March 5, 2013 § 1 Comment
Against popular expectations, President Biya has billed senatorial elections for Sunday, April 14. Biya made the announcement in a Presidential decree that was broadcast on State radio on Wednesday, February 27. Biya surprised the nation by deciding to organize senatorial elections before municipal elections.
He also made nonsense of the appeal of the leading opposition Chieftain, SDF Chairman, John Fru Ndi, that it was logical for municipal and parliamentary elections to be organised first.
The announcement means that the ruling party will carry the day since the Electoral College for the senatorial election is made up of councilors. In the 2007 council elections, the CPDM emerged with a controversial majority of councils following reports that the polls were heavily rigged.
The news of the election was broken after Prime Minister, Philemon Yang, had convened Fru Ndi and some other political leaders to give them the information before it could be announced.
But Fru Ndi told journalists at his Yaounde Omnisport residence that the Prime Minister did not have the opportunity to break the scoop to them given that before they arrived at the Star Building, the State radio had already broken the news. He said, while traveling from Bamenda Wednesday morning, he delayed at Obala because he was involved in an accident.
Fru Ndi said a motorcyclist who was carrying one person suddenly bumped into his car. The motorcyclist and his passenger died on the spot, Fru Ndi narrated. “That is what delayed me and before I went to the Prime Minister’s Office, the radio had broken the news,” he said. Reacting to the convening of the electorate, Fru Ndi still repeated what he had said several times before: “The SDF will not allow senatorial elections to hold before municipal elections.”
He said if senatorial elections are predicated on the present councilors whose mandate had long expired, it will not have any iota of legitimacy. To him, the 2007 municipal elections were heavily rigged in favour of the ruling CPDM party. He said all the stakeholders were unanimous that the election which was organised by the defunct National Elections Observatory, NEO, was a total mess.
To Fru Ndi, even President Biya, in tandem, with all other stakeholders admitted that the 2007 polls were heavily flawed. Fru Ndi warned that the senatorial elections will not be organised in the present situation if Biya does not sit down with him to explain on what logic he convened the electorate under such messy conditions.
Asked what he would do if Biya ignores his threats, Fru Ndi retorted: “I and SDF militants will sharpen our machetes and come out for a full-blown onslaught to stop the election.” Fru Ndi said, while he was looking for every means for Cameroon to remain peaceful, Biya was instead looking for all avenues to provoke a civil war.
He warned that by convening the electorate for senatorial elections against popular opinion that municipal elections be organised first, Biya was pushing Cameroonians to the wall. With their backs on the wall, they will be forced to fight back, he said. Meanwhile, the councilors that make up the Electoral College for the elections are predominantly CPDM. Following the current dispensation, only a few parties would be involved in the senatorial elections.
The ruling CPDM party has 300 out of 360 councils. The opposition parties have 60 as follows: the Social Democratic Front, SDF- 18, the National Union for Democracy and Progress, NUDP-11 and shares some 9 councils with the CPDM, the Cameroon Democratic Union- 8, the Movement for the Defense of the Republic MDR- 5, the Union des Population du Cameroun, UPC- 2 councils and others.
Although there are conflicting statistics as to the number of councils that each party won in 2007, it is clear that the CPDM has some 10,632 councilors while the SDF has 801. NUDP of Bello Bouba Maigari has 389 councilors. From this premise, it is clear that the CPDM will have an overwhelming majority in the Upper House of Parliament.
According to varsity don and political scientist, Dr. Mathias Owona Nguini, it will be the worst thing to happen because the present councilors were elected in the 2007 municipal elections that were heavily flawed. The election, he said, was fraught with irregularities and widespread rigging in favour of the ruling CPDM. It was due to such rigging that the Supreme Court ordered for a rerun of the polls in certain areas.
One of the areas where a rerun took place was the Lobo Council in the Lekie Division of the Centre Region. Partial elections were equally organised in Douala II, Bafang, Mogode, Matomb, Pette and Mesondo councils. Due to its sophisticated rigging machinery, CPDM still carried the day at the end of the exercise. There is evidence that the opposition parties going in for the race will face a crushing defeat from the CPDM.
For one thing, the law governing the organisation of senatorial elections empowers the President of the Republic to appoint 30 percent of the senators. This means that Biya will appoint 30 out of the 100 senators that will make up the Upper House of Parliament as provided for by the 1996 constitution.
By virtue of last Wednesday’s Presidential decree, campaigns for the senatorial elections will begin on March 30. Candidates for the election have to pay a caution fee of FCFA one million. According to another Presidential decree, each member of the electorate will be paid FCFA 50,000 allowance on Election Day.
- I Will Run For Senatorial Election – Fru Ndi (lebs295.wordpress.com)
February 25, 2013 § 1 Comment
Several Cameroonians were interviewed and below are their individual opinions on Biya’s ‘Visit’ to Buea.
1. He Is Not Ready.
Biya is the Head of State and has the Cameroon programme in hand and so doesn’t need to give an account of his departure to anyone if he doesn’t deem it fit. If he hasn’t said anything about the date, then it could be that he is not ready and in such a case, he cannot give any precise date because he doesn’t want to disappoint the people again.
Sama, Administrator, Yaounde.
2. Biya Should Give A Specific Date.
I think the President should be able to give a specific date to enable the population to properly mobilise for his coming. We know that, as the supreme head of the country, he has the right to visit any region at any time without even seeking the opinions of the locals.
But with the destruction and frequent clean-up campaigns instituted by the council under the guise of presidential visit, which date is unknown, is greatly affecting not only businesses but also the inhabitants of Buea. For how long are we going to carry on with this activity?
Kenneth Ndze, Businessman, Buea.
3. Biya Is Scared.
Biya is scared. The Southern Cameroons issue has existed for long now and the people have a grudge, and this worsened when he didn’t keep to his promise of visiting the Southwest. I even heard the people once promised to burn him to death. This has scared him and even if he announces a date for his trip to Buea it is likely that he will send a representative. I think Biya is just deceiving the people just like before. He won’t go to Buea.
Kelly, Barber, Yaounde.
4. The President Is Not Supposed To Unveil Date.
Under normal circumstances, the President is not supposed to unveil the date of his visit for security reasons. We know that such a high profile personality like the President needs maximum protection, especially on very special State visits like the one he is about to make to Buea. When he must have been sure that the security network in Buea is in place, he can then give an exact date. Also, the President’s schedule is so tight that he needs time to actually give a date that will not clash with his personal programme.
Aaron Prosper Bias, Accountant, Buea.
5. Biya’s Visits Have Often Been A Mystery.
President Biya’s visits have always been a mystery. He has never disclosed his working or visiting calendar as most of his moves are usually a surprise to the citizens. I think this is not good when it comes to issues of the State.
He has ideas of what needs to be done but I suspect that the resources to get such wishes come to reality are not properly managed. His collaborators are not helping him especially in the work they need to do ahead of his visit to Buea. I wish he announces the visit to Buea for May 20, 2013, because that town is also part of Cameroon.
Rev. Richard Ngassa Kessou, Yaounde.
6. The President Isn’t Hiding Date.
I think the President is not hiding the date of his visit to Buea because he was supposed to have visited Buea since last year. But it seems as if the people he assigned to prepare the necessary logistics for his visit are not ready. Until Buea is ready to host the President before he will make public the date.
Eno Tanyi, Teacher, GTHS Buea.
7. The Secrecy Is Out Of Fear Or Contempt.
If Biya’s visit is shrouded in much secrecy, it could be out of two things; fear or contempt or simply the two. Biya promised the people earlier of his visit but never honoured his promise, and just like the other time he fears something might go wrong. Secondly, Biya might just despise the people of the Region and decide not to visit them at all.
Augustine Meh Zang, Director, Computer Institute, Yaounde.
8. He Wants To Get Things Ready.
I think he doesn’t want to be embarrassed because he has compared the level of the work done on the ground. Drawing lessons from what happened in the past, because you will recall that some time ago, he was told all was ready and he announced elections only to discover on election day that not everything was in place.
He was forced to postpone the elections. This is on account that he has given assignments to be done and he is monitoring the level of work and if it is not satisfactory, he would not announce the date.
Choves Loh, Regional Chief Cameroon Tribune, NW.
9. Only He And God Know What He Is Afraid Of.
Which date has Biya ever announced? Not even the date of Cameroon football finals are ever known ahead of time. It is announced a few hours to the day. Only he and God know what he is afraid of. This is one more proof if you needed any that his is a government by improvisation. We are used to it, but I think it is high time we got out of this mess.
Wilfred Tassang, Moderator Club2020, Bamenda.
10. Biya Knows What State Secrets Are.
I am very convinced that President Biya knows what State secrets are and until everything is in place his date to Buea remains a secret.
Tamnjong N., Chief of Personnel, Basic Education, Northwest.
11. Biya Is Unsure Of Event.
I am sure that the Head of State is not yet certain that the event will hold and as such no need announcing the date.
Christopher Akunchum, Carpenter, Mbingo.
12. Many Things Must Be Put In Place.
I do not think that President Biya is actually hiding his date of visit to Buea. Before coming to Buea, so many things must be put in place like the roads, hotels, and other infrastructural logistics. Until these factors are put in place he cannot actually give a date for his visit.
John Tendong Esegemu, Consultant, Buea.
13. Biya Needs Rest Like Pope Benedict XVI.
It is not a normal thing and some people may argue that the date is kept secret for security reasons. But Biya is seemingly afraid to move even within his own country. I have the feeling that he feels more at ease out of Cameroon than when he is here. If the date of the visit is announced well ahead of time, the committee members preparing for the visit will work better while contractors working on the development projects will be forced to also work within the time frame
By the way, development projects are supposed to be implemented across the country irrespective of the fact that Biya is visiting an area or not. I can tell you that many people are no longer interested in the visit because of the procrastinations. I think the President needs a deserved rest after working for all this while just like Pope Benedict XVI has done.
Mercy Bilem, Yaounde.
14. He Should Announce The Date.
I am disappointed with him for continuously hiding his visit to Buea. He should announce the date so that the population should prepare to welcome him. If you are the President for the people, elected by the people, you must not hide your visit. When we have an august guest, we must prepare for his visit.
Gwendoline Manka, Journalist Hot Cocoa, Bamenda.
15. Authorities Should Conceal Date.
Many people are anxious to know when the Head of State will be coming to Buea. But it is appropriate for the authorities to conceal the date for security reasons. Knowing how the society is; the President may not tell the people when he will actually come. But he can give them a period say three months or five months, but to give them the exact date will not be possible, for security reasons.
Alfred Meende, Civil Servant, Buea.
February 7, 2013 § 2 Comments
“Let me break the news here, in Ndu, where the ruthless Biya regime carried out genocide, that I, Fru Ndi, will run for Senate if Biya, together with the SDF, set the rules straight. On two different occasions, I have cautioned Biya that the present councilors’ mandate expired and that they were voted into councils during the NEO and MINAT era, and the results were fraudulent.
As such, he should allow Cameroonians go to the polls this year to, under ELECAM’s biometric registration, vote new Councilors”. This announcement from SDF Chairman, Ni John Fru Ndi, currently touring Cameroon on voter sensitization, was greeted with shouts of joy from SDF militants and sympathisers who gave Fru Ndi a standing ovation.
When Fru Ndi recalled how gendarmes carried out genocide in Ndu in 1992 and forced broken bottles into women genitals, anger was visible on most faces at the rally. Fru Ndi said, after sending MPs and Mayors to Parliament and Councils, he will contest the Senatorial race provided the field is level.
“The politics of Cameroon has been reduced to two parties, the SDF and CPDM. We are going to floor the CPDM, reasons why they want to use the fake figures of past elections, because even with ELECAM, biometric registration is not totally to our taste,” Fru Ndi said. According to Fru Ndi, Biya knows too well that he (Biya) has never defeated him (Fru Ndi) in any elections.
Going by past elections results and vote buying, Fru Ndi regretted that poverty has made some Cameroonians to be very gullible. That is why, according to him, vote buying has landed more than half of Biya’s former cabinet ministers in prison. He said the main message he came with was for all Cameroonians to register their names in the voters’ roll, for them to vote in the upcoming Parliamentary and Municipal elections.
The MP for Ndu Subdivision, Hon. Esther Ngala, thanked the SDF Chieftain for braving the bad roads to Ndu, and used the occasion to enumerate her achievements from the time she entered parliament, ranging from realisation of health, educational and socio-economic projects that, according to her, have changed the lives of her people. Describing Hon. Mrs. Esther Ngala as “the Margaret Thatcher of Ndu”, the SDF District Chairman for Ndu, Eric Ngaba, said Hon Esther Ngala has achieved much in five years as the lone female MP for the SDF.
The District Chairman said the problem of frequent break down of the computerised biometric kits and the shortage of ELECAM staff has greatly slowed down the registration process. He equally complained that “scammers have invaded the political scene”, whom he warned should not dare to disrupt other party activities else they will face the wrath of the SDF.
He said a strike action took place recently in Ndu by a drivers’ trade union that paralyzed Ndu, allegedly masterminded by some CPDM militants. “The strike action of last week that lasted for a week recalls painful memories and reminds us of the taxation drive that was initiated and carried out in 1992 by reckless, repressive forces of Mr. Biya where property was looted and others died in the process in Ndu,” he said.
The SDF District Chairman said Cameroonians should hold Biya to apologise and compensate all Ndu genocide victims, because, to him, the high HIV/AIDS prevalence in the area is as a result of rape on women and girls. In Ako, Mesaje, Tabenken, Mbiame, Nkum and Lus – Nwa, Fru Ndi’s message was “go and register now”. The next lap of the visit will take him to Momo Division, Boyo, Ngoketunjia, Jakin, Oku and Nkor – Noni Subdivisions on February 6.
- Amnesty International wants Cameroon to grant Gay Rights. (lebs295.wordpress.com)
- SDF Chairman reacts to President Biya’s address (erasmodelavega.wordpress.com)
- ELECAM Officials Decry Low Voter Registration For Parliamentary Elections 2013. (lebs295.wordpress.com)
- Pro-Democracy Cameroonian Activist Urge French President to Advice Biya to Quit Power. (lebs295.wordpress.com)
February 4, 2013 § 1 Comment
Cameroonian pro-democracy activists in the Diaspora have urged the French President, François Hollande to ask Biya to step down from power after 30 years of reign.
The Association of Democratic and Patriotic Cameroonians in the Diaspora, popularly known by its French acronym as CODE, made the appeal in a strongly worded correspondence sent to President Hollande on January 29. The letter was a somewhat change of strategy by the Cameroonian pro-democracy activists that had earlier planned to receive President Biya with violent demonstrations in Paris last Monday.
President Biya, who is currently on a working visit to France, is being described by the activists as a sit-tight dictator who has stalled democratic transition in Cameroon for three decades by way of election rigging and the sustenance of poor governance characterized by corruption.
The activists forwarded the correspondence to François Hollande ahead of his tête-à-tête with Biya at the Elysée Palace on January 30. In the letter, the activists reminded Hollande that in July 2009, when he was still in the opposition, he accepted to dialogue with them (activists).
CODE holds that Hollande made the promise when they were demonstrating in front of the Bourbon Palace which is the seat of the French National Assembly. They recalled that what fired them into action that day, was the personalisation and the confiscation of power by Biya through electoral fraud. They claimed that they were irked by the upsurge of human rights abuses, corruption, poor governance and the mortgaging of the future of the Cameroonian people.
The letter partly reads, “Conscious of the fact that their future is first of all in their hands, the Cameroonian people are soliciting help from France”. They appealed to Hollande to advise Biya to quit the stage or set new conditions for relations with him. The activists said any further relations between Hollande and Biya must be hinged on prerequisites that border on the organisation of truly democratic elections by a non partisan institution- not ELECAM.
To the activists, the Biya regime should be called upon to respect human rights and fundamental liberties. They hold that the only other option will be for Hollande to advise Biya, 80, to resign after 30 years of misrule at the helm of the state of Cameroon.
Meanwhile, Biya and his entourage received a shabby treatment from the French authorities when they touched down at the Orly Airport in Paris last Monday. He was received by very low-profile officials. It was the Cameroonian Ambassador to France, Mbella Mbella Le Jeune and the French Ambassador to Cameroon, Bruno Gain that received President Biya and his delegation. Even the representative of the French President that was sent to receive him, observers hold, is not up to the rank of a Secretary of State.
The press was awash with reports that Biya was received by a Messenger (planton) in France.
Some Cameroonians in France expressed disappointment that it was not only Biya that was disgraced but the entire Cameroonian nation. But the second adviser at the French Embassy in Yaounde has dismissed observations that Biya received a shabby reception in Paris.
The French language daily, Mutations, quoted Laurent Thousard as saying that the kind of reception given Biya at the Orly Airport is equal to the status of his visit. He said the French President would have come out to receive President Biya at the airport if it were an official or State visit. However, political pundits hold that the shabby reception is shows the contempt with which Hollande’s party, the French Socialist, holds Biya.
After meeting with Hollande last Wednesday, President Biya was expected to chair a Franco-Cameroonian business forum on January 31. Both parties were expected to discuss and fine-tune the economic and commercial relations between the two countries. After Nigeria, France is the main source of imports for Cameroon. France equally calls the shots as Cameroon’s colonial master.
France remains one of the main reliable partners giving development aid to Cameroon, especially when it comes to the French Debt Relief and Development Contract, CD2. Huge amounts from this program have been used to realize many development projects in Cameroon.
- Cameroon lobbyists want Biya evicted from Geneva hotel (lebs295.wordpress.com)
- Cameroonian president expresses support to France’s operation in Mali (nzweek.com)
- Amnesty International wants Cameroon to grant Gay Rights. (lebs295.wordpress.com)
January 29, 2013 § 2 Comments
President Biya has traditionally taken his vacations in Switzerland where his entourage occupies books a lavish hotel at considerable cost.
The lobby calling itself Group of Cameroonian Patriots said Biya and his wife, who traveled to Switzerland for “a short private stay” Tuesday, are squandering tax payers’ money in Geneva’s posh Inter-Continental Hotel where the cheapest suite costs FCFA 600 000 ($1,200) a night.
President Biya, who habitually spends long periods out of the country, normally travels with a delegation of up to forty persons.
“For such a delegation, FCFA 24 million [$ 48,500] would be spent every night”, the group said.
Back home the average Cameroonian lives below the one-dollar-a-day threshold and more than half of the country’s 20 million citizens lack access to potable water, energy and proper health care.
“That Paul Biya, President of Cameroon, resides in Geneva is an insult to our country and to all Cameroonians. How do other heads of state who stay back at home and work during holidays do?”
The group also said the president was diverting state assets and funds into his party, the Cameroon Peoples Democratic Movement (CPDM).
The group noted that Biya has been in power since 1982, treats the constitution “with contemp” by refusing to declare his assets as stipulated and encourages his followers to do same.
Article 66 of Cameroon’s constitution says all those holding public offices must declare their assets before taking up duty. But the law has never been respected.
It is not the first time Biya’s holidays in Europe and the spending are raising controversy.
After an official visit to Paris in July 2009, the president and his delegation stretched their stay further to three weeks in 43 suites booked in two palatial hotels in the seaside resort of La Baule in France where an estimated FCFA 585 million ($ 1.2 million) was splashed out.
This spree drew criticism from distraught Cameroonians and outraged international development partners, leading to an extensive media battle in Europe and Cameroon.
President Biya flew to Europe early this week as the international community and mainly the central Africa region got ready to broker a peace deal in Gabon between the Seleka coalition rebels and the regime of President François Bozize in neighbouring Central African Republic.
In an interview with France’s Radio France International, President Bozize had warned that the conflict in his country could spill over to neighbouring countries if care was not taken.
Biya’s critics have said his absence from the Libreville talks indicates that his private interests take precedence over the affairs of State.
Sources say the president will seek to meet French leader Francois Hollande in Paris in next few days.
The Group of Patriotic Cameroonians seeks to petition the French leader before he meets with Biya.
November 11, 2011 § Leave a comment
The report was obtained by the news agency Friday from the National Anti-Corruption Commission (Conac), an anti-graft body created by Cameroon’s President Paul Biya in 2006.
The report is based on Conac’s probes into the government in 2009, and it revealed great sums of money lost from the public works ministry, the general treasury and the maize industry.
“The budgetary resources the state invests in road building would be enough to build three times as many roads” if corruption were eradicated, the report said, according to AFP.
Biya, who started an anti-corruption campaign called Operation Sparrowhawk in 2006, was sworn in last week for a sixth term as president. Both the US and France said the elections were marred by widespread irregularities, BBC reported. Biya had won the election with 78 percent of the vote.
Biya’s rule in Cameroon has been heavily criticized by opponents as corrupt and authoritarian, though Biya denies the charges.
International corruption watchdogs, like Transparency International, name Cameroon as one of the world’s most corrupt states. The watchdog ranked the country as the 32nd most corrupt country in 2010. Somalia took the No. 1 spot in the same report.
- Paul Biya’s Re-election: A CRTV Perspective (lebs295.wordpress.com)