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La Rep Du Cameroon loses the force of Argument

Keeping them Honest: Beyond French and English language
Cameroon was two different nations with two distinct histories
The ongoing genocide in Southern Cameroons has dealt a devastating blow to any claim by those propagating the big, fat lie that Cameroon is one, united and indivisible.

By Ekinneh Agbaw-Ebai*

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The regime in Yaoundé has totally lost the force of argument. Its blind use of the argument of force; the only option left for it, will fail because violence has never successfully prevented a people yearning for freedom from achieving it. It is important to remind French Cameroun politicians who hardly draw lessons from history that Cameroon was a union of two distinct nations involving two different peoples with two different histories and political culture, beyond French and English languages. Great efforts were made by East and West Cameroon to develop their resources and use same to better the lot of their people, as there was a sense of healthy competition among the two federating states. It is just enough to say that by unilaterally abrogating the federation in 1972, Ahidjo snatched defeat from the jaws of victory and Cameroon’s manifest rendezvous with glory was halted. This was probably the most wicked act ever perpetrated against Southern Cameroons and current efforts to defend this anomaly only gives a bad name to democracy as a government of the people; for the people and by the people.

After unification in 1961, French Cameroun and Southern Cameroons were developing at their own pace, under a federal system of government and the two nations were never one and indivisible. That French Cameroun lacked the main foundation of nationhood owing to the absence of a sense of belonging to one entity, as tribal loyalty competed with national cohesion, is a fact that contrasts markedly with the political maturity in Southern Cameroons. No one can dispute the abysmal level of understanding of French Cameroun politicians when it comes to the majesty of democracy. No one should be surprised, therefore, at their lack of sophistication in its practice. The French Cameroun political class has shown an impetuous proclivity to foster a recruitment process that allows the worst to access public offices. Politics in French Cameroun was so much debased that electoral competition was an odious rat race or an all-comers affair of tribal jingoists, political hangers-on and sundry jobbers, all lacking in the requisite knowledge for leadership and governance.

Unlike Southern Cameroon, primordial sentiments animated French Cameroun politics. In the 1956 elections into the French Cameroun parliament, Ahidjo’s UC party which won the majority was a loose amalgam of contending tribal interests comprising – Union de Diamare (Jean Akassou, Maigari Bello, Yaya Daicro, Kakiang Wappi, Mohamadou Ousmanou, Yerima Daicro, Ninine Jules and Guyard Joseph); Union de Bamoun, (Arouna Njoya and Seidou Njimoulouh Njoya); Union de Defense des Interests de la Benoue(Ahidjo, Babale Ousmanou, Buhari Bouba, Haman Aboubakari, Hadji Mohaman, Rene Tagrand); Defense des Interests de Logone et Chari (Garba Gueime, Sultan Marouf Youssouf); Union de L’Adamawa (Alfred Mandon, Nana Djafarou, Adamu Iyawa, Sekou Cheick); Defense des Interests de Margui-Wandala (Talba Malla, Haman Adama, Bobo Souaibo, Lamine Yerima, Andoulaye Yero, Amaoua Abdoulaye.

Andre-Marie Mbida’s party platform was basically a coalition of tribal groups which elected Gaston Medou & Ebo Ndoundoumou (Action Paysanne de Dja et Lobo); Marigoh Mboua, Ndibo Mbarsola (Defense des Interests de Lom et Kadei); Pierre Yinda, Yakana Jacques (Union Social pour la Lumiere, le Progres et Fraternite du Mbam); Jean-Baptiste Mabaya, Pierre Ninekam (Independante pour la Defense des Interests du Pays du Haut-Nkam). Also elected were Chief Djoumessi Mathias, Marcel Lagarde (Défense des Interests Bamiléké in Dschang ; Etienne Djuatio, Imatha Jean (Defense des Interests de Mbouda); Kamga Joseph, Pierre Ngayewang, Samuel Wanko (Union et Progress Bamileke in Bafoussam); Ekwabi Ewane, Gaston Behle (Auctotones des Moungo); Charles Assale, Francois Obam (Union Nationale in Ntem Valley) and Betote Akwa, Soppo Priso in Wouri. Needless to say there was no political party in Southern Cameroons, created to specifically articulate and defend tribal or sectional interests.

Besides, while French Camerounians were electing Frenchmen to represent them in parliament, the March 1957 elections into the SCHA produced a constellation of candidates representing the different political parties which served as platforms for nation-building ideas and a breeding ground for leadership and policy articulation. There was a robust opposition which was the motor-force of democracy. In Victoria Division, Dr. EML Endeley (KNC) and PM Motomby-Wolete (KPP) were elected. NN Mbile (KPP) and FN Ajebe Sone (KNC) were elected in Kumba; Ambrose Fonge (KNDP) and SA Arrey (KNC) emerged from Mamfe. In Bamenda Division, ST Muna (KNC), VT Lainjo (KNC) and JN Foncha (KNDP) were elected; in Wum, two KNDP stalwarts, AN Jua and P Mua were elected; in Nkambe, Ando-Seh (KNC) and P Nsakwa (KNDP) were elected. Five of the six elected NA members were KNC – JM Mukambi (Kba), TC Lekunze (Mfe), HD Tankoh Tah (Bda), JE Kum (Wum) and W Nformi (Nkambe). John Manga-Williams (Victoria) was an Independent. Power alternation was one of the cornerstones of Southern Cameroons democracy because of the presence of a strong opposition with a distinct ideology and policy to the governing party.

Such a vibrant opposition was nonexistent in French Cameroun. For example, in the April 1960 elections into ALCAM, there were no competitions for the 44 seats in the North where Ahidjo’s UC party held sway. Once Ahidjo with the support of Aujoulat took over the UC leadership from Ninine Jules, his strategy was to cripple the opposition. By 1963, Ahidjo had virtually stifled all political parties and there was just one party in French Cameroun. In a streak of authoritarian madness, Ahidjo then undertook an insidious lynching of West Cameroon democracy in 1966 when all political parties were disbanded to form the CNU. The Federal Republic of Cameroon officially became a one-party state. Going forward, power, money and vanity became instruments of statecraft in the hands of CNU barons.

In addition, the Southern Cameroons civil service was very apolitical. Cabinet Secretaries were career politicians but the bureaucracy was run by Permanent Secretaries, who were not allowed to participate in politics. This tradition was maintained after unification as PJ Alpress, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resources was appointed Chief Electoral Officer for the first post-independence election under the federated state of West Cameroon in December 1961. The reverse was true in French Cameroon where at independence in I960, a civil servant, Ahmadou Ahidjo, was handpicked by the French to become head of state. The tribalism, impunity, nepotism, abusive patronage and notorious corruption that is the official currency of governance in Cameroon today had its roots deeply embedded in the political culture of French Cameroun, where political leaders drew their electoral strength from tribal associations like Ngondo (Soppo Priso); Kumze (Chief Djoumessi Mathias); Bassa Mpo’o (Mayi Matip); Efoula Meyong (Charles Assale) and Koupé (Ekwabi Ewane).

And unlike in East Cameroun where traditional rulers were appointed by the colonial government and forced to wear official uniforms with ranks on their epaulets, the West Cameroon House of Chiefs was an integral part of the governance architecture and served as a quasi-upper legislative chamber. It is trite to say that there can be no democracy without democrats. Southern Cameroons having entrenched the democratic culture and ethos, a man could leave office, but the institution stays. In circumstances such as this, there is usually a predilection to invoke primordial sentiments that are inimical to nation-building. To the ordinary Francophone, government is a profit-making business and political power is a selfish tribal equation, where holders of high public office have to cater to the tribe above all else. Southern Cameroonians see high public office as a call to service; whereas to Francophones, a cabinet appointment is an invitation to “come and chop.” It was normal for an incoming Minister in French Cameroun to replace all his top-ranking collaborators with his tribesmen because “it is their turn to chop.” In such situation, the stress to governance and efficient delivery of democracy dividends from sycophancy, indiscipline, corruption and mediocrity cannot be over-emphasized.

Despite the preachments of Francophone politicians about the imperative of a one, united and indivisible Cameroon, the ethnic reactionary politics of self-preservation still pervades their psyche. A very telling situation that was a national embarrassment was when President Biya publicly declared all-out war against Anglophone terrorists. That Biya would descend to such shameless demonization of Anglophones, especially amid the ongoing genocide when the nation is in mourning and sober soul-searching, is the height of insensitivity and sheer dishonor for the dead and brutalized. In the judgment of an average sense of decency, Biya’s action is a moral weakness of asinine proportion.

In conclusion, a nation can never outgrow the performance of its leader. Such is Cameroon’s tragedy at the moment. The failure of leadership by the President, who by authority is assumed to be the father of the nation, is highly disturbing. If the president views Anglophones with such hatred, does it therefore surprise anyone why some of the president’s henchmen have been beating the drums of war? Given his apathetic refusal to dialogue, Biya wittingly or unwittingly sent a message of disdain and unwelcome to all Anglophones, including those in his cabinet, that they are terrorists, instead of patriotic citizens with a different vision on how the nation should be governed. Biya’s depth of ill feeling towards Anglophones is unhealthy for a nation in distress. He must therefore be told in whatever language he understands that Southern Cameroons and French Cameroon are not one, united and indivisible; never were, and never will be one, united and indivisible!

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How Many People accompanied President Paul Biya to Italy?

The news of the Yaounde 1 choir to accompany the president to his state visit in Italy was received as a shock and surprised to many especially those based here at home (Cameroon). About 50 students were flown to Italy, more than 5 Cabinets ministers and many without portfolio joined the presidential couple. With these groups put together, one could come to the neighborhood of more than 100 people. This gives the estimate of more than 100 Million to be spent on transportation and logistics alone by the delegation excluding that to be spent by the Ministers, diplomats and the presidential couple. Theirs might be in a special budget.

Many are of the opinion that tax payers money should be used to rescue emergency situations back home like in the health care industry, providing more infrastructure and medical care to many who can not afford. Images of patients needing attention and care flourished all over the social media as examples of where such funds could be put to use.

For the students selected and who had the opportunity to perform at the chapel of the Italian president, they insistingly claimed that their trip to Italy was at the invitation of the Italian president Sergio Mattarella in relation to the state visit of President Biya and not the other way round. Is this what these students need at this time of their career?

A cross section of the CPDM militants in Italy (Europe) and some French speaking Cameroonians cheered as the president paraded and was accorded military honors. The English speaking on the contrary were spotted with placards protesting from restricted positions as the police blocked them from the scene.

President Biya in his press conference acknowledged the situation in the two Anglophone regions promising to do everything to bring peace and calm in the regions, stating that Cameroon is united and rich in its diversity.

The state visit of president Biya has not been an issue as it was but normal to return the visit based on the invitation. The problem Cameroonians have is the misdirected charity that takes place during this visit. It has become a tradition that public funds are misuded anytime the president leaves the country for another. Those in the diaspora can testify this and it is often used as an opportunity for both the diplomats and those who sacrifice to go welcome him to make some extra cash.

It suffices enough to suddenly create a CPDM ward (branch) and get some of the attire and the Cameroon flag shared by the diplomats.

I happened to have enjoyed from this source of charity and can speak with facts.

In 2009 while studying in one of the Universities in Scandinavia, President Biya was invited amongst other presidents of the world for the COP15 (Climate Change) in Copenhagen. When news reached  Cameroonians in Copenhagen, i was convinced to call for a meeting to seek ways on how to welcome him and present our issues. I was acting as the interim coordinator of a newly created group called “Goodwill”.

In that meeting i found myself debating alone and supported by just one lady who later change sides that the meeting was a CPDM meeting. A group i never knew existed suddenly became very strong active. They must have learnt from other countries how easy it was to make money.

To make the long story short, we had to agree at some point when the Ambassador came to form a neutral group to welcome the president. I was asked to coordinate this new  group purposely to Welcome President Paul Biya. The Hotel was reserved for the president with a 17 man delegation. Our president came with 62 and there was no space for them, knowing Copenhagen as a not very big town to host all the delegates. This number 62 excludes those brought by the ministries, so you can alrerady have an estimate yourself. He had to stay in the private home of the Honorary consul Axel Juhl to provide space for his delegation. (Usually military men)

But guess what? We stood in the snow for hours at the entrance to the consul, and when the moment came, he drove passed as if no fly existed. We retired to the hall where we had prepared dinner worth 8 Million for a crowd of less than 50.

It was at this Hall that money was distributed to us. I stood my grounds and with the “holier than thou attitude” not to collect any dime as i saw almost everyone rushed for their share. The owner of the Hall Mr. John Njombua scolded me of my foolishness; He said and i quote; “Look Shey Tatah, i know you as a man of honor, whether you collect of not, the money has already been budgetted as spent…someone else will fake a signature and have, it is our tax payer money, i collected because of ther many hours i spent on the snow…”. Do i need to remind you of the “speed” i shamefully ran for my own share? We all received about 100.000 Frs each and something special of course for the Coordinator.

On the president’s departure two days later, i received a call from the Ambassador, he was still at the airport to accompany the president and be sure that he left for France. In this Call, the Ambassador did not speak long; this is what he said to me: (Mr Shey Tatah, the president is about to leave, is it possible to meet with some few Cameroonians and say thank you? I still have some Change.) Yes you read right, he still had some change, meaning after having spent all that much, there was still some to share out while our people are suffering back home.

In 30 mins, i called him back to confirm the venue, a student hostel where i lived had a very nice Bar and all we needed to do was to buy drinks. In less than two hours, news spread like wild fire and more than 50 Cameroonians were there. The white guys who lived at the Hostel and came to the bar benefitted from our hospitality but not generosity of cash. They drank to their satisfaction. We went home with an extra “change” of about 50,000 Frs each.

This story is to paint the picture of how much money is displayed and spent when the president leaves the country. You can then imagine how much money leaves the country. So do not be surprised to see even protesters going for their Gombo when it is time for it is their right and Money.

Do we therefore need to take people from Cameroon along when we have enough in the diaspora already? Share the money to the students, buy them laptops,(laughs) equip the Schools and provide them scholarships not flight tickets for 2 days.

News reaching me  states that some have already escaped to their networks, some stranded and some still thinking whether to return or not. Yes during such moments, Business men and women use their “heads” to get visas for many to travel and become illegal. Lucky ones end up legal but do not be surprised that some of these might use the present crisis to seek asylum. Relatives and friends of others already came to Italy to pick them up to their various countries in europe as they still have valid tourist visas.

Shey Tatah Sevidzem

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More than 80,000 students register for GCE 2017

Rrtv Radio News of 3pm this afternoon announced that more than 80,000 students registered for the Cameroon GCE 2017, The offie of Bacc etc all over the national territory and that the exams shall be written on the dates as stipulated on the school year calendar.

The Minister of secondary keeps insisting on the valid certificate and no blank school year without talking about the quality of the education. Note should be taken that these statistics came as today was the deadline for the registration of these exams as extended by the GCE Board.
The same GCE board that threatened the non extension of registration giving Friday 30th of December 2016 as the latest. The new deadline met with 2 months of extension as can be seen from the message below hammered by the Registrar in November last
“Registration for June 2017 Examinations Organised by the Cameroon GCE Board will commence on Tuesday 8th November 2016 and end on Friday 30th December 2016. No late registration shall be allowed for the 2017 session. Candidates are advised to register before the dead line of December 30, 2016. The Examinations include:
1. GCE Ordinary Level General
2. GCE Advanced Level General
3. GCE Ordinary Level Technical
4. GCE Advanced Level Technical
5. Probatoire Technique
6. Probatoire de Brevet de Technicien
7. Brevet de Technicien
8. Baccalaureat Technique”
How then did they come to these figures when the deadline was today with the absence of internet in the Two regions?
To this effect and following the strike in the Anglophone zones, one begins to imagine how many students, studied this year to register and write the said exams.
Shey Tatah Sevidzem

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Ghanaian Davis Yeboah laid to Rest

Africans from all over Copenhagen assembled today at the the Kirkebakken alle Vallensbæk to give Davis Yeboah a befitting Burial which he truely deserved. By Shey Tatah

Funeral of Yeboah

Funeral of Yeboah

Born in May 1965 in Ghana, Yeboah moved to Denmark in 1989 to face new challenges, amongst which was getting married to a lovely woman Salimatu (Sally) Yeboah from Sierra Leone. They met in 1994 and got married a year later. Davis has 4 kids, and two with the widow he just left to eternity. Davis has been a hard working and devoted citizen and christian at the same time. A role the pastor said could only come from a Good person of his calibre quoting the present cite of his Ministry in Vanløse as searched a suggested by Him. The crowd that filled the church inspired the pastor to express the joy Davis will carry along with him which is a sign of Love the people had for him. This of one of the rare events that could pull such a crowd as it was on a working day Friday, a sad one and more so in the outskirt of Copenhagen, yet the amazing people flocked the church premises.   After the Rites, few speeches were made, amongst which was a tribute from the family that gave the biography of the deceased. The most powerful and touchching was a word from the wife, who promised to remained strong for the husband because she believed God loved him most. She promised to take good care of their kids and to fight a good fight he fought for the survival of the family than spend time mourning. She said she was a Ghanaian and shall remain as such. Davis was the best and wonderful husband God could ever give to her. A word of thanks came from the family representative who assured others that the final funeral day for Davis shall be organized on the 7th June and that invitations were going to be sent out with the venue confirmed. Reception followed immediately at the Church’s Hall while the condolence visits continued at the family compound in Valensbæk. Here are some pictures though affected by the reflection.

By Shey Tatah Sevidzem

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A Ghanaian Dies at the Hvidovre Hospital

Ghanaian Davis Boateng

Ghanaian Davis Boateng age 46

Sad news just reaching me now says that a Ghanaian whose names i did not get so well as Davis Boateng but will confirm the names later just died 5minutes ago at the Hvidovre Hospital. This Ghanaian is Married to Salamatu Yeboah a Sierra Leone lady i know personally.

Salamatu Yeboah wife to the deceased

Salamatu Yeboah wife to the deceased

The guy was diagnosed of cancer some 2 weeks ago and was rushed to the hospital. The situation became aggravated yesterday that many Africans had to rush to the hospital hopeless as the doctors told the crowd. They have been there since yesterday evening at the emergency ward until he gave up the ghost this evening slightly after 7pm.

This is sad news to our community and the Africa Denmark Diaspora Rally (ADDR). While we await for the funeral program, I kindly urge you to have the family and both communities in your prayers. We hope Jalloh, Hassan and Larteh from Sierra Leone and Ghana Respectively shall be able to feed us with the details. He dies at age 46, may his gentle soul Rest in Peace.

Shey Tatah

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