Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Gerard Ngala: Trump Card of Nkambe Central

(NewsWatch Cameroon)-Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement, CPDM diehearts in Donga Mantung I (Nkambe Central subdivision in Donga Mantung) can now heave a sigh of relief following the nomination as parliamentary candidate of he who they believe incarnates the future of the sub division as far as development is concerned.
He is celebrated in several circles among CPDM supporters and sympathizers to have reinvented the game of politics in the Donga Mantung division. His touch has been described by many as having the powers of a magic wand. From the egocentric and self centered modus operandi of the “power to the people” flag bearer who for 15 years at the Ngoa Ekelle Glass house has nothing to show for, Ngala as he is fondly called has proven beyond reasonable doubts that the development of his native Nkambe central constituency in particular and the division as a whole is his topmost priority.
Does thee Holy Book not say by their deeds we shall know them? As a parliamentary aspirant, he has stunned locals with developmental projects and other donations geared towards upgrading the “Nkambe Man”. The unanimity behind this 35 year old is unprecedented in the history of politics in Donga Mantung. He was a rare case during the investiture xercise conducted by the CPDM hierarchy for its candidates at the September 30 twin elections. Ngala had no challenger during the exercise. This confirms the popularity of a man who has wholeheartedly committed himself to the service of his people at times at times to his own detriment.
For almost five years now, the well to do Douala based business magnet has taken permanent residence in the village. In his words, “there is no better way for me to know my people, have a feel of their worries without being by them. More so, I spent so many years out of the country and I think I need to reconnect with my roots, get to know things that we can chart the way forward as a bloc”.
To him, his community which saw him grow up needs to also reap the fruits of its labour. Thus he should serve them, be their envoy at the National Assembly so as to channel their worries to the right quarters. But while waiting and hoping to be overwhelmingly elected next September 30, Ngala has been on the field working.
In 2009 he donated drugs and medical equipment to the Nkambe district hospital as well as the Tabenken Catholic health centre evaluated at FCFA 70000. To keep youths of the subdivision busy during the 2011 summer holidays, Ngala organized a soccer tournament worth FCFA 500.000. Still in sports, he offered aid and equipment to the abandoned PWD Nkambe football club to the tune of FCFA 800.000.
Meanwhile in Bika he rescued the dilapidated  Government Secondary School, GSS of the locality with sheets of zinc worth FCFA 400.000 for its roof in 2011. Same year, Ngala donated mats to the tune of FCFA 700.000 to Muslim communities in the Nkambe central sub division at the eve of the fasting for the Ramadan. He accompanied the mats with sugar, salt and soap estimated at FCFA 900.000.
Youths of the sub division will always be grateful to Ngala whom they describe as the incarnate and epitome of a true politician. He supported the Wimbum Students Union, WISU at the eve of their national convention in Mbiyeh with FCFA 1000000. He has done it again this year. He equally supported the paving of the Wat road with FCFA 400000. Determined to offer kids of the sub division conducive study environments, Ngala supported the Nkambe Cultural and Development Association, NKACUDA, with the sum of FCFA 1.500.000 for the construction of a primary school in Binju. For a community which is essentially agrarian but with soils which are not very fertile at some places, Ngala donated improved maize seeds to its women estimated at FCFA 3.5 million. To ice the cake, he has always ensured his mothers celebrate international women’s day in grand style. He has made it a point of duty to offer them the 8th March fabric and some money for feasting. In 2012 this amounted to FCFA 980.000. Same obtains during CPDM party feasts. Not only does Ngala provide uniforms, he ferries militants to the ceremonial ground, entertains them and transports them back.
The grassroots is emphatic that “if he can do this while still aspiring, it means when he gets there we too will be able to smile”.
Source: L’Action

Friday, September 6, 2013

Newspaper Editor Detained for Investigating Election Irregularities

(NewsWatch Cameroon)-A Bamenda based journalist and promoter of the Bamenda Human Rights Films and Arts Festival was picked up by police for investigating into elections irregularities. Colbert Gwain, Editor of the Colbert Factor was illegally arrested while on the field investigating allegations that some politicians were buying voters’ cards in Bamenda. 
Talking to this reporter from police custody, Colbert Gwain said he was picked up without a warrant of arrest from the State Counsel for Mezam or the Attorney General of the North West Region. He said he was out to investigate allegations that some people were collecting cards for others and that they were guys moving around with more than 25 cards distributing them in violation of the law. He said that he personally witnessed some people collecting voters’ cards for other. 
“When I saw it I immediately drew the attention of the ELECAM agent”, adding that he felt so embarrassed that the agents was acting against the instruction of ELECAM boss Fonkam Azu’u. 
The SDF it should be noted had earlier warned that anyone carrying voters’ cards that does not belong to him/her would be dealt with accordingly. SDF Communication Officer Anembom Munjo is quoted to have said that some politicians were promising 2000 FCFA each to buy SDF ballots. 
Journalists in Bamenda are scared as ELECAM and police are intimidating journalists. The said journalist who has been investigating a story entitled:’ Claims of Voter’s Card Buying Stirs New Controversy Ahead of September 30 Twin Elections’ as part of his research paper in fulfillment of an online course on ‘Data-Driven Journalism from the University of Americas is still in police custody and many already fear for his life as many have suffered the same fate in the past years. 
The arrest of the Editor Colbert Gwain has re-kindled interest in journalists across the country who have witnessed similar patterns in election malpractices. The issue of voters’ cards being handed to individuals to share is not new as allegations abound. 
A similar case of voters’ cards handed to individuals to share surfaced in Nkambe where dozens of voters’ cards were handed to Dr. Fonkam as proof in a meeting at the community hall. It should be recalled that the story of Bibi Ngota is still fresh in the minds of journalists. An atmosphere of uncertainty now looms in the North West Region ahead of the September 30 Municipal/Legislative Elections.

By Kidie Devoe in Bamenda

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Sorry Story of Cameroon’s ‘North of Extremes’

There are no mills in Mbozo-Kaé
(NewsWatch Cameroon)-With a population of 3 111 792 people, the Extreme (Far) North Region of Cameroon is the most populated of the ten regions of the country. Though ‘extremely’ populated, the region suffers from extreme dryness, extreme floods, extreme poverty and extreme hunger etc.
The region has eight months of extreme dryness and four months of extreme rainfall, says Kounai Robert, a youth animator in Mbiga-Zidim, a village in Mokolo subdivision of the Mayo Tsanaga Division.
The four months of rain fall are characterized by floods as the region is surrounded by mountains that do not hold the rain, coupled with the fact that the region is a plain. This was confirmed by a visit to Mbozo-Kaé village in the Meri sub division of the Diamare division. Situated some 32 km from Maroua, the chief town of the region, the over 450 people of the village trek for 5km to have drinking water during the dry season.
There, a family head told this reporter that the weather conditions and the sandy soil do not favour farming. This, he said has cause the population of the area whose main activity is farming to remain very poor.
According to Mr Bouba Sodje a family head in Mbozo-Kaé village, for them to grind their millet, they have to trek some five kilometers to Douroum, a neighbouring village. In the same way, for them to fetch water, they depend only on Douroum; likewise when they need health facilities
Ftang Ouzzang is another village in Meri sub division ‘extremely’ inhabited by women. Here, it is the same sorry story. No schools, health centers, potable water, extreme poverty, etc.
The staple food of the entire Extreme (Far) North region of Cameroon is millet. This cereal is very scarce in some parts of the region.
Despite a program by a non governmental organisation, Network for the fight against Hunger and Poverty, RELUFA that makes cereals available to the population of this area, they lack grinding mills, potable water, schools and health centers.
In Moudoumboui village in the Ndoukoula subdivision of the Diamare, the story is same.
Like in Mbozo-Kaé and Ftang Ouzzang, Mr Ndjidda Guilidi an inhabitant of Moudoumboui, said the extremely poor soil fertility of the area does not favour farming which remains their main activity.
In Mbozo-Kaé, families are so poor that a family’s budget for a year hardly exceeds CFA 5000 Frs, says Wabi Djam a family head in the village. With a bag of millet selling at CFA 16000 Frs., it is difficult for these families to acquire this staple food.
The extreme poverty situation, Bouba Sodjé said has lead to extreme rural exodus.
In most of these villages, RELUFA has created community grain banks where villagers borrow cereals during hard times and repay in kind during harvest. This program though appreciated by the beneficiaries cannot completely solve the problems of villagers.
“We need to send our own children to school, grind our millet in Mbozo-Kaé…” says Mr Sali who pleaded with RELUFA to call on government to think of granting them a grinding mill and a school in future.
According to a 2011 World Food Program report, the rate of food insecurity in the Far North region of Cameroon stands at 17.9%, followed by the North with 14.6% while the East region is third with 10.3%.
Besides the natural factors, Sandrine Bikelle, Programs Assistant at RELUFA says structural factors also account for the extreme food insecurity in the Extreme North Region of Cameroon. She argues that poor management of harvests by peasants, illicit exportation of farm produce by peasants and insufficient access to farm inputs by farmers also contribute greatly to the problem of food insecurity that the region faces.
And that is just “the sorry story of Cameroon’s North of Extremes. Blessed be Cameroon.
By Ndi Eugene Ndi