Sunday, 29 January 2017
Agbor Balla condemns misinformation & intoxication on social media
In a voice message supposedly recorded in Kondengui prison cell and posted on facebook, Barrister Nkongho Felix AgborBalla, said some if not most of the information circulating on social media are false and only intended to misinform and incite hatred, division and violence. Balla says such misinformation does not help the current situation in the country and should stop.
By Ojong Steven Ayukogem in Yaounde
|Barr. Agbor Balla|
The president of the now outlawed Consortium has joined his voice to that of government in condemning the use of the social media to spread messages that are false and intended to incite the public to hatred, division and violence.
In a voice message supposedly recorded from his prison cell at Kondengui prison, Barrister Nkongho Felix AgborBalla frowned at those who are posting false, unverified information on the social under the cover supporting the Anglophone struggle. He said such false, intoxicating information not only goes contrary with the purpose and objectives of the Anglophone struggle, it also helps to spoil the struggle.
Understood to be a message intended primarily to debunk claims that went viral on social media to the effect that he had been sold out and betrayed to the authorities by his lifetime friend, colleague and brother, Barrister Sichui John Kameni, Balla regretted in a rather vexatious tone that the information circulating on social media about Kameni are false and very injurious to his (Kameni’s) person and his public image and honour.
“All these information circulating on social media that Barrister Kameni betrayed me by showing my house to the authorities is false; it is damaging to Kameni’s image and this is something I don’t appreciate,” said Balla in his voice message, wherein he also warned people to desist from using the social media to spread unverified and intoxicating informations.
“Let us not incite hatred and division between Anglophones and Francophones,” Balla said, reiterating that the Anglophone struggle is not an ethnic or language problem; but a problem of the institutions.
“As Anglophones we have no problem with our Francophone brothers. Whether you are Anglo-Bamileke, Anglo-Bassa or Anglo-Ewondo, we are people of the same country; we are one and the same people,” he reiterated, recalling that even the Prime Minister of West Cameroon in 1966, Augustine NgomJua, included some Anglo-Bamis and Anglo-Bassas in his government.
“This spirit of our erstwhile politicians is what I stand for; Balla said,” reminding his hearers of his stance for peace and non-violence.
“I stand for peace, I stand for non-violence. Let us stop victimizing and stigmatizing our friends and brothers some of whom are helping us and have stood by us in this very challenging times,” Balla concluded.
In a reaction to Balla’s voice message, journalist and blogger, Franklin SoneBayen, said social media enthusiasts should leave Barrister Kameni alone because the betrayers of the struggle can only be members and supporters of the struggle. Bayen wondered how people could accuse someone who does not support or sympathize with a cause of betraying that cause. He noted that Barrister Kameni was not part of the lawyers’ strike and he did not hide his indignation with the members of the consortium and the manner in which they pursued their struggle.
Balla, Fontem & Bibixy to appear before Military Judge Wednesday
The three Anglophone activists will be expected to plead guilty or not guilty of the charges brought against them by the Commissioner of Government (Examining Magistrate) of the Military Tribunal. They were charged with terrorism, inciting rebellion against the state, breach of the constitution and inciting the population to civil unrest. Legal experts say the gravity of the charges need not be over-emphasized
By Ojong Steven Ayukogem in Yaounde
|Dr. FontemNeba, SG of the outlawed Consortium|
The president and Secretary General of the now outlawed Consortium of Anglophone Civil Societies will on Wednesday 1st February, be taken from their prison cells at Kondengui, to the Yaounde Military tribunal.
Barrister Nkongho Felix Agbor-AnyiorBalla and Dr. FontemAforteka’aNeba would be brought to court along with ManchoBibixy, the leader of what is now popularly referred to as the coffin revelation.
Balla and Fontem were arrested in the evening hours on Monday 19 January, around Molyko, Buea, barely hours after the government pronounced a ban throughout the national territory, of the activities of the Consortium of Anglophone Civil Societies and the Southern Cameroons National Council, SCNC, and all other related bodies and their activities. Following their arrest, the two leaders (Balla is also the President of Fako Lawyers Association, FAKLA, while Fontem is the SG of SYNES UB-Chapter) were immediately whisked-off to Yaounde and put under pre-trial detention at the gendarmerie headquarters (SED).
The other activist, ManchoBibixy, was arrested on Wednesday 21 January, in his girlfriend’s room in Bamenda. He too was immediately ferried to Yaounde to join the others at the SED.
Decree N°2017/013 of 23 January 2017 To Lay Down the Establishment, Organization and Functioning of the National Commission on the Promotion of Bilingualism and Multiculturalism
|President Paul Biya|
Paul BIYA | 24-01-2017 16:29
The President of the Republic,
Mindful of the Constitution, hereby decrees as follows
1: (1) This decree lays down the establishment, organization and functioning of the National Commission on the Promotion of Bilingualism and Multiculturalism abbreviated as “NCPBM”, hereinafter referred to as “The Commission”
(2) The Commission shall be placed under the authority of the President of the Republic
(3) It shall be headquartered in Yaounde
(4) The terms and conditions for the organization and internal functioning and the rules of procedure of the Commission shall be laid down in the internal Rules and Regulations.
2: The Commission shall be an advisory body, legal personality and financial autonomy.
3 (1) Under the authority of the President of the Republic, the Commission shall be responsible for promoting bilingualism and multiculturalism in Cameroon with a view to maintaining peace and consolidating the country’s national and strengthening its people’s willingness and day-to-day experience with respect to living together.
(2) In this capacity, it shall be responsible notably for:
- Submitting reports and recommendations on issues relating to the protection and promotion of bilingualism and multiculturalism to the President of the Republic and the Government;
- Monitoring the implementation of constitutional provisions establishing English and French as two languages of equal status, and especially ensuring their use in all government services, semi-public bodies as well as any State-subsidized body;
- Conducting any study or survey and proposing measures likely to strengthen Cameroon’s bilingual and multicultural character;
- Preparing and submitting to the President of the Republic draft instruments on bilingualism, multiculturalism and togetherness;
- Popularizing the regulation on bilingualism, multiculturalism and togetherness;
- Receiving petitions against discriminations arising from non-compliance with the constitutional provisions on bilingualism and multiculturalism, and reporting thereon to the President of the Republic;
- Performing any other task assigned to it by the the President of the Republic, including mediation.
Biya creates commission to foster peace, unity
President Paul Biya has created a consultative commission on bilingualism and multiculturalism, pushing his agenda for “togetherness”, in the wake of Anglophone pro-federalism protests and a muscular government crackdown.
The commission vested with no real powers will report directly to the president with proposals on promoting bilingualism and multiculturalism, Biya decreed Monday. The preference for multiculturalism is in direct contrast to biculturalism, which underlies Anglophone arguments that Cameroon consists of two peoples with separate aspirations.
Biya indicated that the final goal of the commission will be to foster unity and togetherness, a theme that has emerged strongly in the past months to counter calls for a return to the federal arrangement that existed before 1972. It is consistent with the president’s opposition to what he has described as any change to the form of the state and the actions against Anglophone activists of the past weeks.
The president did not immediately appoint the chairperson and members of the commission. Most of its nature was left to the commission to forge. But it was clear it will exercise no direct influence on how bilingualism and multiculturalism plays out across the government/public establishment. That job is left in the hands of the president of the Republic.
Hon. Wirba to be sacked from the SDF?
By Cameroon Journal
SDF dangles its infamous article 8.2 over Hon. Joseph Wirba’s head
Membership of Hon. Joseph Wirba, Member of Parliament for Bui South (Jakiri) Constituency, as SDF militant, may be suspended on Saturday when members of the National Executive Committee, NEC, of the party meet in Bamenda, The Cameroon Journal has been told.
A top SDF official who hinted The Cameroon Journal on the development yesterday said the expulsion of Hon. Wirba using the party’s unpopular article 8.2 will be top on the agenda when the NEC converge on Bamenda.
Though Saturday’s emergency NEC meeting which holds at the Ntarikon residence of John FruNdi, the National Chairman, was convened by the newly-appointed Secretary General of the Party, Senator Jean Tsomelou, the stormy get-together will, however, be chaired by FruNdi himself.
Briefing The Cameroon Journal as to why Wirba may be expelled from the party, our source said the lawmaker from Bui has recently taken certain positions which are at variance with the stance of the SDF.
Citing Hon. Wirba’s outing at the National Assembly in which he spoke forcefully about the marginalisation of Anglophones in December 2016, the SDF source said the stance of the party has always been a two-state federation and not the restoration of the statehood of the former Southern Cameroons as Hon. Wirba has been advocating.
Biya to merge parts of NW & SW with Littoral, West and Adamawa Regions
|President Paul Biya|
According to on-line news portal, Cameroon Journal, Yaounde authorities are contemplating a plan to cut some portions of the present NW and SW regions and merge them with the Littoral, West and Adamawa regions. Cameroon Journal said they were hinted of the plan by a source in the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Decentralization.
Cameroon Journal reported that government started contemplating the plan as soon as Anglophones began protesting against the present configuration of the state and advocating a return to the pre-1961 federal arrangement. It added that the plan gained traction after dialogue with striking Anglophone teachers and lawyers collapsed.
The MINADT source told Cameroon Journal that by virtue of the plan, the parts of Bui Division in the NW that share borders with Adamawa region, in the North of the country will be cut and merged with their Tikari brothers of that region. Also, parts of Santa sub-division, which share the same cultural values with the Babajous in Mbouda, West Region will be cut and ceded to that Region.
Then, parts of Foumban in the West Region that share borders with Bui Division in the Northwest will be ceded to the Northwest.
In the Southwest region, parts of Tiko will be merged with the Littoral, while Loum in the Littoral that is adjacent to Tombel in KupeMuanenguba Division will be ceded to the Southwest.
Also, part of Lebialem division, including the capital town of Menji, will be merged with Dschang in the West Region, while the rest of the division including Bamubu, will remain in the Southwest.
The reason this, according to Cameroon Journal is to break the unity among the Anglophone populations as a bid to prevent further calls for a two-state federation of secession.
Tumi faults govt’s repressive measures, advocates dialogue, federalism
|Cardinal Christian Tumi|
Archbishop Emeritus of Douala, Christian Cardinal Tumi has called for renewed, genuine dialogue to resolve the ongoing Anglophone crisis.
The veteran prelate made the appeal in an interview he granted the Paris-based radio, RFI.
“Violence and repression cannot solve anything,” Tumi said, wondering whether the tensions will ever subside giving the way things are going.
Cardinal Tumi urged government to engage fresh and frank dialogue with the Anglophones because they too are Cameroonians.
“Everyone has something to say, it’s good to listen to them. Nobody loves this country more than the other. Even though others prefer federalism, which we are talking about, it is good to look at what is better for all. Silencing dissenting voices is not the solution,” Tumi posited, noting that there will always be extremists in any struggle, but “majority of Anglophones prefer federalism and not separation.”
SW ‘living forces’ want 1996 constitution implemented
|Senator Peter MafanyMusonge|
CPDM barons of the South West Region have told the Head of State Paul Biya to accelerate the process of the putting in place of all the institutions in the 1996 constitution some of which are yet to see the light of day until now.
The made the call in a statement issued on Thursday 19 January 2017, after a meeting in Yaounde. The meeting that brought together CPDM senators, national assembly members and government ministers was chaired by former PM, Senator Peter MafanyMusonge.
It should be recalled that several very important institutions enshrined in the 18 January 1996 constitution such as the Constitutional Council, the Regional Councils, the Court of Impeachment, and the declaration of assets by public office holders, have not been put in place almost 21 years after the constitution came into being. It is believed that if these institutions are put in place it will go a long way in fostering unity and dousing the frustrations of Anglophones.
KupeMuanenguba chiefs advocate ten decentralized regions
-Urge president Biya to urgently implement the 1996 constitution as a way forward
By Doh Bertrand Nua in Kumba
Chiefs of KupeMuanenguba Division of the Southwest region under the KupeMuanenguba Chiefs Conference have challenged the Head of State President Paul Biya to implement the section of the 1996 Constitution that makes for ten decentralized regional councils in the country. The chiefs made the call in an extraordinary general assembly meeting on 25 January 2017 at the Tombel council hall.
The deliberations of the meeting centered on seeking ways for schools resumption as a way forward for the ongoing civil unrest in the country, as well as disassociate themselves from the ongoing call by the now outlawed Consortium for a two-state federation and/or secession.
Acknowledging the existence of an Anglophone problem, one of the chiefs, HRH Dr. AtemEbako pleaded with parents and the general public not to jeopardize the future of their children by keeping their children at home. He enjoined parents to ensure the effective reopening of schools in the division.
Some of the chiefs present expressed the wish to have a joint conference of Northwest and Southwest chiefs to put heads together and seek a solution to the present impasse.
Law suit against mobile phone operators is inevitable
By Chief Charles Taku, Saturday, January 21, 2017
|MTN Cameroon CEO, PhilisiweSibiya|
I listened to the interview in which an MTN official in South Africa attempted to explain and justify the contractual basis on which it terminated or suspended indefinitely internet services in the Southern Cameroons. The problem is that the so-called national security threat clause alleged by Republique du Cameroun to request the cooperation of MTN in its ongoing criminal actions that have led to loss of life in the occupied territory pertains to a situation where a state of public emergency is legally justified and declared.
Even in such circumstances, MTN would have been required sufficient guarantees of the non-derogation of certain International Treaty protected human rights like the right to life as a condition to acceding the impugned request. There is in this situation, no legal or constitutional authority to justify the actions of the MTN in acceding to a request that has facilitated the commission of crimes against humanity or a widespread and systemic basis without such guarantees.
Apart from their contract with the government of Cameroun, their operations are regulated by international treaties which as a state party, Cameroun must respect. The collective nature of the impugned crimes is a violation of international law. There ought to have been an arbitration clause in the MTN contract with Cameroun which MTN would have invoked to protect their clients, ensure that its involvement doesn’t go beyond their contractual obligations and are within international law.
The fact that their actions are facilitating the perpetration of crimes which they acknowledged in the interview and with its knowledge is a source of great concern. There is no indication that it has taken measures to protest these violations to Cameroun. MTN should have protested and/or insisted that Cameroun notifies the International Telecommunication Union of its actions and get assurances that the intended actions to abate the so-called national security threats were neither disproportionate or abused to commit international crimes.
Following the total shutdown of internet connection in the entire North West and South West Regions, it has emerged that commercial banks and micro-finance institutions have been the most affected by the blackout.
Internet connectivity in the two Anglophone Regions was suspended since Tuesday January 17, and the network is yet to be restored by Government that shut it down.
Against this backdrop, financial transactions within and outside these two Anglophone regions are witnessing serious setback.
An official of a micro-finance institution in Kumba who gave his name only as Neba, said they have incurred enormous financial losses due to the internet disconnection.
CRM calls for the end of political arrests, the release of new legitimate socio-political leaders and for political dialogue
The Cameroon Renaissance Movement (CRM) is very concerned about the regime of terror that is plaguing the new legitimate anglophone leaders, since the government realized, after clumsily denying the existence of an anglophone problem with arguments and official demonstrations, that their "solutions" do not satisfy the populations of the North-West and South-West.
These "solutions" could only be unsatisfactory, for it is not possible to propose real solutions to a problem whose existence is officially denied.
The Government's attitude suggests a doctor who not only denies that the person in front of him is a patient and refuses to consult him, but hastened to resort to the BIR, the army, the police, CRTV, Cameroon Tribune, justice, to force him to swallow a drug in order to cure an illness of which this strange doctor knows neither the nature nor the gravity, since he pretends that it is an imaginary disease. Such a physician does not reassure the patient; and the more he unleashes strength, the less he reassures him.
The creation on Monday 23rd January 2017 of the National Commission for the Promotion of Bilingualism and Multiculturalism, announced on 31st December 2016 by the President of the Republic, at a time when the Government continued to deny the existence of an anglophone problem, is the drug that anglophone compatriots have to swallow by terror (arrests, humiliation of public figures, inappropriate recall of the terms of the anti-terrorist law, threat and censorship of media etc.) . When were their new legitimate leaders now in detention or underground associated with the creation of this questionable structure both in the process of its creation and in terms of its missions and responsibilities?
Internet blackout extended to neighboring Francophone towns
Mbanga in the Littoral now also suffers internet blackout. Sources say government is also contemplating cutting internet in Mbouda and Bafoussam in the West region.
By Doh Bertrand Nua in Kumba
In an attempt to completely deprive denizens of west Cameroon of internet connection, the government has extended internet blackout in francophone towns sharing borders with Anglophone Cameroon. This is the case of Mbanga in the Littoral region, which is very close to Kumba and Muyuka in the South West region.
According to what this reporter gathered, the internet connection was cut in Mbanga because frontline activists advocating for federation and/or secession are leaving Kumba and crossing over to Mbanga to access the internet and spread propaganda on the ongoing Anglophone struggle.
The short distance between Kumba and Mbanga passing through the Reunification Railway Line that links Littoral and SW was considered by these activists as a ready solution to the problem of internet blackout in West Cameroon, until early this week when it was cut.
Authorities who are seemingly monitoring from every angle discovered early enough that Mbanga in Littoral was becoming a habitat for social media fanatics who have taken the Anglophone struggle personal. This reporter also gathered that social media activists of the Anglophone struggle have like Spartans who die but never surrender been moving over to the economic capital, Douala, just to get connected to the internet and realize their objectives on the fight.
It is a similar situation in the Northwest region as this reporter learnt many inhabitants of Bamenda have been flooding Mbouda and Bafoussam in the West region just to access the internet. There are speculations that in the days ahead there will be internet blackout in Mbouda and Bafoussam.
Many have interpreted this migration from West Cameroon to neighboring towns in French Cameroon just to access internet as a way to show to the government how determined and how far supporters of the Anglophone struggle can go.
By Rachel Ntube in Yaounde
|Pan African University graduates pose with officials|
The second batch of students of the Pan African University, baptized: ‘the Africa that we want’ have received their end of training certificates in Yaounde. The ceremony at the Yaounde Conference Centre was chaired by the minister of higher education, who represented the president of the republic.
It witnessed the presence of some high profile personalities of the African union and the rectors of the universities of Yaoundé 2 and Buea presently hosting the institute’s two main departments of study.
The laureates have completed higher studies (Masters Degrees) in governance and regional integration at the University of Yaoundé 2, and Masters in translation and conference interpretation at the University of Buea.
Fears teachers strike might stall Varsity games
By Rachel NtubeNgwese in Yaounde
In the traditional New Year wishes ceremony of the higher education family to minister Jacque Fame Ndongo, which took place last Friday at the University of Yaoundé 1 campus, the minister of higher education seized the opportunity to plead for an effective resumption of classes in the two Anglophone regions of the country.
In his address to the university community, he called on the students of the two state universities and other higher institutions in the north west and the south west regions who for several months now have not resumed classes following the strike actions of the teachers and lawyers of the English sub systems to do well to start school as soon as possible in order not to risk losing an entire academic year.
He reminded them of the several measures instituted by the government to redress the prevailing situation and security guaranties put in place in the two regions to enable students and teachers go to school.
The presence of both vice chancellors of the Universities of Buea and Bamenda equally provided a veritable opportunity for them to fine-tune strategies to influence students and teachers resume classes.
These strategies which the minister could not reveal to the press but assured the public will influence the students go to school, are adding to an earlier decision taken by the university community last week to transfer the university games to the university of Bamenda.
Youth Day preparations heat up amid calls for boycott
-SDO upbeat about a successful commemoration of 11 February
By Doh Bertrand Nua in Kumba
|Banned Consortium is calling for ghost towns on 11 February|
Amid calls for boycott by Anglophone activists, local authorities in Kumba, Meme Division have launched preparations for the 51 National Youth Day to be celebrated on 11 February.
The second assistant SDO for Meme, Youngkuma Nelson Gamsi, on 19 January at the kumba city council hall launched preparatory activities with the holding of the first preparatory meeting.
Deliberations at the meeting that brought together security officials, school heads, education delegates alongside other stakeholders, were centered on the evaluation of last year's celebration as well as adoption of proposed activities for this year's celebration.
D’la-Y’de: A new VIP bus service
|VIP, United Express|
An ultra-modern VIP bus transport company, United Express, a fruit of Sino-Cameroon private-private cooperation, was on 21 and 23 January, officially launched in Douala and Yaounde respectively. The launching ceremony was presided over by the SDO for Nfoundi sitting alongside the Cameroon Ambassador to China
With United Express VIP Services, businessness operators and well-to-do travellers who want to do the journey between the nation’s political capital Yaounde and the economic capital Douala, on due time and in comfort and security, should not hesitate to avail themselves at the agences of the company situated in Akwa Douala and EssosYaounde respectively, according to authorities of United Express.
The ultra-modern, state-of-the-art buses of the nascent company hit the road for the inaugural journey at exactly 5am on Wednesday, 25 January 2017, simultaneously from Douala and Yaounde. And this was sequel to the official launch of its activities in Douala on Saturday 21 January and in Yaounde on Monday 23 January.
Mane missed decisive penalty as Cameroon reach AFCON semis
|Cameroon have won one game in 90 minutes at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations|
Liverpool's Sadio Mane missed the decisive spot kick as Cameroon beat Senegal 5-4 on penalties to reach the Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals.
Mane, Africa's most expensive player, was denied by FabriceOndoa, Vincent Aboubakar hitting the winning penalty.
Much fancied Senegal had a great chance to win it in normal time but Moussa Sow volleyed wide from close range to leave the game scoreless after 120 minutes.
Cameroon are four-time winners of the tournament.
The result means Mane is likely to make a swift return to his club Liverpool, who suffered a surprising 2-1 home defeat by Wolverhampton Wanderers in the FA Cup fourth round on Saturday.
There were striking similarities to this game and 15 years ago, when Cameroon and Senegal met in the 2002 final in Mali.
- Burkina Faso scored two late goals to beat Tunisia 2-0 and reach the Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals.
Substitute Aristide Bance scored with a low drive from a free-kick only five minutes after coming off the bench.
PrejuceNakoulma made sure of the victory on the counter-attack, after Tunisia had thrown everyone forward, rounding the goalkeeper 40 yards out before slotting into an empty net.
The Stallions will face either Morocco or Egypt in the last four on Wednesday.
It is now three wins from their three quarter-finals appearances for Burkina Faso, who last reached this stage in 2013 when they finished as losing finalists.
For the first time they secured a quarter-final win in normal time although until Bance's intervention, which finally broke Tunisia's resistance, it appeared as though extra time was to be required again.
The Burkinabe had the clearest chances of the first half, Nakoulma firing over from 12 yards over and Bertrand Traore unlucky with a chip that hit the top of the bar.
Tunisia's best opportunity came from a corner headed on by TahaYassineKhenissi which AymenAbdennour could only nod on, Mohamed Ali Yacoubi narrowly missing at the far post.
Both sides looked increasingly nervous after the interval and the match became scrappy with few chances - a couple of goalmouth scrambles in the Tunisia box typified a lack of decisiveness from both sets of players.
Sunday, 22 January 2017
Ayah Paul to join Balla, Fontem&Mancho in Kondengui?
The Advocate general of the Supreme Court of Cameroon was reportedly kidnapped on Saturday, at his Tam-Tam Week-end residence in Yaounde, by security agents. Saturday’s arrest was made after Ayah had earlier on Thursday snubbed a summons from the commissioner of government at the Yaounde Military Tribunal and turned away agents of the national gendarmerie who were commissioned to get him sign the summons.
By Ayukogem Steven Ojong in Yaounde
Ayah Paul Abine, Supreme Court Advocate General and leader of
opposition Popular Action Party PAP
Advocate general of the Supreme Court of Cameroon, Ayah Paul Abine, has finally been arrested in Yaounde. The senior magistrate and political leader and activist was forcefully arrested Saturday at his residence in Tam-Tam weekend quarters here. We learnt that Ayah’s wife who tried to hold back the security agents from taking her husband was also bundled along with her husband.
By press time yesterday we could not immediately get the charges brought against Ayah. But speculations are that his arrest may not be unconnected to his role in the ongoing Anglophone struggle.
It is understood that though Ayah has hardly joined Anglophone federation advocates and secessionists during their demonstrations on the streets, his several interviews with news outlets and especially his postings on facebook lend credence to accusations that he is an avowed advocate for
Facebook lend credence to talk that he is an avowed Anglophone freedom fighter. Besides, Ayah had at one point been tipped by secessionists to take over the leadership of the SCNC after the organization’s emblematic chairman, EtteOtunAyamba, passed on several years ago. Even though Ayah would eventually not become the chairman of SCNC, he however stated that he sympathized with the ideology of the group, even if he was not one of its members.
Ayah had earlier on Thursday 19 January refused to heed a summons from the military judge for him to show up on Friday at 11am for interrogation at the national gendarmerie headquarters (SED) in Yaounde. Ayah told two gendarme officers who presented him with the summons that their boss, the commissioner of government at the military tribunal, had no legal authority to summon him for any reason, only his (Ayah’s) departmental head at the Supreme Court has the powers to do so.
When Ayah was presented with the summons at his Supreme Court office, he told his interlocutors that he was sorry he could not go with them. Ayah asked the gendarme officers to go back and tell their boss to respect the law.
Hon. Wirba’s immunity to be revoked
|Opposition SDF MP and darling of the Southern Cameroons cause, Joseph Wirba|
Hon. Wirba Joseph, SDF Member of Parliament and one other MP, Martin Oyono, may have their immunities lifted in the weeks ahead, a reliable source has disclosed to The Cameroon Journal. This is set to happen in an extraordinary session of the National Assembly and the Senate to be convened in the days ahead.
Though reasons for the revocation of immunities of the lawmakers remain unclear, The Cameroon Journal gathered that their ‘crimes’ are not unrelated to acts of repeated insubordination and disrespect of the Standing Orders of the House.
A source in Parliament who confirmed the story to The Cameroon Journal yesterday said Wirba is being accused of preaching rebellion and separation.
Peter Essoka warns newspapers to toe gov’t’s line
|President of the National Communication Council Peter Essoka|
The President of the National Communication Council has warned that newspapers and TV stations that continued to fuel the crisis in the Anglophone regions will have their licences suspended.
Peter Essoka gave the warning in a communiqué broadcast on state radio, crtv, on Friday January 20. He said defaulting newspapers and TVs risk sanctions ranging from temporary suspension to permanent closure of their activities.
The Government-created media watchdog listed The Guardian Post, The Times Journal, Cameroon Post [The Post], Le Messager, Canal2. Equinoxe TV, STV and some local radios as the news houses that have so far been publishing “seditious and disturbing content” that undermine the integrity of the state during the ongoing Anglophone crisis.
|President of Consortium, Barrister Nkongho Felix Agbor Balla|
Amnesty International has called on Cameroon authorities to “immediately and unconditionally release two civil society leaders arrested in the English-speaking part of the country.”
The demand for the release of Barrister Nkongho Felix Agbor-Balla and Dr. FontemAforteka’aNeba, President and Secretary General of the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium (CACSC) respectively, was made on January 20.
The UK-based global rights movement also called on Cameroon authorities to lift a ban imposed on the Southern Cameroons National Council (SCNC) and the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium (CACSC). The Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralisation had on January 17, 2017, outlawed the groups and their activities.
“These two men have been arrested solely for the peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression. This flagrant disregard for basic rights risks inflaming an already tense situation in the English-speaking region of the country and is clearly an attempt to muzzle dissent,” IlariaAllegrozzi, Amnesty International Central Africa Researcher said in a statement.
Going by Amnesty International, the “worrying pattern of arbitrary arrests, detention and harassment of civil society members is entirely at odds with the international human rights law and standards that Cameroon has committed to uphold.”
Panic grips “West Cameroon” as police go for “terrorists” secessionists
Following the arrest of the leaders of the Anglophone Consortium last week, many frontline advocates of federation and separation have gone underground. Sources say may have escaped into neighboring Nigeria.
By Boris Esono in Buea
Mancho BBC (standing inside white coffin) at the start of the Bamenda
protest which later went violent
A police crackdown on advocates and leaders of the violent clamour for Federation and/or separation is yielding the expected result as it has instilled fear, in many, forcing them to go into hiding or to abandon their public protests, at least in the meantime.
Following the arrest last week of some three leaders of the Anglophone struggle-Barrister Nkongho Felix AgborBalla, FontenNebaAforteka’a, and ManchoBibixy, indications in the secessionist hotspots of Bamenda, Kumbo, Ndop, Kumba, Mutengeneetc are that many of the advocates of separation with La Republique are now panic-stricken and have vamoosed into the underworld or have simply shut their mouths.
By Rachel NtubeNgwese in Yaounde
“I may have been wrong in my assessment when I first said that there was no Anglophone problem in Cameroon. I apologize for that.’ These were the words of the communication minister while responding to questions from journalists in a recent press conference in Yaounde. The press conference was aimed to update the public on the situation prevailing in the North West and the South West regions of Cameroon.
Chiroma had said in an earlier press conference called weeks ago that there was no Anglophone problem in Cameroon. Then he was sitting alongside other ministers including the ministers of higher education, secondary education, basic education and justice. The five ministers claimed the concerns raised by Anglophone teachers and lawyers of the south west and North West regions were general problems affecting people from other regions of the country and were in no way specific to Anglophones. By their assessment, there was a problem of language and not an Anglophone problem as such.
Customs told to reinforce vigilance to prevent entry of arms
|Customs seen here scrutinising boxes containing smoked fish at Idenau Beach|
Apparently frightened by the ongoing mass protests in the South West and North West Regions, Cameroon Customs have been instructed to step up vigilance at the various entry ports along the borders with Nigeria in the North West and South West Regions.
At the Idenau beach cross-border traders described the hell they went through in thorough security checks they were subjected to.
On Thursday, January 19, a trader who gave his name as Peter said he spent almost two hours undergoing customs security scrutiny; something he said was unusual.
“When we arrived from neighbouring Nigeria, a Customs officer turned up and asked to check the content of my cargo [cartoons of smoked fish]. We had to go cartoon by cartoon and the officer sorted it fish after fish,” the trader disclosed.
|Members of SYNES UB at a previous gathering|
The President of The University of Buea chapter of the National Higher Education Union, SYNES UB, Arrey James Abangma, has reiterated that teachers of Universities will continue to fight against oppression and pressing for the restoration of the Anglo-Saxon system of education no matter the arrest of Union leaders.
At a press conference in Buea last Thursday January 19, Abangma stated: “May I reiterate that the strike continues until we are given a definite solution to this beggarly life that has been imposed on us and our children.”
He insisted that all and sundry should reason with Anglophones so as to lead them to victory well deserved in this elephant fight.
|5 tons of pangolin scales seized in Douala|
Wildlife officials made one of the biggest ever seizures of pangolin scales in the Central African sub-region on January 3, 2017, taking hold of over five tons of pangolin scales and two Chinese traffickers. Following information they received on wildlife trafficking concerning a Douala-based company run by some Chinese nationals, a crackdown operation was carried and two solidly sealed containers were cut open to reveal close to 300 boxes filled with pangolin scales. The operation was carried out by the Littoral Regional Delegation of Forestry and Wildlife with the collaboration of the Judiciary and the police in Douala. The Last Great Ape Organisation (LAGA) provided technical assistance during the operation.
The arresting team spent several hours trying to break them open the containers and the services of a welder was required. When they finally succeeded they revealed iron boxes which were welded into frames and covered with lead to disguise them when passed through scanners at the ports. The two Chinese initially resisted allowing officials inspect the premises despite the presentation of a search warrant. The two managers claimed the containers had broken machines which were about to be exported to China for repairs.
One of the managers looked more worried, kept smoking cigarettes for long hours as he tried several diversionary tactics to sway wildlife officials from breaking open the containers until two pieces of pangolin scales were found in the area. Rachelle Tchasso, a forestry engineer who was part of the team explains “When we got to the place, despite the resistance of the Chinese we found the hidden containers. We also found two pangolin scales lying on the floor despite the fact that the area was cleanly swept”.
Wednesday, 18 January 2017
Gov’t bans SCNC & Consortium
-Arrests the President and SG of Consortium in Buea
By Ojong Steven Ayukogem in Yaounde
|Barrister Nkongho Felix AgborBalla|
A decree of the minister of territorial administration and decentralization, Rene Emmanuel Sadi, has proscribed all activities of the SCNC and the Anglophone Civil Society Consortium throughout the national territory. According to the decree, any persons or groups of persons found perpetrating activities related to these associations will face the law. DOs, SDO and Governors have been empowered to enforce the decree in their respective areas of command. The ministerial decision was read on state-owned radio, CRTV, at exactly 5.30 PM on Tuesday, 17 January 2017.
The government ban on the SCNC and Consortium was followed minutes later by the arrest in Buea of the President and Secretary General of the Consortium, Barrister Nkongho Felix AgborBalla and Dr. FontemAfontekahNeba respectively. Though the arrest was not immediately announced, The Median confirmed with sources in Buea that Balla and Fontem who were holding a meeting perhaps to officially react to the ban on their activities were waylaid by security operatives and bundled to an unknown destination.
When the news of the arrest first got to our newsroom, it said the two men had been taken to the GMI headquarters in Buea. But a family source in Buea told us later that went he got to the GMI he was told to check with the Rapid Intervention Unit, ESIR. The source said even at the ESIR, Balla and Fontem could not be traced. It is now widely speculated that after their arrest, the two ‘Anglophone freedom fighters’ where immediately ferried to almighty Yaounde.
By press time yesterday, we could not confirm whether other arrests had been made. But a source hinted us that security operatives in Bamenda also went to round up the president of the teachers’ trade union, Wilfred Tassang, but could not find him at his home. It is rumoured that Tassang had varnished into hiding following a tip-off.
It should be mentioned that the arrest of AgborBalla and Fontem came barely minutes after this reporter talked with both protagonists on the phone. I called the two men in succession to get their reaction to the government ban on their activities.
Responding to my question, Balla said: “I am a bit surprised but I had suspected it would get to this sooner than later giving the attitude of the government ever since this imbroglio took a new twist about a month ago. I knew the government was looking for a way out to arrest the leaders of the struggle and throw them in jail. With this ban I fear things may get even more complicated than before. We have since shown our willingness to dialogue but government preferred to remain arrogant and not showing any good faith.”
He continued: “It is sad for the government to ban the Consortium which is just a moderate voice that is seeking true unity in Cameroon. It is unfortunate for a country that claims to be democratic. We advocate a society of justice and non-violence. All along we have tried to find a lasting solution to the logjam, but government did everything to block genuine dialogue….It is sad. It is a sad day for the moderate voices in this country; it is a sad day for unity and democracy in Cameroon…..I call on our people to stay calm in the face of this provocation……I know they are looking for a way they can get our people to come out in the streets so they will shoot and kill them in their numbers….But I pray this should not happen.”
As if he had foreseen their arrest, a discernibly calm and level-headed AgborBalla said: “This cannot be the end of the struggle. The government can ban the consortium but it cannot kill the will and spirit of the struggle; our struggle is legitimate; our force comes from the people; even if all the members of the consortium are arrested or killed it will still not kill the will of the people. The will of the people is stronger than the consortium.”
AU blames Cameroon for excessive use of force
|AU Rights Commissioner ReineAlapini-Gansou|
The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights with Secretariat in Banjul, The Gambia, has expressed concerns over recent killings in Cameroon amidst the ongoing Anglophone lawyers and teachers’ strike action.
In a statement titled “Press Release on the Human Rights Situation in Cameroon Following strike actions of Lawyers, Teachers and Civil Society,” the African Union’s rights outfit said the Commission’s Country Rapporteur for Cameroon and Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders in Africa, Hon. ReineAlapini-Gansou, is deeply concerned with the deteriorating human rights situation in Cameroon. Reine cited the killing of civilians; the deployment of armed military personnel as well as special security forces (BIR) and war machines to the two English-speaking Regions of the country.
The statement also regrets the disproportionate and deadly use of force and violence by gov’t forces to dispel peaceful and unarmed protesters in Bamenda, Buea and Kumba, including rape of students in Buea; the arbitrary arrests, detention and merciless beatings orchestrated by the police, gendarmerie, military and the BIR following strikes and protests that have been going on since October 2016.
Hon. Wirba advocates secession, resistance at Kumbo rally
- Over 5000 people converged on Kumbo’smain Square to listen to the ‘hero’
By Sekfem Jude Wirsiy in Kumbo
SDF MP for Jakiri, Hon. Joseph Wirba lifted by admirers
Over 5000 attended Wirba’s rally at Kumbo’s main square in Mveh
More than 5000 people gathered in the dusty main square in Kumbo to listen to Joseph Wirba, the SDF parliamentarian who has gained sudden fame among Anglophones for his “we will resist” speech in the National Assembly.
In spite of a ban from Bui administrative authorities, Wirba arrived to cheers from an enthusiastic crowd of admirers on Saturday. Some of them wore red T-shirts with the words “I am Wirba” written against a black background across the front.
It was the first in a series throughout “West Cameroon”, where he plans to take his message of resistance, Wirba said.
Hon. Wirba appears to be breaking ranks with his party, the Social Democratic Front, which has remained on the sidelines of the ongoing Anglophone uprising. He now appears to be charting a new political territory for himself.
He has enlisted ManchoBibixi, the promoter of the “coffin revolution”, who is considered the mastermind of the 8 December street protests in Bamenda that turned deadly. Even though they endorse the call for Federalism, Wirba and Mancho, at this point do not seem to have fallen directly behind the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium (CACSC), which is leading negotiations with the government.
The euphoria here was not unexpected. After denouncing what he termed the enslavement and oppression of Anglophone Cameroonians in his November address at the National Assembly, Wirba returned to his home town of Jakiri not far from here to a hero’s welcome.
His message was largely similar to dominant discourse in the ongoing Anglophone struggle. In a reiteration of his National Assembly stance, he called for resistance against what he called the oppressive forces of the largely Francophone-led administration in Yaounde.
“This has gotten to the point where we better die fighting than to die as beggars on our knees,” he thundered. “We will fight and fight and fight…”
Authorities did not try to stop the rally even though the divisional officer of Bui Central had banned it. Wirba said his decision to disregard the ban was part of the resistance – which has become the central theme of his campaign.
He arrived at a little after 1 p.m. and tore through the cheering crowd, sitting on the shoulders of two men in orange works suits. The crowd erupted in praise, calling him father. He waved, struggling all the while to remain steady.
No one in sight: Streets in Bamenda, where the public overwhelmingly
respected a ghost town protest, remained empty on Monday
The inter-ministerial adhoc committee created by Prime Minister Philemon Yang, to examine the grievances of striking Anglophone teachers and propose solutions to government, has prematurely called off further deliberations, after talks ended in a stalemate and teachers reaffirmed their determined stance for schools to remain closed sine die. The teachers acting under the canopy of what is now referred to as the consortium, also reaffirmed their stance for a two-state federation and the organization of a referendum in West Cameroon to determine whether or not Anglophones want to stay in a highly centralized Republic.
The President of the Adhoc Committee, Prof. Ghogomu, submitted the committee’s report to the Prime Minister Monday, regretting that the talks could not go to the desired end due to the intransigence of the teachers.
Ghogomu however noted in the report that most of the technical complains of the teachers were examined and thrashed but that those demands that have no direct link with the work of teachers could not be put on the table this, against the insistence of the teachers.
Ghogomu’s report was submitted barely two days before talks were expected to resume between the government and leaders of teachers’ trade unions. The premature end of the talks has reinforced doubts about an early resolution of the crises in Anglophone regions and further left things more complicated for the authorities who must do everything to save the school year which is now threatened.
The populations of the NW region stayed home for a second day on Tuesday, yielding to calls from activists condemning police brutality and demanding a referendum to determine the fate of the country’s English-speaking territory. Schools and courts, which have been directly hit by the uprising, are likely to remain in limbo much longer.
Other cities, towns and villages across Anglophone Cameroon also respected the ghost towns declared by the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Societies Consortium (CACSC), after security forces shot at civilians in Bamenda on Friday, killing one.
The recent shootings stalled an announced resumption of talks, which had made some progress towards saving the school year when they held last week
21 Anglophones still held in Y’de
Battery of lawyers defending detained Anglophone rioters
The Median gathered that the 21 Anglophones still being detained are those that allegedly burnt the national flag during mass protests in the North West and South West Regions.
A security official confirmed to The Median, adding that those who were held at the National Gendarmerie Headquarters have all been transferred to the Kondengui Prison in Yaounde.
Though the fate of the detainees is not immediately known, a battery of some 66 Francophone and Anglophone lawyers under the canopy of the Human Rights Commission of the Cameroon Bar Association have vowed to defend the detainees.
Consortium condemns violence, preaches unity
Students run for safety in Limbe, after being chased out of classrooms
by vandals as ghost towns paralyzed activities in NW and SW
The president of the Anglophone Civil Society Consortium has condemned the use of violence during ghost towns operations called by the consortium. Barrister Nkongho Felix AgborBalla says it is regrettable for some misguided individuals to take advantage of the ghost towns to orchestrate acts of violence and vandalism on persons and property.
Speaking to The Median in a telephone chat on Tuesday morning, Balla said: “Violence is not in our agenda; we stand for non-violence and civil disobedience. Those who orchestrated violence on Monday were acting on their own and not in consonance with what the Consortium stands for.”
The Consortium president was reacting to questions from The Median as to his take on the violent clashes that were reported in Limbe and other towns during the ghost towns operations on Monday.
“We hear that some individuals broke into some schools and orchestrated violence on Francophone students who were attending classes. The consortium never asked any persons to occasion violence on any body or property. We stand for peaceful civil disobedience and not violence. We also do not preach any form of divide, be it Francophone-Anglophone or NW-SW or whatever. We are for Unity in diversity,” Barrister Balla maintained, though emphasizing the stance of the consortium for a two-state federation in a peaceful and united Cameroon.
Hundreds of denizens Monday took to the streets in Limbe in the SW and Ndop in the NW, on day one of the Ghost Town operation, despite calls by the Anglophone Consortium for calm and non-violence.
|Buea Road Kumba yesterday|
Business as usual was dead in Kumba Monday following the Ghost Town declared by the Anglophone Civil Society Consortium last Saturday.
The ghost town in Kumba, the melting pot of economic activities in the South West Region, was even better enforced and more effective than that of January 9. Every single business establishment, government offices, and even banks and transport agencies were all shutdown. Worst still, no schools, both private and public dared to open their doors on Monday.
The streets were virtually empty of taxes and people. People trekked long distances to get to town. During the January 9 ghost town, some taxis defied the orders and took to the roads, but yesterday, they were totally off the streets. Even government offices were also closed down.
At Kumba central market, only the main gate was opened. When our reporters tried to make their way through into the market, one of the leaders of the trader’s union and his état major who were stationed at the entrance stopped us and questioned, “Don’t you see that all stores are closed?” The leader wondered aloud where we were going to when everywhere was sealed. Uniform officers could be seen stationed in strategic corners of the city while some made regular patrols round town even though they still could find very little to prey on.
-Culture Minister and NSODA President General preach peace and reconciliation
By Njodzefe Nestor in Bamenda
|Minister of culture|
All roads on December 28, 2016 to January 3, 2017 led to kumbo as Nso sons and daughters likewise lovers of Nso culture converged in Kumbo to celebrate the Ngonnso Annual Cultural Festival which has over the years proven to be a veritable cultural bonanza.
Celebrated under the theme “Culture and reconciliation” the ceremony which kicked-off at the Nso border town of Vekovi was an opportunity for Nso internal and external elites to showcase their cultural prowess and identity and to prove to the world that they are poised to be in harmony with their ancestors as a blessing towards future endeavours that unite them in progress, development and prosperity.
Highlights of this extraordinary event included scintillating cultural dances and animation, exhibition of the Nso people's creative and innovative works of art, showcase of their strength in traditional medicine, organised adventurous hunting expeditions, presentation of traditional titles and honours, display of the Nso traditional cuisine, energetic masquerade spectacles, marveling expositions of traditional totems, organised visits to touristic sites, Miss Ngonnso beauty pageant etc.
There was also a meeting of the Nso History Society during which new members were admitted into the society and educative papers presented on issues related to Nso Culture. The Nso History Society has the daunting task of writing Nso history which is predominantly oral.
For the first time in the history of the festival, the Minister of culture was in attendance. Prof, NarcisseMoulle Kombi, while addressing the mammoth crowd at the court yard of the NsoFon’s Palace on Jan 2, 2017 preached peace and reconciliation insisting that Cameroon can only remain strong and prosperous if peace and reconciliation are given a chance.
The dynamic Minister of Culture who is also a notable in his village was honoured with the title of “ShufaiNgonnso” by the Fon of Nso HRH SehmMbinglo I making him a notable in the Nso Land.
In his welcome address, the President General of the Nso Development Association, MformiNdzerem Stephen Njodzeka, while thanking the Minister of coming to grace the event underscored the timeliness of the theme of the festival, “Culture and Reconciliation”.
“Culture has no boundary, culture has no colour, culture has no religion and its timely because through our culture, reconciliation is much more easier. And it comes at a very good time in our country where we have a lot of things separating us. When we have a lot of things that are putting us aside, it can be easier for us to come together as one people with one destiny through culture” he observed.
MformiNdzerem Stephen Njodzeka also used the opportunity to solicit for the continuous assistance from the Ministry of culture for the success of the Festival.
In his Royal Message, the Paramount Fon of Bui, Fon of Nso, HRHSehmMbinglo I pleaded with Minister NarcisseMoulle Kombi to help the Nso people in their drive to preserve their culture by providing them with a museum.