of Christian Women Fellowship (CWF Molyko) and is President-General of Ndol’a Kristo Choirs Association of the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon (PCC)
 Mrs.Mbua is an amateur actress, who has been member of both the Musinga Drama Group and the University of Yaounde Theatre. She likes   doing research on important subjects .She enjoys cooking and singing.
( This profile  is also published in The  Horizon Newspaper ,Cameroon,of September 4, 2018)