Snapshots: An X-ray of Cameroonís Democracy, Governance and Unification
Publication Year: 2014
Published by: African Books Collective
Title Page, Copyright
When I was asked to do the preface for this book, the first thing that came to my mind was a humiliation I once suffered as a second-year journalism student in Lagos Nigeria, many years back. A mutual friend had mailed me some Cameroonian newspapers, which I excitedly took to class and was showing them off....
I began writing for the private press in 1991 that is on the dawn of multipartism and the struggle for civil liberties. This was the only option open to me after having parted ways with Radio Cameroon. I had spent a period of incarceration in police cells and the maximum security prison of Nkondengui, Yaounde along with my colleagues...
1. Suggestions for an Ambazonia Caucus
Since it has become decisively clear that West Cameroon’s continuation of its political arrangement with la Republic du Cameroun ought to be predicated on the restoration of the 1961 federation, I would like to join my voice with those foresighted and concerned citizens who have called on West Cameroonians to close...
2. What future for Cameroon integration?
Authentic political scientists who have surveyed the pre and postindependence political landscape of Cameroon can today pat themselves on the shoulder for having apprehended, if not foreseen the outcome of Cameroon’s experiment in political integration. The integration of Anglophone West Cameroon and Francophone East...
3. Parliament’s Queer Sense of Patriotism
Towards the close of this year’s budgetary session of the National Assembly, the “progressive” faction of the ruling CPDM parliamentary group issued a statement to the effect that the new budget was inspired by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and is therefore not Cameroonian....
4. Western Conspiracy against Cameroon’s Democratic Transition
In a bid to counter charges that Cameroon had lost the confidence of Western donor countries, the national media mounted the usual hosanna choir, incanting a scanty catalogue of recent aid packages granted by certain European countries as well as Japan....
5. The Falling Standard of English: A Political Perspective
I followed with unusual interest a late October 1991 edition of the TV programme ‘English with a difference’ in which the argument focused on the falling standard of the English language in Cameroon. The host of the programme, Peter Esoka, exerted so much effort to find out from his guest, Mr. Ambe Andoh, a Cameroonian research...
6. End of the oil monopolies?
On February 17, 1994, The Prime Minister of Cameroon and Head of Government, Hon. Simon Achidi Achu signed a letter of intent to the International Monetary Fund, IMF soliciting confirmation of 68 billion CFA loan over a period of 18 months. The amount represents 60% of the country’s quota of a 1.400 billion CFA standby loan 90%...
7. Epitaph for Papa John
I am deeply aggrieved by Cameroon Post’s immature, disjointed and rather superficial handling of the political career of Dr. John Kale Kale who was laid to rest in his native village of Mokunda, Buea on March 15....
8. The Falsehood of the Northwest-Southwest Divide: Mola Musonge disappoints admirers
The trend of ethnic hate literature seems to be on the rise as a call by Prime Minister Peter Mafany Musonge on settlers in Fako division “to vote for the ruling CPDM party in appreciation of hospitality” is being translated into hostility with subtle messages of ethnic exclusivity being bandied around by agents and errand boys of the ...
9. Resignation of Titus Edzoa: The Demystification of a Mystic
The dramatic resignation from government of Public Health Minister, Dr. Titus Edzoa, last Sunday is just one more spoke thrust in the wheel of president Biya’s anti-democratic train. The resignation (the third of its kind in the Biya era following the resignations in 1992 of Governor George Achu and cabinet member Garga Harman Adji ...
10. Presidential Election: A Most Uneventful Event
Someone had predicted rather accurately that troop reinforcements in main opposition centres would have the effect of keeping away voters from the polling stations. That’s exactly what happened in Victoria (Limbe)....
11. SDF’s Dilemma: To dine or not to dine
That the National Executive Committee meeting of the Social Democratic Front ended last weekend with no public statement comes as no surprise. To resolve the highly controversial item on the agenda viz whether its MPs should withdraw from the National Assembly and local councils, is not a piece of cake....
12. From ‘stolen victory’ to ‘moral victory’: Euphemisms for emasculation or capitulation?
When victory is qualified, it is no longer victory. The tendency by the leading opposition parties to delude their followers with dubious slogans aimed at camouflaging strategic weaknesses and failure ought to be critically re-examined....
13. Bakassi Blues: Random Notes
Besides a battery of treaties and events within the realm of international law cited to justify its claim over the disputed Bakassi Peninsula, the Yaoundé government mentions the UN supervised February 11, 1961 plebiscite in which the Southern Cameroons decided to gain independence by joining French Cameroon. This...
14. Fun of Fons: A Cautionary Word about Fondoms
Informal debates about the relevance of traditional rulership in the Grassfield province of the Southern Cameroons has gained much currency especially following the recent creation of the North-West Fons’ Union, a re-emergence of a previously split grouping of sub chiefs, chiefs, chieftains, warlords and genuine Fons. No one is...
15. Give Peter Acham a Chance
It appears the general euphoria that greeted Mr. Acham’s appointment as Governor of the South-West Province late last month is rapidly turning sour for no apparent reason other than the resurgence of a mischievous, parochial, and sectarian sentiment which was thought to have been laid to rest following his appointment....
16. Biya at Non-Aligned Summit: A Regurgitation of Pious Platitudes
The last summit of non – aligned states in Durban, South Africa, ended without anyone seeing the man doing his stage act. Even though he was elected one of the vice-presidents of the conference and also gave a speech, I watched the tube closely and did not see Mr. Paul Biya doing his thing. Not on CNN, neither on TV5 nor...
17. Epitaph for Ebssiy
The above epitaph pales against one proclaimed by the deceased news anchor and ace commentator, Ebssiy Ngum, sometimes In June 1986 to mark the death of the Sunday English- language news commentary programme, Cameroon Report, over the national radio....
18. The Epitaph: A Milestone on the Hard Road to Democracy
It is incumbent on me to make available to our readers the full text of the epitaph proclaiming the death of “Cameroon Report” as read by the coordinator over Radio Cameroon on June 22 1986 by the recently deceased senior Journalist, Ebssiy Ngum. It reads:...
19. ‘Pa Foncha was a Freedom Fighter’
Dr. J.N. Foncha popularly known as” Little John” died at the ripe old age of 83 having abandoned his old political robes in the spirit of a true prophet of the Southern Cameroons renaissance....
20. Journalism, Watchdogism and Alarmism
Mola Luma is a peaceful middle-aged farmer, resident in the Bokwaongo neighbourhood of Buea. He grows pigs, goats and fowls, and for the sake of division of labour, he employs a night watchman to look after his cartel. One night in the heart of the dry season, a fire broke out in his back-yard and gradually began to consume his ...
21. BOBA Today Special Cameroon Protestant College, Bali (C P C) Golden Jubilee Magazine 1949-1999 Memory Lane: Tribute to Reverend Gordon
He stood above average height. Five feet seven or there about. He wore thick white cotton socks, black leather shoes, grey tuck less trousers and white short-sleeved shirts. Two permanent crimson spots marked both sides of the bridge of his nose that inevitably supported his heavy pair of dark rimmed glasses....
22. Liberalisation of audio-visual media: A grudging step towards plural democracy
The Prime Ministerial Order early this month outlining conditions of the procedure for the acquisition of a license to operate private radio, television and cable TV, marks one more grudging step for Cameroon’s democratization process. The Enabling Act, coming ten years after parliament had passed a law to liberalise the sector, has been greeted with mixed feelings as it is widely believed that ...
23. BBC/CRTV and the Anglophone Problem
With Southern Cameroonians (Anglophones) gearing up to remember their independence day on October 1, the timing and choice of subject of the BBC programme can be viewed as suspiciously calculated to hoodwink international public opinion and a cheap propaganda gimmick....
24. Restating the Southern Cameroons Question
The political destiny of the Southern Cameroons took the wrong course on October 16, 1959 when the UN adopted resolution called for arrangements for a plebiscite to be held in order to decide on two questions that would determine the fate of the Trust territory:...
25. From Unitary State to Annexation
On the occasion of May 20 celebrations this year, the Englishlanguage tabloid newspaper, The Herald, conducted a man-in-the street random opinion sampling, which reflects the tenuous state of Cameroon’s unity and stability. One respondent had this to say:...
26. The Anatomy of Terrorism
The despicable destruction of the New York World Trade Centre and the Pentagon in Washington and the loss of thousands of lives bring to sharp focus the issue of violence and terrorism as a political weapon. Terrorism as practised by revolutionary groups is an instrument of international public relation albeit deplorable. Some...
27. Terrorism and War: The Ugly Equation
On the dawn of the September 11 terrorist attack on the United States, American President George Bush declared a crusade against the culprits and terrorism in general. His battle cry can well be understood within the context of the human thirst for vengeance in the wake of the massacre of nearly 6000 civilians of various...
28. Poem by Sam-Nuvala Fonkem
29. CDC and the Privatization Palaver (I)
In the late 1980’s, the Cameroon Government drew up a programme of economic privatization based on three parameters namely; to relinquish control over state-owned enterprises that were: ...
30. CDC And the Privatisation Palaver (II)
Land in Africa is communal property and there is no such thing as ‘no man’s land’ whether or not such land is actively occupied. African traditional wisdom commended the reservation of undeveloped land for the purpose of grazing livestock and to provide fuel and raw material for building, carving, weaving textile, medicinal plants etc....
31. The Invalidity of Unitary State
Now that the dusty and fluffy sentiments hanging over the 30th anniversary celebration of the unitary state have hopefully settled, it is time to recall and soberly reflect on a number of irrefutable historical facts in order to debunk and put to shame certain demagogues of annexation whose obsequious and stupid pronouncements in the...
32. Pros and Cons of Coalition Government
To talk of forming a coalition government after the June twin elections in Cameroon is politically inaccurate. Historically speaking, coalitions are formed when the leading party fails to win an absolute majority in parliament or presidential election, but in the present Cameroonian context in which the ruling CPDM party emerged with...
33. Of Deprivation and Primitive Accumulation
There is sufficient evidence to support the thesis that people born of deprivation and nurtured in the humiliating circumstances of deprivation-real or perceived-do become, again because of gratuitous circumstances, most contemptuous, arrogant, vain and vindictive toward those they perceived to have been better endowed (by dint of...
34. The Omenology of St. Cloud
Whoever took the snapshots of President Paul Biya and his Nigerian counterpart, Olusegun Obasanjo in the Parisian outskirts of St. Cloud on September 5 ought to be awarded the top prize for photojournalism....
35. Mamfe This Time Yesterday
Afaneekong chop die dog, cheiafaneekong! Can’t remember if he was a violent type, but, virtually naked, dreaded Afaneekong scavenged from one rubbish heap to the other, and cleared the streets of cadavers of domestic animals. There was also “‘ungry Mallam”, the legendary panhandler who, it was alleged, had built storey buildings in...
36. Will Fru Ndi short-circuit political career?
As the opposition National Coalition for Reconciliation and Reconstruction NCRR, steps up its campaign to gain support for its platform, advocates of change are mainly preoccupied with the question of a single candidate to challenge the incumbent. Concern for a single candidate is based on the realization that the opposition...
37. April Cabinet Shake-up: Biya’s Royal Nod or Jolt from Slumber?
The dust has yet to settle over President Biya’s April 23 mini cabinet reshuffle primarily instigated by FIFA’s disciplinary sanction of the national soccer squad-The Indomitable Lions- for violating sports regulation despite several warnings....
38. G.W. Bush Jnr’s Betrayal of Democracy
Of all American presidents in recent times, G.W. Bush Jnr can be singled out as one who has failed to symbolize the democratic ideals that the United States represents....
39. 2004 Presidential Campaign: Time for people’s verdict is now!
Campaigns for the October 11 presidential election are expected to gather momentum today after kicking off on a lame footing over the weekend....
40. Coalition Split Revisited
The decision a fortnight ago by the Social Democratic Front (SDF) to pull out of the coalition of a dozen opposition parties following the disagreement over the choice of a single candidate for the October 11 presidential election dealt a severe blow to popular aspirations for political change....
41. 45th Anniversary of Southern Cameroons Independence: Southern Cameroons Struggle at Crossroads
Two years ago, President Biya of La République du Cameroon in his traditional New Year message broadcast on CRTV reminded his audience that the first of January marks the date in which one part of the country (French Cameroon) gained independence (January 1960)....
42. Economic Sabotage
Snapshot has received reliable information that there is some sharp black marketing of imported rice going on the creek port of Ekondo Titi, while Cameroonians are languishing and paying exorbitant retail prices for that essential foodstuff and other basic commodities....
43. Morning Safari Takes Us for a Ride
This programme which occupies a rather demanding prime slot, we believe, is targeted at an audience that expects to be treated to thought-provoking issues of crucial interest to a nation that, from all indications, has lost its sense of direction. Unfortunately, that has not been the case. Serious-minded listeners are mindlessly served a...
44. Bridge over Troubled Waters
Once again a new bridge has been erected over the River Mungo
after the old one collapsed in July 2004. Thank God.
According to the Prime Minister who presided over the inaugural ceremony recently, the new bridge symbolised the recovery of national unity. No one is oblivious of the fact that when the old ...
45. Dan Kisob Goes Marching In
Dan should have made it to the rank of chief justice were it not for his most untimely and painful death on the road to Ebolowa, of all places. And why was he on the road to Ebolowa, the land of rotten chimpanzees? Dan and two of his colleagues had been jettisoned into internal exile purportedly for disciplinary reasons in...
46. Looking Beyond July 22
If president Biya intended his nation-wide address last Friday to pep up the electorate, I am afraid he did not impress his audience. Besides, his usual platitudes about guarantees of free and fair elections, the act of voting as a fundamental and civic right, the pursuit of the anti-corruption drive, and the sanctioning of ...
47. Violence Begets Violence
Vanity of vanities, says the preacher, all is vanity. Humbug of humbug, says the radical, all is humbug. You all know, ladies and gentlemen, that when we say in pidgin that “Massa no hambog me; you di hambog plenty” we understand it to mean: don’t pester me, don’t disturb me, don’t be a boor, you are such a nuisance! Words...
48. Lion Man, Lion’s Share
If anyone says he is surprised at the results of last Sunday’s general elections, just know he is deceiving himself. Apart from the rigging carried out by the ruling CPDM machinery, what is even most disturbing was the very low voter turn-out estimated at 30 percent; a figure which is far below the credibility benchmark. Now that the CPDM has bagged in 153 out 180 seats in Parliament, President Biya,...
49. Stop The Pretence! Boycott Parliament!!
There has been quite a lot of useless talk about the way forward following the July 22 general elections that were dogged by massive fraud and irregularities that gave the ruling CPDM party an overwhelming majority in the National Assembly and the municipal councils. CPDM spin doctors and incorrigible apologists argue that...
50. To Go or Not To Go
It is obvious that candidates incur considerable financial debts to run for political office and those who make it consider their success as an opportunity for recuperation. This is where personal motivation seems to have the upper hand over collective principle and the rules governing the National Assembly make it impossible for any political formation to legally restrain any elected member from taking his or...
51. Where Is The Oil Money?
Their demand for a fair share of oil royalties and not all revenues is quite in order and in keeping with the broad principles of economic deprivation, but one would have expected the chiefs to target the National Hydrocarbons Corporation SNH, which collects oil royalties from multinational consortiums such as ELF and Mobil,...
52. What Good Is University?
For many weeks, Yaounde University campuses have been flying banners proclaiming the Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD university degree system as if it were some accidental discovery that would make Archimedes jealous in his grave....
53. Motions of Commotion
The orchestrated flow of motions of support for Mr. Biya on the occasion of his quarter century in office is a sickening reminder of the authoritarian dispensation of the one-party days and a clear indication that Cameroon’s multipartism is mere window dressing....
54. How Far, 2011?
Secondly, the man mustered enough courage to face the media on thorny issues of national interest, even though he did not have much of a choice. The media coverage, especially his express interview on the esplanade of the Elysée Palace and the chat with a French TV channel were very instructive, even though I suspect the...
55. When Silver Begins To Rust
Historians, like mathematicians and geographers, need significant markers and pointers without which their story falls flat, their narrative becomes insipid and commentary is rendered tedious instead of illuminating....
56. Street Power versus State Terrorism
Jan Schreiber says “government is an organisation designed to protect those who subscribe to it and to assist them in acquiring basic needs. To do this, it must be at least minimally responsive to the expression of those needs.”...
57. Red Carpet for Monkeys
A high-powered delegation led by the Minister of Forestry and Wildlife were on hand to receive the highly-priced endangered species in a solemn ceremony that would have won the admiration of great satirical playwrights like Ionesco and Samuel Beckett....
58. S.O.S Santa Isabelle
Victims of this latest incident also included Nigerians, who like Cameroonians, are looked upon as “Jews” who have invaded Equatorial Guinea to make a fortune out of their new-found oil El Dorado....
59. The Soft Underbelly of the African Union
The summit conference of the African Union which took place in Egypt early this week did not only expose the naked underbellies of African heads of State, but equally demonstrated that they have no stomach for upholding their own laid down principles....
60. The Travails of Southern Cameroons
While we brainstormed about the opportunity of such a conference, another member expressed a contrary opinion, stating that the problem of Cameroon today goes beyond the Anglophone/Francophone divide, adding that the real problem is a generational one i.e. the generation born in the 1950’s is a lost one...
61. El-Bashir’s Problematic Intransigence
Whereas human rights organisations the world over have welcomed the prosecutor’s initiative, the UN and the African Union are not quite comfortable with the dare-devil courage and timeliness of the prosecutor’s move....
62. 1st October Frenzy
Once again, as it has been the case since the birth of Southern Cameroon’s National Council, SCNC, security operatives and the dogs of war of the Francophone-led regime in Yaounde are warming up to brutalise unarmed, harmless Southern Cameroonians who dare to commemorate the event....
63. Soft-Selling Biya’s Ambition
After unveiling his ambition to rule Cameroon for life, President Biya seems to have instructed his spin doctors to adopt a soft-selling approach which now consists in diversionary tactics....
64. Bilingualism: A Badge of Honour or Shame?
He had been pressed by a reporter to make a statement in English for the benefit of the English-speaking audience, but he bluntly replied; “Je vais parler en français!” Not long ago, another top official, a Minister of State again at a press conference, made it clear that he was not going to take any questions in English. Period....
65. Pharaoh, Let My People Go!
Last Sunday’s defeat of the Lions at the continental soccer competition in Ghana, does not diminish the heroic image the team has built for more than two decades, and only those who take delight in basking in the glory of others who have had the opportunity to excel would feel disappointed....
66. Technocracy, Technology and Technopoly
How technocratic Mr. Biya’s endless string of governments have been and what goods they have been able to deliver is quite a different matter altogether. What remains indisputable is the fact that his governments have had a significant dosage, perhaps an overdose of members of the intelligentsia including economists, sociologists,...
67. No Peace without Justice
It was indeed a very rare piece of dramatic irony when two ambassadors who were presenting their letters of accreditation slavishly stuck to their prepared speech by referring to Cameroon’s legendary peace and stability, while streets of Douala and elsewhere were going up in flames....
68. Too Little, Too Late
The 15 percent increase in civil service salaries and the suspension of customs duties on certain essential commodities such as rice, wheat flour, sugar and cement, are laudable measures which have come a little too late and whose impact would largely depend on their effective implementation....
69. When Dialogue Is Meaningless
Critical observers are asking to know what in God’s name is the Chairman hoping to achieve by a presidential audience, should Mr. Biya condescend to grant him one. Precious little or nothing, I dare say....
70. China’s Verbal Acrobatics on Sports and Politics
It would seem that the Olympic Games hardly come and go without some controversy or scandal to mark the event, but very few have mobilised world attention such as that of 1934 in Berlin during which the founder of Nazi Germany, arch anti-Semitist, Adolf Hitler, who had turned racism into a national religion, refused to shake...
71. The Bolloré Mafia and French Imperialism
It can be said in all honesty that Etoundi Oyono is a victim of French imperialistic designs and mafia intrigues. Mr. Etoundi, who took over the management of the Douala Port from Mr. Alphonse Siewe about three years ago, was assigned the salutary mission to clear up the mess that had been piled up by his predecessor. He was ...
72. Bakassi and the Principle of Derivation
The recent successful Cameroon military exploit that neutralised an armed insurgency in Bakassi by a Nigerian rebel group opposed to the August 14 official handing over of the Peninsula to Cameroon in accordance with the 2002 ruling of the International Court of Justice at The Hague and the Green Tree Accord of 2006, was highly commendable....
73. Had Barack Obama Been Born a Cameroonian
For this offspring of an African (not African American) father and a white woman who is barely rounding up his first term in the American Senate, and who, prior to becoming senator was little known out of his Chicago constituency; for him to have won the admiration of Americans and the international community and to...
74. Reinforcing Transparency and Accountability
He said it with such authoritative impunity that Cameroonians simply shut their big mouths and inquisitive eyes and accepted the pronouncement as an article of faith....
75. Agenda for Pope and Paul
The imminent papal visit is seen as a source of spiritual strength to a people, who have just been told by the International Monetary Fund to expect a dismal economic performance next year, a prediction which Cameroonians have been constrained to accommodate for more than two decades....
76. The Audacity of Obama
He has made history as the first Blackman to become President of the United States. What makes the guy tick is a combination of character, charisma and composure. The prevailing socio-economic conditions in America have also been quite conducive....
77. 26 Years of Agony
When the democratic wind of change swept across the world after the collapse of the Soviet communist system, Cameroonian banker and columnist for Le Messager newspaper, Celestin Monga, who now lives in exile in the US, published an open letter to President Biya in 1990. He described Mr. Biya as an incompetent leader, saying he should resign....
78. Memories of Miriam
She checked out of this sinful world in a spectacular manner at the age of 76 shortly after a stage performance in honour of six Africans who were assassinated in a racially motivated attack in the South of Italy and her dramatic exit was a tragic reminder of the popular saying that a Spartan dies but never surrenders....
79. Bali Boundary Disputes: Lessons From Bakassi
Ever since the final handing-over of the Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroon by Nigeria on August 14, President Biya has been strutting about like a peacock and basking in the glory of the diplomatic and legal victory scored by Cameroon at the end of the 15-year-long border dispute....
80. Bawocks- The Unruly Friends of Bali-Nyonga
Most Fondoms in the North-West have to cope with internal and external disturbances and Bali-Nyongha is no exception. Bawock is village in the heart of Bali-Nyongha inhabited by a Mendumbaspeaking group who arrived in Bali sometime around 1905 from the Bagangte area in Nde Division. They had arrived as a destitute band...
81. Stop These Agents of Confusion: The Farce about British Northern Cameroons
The diversionary activities of a certain Martin Ateh Chia (said to be the leader of an obscure movement called British Cameroons, (Britcam) which seem to have been allowed to go unchallenged in recent times, are now becoming a grave cause for concern and may in the long run prove to be inimical to the Southern Cameroons’...
82. A Crisis of Ethics and Credibility in Cameroon’s English- Speaking News Media: An urgent need for critical self-examination.
Throughout this week and in all the four corners of the globe, media practitioners and civil society have been organizing activities to mark the World Press Freedom Day; an occasion set aside by the UN for the public to reflect on the significance of press freedom and take stock of the ground so far covered to safeguard this freedom and to ...
Page Count: 370
Publication Year: 2014
OCLC Number: 881137465
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