March 14, 2013 § 1 Comment
In Cameroon, the topic of homosexuality is no longer taboo. Both in Yaoundé and Douala, on the street, in taxis, restaurants, bars, offices and markets, on the radio and on television, it is difficult to spend a day or even an hour without the conversation reverting to this topic.
Opposition to homosexuality has become the focus of increasingly frequent conferences, panel discussions, sermons, religious campaigns, and interviews with politicians, bishops and other religious leaders in Cameroon, especially in the Cameroon Tribune, the government’s bilingual daily newspaper.
President Paul Biya suggests that people in Cameroon may be changing their minds about homosexuality, but the most obvious change is the frequency of discussions of the issue.
Increasingly, the issue of homosexuality comes up in day-to-day conversations. Most people agree: “With as much energy has we can muster, in the harshest terms possible, we must condemn this behavior, which is so harmful for Cameroon and its youth.”
Almost everyone “firmly” rejects the practice of homosexuality and its supposed corollaries, pederasty and prostitution, which together are called “deviance,” “moral decadence,” “true aberrations,” “amoral,” “unacceptable,” “satanic,” etc.
Conversations are fueled by the topic of homosexuality at home, in churches and in the press.
Consider how the Cameroon Tribune responded to the Amnesty International’s Jan. 24 report on human rights in Cameroon, which urged the repeal of Cameroonian laws against homosexuality and the release of LGBT prisoners.
For Amnesty International, those actions are a matter of human rights. But many in Cameroon see the issue differently.
Yves Atanga, the Tribune’s editor-in-chief, wrote a front-page article titled “Human rights in Cameroon: Amnesty’s false accusations. (Droits de l’homme au Cameroun: Le faux procès d’Amnesty).”
Editorial writer Makon ma Pondi wrote a column titled “Diversion: An anthem for homosexuals.” They took a stand against Amnesty International, calling it “an advocate of homosexuality” and a “finger-wagger,” and especially against homosexuality, “forbidden by Cameroonian laws.”
In his article, Atanga suggested that “in all honesty,” Amnesty should have entitled its report “Cameroon, leave the gays alone!” Pondi’s column complained about an “insidious and relentless campaign orchestrated for months through the media, seeking the repeal of the law [prohibiting sexual relations between persons of the same sex], to be achieved by any means necessary, including diplomatic pressure or withholding foreign aid.” The column asks, “Are we to believe that if we allow homosexuality and same-sex marriage we will achieve the economic growth we seek?”
Bishops say no, no, no!
Bishops of the Roman Catholic Church united in their opposition to homosexuality on Jan. 12 at the 36th annual gathering in Sangmelima of the National Episcopal Conference of Cameroon. In a statement published in its entirety on Feb. 7 in the Cameroon Tribune and later in other newspapers, they denounced homosexuality in strong terms.
They opposed “the multifaceted claims of human rights made by promoters of homosexuality — the right to marriage, to adopt children. to establish a family, to procreation with medical assistance, etc. — claims that are based on several concepts whose main ideology of gender … is opposed to classical ideas of family, gender and reproductive health.”
The bishops ignored examples of traditional African acceptance of same-sex relations. (See, for example, the article “What traditional African homosexuality learned from the West.”)
The bishops unanimously declared that homosexuality “falsifies human anthropology and trivializes sexuality, marriage and family as the foundation of society. In African culture, it is not part of the family and social values. It is a flagrant violation of the legacy left to use by our ancestors, who were faithful to heterosexuality and the family. In human history, homosexual practices have never led to societal evolution but have always been clear signs of civilization’s decay. In fact, homosexuality opposes humanity and destroys it.”
They urged “all believers and people of good will to reject homosexuality and so-called ‘gay marriage’ to pray for homosexuals and those who are inclined toward homosexuality, watching over them and seeking compassionately to convert them.”
Even before their statement was published, Mgr. Victor Tonye Bakot, the archbishop of Yaoundé and a fervent fighter against homosexuality, said in a Jan. 28 interview: “We do not want” homosexuality in Africa.
“The West has its culture and Africans have ours,” he said. “Since we must respect the parallels between the two cultures, and since we are in dialogue with each other, let us propose polygamy to the West just as they propose homosexuality to us. Otherwise, let each of us remain set in their own culture.”
“I reject this new attempt at colonialization. They’re going too far,” he said.
On Feb. 24, the Association of Catholic Jurists of Cameroon condemned homosexuality during a meeting in Douala with Samuel Kléda, archbishop of Douala.
Although homosexual behavior has been observed in hundreds of species of animals, many people in Cameroon believe otherwise.
For example, in Archbishop Bakot’s sermons in the cathedral in Yaoundé and elsewhere, he condemned homosexuality as an “unnatural practice.”
In addition, attorney Pierre Robert Fojou told journalist Armand Essogo “not only is homosexuality punishable under Article 347 of the Cameroonian Penal Code, but it is also rejected by Cameroonians in general who, as good Africans, consider sexual relations between persons of the same sex against nature. “
Nico Halle preaching to the governor
“This is not negotiable,” stated the Christian Men’s Fellowship of the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon, as it launched a February campaign against homosexuality in the southwestern part of the country. “God made man and woman; animals, he made male and female. It is unacceptable that a man fall in love with another man, which is worse than animals, because animals only make love with the opposite sex. I’ve never seen a hen have sex with another hen, or two female dogs, or two male dogs. The rooster goes with the chicken, and so on. So, if the man will do what even the animal does not, then man becomes worse than an animal. … It is satanic,” reported the newspaper La Nouvelle Expression in an article on Feb. 27 headlined “Southwest: Crusade against homosexuality.”
Tumfor Nico Halle, a lawyer who is president of the Christian Men’s Fellowship of Cameroon, argued that “not only does our penal code condemn homosexuality with Article 347 providing for imprisonment of up to five years, but the Bible is also even harder on it. Leviticus 20 verse 13 says that if a man lie with a man as one lies with a woman, it is an abomination. They shall surely be put to death: their blood will be on them.”
Bernard Okalia Bilai, governor of the Southwest region, agreed with those statements, adding that “as a practicing Christian, he would not allow homosexuality in his region by any means.”
He accused human rights attorney Alice Nkom not only of repeatedly supporting the “homosexual cause” but also of being corrupt. He claimed that, when he was a prefect in Wouri, she urged him to release a homosexual defendant, saying that “a lot of euros are at stake.” Nkom has not yet responded to a request for comment on this accusation.
Rejection of ‘anus-ocracy’
Similar discussions fill the air waves. All day long the radio hosts of FM Yaoundé and their listeners decry the “immorality” of homosexuality. Cameroon Radio and Television (CRTV), the national public television channel, focuses on the subject through debates, documentaries, short films (sometimes made by Cameroonians and other Africans who “reject this practice from the West”) and even in entertainment programs.
The best known of these programs is undoubtedly the show “Delire,” in which the now-graying master of ceremonies, Foly Dirane (the stage name of Adrian Tafen Veyreton), has not let a single show go by in over 20 years without warning youths aged 10 to 25 to watch out for homosexuals.
He boasts that in his 2001 song “Les Mouches,” he became the first singer to denounce homosexuality.
Although many LGBT people in Cameroon live in poverty — fired from their jobs and rejected by their families when their sexual preference becomes known — a widespread belief persists in Cameroon that homosexuals are rich, powerful and evil, even practicing black magic.
Foly Dirane claims that homosexuals are “sectarian pederasts who use money and employment as a bait to lure youths into their traps. By sodomizing their victims, they steal the youths’ power and good fortune,” he says.
“Homosexuality in Cameroon is not like homosexuality in Europe,” he says.
In Cameroon, homosexuals seek to impose an “anus-ocracy,” he says. “Homosexuality is a cult of pederasts who feed on youth.”
This cult’s sorcerers demand homosexuality as a condition sine qua non for young people to succeed in society, he says.
“The cult has chosen homosexuality as a means of domination,” he says. “This sect has money and power and wants to force all young Cameroonians to join them.”
“People without power are propelled into positions of great responsibility through their anus,” he claims.
With statements like those, it’s clear that the “debate” about homosexuality in Cameroon is far from over.
- Amnesty International wants Cameroon to grant Gay Rights. (lebs295.wordpress.com)
- Another 3 men in Cameroon jail for homosexuality (lebs295.wordpress.com)
- Cameroon Gay Rights Lawyer Michel Togue Seeks Refuge In United States (ontopmag.com)
- Anti-LGBT Remarks in Malawi and Cameroon a Warning Sign as Conclave Approaches (newwaysministryblog.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 25, 2013 § 2 Comments
A country is worth its History. This is because, from the authentic history of any country, a conscious leadership is born and enabled to handle competently, not only the crucial issues of the hour, but also the planning (with a vision), of the important ventures of the future.
It is because of the type of national history that the citizens of a country are exposed to, that we today have a Cameroon character, a Nigerian character, a Ghanaian character, an Ivorian character and so on. For, this character always stands on a history, whether this history is true or false and, most unfortunately, it is this character that produces the leadership of each country which, in turn, dictates its pace of development or, in some pitiful cases, its pace of underdevelopment.
Today, many African countries lament about their leadership but the crucial question is this: On which history do these leaders stand? Do they know the true history of the countries most of them did not even apply to rule? What is to be expected of a leader who does not even know his country? I bet, very little.
So, this paper sets out not to lay the blame but rather the assignment at the doorstep of the Cameroonian historian – the re-writing of Cameroon’s history. And, like the clinical handling of any disease, the first step is a diagnosis: why has this history not been written so far? Why is the history we have today so superficial, fragmented, biased, battered, mutilated, doctored and full of gaps and disturbing silences?
The first reason is that most of our historians on both sides of the Mungo are not bilingual and have, consequently, found it difficult to explore and make good use of crucial documents written in their second received language, be it English or French. They have, consequently, not been able to benefit from the support that a writer gets from another’s findings, as they have continued grappling, each in the language he masters.
Secondly, many crucial documents about Cameroon history are rather found in Europe, especially in Germany, France and Britain and it has proved prohibitingly expensive, especially for young historians, to go to these countries and dig up the facts. Worse still, some of this information is still kept in the confidential or classified files of the secret intelligence services of these countries and is, consequently, still unavailable to historians.
Thirdly, most important Cameroonian political leaders of the first generation have died leaving no ‘memoirs’, biographies or any published documents that historians can use to understand the motives of most of their actions. To my mind, of all the politicians that have rocked the political landscape in Anglophone Cameroon, only Nerius Namata Mbile and Albert Wuma Mukong have left behind documents that can benefit a historian.
This is such a serious problem to Cameroon as a country, that if the children of those politicians who did not publish any document before dying are in possession of any, they owe a duty to this country to publish such a document or make it known that such a document exists. East of the Mungo, we have only Albert Eyinga and Monga Beti who have made serious publications about their political roles.
The fourth reason is that it took very long for Cameroon history to become part of the syllabuses of official examinations in Cameroon itself. Pupils and students spent their time on ancient history and European history, and only came back home to talk about such banalities as ‘Rio dos cameroes’ and ‘Too late Hewett’. So, historians were not motivated by a ready market for their books if they wrote on Cameroon history.
Fifthly, most Cameroonian historians of the first generation were government employees who took the selfish stand of defending their jobs and guaranteeing their promotion rather than writing the true history of their country. These careerists, rather than steering clear of writing, became official historians.
Lamentably, official historians, like court poets, only set out to please their masters. They magnify anything positive and only render in euphemistic or litotic terms anything negative. As a matter of fact, they set out to write the epic of their leader. That is why there is a disturbing absence of a sense of proportion and intellectual honestly in most existing Cameroon history books today.
They sixth reason is that most of the existing historians lack a sense of commitment. They write out of a desire for gain and not out of patriotism. Their goal is, therefore, not the development of their county but their profit. That is why most of them believe in, and respect ‘no go’ areas in Cameroon history.
The seventh reason is the antagonistic posture of the politician or the man of power towards the intellectual. This intimidates some would–be historians even from taking a decision to write and pushes those who dare to write, to self–censorship. This is an area where politicians need to review their stand because they are the ultimate beneficiaries of a true and authentic history of the country and the final victims of a false history even though it initially gives them the illusion of success.
The eighth obstacle, that the Cameroonian historian has always had, is government propaganda which uses many formulae, ranging from selective provision of information through doctored data to the fact that for a long time after independence, private media were either absent or very weak.
Furthermore, another difficulty of the Cameroonian historian, which might not be entirely of his own making, is the unconscious legitimising of a colonial viewpoint. Indeed, Cameroonian historians have often not had a Cameroonian point of view that is so present in the county’s oral literature and so have annoyingly repeated the same vocabulary as used by colonialists to legitimise colonialism and neo-colonialism.
Further still, existing textbooks are replete with very negative evaluative references to, and even subconscious prejudices against the “Union des Populations du Cameroun” (U.P.C.) and the opposition Social Democratic Front (S.D.F.), that even some of the major authors seem not to be aware of.
Consequently, this consistently exhibited bias and other errors of commission and omission, make their texts lack the required balance and objectivity of a valid history. Again, there is a failure on the part of our historians to incorporate Cameroonian interpretations of their history which are readily available in the oral literatures of Cameroonian tribes, especially as regard the colonial and post-colonial periods.
The penultimate difficulty of the Cameroonian historian, even today, is the induced absence of a reading culture in the citizenry. This means that, for the historian who chooses to write the true history, he can neither hope to have his book on the official school booklists nor count on an independent reading public for financial support. And he therefore, lamentably, finds himself only with the drinking adult population which calculates its money in terms of bottles of beer.
Last but not the least is the failure of mainstream churches to preserve our history by keeping vital documents and making them available to researchers. In most counties in the Western World, even when intellectual freedoms have been almost inexistent, the monasteries, seminaries and other such institutions have always safeguarded the truth for posterity. These institutions still need to prove that they have carried out this mission in Cameroon.
All said, it is very common today to pick up a book with a very lofty and attractive title on Cameroon history, only for it to fail the litmus test – woefully. So, we need to become conscious of our history as a crucial determinant of our development and, therefore, strive to create an enabling environment for true historians to emerge, so that a genuine Cameroon history can one day be written.
- France, Nigeria & Cameroon cooperating on release of kidnapped citizens (vanguardngr.com)
February 21, 2013 § Leave a comment
This writer has put in print in past publications both in the English and French languages, articles addressing the electrical energy situation in our dear country Cameroon, and at the same time suggesting solutions to this endemic problem.
Now that the LOM PANGAR, MEMVE’ELE and MEKIN hydro electric projects, along with the KRIBI gas-to-electricity project are being implemented or seeing a beginning to such, we say bravo!! to His Excellency Paul BIYA for, it is better late than never. President Paul BIYA has worked tirelessly in this very important domain of energy self-sufficiency for Cameroon since he created, in the year 2006, the Electricity Development Corporation (EDC).
The dam being built at LOM PANGAR, with a storage capacity of about 6 billion cubic meters of water, will improve by about 62 percent the energy producing capacities of both the EDEA and SONG LOULOU hydro-electric power stations, and this as early as 2015.
The MEMVE’ELE power station will bring in an additional 201MW of generating capacity, the MEKIN project will add another 15 MW, the LOM PANGAR project will bring in 30 MW for the Eastern Region of the country, and the KRIBI gas-to-electricity project will add a further 216MW of new power to the national electricity grid.
In perspective therefore, Cameroon should have a total new generation capacity of about 462MW within the next five years, without forgetting the improvement that will be brought to the Edea and Song Loulou hydro facilities by the Lom Pangar project. Cameroon’s total generating capacity by the year 2017 could be about 1595 MW, including both hydro and thermal plants around the country.
Does this optimistic picture mean all has been said and done in the power generating capacity for Cameroon in the coming years? Not so soon I would say, because, a condition for Cameroon to be an emergent nation by the year 2035 as targeted, is for her to have full energy self-sufficiency with a reserve capacity of between 10 to 15 percent.
We should equally be able to export electrical energy to neighbouring countries like Nigeria, Chad and the Central African Republic. With the above in mind, Cameroon should have a generating capacity of at least 3000MW by the emergent year 2035, if she really plans on being an emergent nation by that time.
1. That any on-going studies and discussions pertaining to huge hydro projects like the MENCHUM and NACHTIGAL be speeded-up in order that these projects become a reality in the next couple of years;
2. That Independent Power Producers (IPPs) be encouraged to come into the country through various incentives that Government should provide;
3. That alternative sources of energy like solar, wind and natural gas derived power be encouraged in the coming years;
4. That the use of natural gas as a combustible fuel for power generation, such as is being done at the KRIBI thermal plant, be enhanced to other areas like LIMBE which is not too distant from the oil and gas fields in the Rio-del-Rey;
5. That a NATIONAL ENERGY FUND be put in place, the monies to this FUND being derived from taxes imposed on all energy consumers (house-holds, businesses, industry and the State) as well as from part of the annual Cameroon Government public investment budget;
6. That energy awareness, energy economy and energy efficiency be promoted among the Cameroonian public at large through the various public and private media.
Conclusion: President BIYA has very well kick-started the process of getting Cameroon back into normalcy as far as the power generating capacity of the country is concerned. What is now left to be done is a vigorous follow-up of this process in the coming years. Therefore, all hands have to be on deck as of this moment, if we sincerely hope to enjoy emergence by the year 2035!
*Electrical Engineer/Senior Energy Consultant
ENERGYAWARE, Cameroon Consultants Limited (ECCL)
- Kribi gas-fired power plant set to begin in March 2013 (fossilfuel.energy-business-review.com)
- French hostages seized in Cameroon found safe: report (dailystar.com.lb)
- Cameroon lobbyists want Biya evicted from Geneva hotel (lebs295.wordpress.com)
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.