Cameroon Citizenship Council Urges President Biya to convene Sovereign National Conference
September 13, 2013 | 1 Comments
-Count on us for a new Cameroon in 2018
-Focus more on policies and programmes and not personalities
-It is time to bring back the remains of President Ahidjo……….
-Hafis Ruelfi on the way forward for Cameroon
By Ajong Mbapndah L
If there is one thing that sums up what Hafis Ruelfi of the Cameroon Citizenship Council will love to see President Biya do before leaving office, it is to convene a sovereign national conference. The conference Hafis says will put Cameroon on the rails towards confronting 21st century challenges. Issues like a new electoral code, a new constitution, the Southern Cameroons problems, reconciliation and more could be debated at such a conference. Although his party is in the process of legalization and will not participate at the upcoming legislative and municipal elections, Hafis Ruelfi says the CCC is aggressively putting in place structures across the country so as to make a strong showing in the 2018 elections. As Aminatou Ahidjo makes news by joining the ruling CPDM, Hafis says like any other Cameroonian, the daughter of late President Ahidjo has the right to militate in a party of her choice. President Ahidjo however deserves a state burial with full honors and his remains need to be brought back to Cameroon Hafis said.
Mr Hafis, it is election time again in Cameroon, how significant or important are the upcoming elections and what role is your movement the Cameroon Citizenship Council playing now in shaping political developments?
Hafis Ruelfi: I remain convinced about the greatness of Cameroon, its potentials, and also convinced that it is only through the political process that you can make the greatest impact in terms of changing the society. It is the political processes under a democracy; there is no other way. I remain convinced that we need to engage, those who believe they have something to offer to a country like Cameroon at its level of development; everybody who has something to offer must get involved from the aspirants to the electorates. As this elections will be a foundation and a hallmark to kick start the political transition and transformation to a true democratic country with the observation of the rule of law come 2018. In other to boost its presence all across the national territory, CCC has put up a formidable structure to mobilize support and convince the electorate on why they believe there must be a change in the leadership of Cameroon come 2018. The electorate has a very big role to play because people must have a change. That is why we said that this change we are talking about in the CCC is not just a change of government, but the change of attitude and people must vote according to their beliefs and consciousness of accepting who will do the right thing. Conscious of the challenges ahead, the CCC has constituted a powerful interim national executive, which compromise representatives from all the ten regions of the country. This interim national executive is presently on the field implanting the party in their respective regions.
A few months ago, Cameroon had Senatorial elections, what reading did you make of those elections and the composition of its leadership considering that in case there is a power vacuum, it is the President of the Senate who runs the country?
Hafis Ruelfi: The creation of the house of senate was a welcome development for our constitutional democracy first on the ground that it lays to rest and answered the questions which Cameroonians have been asking as to the successor of president Paul Biya where there is an unforeseen vacancy at the head of the presidency which our constitution does provides that it’s the president of the senate who will assume the powers of the head of state for three months while he calls a presidential election which the emphasized that he (the interim president) cannot contest in the election.
A very interesting recent development is the return of the daughter of former President Ahidjo, Aminatou to Cameroon and her strong embrace of the ruling CPDM, what is your take on this? What impact do you think such a move on the part of President Ahidjo’s daughter can have on the politics of the country especially in the Grand North?
Hafis Ruelfi: Well it is true that the return of Aminatou to Cameroon and her embracing the CPDM is seen as a major event in the national political scene, to me these are reasons best known to her. As a Cameroonian who has attained the voting age has the free will to join and militate in any political party of his or her choice. And I think this is not different from Aminatou’s present position.
Secondly being the daughter of the late President Ahidjo to me still doesn’t change the fact, instead of building personality cults as the case with the CPDM most other opposition parties, viable programs should be presented to Cameroonians, viable visions on how candidates and parties will help solve the problems affecting ordinary Cameroonians should be what matters at this point and not just personalities.
Many people think that it is finally time for the remains of late President Ahidjo should be finally brought home with the honors and respects it deserves; do you share the same view?
Hafis Ruelfi: The return of the remains of our late president his Excellency President Ahmadou Ahidjo are long overdue. He was a great president for our dear country who did everything possible to move this country forward by uniting the two Cameroons as a united indivisible nation and he deserves all the state honors as is done in other countries. Cameroon should not be an exception not with a leader like late President Ahidjo who did so much for the country.
The last time we had a chat with you, you said you were working towards implanting the Cameroonian Citizenship Council across the country, how far have you gone with that and may we know some accomplishments of the Council so far?
Hafis Ruelfi: As I said earlier the interim national executive of our party are currently on the field setting up our party structures in every municipal and city council across the country.
On your own personal ambitions, you were not there for the Senatorial elections, you are not there for the legislatives and municipal elections, when do Cameroonians see Hafis Ruefli in the field?
Hafis Ruelfi: It is my conviction that led me to engage in wide consultations at the beginning of this year to ask our people; to ask wide-ranging questions. Basically, it centered around them. Does it make sense for us to get into the train again to say we are running for public office? Which office? Which level of engagement should we get into? Should we just kiss it goodbye and or should we remain engaged? In what form should we remain engaged? If we have to remain engaged in a political party system, which party? These are questions that formed the wide consultations that I said must have started January intensively. Of course, informally these discussions have been going on for some time. There is also greater demand that I should run for the office of President to help make Cameroon the true fatherland we all desire, building on the foundation that President Paul Biya has laid and his predecessor, to be able to take Cameroon to the next level. This will be a moment of peaceful democratic transition and transformation. That we need democratic transition and transformation, we need to consolidate on the gains of the past 31 years and those of his predecessors His Excellency Late President Ahmadou Ahidjo because he also built on something. That we need to continue to set the pace in leaps and bounds, so we need total transformation of our democracy and our political processes and the economy to consolidate and that can only be achieved by CCC beginning from 2018 when we will take over the presidency of our fatherland Cameroon.
The fight against corruption has led to the imprisonment of several barons of the regime from the Grand North, Marafa Hamidou Yaya, Iya Mohammed, etc., do you consider this a sign of divorce in the North-South alliance?
Hafis Ruelfi: The public institutional system of any nation is its future and hope, while the effective functioning of it is sine qua non for the total growth of our society because no nation can aspire to achieve her full potentials without transparency and accountability. Its potential cannot be realized if the institutions charged to do so are crippled by bad management, unaccountability and profound corruption. It is, therefore, the aggregate of efforts that we put in to check corruption and other vices in public offices that will ultimately strengthen our institutions and promote transparency and accountability that will translate into a better future for Cameroon. I am happy that the present government is looking in that direction with its commitment to resolving the impasse with the public sector by investigating corrupt public officers. One of our objectives at the CCC is to promote justice and the rule of law in Cameroon. Laws of our country shall be supreme and whosoever contravene them no matter their social ranking must be prosecuted by our courts and if found guilty be punished by the law. There is no legitimacy of any alliance which will promote corruption or mismanagement of our public offices by public officers no matter which region, tribe or party they come from.
Even though you are not running, what message do you have for Cameroonians during this electoral period, from the candidates to the parties, is there a party you want your followers to vote for?
Hafis Ruelfi: That is true and it is unfortunate that our party the CCC was still under legalization when the electorates were convene to the polls and as such we could not file lists for these upcoming twin elections. We are now targeting but the presidential election in 2018 which Cameroonian will witness the formidable team that will lift this Cameroon to the next level. We the CCC members do not have any particular political party to ask our militants to vote but our message to all progressive Cameroonians to shun belly politics and take this opportunity presented to them by voting credible people who have the common masses at heart and have good manifestos which will bring development to their door step and not the ones to read in speeches.
We end by asking you a question on President Biya, if you were asked to name about five or six specific things that you will like to see him work on before his mandate expires or he leaves office, what will you consider as priority areas?
Hafis Ruelfi: If I were asked today to name five or six specific things that I will like to see Mr Biya work on before leaving office will be; summed up in one which is for him to call for a sovereign national conference to address the problems facing our country today. Beyond the facades of peace they say lies a badly fragmented polity which to me has been the reason for our underdevelopment to has led our country to regional interest politics. A national conference will lay a strong foundation for a regionalized country like Cameroon serious on being an emerging economy by 2035. With a national conference issues like separation of powers with check and balances will be looked at which will lay a good environment for the creation of strong institutions, genuine electoral reforms and the fight against corruption, with a national sovereign conference it will likely address and solve once and for all concerns of the Southern Cameroonians issue who feel to have been marginalized and are seeking the restoration of their statehood, with a sovereign national conference people will speak their minds and not hide any secret, people must be ready to listen and as hard as it might be forgive one another for this will bring a true and genuine reconciliation which to me will drive Cameroon to meet the 21st century challenges just like countries like South Africa, Ghana, amongst African nations with strong institutions and a vibrant economy, you can name a lot.
Cameroon:Unpredictable President and Weak Institutions Call For Concern
July 21, 2013 | 5 Comments
-Prof T.Asonganyi on the Twin Elections and the Political Climate in Cameroon
By Ajong Mbapndah L
He may be out of partisan politics but Prof Tazoacha Asonganyi remains one of the most articulate voices of reason in Cameroon. The former Secretary General of the Social Democratic Front-SDF has continued to offer insightful reading into political developments with luminary proposals on alternative paths to the change that has eluded Cameroonians for decades. As the country is caught in the frenzy of another ill prepared elections with predictable results, Prof Asonganyi opines that though the opposition has lost so much credibility, the elections are a choice between bad and worse and if the electoral system had a modicum of credibility, Cameroonians will prefer the opposition which is bad to the regime that has fared worse. With the unpredictability of President Biya’s mind and the weakness of Institutions to withstand any unforeseen shocks, there is every reason to be nervous says Prof Asonganyi.
Prof Asonganyi, President Biya recently announced Legislative and Municipal elections on June 30 to be held on September 30 and the decision seems to have taken people both in the ruling party and the opposition by surprise, why so considering that mandate of the present officials had long expired?
Yes, the mandate of Parliament and Councils had since expired. You know the twin Legislative and municipal elections that brought in the outgoing parliamentarians and councilors was held on July 22, 2007. Their 5-year mandate was supposed to expire in 2012, but it was extended twice to have them stay beyond the mandate up to mid 2013. Law No. 91/20 0f 16 December 1991 to lay down conditions governing the election of Members of Parliament, provided that a substantive candidate and the alternate would both pay a caution of 50.000 FCFA into the state treasury for their candidature. Law No. 2006-9 of 29 December 2006 modifies this amount to 500.000 FCFA. Parliament amended this to 3.000.000 FCFA in the bill of the Electoral Code that was debated and voted in March 2012 but I think before the bill was signed into law, it was modified to 1.000.000 FCFA (for candidate and alternate together). In general, it is usually the substantive candidate that coughed out this amount. The opposition and the grassroots of the CPDM have been complaining that this amount was too high. Therefore, people were caught unprepared to cough out this huge sum. I think it was more a feeling of financial unpreparedness than surprise.
Elections over the years have suffered from persistent flaws, with the computerization of voters’ registration any remote prospects of fairness and transparency in the September 30th elections?
You know the biometric system of registration of voters which was instituted is good but it is very delicate. It is only as good as you want it to be. The standard approach for setting up a credible electoral roll using the biometric system is that the first phase of general registration of voters in the field provides what would be called a “raw” – preliminary – list of voters. Following the first phase, the “raw” list is published in the various areas for verification and corrections. This second phase provides a “raw” corrected electoral roll. The “raw corrected” roll is then screened centrally with multi-biometric identification technology containing a matching server to automatically detect and delete multiple registration to clean up the register. It is this cleaned up register that constitutes a national electoral register that can be used for free, fair and credible elections. Indeed, it is this last phase that should tell us how many eligible voters have been actually registered by ELECAM using the biometric voter registration system. Unfortunately, the ELECAM chair is still talking about the 5.5 million voters that were registered in the raw, preliminary list of voters. This means that there has been no screening to remove double and multiple names entered in the roll. It is known that some people registered at their places of residence, and then went to their villages and registered again; or some people registered in their places of residence more than once.
The general expectation was that some 8 to 9 million voters would be registered. Since ELECAM could come up with a figure of only 5.5 million they must be shy of carrying out an editing process that would reduce the numbers even further. So it is now clear that ELECAM did not edit the raw list. The ELECAM chair is telling the press that “there are spelling errors in some card…..but these will not debar anyone from voting…” This is also an indication that the raw register was never sent to the field for corrections.
I kept reminding ELECAM during the registration phase that those with entrenched interests – the spoilers who made nonsense of past electoral registers: political thugs-cum-bandits-cum-party bigwigs – were still active in the field to re-enact their fraud exploits. They obviously succeeded. Therefore I do not think that as far as the electoral roll is concerned, much has changed: there are still multiple entries for some voters.
There are reports that only about five million voters were registered, and should the distribution of voters cards be mired with the deliberate cacophony we know, it means the number which actually votes may even be lower, what kind of legitimacy will those “elected” have?
Yes, as we have just said, there were some 5.5 million names in the raw list brought from the field. The standard practice for biometric registration is that a voter is issued a voter’s card upon registration. Since the raw list is usually edited as we have indicated above, those who registered more than once would not find their names in the final electoral roll; the cards they carry would therefore not permit them to vote. The responsibility for not voting would be theirs since they committed the crime of registering more than once. In the situation as it is now, unfortunately the receipts that were issued when people were registered did not show their polling stations where they will cast their votes; where they would have gone and collected their cards on polling day, if they did not find it now. So the distribution process will still be mired with the cacophony that has mired past processes. Those that win will enjoy only the type of legitimacy that others in the past enjoyed.
Looking at the bigger picture, just like the Senatorial elections, some analysts see the September 30th elections in the context of a post Biya era with the decision of the CPDM leader to shun primaries a sign that he wants to maintain absolute control in the transition process, what is your reading of the political situation?
Yes. The CPDM seems to prefer people they know – incumbents that actively supported the amendment of Article 6 (2) which provided that the president shall be elected for a term of office of 7 years; he shall be eligible for re-election once. The amendment allowed Paul Biya to stay beyond two seven-year terms. Those people who helped him to obtain the amendment need to be maintained as compensation for such positive contribution to the regime, without any consideration for any other candidate sent forward by the grassroots. If the incumbents succeed to send a list to the Central Committee, however they come by it, they are assured of being selected over more popular candidates from the grassroots. These people the regime knows better are the preferred persons to have around during this end-of-reign period.
I wonder what criteria was used, but there is disenchantment from people on the way the parliamentary seats were distributed across the country, it is curious to see that it is CPDM militants like Ateba Eyene voicing out frustration at the arbitrary distribution of seats and not the opposition what is going on?
Well, Ateba Yene is a different kind of CPDM militant. You know the last population census in Cameroon was in 2005 but the results were only published in 2010, after some five years of manipulation of the figures. Indeed, the whistle-blowing website Wikileaks recently provided evidence that such manipulation took place to inflate population figures in places that support Paul Biya, or places that Paul Biya can easily manipulate and control. It is such manipulated figures that guided his creation of “special” constituencies in preparation for the September 30 twin elections. There is no reason why Tiko and Muyuka together should have one seat while there are two seats in Buea. There is no reason why a place like Lebialem, expected to have at least two seats should have only one while small areas in the South and other regions have multiple seats. The population distribution per seat in the country varies considerably, from an average per region of some 70.000/seat to over 100.000/seat. Incumbents usually gerrymander for personal political reasons; however, it is usually not as fragrant as the one we are witnessing in Cameroon. As for the opposition speaking up, the opposition has changed a lot over the last few years. It is usually said that those who have food in their mouths do not speak.
Looking at the opposition the way it is at the moment, can it win if the elections were free and fair, we wish the CPDM and its leader could take the risk and for once try free and fair elections, will the opposition fare any better in such a scenario today?
You know the overwhelming majority of Cameroonians would like to have a regime change in Cameroon. The present regime has lasted too long, and has very little to show for its longevity. So, most Cameroonians would vote against it if they had the opportunity to do so. The opposition has lost a lot of credibility but it is a choice between the bad and the worst. The devil we know is so bad that most Cameroonians will prefer the devil they do not know. So, yes, the opposition will fare better in such a scenario.
Is there anything that the opposition can do to register better results; one understands the level of mistrust but may mergers, zoning, or rallying behind specific parties based on strength in particular areas?
No, all that is impossible. It can occur in limited areas where a party’s list is rejected or the party did not have a list and therefore decided to support another opposition party. Otherwise, the parties have become like a source of self-enrichment for the leaders and they would hardly let their source of enrichment go! They want to remain the alpha and omega of their parties so mergers, zoning, rallying behind other parties is out! The reason why the parties have failed to field a single candidate to face Paul Biya since the experience of 1992 is because the parties have become a wealth-generating machine for the leaders.
One of the things that stood out during the Senatorial circus was President Biya’s obsession with older folks; a CPDM cadre blamed this on the inability of the younger generation to make use of their numerical strength, what is your advice to them and to others across Cameroon who will vote on Sept 30?
The youth want to have a say through primaries but they are refused that option. The youths usually want to see their decisions through from start to finish. When they are excluded from the start, they are demobilized. There was a national youth forum that was formed, that we all thought would become a voice for the youths, but it looks like the whole idea was hijacked by politicians and it fell apart. Otherwise, that is the type of structure that the youth can use to flex their muscles. It is from such structures that they can articulate the politics of youths across parties, and mobilize to make their voice heard at elections. Without such collective mobilization with clear aims and objectives, I doubt that there is much that one can advise the youth to do on September 30 that can have any serious impact.
Sometimes people think the generational shift that is needed pertains only to the CPDM and the ruling elite, should it not also be the case within the ranks of the opposition parties especially the leading ones like the SDF,CDU,UNDP ,etc?
Of course it is a problem across all parties. The parties are structures that serve the personal interests of the entrenched leadership of each party. That is why the same faces are still there since 1990, tending what has slowly become their source of nourishment. To succeed, the generational shift may pass through the creation of different centres of power, rather than depending on what individuals consider as their “thing.” This requires mobilization by people of vision that put general interest first. Such people definitely exist in the country, and need to rise to the challenge.
Last question Prof, as the country moves forward, what should make us nervous and what should make us hopeful?
What makes us nervous is that we do not know what is in Paul Biya’s mind, and the institutions we have are too weak to resist any unforeseen shocks. So we are nervous about what the future holds for us as far as Cameroon-after-Biya (or Cameroon-without-Biya) is concerned. What should make us hopeful? I think the fact that Cameroon has continued to stand on its feet in spite of the several errors of commission and omission, the several misdeeds of the present regime, over a period of over 30 year…
Thanks very much for granting this interview.
It has been a great pleasure. Thank you very much too.
Marc-Vivien Foe death: His legacy 10 years after collapsing on pitch
June 26, 2013 | 0 Comments
By Simon Austin*
In the 73rd minute of the Confederations Cup semi-final between Cameroon and Colombia at Lyon’s Stade de Gerland, the powerful midfielder was jogging along innocuously.
No-one was close to him and nothing seemed wrong, yet suddenly he collapsed to the ground in the centre circle. Medical and support staff attempted to resuscitate the player on the pitch, before carrying him on a stretcher to the bowels of the stadium, where attempts to restart his heart failed and the man known affectionately by his team-mates as ‘Marcus’ was pronounced dead.
That was 10 years ago, on 26 June 2003, but the memories are still painfully fresh for Cameroon’s then manager, Winfried Schafer. The German says neither he nor his players had realised the seriousness of the situation at first.
“We won the match 1-0 and the players were dancing in the changing rooms afterwards,” he told BBC World Service’s Sportsworld programme. “Then [captain] Rigobert Song came in and cried and said “Marcus, Marcus” and told us he was dead.
“Everyone was shocked and was asking why. All the players were crying. I went out of the dressing room and heard two ladies crying very, very loudly. Then I saw Marcus lying there, on a table, with his mother and wife by his side. I touched his leg and I went outside and cried too.”
Pat Nevin, then chairman of the Professional Footballers’ Association, was broadcasting at the tournament and attended a special Cameroon news conference the following day.
“It was devastating for everyone involved, but there were some lifting moments,” he remembers. “Seven Cameroon players came out and they all spoke beautifully about their friend and team-mate and their desire to carry on in the tournament.
A first autopsy failed to establish the cause of the 28-year-old’s death, but a second found he been suffering from a condition calledhypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
The big question everyone asked was how could a fit, athletic footballer with no known history of heart problems have died in such a way?
“When you looked at that Cameroon team, they were big, strong and tall, and Marc-Vivien epitomised that,” Nevin says. “He was a box-to-box player and his fitness was extraordinary.”
Sanjay Sharma, Professor of Cardiology at the University of London, who has worked with both Manchester City and Team GB at the 2012 Olympics, explains that the first sign of the condition is often death.
“People with the condition, which is characterised by abnormal thickening of the heart muscle, are about three to five times more likely to suffer a cardiac arrest if exercising vigorously than leading a sedentary lifestyle,” he says.
“Sadly, 80% of sportsmen who die from this condition have no prior warning signals and sudden death is the first presentation.”
After consultation with Foe’s widow, Marie-Louise, as well as his parents, Fifa decided that the Confederations Cup final between France and Columbia should go ahead as planned. Many of France’s players, including striker Thierry Henry, were in tears as they lined up before the game.
The midfielder was given a state funeral in Cameroon in July 2003. Journalist Francis N-gwa Niba, who was there, remembers: “The funeral was huge. The president was there, [Fifa president] Sepp Blatter, everyone who was anyone in African football.
“Thousands stood by the side of the road outside the cathedral and I remember one banner in particular, which read ‘a lion never dies, he just sleeps’.”
Foe left behind a wife and sons aged six and three, as well as a daughter of only two months old. The player’s generosity had been legendary, and there were reports that he hadn’t much money left behind.
Foe was buried on the site of the football academy he had been having built in his hometown of Yaounde. He used to send a proportion of his wages home to his father Martin each month to fund the construction of the complex, but N-gwa Niba says it now “sadly has practically been abandoned now because of lack of funding”.
Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions have also been in decline following the death of their star midfielder. Going into the 2003 Confederations Cup they were the undoubted kings of their continent, having won the previous two African Cup of Nations tournaments, in 2000 and 2002.
Since then, N-gwa Niba says “Cameroon football has been going down the drain” and they haven’t won another Cup of Nations.
Foe had been on loan at Manchester City from Lyon in the 2002-03 season, making 35 appearances and scoring nine goals. City retired his number 23 shirt after his death, while a street was named after him in Lyon.
A positive result of Foe’s death has been huge improvements in both the testing of footballers for heart problems and the treatment they receive during matches
. Professor Sharma admits he was shocked when he watched footage of the on-field treatment that Foe received.
“A player went down without any contact, his eyes rolled back, he had no tone in his body, so it was clear something terrible had gone wrong,” he says.
“It took quite a while for the penny to drop that this was not going to get better with the magic sponge or fluid being poured on his head though. As cardiologists, we like resuscitation to start within a minute and a half of someone going down, and for the defibrilator to be used within three minutes.
“That gives us an outcome of about 70% living. Yet a good five, six minutes went by before I could see any positive action with Marc-Vivien Foe. That was perhaps because this was the first time something like this had happened in football. After all, you don’t expect a champion footballer like this to go down and die.”
Fifa’s chief medical officer, Jiri Dvorak, admits big improvements had to be made following Foe’s death.
“We have done a lot of work to reduce the risk of sudden cardiac arrest since then,” he told BBC Sport. “At all levels, we have examination of players before arrival at a competition.
“We have also trained the sideline medical teams in CPR and using defibrilators. We have a plan if something happens and the equipment – including for the team physicians of all teams. The medical personnel are adequately educated.”
Professor Sharma says such improvements were in evidence when Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba suffered a cardiac arrest during an FA Cup match against Tottenham last March.
“If you look at the first minutes of him going down, it was clear the medical staff quickly realised the severity of the situation,” he said. “The first thing I noticed in the Bolton doctor’s hand was a defibrilator. They started resuscitation on the pitch and delivered two shocks before they moved him.”
There will be a tribute to Foe before Wednesday’s Confederations Cup semi-final between Brazil and Uruguay.
A decade on, football will remember a fine player who grew up in poverty in Africa and went on to play in some of the biggest leagues in Europe. Foe’s former team-mate, Shaka Hislop, says he will mainly remember a friendly, happy and down-to-earth man though.
Foe arrived at West Ham in 2000 as their club record £4m signing, yet could not have been more unassuming.
“He was much-heralded and seemingly had the world at his feet,” says Hislop, “but he was as genuine and likeable as they come. Regardless of what was asked of him, he did it with a smile and I thought he represented the best of football and footballers.”
The Limits of Lions As Political Cover
June 10, 2013 | 1 Comments
-Musings on the Chaotic State of Cameroon Football.
One of those moments when Cameroonians are most lucid about the myriad of problems plaguing the country is when the national football team is humbled by a defeat. Frustration becomes even more when the defeat is at the hands of countries of low football pedigree like Cape Verde and most recently Togo. It comes as no surprise then that shortly after the lions were walloped two nil in Lome,Togo, reports surfaced that armed security forces were deployed to protect the office of the Cameroon Football Federation-FECAFOOT. In every game, there are losers and winners. No one team wins all the time, so why should there be the fear that Cameroonians may vent their anger somewhere? The stock of football and the lions as political cover for the CPDM government has fallen to lowest levels. Looking at the way football is managed and the way things have been shaping up in the country, should the defeat from Togo be a surprise?
After the 1990 world cup when the Indomitable Lions became the first African side to reach the Quarter Finals of the World Cup, out spoken goalkeeper Bell Joseph Antoine said what football had done in one major tournament to market Cameroon, diplomacy had failed to do in thirty years. He was right but how well has the country use the incredible resource that its football is? Besides President Biya and his government using football as political cover to shield failed policies, it has been a galore of incredible mismanagement. About five world cup participations, four nations cup victories, and the country of global legends like Roger Milla,Thomas Nkono, Patrick Mboma and Samuel Eto’o is unable to boast of a stadium which conforms to international norms.
Most recently, Fecafoot and the Ministry of Sports have engaged in a cat and mouse game which could only result in the kind of defeat that the star studded lions suffered in Togo. A local coach in Jean Paul Akono who was not producing the worse of results was unceremoniously booted out in favor of a German Coach. No offence to the talents and merits of the current coach Finke, but what was the raison d’etre of sacking Akono? The man proposed a salary of circa $15.ooo.ooo, which is peanuts compared to what foreigner coaches less competent than him earn when they head the lions. Akono had taken the lions to the top of their group in the world cup qualifiers. He was based in Cameroon, so what was the reason for his sack? Foreign coaches tend to be interviewed in specific countries looking for coaches, in the case of Cameroon, a delegation had to be sent to Paris to audition potential coaches.
Not long ago elections for the Fecafoot President were postponed by the Prime Minister for security reasons. The government has clearly indicated that it does not want current President Iya Mohammed to continue. No doubt Iya is unpopular, no doubt Cameroon football will be better off with more fresh and visionary leadership instead of the team in place that seems to focus more on sharing the spoils of the game without investment. But how can a coherent case be built against Iya when the actors are so divided? How can icons like Milla,Bell,Mve, and others be on a different side and others like Kaham on the other side? And how comes it is only now that the regime is trying to build a case of corruption against Iya from the public company that he runs? The whole thing has been nothing but a show of shame. Why mix up efforts to bar him from running Fecafoot with corruption charges only at this point in time?Elections for the executive bureau of the Littoral Region taking place in the Center Region? It is pathetic and the irony is that the fight is less about football and more about the spoils.
Come to think of it, members of Fecafoot are all members of the ruling party and have in the past engaged in active political campaigns. How comes people who run the local football league earn wages which are about five times the average that players who are the key actors earn? With such cacophony, it is a miracle that the lions have produced the results that have made Cameroon world famous in football. Credit for this reputation goes not to the authorities but to the raw talent of its youth. Youth whose talent and character is forged in very difficult circumstances, disgraceful infrastructure, inadequate material, miserable wages etc.
Back to political cover, in 1992, with the opposition poised to dislodge him from power, President Biya cashed in on the popularity of the national team by using the logo of the lions for is campaign. Many may have forgotten but cash strapped ahead of the 1994 world cup, the government embarked on a nationwide fund raising campaign dubbed “operation coup de Coeur,” and Cameroonians were most magnanimous in their generosity . The money never got to the players and the most plausible answer given by a Minister of Communications at the time was that the money disappeared between Paris and New York. Of all the months of the year, President picked the month of June in 2002 when the lions were participating at the world cup in Korea and Japan for crucial parliamentary and local government elections. The reason for the choice was obvious to many.
Nothing has brought more joy and united Cameroonians more than football and the regime and its Fecafoot have done little to grow the game or sustain positive results. It remains the same problem of coaches, unpaid bonuses or bonuses not paid on time, the Sports Ministry and the Federation permanently at daggers drawn because of the spoils.
If football is not working then what else is going to work? When the lions are unable to put a smile on the faces of Cameroonians and portray that semblance of national unity what else will, perhaps with the exception of political fatigue ? The lions have missed two nations cup in a row, had a dismal performance at the first world cup on African soil and run the risk of missing out on the 2015 world cup. Not an eventuality to pray for, but the CPDM government ought to know the more victories and exploits from the lions become scarce, the more Cameroonians become conscious of the fact that there things going profoundly wrong in the country.
Leave football to actors in the game and things will be better, when the tide is so strong against Iya as it is now, he should put country first and step down, why should Cameroon soccer continue to be toyed with by unscrupulous folks and politicians? Which world class league or club have Cameroonians not played for? Barcelone, Real Madrid, Inter Milan, Chelsea, Liverpool, Ajax, Marseille, Manchester United, etc, Cameroonians have played there. How comes the opportunity cannot be given to talented folks like Mboma, Song, Bell, Tataw,etc to shape policy? In Zambia, Kalusha Bwalya is President of the football federation. In Nigeria Stephen Keshi is coach and has already won a nations cup. Cameroonian footballers past and present need to take charge for the game to evolve positively.
Cameroon :Understanding The Political Stalemate
April 28, 2013 | 0 Comments
By Hafis Ruelfi*
If political sensitivity were the measuring rod for political uncertainty, then there is plenty of evidence that the political atmosphere in Cameroon is clouded. When the wind of change started in Europe in the 1990s, it swept through Africa with devastating effects, and some dictatorial regime resisted but later on succumbed.
In Cameroon, CPDM militants staged protest marches against multiparty politics. One of the political parties that gave sleepless nights to the Biya regime was the Social Democratic Front-SDF. But, on April 14, 2013, something happened in Cameroon politics that deserves a lot of critical judgment analysis. Ni John Fru Ndi, Bello Bouba Maigari and Adamu Ndam Njoya participated in an election which each recorded a tragic fall. They were crushed and humiliated in the April 14, senatorial elections which in their mind-set, they were sure to win. Knowing fully well that for the past 30 years, the Cameroonian people need political reforms that could usher in transparent, free and fair elections, the Social Democratic Front (sdf) of Ni John Fru Ndi, the National Union for Progress and Democracy (nudp) of Bello Bouba Maigari and CDU of Adamu Ndam Njoya, for personal benefits decided to participate in an election that was rigged in 2007. However, like Ndam Njoya and Bello Bouba, Fru Ndi decided that the SDF should participate.
The SDF party was against participating and asked Fru Ndi to meet Paul Biya and on the contrary Fru Ndi did not meet Biya but rather his envoy (Belinga Eboutou). While SDF militants were waiting on Fru Ndi to announce publicly what he discussed with Belinga Eboutou, Fru Ndi turned his back on the people and announced how he will personally contest by declaring his candidature. SDF militants were angry with Fru Ndi arguing that the SDF ought to have boycotted. Others even observed that Fru Ndi has played into the hands of Biya. The SDF filed candidates even in regions where they had no councilor. The CPDM list in the West and Adamawa were rejected. SDF was left with NUDP in Adamawa and CDU in the West Region. Little did the SDF knew that they were gradually being pushed out of the North West Region.
This, commentators say has come to confirm why for a long time now, some opposition political parties have contributed enormously for the Biya regime (cpdm government) to remain in power, rather than providing convincing reasons why President Biya should not be there when the shopping basket in every home is empty, and people find themselves in abject poverty in a country with too much natural resources. Change according to Bryant H McGill “will never happen when people lack the ability and courage to see themselves for who they are”. In clear terms, Ni John Fru Ndi, Bello Bouba Maigari and Ndam Njoya have been told in clear terms that their era of glory are over and that they have taken too much for the owners not to see and understand the trick. The political stalemate that looms large in Cameroon has been caused by people who talk change, yet they hate to see it happen.
These very politicians have been unable to be part of an opposition coalition. This is true because, the fact that the SDF, NUDP and CDU took part in an election that was rigged long ago is indicative of the fact that they are all there for their personal interest and not for general good. There is no gainsaying that the senatorial elections of April 14, 2013 have made many Cameroonians wondering whether these fellows who have been claiming a lot of political supremacy have anything to offer. The population is disgust and people do not really care about the outcome of the elections. The elections recorded an unprecedented and open absurd rigging. Yet, when the chairman of the People’s Action Party, Hon. Ayah Paul sent warning signals, the political deceits took it for a ride. On the other hand, Kah Walla of CPP also called for a boycott, yet it fell on deaf ears. Today, the very people who struck secret alliance with the Biya regime are shedding crocodile tears. There is no doubt that the present political stalemate in the country has been caused by these three politicians who initially considered themselves as the most indigenous politicians on Cameroon soil yet each has been humiliated.
The epileptic opposition
Ironically, Adamu Ndam Njoya was going in for the senatorial elections forgot that the CDU party had never gone beyond the Noun Division, yet he is the first to call for the annulment of the results in the West Region. Bello Bouba who took the advantage of the absence of the SDF in the 1992 Parliamentary to strike a deal with the Biya regime has been crushed so badly that too in the senatorial that he is threatening to quit government. On the other hand, Ni John Fru Ndi who before had threatened that the SDF will not take part in the elections with the present dispensation swallowed his words when he entered into a secret deal with the Biya regime. That secret deal is what has tied Fru Ndi hands as he is unable to make any public pronouncements ever since the senatorial elections took place. The SDF is actually wallowing in the gutter as he too has been put to shame with 14 seats in the West and Adamawa regions, losing gripe of his stronghold North West to the CPDM. This decision public opinion holds is another political blunder of the SDF given that Ni John Fru Ndi had earlier called on his militants to sharpen their cutlasses for a show-down if senatorial elections were called up. Yet the same Fru Ndi swallowed his words and plunged Cameroonians into another mess. However, commentators still hold forth on Fru Ndi on this pretense of Fru Ndi when after receiving a phone call decided to declare his candidature. The most pathetic thing is that SDF even struck a secret deal with the Biya regime.
Bello Bouba started seeing the end of his alliance with the Biya regime that catapulted him in government at it end when CPDM communication secretary, Prof. Jacques Fame Ndongo told CPDM councilors in the West Region to vote SDF senatorial list, saying the instructions were from the head of state and chairman of the CPDM. Since one good turn deserves another, Fru Ndi also took the Cameroonian people aback when he also called on SDF councilors in the Littoral Region to vote CPDM list. Bello Bouba and Ndam Njoya were shocked to see the SDF benefitting from the fruits of the 1991 Tripartite with opposition parties. This is strange, but the truth is that the Biya regime has used opposition parties to consolidate his stay in power against the people’s desire. By participating in the senatorial elections, the SDF, NUDP and CDU betrayed the Cameroonian people.
It should be recalled that after the 1997 Parliamentary elections, Bello Bouba took an oath never to betray the Cameroonian people again. Like his colleague Fru Ndi, Bello Bouba boycotted the Presidential elections of October 11, 1997. While many were looking at Bello Bouba as a patriotic man at that time, in December of the same year, he broke the oath by joining the Biya government. He received the pay back he never expected when Mamadou Mustapha and Issa Tchiroma Bakary, his vice President and Secretary General whom he had left out of power sharing took him unaware by negotiating their entry into government. This was Bello Bouba’s third betrayal on the opposition. It should be noted that in 1992 Presidential elections, Bello Bouba rejected the idea of a unique candidate for the opposition. This was another frustration that kept commentators wondering about his level of patriotism. That was why the SDF cried of “the stolen victory” and again, Bello took Cameroonians unaware by recognizing Biya’s victory. Yet the same Bello Bouba wanted the SDF to walk out of Parliament in 1997 because his party could not obtain a parliamentary group. On the other hand, the relationship between Fru Ndi and Ndam Njoya has not been cordial at all. During the meeting of all opposition parties ahead of the 2004, Presidential elections, Ndam Njoya wanted the SDF to yield to him. That is how he succeeded in cajoling some few Francophone party leaders to endorse him. Fru Ndi out of annoyance stormed out as usual and the poll results were that Fru Ndi obtained 17% while Ndam Njoya got a meager 4%.
Genesis of Multiparty politics
In 1990, multiparty politics was forced into the throat of the Biya regime through creation of a “National Coordination for Multiparty Politics”. It led to the arrest of Albert Mukong, Yondo Black and several others. They were charged with subversion. The trial at the military tribunal in Yaounde in March 1990 witnessed the mobilization of the Cameroon Bar Association that supported both the accused and their claims. And despite denial, Ni John Fru Ndi took the courage to launch the SDF in Bamenda on May 26, 1990 amidst massive deployment of the military. Six innocent Cameroonians were shot to death. Many were arrested and detained nationwide in connect to the wind of change. Yet, Biya desperately accepted to carryout political reforms. On July 4, 1990, President Biya signed series of decrees creating a commission to revise the legislation on civil liberties. In March 1991, Cameroonians started crying for “National Conference” and when the Biya regime resisted, the opposition called for an endless strike that ended up with the famous “ghost town” whereby the economy of the country was paralyzed. In order to calm flaring tempers, President Biya diverted the attention by summoning a Tripartite for October 30, 1991.
Paul Biya succeeded in his game since he later discovered that he had infront of him a group of self-centered individuals claiming to represent the interest of the people. That is how on when SDF boycotted the March 1, 1992 legislative elections, Bello Bouba emerged from the madding crowd to betray the cause. The CPDM, NUDP, MDR, and a faction of UPC took part. CPDM won 88 seats, NUDP 68, MDR 18 and UPC 6 seats. This boycott was one of the biggest blunders of the SDF of Fru Ndi. On April 26, 1992, Biya formed a new government with an alliance with the MDR. Simon Achidi Achu was appointed Prime Minister while Dakole Daisala also picked a ministerial position for trading the opposition. On 11 October of that year, Presidential elections took place. Paul Biya was re-elected with 39.9% against 35.9 for Fru Ndi and 19.24% for Bello Bouaba. The CPDM was accused of rigging and of the “stolen victory”. The opposition cried fault and the validity of the polls were doubted by the National Democratic Institute. Rioting generated and a state of emergency was declared in Bamenda. Many were arrested while Fru Ndi was placed under house arrest. At that hope moment, Biya seek solace by negotiating an alliance with the UPC and the dissidents of NUDP. And again Biya outsmarted the opposition parties by absorbing some NUDP diehards into his government as well as UPC. Yet the opposition has learned nothing from the fact that they all contribute to the political stalemate in the country.
Cameroonians are aware that it is difficult to create drinking bar than to create a political party. There are more than 360 political parties in the country. Yet, majorities are satellite political parties without any following and not to talk of an agenda. In order to redynamise political grouping, government should streamline these mushroom parties. Their non-existence will bridge the gap of belly-type of politics. It is for this reason that these political parties whose geopolitical scoop ends at village level, others at Divisional levels and only a few have national connotations.
There is also an urgent need for new political reforms. These reforms include the introduction of one ballot system in voting exercises. This would give ELECAM whose impartiality is still doubted room to be given the benefit of doubts. However, the most important one is that there is absolutely no political calendar. It is the head of state who decides when to call for elections. This is the case of the legislative and municipal elections. Actually, Cameroon current parliamentarians have been enjoying the exercise of parliamentary powers since their mandate expired. The mandate of councilors and Members of Parliament expired and they were extended, while the extended mandate will elapse by 22 of May, 2013, the councilors are still enjoying bonus time, MPs on the other hand are still looking at President Biya to prolong their mandate maybe by two months. If Cameroon had a political calendar like in other countries, such a situation would be avoided. With all these lapses, a political stalemate looms large.
*Hafis Ruefli, is President of the Cameroon Citizenship Council– CCC
“Corporations doing business in Africa should be held to the same high standards as if they were doing business in their home country.”
April 28, 2013 | 0 Comments
Emmanuel Nsahlai on the $100,000,000 case against AES for its operations in Cameroon.
By Ajong Mbapndah L
AES Corporation, the parent company of the electricity company AES Sonel in Cameroon is facing a lawsuit of $100,000,000 in the U.S District Court of Los Angeles, California. Attorney for the Plaintiffs Emmanuel Nsahlai of the Los Angeles based Nsahlai Law Firm, which has offices in Yaoundé, cites the loss of several lives, regular power outages and the prejudice on economic activities as some of the reasons why AES is been sued. The suit is based on the “Alien Tort Statute that been used to sue foreign government officials and corporations for acts occurring outside the U.S,” says Nsahlai. Corporations doing business in Africa should be held to the same standards as in their home countries, he charges, citing World Bank studies that put losses resulting from power outages at circa 2% of the Cameroon GDP.There has been no reaction from the Cameroon government or AES but Nsahlai remains undaunted in his determination to take the suit to its logical end.
Mr Nsahlai, we understand you are Lawyer for plaintiffs in a case against AES Corporation for $100,000,000, on its operations in Cameroon; can you shed more light on this case for us?
Nsahlai: Certainly. AES Sonel’s parent company is The AES Corporation, a U.S. registered corporation, and a Fortune 500 company. For a few years now, on frequent trips to Cameroon for business or family reasons, I heard incessant complaints about the state of electrical power and supply, and also felt the effects of regular power outages at my residence. More recently, sometime in February, 2013, I read over the internet regarding how 3 children residing at Mimboman in Yaoundé were burnt at their home during a power outage; I also read about how incensed the populations were at this occurrence and subtle riots and demonstrations occurred against AES SONEL. A similar occurrence occurred in Douala; 4 children were killed in fire incident, again related to a power outage.
As a parent, I felt very sad for the parents who lost their children due to the inaction of AES SONEL to provide adequate resources for a more reliable and stable electrical power in Cameroon.
I was contacted sometime in March 2013 by an Associate based in Yaoundé regarding the possibility of filing a lawsuit against AES SONEL in Cameroon. This Associate, having contacts with the victim families and some businesses who had suffered severe financial losses due to power outages, acted as a link between myself and the plaintiff’s, as I was in Los Angeles at the time.
I had read about the Alien Tort Statute, and was fascinated by its potential applications. It’s a statute that has been used to sue foreign government officials and corporations for acts occurring outside the U.S. I was intrigued and, though it is heavily litigated statute, decided that it’s applicability could be put to use in this case.
I thus decided to file the lawsuit against AES SONEL in Los Angeles, the U.S. District Court, where I reside, and also where AES, parent company of AES SONEL, can be sued as a defendant.
“Wrongful death, cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment, breach of third party contract, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, negligence, civil conspiracy, and deceptive and unfair business practices,” are amongst the charges we found in a press release, what statistics do you have to back these claims?
Nsahlai:I have been provided evidence of 4 children killed in a house fire, the family of Mr. and Mrs. William Tchami; Mr. Mendefo Jean Jules lost 3 children in a fire in Yaoundé. I saw utterly shocking photos of the charred bodies of these children. I also saw photos of the burnt homes. I have read certain reports regarding the incident, and have discussed with a number of witnesses to the fires. These families have also provided to me corroborating evidence of their human loss. It’s, in my view, quite a sad incident. In my legal estimation, the loss of lives related to AES SONEL power outages equates to wrongful death, cruel, inhumane, degrading treatment and the like.
With regards to the breach of third party contract, it is clear that the government of Cameroon and AES SONEL did not contemplate such regular power outages over a decade after AES signed the contract to supply electrical power in Cameroon. Cameroonians, and particularly the plaintiffs who have appointed me as their legal counsel, are the third party beneficiaries of this contract – hence the breach of third party contract claim.
The loss of human lives, property, business losses has been legally found to cause emotional distress, whether intentional or negligence.
Further, as the Press Release notes, the World Bank and its experts have evaluated the loss arising from power outages in Cameroon to approximately 2% of the GDP. In addition, AES SONEL is accused in Cameroon, in most instances, of inaccurate billings, poor customer service, and the like. That is certainly an unfair business practice, even deceptive and fraudulent.
Why is AES been sued in the USA instead of in Cameroon?
Nsahlai: The power outage issue in Cameroon has been consistent, persistent, and never-ending. We thought it better to use AES in the U.S.A. instead of Cameroon for the following reasons:
1. AES, the parent company of AES SONEL, and one of the biggest corporations in the world, a Fortune 500 company, needs to be aware that its operations in Cameroon, one of the 27 countries in which it operates, is going very badly and causing the deaths of children, adults, and substantial economic and other harm. A lawsuit in Los Angeles brings greater visibility to its actions, and we hope, will spur better governance of its operations in Cameroon.
2. The families who lost their children, and the businesses who have suffered substantial economic losses are able to recover greater monetary compensation for their losses in U.S. courts.
3. We believe the case, if heavily litigated, will proceed quicker in the U.S. courts where the process is streamlined. In other words, the search of justice in this case from inception to conclusion is likely to be quicker and more efficient in the U.S. courts.
4. The rules of discovery in U.S. courts may enable us to obtain relevant documentation to prove our case from AES which may be harder to obtain from Cameroon courts, due to different discovery and procedural rules.
5. The U.S. courts offer as convenient a forum for this case, as do the Cameroon courts, but with the added advantage of better clarity, transparency, and fairer decisions generally. Cameroon courts generally also possess those traits; however, all put together, we gave the edge to the U.S. courts.
Yes, there is, but not with regard to power outages. The Alien Tort Statute has been used before to sue foreign government nationals and corporations. We have cases from Liberians suing Charles Taylor in the United States Court; or of Nigerians suing Shell in United States Court; both for actions occurring outside of the United States, in Liberia and Nigeria respectively.
So who are the plaintiffs in the case, are there individuals, is it a group of Cameroonians, may we have an idea ?
Nsahlai:The current plaintiff’s in this case, as noted on the caption of the complaint, attached, are the families who have lost children, and various business Associations. Since filing this lawsuit, other potential plaintiffs have come forward, and it is very likely that the lawsuit will be amended to include additional parties.
Any reaction from the Cameroon government or AES since the case was initiated?
Nsahlai: None so far. However, AES will certainly react, otherwise they risk a default judgment against them, and I severely doubt they want a $100,000,000 judgment against them. They are still within permissible time frames to file an Answer to the lawsuit.
Besides AES, there are people all across Africa who express concerns at the services rendered by other international corporations, what do you see as a potential fall out for the continent should the case be successful?
It is unclear to me at this point whether other western countries or Asian countries have a law such as the Alien Tort Statute, which permits its courts to have jurisdiction over actions arising in a foreign country by one of its corporations. The U.S. has such a law, hence we are using it.
None the less, corporations doing business in Africa should be held to the same high standards as if they were doing business in their home country. They should operate responsibly, be accountable for their actions, and held to a high standard, as they are in the U.S.
If the case is successful, and it leads to corporations acting more responsibly, with greater care, taking care of customers and people it does business with in Cameroon that would be great. In the U.S., the judiciary is also an instrument of social change. A lawsuit is sometimes filed to effectuate positive reactions from businesses, provider better consumer safety across the board, better protections for the populations, spur better products, and the like. It will be great if this lawsuit can also create such positive reactions from other U.S. companies to take better care of operations in Cameroon and Africa at large.
With the case in court, can you walk us through the process it will follow, how long can it take for a verdict to be rendered?
Nsahlai: This case could take anywhere from a few months to a few years. It depends on how hard AES decides to fight it. Certainly, if trial judgments are appealed, the case would take 2 years or more. However, if all goes smoothly, we may get to trial in 12-18 months. The length of time the case may take also depends on whether numerous motions are filed, whether the rulings of the motions are appealed, and the like. It won’t be an easy case; rather complex in my estimation.
‘Appoint all 100 Senators Now and Save State Coffers’– Chris Fomunyoh to Biya
March 27, 2013 | 0 Comments
By Innocent Chia*
Other than the silly rumor of the improbable escape of First Lady Chantal Biya, allegedly and uncharacteristically disappearing from the national spotlight for a jiffy last year, little else has in recent times, sparked as much conversation as Biya’s precipitated Senatorial Elections in April. Without any rhyme or rhythm for such a short calendar, the President Decreed an election less than 60 days from his announcement. Whilst most observers are still scratching their heads over this decision, there are those who see no value in the exercise and are making calls for any legitimate opposition to refrain from it.
But there are those who say not-participating is not an option because the Biya regime has never lacked takers (fake “Opposition” that it creates) to fill up seats in the Parliament when the “real” opposition seats out. The problem for proponents of participating is that the record of achievements for the “real” opposition over the last two decades has been abysmal. Their greatest failure was strategic foresight because they underestimated the resilience of the CPDM; did not factor the capacity of their own leadership to withstand corruption; and overestimated the tenacity of the general population. In this exclusive interview with The Chia Report, Chris Fomunyoh, Ph.D – Senior Associate for Africa at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) in Washington DC and Cameroonian – delves into the why’s and why not’s of this charade.
Chia Report (CR) – Dr. Chris Fomunyoh – For those that have little familiarity with Cameroon’s political landscape, President Paul Biya recently announced on February 27th that there will be Senatorial Elections this coming April 14th, 2013. You care to contextualize the decision?
Dr. Chris Fomunyoh: Article 14 of the constitution of our country as adopted in 1996 provides that Cameroon shall have a bi-cameral legislature or parliament made up of the National Assembly and the Senate. Article 20 stipulates that that second body or upper chamber will have 100 Senators, 10 from each region of the country, seven of whom would be elected and three others appointed by the Head of State. The same constitution and subsequent laws stipulate that the seven Senators shall be elected by indirect balloting through regional electoral colleges constituted of local councilors and regional councilors. These instruments also lay out that regional councilors derive from divisional councilors who are designated to represent administrative divisions (or prefectures) in their respective regional councils.
The outcry that you hear today across the country arises from questions about the legality of today’s electoral college and the fact that the legitimacy of Senators elected under these circumstances may be tarnished beyond repair: regional councils have not yet been created, and current local councilors are serving on bonus time as their fixed five year term mandates expired last year. Moreover, the electorate of 2013 is definitely different from that which participated in the local elections of 2007, and there are legitimate reasons to question the representative mandate of the councilors that will cast ballots on April 14.
CR: Presidential Decree N° 2013/056 is some 17 odd years late in application of the 1996 Constitutional provision that created an Upper House Chamber in Cameroon. From the date of his announcement to the date of elections there are 45- 46 days. Is there an urgency, you think, that has caused the convening of the Electoral College and almost immediate application of Decree?
Dr. Chris Fomunyoh: It is a shame that in our country, the population is ambushed at every election, including that for the Senate which under normal circumstances should be a very easy exercise given the small size of those called upon to vote. First, ELECAM (the lection administration body) was conducting voter registration outside of the January to August period stipulated in the election law, and Cameroonians were told that this was in anticipation of the election of local councilors and members of the National Assembly whose extended mandate would be ending soon.
Then comes the decree on Senatorial elections which forces political parties to scramble to meet deadlines for identification of candidates and submission of lists. This limited time frame does not allow any of the political parties, including the CPDM, enough time to organize public and transparent candidate selection activities with grassroots input, which means that this decree, like many others signed by President Biya, inflicts collateral damage on internal democracy within Cameroonian political parties. I do not see the urgency that a tainted Senate would address in the immediate term.
CR: Biya supporters are praising this initiative as another example of his stewardship and leadership as far as strengthening democracy in Cameroon. You care to say why they may be wrong or right?
Dr. Chris Fomunyoh: Unfortunately, over the past 30 years we have seen and heard the most unimaginable declarations from supporters of this regime. Cameroonians have become accustomed to such praise singers by day and critics by night. To extrapolate somewhat, the emperor could be standing naked in the street and his supporters would sing his praises for his new dress code, even as the rest of the world sees clearly that the emperor has no clothes.
Lest we forget, in the early 1990s, as other African countries were opening up their political systems and Cameroonian democrats were advocating for more freedoms and liberty, some of these same individuals marched in the streets of the capital saying “no to democracy and political pluralism.” The Cameroonian people will remember.
CR: Talk to the concerns that about 90 percent of the Electoral College of Municipal Councilors – 9032 of 10636 – are from Paul Biya’s ruling CPDM. Will this have an impact on the quality and quantity of representation in the Senate and how?
Dr. Chris Fomunyoh: The concerns are more serious than just a number’s game. The issue is that the demographics of the country and the electorate have shifted between 2007 and 2013, so much so that one couldn’t tell in advance whether credible local elections in 2013 would give the CPDM more or less local councilors. What about new political parties that have emerged or gained strength and increased membership since 2007? The main question is: if the country is this close to holding new local elections, why not hold those elections first in order to have councilors of irrefutable legitimacy and more equitable representation who would then be called upon to participate in the election of Senators?
CR: According to the same Decree of application, President Biya will be appointing 30 of the 100 Senators. What effect does this have on the national polity?
Dr. Chris Fomunyoh: The provision that allows the president to appoint 30 Senators is in the constitution, although many Cameroonians disagree with the concept of the head of the executive branch hand picking members of the legislative branch that are supposed to exercise oversight over his performance, as in every democratic society. With already so much power centralized in the hands of one individual in the Cameroonian context, giving that individual even more powers entrenches patronage and cronyism, and simply makes a mockery of the institutions and systems of checks and balances that every democratic society has, and that we as Cameroonians deserve.
CR: It has been said that the idea of a Senate was to mimic the US system. Why is this not a moment when the US is flattered that it is getting copied by Cameroon?
Dr. Chris Fomunyoh: Well, the United States can speak for itself, but for me as a Cameroonian who loves his country and cares about the future we need to build for our youth and future generations, this whole exercise about a Senate is a very bad joke at many levels. The United States has 100 Senators for a population of 300 million inhabitants and a GDP (gros domestic product) 600 times that of Cameroon; so our leaders hand pick their own 100 Senators for 20 million people, and we call that mimicking the US?
Perhaps some of our leaders think that by creating a Senate, they can brag about the democracy they practice just as they say unashamedly these days that Cameroon has more than 200 registered political parties, and therefore is freer and more democratic than countries such as the United States, France, Great Britain, Ghana, South Africa and Senegal that have less.
Many Cameroonians even question why have a Senate when the current National Assembly is understaffed and under-resourced to carry out fully its legislative and representative functions, and when we have other institutions such as the Economic and Social Council in existence for decades with no visible impact on governance and, worse still, no accountability for the annual budgets allocated to such institutions.
There is reason to be anxious about the future of our beloved country. We still have a long way to go and greater commitment needed to attain the appropriate democratic institutions and processes that many Africans now take for granted.
CR: The Law and Decree of Application both address Regional Representation. But they are both silent about demographic representation, including youth and women.
Dr. Chris Fomunyoh: To be honest with you, my feeling is that the current regime uses the words ‘women and youth’ as mere slogans. Besides getting women to wear party uniforms and dance at public events glorifying ‘the great leader’, I am still to identify specific government policies and actions that benefit the Cameroonian woman. Look at the placards carried by some women during the last March 8 ceremonies marking international women’s day.
We deny many young Cameroonians even the right to vote by crafting an artificial voting age at 20 years old whereas the age of maturity is 18 years; we create artificial statistics to hock wink young people into believing the government has their interest at heart: in 2011, Cameroonian youth were promised 25,000 jobs and for a long time it was unclear whether or how those jobs were all filled; then at year end 2012, youth were promised 300,000 jobs without stating clearly how that would be done in an economy that is stagnating and for which the regime itself promises economic emergence only in 2035, more than 22 years from now.
CR: Let’s talk some about the opposition in this process. What are the chances that the opposition stuns Biya and his cohorts and wins a majority?
Dr. Chris Fomunyoh: No chances for opposition parties at all! Zip! Zero! Left to its own devises, the regime that governs our country today seems intent on driving us back into the dark days of one party rule.
CR: Why do Fru Ndi and his nominal opposition not bear the credibility of yesteryears to pull it off?
Dr. Chris Fomunyoh: The deck is stacked against opposition parties in our country. The playing field is so tilted in many areas. Even then, and as I said during a public conference in Yaounde in November 2012, the opposition also needs to take stock of itself, recognize its strengths and weaknesses, size up its assets and liabilities, review its accomplishments and failures, in order to redefine the role its wants to play in shaping the country’s future.
The population has become disenchanted, apathetic and disrespectful of some of the opposition leaders and parties for good reason. In fact the frequent inconsistencies of some leaders deprive the people of the right to hope for change and a different and better tomorrow.
CR: Is it an accurate assessment that this Senatorial Body, if Cameroonians let the charade continue, is nothing but another rubber stamp masquerade for the Executive Branch, without a mandate to change the course of history for the development and prosperity of Cameroonians, and another foundation for the thriving plague of corruption?
Dr. Chris Fomunyoh: You captured it very well. I have even said, in dismay and disbelieve at the frivolous manner in which democratic institution building is handled in our country, that if the regime already has its list of 100 Senators, it should name them now and save us all the unnecessary expenditure from state coffers and further embarrassment before other Africans and the rest of the world. Thank goodness there’s precedence that in a country such as Senegal, President Macky Sall upon getting into office saw the futility of a Senate created under similar circumstances and scrapped it completely. Senegal’s democracy hasn’t lost a dent of its credibility.
CR: At the last Presidential Elections in 2011 there are many Cameroonians who strongly believed that your town hall meetings across North America were to explore the chances of running against Paul Biya. You care to explain why it was a no-go at the end?
Dr. Chris Fomunyoh: As I stated during a press conference in Douala on September 13, 2011, the town hall meetings across North America and Europe and the extensive consultations across the country were aimed at hearing from my fellow compatriots about their hopes and aspirations with regards to the political leadership of our country and the role we could play in bringing these expectations to fruition going forward. While some felt that one needed to take the bull by the hones, many others worried about being compromised by a flawed process that seemed pre-arranged for a predetermined outcome.
We therefore determined that we could not, in good conscience, become accomplices in the charade of an electoral process. Developments since then continue to prove us right; and when President Biya stated in Paris recently that his legitimacy could not be questioned because he won a competitive presidential election against more than 20 other candidates, whom by the way he treated with disdain as if they were stooges, many of our fellow compatriots were relieved that I was not one of them.
CR: Can you tell the disillusioned Cameroonian youth what, if anything, they can and should be doing to fend off this onslaught by the current generation of leaders?
Dr. Chris Fomunyoh: My piece of advice to the Cameroonian youth is ‘do not despair’! Leaders come and go, but countries leave on. So, the opportunity will come for our country to bounce back and regain its rightful place among the community of truly democratic nations. The clock turns in only one direction and, despite the challenges of the moment, that one direction keeps me hopeful for our youth and optimistic for the future of our resource-rich country. So, working with the youth, we must keep expanding and strengthening the networks of like-minded, committed and patriotic Cameroonians, so that once the opportunity arises and the stars align themselves, the youth will rise up and make their voices heard loud and clear, once and for all.
*Source Chia Report
Africa’s Rising Top Model: Bertini Heumegni Surges on despite the Odds
March 24, 2013 | 0 Comments
It is very challenging for Africans in the competitive world of modeling but there is no turning back for Bertini Heumegni who has emerged as one of the most familiar faces on
the New York fashion circuit. Cultural differences, rejection at castings, and sometimes racism are some of the odds that weigh against aspiring models from Africa but Bertini has slowly but steadily weathered the storm and ranks about the most promising representation for the continent today.
Born in Cameroon and a father of two, Bertini says his first break came from a chance encounter as he was spotted while serving as a bouncer by an agent of the famous Sharon Mulligan Agency in Cape Town. Not shy about the humble beginnings, Bertini reminisces that one of his first booking jobs was with Sting Sunglasses in from Italy for the face of Africa in 1998.Today Bertini has a very impressive resume with a career that spans from Cameroon ,to South Africa, Italy, France, the USA and counting.
Bertini has featured in commercials and events for Fresca and Pure Smirnoff in South Africa as well as for Guinness, and the telecommunications giants MTN in Cameroon. He has participated at multiple fashion events including the Johannesburg fashion week, American Next Top Model, Cape Town fashion week, New York fashion week, Fashion on the Hudson, New York African fashion week, etc.Agencies which have used his services include Sharon Mulligan, Storm Model, Supermodels, Next Models all in South Africa, Paris Models in France, Ricardo Gay in Milan, Cosmo Models, Boss models, Icon Model in New York and Grace del Marco in Spain.
Upon completing acting and directing classes at the H&B Studios in New York, Bertini chronicled his exciting life adventures into a movie called The American Dream.With himself as the star and Helene Faussart the lead singer of the group Les Nubians as co-star, the movie is a cocktail of drugs, love, sex, and betrayal.
After fifteen years of slow and steady progress in the industry, Bertini has grown in confidence and ambition and a perfect illustration is the recent launching of his own underwear
line. Dubbed BH, initials for Bertini Heumegni, the model says the line is a fulfillment of a dream he was inspired with when Italian Associate Catherina Fiorillo suggested at a Milan Men collection event that his name will fit perfectly in the fashion industry. The response to the line has been awesome Bertini says as works towards launching the product across Africa, Europe and the rest of the world.
On what makes his line unique or why people should have a preference for it , Bertini in all confidence cites a number of reasons: The first underwear collection, with a 3 inch band, elastic straps adjusted to fit different categories of men, women could throw on in the night to seduce their husbands or boyfriends or in the morning after a night over and still look sensual, the waistband and leg holes are bonded to resist bunching,BH can be worn also to the beaches as swimwear, provides extra support and Stretching. As a model and fitness consultant Bertini says he has insight on what men like to wear and look good. The BH model he goes on has 90% cotton for comfort and slimming effect on the body, 10% spandex for extra support and stretching and 3 inches waistband and woven logo.
Asked if he had any words for aspiring models, Bertini recommends that they remain natural. What is perceived as a weakness may turn out to be your greatest asset. Who would have thought that my natural green eyes which made me a subject of taunts from bullies when growing up will eventually help elevate me to where I am today, Bertini quips. My cat eyes or hassle green eyes are now my strengths, no more my weakness .A lot of people make the mistake of sacrificing their African culture and roots Bertini says, but aspiring models from the continent should bear in mind that Africans are natural and exotic. The continent is full of talent he affirms and young people just have to believe in themselves, show dedication and patience, remain persistent in the face of unending challenges and success will eventually come.
On future initiatives, the New York based Bertini says besides promoting his BH line across the globe and especially in Africa with its huge market, he needs to honor modeling engagements while polishing up plans for a reality TV show that will be unveiled in the months ahead.
More on Bertini and the BH Line can be found at www.bertinih.com
Senatorials in Cameroon:Another SDF bluff to be called!
March 5, 2013 | 0 Comments
By Tazoacha Asonganyi*
Recently, the press informed us of a declaration of Fru Ndi’s that there will be no senatorial elections in Cameroon until Paul Biya meets with him. This was said to be a statement he made to those who attended his rally in one of the towns in the North West region. A few days after the “threat” was published, Paul Biya called his bluff (for the umpteenth time!) and went ahead to convene the senatorial elections for 14 April 2013. Last Saturday, the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the SDF met in Bameda and “adopted” the Fru Ndi threat, calling on Paul Biya to urgently dialogue with Fru Ndi, otherwise there will be a disruption of peace.
This is how past “resolutions” of NEC like “no good laws, no elections” came about. Like this one, it was a “slip” during a rally that made its way to NEC, and without profound reflection on how it would be enforced, it was taken up as a resolution!
Now, no one knows what Fru Ndi means by wanting to meet Paul Biya. He has met him several times before, and knows very well that he never kept any promise he made to him. He met him early this year when he joined others like him to salute Paul Biya. He told Paul Biya that he would want senatorial elections to be held after the upcoming municipal and parliamentary elections. Paul Biya has ignored his wishes and gone ahead to convene the senatorial elections for 14 April 2013. Instead of getting the people out to put pressure on Paul Biya, he is wasting his time telling everybody who wants to listen that he wants to meet Paul Biya! This is a new type of politics: confused, lack of preparation, visionless!
Interestingly, many people are saying that Paul Biya has really exaggerated this time around. These are people who do not know Paul Biya. If you lock up the public service of your country during elections because the civil servants are out campaigning for you in the field, you have really exaggerated. If you use state resources for your personal campaigns, you have really exaggerated. If you convene the electoral corps of a country like Cameroon during the rainy season, you have really exaggerated. If you allow everybody around you to be corrupt so that you can use it as a weapon of control, you have really exaggerated. If you create a political environment where there are over 200 political parties in a country of some 20 million people, and yet do not allow a two round election for some of the parties to be useful to the country, you have really exaggerated! So how much do we want Paul Biya to exaggerate before we know that exaggeration is one of his trademarks? He exaggerates, not for the sake of the country, but for his own sake!
In politics, one has to always reflect on lived experience in order to conceive more effective actions. It is such permanent reflection that makes it possible for a human grouping to create new beginnings, new openings and breakthroughs. A political party is supposed to be a “reflective” grouping that endures, evolves over time and generates responses to new challenges that arise from time to time, ensuring that collegial, consensual, and consultative – collective – leadership is privileged over leadership based on command, control, and diktats. The SDF has issued a lot of threats before, which all ended in naught. Issuing threats without a very clear idea on how the threat would be implemented, or converting half-thought-out statements at rallies into party resolutions is nothing short of ridicule.
A journalist has already asked Fru Ndi the following question: This is not the first time you are threatening that elections will not hold if things are not done correctly. But nothing has ever been done to stop these elections. What strategy do you intend to use this time more than ever before?
And Fru Ndi gives the type of answer we have heard before: My first weapon is the population. Let the population fight now to defend their country. We believe in “power to the people.” I am calling on each and everyone to prepare for the great fight that is about to start…True, the most potent counter-force to a neocolonial regime like the one we have in Cameroon is “the population” – the people. However, as Mandela says in his biography, Long Walk to Freedom, a slogan should not end at just providing a link between the organization and the people it seeks to lead, or at synthesizing a particular grievance into a succinct and captivating phrase; the party should prepare the people to live the reality of the slogan.
The SDF has neither prepared the people to use the power their slogan promises them, nor to assume it. For this reason and more, this new bluff of the SDF will fizzle out like the others, due to the fault of its leadership!
*The author is a University Don and Free Thinker who served for over a decade as Secretary General of the SDF
Samuel Eto’o: Cameroon soccer officials after my life
February 9, 2013 | 1 Comments
By YUH TIMCHIA in Yaoundé*
Cameroon’s national football team captain Samuel Eto’o has stirred up debate about the country’s football woes after he accused local federation officials of wanting to take his life and challenged them to a live debate on national television.
“They want to kill me. I live in the national team with gendarmes, not out of snobbery…I cannot put the team jerseys on, I get mine directly from Puma,” the footballer said in an online video chat with young Cameroonians Wednesday organized by local satirical magazine Je Wanda.
The FC Anzhi Makhachkala striker also said he is cautious about what he eats during training camps.
Eto’o was among 11 players who did not honour a call up for a friendly against Tanzania on Wednesday. He cited an injury as the reason for his failure to show up in the game Tanzania won one nil.
However, some critics say it was a phony reason, which shows Cameroon football is still in perilous waters.
Others blame the Cameroon Football Federation (FECAFOOT) for the falling standards of the sport in the erstwhile continental heavyweight.
The four-time African player of the year does not see a bright future for Cameroon football unless the wrangling pinning it down is resolved.
Eto’o said that FECAFOOT officials are incompetent, corrupt and should all resign.
“These aged persons have swindled our money enough…instead of managing football for the general interest, they are only concerned with fictitious missions, first class travels and untraceable bank accounts in Europe.”
Cameroon faces Togo in March in playoffs for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil and Eto’o does not think Cameroon in its current state will be able to beat the Sparrow Hawks.
He said the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations has had a good level so far adding that merit goes to teams like Nigeria and Togo that solved the problems plaguing their football.
FECAFOOT has still not commented on the team captain’s allegations.
In a report on afrikitalia.it, Italy-based Cameroonian journalist Jean Claude Mbede Fouda said a
FA official told him Eto’o was unpatriotic and his claims “frivolous”.
“When you’re a friend to a group of individuals currently detained for embezzlement, and are responsible for destabilizing the country’s football to topple the government, you act like Samuel [Eto’o].”
The official reportedly said the FA was ready for the televised debate and said he was sure Eto’o will not emerge winner.
The four-time African champions, the Indomitable Lions, were booted out of the
without a single point. They then failed to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations in 2012 and this
*Source Africa Review
Cameroon’s outspoken footballer
January 24, 2013 | 0 Comments
Assou-Ekotto: I say what I think … if you don’t like it, I don’t care
By Alex Thomas*
Off the pitch, however, Tottenham Hotspur left back Benoit Assou-Ekotto is far from your ordinary top-level footballer.
Opinionated and strong-minded, Assou-Ekotto’s surprisingly candid views have often been at odds with the monotonous, if not pretentious, rhetoric that often surrounds the beautiful game.
The French-born Cameroonian international has famously admitted that he’s playing the sport just for the money on offer. He’s grabbed headlines by saying every player is driven by riches and has openly criticized badge-kissing peers of “hypocrisy.”
he refreshingly open, yet soft-spoken, player describes football as a “very, very, very good job,” but says there are more important things in life. He shies away from the celebrity lifestyle favored by many of his English Premier League colleagues and has few friends within football.
“For me it’s very important to have a normal friend and not only friends in football because you can see the reality and the difficulty of the life, [which] you can forget as your job is a very good job,” he explains.
Is he concerned whether some of his comments can be seen in a negative way? “I’m honest and I say what I think,” says Assou-Ekotto, who is known as much for his frank comments as his eye-catching hairstyles. “If you don’t like, I don’t care — I know how I speak maybe will not help me, but I don’t care and I have too much confidence in me.”
With a French mother and having grown up in the city of Arras, northern France, Assou-Ekotto, 28, could have played for the French national team.
I have more feeling with Cameroon and Africa,” he explains.
Assou-Ekotto says that his decision to play in Africa does limit his earning potential at club level in Europe. He claims African players don’t earn the same wages as other players, partly because they have to play in the Africa Cup of Nations. The tournament, which is usually held every two years, takes many of the continent’s top football stars out of action for their club teams at a critical period in the European domestic season.
“When you make a choice and play for an African [national] team, the football will be more difficult for you because you have the Africa Cup of Nations and there’s not a club [that] wants their footballers to travel one month out in the middle of the season,” he says. “A French player or an English player or a Belgium player or a Spain player would be all the time more expensive as an African player — it’s like that, it’s a reality.”
Yet, for Assou-Ekotto, the choice to represent Cameroon’s “Indomitable Lions” was easy to make.
“I prefer to be proud to play for my country, even if my football will be more difficult, [than] to play for France and don’t have a feeling,” he says.
Assou- Ekotto, who joined Tottenham from French outfit Lens in the summer of 2006, comes from a fine footballing pedigree. His older brother Mathieu played top-flight football in Belgium, while his dad, David, left Cameroon for France as a teenager to play professionally. Assou-Ekotto’s footballing education came from watching matches with his dad, who was an astute mentor, passing on the nuances of the sport.
“Every weekend when I was about 10 I go with him to see football and to play football and then I said, it’s a good job,” remembers Assou-Ekotto. “I said, okay, I will focus only on the football.”
Disinterested with learning in the classroom, Assou-Ekotto dropped out of school at the age of 16 to pursue his sporting ambition. But although his gamble has paid off, Assou-Ekotto says today he regrets not completing high school.
His view on the importance of education has prompted him to start BA32, a foundation promoting the idea of teaching youth in a practical and interesting way, focused on encouraging children across the globe to learn more about mathematics, science and technology.
“When I make this foundation [it] is to give the opportunity to a young boy to understand that the education and the school is very important because you know when you are young you don’t see the real problems of the life; to sleep under the roof you have to pay every month,” he says. “I think it is more easy to pay this kind of stuff when you are clever and when you have a good job.”
Assou-Ekotto is keen for his philanthropy, rather than his sporting success, to be his lasting legacy.
“I prefer to be remembered about what I will do after football because every weekend about 40,000 people enjoy with me and my team but I hope to help more than 40,000 people after football over the world,” he says. “People need help and that will be more interesting for me. People [will remember me] not just as a footballer, because I am not just a footballer.”
Risky Business? Kilimanjaro Capital Banks on Africa’s former “conflict zones” and “emerging states”
November 27, 2012 | 0 Comments
-Business accords signed with Cabinda and Southern Cameroons but limited information on specifics
By Ajong Mbapndah L
Yes Kilimanjaro Capital did sign business deals with the governments of Southern Cameroon and that of Cabinda, says Zulfikar Rashid President of Kilimanjaro Capital in response to a questionnaire sent to him via its Legal Counsel Dr Jonathan Levy. The issue is Southern Cameroons is still fighting from the restoration of its statehood from the Republic of Cameroon and Cabinda is doing same from the Republic of Angola. This is no problem at all to the folks at Kilimanjaro Capital as investing in troubled and distressed regions of the continent is part of their business strategy.
Pressed for more answers after the questionnaire was answered, Dr Jonathan Levy while confirming that the business accords were signed, would not provide specifics on who signed on behalf of Southern Cameroons or how much the business accords were worth.” Those who signed on behalf of Southern Cameroons are well known faces in its struggle and the public will come to know them at the right moment” Levy said. A partner in the Washington D.C Law Firm Brimstone & Co., Levy has represented Cabinda several cases before. More developments will be released in the weeks ahead with greater detail Levy said.
May we start by asking you to to introduce Kilimanjaro Capital to us, where it is based and what it does?
Zulfikar Rashid:Kilimanjaro Capital Ltd. is a private Canadian holding company based in Calgary. It invests in disputed and distressed African resources. It also support legitimate self-determination movements as a financial stakeholder in the future of these emerging nations. Both Southern Cameroons and Cabinda have legitimate and recognized claims to self-determination.
There is news that Kilimanjaro Capital has signed investment accords with the government of Southern Cameroons, true or false?
Zulfikar Rashid:Yes, this is what our press release states.
What are the major components of the investment accords and may we know where it was signed and who signed on behalf of the government of Southern Cameroons?
Zulfikar Rashid:That information is partially confidential. As to the Southern Cameroonian side, the information is under embargo until the SC Government makes it public due to certain issues with the Biya regime and ongoing retaliation by their operatives.
So how much did was given to the Southern Cameroons government from Kilimanjaro Capital?
Zulfikar Rashid:This is not disclosed but the payment was significant.
Considering that “Southern Cameroons” has no structural government on the ground and the lead organization which fronts its case the Southern Cameroons National Council has several people laying claim to leadership, what made you convinced that you were signing accords with a legitimate government?
Zulfikar Rashid:The individuals involved are well known leaders and have been part of SCNC, SCAPO, SCYL, and the Ambazonian movements.
If we may also ask, how did you get involved with what you call the Southern Cameroons government, were you approached with investment opportunities that are there or your company found out about the opportunities and approached the Southern Cameroons folks?
Zulfikar Rashid:This was an initiative by Kilimanjaro.
We also understand that similar accords were signed with the government of Cabinda; can you tell us more on that as well?
Zulfikar Rashid::We would refer you to the release that was issued after the signing of the accords with the government of Cabinda.
As legitimate as their cases maybe our understanding of the present context is that Southern Cameroons is currently part of the Republic of Cameroon, and Cabinda is part of Angola, are these accords a publicity stunt to let the world take serious two potential time bombs or how does Kilimanjaro Capital expect to reap the benefits of its investments?
Zulfikar Rashid:Both Southern Cameroons and Cabinda expect to achieve self determination in the near term. The Republic of Cabinda has been in existence since 1975 and the independence movement in Southern Cameroons at least as long. Self determination and civil society depend on business relationships, ideological movements in Africa are no longer viable. Economics and civil society not force of arms determine the future, in each case there is strong support for referendum on independence.
May we know other parts of the continent you operate in and what next for Kilimanjaro Capital accords with Casamance, Biafra…..?
Zulfikar Rashid:We have been contacted by groups from Biafra and Zimbabwe among others and are evaluating these opportunities.