Monday, 18 January 2016

Front page

Ministry of Secondary Education:

1000 over-aged teachers sent packing
By Kelvin Nembo Njuhsop in Yaounde
Ngalle Bibehe
There will be no extra time for some 1000 teachers of the Ministry of Secondary Education born in or before 1956. These teachers who attained the statutory retirement age of 60 years as of January 2016 but were still in active service have been urged to go home and take a well-deserved rest.
    Aware that they had reached the retirement age, some of these teachers thought they could bribe their way and continue working, as has been the case before now.  Unfortunately for them, their plans were ruined when a list of some 1000 teachers was published on the website of the Ministry of Secondary Education, last weekend.

Public Sector workers:

Family allowances increased by FCFA 1000
By Kelvin Nembo Njuhsop in Yaounde

Gregoire Owona
From henceforth, family allowances that had since 1985 stood at CFA 1800 per child monthly will witness an increase of not less than 50%. That is about FCFA 1000 increase making it a total of FCFA 2800 per child beginning this January 2016.
The information was made known January 14th by the President of the National Advisory code, Gregoire Owona who also doubles as the Minister of Labour and Social Security.             Worth noting is the fact that only salaried workers registered under the labour code with one or two children are entitled to such allowances.
    Speaking in Yaounde recently during the maiden deliberations of the board, Minister Gregroire Owona pointed out that such an increase which will be inforced by the 2016 budget given the present economic context will go a long way to help boost the living standards of most Cameroonians. 

Fuel price drop fully operational in B’da

Dr. Nkwenti Ignatius
Few weeks after President Paul Biya announced a drop in the price of fuel in his end of year address to the nation on 31st December 2015, dealers of petroleum products in the North West region have so far implemented the decision to the latter.
    The revelation was made recently by Dr. Nkwenti Ignatius, President of Trade Union of Petroleum Dealers in the North West Region (an association of proprietors and managers of fuel filling stations in Bamenda) and Proprietor of Corlay Liberty Petrol Station, Ntarikon Mankon Bamenda.
    After the Head of State’s Message, the Minister of Trade who is also the Board Chair of the Hydrocarbons Prices Stabilisation Fund (CSPH), Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana announced that the price of a litre of Super to dropped by 20 CFA Francs and be sold at 630 CFA Francs and that the price of a litre of Gas Oil (Diesel) be dropped by 25 CFA Francs and be sold at 575 CFA Francs.

Musa Shey Nfor Reelected at BAPCCUL

Members of the Bamenda Police Cooperative Credit Union League BAPCCUL, have renewed confidence on Musa Shey Nfor by reelecting him to head the micro finance outfit for another three year mandate. 
    In an elective general assembly meeting (AGM) of the union at the Ntamulung Church Hall Bamenda on Saturday January 9, 2015, Musa Shey Nfor won 2294 of the 2300 votes cast, with six null votes recorded.
    Madam Ngu Regina was also elected as Vice president of the Union to replace Mrs. Tamusang Elizabeth.
Tallah Jackson was maintained as chairperson of the Supervisory Board while Yengi Delphine was elected to the position of chairperson of the Women’s Committee to take over from Mrs Eunice Bongkisheri Mah.

Poor road maintenance:

Fru Ndi wants toll gates removed from roads 
By Njodzefe Nestor in Bamenda 
Fru Ndi
The chairman of the Social Democratic Front, Ni John Fru Ndi has called on Cameroonians to dislodge all tollgates found on the dilapidated sectors of our road infrastructure and has encouraged civil disobedience in the payment of tollgates by all road users until the roads are properly maintained.
    Fru Ndi made the declration in his 2016 New Year message to the nation on Thursday, January 14 at his Ntarikon residence.
    “It is very disturbing that roads are allowed to be damaged completely and then repair contracts are awarded to unscrupulous contractors and embezzlers of the regime in power,” noted the SDF Chieftain, who added: “We shall not sit and watch how gullies develop on our roads, causing ghastly accidents, destroying vehicles and paralyzing economic activity”.
    Chairman Fru Ndi observed that the idea of toll gates which was an initiative of the SDF but hijacked by the Biya regime, has been haphazardly implemented with disastrous consequences leading to roads becoming death traps and the funds derived from the tool gates being diverted into unwarranted and even destructive political ventures.
    He added that Road construction and maintenance, and the transport sector in general have been arrogated by the party in power as a way of financing its political activities.
    “The only qualification to win a road construction contract, importation of transport equipment such as railway coaches and air planes in our country is to belong to the CPDM. Everything in this sector is done with nothing but political patronage”.

Pull him down (Phd) politics:

Fako elite want my head…..they hate my success!
- Patrick Ekema Esunge, Mayor of Buea
According to the outspoken and tough-talking Buea Mayor, his growing success and popularity, especially after the landmark visit of President Biya to Buea, has caused some Bakweri political elite to gang up with the sole aim to destroy him. 

By Ajongakou Santos in Buea
Patrick Ekema Esunge
The twist of events in CPDM Buea has been intriguing and marked by political manipulations and upheavals. Often times, observers have remarked with unshakable conviction that the political environment in Buea and the South West Region in general is getting deadly by the day. And that may explain why today many young people are wary about joining politics.
    For some time now, the Mayor of Buea, Patrick Ekema Esunge, has been complaining about his name being dragged into the mud and his hard-earned reputation lampooned and rubbished by some people he calls his “enemies”.
    Just like it is often said: “When a cup is overfull, its content spills over”; “when a mountain is saturated, it spits lava”, so too has the Mayor of Buea decided to empty his heart, which he says is inflamed because of the insults, attacks, intimidations, manipulations and other activities of his enemies who are working tirelessly to pull him down.
    During a recent press outing of the SG of the South West Elites Association SWELA, at the Buea Council Hall, Mayor Ekema took the opportunity to condemn his enemies; all those who hate his “meteoric rise and God-given success”. He said he loves SWELA and some of its actions but that he will not and cannot condone the xenophobia and tribal tendencies of some South West Elite, especially Fako political elite.
    Ekema recalled how when he announced his candidature for section elections during the last reorganization of basic organs of the CPDM party, some people in Yaounde called him and urged him to drop “those graffi people” from his list, “else the list would be disqualified.”
    He continued that he refused to heed the instruction of these tribalistic and ungrateful Fako politicians because he did not understand why people that the CPDM party in Buea had counted on and who actually supported the party, at times even risking their lives, just so that the party wins elections in Buea, should be victimized today because they are not Bakweri.

Casualty in political warfare?

Mbonge mayor dies of undisclosed illness
The death has been announced of the mayor of Mbonge municipality. William Sakwe Ekong died in the afternoon of Friday 15 January 2016, we can confirm.
    Family sources said he died of a protracted illness. The sources said his health situation had deteriorated lately and arrangements were being made to take him to a prophet in Douala on Saturday 16 January 2016, for intensive prayers and miracle healing. But Mayor William Sakwe died just now.
    A political juggernaut in Mbonge subdivision in Meme Division of the South West region, William Sakwe was president of Mbonge CPDM section for over 15 years.  He later became mayor of Mbonge council, replacing his cousin, Hon. Otte Andrew Mofa, who went to the senate after two mandates as mayor.
    Sources say William Sakwe has not had a quite stay at the helm of the Mbonge council. This is because his election was vigorously contested by the SDF party that was believed to have won the election.
    During his installation as mayor, security operatives used tear gas to disperse a raging mob that had mobilized to disrupt the event.
    Apart from his troubles at the council, Mayor William Sakwe and his cousin Otte Andrew were also bitterly criticised by the Bakundus for grabbing and holding tight to all the available political positions in Mbonge sub-division. William Sakwe and Otte Mofa are Mbonges from Big Nganjo village. The two have shared the positions of CPDM Section president, Mayor of Mbonge and now senator for over 15 years.

11 February fabric palaver:

Mounouna Foutsou burns his fingers
The Youth Affairs minister should not miss the point: he has burnt his fingers almost to the point of losing them. If he used to stand tall in the eyes of President Paul Biya, his boss, there is no question that this issue of a Youth Day fabric has reduced him to a midget, and is very likely to be his nemesis.

By Douglas A. Achingale
Perhaps no issue has caused as much controversy within public service circles in Cameroon in recent times as that of having a fabric for the Youth Day celebration. The minister of Youth Affairs, Mounouna Foutsou, would shout it to whoever wants to listen that it was a decision of the National Youth Council. And to attempt to make it digestible, the idea of ‘golden jubilee’ was tied to it. Just like the golden jubilee celebration of the armed forces, of Independence or of Reunification.
    Hogwash! Absolute nonsense indeed! Inside sources have told this newspaper that the idea of a Youth Day fabric was hatched and mooted by no one else than the minster himself. Mounouna Foutsou and his acolytes are believed to have seen it as a rare occasion for them to make some quick money for themselves, and so sold the idea to the National Youth Council most of whose members bought it without second thought, in the joyful hope of having a cut in the deal. But when other stakeholders were brought in to give their views on it, they did not fail to see its meaninglessness and to deprecate it with all their energy.
    This view cannot be discarded because other sources hold that although the minister was promoted in the 2 November 2015 cabinet reshuffle (from secretary of state in the ministry of Secondary Education to minister of Youth Affairs) he is weeping inwardly for having been removed from a sea of abundance to a land of dearth. For, compared to the ‘juicy’ ministry of Basic Education, the ministry of Youth Affairs is considered by those who see ministerial positions as opportunities to make gain rather than serve the nation, as a dry land where no one would like to go to if their opinion were sought.

Dear Editor,

Re: Churchill Monono’s reply to misguided zealots
I write to congratulate Mr. Douglas A. Achingale on his wonderful review of His Excellency Churchill Ewumbue-Monono’s newly published book on Buea. I am still to read the book, but the foretaste I have of it from the review tells me its quality is superb. The review has only increased my appetite to devour what is supposedly the rich and palatable content the book.
    By the way, I know of what stuff His Excellency is made. I know how fine his pen is. I’ve read two of his books and some of his write-ups and was particularly thrilled by them. If this new book is written in the same style, then I really can’t wait to peruse it.
    One of the things that strike me in Achingale’s review is where he says everything one wants to know about Buea up till the end of 2014, is found in the work. Does this mean the book is the “bible” of Buea and its inhabitants?
    I wish His Excellency to tell the public if and when the book will be launched or where one can get a copy. I can’t really wait to read it.
    Best regards Mr. Editor and keep doing the good work of informing Cameroonians of important happenings in the country and around the world.

Itoe Wesley
Bonduma, Buea


Ayah Paul creates NGO to fight injustice
Justice for all is a legally registered Human Rights outfit whose membership is open to both physical persons (individuals) and moral persons (villages, organizations, companies, media organs, churches etc). Its objectives inter alia are: the protection of members against all excesses by all legal means, taking legal action for the protection of members and their families, holding watching briefs when any of the member(s) is standing trial, following up matters under investigation against any of the members, securing legal aid for impecunious members, demystifying the law through advocacy, setting up didactic centers for arming the members of the association with basic legal notions.

Technological innovation:

DGT, Mopa Modeste Fatoing
Online tax declaration at the doorsteps of taxpayers
Besides having other advantages, the new form of tax declaration for Medium-Sized Enterprises is
simple, quick and practical

By Ojong Steven Ayukogem in Yaounde
Taxpayers who declare their taxes at the Medium-sized Tax Offices in Yaounde, Douala, Limbe, Bamenda and Bafoussam no longer go through the nightmare of waiting for long hours in unending queues and printing tens of pages of paper to carry out the exercise. Since the beginning of this month, all they need to do is a few clicks of the computer and their taxes are declared.
    The online declaration, which is a major qualitative leap of the Directorate General of Taxes, (DGT) is now done on its website, . Practically speaking, it is done in seven stages. First of all the declarer must have his taxpayer’s card number before beginning the operation. Then he connects to the above-mentioned website in the rubric tele-declaration or on the site, and then creates his account.

Libom Li Likeng wants order in money transfer sector

The Minister of P and T has told clandestine operators that in no distant time reforms would be carried out in the sector whose potentials are enormous. Defaulters would face the law, she warned.
By Tanyi Kenneth Musa in Yaounde
Minette Libom Li Likeng
Minette Libom Li Likeng, the minister of Post and Telecommunications took a first step towards resolving the thorny issue of clandestine money transfer operations in Cameroon by meeting with recalcitrant actors in the sector on Wednesday, 13 January 2016. At the meeting that held within the premises of her ministry, it was revealed that a total of 226 structures are suspected of operating secretly at the level of the delivery of messages and money transfer.
    The Median gathered that only 13 postal operators were said to have temporary authorizations while 101 have applied for such authorizations and are waiting. Meantime 32 are awaited to pay the caution for the entry rights, the sites of 23 others have already been visited by officials of the ministry while 14 have simply backed out.

The price of rice will not rise

Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana
– Trade minister
There will be no mixing of stocks of the staple food item by traders. Stocks acquired before the 5% customs duty fixed by the 2016 finance law will first be sold to consumers at the normal price. Thereafter the price will be determined by the trends in the international market. But the price is likely to fall rather than rise.
By Kelvin Nembo Njuhsop in Yaounde

The minister of Trade has assured the public that the price of rice will not increase, contrary to speculations that have been rife these past days. Speaking on Wednesday, 13 January 2015 in a meeting with economic operators dealing with the production and distribution of mass consumer goods, Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana said the 5% customs duty fixed on the importation of rice by the 2016 finance law will have no direct effect on the housewife’s basket.
     “The present level of stocks of rice acquired before the fixing of the new customs duty permits to a great extent the coverage of the needs of the market in the course of the coming months,” Magloire Atangana assured.

After 15 years of wait:

Chief Bate-Epey
Chief Bate-Epey crowned as ruler of Nfaitock
By Agbor-Ebot Joseph Nchemti on assignment in Nfaitock

The people of Mfaitok have unanimously accepted to enthrone chief Bate-Epey Robert Oben as their ruler after a protracted power struggle lasting 15 years.     He was installed on Thursday 14thJanuary 2016 by the D.O of Tinto, Muluka Allain.
 As tradition has it, the throne has to rotate among the three quarters of Mfaitok which are Beriep, Asekpo and Ntencho. Each quarter has a designated family head when it comes to ruler ship.
    The original location of Nfaitock was around Ossing in Eyumojock Sub division but for fear of German control and because the ancestors wanted to be near the road, they migrated to their present location situated along the Kumba-Nguti-Mamfe road in upper banyang sub-division.
    Ever since this migration, the natives of Nfaitock have decided to rotate their chieftaincy stool from one quarter to the other, among the three major quarters of the village. Village sources say the late Chief Ayuk-akpa Adolf supported this in his will before his death in 2000. Coming from Ntencho quarter, Chief Ayuk-akpa Adolf willed the throne to Beriep quarter that by right had to produce the new chief. It is only today that the will of the late Chief and the Nfaitock people has been implemented.

Binka, Donga-Mantung:

King Benchep Adamu Nfor
Traditional ruler creates own church
HRH King Benchep Adamu Nfor cum King of Binka village, in Donga Mantung Division of the North West Region has created his own church. The church which he said has been named Lord Jesus Christ Church is the first of its kind in the North West Region of Cameroon to be created by a traditional.
    When quizzed on whether he will be able to manage church activities and at the same time pour libations, King Benchep said that henceforth all libations in his palace are poured in the name of Jesus Christ and not in the name of the ancestors as had been the case before now.
    Harping on why he decided to create his own church, the King of Binka village said that the reason for the creation of the Lord Jesus Christ Church is to blend Christianity with tradition. “I will be able to know which aspects of tradition are bad and which ones are good. It will enable us to do away with the obnoxious part of tradition and keep the good ones”, he emphasized.

Catholic Bishops condemn homosexuality

While the Bishops have expressed unreserved bitterness and have called for reinforced prayers as a way of ridding society of the ungodly practice, the government is sparing no effort to punish promoters of the “crime of passion”    
   By Sarah Nkongho Ojong in Tiko

Catholic Bishops in Cameroon have issued a strongly-worded document condemning homosexuality as a way of life. This was the outcome of a two-day meeting they held in Batouri, East Region recently. The Bishops in their memorandum described homosexuality as a practice that goes against the teachings of the Holy Bible. They are therefore calling on Christians to reinforce prayers if they must stop the spread of homosexuality in society.
    Homosexuality is spreading among young boys and young girls in Cameroon even though the law prohibits it in the country. The Cameroon penal code punishes homosexuality by a prison term and a heavy fine.
    Few years ago, the Cameroon government chastised the European Union EU for sponsoring human rights associations defending homosexuals in the country. This was after it emerged that the EU had paid the sum of over two hundred million cfa (FCFA 200, 000,000) to Douala-based lawyer, Alice Nkom as financial support for her defense of the rights of some  Cameroonians who were being prosecuted in connection with homosexuality.
    Today Barrister Alice Nkom not only defends homosexuals, she also sensitizes the public that homosexuality is not criminal and that individuals have a right to live their lives the way the want and also do what ever they liked with their bodies.
    This advocacy by the now famous barrister is perhaps what has pushed many more Cameroonians into embracing homosexuality.

New IRAD Ekona boss commissioned

By Ajongakou Santos & Boris Esono
The new regional Chief of Centre for IRAD, The Institute Agronomic Research and Development EKONA has been formally installed into his functions. This was in a ceremony that took place last Tuesday January 12, 2016. The new chief of Centre, Dr. Efonbagn Mosousseni Bruno was installed by Moen Abedimo Joseph, who is the Assistant Director General of IRAD.
    Speaking after the ceremony, the new chief of Centre promised to respect hierarchy and ensure discipline, hard work, respect for public property and personnel. He also pledged to boost revenue generation and fruitful collaboration with local administrators.
    Mr.Efonbagn however regretted that the Divisional Officers for Buea and Muyuka, and the Mayor for Muyuka were not present at the installation ceremony.

Lionel Messi seeks to pursue childhood dreams

By Kelvin Nembo Njuhsop 
Lionel Messi
The Five-time World Player of the Year (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015) has hinted that in the nearest future, he would probably end his career by returning to his native Argentina.
    In an interview published on few days after he lifted the fifth Ballon d'Or, the 28 year old Argentine striker who left his native country at the age of 13 when he joined Barcelona football Club admitted “It was always my dream to play in Argentina when I was a boy, though I had to leave at a tender age because of my situation and it didn't happen”. 
    The football icon further noted, "I had to go to Europe, start out with Barcelona and make my career there, but I would like to return to Argentinian football one day."

Preparations for Female AFCON 2016:

Limbe Council announces massive demolition of houses
- Panic grips helpless populations 

By Nwo Fuanya in Limbes 
Inhabitants of the seaside resort town of Limbe are now living in fear and uncertainty after the Limbe City Council began its project of demolishing houses. The demolition exercise is a result of an earlier resolution of the council that was re-echoed on 31 December 2015 as part of preparations to host the 2016 Female African Cup of Nations.
    Several houses in the city have already been marked by the technical services of the council while some structures will soon begin going down. This move has left many denizens of the city in fear as they do not know what awaits them. The action has quickly reminded the population of a similar action that was taken in the build up to the 50th anniversary of reunification.
    Meantime, the Government Delegate to the Limbe City Council, Andrew Motanga Monjimba has made it clear that there will be no compensation for people whose houses will be demolished. According to him, those who own houses that have been earmarked for demolition were informed a long time ago, and as such they are not entitled to any compensation.

Enow Ngachu on refresher course in US

Having been co-opted as a member of the Association of United States Football Coaches, he left Cameroon on 12 January 2016 but did not say for how long the course will last.
By Essan Ekoninyam in Yaounde

Carl Enow Ngachu left the Douala international airport at about 2 p.m. on Tuesday, 12 January 2016 aboard an Ethiopian Airways flight for the United States of America where he will take part in a refresher course whose duration he did not specify.
    Talking to the press shortly before his departure, the heroic coach of the Indomitable Lionesses said he was co-opted as a member of the Association of United States Coaches. He sounded optimistic that the refresher course would enable him to acquire knowledge that he would use to better the performance of his team as well as gladly share with other coaches who would be in need of it.

Female AFCON 2016:

Poor hosting facilities embarrass three gov’t ministers
By Nwo Fuanya in Limbe

Three government ministers on Thursday 14 January 2016 stormed Limbe to inspect works on the Limbe-Ngeme stadium that is to host the Female African Cup of Nations later this year as well as inspect work on other facilities that are aimed at ensuring a hitch free event.
    The three Ministers, Pierre Ismael Bidoung Mpkatt of Sports and Physical Education, Abba Sadou of Public Contracts and  Jean Claude Mbwentchou of Urban Development and Housing where however shocked when upon arriving the project sites they noticed that work was not progressing at all.
    The high powered government delegation from Yaounde wondered aloud why the contractors were not respecting the calendar that for the works and this barely two months away from an international friendly to be hosted in the stadium.
    It should be noted that the Limbe Stadium constructed by a Chinese company has no parking lots, electrification, water and other essential amenities. We understand that the government of Cameroon is responsible for providing these amenities. Yet, even though contracts have been awarded for the putting in place of these amenities, there are no indications that the contractors would respect the contract deadlines.
    The visiting ministers threatened severe sanctions on the companies whose names we are withholding. The visit and tough stance of the ministers came after South West Governor, Bernard Okalia Bilai has moved to arrest some of the contractors for non respect of their contracts terms. Presently the rate of execution of work is said to be less than 25 %.

FECAFOOT imbroglio:

 FIFA to suspend Cameroon?
Sport and Physical minister Bidoung Mkpatt’s decision to discard the verdict of the Conciliation and Arbitration Chamber of the National Olympic Committee cancelling Tombi a Roko’s election to the post of FECAFOOT president, is very likely to provoke FIFA’s wrath. If FIFA eventually suspends Cameroon from participating in all its activities, what will become of the country’s supposed hosting of the women’s and men’s AFCON in 2016 and 2019 respectively?

By Essan Ekoninyam in Yaounde
Tombi a Roko
Before the incarceration in June 2013 of Iya Mohamed, the former president of the Cameroon Football Federation (FECAFOOT), it was believed that he was at the origin of most if not all the woes plaguing Cameroon football. Some even hold that his imprisonment was unjustified but pre-arranged in order to give Cameroon football a new lease of life.
    However, Iya’s departure has proved not to be a panacea to the problems afflicting football in the country. The controversial voting into office of his successor, Tombi à Roko Sidiki, has brought to the fore other problems which seem even more intractable than those of the Iya days.  
    It came as a surprise to no one that Tombi was elected to that position. However, to the Conciliation and Arbitration Chamber (CAC) of the National Olympic and Sports Committee, his election was illegal because, according to this body, the statutes of the FECAFOOT General Assembly of 23 August 2015 were null and void. For this reason, the CAC invalidated the statutes and consequently Tombi’s election.
    In a surprising turn of events, the new minister of Sport and Physical Education, Bidoung Mkpatt, discarded with a mere press communiqué the verdict of the CAC which he considered incompetent to make decisions on electoral matters at FECAFOOT. By the minister’s decision therefore, Tombi remains at the helm of FECAFOOT.

Friday, 15 January 2016

Front page

Reinforcing resilience of Cameroon’s economy:

Mopa Modeste Fatoing,
l’homme de la situation
Herculean task for tax administration in 2016
From the editor’s suite

On 31st December 2015 President Paul Biya in his traditional year end message to the nation, announced a drop in pump prices of fuel and an increase in family allowances for state functionaries. However, Cameroonians are still wondering how the government will support these “New Year gifts” from the Head of State. Yet, commentators admit that the two presidential measures are timely and most welcome especially because they are meant to improve the living conditions of Cameroonians.
    But the question some commentators are asking is why did the President wait for the National Assembly to examine and adopt the 2016 budget, and then he even went ahead and promulgated it on 21 December 2015, before making these very pertinent announcements. In fact, it intrigues many that such decisions that have a great impact on the state budget had to be taken without the consent of the representatives of the people - members of National Assembly and Senate. Some informed observers say it is one of the ways President Biya demonstrates his absolute constitutional powers.      
    Though it is not yet known by how much family allowances would be increased, we at least know by how much fuel prices have been reduced: 20 FCFA on Super and 25 FCFA on Gasoil. Sources at the Hydrocarbons Prices Stabilization Fund, CSPH say this reduction is commensurate to the VAT imposed on the price structure of fuel. But we also know that in 2015, VAT generated over 115 billion FCFA. That is why knowledgeable observers are wondering how the tax administration will make do without this very important revenue source that is, if it must meet its budgetary target for 2016. Besides, the DG of Taxation, Mopa Fatoing and his team are expected to generate the additional budgetary resources needed to support the increase of family allowances, apart from producing money needed to finance the war on Boko Haram and the running of the government. 

Visit of IMF Director General:

Biya displays excessive warmth towards Lagarde, understandably
President Biya is customarily cold towards his guests. But it struck the public that the president displayed extraordinary affection towards Christine Lagarde, the IMF Director General who visited Cameroon last week
By Ojong Steven Ayukogem in Yaounde

President Paul Biya was at the height of his spirits when he received the visiting IMF Director General, Christine Lagarde at the Unity Palace on Thursday last week. For a man who is usually known to shake hands at an arm’s length with his guests, Paul Biya literally bent over backwards to welcome Christine Lagarde. Then the fact that Paul Biya sent his Director of Cabinet in preference to his director of protocol, to welcome Christine Lagarde, as she alighted from her car at the terrace of the Unity Palace was telling. It betrayed the esteem and reverence he has for the French woman.
And this might just explain why Martin Belinga Eboutou was almost like break-dancing, as he ushered Mrs. Lagarde into the luscious confines of the Unity Palace.
Then Biya embellished his audience with Lagarde by offering her a traditionally decorated gourd. He later in the evening also offered a special dinner to Lagarde and the high-powered delegation she led to Cameroon.
Television cameras revealed president Biya in the heights of his spirits, as he welcomed Lagarde. The same high spirits were displayed during the state dinner later in the evening.
For her part, Christine Lagarde was no less enthusiastic and warm, perhaps because it was easily her first visit to Cameroon in the capacity as IMF boss. And she did not conceal her feelings when she spoke to prying pressmen when she arrived at the Nsimalen International Airport early on Thursday.

Lagarde’s evasive responses to prying journalists

The answers of the IMF boss to most of the questions asked her in Yaounde by journalists were interesting but not very precise. In a truly diplomatic fashion!
 By Essan-Ekoninyam in Yaounde
At the invitation of President Paul Biya, Christine Lagarde, the Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) made a two-day official visit to Cameroon on 7 and 8 January 2016. After she was received by Prime Minister Philemon Yang, the IMF boss made declarations to the national and international press in Yaounde, which sounded diplomatic albeit interesting.
    Asked to say what concretely brought her to Cameroon, she said she came neither to negotiate a loan nor a programme for Cameroon to follow. Without being particularly specific as prying journalists would have loved her to be, she said:
“I am here to listen, to better understand and propose technical assistance and reinforcement of capacities that we always provide to our members.”
    She added that she was happy to visit Cameroon for the first time in her capacity as Director of the IMF. “It is a visit that I should have paid a long time ago, taking into consideration the Cameroonian economy in particular and that of the CEMAC zone in general.”

IMF will provide technical assistance to Cameroon

-Christine Lagarde, IMF director 
The IMF boss was interviewed by the press after she met the ministers of Finance and the Economy. Amongst other things, she called for the application of rigorous discipline in the handling of revenues and expenditures
    What is the purpose of your visit to Cameroon?
    Cameroon is an old member and partner of the IMF. We are very interested in deepening and improving our relations. That is why I’m here. And I’ve always made it a point of honour to visit our best members. Cameroon is without doubt one of them. I’m particularly happy because the Prime Minister came and welcomed me today on my arrival with the delegation that accompanies me.

Christine Lagarde:

From humble beginnings to the worlds most powerful woman
- A profile
By Essan Ekoniyam in Yaounde with agency reports

The profile of the Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Christine Lagarde is clearly intimidating. Born on New Year’s Day of 1956 in Paris, and given the maiden name Christine Lalouette, she became champion of France in synchronized swimming at age 15. She lost her father at the age of 17 and obtained her baccalauréat the following year, after which she won a scholarship to study in the US. Here, she became parliamentary assistant to William Cohen, the future Secretary of State for Defense under President Bill Clinton.
    Upon return to France, Lagarde took a “maîtrise” in law and a “DEA” in social law. She however did not succeed in the entrance exam into the famous ENA (Ecole Nationale d’Administration) of Paris.
    At the end of her studies in 1981, she applied to work for many law firms in France but her application was turned down on each occasion because she is a woman. It was finally an American law firm that gave her employment after she had an interview with…guess who…a woman! The law firm was the France office of Baker & McKenzie, one of the biggest firms in the world.

Chantal Biya recieves New Year wishes

The First Lady Madam Chantal BIYA received 2016 New Year wishes from wives of the Diplomatic and National dignitaries at the East Wing of Unity Palace on Friday 8 January 2016
     The colourful ceremony started at mid day when the wives of Diplomats posted to Yaounde and female members of the Diplomatic corps, led by Mrs. KAYA, wife of Russian Ambassador who is the vice dean, filed into the Unity Palace to wish a happy New Year to Madam Chantal BIYA.

Book Review:

“Buea: Capital of the Cameroons”:
Churchill Monono’s reply to misguided zealots
By Douglas A. Achingale* 

Churchill Monono
Even before President Paul Biya announced that Buea would host the golden jubilee celebration of Cameroon’s reunification, it was clear to all right-thinking Cameroonians that the South West regional headquarters, which had once been the capital of all of Kamerun, was naturally best suited for that purpose. However, some misguided policy makers of this country preferred that the choice of host of the celebration be made amongst towns with “greater credentials” such as Kumba, Bamenda, Douala, Foumban, Mamfe and Mundemba.
    And when the 20 February 2014 event came and went, with its major public investment projects that gave the city a new facelift, the selfsame insensate administrators told whoever cared to listen that the said projects had transformed the “village” of Buea into a modern city.
    All of which left Churchill Ewumbue-Monono, a son of the soil and prince of the city, tight-lipped but not indifferent. While the pre-celebration debate raged on and the unfair post-celebration comments about Buea were made, the passionate researcher and prodigious writer rather chose to put his facts quietly together with the ultimate aim of coming up with this enthralling document titled, “Buea: Capital of the Cameroons (Symbol of the Nation and of Reunification)”. This beautifully bound 305-page book is thus the author’s honest yet authoritative reply to those whose view of Buea had been misjudged or antipathetic.

Anglophone Cameroon Literature waxing ever strong!

By Douglas A. Achingale
I was scandalized the other day when I heard an Anglophone Professor of Literature dismiss Anglophone Cameroon Literature with uncanny levity. He is a Professor I admired so much when he taught me at Ngoa Ekelle in the late 1980s. His mastery of his subject used to be exceptional and his manner of imparting knowledge masterly nay extraordinary. In addition, he was evidently one of the not-too-many lecturers at the time who were not enticed by the lusciousness of their female students’ laps.
    Indeed, I shuddered in disbelief when I heard him (I deliberately withhold his name) say there was nothing like Anglophone Cameroon Literature. “What is it! What is it!” he shamelessly hollered. “Those who say it exists are simply misguided. We talk of Cameroon Literature, nothing short of that!”

Dishonesty par excellence
    That is what dishonesty can do to an intellectual. And this dishonesty is kept alive just because such personalities have been given juicy positions which they do not want to lose. In such circumstances, they become – take it or leave it – nothing but pseudo intellectuals.
    Yes, my teacher has transformed himself into a veritably spurious intellectual over time, just because he is drinking from a stream which he thinks will never dry up or which may not recede anytime soon. Otherwise, how would he not understand that Anglophone Cameroon Literature exists and is doing unquestionably well? If Prof is doubting this fact, let me put things to him in black and white.

After TAC, CATTU Pressure:

Jacques Fame Ndongo
Francophone student teachers barred from teaching in Anglophone schools
Leaders of the Cameroon Teachers Trade Union, CATTU, and the Teachers Association of Cameroon, TAC have succeeded to influence the powers that be to bar Francophone student teachers of the Higher Technical Teachers Training College (HTTTC) and Higher Teachers Training College (HTTC) Bambili of the University of Bamenda from practicing in schools of the English sub-system in the North West and South West Regions.
    The decision is the outcome of two crisis meetings on December 31, 2015 and January 2, 2016 chaired by North West Governor, Adolphe Lele L’Afrique attended amongst others by leaders of TAC, CATTU, members of Union of Parents Teachers Association, UPTA, Northwest political opinion leaders, Civil society organizations and some lawyers.
     Leaders of CATTU, TAC, UPTA, Civil Society Organisations and Anglophone lawyers had mounted pressure on the authorities of the University of Bamenda calling for a stop on Francophone student teachers practicing on Anglophone school campuses.
    Wilfred Tassang, Executive Secretary of CATTU disclosed that Higher Education Minister, Jacques Fame Ndongo endorsed the decision stopping Francophone student teachers from practising in Anglophone schools during another meeting held in Yaounde on January 4.

How Yaounde copes with insecurity at Mokolo market

The attacks are now history. Much has to be done by both the forces of law and order and civilians in order that unfortunate incidents of this nature do not repeat themselves
By Tanyi Kenneth Musa in Yaounde
Life has returned to normal at the Mokolo market in Yaounde after brigands stormed it on Friday 8 January 2019, wounding people and making away with traders’ merchandise. The thieves, The Median learnt, came to the market at about 10:20 am. to avenge the death of one of theirs who had been shot and killed by a policeman the previous day after stealing a woman’s handbag.            
    Police sources told this newspaper that the miscreants, numbering about 150, came that fateful morning, armed with daggers, machetes, white arms, etc. and headed straight to the second police district situated in the heart of the Mokolo market. They had come to avenge their fallen colleague and also set free some others detained there. But they were dispersed by the police.
    As they ran helter skelter in the market, they brutalized everybody they found on their way and looted traders’ shops in an annoying degree. The attacks went on for well over four and a half hours before they were quelled by the forces of law and order.

Public Investment Budget:

FCFA 100bn allocated to SW in 2016
By Ajongakou Santos in Buea
Bernard Okalia Bilai
The South West Region will run on a budget of 100 billion, 405 million, 479 thousand francs CFA in the 2016 fiscal year. This amount was made known to the public last Thursday, January 7, 2016 during the launch of the 2016 state budget in the South West Region.
    South West Governor, Bernard Okalia Bilai while launching this year’s budget for the region at the Buea Council Chambers emphasized on the need for contractors, municipal treasurers and finance controllers of the region to respect deadlines fixed for investment projects. This he said is because delays have been a major setback in the realization of projects in the South West Region.
    The launching of the public investment budget falls within the prescriptions of the Growth and Employment Strategy Paper GESP which gives guidelines for the infrastructural development in the in the country.
    When asked how the budget would be used, South West Regional Finance controller- Nugwe Alice said, 12 billion will be dedicated for the running of services, whereas 88 billion FCFA will be set-aside for the realization of the different projects in the region. In all, 412 projects will be directly under the management of authorizing officers of the region.

K’bo Council cements partnership with La Crosse City, USA

By Ndjodzefe Nestor in Kumbo
Kumbo Council in Bui Division of the North West Region and La Crosse City, Wisconsin in the United States of America have concretized their partnership with the visit of a delegation from La Crosse to Kumbo Concil.
    The visit comes two years after the Mayor of Kumbo Council, Njong Donatus led a a strong nine man delegation to La Crosse, USA in from June 29th to July 8th 2014 for a visit and to seal a twinning deal with the La Crosse City.
    The core of this visit was the city to city meeting whereby the delegation sat face to
face with the executive of the Kumbo Council and the administration of Bui Division in a roundtable conference to discuss the way forward of the partnership.
    During the meeting, Lord Mayor Njong Fonyuy Donatus of the Kumbo Council in his welcome address said the meeting was an opportunity for the two cities to look at ways of further strengthening the relationship.
    He appreciated the delegation for the wonderful reception they accorded him and his team when they visited La Crosse in 2014. Mayor Njong went on to say Kumbo needed help in the health, educational, infrastructural and agricultural domains, as the delegation had already moved round and visited those institutions. He however said the people of Kumbo have a very rich culture that can be of great interest to the people of La Crosse.
    In response, the representative of Mayor Tim Kabat of La Crosse, Sara Sullivan extended the greetings from the Mayor of La Crosse through a recorded video and a personal letter to the Mayor of Kumbo. Sara said she had observed a good number of challenges faced by various institutions they had already visited, saying there was need to help out.

Pastor arrested with 19 chimp skulls in Yaounde

A man who was identified by a close relation as a pastor was arrested on December 16, 2015 as he tried to sell 19 chimp skulls in Yaounde. He had travelled from Meyomessala in the South Region to Yaounde and shortly after he arrived, hired a taxi to a popular neighbourhood in Yaounde to hook up with a client.
    He was arrested during his attempts at contacting a client, visibly to sell the chimpanzee skulls.
    The operation was carried out by wildlife officials from the control brigade of the Centre Regional Delegation of Forestry and Wildlife working in collaboration with policemen from the 10th police district located in Bastos, Yaounde. They received technical assistance from an NGO called LAGA.
    During preliminary investigations leading to his arrest, it was uncovered that his elder brother is a poacher and had supplied some of the skulls to the suspect while he bought some from other poachers in villages around Meyomessala. Upon hearing of the arrest, one of his close relations who said he was an uncle, arrived at the police station for his assistance and was visibly shocked by what he saw. He told officials that his niece was a pastor. The suspect had a receipt for the establishment of a national identification card and his profession could not be independently verified but he never contested what his uncle said.

Cash-strapped Konye Council votes colossal budget

Councilors of the Konye Council have been advised to appeal to the Governor of the South-West Region to intervene in the recovery of a debt owed by a contractor, Israel Kombe, to the tune of 11 million FCFA. Kombe, through his company, Bau Mani Bauk I Entreprise, engaged in revenue collection for the Konye Council in November 2013, allegedly on the recommendation from the offices of the Governor and the Meme SDO. A few months after the contract was awarded, he accrued a debt of 4.6 million FCFA through deferred payments into the council’s coffers.
    Even though the 1st assistant SDO for Meme, Verkline Epulewane eps. Mbua, has assured the councilors that the problem would have a solution sooner than later, as the SDO has promised to pass on their complaint to the Governor for swift action some councilors still expressed fears as to the Governor’s impartiality given that he allegedly influenced the award of the contract to Mr. Kombe’s company. 

Fon of Njap wins Suit against Donga Mantung SDO

Fon of Njap
The North West regional Administrative Court has passed judgment on the law suit pitting the Fon of Njap as plaintiff, against the State of Cameroon represented by Donga Mantung Senior Divisional Officer, SDO. The decision vindicated the traditional ruler who had asked the court to annul a Prefectoral Order, signed in an attempt to settle a land dispute in his fondom.
     In the ruling dated December 24, the court outlined the genesis of the dispute – that the SDO for Donga Mantung, had taken a decision giving the divisional officer for Mesaje subdivision and his security collaborators powers to administer a quarter in Njap community known as Ngong-Njap, found in Nkambe subdivision. At the time of the SDO’s order, the Ngog-Njap community was under disputed between the Fon of Njap and that of Kamine village. The dispute had been prompted by the death of the sub-chief of Ngong, killed on March 3, 2015.

34th New Year Message:

Biya sets new record- but not an enviable one 
By Prof. Tazoacha Asonganyi, Yaounde.
As December wraps up each year, individual politicians and political parties clear their political minds on the year coming to an end, and the advent of a new year. Paul Biya is an epitome of that ritual, which, for him, is usually crowned by a speech to the nation on December 31. Going by the contents of such speeches, year after year, one has the impression that the speeches do not always involve enough thinking,  or that the persons behind it do not always apply their minds to the worn out, failed policies of the year or years that give way in December to the new. Or it may just be that since there is very little he achieves each year, there is usually very little to write home about. In any case, the result is that most of the time, he talks to and for his ego, not to the nation.
    On December 31, Biya set another own-record by delivering his 34th successive New Year Message. Like many of the records he has set and is holding during his long reign, the record is not an enviable one, and would be competed for only by those who want to match or break it by dooming the country!
    The longevity in power that has allowed Paul Biya to deliver 34 successive New Year messages has been much helped by an opposition that seems to see politics not through the lens of power, but of sterile argument and charm. Such charm is presented today in the coins of the “camaraderie” of tree-lighting, cross-party backslapping, and other shows of ‘friendship’ which, in essence, have nothing to do with politics because they get nothing done. The opposition has so easily forgotten that the only time anybody is influenced by what you say or do in politics is when they are afraid of you.
    Nobody fears the opposition any longer, since it behaves like there is no longer any issue to fight on! The Taoist notion that you use the strengths of the opponent to defeat him, or that you use what is against you to build your victory against a powerful opponent, has escaped the opposition completely.
    And so Paul Biya has been making successive New Year-cum-state of the nation addresses at the end of each year, up to 34 times, in a country whose development curve has been on the descent for nearly all of those 34 years! When you put all the 34 speeches together, it is easy to conclude that they are from the mind of the same person because they are replete with repetitions, unfulfilled promises, demagogy, sloppy statistics, false claims, and cluelessness on how to set about the difficult task of nation building. In the end, the universal ambition of using politics to get things done is lost, and one has the sorry feeling that he is in politics for its own sake.
    The 34 speeches fall in two broad groups. Those in the first group propounded a romantic politics of “communal liberalism” that was based more on appearing and sounding different from his processor than on personal convictions. All this changed with the 1992 attempt of the opposition to capture power, which gave him the fright of his life. It caused his power games to shift from this romanticism to a terrain where he makes a strenuous and confused effort to kill Democracy with ‘democracy’. The second group of the speeches from 1992 to 2015 defines this confused effort.
    If you know that the policy and institutional engineering that will propel the developmental changes we need are sorely absent, some of the utterances in the speeches really turn your stomach, leaving it upset with disappointment. When you have absolute power for 34 years, you don’t talk about the policy and institutional changes required to foster development as if you are an opposition leader yearning to get to power and implement them. You show the fruits that the policy and institutional grids you have put in place have borne.
    The superficial worries expressed each year in the speeches do not really seem to affect Paul Biya’s soul. When you envision and put a “Vision” or “Strategy” on paper, it is not there for the talking but for the doing. “Industrialization” is not about how to produce raw materials; it is about how to use raw materials. It is about a sound industrial policy framework that is owned by all of us, not by “ruling” parties, political cronies and sycophants.             After all, the sustainable development we all want will be delivered by all of us, not by any leader, however wise he/she may be; not by partisan political supporters, however vocal their support may be; not by longevity in power, however long the stay in power may be.

Selective, unbalanced dev’t:

SWELA queries Yaounde over Limbe Deep Seaport project
- According to Joseph Etukeni Moki, SG of the South West Elite Association, since over 25 years ago that president Biya promised in Buea to launch the sea port project and personally supervise its execution, not even the foundation stone has been laid. He wondered why other “grand ambitions” projects that were only conceived recently have already seen the light of day. 
By Ajongakou Santos in Buea

The Secretary General of the South West Elite Association (SWELA) has promised to lead a high-powered delegation to Yaounde to pressure the authorities to redeem their long standing pledge to construct a deep sea port in Limbe. Moki joseph Etukeni made the disclosure on Wednesday, 6 January 2016 during a chat with the press.
Speaking at the Buea Council Chambers, a discernibly unrepentant Moki frowned at the fact that SWELANS have continued to fold their arms and stay silent even as the Yaounde regime continues taking the South West region for granted.
    Moki Joseph wondered aloud why despite the existence of SWELA, the South West region is continuously being sidelined in almost every aspect of national life; from appointments through the allocation of big development projects to the award of contracts for the execution of such projects. As if to say enough is enough, Moki stamped his feet on the ground, saying “the time to act is now else, we may only end up being the best losers of the Biya era.”
    But Moki did not put the blame for the sidelining of the South West solely on the Yaounde regime. He blamed South West elite in positions of power, who perhaps because of their self-seeking, parochial interests, do not demonstrate enough concern or openly criticise the authorities in Yaounde for the ill-treatment they are inviting on the South West.

2015 Glo CAF Awards Ceremony:

Yaya Toure angered by African player award snub
Yaya Toure
Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure has reacted angrily after failing to win the Confederation of African Football's player of the year award.
The 32-year-old, who captained Ivory Coast to Africa Cup of Nations success last year, was second behind Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. "I think that's what makes the shame of Africa," he told Radio France International.
    "To behave in this way is indecent! But what can we do?" In a vote of coaches and technical directors of Caf nations, Borussia Dortmund forward Aubameyang got 143 points, with Toure on 136 and Ghana and Swansea midfielder Andre Ayew on 112.

Aubameyang & Enganamouit now rule African Football

Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been crowned CAF African Player of the Year for the first time. The 26-year old beat Ivorian Yaya Toure and Ghana’s Andre Ayew to the crown, the most prestigious individual award in African football. He polled 143 points, seven more than Toure whilst Ayew finished a distant third with 112 points.
    He thus becomes the first from his country, Gabon, to win the prize and was decorated at the 2015 Glo-CAF Awards Gala held on Thursday, 7 January 2016 at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, Nigeria.
    The feat by Aubameyang ended the four-year reign of Toure, which lasted 2011 to 2014.  
    For the African Player of the Year – Based in Africa, Tanzanian Mbwana Aly Samatta was decorated, becoming the first from East Africa to win the coveted prize, reserved for footballers plying their trade on the continent.
    Samatta garnered 127 points, ahead of his TP Mazembe teammate and DR Congo goalkeeper Robert Muteba Kidiaba, who amassed 88 points. Algerian Baghdad Bounedjah trailed in third place with 63 points.
    Cameroonian Gaelle Enganamouit was adjudged Women’s Player of the Year becoming the first from her country to pick up the prize.
    It was double delight for hosts Nigeria with two prizes, Victor Osimhen – Youth Player of the Year and Etebo Peter Oghenekaro – Most Promising Talent of the Year. 
    For guiding Cote d’Ivoire to continental glory, former coach Herve Renard was named Coach of the Year and ‘Les         Elephants’ as National Team of the Year. Cameroon scooped the Women’s National Team of the Year prize and DR Congo giants, TP Mazembe, Club of the Year, whilst Gambian Papa Bakary Gassama went home with the Referee of the Year award.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Front page

Year end message to the nation:

Biya dribbles civil servants, placates transporters
After many years of popular clamour for substantial salary increase, President Biya decided instead to increase family allowance for civil servants. Also yielding to sustained pressure from transporters, the president announced a drop in pump prices of fuel. Though hailed by sundry Cameroonians, commentators said the presidential decisions were only half measures intended to sweeten the nation’s sour mood. They said more substantive work still needs be done if the president must heal the wounds caused by the unpopular policies of his government.
By Ojong Steven Ayukogem in Yaounde
Fuel prices have dropped at filling stations
Paul Biya had a successful address to the nation last Friday that is in as far as speeches are concerned. Unlike in previous occasions when his year end address was replete with platitudes and his tone harsh, his hearers said this one had a rather soft and positive tone.
                A bright spot in the address was easily the hint that fuel prices would be dropped and family allowance for civil servants increased.
                Commentators said these two measures would help to sandpaper some of the rough edges that the president had created with his at times very unpopular policies.
                Admitting severally that the president’s action was a move in the right direction, sundry observers remarked that it should just be the beginning of many more good things to come, especially if the populations must benefit the spoils from the much-vaunted positive economic growth.
                Reacting shortly after the address was broadcast on state radio and television, CRTV, Achingale Prosper said it was easily Biya’s best speech in many years. The senior civil servant admitted that “for once in several years the president sounded really positive and hopeful”.
                But Mr. Achingale at once regretted that the address was also a source of disappointment to civil servants, many of whom had expected the president to announce a substantial salary raise, especially after the drastic pay cuts in 1993.
                “The president dribbled civil servants. After the drastic salary cuts in 1993, we expected him to announce a substantial increase in salaries if just to enable civil servants to meet up with the challenges of the times. He did not. This was a source of disappointment to most civil servants,” Mr. Achingale, who is national pedagogic inspector at the MINESEC, remarked.

More reactions to Biya’s year end speech

We are happy and satisfied
- TchoumiColince, president transporters Syndicate
My sentiment is that of joy and satisfaction. Since 2008 that the president said he would answer to our demands, it is today in 2015 that he has finally pronounced a reduction in fuel prices. It is often said: “better late than never.” I think we are happy and satisfied. A proverb in Bamileke tradition says: “when you ask for 1000frs from somebody and he gives you just 100frs, first take the 100frs before you ask for more.” That is why on behalf of all transporters and road users I say thank you to the head of state. He has proven that our demands of last month were objective and real. But there is still another problem. During our negotiations with government we asked for two things: a ban on clandestine transport and a reduction in fuel prices. So, we hope that something would be done about this other concern. But by and large we hail the head of state for this first step in the right direction.

He sounded positive& hopeful
-Achingale Prosper, senior civil servant
The address had a very positive tone. For the very first time in many years we saw the president actually sounding very positive and very hopeful about the economy, about security issues and about the resilience which Cameroonians have shown in the face of all adversities. He actually congratulated all Cameroonians. I think that was quite good of the head of state. Also, we salute the decisions which he took, the drop in fuel prices for example. In fact we have been waiting for this for a very long time. Other countries have since dropped their pump prices of fuel as soon as oil prices dropped in the world market; but we did not understand why Cameroon was dragging her feet in this direction. We however, hope that the minister of commerce would be quick to also reduce taxi fares just like he rapidly raised them when oil prices went up in the world market. We are also glad that for the first time he talked about increasing family allowances. In fact the old family allowances did not represent anything.  Imagine 1.800 frs for a young Cameroonian child; what did that represent? Was it taxi fare? Was it money for breakfast or medical expenses? In fact the former family allowance did not represent anything economically or socially or even in teams of social security. So, we hope the increase will be substantial enough. So to a certain extent I would say that the President’s message met our expectations.
                However, the president gave some statistics on employment which I consider unreal. He did not say for example how many youths actually got decent, long lasting jobs in 2015. You realize that in Cameroon most youths just occupy themselves without being really employed.
                We also expected him to announce an appreciable increase in salaries of civil servants. But this did not happen. He virtually dribbled us. Since the drastic salary cuts in 1993 we have not had any meaningful salary review that can enable us to meet the challenges of the times. So we were a bit disappointed that nothing was said in this direction.
                Then the president did not also mention corruption. Apparently Cameroon is sinking back in its sparrow hawk drive and this despite our TI rating. We are not happy about this image. Gov’t should look for new ways and means of tackling corruption since operation sparrow hawk has not produced the magic solution.
                In addition, we are hoping that basic social infrastructure that we see in other developing countries will be provided here in 2016. We need regular water and electricity supply. If hydro-dams have failed us we should resort to solar energy and bore holes which are cheaper.

2016 will be a year of great victories

Full text of President Biya’s end of year address to the nation
My Dear Compatriots,
Paul Biya
As the year 2015 draws to an end, I would like to invite you, as each year, to review how we have fared as a Nation and to project ourselves into the New Year together, with assurance and determination.
                You would agree with me – I believe – that a single word suffices to describe our country during the year that is drawing to an end: RESILIENCE.
                I am referring, as you know, to our people’s capacity to resist and to cope with day-to-day challenges, which is acknowledged by all development partners.
                This attribute, which is fundamental to great Nations, was clearly demonstrated on two major fronts: our country’s economic performance and its security situation.

Let us begin with economic performance:
                As we are all aware, the present global context is characterized, among other things, by:
-  slow global growth, and
-  dwindling oil and other commodity prices.
                In this adverse global context, our economy was able to hold up well, maintaining its 6% growth forecast and curbing the inflation rate at slightly less than 3%.
                Neither the additional expenditure incurred due to the war against terrorism nor the disruption of economic activity in the areas under attack could prevent us from achieving our objectives...
                I am aware that this growth is not yet sufficient to significantly transform the daily lives of our grassroots populations.
                We can do better. We must do better.
                However, this excellent effort, which has made our macroeconomic indicators more viable, is commendable.
                I must also mention that this growth made it possible for our economy to generate 337 660 new jobs as at end-November 2015, against 283 443 the previous year.
                In this regard, I am pleased to note that 1 175 358 jobs have been created from 2011 to 2015.
                Obviously, our needs are overwhelming and far from being fully met. However, we should welcome what has already been achieved, while planning to do better and better.
I will come back to this.

Concerning the security challenge,
                Throughout the year, our Nation put up a fierce resistance to Boko Haram terrorists. At this juncture, I would like to pay a glowing tribute to our defence and security forces, as well as our people. The courage and professionalism of our forces and the commitment and courage of our people have helped to preserve our territorial integrity. Not one centimetre of our territory has been ceded to the aggressors. Better still, we have, on several occasions, inflicted serious military setbacks on them.
                Through intense diplomatic activity, we have also been able to rally a wide array of partners to this fight against Boko Haram. We should, as a Nation, express our gratitude to the various friendly countries that are supporting us in this fight.
                In this regard, I would like to specially commend the decision of the United States of America to field 300 troops on an intelligence support mission. We are grateful to them for such mark of confidence in our country and our army.
                Similarly, the multifaceted support received from other friendly countries such as France, China, Russia, Germany and many others, is invaluable.
                With neighbouring Nigeria, we have honed our methods and mechanisms for concerted action.
                We should equally commend the fraternal commitment of Chadian forces on our side in this collective struggle.
                I have always believed that terrorism is a global threat, warranting a global response. This reality was confirmed in 2015.
                For our part, I commend the operationalization of the Joint Multinational Force on the ground. It confirms the effective involvement of all Lake Chad Basin Commission member countries in this fight.
                The terrorists, who have been driven into a corner, have now resorted to the hideous practice of suicide bombings.
                Nothing will undermine the resolve of our defence and security forces. Nothing will affect our people’s morale or resilience.
                To deal with the atrocities of Boko Haram, the Nation’s vital forces are mobilized to firmly say NO to terrorism. Better still, they are contributing to the war effort in cash or kind.
                Such massive mobilization has given a special significance to our popular defence strategy. The Army and Nation are working in synergy to defend our territory and our sovereignty.
I have had the opportunity to commend the role of vigilante committees backing up our defence and security forces.
                At this juncture, we should salute the memory of our compatriots who lost their lives in this legitimate civil defence exercise.
                They put up a patriotic opposition to the senseless brutality of terrorists and made the supreme sacrifice. In that regard, they are role models for our Nation.

Renovation works:

Y’de Conference Centre transformed into construction site
GM of Conference Centre, Christophe Mien Zok
After a board meeting on Wednesday 30 December 2015, the GM of the Conference Centre, Christophe Mien Zok, led board members on an inspection tour around the centre to evaluate the progress of on-going rehabilitation works.  
By Ojong Steven Ayukogem in Yaounde
Visiting the construction sites, the board members joined the General Manager in noting with satisfaction the progress of the rehabilitation works. Sounding rather confident, Christophe Mien Zok assured the press that the rehabilitation project estimated to run for 20 months would be completed in due time.
                “The government has taken a firm engagement to renovate the Conference Centre to bring it up to world standards. We count on the support of all stakeholders so that we can achieve this lofty objective in due time. We hope to meet the 20 months deadline that was given for the works,” Mien Zok said, noting that a renovated Conference Centre would positively impact the functioning of the centre, and the comfort of the institutions lodged there, notably the Senate, CONAC and the CPDM headquarters.
                 Mien Zok said despite the construction works the state has decided that the senate should continue to function at the Conference Centre. He recalled how the last session of the senate went on smoothly despite the works.
                According to technicians of the Chinese company contracted to rehabilitate the Centre, the renovation works will entail the changing of roofs and ceilings, lightings, pipes, electrical systems, water systems, sitting positions, sound systems etc. The authorities of the ANHUI Construction and Engineering Group, said the first phase of the renovation works that concern principally the 400-seats hall and the two 100-seats halls would be finished by June 2016.
                The rehabilitation is bankrolled by the state, as part of the Contract-Plan State of Cameroon/Yaoundeonference Centre.

B’da Medium-Size Tax Office goes Operational

By Ndjodzefe Nestor in Bamenda
Mopa ModesteFatoing
Promoters of medium-size enterprises in the North West region will henceforth pay their taxes at the new Medium-Size Tax Office, MTO, authorities of the taxation department in NW have announced.
                Created by Ministerial decree No 00000405 of 2 November 2015, the Bamenda Medium Size Tax Office has some 800 medium-size companies in its tax payer’s index. They are drawn from all seven administrative divisions of the North West Region who make a business turn-over ranging from FCFA 50 million to FCFA 3 billion.
The Bamenda MTO adds to seven others situated in Limbe, Baffossam, Douala and Yaounde.
                According to the Chief of North West Regional Taxation Centre, Fonyuy Fidelis Bernsah, the tax office is expected to improve the quality of services offered to the public, reduce compliance cost and enhance revenue collection for the state and decentralized territorial collectives.
                Fonyuy Fidelis also added that the office will boost the liquidity strength of the North West regional Treasury and better the working conditions of the staff of the NW taxation center.

When B’da sneezes Y’de catches a cold

 Political analysts have always said: “whenever Bamenda sneezes, Yaounde catches a cold”. Although this cannot be independently confirmed by The Median newspaper, some salient politico-social, economic, cultural, and religious events that marked the year 2015 in Bamenda are believed to have sent shockwaves to the regime in all mighty Yaounde.
Compiled by Douglas A. Achingale and Ndjodzefe Nestor in Bamenda

Anglophone Lawyers’ ultimatum to Biya
In May 9, 2015 after a confab under the theme "The Security and Future of the Common Law in Cameroon" over 700 Cameroon Common Law Lawyers issued a memo to government requesting that a federal system be reinstated in Cameroon whereby both the Common and Civil Law can function independently, condemned biased practices and opposed the appointment of notaries in the South West and North West Regions.
The lawyers through the strongly worded memo gave government six months to look into their concerns or they will be forced to take more drastic action. It was not surprising therefore that without convening the Supreme Council of the Magistracy, President Biya sacked the Francophone Procureur-General of the North West region and replaced him with an Anglophone. Even though the lawyers said that was not enough they at once admitted it was a step in the right direction.

Fru Ndi storms Santa toll gate
The National Chairman of the Social Democratic Front, SDF, Ni John FruNdi, on August 22, stormed the tollgate at Matazem – the gateway into Bamenda, Northwest Region – and chased away the tollgate collectors. FruNdi said he was forced to make the “spectacular and unprecedented move” because the populations of Bamenda had suffered enough on the very strategic yet almost impassable road linking Mbouda in the West region and Bamenda in the North West region.
                “I came here because the people have been complaining a lot that the roads are bad and these fellows keep collecting huge sums of money on a daily basis and the Government is not investing the money in building the road. Until the road from Bamenda to Mbouda is tarred, nobody will collect a franc here in the name of tollgate. People cannot continue to pay money (FCFA 500) every time they cross this gate, with the bad roads we have here. No!” FruNdi charged.
                Understandingly, the Yaounde regime took FruNdi’s move seriously and since then no collector has again been seen at the tool gate.

B’da rejects Ebola vaccine trial
On October 30, the Biya regime announced its intention to test the efficacy of an Ebola virus vaccine on some 400 Cameroonians without any hint of the virus’ presence in the country or even any threat of its imminent arrival. Bamenda and Yaounde were selected as pioneer venues for the Ebola experiment.
                After the announcement, a concerned group of civil society organizations, social workers and members of the Southern Cameroons National Council, SCNC, as well as pressmen confronted authorities of the Bamenda regional hospital over the controversial Ebola vaccine trial.
                Government indefinitely suspended the clinical trial of the Ebola vaccine at the Bamenda Regional Hospital and the Centre Pasteur laboratory in Yaounde. The decision was broadcast Thursday morning November 19, on state-owned CRTV national station.
                Though the exact reasons for the suspensions were not made known, it emerged that government was only yielding to pressure from Bamenda civil society activists.

François Hollande spends 3hrs in Y’de
After spending a couple of days elsewhere in Africa where he went visiting, the President of France, François Hollande, made a brief stopover in Yaounde on 3 July 2015. Critics called the visit a mocking one because of its undisguised brevity. It lasted no more than three hours.
                The high points of the visit were the speeches the two Presidents made and their responses to questions asked them by journalists at the Unity Palace. While Hollande regretted the maltreatment by his country’s officials of Cameroonian soldiers who fought alongside the French in the First World War, President Paul Biya told the press indirectly that he was going to run for the 2018 presidential election.
                Although François Hollande did not mention this as a reason for his visit, it could be understood that one of the things that brought him to Yaounde was the LydienneEyoum palaver. This Cameroonian born lawyer of French nationality is in the Douala New Bell prison for the embezzlement of public funds.
                This is the first time a French Head of State is visiting Cameroon since 1999. The last occupant of the Champs Elysée who did so was Jacques Chirac. It did not even cross the mind of Hollande’s successor, Nicolas Sarkozy, to do so probably because of his resentment for President Biya who has been in power for 33 long years.

MPs desert parliament during session
The leading opposition outfit in Cameroon, the Social Democratic Front, SDF, is the lone party that has been known over the years for walking out of the National Assembly in full session, when its members are not satisfied with any particular issue raised for deliberation. However, in the November parliamentary session, the last for 2015, many MPs of all the seven parties represented in the National Assembly deserted the House.
                The bone of contention centredaround the state budget for 2016. The 180 deputies of the lower house of parliament were divided into two camps as their opinions on and understanding of the budget differed in many ways. And the angry ones made their positions clear on 12 November when the session began.
                It was therefore not surprising that 134 MPs stormed out of the hall during the question-and-answer session with members of government, leaving behind 46 to carry on with the exercise. Critics saw in their storming out their lack of interest in discussions concerning the very people they represent in parliament.

Boko Haram change tactics
When the Nigerian jihadist group Boko Haram started the “war” they are currently fighting against Cameroon, what they did principally was the abduction of Cameroonians and foreigners living in Cameroon as well as the looting of property. Later on, they added the killing of innocent Cameroonians to their agenda.
                Boko Haram decided to change their tactics in 2015 when they realized that some powerful resistance was coming from the Cameroonian forces of law and order who have been deployed to the Far North region to ward off the attacks of the terrorists.
                They deceive ignorant young girls aged between 8 and 14 years to serve as human bombs, against a phoney reward in heaven. In one of their attacks in December 2015, they also made use of young boys in the same manner. The government had to create vigilante groups in almost all the localities in the Far North. These vigilante groups did (and are still doing their all), even at the expense of their lives, to counter the terrorist group.
                Thanks to the collaboration of the population, the vigilante group and the army, some young girls with bombs have killed only themselves and not members of the population they target. And to facilitate their work, President Biya, just before the close of the year, provided them with vehicles.