Thursday, December 29, 2016

Lawyers, Teachers’ Strike To Continue Following Deadlocked Dialogue With Gov’t

Yaoundé—Representatives of striking Cameroon Anglophone lawyers stormed out of a government summoned ah-hoc committee dialogue to examine and proffer solutions to their grievances in the capital Yaounde saying the government side had refused to grant the preliminary issues demanded of them as the talks entered day two on Wednesday December 28.
Barrister Agbor Balla (middle) leading a lawyers' protest

Barrister Nkongho Felix Agbor Balla one of the representatives of the striking lawyers said they had demanded amongst others that some young protesters ‘arbitrarily arrested’ during the strike in the two English speaking regions of the country and taken to Yaounde be ‘unconditionally released’ and also that a government ban on some three lawyers’ associations in the regions be lifted before they can proceed with the dialogue. But the government could not immediately yield to these demands.

“We therefore had no reason to pursue the meeting and accordingly staged a walk,” said Barrister Agbor Balla who is also chair of the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium (CACSC).

The about 1000-member Cameroon Common Law Lawyers Association said the striking men and women in wigs and black robes who have deserted courts in the country since October will continue their work boycott until government succumbs to their demands.

The minister delegate in the Cameroon Ministry of Justice, Mr Jean Pierre Fogui who headed the government delegation to the dialogue could not be reached for comments at the time of this report.

Teachers too will not be able to suspend the strike!

The striking lawyers walk out came a day after striking teachers in the two English speaking regions of the Central African nation also stormed out of a similar meeting in the Northwestern town of Bamenda saying the ad-hoc committee appointed to conduct the negotiations was ‘not balanced.’

 “We noted that our brothers of the Southwest region have been left out of that ad-hoc committee giving the impression that it was a Northwest affair and creating conflict between the two regions,” said Mr Tassang Wilfred, national executive secretary of Cameroon Teachers Trade Union (CATTU) and one of the leaders of the strike.
He said the teachers representatives submitted a list of representatives from the Southwest; one of the two English speaking regions of the country who must be included in the committee before they can take part in the dialogue.
Mr Tassang (Middle) and colleagues leaving Bamenda dialogue

Like the lawyers, Mr Tassang Wilfred said they have also asked that government should release some youths who were arrested during the protest in Bamenda before the unionist can take part in the talks.

They vowed to continue with the strike that has paralysed school operations in the two English speaking regions of the Northwest and Southwest since November 21. Schools in the country are expected to resume next week after two weeks of Christmas and New Year recess.

“If government does not react, then schools will not resume because we will not be able to suspend the strike,” Mr Tassang Wilfred said.

The Bamenda dialogue that was chaired by Prof Paul Ghogomu Mingo, director of cabinet at the Prime Minister’s office took place in the presence of the Ministers of Basic, Secondary and Higher education as well as invited representatives of confessional private education and private higher education.

In a statement issued at the end of the talks, Prof Ghogomu said the teachers’ representatives displayed bad faith, describing them as ‘extremist trade unionists.’

 “With regard to extremist trade unionists who publicly refused to be part of this working session for reasons that have nothing to do with the education of young Cameroonians, Government will take its responsibility,” the statement by the government appointed chair of the Bamenda dialogue said.

Thousands of teachers and lawyers in the two English-speaking regions of Cameroon have resorted to work boycott, accusing the government of imposing the French language on their schools and courts.

Both the lawyers and the teachers have also been calling for a return to the federal system as obtained in the country before 1972; a demand that has attracted much sympathy from other groups and political parties in the regions.

By Ndi Eugene Ndi

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Conflict Diamonds From CAR Reaching International Markets Via Cameroon

Yaoundé—Cameroon has been allowing conflict diamonds from the neighboring Central African Republic (CAR) to cross over its borders and into the legal supply chain due to poor controls, smuggling and corruption, Partnership Africa Canada (PAC) said in a recent report.

The report, From Conflict to Illicit: Mapping the Diamond Trade from Central African Republic to Cameroon, investigates the failure of Cameroon's implementation of the Kimberley Process—the international diamond certification scheme meant to stop the trade of conflict diamonds.

In 2003, the United Nations General Assembly set up the Kimberley Process—a multinational organization comprising of diamond-producing states, traders and civil society groups to prevent “blood diamonds” sales from being introduced into the mainstream market and proceeds used in financing wars or insurgencies.

The body imposed a ban on the commercialization of CAR’s stones in 2013 when it was found to be funding armed groups in an inter-religious conflict until earlier this year when the embargo was partially lifted on zones it deemed compliant and conflict-free.

Yet, PAC which investigates and reports on the lack of accountability, poor governance, and human rights violations associated with conflict minerals said it found that illicit trade of conflict diamonds was still ongoing.

"While international outcry about 'blood diamonds' financing war in the Central African Republic sparked action to stop the trade, the same spotlight has not been turned on CAR's neighbours, said Joanne Lebert, Partnership Africa Canada's Executive Director. “Our investigation shows the reality on the ground and how conflict diamonds from CAR still have entry points to international markets through Cameroon."

A Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) review mission arrived Cameroon on Monday 05 December to evaluate the country's implementation of internal controls that govern diamond production and trade.

"It [KP review mission] must take action immediately and demonstrate to companies, retailers—and most importantly to consumers—that it is able to stop the flow of conflict diamonds," said Offah Obale, Researcher for Partnership Africa Canada, and the report's author.

The government of Cameroon had yet civil society activists in the country were of the opinion that such smuggling could be possible because of the 900km long porous border and the relationship border communities of the two countries share.

 “I think there has been a lot of goodwill by the National Permanent Secretariat of the Kimberley Process to monitor the diamond production and export chain in Cameroon, but you cannot overall the challenges that exist,” said Mr Jaff Napoleon Bamenjo coordinator of the Network for the Fight Against Hunger (RELUFA), a civil society organization that promotes improved natural resource governance in Cameroon.

The author of “The Kimberley Process: Responding to challenges and Policy gaps in Cameroon” however predicted more diamond smuggling from Cameroon through the Central African Republic which has a low diamond export tax of 12% as opposed to Cameroon with 24.5%.

“If you want to sell diamond and make more profits, I think it is more important to sell through the Central African Republic than to pass through Cameroon,” the RELUFA coordinator said.

By Ndi Eugene Ndi 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Bar GA President Condemns Police Brutality Against Common Law Lawyers

Douala, Cameroon—The president of the General Assembly of the Cameroon Bar Association, Ntumfor Barrister Nico Halle has condemned ‘in the hardest of terms’ the harassment and brutalization of Advocates of the North West and South West Regions who have been in the streets demonstrating against what they term government’s neglect of their grievances.
Nico Halle says police brutality against lawyers is despicable

Anti-riot police and gendarmerie forces on Friday brutally injured about a dozen protesting English speaking lawyers in the Southwest region.

“This situation is unwholesome and despicable. I express my sympathy to those who were hurt in any way. The molestation of one Advocate in Cameroon is the molestation of all advocates,” Ntumfor Nico Halle said on Monday, ‘praying God’ to cause authorities in the country to open dialogue for a peaceful solution.

Earlier on Saturday, the Cameroon Association of English Speaking Journalists (CAMASEJ) expressed outraged at the use of force by security agencies to disperse the unarmed protesting lawyers.

“As journalists, we do not condone this kind of lawlessness from those who are called upon to maintain peace and order in the country and the perpetrators should not be allowed to evade justice,” CAMASEJ national president, Simon Lyonga CAMASEJ national president said in the statement.

The lawyers who started their work boycott on October 11 have vowed to continue their peaceful demos until their grievances are addressed.

By Ndi Eugene Ndi in Yaoundé

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

President Biya Honors Rogers Nforgwei With ‘Knight Of The Order Of Valor’ #PhotoNews

Recognition: Gov’t Knights DRIMP Foundation CEO, Rogers Nforgwei

Rogers poses with wife and DRIMP Foundation staff after receiving medal
Yaoundé—The founder and president of DRIMP Foundation, Rogers Nforgwei was promoted into the Cameroon order of knighthood on Tuesday following a state recognition.

The state honored Mr Nforgwei with the ‘prestigious’ Knight of the Cameroon Order of valor medal for his contribution to the cultural emergence of Cameroon.

Besides producing local musicians (especially Gospel singers), DRIMP Foundation runs an annual cultural event; ‘The Gospel Musical’ which observers say has greatly propelled Cameroon’s culture.

Mr Nforgwei was among other cultural promoters like the legendary Manu Dibango who were honored at the start of the 8th edition of the National Festival of Arts and Culture (FENAC) that opened at the national museum in Yaounde Tuesday.

The one week cultural jamboree is holding under the theme; “Culture and the Emergence of Cameroon.” #PhotoNews
Rogers (middle) receives bouquet of flowers from collaborator

Rogers speaks to the media admit a warm embrace with his younger brother

Rogers (R) poses with another recipient 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Leading Policy Makers Applaud Tony Elumelu’s Drive To Empower Young Africans

Lagos, Nigeria, October 30, 2016—At the largest annual gathering of African entrepreneurs, held in Lagos, Nigeria, the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) hosted almost 1,000 women and men from 54 African countries, for the 2nd TEF Entrepreneurship Forum.
Leading policy maker join Elumelu (4th from R-L)at entrepreneurship Forum

The Forum celebrates the 2016 cohort of Elumelu Entrepreneurs, selected from over 45,000 applicants. It is the annual highlight of the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme and saw the presence of leading policy makers and business leaders from across Africa, giving their support to the Foundation and its promise to identify, train, mentor and seed 1,000 entrepreneurs in a decade-long $100 million commitment. Following the Forum, each entrepreneur is eligible to receive up to $10,000 to implement their business plan.

Applauding Tony Elumelu’s promise to not only empower entrepreneurs, but also to tackle the fundamental economic challenges confronting the African continent, His Excellency Ernest Bai Koroma, President of Sierra Leone called on others to emulate Elumelu. “Even when we had Ebola in Sierra Leone, Tony was there. His is an example which other successful Africans must follow.”

Focusing on the uniqueness of TEF’s approach to entrepreneurship development, President Koroma hailed the programme as “a genuinely innovative approach to philanthropy in Africa – an African offering African solutions”.

“What is unique about this programme is that it not only provides a platform for entrepreneurs to build connections, but they are also being taught how to build their businesses in a sustainable way. Other philanthropists will be inspired to support and promote this philosophy” the President concluded.

A generation of wealth creators

In his keynote speech, Mr. Elumelu stated “I salute those here, our ambition is that you become ambassadors for entrepreneurship in Africa – you are a generation of wealth creators, who share our commitment to the economic and social transformation of Africa. Let me tell you about Momarr Mass Taal, the CEO of Tropingo Foods, who has turned his first $5,000 seed capital received from the Foundation last year, into a $1.2 million revenue business. I want many more of these! However, as excited as I am about the 2,000 entrepreneurs that we have selected, this gathering is in some ways bittersweet, as I reflect on the 63,000 ideas we were unable to select – our commitment is to all entrepreneurs in Africa.”

Mr Elumelu challenged all stakeholders from the public and private sectors, civil society, multilateral organizations and all individuals invested in Africa’s economic development to join hands with the Foundation to support the wider African entrepreneurial community.  “We need to support our entrepreneurs because extreme poverty and economic opportunity rarely coexist in the same place.”

He also announced partnerships with regional institutions the African Development Bank, ECOWAS, and others including Coca Cola, the International Trade Centre, Nigerian Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism and Côte d’Ivoire Ministry of Entrepreneurship.

Goal of fostering innovation

The two-day forum buzzed with energy as entrepreneurs shared and gained knowledge, built cross-border partnerships, and connected with investors and policymakers, fulfilling the goal of fostering innovation and collaboration between entrepreneurs from across Africa.

On Day One, attendees benefited from masterclasses on traditional and alternative means of financing, sales and marketing, as well as sector specific workshops and an in-depth session on Africapitalism -  Elumelu’s economic philosophy that identifies the leading role of Africa’s private sector, including its entrepreneurs, in Africa’s transformation.

In her opening remarks, Mrs. Awele Elumelu, CEO Avon Medical, Trustee of the Foundation and wife of Founder, Mr. Elumelu, welcomed the entrepreneurs to Lagos and commended their drive and effort in finding solutions to some of the continent’s most pervasive challenges. The CEO of the Foundation, Ms. Parminder Vir, invited entrepreneurs in the audience to continue to build the future and to challenge the flawed perceptions of Africa.

Day Two featured a high-level panel dedicated to identifying policies to strengthen the enabling environment for entrepreneurs, moderated by BBC anchor, Lerato Mbele, with panellists including His Excellency Ernest Bai Koroma, President of Sierra Leone, President Olusegun Obasanjo, Former President of Nigeria, Former Prime Minister of Benin Republic Lionel Zinsou, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Honourable Minister of Information, Tourism and Culture and Mrs. Folorunsho Alakija, Vice Chair of Famfa Oil.

The exception, not the norm

Opening the High-Level Panel, Mrs. Alakija congratulated the entrepreneurs, praised TEF’s focus on entrepreneurship and shared her own personal story of perseverance to demonstrate the entrepreneurs need for resilience and doggedness. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo hailed Elumelu's perseverance and focus on giving back. "By every means, God has made His face shine upon you. You are not the only one, but unlike you, some others do not have the idea of empowering the next generation of Africans in the manner and scale that you are doing." He further emphasized patience to the young entrepreneurs. In his words, “For strength in life you need a bit of adversity.” He also called on the Nigerian government to implement policies that encourage investors and entrepreneurs to do business in Nigeria. Former Prime Minister of Benin, Lionel Zinsou, commended the Tony Elumelu Foundation, stating “What Tony Elumelu is doing is the exception, not the norm.”

Other speakers at the event included Clare Akamanzi, Representative of President Kagame of Rwanda,  Kennedy Uzoka, Group CEO of the United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA), Minster of Solid Minerals, Hon. Kayode Fayemi, Segun Awolowo, CEO of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Clem Ugorji, Public Affairs & Communications Director, Coca-Cola West Africa, Emeke Iweriebor, Regional CEO of UBA Africa (Francophone), Matthew Pearson, Head of Africa Equity Sales at ICBC Standard Bank, Sam Nwanze, Chief Investment Officer at Heirs Holdings.

Friday, October 28, 2016

“Better governance will solve Africa’s problems,”—Tony Elumelu

PRESS RELEASE—Philanthropists, Tony O. Elumelu, Bill Gates discuss the role of global philanthropy on business, politics and culture at Le Club de l'Economie hosted by Le Monde in Paris
Tony Elumelu (with red tie)

Speaking at the Le Club de l’Economie in Paris France on Monday, Tony O. Elumelu, Chairman of Heirs Holdings and UBA Plc and Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, made a call to the French business community, global stakeholders and influential Africans in the development world to embrace ‘structured philanthropy’ in support of rising entrepreneurs with great potential, as a means to achieving sustainable development in Africa.

He made this call during a live interview conducted by Serge Michel, Editor-in-Chief at Le Monde Afrique, to an audience of high level political and business leaders, including the French Development Agency, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, representatives of international organisations, such as the World Bank, and the IMF, as well as representatives of civil society and selected journalists. This is coming a few days before the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Forum, the largest annual gathering of African entrepreneurs, scheduled to take place on October 28-29th in Lagos, Nigeria, to celebrate the 2016 cohort of Elumelu Entrepreneurs, selected from over 45,000 applicants in 54 African countries.

In what has become a formidable gathering featuring a series of talks on business and economic issues, this special edition of ‘Le Club de l’Economie’ was dedicated to the influence of global philanthropy on business, politics and culture, featuring the world’s most influential philanthropists, including the world’s richest man, Bill Gates. Prior to his participation at Le Monde, Mr. Elumelu paid a courtesy call to the French Development Agency (AFD), where he met with CEO Mr. Remy Rioux to discuss concrete ways in which AFD can be supported by local partners ahead of plans to increase its annual financing commitment to Africa. Mr. Elumelu was joined by Bill Gates, his co-panelist at the Le Monde Philanthropy Forum.

Elumelu explained the challenges in developing Africa. “The biggest obstacles to development in Africa are a lack of an enabling environment, infrastructure and access to electricity. Imagine a young entrepreneur having to provide power access for a growing business."

He proffered solutions to some of the obstacles saying: “It is important that Africans increasingly embrace ‘structured giving’ because it helps us, assist worthy individuals who are not part of our families, or neighbourhoods, but who have great need and potential.”

Further expounding on the benefits of Africapitalism, Elumelu cited the achievements of the Tony Elumelu Foundation’s Entrepreneurship Programme as a valid example of how Africans can solve their own problems via entrepreneurship and better governance.

“Better governance will solve our problems. We can't afford to ignore entrepreneurship. We need to do both. We need government to realize that the success of entrepreneurs will lead to more success for government. Government can't create all the employment opportunities needed in the economy. Only the private sector can do this. Government must create an enabling environment to allow businesses to thrive.”
Bill Gates also a panelist at the event buttressed this point during his session, 

"States can no longer fund themselves their development, by giving back, we tap into the best part of ourselves. Everything significant we've done was through partnerships."

Elumelu concluded by encouraging French investors to connect with local partners, while also calling on both the public and private sector to invest back into the continent by focusing on entrepreneurship.

Le Club de L’Economie is organised by leading French newspaper, Le Monde. Other participants at the event included Bill Gates, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs, France; The Aga Khan, spiritual head of the Ismaili Muslim community and Remy Rioux, CEO of Agence Francaise de Development.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

MTN Foundation Supports Eseka Train Crash Victims

Representative of the Minister of Public Health receives medical consignment 
Yaoundé—MTN Foundation has handed over of a ‘significant amount’ of medication to the Ministry of Public Health (MINSANTE) to assist in the care of victims of the Eseka train accident the killed over 60people and injured nearly 600 others.

A ceremony to that effect took place Saturday at the headquarters of the Emergency Operations Centre of the Ministry of Public Health in Yaounde as rescue operations continued at the derailment site some 120kilometers west of the capital of the Central African nation.

“There are over 500 people who need urgent medical attention. In face of such a situation, it is natural for us to show our solidarity,” said Melvin Akam, executive secretary of the MTN Foundation.

The executive secretary hoped the ‘modest contribution’ will reinforce the capacity of the teams catering for the wounded, and assist victims of this accident.

This medication received on behalf of the Public Health by Dr Georges Alain Etoundi Mballa, Director of Disease Control in the Ministry was destined for use by the emergency aid workers of that government department deployed to assist those injured during the tragic train derailment.

A statement from the MTN Foundation said it might provide additional support based on the evolution of the situation.

Rescue workers have remained at the scene of the derailment searching for more injured or dead bodies.

President Paul Biya who has ruled the country since 1982 has declared Monday October 24 a national day of mourning in memory of those who lost their lives in the crash.

By Ndi Eugene Ndi

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Joy In Douala As Jailed Anti-Colonial Activist Is Freed

Douala—Cameroonian anti-colonialism activist, Andre Blaise Essama who was jailed for destroying the statue of a French colonial administrator, General Leclerc was freed from a Douala prison late Friday amidst an atmosphere of joy.
Andre Blaise Essama was freed on Friday

Douala-based television channel, Equinoxe TV footage showed crowds of motorbike riders, friends and family members singing ‘liberty songs’ outside the New Bell prison as they received the activist who spent six months in the dungeon.

On July 4 this year, a Douala court sentenced the nationalist activist to six months in jail for destroying public property. He had already spent 96 days in detention as of the day of his conviction.

The activist had pulled down the imposing statue in the heart of the economic capital on claims that such statues have no place in Cameroon.

“The statue of General Leclerc should join its ancestors in France. It has no place in Cameroon” the activist said then.

Essama claimed that the statue is occupying space that could have been reserved for national heroes who fought for Cameroon’s independence like Ruben Um Nyobe, John Ngu Foncha, and Martin Paul Samba among others.

“Can you find the statue of these our national martyrs in Paris?” Essama questioned.

Most streets, educational and health institutions in Cameroon have been named after some nationals of the former colonial master like Dr Jamot and General Charles de Gaulle.

“These names remind me of the painful colonial period that was marked by blood shed of our national heroes,” Essama said.

It was not the first time the anti French activist was pulling down the same statue. He did same in 2013 but the Douala city council rebuilt it months later. He had served a three months jail term in 2015 for the same act.

The activist has promised to continue his struggle despite what he described as intimidation from authorities.

He promised he will continue his struggle for the restoration of the memory of the national heroes of Cameroon.

Mr Essama said his first action following his release will be a proposal of effigies of Cameroonian nationalists to authorities of the Douala city council in replacement of those of foreign figures of the colonial era.

By Ndi Eugene Ndi

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Broke CAMTEL Workers Threaten Strike Over Unpaid Salaries

Yaoundé—Employees of the state-owned national telecoms operator; Cameroon Telecommunications (CAMTEL) have threatened a strike action should authorities not meet their demands amongst which is the payment of salaries and other benefits “as soon as possible.”

In a letter to the General Manager of the corporation, employees under the umbrella of the National Syndicate of Communication (SYNACOM) have outlined ten grievances which they say should be addressed else they will have no choice than stop work.

Mouangue Pierre Louis Charles president of SYNACOM said the decision to down their tools is justified by the failure on the side of management to respect terms of a recent memorandum of understanding between both parties.

“If by October 22 nothing is done, we will disengage ourselves from whatever would happen to the company,” Mouangue Pierre said in the notification letter to CAMTEL management.

In a release made public Tuesday, the corporation that prides itself as the ‘mother of telecommunications’ in Cameroon admitted it is broke as service consumers have accumulated bills, “some of which span several months and cause the company substantial loss of revenue.”

The statement signed by Benjamin Gerard Assouzo’o, CAMTEL’s director of marketing and communication said an extensive campaign has been launched throughout the country for the forceful collection of the said debts.

“The campaign involves employing all legal recourse including temporary suspension of all voice and internet services,” the statement said, further explaining that the suspended services will be restored upon payment of the arrears.

Besides salaries and other employees’ benefits, we learnt from authoritative sources within the state-owned national telecoms operator that the Cameroon Radio Television (CRTV) had suspended broadcast of the corporation’s adverts as it has also accumulated the broadcaster’s bills.

We also learnt that the telecom company which was awarded a 15-year license for the establishment and operation of a mobile telecoms network in the country in September 2014 is yet to fully deploy its GSM services throughout the country for want of financial resources.

By Ndi Eugene Ndi

Journalists Outraged At MP’s Assaults of Their Colleague

Yaounde—A Member of Parliament with the ruling Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement (CPDM) party, Hon Wallang Richard Ebua has come under heavy criticisms from journalists in the country for allegedly assaulting their colleague on duty.
Dejected Mua Patrick still recovering from the MP's punches

According to Mua Patrick, Yaounde city reporter of The Guardian Post daily newspaper, the MP for Menchum South constituency in the Northwest region of the country had accused him of writing critical articles that tarnish his image as a lawmaker.

While the reporter was covering a meeting organized by local officials of the ruling party in the constituency on Sunday September 25, “the MP with the support of some of thugs attacked and brutalized me at the Wum council hall,” Mua Patrick said.

“He (the MP) kicked me on my lower abdomen before landing me three punches. I developed a swollen jaw and blood was oozing out of my nostrils. Then the thugs he called lifted stones, threatening to stone me and teach me a lesson,” the reporter explained saying he escaped and sought medical attention in a private local clinic.

Not The First Time

Hon Wallang however argued that he did not assault the reporter as he claims.

“It is just that it was out of temper, but I didn’t touch him with my hand and those guys who came [the thugs] that they want to, I mean that it will not end there, I warned them not to touch him. But he (Mua Patrick) is going round amplifying the whole story,” the ruling party MP said without disclosing what he did out of temper.
Hon Wallang says it was out of temper

“I only told him that what he’s doing [writing about the MP] is not good. And he replied to me that are you talking to a child. Then I only asked him that Patrick, are you answering me like that. Then I left,” Hon Wallang explained.

But Mua Patrick maintained it is not the first time the lawmaker was ‘attacking’ him but has never brandished any of his (Mua) articles that tarnished his image.

“He (the MP) once threatened my mother sometimes in May that she should call me to order,” the journalist said adding that he’s frustrated as he can’t take legal action against the lawmaker because of his parliamentary immunity.

 “Yes, his mother is someone I respect, I told her to tell (warn) Patrick,” the MP admitted.

Immediately Tender An Apology

The MP’s action has sparked outrage amongst journalists in the country. MuaPatrick’s colleagues have relentlessly been condemning the lawmaker’s action and demanding an apology from the latter.

“The act is not only barbaric and sickening to the bones, but equally a display of insanity at its peak,” said Claudia Nsono, journalist with HiTV in Buea who added that “such nasty unruly behavior [of the MP] must be justified and in due time.”

Nfor Hanson Nchanji, a journalist with Douala-based Equinoxe Television and advocate of press freedom described the act as a ‘slap on the face of all journalists’ in the country.

“Having parliamentary immunity does not give an MP the right to transform a journalist into a punching bag. I implore journalism associations to take the matter personal,” he said.

Amindeh Blaise Atabong, journalist and president of an advocacy group; Association of Combined Action to Protect and Empower Journalists (ACAPEJ), also condemned the assault calling on the MP to tender an apology.

“We call on Hon. Wallang Richard to immediately tender an apology to the assaulted journalist as well as cover all medical expenses and damages the journalist must have incurred from the MP’s action. Authorities in Cameroon should also insure that the excesses of MPs who have immunity should be checked,” Atabong said.

Mua Patrick’s employer, Mr Ngah Christian Mbipgo, CEO of The Guardian Post daily newspaper said he could not immediately comment for he is writing a ‘strongly worded letter’ to the Presidency, Prime Minister’s office and Diplomatic Missions accredited to Cameroon.

Hon Wallang is serving his second five-year mandate as Member of Parliament and may seek another term when legislative elections are convened in 2018. The governing CPDM and the leading opposition the SDF are the dominant political parties in the constituency.

By Ndi Eugene Ndi

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Greenpeace Wants ‘President Biya’s Family’ Plantation Suspended!

Yaoundé—Environment watchdog and lobby group, Greenpeace has called on the Cameroon government to suspend lease agreements with one of the country’s biggest rubber company; Sud-Cameroon Hévéa (Sudcam) until clear preconditions and modalities of the sublet are established.
Research reveals President Biya's family owns Sudcam rubber plantation

In an article made public last Wednesday 24 August, the group said the rubber producing giant has been a threat to future communities and the Dja Faunal Reserve, created in 1950 and registered a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.

 The reserve constitutes habitat for fourteen species of primate including Western Lowland Gorillas and Chimpanzees. Nomadic Baka forest peoples have inhabited the area for hundreds of years, possibly longer.

Greenpeace in the report said a recent analysis of satellite images shows that Sudcam has clear-cut almost 6,000 hectares of forest since 2011 with 42% of the deforestation carried out over the past one and a half year.

 “That’s over 5,000 ha more than the clearing at the SGSOC palm oil plantation in Cameroon’s South West Region, a project which has been the object of massive NGO and media scrutiny since 2010,” part of the report read.

Sudcam officials were not reachable for comments at the time of this report.

President of the Republic's family

Citing a report by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Greenpeace suggests that official tolerance for SudCam’s apparent violation of Cameroonian land law may be due to the fact that one of its shareholders is, an influential member of the Cameroonian political elite.

The CIFOR research which Greenpeace has seen says: “[the] allocation of a temporary concession to Sud-Cameroun Hevea SA without taking into account the criteria specified in land regulations seems to have been motivated by the personality behind the Cameroonian who holds 20% of the company’s share.”

It adds that, “according to a local representative of the Ministry of the Environment, the President of the Republic's family owns the company. However we have learned only that an influential member of the Cameroonian political elite, whose identity we do not know, apparently owns 20% of the company’s shares.”

Sudcam whose plantation is located only a dozen kilometers east of President Paul Biya’s native Mvomeka’a village was established in 2010 as a joint venture company between the Singapore-based GMG Global Ltd (GMG), a subsidiary of the Chinese state-owned company Sinochem (80% of the shares) and the Société de Productions de Palmeraies et d'Hévéa (SPPH) (20% of the shares), the Greenpeace report explained.

The environmental advocacy group said it has written to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee to express unease about the lack of attention paid to the threat created by the Sudcam plantation.

“The opacity and questionable legality of the Sudcam project – by far the Congo Basin’s most devastating new clearing of forest for agriculture – has been encouraged by donors’, media’s and NGOs’ near total indifference to it,” the lobby group suggested in the report.

The group expressed lamentation that the UNESCO World Heritage Committee was asked to vote on a draft decision to inscribe the Dja reserve on the List of World Heritage in Danger on 14 July 2016, “unfortunately, only Finland voted in favor while all other delegations opposed the measure,” Greenpeace said.

By Ndi Eugene Ndi

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Nigerian arrested for naming dog after President Buhari

President Buhari
A Nigerian man who named his dog after President Muhammadu Buhari and painted the name on both sides of the dog was arrested for breach of the peace.

Joe Fortemose Chinakwe walked Buhari in an area where support for the president was high, police said.

Officers said they were worried the moved could antagonise people, though he insisted it was meant as a compliment.

He has been granted bail but remains in jail as funds are sought, reports said.

Mr Chinakwe, 30, said that he named the dog Buhari because he had admired Mr Buhari for many years.

"I named my beloved pet dog Buhari, who is my hero," Mr Chinakwe said. "My admiration for Buhari started far back when he was a military head of state."

Death threats

He was inspired to give his dog the name after reading about Mr Buhari's fight against corruption, he added.

He later told local media he had received death threats over the perceived slight.

Twitters users reacted to the arrest with a mixture of amusement and concern.

"If we keep quiet when they arrest the man who named his dog Buhari who will talk for us when they arrest us for criticizing the real Buhari?" said Reno Omokri.

Mr Chinakwe's case was adjourned until 19 September.

Source: BBC

Monday, August 15, 2016

WISU Amends Constitution, Ngwan Derrick Extends Mandate

The national president of the Wimbum Students’ Union (WISU) will now have a three-year mandate renewable once instead of two years renewable once as has been the case for decades, sources have confirmed.

Like President Paul Biya did with the constitution of Cameroon in 2008, the WISU constitution was tinkered at the behest of the association’s leader during the 2017 convention that ended in Rong village at the weekend.

Ngwan Derrick Tawe Nyah who was elected for a first two-year mandate in Bongom in 2014 was re-elected for a second mandate expected to last three years.

However, we are yet to have ample information regarding allegations that the president ‘deceived’ Wisuans that he was a second year student of the Catholic University of Bertoua to be eligible for the post.

We are told villagers were transported from Binka and Tabenken to vote in Rong; “they voted and left the convention the same day,” one of the convention attendee told this reporter on phone Sunday.
Ngwan Derrick, WISU President-elect

 We learnt that Ngwan Derrick met a four year calendar of host villages of WISU convention when he assumed office in 2014 but attempted to deprive 2017 host, Nwangri.

Our source that spoke on grounds of anonymity hinted that the president elect wanted to move the 2017convention from Nwangri to Binka; a move that made with stiff resistance from discontented students.

 “I will give out that information officially from my office, I don’t like the way you particularly has been talking about the convention, so wait for official information from my office,” the WISU president-elect told this reporter on phone early Monday.

 We are also investigating allegations that not fewer than 58 non-students Rong youth ‘were given’ WISU membership cards and they took part in the vote.

Since the WISU president-elect could not talk to us, we were also unable to ascertain why he referred to his predecessor as a coward who could not change the constitution.

We hope however that the “official information” he has promised to give from his office will answer our worries.

By Ndi Eugene Ndi

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Cameroon—Kenya U17 Match Relocated To Limbe

Limbe Omnisport stadium
Yaoundé—Cameroon football authorities have relocated a match between the country’s under 17 football team against Kenya on Sunday August 7.

The Kenyan under 17 soccer team arrived Cameroon on Friday.

The encounter which is the first leg of the second round of qualifiers for the 2017 African U17 championship to be staged in Madagascar was initially programmed for the Bafoussam Omnisport stadium in the West region of the country.

In a statement published early Saturday, the Cameroon Football Federation (FECAFOOT) said the aircraft that had to transport the Kenyan team from Douala to Bafoussam had a technical fault.

The visiting team could not therefore travel by bus on the over 250km long road from Douala to the initial playground in Bafoussam as FIFA rules stipulate that a visiting team must not travel more than 200Km by road.

“Consequently, FECAFOOT informed CAF which has approved” that the match takes place at the Limbe Omnisport stadium, the statement signed by the secretary general of the Cameroon soccer federation Blaise Moussa said.

The seaside resort town of Limbe is 75km away from Douala and the visiting team will be transported by bus.

The match against Cameroon comes a week after the COSAFA 2016 regional championship in Mauritius where the Kenyan side was guest team.

The team that is hoping to qualify for the African championship for the first time will be counting on the experience of the regional tourney for Sunday’s encounter with Cameroon.

The host, Cameroon U17 Lions has been in training in the West region after their return from the Central African Football Federations' Union (UNIFFAC) U17 tournament in Congo-Brazaville where they finished third.

The return leg has been scheduled for the weekend of August19 - 21 in Nairobi, Kenya.

By Ndi Eugene Ndi

Cameroon Unveils 2016 Women’s AFCON Mascot, Anthem And Logo

Yaoundé—President Paul Biya last Friday approved the mascot, anthem and logo of the 2016 Women’s African Football Cup of Nations to be staged in Yaounde and Limbe from November 19 to December 3.

The unveiling of the mascot comes barely a week after a CAF inspection team visited the country and declared it ready to host the tournament.

The mascot, a lioness named Lili-the first two syllabuses of the lion and lioness; the male and female national soccer teams of the country is clothed with the three colours of the Cameroon flag; Green, Red and Yellow—holding on its right hand the official match ball of the tournament by CAF.

On its T-shirt is inscribed, “CAF Women’s African Cup of Nations, Cameroon 2016,” same writing on the logo which is the African map with a star on the position of Cameroon.

The anthem; a bilingual song recorded in a French studio in Paris has as lead singers renowned Afropop singers; Charlotte Dipanda and Richard Kings, featuring some national and international stars.

It celebrates brotherhood amongst the continent’s people through the championship as well as women and their achievements. It also expresses the country’s gratitude to CAF and FIFA for granting it the rights to host its first Women AFCON (and the second AFCON, after the Men AFCON in 1972) ever organized by the country.

On Thursday, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) announced that it has banned Equatorial Guinea from participating in the tournament for fielding a player whose age differed from a previous she declared in 2014.

The two-time African champions fielded Brazilian-born midfielder Camila Nobre do Carmo Oliviera whose date of birth is 10/06/1988 but was registered as Camila Maria Nobre Carmo with date of birth as 07/10/1994 at the 2014 edition of the tournament in Namibia. Mali was brought in to replace the country.

Current holders Nigeria and hosts Cameroon will thus be joined by Mali, Ghana, Kenya, Egypt, Zimbabwe and South Africa at the tournament.

By Ndi Eugene Ndi