BUHARI’S CERTIFICATE CONTROVERSY AND THE ESSENTIALITY OF EDUCATION
August 6, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Omoshola Deji*
Nigeria’s 2019 presidential election has ended, but the contest is ongoing at the tribunal. Politics is a mean game – and politicians devise every means to win. That ex-Vice President Atiku Abubakar is challenging the result doesn’t mean he won. He may have indeed lose and still be imploring the tribunal to return him elected. In the same vein, President Muhammadu Buhari’s insistence that he won doesn’t mean he actually did. He may have robbed Atiku and still be persuading the tribunal to pronounce him validly elected. Aside determining who really won, two major issues are before the tribunal: Atiku’s citizenship determination and Buhari’s certificate verification.
The suits are distinct. Deciding when and where to be born is beyond Atiku’s control, but Buhari could have averted the certificate controversy if he had devoted time to education. Atiku would be suffering for an action taking by the colonialist, if the court rules that he is not a Nigerian, but Cameroonian. The genesis of Atiku’s citizenship case is the 1884 scramble for, and partition of Africa. His citizenship may not have been a subject of litigation, if the western nations had not partitioned Africa. The tribunal thus has an unenviable task of determining Atiku’s eligibility to contest for president, on account of the West’s adjustment of his ancestral boundary, before he was born.
The testimonies and evidences presented at the tribunal revived Buhari’s certificate controversy which started in 2014. Buhari’s witness, Major-Gen. Paul Tarfa (retd) avowed that the Army never collected the certificate of the 1962 course officers during recruitment, as earlier claimed by Buhari. This landmark confession revealed Buhari’s claim that his certificate is with the military in 2014 is untruth. Nigerians thought then President Goodluck Jonathan ordered the military to withhold Buhari’s certificate in order to disqualify him for contesting. Suspicion brew after Buhari won the election and still couldn’t present his certificate, despite being the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. The certificate-with-the-military excuse became untenable.
Buhari did not attach his certificate to the 2019 presidential nomination form, as lawfully required. To make amends, Abba Kyari, the Chief-of-Staff to the President tendered the president’s Cambridge assessment international education certified statement of West African School Certificate (WASC). Kyari claimed he personally signed and collected the document on behalf of Buhari. Atiku’s counsel argued during cross examination that colleges don’t release certificate to third parties. This assertion is untrue. Colleges do release certificate to third party on the instruction of the graduate, but certain conditions must be met. Such includes, but not limited to: a letter from the graduate indicating that his/her certificate be released to a third party; and such party must provide a valid form of identification.
To strengthen his defense, Buhari brought in Oshindehinde Adewunmi, the Deputy Registrar of the West African Examination Council (WAEC) in Nigeria to lead evidence in support of the document Kyari tendered. This unfortunately did more harm than good. When shown the document Kyari claimed to have collected on Buhari’s behalf, Adewunmi stated that the document is not a WAEC certificate, and he has never worked for the body that issued it. The witness said he cannot affirm the authenticity of the document because it does not bear his signature.
A comparison of the two documents Buhari presented – the Cambridge certified statement of WASC and the 1961 result sheet of the Provincial Secondary School Katsina – revealed some inconsistencies. One stated that Buhari sat for eight subjects, while the other stated he sat for six. The name on one is ‘Mohamed’ while the other is ‘Muhammadu’, although Buhari’s witness stressed that both names have the same meaning and are interchangeably used in Islam.
The discrepancies in the documents is making people opine Buhari would lose the case. Their argument is premised on Section 131 of the constitution, which states that ‘any contestant for the position of president of the country must have a minimum qualification of School Certificate or its equivalent’. However, they fail to take cognizance that Section 318 (1c) stated that ‘anyone with primary school certificate who has served in the Nigerian public or private sector, in any capacity, for a minimum of ten years is deemed to have the equivalent of a school certificate’. Buhari is thus qualified to contest and be president having served in the Army for over ten years. That however opens the door to new arguments.
The tribunal can only sack Buhari if his years of military service, which makes him qualify to be president under Section 318 (1c) is declared void. If Buhari joined the military with inadequate qualification, could his years of service be declared void? If Buhari was recruited into the military without a certificate and was not given a duration to produce it, who should be blamed? Buhari or the military? In any case, would it be fair to make Buhari suffer for the wrongs of the military recruitment board as the Supreme Court did to Ademola Adeleke in Osun?
The litigations and embarrassment the certificate scandal has brought upon Buhari could have been avoided if he had dedicated some time to scholarship. He had enough time to acquire more qualifications after General Ibrahim Babangida toppled his military regime in 1983. Retired General Olusegun Obasanjo — Buhari’s senior in age and in the military — bagged a Bachelor and Doctorate after he left office as President in 1999. Buhari is not an accidental president. His three unsuccessful race for the nation’s top job, cumulatively 12 years of aiming for president, is enough for him to have bagged a diploma or degree.
Buhari was yearning to lead but failed to prepare for leadership. This showed in his six-month late appointment of ministers in 2015. It is also manifesting in his abysmal performance and mishandling of sensitive national issues. His lack of ideas, narrow-mindedness and sectionalism is disintegrating the country and hampering growth. He has given little for every much expected. One cannot, in fairness, totally attribute Buhari’s shortcomings to insufficient education. The government of his predecessor who holds a doctorate was a colossal failure.
Nonetheless, that Goodluck Jonathan failed doesn’t mean Buhari should. Buhari’s underperformance hinge on his apologists cheering of wrongs. Justifying Buhari’s failure to get educated is moronic. Many of those defending him severely punish their children for not scoring ‘A’. They want their children to earn higher degrees, but passionately defend a president with a controversial certificate. Some of these apologists demand for Bachelor’s degree, National Youth Service Corps certificate, and five years working experience before they can hire and pay 70,000 Naira (about $200) per month. Such a brazen show of double standard is galling.
Sections 131 and 318 of the 1999 constitution needs to be amended. The framers made it possible for anyone to be president, so long as they can “read, write, understand and communicate in English language to the satisfaction of the Independent National Electoral Commission”. The best may never get to lead the rest if the constitution is not amended. The less educated ones would continue to govern; appointing and issuing directives to professors. Nigerian leaders, many of whom are not so educated, controls the resources and earn huge, while the professors and citizens earn peanuts. The professors that should be ruling the less educated are the ones conducting elections to bring them to power.
Nigerian education needs oxygen. The struggle to make ends meet has turned many professors to political job seekers and errand boy. High fees, vast unemployment, and inadequate reward for academic excellence is discouraging people from becoming educated. A friend once said “education is the master key” and “Bata re a dun kokoka” loosely translated “you would wear the best shoes if you’re educated” inspired many to invest in education, but they’ve gained nothing. Politicians and political thugs are the ones wearing the best shoes.
Everyone must endeavor to be educated despite the challenges and discouragements. Buhari and Osun state former governorship candidate, Ademola Adeleke’s ordeal is a strong lesson that the education you fail to acquire may be all you need to win tomorrow.
Things are turning around for the good of the educated. Education is changing the game. Faster than anyone imagined. The educated ones are bringing innovation to businesses and taking over the jobs from the uneducated. Booking taxi through apps is gradually gobbling the job of the uneducated drivers. Many people view education has the ticket to working in an office, dressing corporate. No. Education ideally gives you a knowledge of the world around you and the skill to do things in a better way.
The case of Wunmi comes to mind. Wunmi is a female university graduate who studied mass communication, but earns a living from furnishing homes. She uploads furniture pictures on e-commerce platforms and contract artisans to produce them when she has order. The artisans’ inability to open and manage an e-commerce store is fetching Wunmi money. She wouldn’t have been an intermediary if the artisans are educated. She is earning huge, thriving and expanding, while the uneducated artisans are earning less. That’s the power of education. Buhari, Adeleke, and Wunmi are lessons. Learn.
*Omoshola Deji is a political and public affairs analyst. He wrote in via email@example.com
Sudan seeks president Kiir’s succor in resolving its political crisis
August 6, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Deng Machol
Juba – Sudan warring leaders convened in Juba over the weekend in a bid to seeks South Sudanese president Salva Kiir’s assistance in resolving years of stalemates in its internal political crisis.
This comes after president Kiir’s move to initiate peace between Sudan rival groups a month ago in an effort to bring peace and stability to his foe Sudan.
Sudan deputy chairman of the Transitional Military Council, Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, formerly known as Hemeti, led delegations to Juba on Saturday, discussed peace with the two Sudanese opposition leaders Gen. Abdel Aziz Al-Hilu of South Kordofan State and SPLM/A-N leader Malik Agar of Blue Nile State, in auspice of president Kiir in the presidential palace.
Gen. Hemeti, who also commands a paramilitary group known as the Rapid Support Forces, is on his first trip to Juba since his appointment as deputy head of Sudan’s military council following the April ouster of president Bashir after months of protests.
The visit comes after members of Sudan’s opposition coalitions reached what they call a ‘political deal’ in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia this month.
The peace talks were part of the implementation of the power sharing deal between the protest leaders and the transitional military council signed in Khartoum recently, aimed at establishing how to implement the deal reached by the rivalry parties in Sudan.
Gen. Hemeti is the one at the forefront of peace talks with opposition groups in Sudan, but the protest leaders and military council leaders are still yet to sign a ‘constitutional declaration.’
Sudanese opposition groups has been fighting to topple the regime in Khartoum for years in the Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan regions respectively during the deposed president Omar Hassan Al-Bashir
In the joint press, Sudan’s rival groups say they agreed to extend a ceasefire to stop war, as coming together as one people and bring peace and stability.
Gen. Hemeti appreciated president Kiir Mayardit for initiating peace talks process between Sudan’s rival groups.
“We are in our second home. We met with Malik Gar, our meeting went successful – we agreed on key things, [with] God willing, the war will come to end.” “We welcome our brothers who have taken arms against the government of Sudan – their presence and views are very important to us in Sudan, and we really need them to come back home. It’s their home, we really need them for stability,” said Hemeti on Saturday in Juba.
SPLM/A – N leader Malik Agar, said the preliminary discussion had led to concrete decisions in future, as the two parties agreed to extend a ceasefire agreement and open humanitarian corridors to the war affected areas.
“We have reached consensus on humanitarian assistance and interventions in the areas that are affected by war. We have to renew cessation of hostilities and opening the humanitarian corridors,” Agar said. “We have signed several agreements before but they have not been implemented but this time, I hope, everything will go on well.”
The members of SPLM/A – N and other opposition groups are in Juba after forcibly expelled from Khartoum following the wake of a deadly raid on protest sit-in in Khartoum in earlier June, killing over 100 protesters
However, Sudan military council has also pardoned rebels fighting Khartoum regime, including all rebel leaders tried and convicted for treason in absentia.
In spite the separation in 2011 after the decades of scorched – earth conflict, South Sudan and Sudan are still held by pre and post – independence unfinished deals.
As the axiom say, “the birds of same feather flown together,” Khartoum was recently seeing as instrumental mediator on the fragile revitalized peace deal, inked by Juba’s warring parties last year, to ended five-year of civil war that has uprooted four million people from their homes and killed 400,000 people.
Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe reinforce strategies to combat crimes
July 28, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Arnaldo Cuamba
Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe want to adopt better strategies for combating cross-border crime to maintain security along the borders of the three countries.
At a meeting in Maputo City, attended especially by police representatives from the three countries, namely, Paulo Chachine (Mozambique), Thulane Phala (South Africa) and Rangarirai Nshucharua (Zimbabwe), it was agreed that the current strategies need to be updated taking into account the modus operandis of the bandits.
“We have situations of wrongdoers who commit crimes in South Africa and then flee to Mozambique, commit in Mozambique and go to Zimbabwe or South Africa from a
routinely ” denounced Chachine adding that” with this our essential objective is to study how to identify criminals and combat because they affect us“
Mozambique borders Zimbabwe through the provinces of Tete and Manica and with South Africa through Maputo and Gaza.
The three countries were unanimous in explaining that the most notable crimes along the border line to be fought are cattle theft, organ and human trafficking, drug and firearm trafficking, car and motor vehicle theft, illegal immigration as well as poaching.
Cattle theft has been proliferating along the border, largely at grazing sites, Chachine said calling for community involvement in the fight.
“The Police-Community link is the key, because criminals live in the communities and neighborhoods we live in, in the restaurants we go to, whether in Mozambique, South Africa or Zimbabwe.
“Therefore, through the Police-Community link we can be able to identify and fight offenders because, in general, the population does not want to live with them,” he added.
The next meeting is scheduled for September, October or November in South Africa.
A Rwandan man made a three month long walk to remember victims of Genocide
July 28, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Maniraguha Ferdinand
Hypolite Ntigurirwa, a Rwandan youth has concluded his three month walk of peace in remembrance of victims of genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi in 1994.
This journey started on 15 April this year and was concluded this Thursday, 25 July.
Ntigurirwa, a genocide survivor himself toured the whole country to mark the journey made by victims in 1994 while they were going to be slaughtered.
Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda left more than million victims, mainly Tutsis.
Ntigurirwa finished his walk at Kigali Genocide memorial where he put a wreath at the tombs in which more than 250 thousands victims are buried.
He told the press that he saw genocide with his own eyes when he was seven years old.
Recalling the cruelty by which genocide was made, Ntugurirwa wants this walk to be a siren of peace so that what happened never happen again anywhere around the world.
“ I travelled a long way during genocide while I was a child trying to escape killers, that’s what made me come out of my fear and remember that way of the cross”, he said
“You cannot beg for peace, when you want peace you give it or you work for it. Our grand children will never find peace if we don’t sow it today” he added
Asked why he opted to walk instead of driving, Ntigurirwa said “There are some acts that you cannot do while in car. For instance there are way I would arrive and people tell me ‘this hill has a history’ and I would climb to discuss with the dwellers.”
The walk of more than a thousand kilometers kicked off from Western Province and was concluded in Kigali.
Ntigurirwa works with a NGO. Before starting his walk, he asked for a four month long leave without a salary.
During his walk, he would use his own money and he revealed he has used more than one thousand dollars.
Cameroon: Internally Displaced Persons receive Humanitarian aids
July 28, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Boris Esono Nwenfor
Some 200 internally displaced persons residing in Buea, Fako Division have been handed humanitarian relief materials. The materials are part of the Head of State’s Humanitarian assistance plan for victims of the on-going crisis in the South West and North West Regions of Cameroon. The materials which consisted of toiletries, groundnut oil, bags of rice, washing soap, blankets, mattresses and others were handed to the IDPs, July 23, at the Buea council chamber.
Speaking to the press, Mayor Ekema Patrick Esunge said he is more concerned with the community he has put in place to distribute the items. Discipline beings from within. We have cautioned that no council staff should be part of this distribution because their salaries are already ready.
The fourth consignment sent by the Minister of Territorial Administration Paul Atanga Nji was destined to 100 displaced persons but according to Mayor Ekema Patrick, they decided to raise the number to 200. “We have a sharing culture and we think it is important to share and that’s why the number has been increased with the little input put in place by the council, Mayor Ekema indicated”
To the recipients, Mayor Ekema Patrick said “the main advice is that these materials should serve the purpose for which they have been intended. Nobody should exchange the items for money or any form of exchange. We appeal to the population to remain calm, vigilant and be very corporative with the council and the state as a whole.”
To 37 years-old Simon Otta, for the past three years, things have not been easy. “I had to leave Bamuka, Ndop, North West Region, to Buea and with the academic level I had, no job. I have been working in the construction site to keep myself engaged.
“I have a family under me and the situation we are in is not easy. I had to be sleeping on the floor, while my wife, kids and sister sleep on the bed. It has really not been easy. With these materials, it will go a long way in alleviating our situation but more needs to be done, while not the additional part of finance”.
On going back to school, he pleaded with the government to provide not only money but mattresses which will help some of them who have kids to go back to school. There is hope while we live so I can’t say there is no hope”.
33 year-old Njembe Theresia Limunga, mother of 3 children said she has been surviving through other people or the church. “I had to leave my area, Muyuka as where I was leaving had continuous gunshots. I could not stay there with my kids as when the shooting starts, everyone will be on the floor which was disturbing the children. There were numerous houses burnt around my area and when you see such things you become scared”.
“Presently life is not easy here in Buea couple with the cold. In my area in Muyuka is not that cold as Buea which makes my children to get sick. The means is not there to survive but when we were in Muyuka, it was better. “These materials will be helpful as before they were sleeping on the floor but now they can sleep on the mattress.”
My situation has been very dire since I left my parents in Tombel to come to Buea in 2016, said Esange Donald. “There is basically no hope for me to go back to my village at the moment as no one is safe. If I go back to the village I would be force to join the fight. We were presented with bag of rice, sardines and mattresses and I had to chose the mattress since I have a room and my younger one, it will be very good than the rice and other materials.”
Kenya’s finance officials deny corruption charges
July 28, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Samuel Ouma | @journalist_27
Kenya’s Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich on Tuesday pleaded not guilty before a Nairobi Court to graft charges over fraud linked to two dams’ projects.
Rotich, his Principal Secretary Kamau Thugge and eight others were arraigned a day after spending behind the bars. They are among the 28 people whom the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) issued their arrest warrants on Monday, July 22 following the outcome of a comprehensive investigations carried out by a multi-agency team presided by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) boss George Kinoti.
The suspects are alleged to have defrauded the government billion of money in the dam projects run by the Italian construction company CMC di Ravenna.
It has been reported that US$446 million was earmarked for the completion of Arror and Kimwarer dam projects in the Kenyan Rift Valley but the treasury had inflated the amount to US$610 million.
The DPP further revealed that US$6 million was paid out for the resettlement of people living in areas the projects were to be undertaken but there is information about the acquisition of land.
They were charged with 24 counts among them willful failures to comply with applicable procedures relating to procurement, engaging in a project without prior planning, conspiracy to defraud, and abuse of office, neglect of official duty, issuing of misleading information, fraudulent acquisition of public property and committing an offence of financial misconduct.
The investigative agencies have hinted at seeking repatriation of CMC di Ravenna director Paolo Porcelli to face graft charges.
“We have the Italian individual, he has not managed to present himself so we will be seeking his extradition to come and face the charges here in Kenya. We will also issue an international arrest warrant,” said Noordin Haji.
South Sudan faction troops given a week to report to cantonment sites
July 28, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Deng Machol
Juba – the South Sudan’s Joint Defense Board (JDB) has instructed all faction troops to report to their assigned cantonment sites and barracks for possible integration by July 31st, in bid to end years of brutal conflict in the horn of Africa.
The directive is contained in a letter addressed to sector and division cadres of the government SSPDF, the SPLA-IO and forces of the South Sudan Opposition Alliances.
The decision was reached at the 8th meeting of the Joint Defense Board held in Juba last week.
The letter signed by JDB chairperson, Gen. Gabriel Jok Riak; Co-chairs, Lt Gen. Yiey Dak Wei of the SPLA-IO and the SSOA Gen. Salam Alhaj Babala, stated that all movement must start immediately. The decision was reached at the 8th meeting of the Joint Defense Board held in Juba last week.
It covers the military, police, national security and other organized forces of government, the SPLA-IO and the opposition alliance.
The JDB gave government and opposition forces till the July 31st to assemble at verified barracks and cantonment sites ahead of training and possible integration.
The SSPDF stated that it ordered its soldiers to go to barracks so that the integration process should be executed in accordance with the revitalized peace deal.
The SSPDF spokesperson Major Gen. Lul Ruai says food has been prepositioned and the troops are assembling at more than 20 barracks across the country.
Major Gen. Lul is confident and optimistic that the army will complete the process within the one-week deadline and further warns that any soldier who deliberately defies the marching orders will face disciplinary action.
Gov’t funds encampment
Meanwhile, the government says it has remitted $5 million into the account of the Joint Defense Board (JDB); to expedite the implementation of security arrangements as enshrined in the revitalized peace agreement. The amount is meant to facilitate the cantonment of forces, especially training of soldiers.
The training, according to the peace deal, shall be conducted by the Joint Transitional Security Committee or JTSC.
In May, the government pledged 100 million dollars to support the peace process and allocate the required funds for the successful implementation of the pre-transitional tasks.
“We provided the JDB $5 million for operationalization of the cantonment, and as we understand the JDB and the leadership has confirmed that 30th [July] to be the D-Day for movement of forces,” Dr. Martin Elia Lomuro, Secretary of the National Pre-Transitional Committee (NPTC), said quoted by local radio in Juba.
Dr. Elia also noted that the amount of money given of course is not enough for the operations of the cantonment and for training, but the money given is part of the $100 million dollars that has been pledged by the government.
Dr. Elia further said the money was remitted to the JDB account earlier this week, adding that the government will use oil and non-oil revenues to fund the peace process.
The JDB is formed at the level of chiefs of staff and directors’ general of organized forces. The body is tasked with command and control over all forces during the pre-transitional period.
The country two years after independence plunged into civil war that has killed nearly 400,000 people and uprooted four million people from their homes and it was until late 2018 that great level of peace was achieved following a ceasefire and peace deal signed in September 2018 by President Kiir and key opposition groups, including Dr. Machar.
The plans to form a power-sharing in May, this year were delayed after there was no funding to disarm, establish cantonments, rehabilitate and integrate militias and rebels across the country to November 12, this year.
Sierra Leone: ACC signs over $100,000 grant with OSIWA
July 27, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma
The Head of Sierra Leone’s Anti -graft body Francis Ben Kaifala Esq on Monday 22nd July 2019, signed a grant agreement for funding with the Open Society for West Africa (OSIWA) worth over One Hundred Thousand United States Dollars (USD 110,000).
According to a press statement released by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on Tuesday, the agreement is an approval for the funding for various departments of the Commission and is in response to a proposal submitted to OSIWA under the heading ‘’Changing the Game plan in the Fight Against Corruption in Sierra Leone’’
‘’ The main objective of the funding is to operationalize and mainstream public and social accountability mechanism in the fight against corruption through enforcement and compliance to systems, procedures and grievances redress systems in Ministries, Department and Agencies,’’ the release stated.
The release further stated that, in addition to its core mandate to supress and eliminate corruption in Sierra Leone, the ACC is also responsible for ensuring accountability and transparency in public institutions, as well as guaranteeing that these entities mainstream anti-corruption measures and policies in their workplaces.
‘’The Commission wishes to thank OSIWA for this support and the confidence reposed in the ACC as we work together to ensure the transparency and accountability in the governance architecture of Sierra Leone, the ACC released ended.
Sierra Leone: Police put Le10m reward to anyone providing information leading to the arrest of person over Justice Biobele burglary
July 27, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma
Police in Sierra Leone have placed a reward of Ten Million Leones (about $1,000) to anyone who provide any useful information that could lead to the arrest of person or persons over the alleged burglary at the Nigerian Judge Justice Biobele Georgewill residence on Monday.
The reward came after the theft incident on Monday 22nd July 2019 in which thief or thieves broke and entered the premises of Justice Biobele Georgewill and carted away with his grey, medium -sized Dell Laptop and few other items.
‘’A handsome reward of Le 10,000,000.00(Ten Million Leones) will be offered to anyone who provides any useful information that could lead to the success of the investigation and subsequent prosecution, ‘’ a Police statement said.
The Nigerian judge is one of three judges in the ongoing Commission of Inquiry (COI) hired by the government of Sierra Leone to look into the activities of former Ernest Bai Koroma administration.
According to a statement from the Head of the Media Mohamed Sulaiman Massaquoi, said the exact circumstances that led to the burglary have not been ascertained adding that the judge himself was not hurt and was not aware of the incident until he woke up in which his laptops computers and few other items were carted away by the thieves.
‘’Mean while the proceedings of the Commission of inquiry will continue unabated. Justice Biobele Georgewill will continue sittings at commission 64 on Wednesday July 24. The public is assured of the continuation of the commission of Inquiry,’’ said Mohamed Sulaiman Massaquoi, Head of media Commissions of Inquiry.
However, Police have mounted investigations and has assured the public that the outcome of the investigation would be accordingly made public.
Ghana’s PANAFEST –gov’t slashes visa fees for Jamaica and Guyana to return home
July 27, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Ahedor Jessica
The Chief Executive of the Ghana Tourism Authority, Mr Kwasi Agyeman, has stated that by the end of the year, all hindrances to visa processes to Ghana will be resolved. Addressing the media at a press conference in Accra, as part of activities lined up for this year’s celebration of biennial Pan African Historical Festival (PANAFEST) and the Year of Return, he said the programs secretariat is also working with the Foreign Affairs Ministry to ensure that it left behind an e-visa system as a Year of Return legacy initiative to remove the barriers and hustles diaspora face with visa acquisition.
According to him, the measures include slashing visa fees for people from the Diaspora who are coming from countries whose citizens require visa to gain entry into Ghana from $150 to $ 75. It has also done some reforms to the cumbersome visa application processes and applying visa waivers in selected Caribbean countries such as Jamaica and Guyana. Mr Agyeman, says even though some milestones has been chalked in the countries on visa processes there are still some bureaucratic bottlenecks affecting its implementation.
PANAFEST is an annual home coming celebration birthed by the late Efua Sutherland Addy in the mid-1980s as a cultural vehicle to bring Africans on the continent and in the Diaspora together in Ghana. In the last 25 years, the platform has attracted patrons from across the world, particularly in the Diaspora,. Some of the participants observe it as a mission to rediscover their roots and identity.
Hosting this year’s celebration under the theme PANAFEST and Emancipation Day celebrations as part of the Year of Return. Speaking to the chairperson of PANAFEST Foundation, Professor Esi Sutherland-Addy, she says besides the sense of identity for which diaspora appreciated PANAFEST for, it has also provided them the opportunity to reconnect with their cultural heritage. With widespread castles, forts and other footprints of colonialism and slavery in the Central Region, one of the many achievements PANAFEST has spotlighted the region as a tourism hub.
She said the springing up of hotels, hosting of activities at the Cape Coast Centre for National Culture, including trade in artifacts and organic products, are all tangible benefits of PANAFEST in the area. As part of program line up, the celebration of Year of Return include providing opportunity for the participants to relive the experiences of their ancestors who went through the horrifying ordeal of slavery in Cape Coast through the door of no return and ending up at the Elmina Castle on July 26, 2019.
Buses would be provided to convey people from Accra to Cape Coast, Elmina, Assin Manso and Assin Praso; communities that would play key roles in the celebrations for free. The event which started on Juyl 20, 2019, with the crossing of the Prah, a durbar at Assin Praso and a pre-slave route pilgrimage atonement which ends on August 2, 2019. Other highlights are a wreath-laying ceremony to pay tribute to pioneers of Pan Africanism at the W.E.B Dubois Centre, George Padmore Memorial Library and the Nkrumah Mausoleum, all in Accra on July 24, 2019; the opening of One Africa Walls of Remembrance at One Africa Health Resort in Elmina; international variety night at the Cape Coast Stadium on July 27 and an inter-faith dialogue at the Cape Coast Sports Stadium. There will also be a colloquium for people of Africa descent and reparation at the University of Cape Coast on July 29, which will be followed by a Women’s Day on July 30 and musical performances on August 3, 2019.
Cameroon gets additional 44 billion FCFA from IMF
July 22, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Amos Fofung
The International Monetary Fund, IMF, has concluded another review mission to Yaounde, after which it approved the sum of 76.2 million dollars (44 billion FCFA) as loan for the government of Cameroon.
The Executive Board of the IMF completed the fourth review of the arrangement under the Extended Credit Facility, ECF, for Cameroon on July 17.
According to the Fund’s officials, completion of the review enables the disbursement of SDR 55.2 million (about US$76.2 million), bringing total disbursements under the arrangement to SDR 372.6 million (about US$514.5 million).
The Executive Board also approved the authorities’ request for a waiver for the non-observance of the performance criteria pertaining to the external arrears’ accumulation and the ceiling on net BEAC financing, based on the corrective actions taken by the authorities. Cameroon’s three-year arrangement was approved on June 26, 2017 for SDR 483 million (about US$666.9million, or 175 percent of Cameroon’s quota.
The arrangement aims at supporting the country’s efforts to restore external and fiscal sustainability and to lay the foundations for a more sustainable, inclusive and private sector-led growth. Following the Executive Board discussion, Mitsuhiro Furusawa, who is presently IMF Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair, stated that Cameroon’s performance under the ECF-supported program has improved from a year ago, adding that most end December 2018 targets including those on the fiscal deficit have been met, and structural reforms were advancing.
The Executive Board noted that Cameroon continues to play a leadership role in the rebuilding of fiscal and external buffers of member states of the Central African Economic and Monetary Union, CEMAC. Going forward, the Cameroonian authorities’ continued support of the implementation of the foreign exchange regulations stipulated by the Bank of Central African States, BEAC, will be essential to ensure full repatriation of foreign exchange receipts, IMF experts stated.
They advised that enhanced fiscal discipline is key to reaching the end-2019 programme targets and mitigating risks from external shocks and security challenges.
Reducing recourse to exceptional spending procedures and completing the Treasury Single Account reform will support the steadfast implementation of the 2019 budget while improving cash management and the transparency of budget execution.
Too, refraining from new non-concessional borrowing and strictly adhering to the disbursement plan for contracted-but undisbursed loans are essential to preserving debt sustainability. Further project prioritization and enhanced investment efficiency will help address developmental needs while supporting prudent debt management.
Improving the financial viability of key public enterprises through performance contracts and targeted reforms of administered prices will reduce reliance on subsidies and mitigate risks from contingent liabilities.
Above all, enhancing financial inclusion, the business climate, and governance remain central to promoting private sector development and boosting competitiveness.
In particular, further strengthening EITI compliance and the AML/CFT framework are essential to promoting private sector-led growth and attracting foreign investment.
The experts concluded that Cameroon’s program continues to be supported by the implementation of supportive policies and reforms by the regional institutions in the areas of foreign exchange regulations and monetary policy framework and to support an increase in regional net foreign assets, which are critical to the program’s success.
Cameroon: Human Rights Lawyer Agbor Balla advocates back-to-school
July 20, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Boris Esono Nwenfor
Renowned Human rights advocate and leader of the outlawed Anglophone Civil Society Consortium Barrister Felix Nkongho Agbor “Balla” has stepped up his campaign for children in the restive Anglophone Regions to go back to school. The lawyer who is also the Founder/CEO of the Centre for Democracy in Africa, CHRDA was a guest speaker at the International Nelson Mandela Day organized by Nakfu Policy Institute under the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation, July 17, 2019, in Yaounde.
As it is a tradition every year, the Foretia Foundation celebrates the International Nelson Mandela Day with focus on the life of Nelson Mandela and what Cameroon can learn from the life of the ex-South African President, who gave his life for the fight for justice and peace, respect for human rights in his country.
During the panel discussion on “Nelson Mandela’s fight for justice-what lessons for the peace process in Cameroon”, Barrister Felix Agbor Nkongho proposed various measures Cameroon should put in place to bring a long-lasting solution o the Anglophone crisis. According to him, an all-inclusive dialogue should be implemented.
He added: “never again will one group of people marginalized and oppress another. The fear now however those who were oppressed are becoming the oppressors. We gave to abandon our individual goal for a general one, while peace is something very important”.
Barrister Balla further indicated that children should be allowed to go back to school in areas where security is much better. He, however, did not regret calling for school boycott but said however the school boycott has turned out is not what they had earlier wanted.
“It is a laudable imitative that has to be supported as education is very important. It is fundamental human rights and we need to encourage our children to go back to school. I understand that the security situation is worrisome but then there are places where children can go back to school”. “To have a million uneducated children, let us have at least 500 hundred thousand. Let us start working towards it. It is going to be a gradual process and it will not be done today. Let us at least not prevent them from going back to school”.
He went on to say those who are saying children should not go to school some of them have gone to school. “No matter how imperfect the educational system might be, basic education is helpful because if they don’t then they will end up tormenting the society with all the deviant behaviour. During Mandela’s period of Apartheid, children were going to school, in Syria, Afghanistan children are going to school.”
For his proposed All-inclusive dialogue, Barrister Balla said it depends now on the Head of State who should activate the dialogue. “Something has started in Switzerland and we hope that it will be inclusive. All-inclusive means everyone should be part of it, not necessarily those who have arms but should include the clergy, civil society and others, to find a long-lasting solution to the conflict” He said.
He has however called for the Separatist leaders to rethink their strategy. Giving his personal opinion, he said “I might still maintain the position of separation but hoping the negotiation which is a give and take-they (separatist) have to forgo something and the government too. Probably we have a two-State Federation and we move from there to a part way of independence. But insisting that independence or nothing means we are not going to come out of the conflict.”
Barrister Balla’s message to the youths was simple and clear: “youths should be active in politics by registering to vote and changing their country and should not be social media politicians-those who spend most of their time criticizing social media but can’t even register and vote.”
A report by CHRDA notes that the consequences of the prolonged school boycott, since for three years and counting now are more than catastrophic. Before October 2016, more than 6 thousand schools were operational in the North West and South-West Regions. As at December 2018, less than 1 hundred schools were operational in these regions, meaning that 5900 schools had shut their doors, with over 600 thousand students out of school and at least 40 schools burnt. In a UNICEF 2019 report, at least 600 thousand students are out of school in the North West and South-West Regions.