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Third Term Bid will be suicidal for President Alpha Conde and Guinea-Ben Bangoura
May 28, 2019 | 0 Comments

Guineans are firmly opposed to moves by Presdent Conde to get a third term


By Ajong Mbapndah L

While he may not have officially made a statement on the third term project, that President Conde or anyone in his entourage should entertain such thoughts does profound damage to iconic portrait of a change agent that brought the current President of Guinea to power, says, Washington DC based journalist and Editor of AlloAfricaNews, Ben Bangoura .

Instead of the Mr. Conde changing the system, it is the system that has changed him, and if the President gets his way with the third term bid, the consequences could be tragic for Guinea, Ben Bangoura says. The expectations of Guinean people under his current tenure have not been met as the country remains amongst the poorest in the world, Bangoura continues.

The International community can be helpful by persuading Mr. Alpha Condé to avoid the third term agenda as this is neither in his personal interest nor in that of people of Guinea, Bangoura says.

President Alpha Condé is in his second and last term, according to Guinea’s constitution. How has he fared as President?


A pertinent question from a genuine journalist you have always been. Thanks again for reaching out. In a previous interview, I remember, we talked about a landmark election that culminated in Prof Alpha Condé, a self-declared reformer, clinching the presidency after a tumultuous transition. It was a moment of hope considered by many as the light at the end of the tunnel for Guinea, after decades of military rule which left the country in shambles.


He fought so much for democratic reforms, human rights and good governance in the country, has he lived up to the promises he made while in the opposition?


I doubt whether he succeeded or not. Key indicators are that he has not lived up to the promises he made while in the opposition. The expectations of Guinean people under his current tenure have not been met. Guinea is still one of the poorest countries in the world. The general population lacks clean water and has a little access to electricity, while the average citizen still lives below $1 a day. That is at odds with the country’s enormous resources. Guinea has the third largest bauxite reserves in the world among its natural wealth. The question is, who or how the local content fits into this? 


On political front, things are not going well either. Alpha Condé has tightened his control over all branches of the government. Meanwhile, the country has not conducted any successful elections in recent years. For instance, the term of the current National Assembly expired six months ago. Alpha Condé had to issue a presidential decree to keep it going. At the same time, local elections held in February 2018 were marred by violence and have yet to be settled across the country. The Guinean Constitution guarantees freedom of assembly, but it is currently restricted. The system of governance is highly corrupt, and the rule of law is not respected. And in an apparent attempt to divide and conquer, Alpha Condé, an ethnic malinké, initiated a dangerous policy. Under his regime, one must be an ethnic Soussou to be eligible for the post of Prime minister in Guinea. While the chairmanship of the National Assembly is exclusively reserved for a native of the Forest region, as peulh you belong to the opposition. What kind of policy is this in a country where people, regardless of their background, have generally been living in peace and harmony for centuries like a family? I prefer to see someone holding a high position in the  government because of his competence and not because of his ethnic identity. 

There are talks of the constitution being changed so that he can have another mandate, where is this coming from? is it feasible and is President Conde in support of this?

Well, Alpha Condé has not made any official declaration in that regard. However, it looks though he is heading in that direction. A source knowledgeable on the matter stated that a new constitution has been drafted with help of experts from foreign countries, including France. This source added that the bill effectively guarantees a third term bid for Alpha Condé and that it has a good chance to pass if introduced this year in the National Assembly controlled by the RPG-Arc-en ciel, a coalition of political parties that back President Condé. But this source conceded that its fate maybe uncertain if submitted to a national referendum. 

Where is this idea coming from? Of course, the idea is coming from Alpha Condé himself because of his increasing desire to remain in power until his death. He has a clan around him – arguing that he deserves an extended stay to finish his work as a “Dieu le Père”-. He currently has surrogates deployed in every region of the country, bribing local officials and community leaders to drum up  support behind the idea.

To boost his shaky international standing, President Condé has reportedly recruited some prominent French politicians and journalists to shepherd the campaign for a third term. Countries including China and Russia, which have substantial interests in mining sectors in Guinea, have signaled their willingness to back such a move. Alpha Condé has also assigned his Ambassador in Washington, Kerfalla Yansané, to negotiate for him an official visit in the United States that would include a White House photo op with president Trump to be used as a tool for propaganda. Well connected sources indicate that the Embassy of Guinea is currently seeking assistance from a Lobbying Firm in the nation’s capital to assist in the process. But the outcome is far from certain. 

Is third term doable? Maybe! Is it feasible? No! The current constitution of Guinea has two important provisions: Article 27 states that the president can only be elected to be president for a total of ten years. No more than that. The other one is article 154 which stipulates that if amendment were to occur, this should not undermine the standing of the latter. Knowing that they lack the constitutional avenue to proceed, President Condé and his cronies  have apparently settled on a brand new constitution.

With regards to the opposition parties and civil society groups that could fight such a move, how organized and how serious are they?

The opposition has responded with an outright rejection of any move to change or pass a new constitution. A significant number of civil society organizations are emerging under the umbrella of the FNDC (National Front for the Defense of the Constitution). In recent weeks, high profile community leaders, including the so called Kountigui of Basse Côte Elhadj Sèkhouna Soumah, a key ally of President Condé, have distanced themselves from it. The question now is whether the opposition has a clear strategy and a “war chest” to take on President Condé who is now very rich by all accounts. But I believe that the majority of Guinean people are opposed as well. They have witnessed democratic changes taking place in neighboring countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia, Senegal, Gambia etc.., changes that resulted in a peaceful transfer of power from one government to another. They want to see such a positive change in Guinea in 2020 by electing a new head of state, no matter who that is, to ensure the continuation. They do not want to see another autocratic leader dying in power by not respecting the constitution, something that may yet trigger another painful period of transition. 


What is the position of the Army in this unfolding drama?

It is hard to say right now. But in a dramatic move earlier this year, Alpha Conde issued a decree on January 8, 2019, appointing 4 high-ranking officers in the Army as Ambassadors to Angola, Cuba, Guinea Bissau and Mali. In recent weeks, the president also appointed several other army officers to civilian positions within the administration. They were mainly assigned in the remote areas of the country. 
Analysts believe that this was done on purpose to weaken the army because these officers are known to be “very experienced” and may also “harbor interest” in staging a coup if the opportunity should arise. In my view, his actions in that regard amount to a preemptive strike. 
Prior to this bizarre decision late last year, President Conde removed Mr. Kelefa Sall, the presiding officer of the constitutional court, from his post. He was openly opposed to any modification of the constitution. Indeed in 2015, during the swearing in ceremony for his second and last term, which was attended by a dozen heads of state, including longtime dictators from Chad, Rwanda and Equatorial Guinea, Sall suggested that Condé should avoid any attempt to change the constitution in order to remain in power. He was very upset about that. 

You are versed with developments in Africa. In Benin, it was chaotic and sham general elections. In Guinea, should President Conde succeed to change the constitution, what will this mean for democracy in west Africa and the rest of Africa broadly speaking?

It would be a devastating blow to Democracy for the region, particularly for Guinea. It would bring chaos in a country that is already on a political and an economic downward spiral. A third term would be a lack of vision, a leadership failure of historical proportions on the part of the 84-year-old Alpha Condé whom many had once referred to as “opposant historique.”

Remember, this is a guy who once billed himself as a ”reformer” and “unifier”. At one point, he said he was going to be the “Mandela of Guinea”. One who would deliver that change Guineans have been dreaming about for decades. We all know that Mandela was a one term president in post-apartheid South Africa who rejected the call for him to stay in power permanently. We also knew Mandela as a unifier who fought for justice and equal rights for all. Alpha Condé on the other hand seems to want to cling on to power at any cost like Mugabe. In addition, the fact of matter is that Guinea under his leadership, is an autocratic state, a country divided along ethnic and class lines, between those who have and have not. He came in promising to change the system. Instead, it is the system that has now changed him for the worse. 

It will be political suicide for President Conde to attempt a third term says Journalist Ben Bangoura


If he succeeds in imposing a new constitution in Guinea, he may not be around for that long. He could be toppled by a popular uprising similar to one we have then seen in Burkina Faso, and most recently in Zimbabwe, Algeria and Sudan. Mr. Condé must understand that there is a life after the presidency, that he is going to die one day -one way or the other-. Therefore, he should focus his efforts crafting a lasting legacy for himself as a leader that has a sense of history and who was able to rebuild his country, leaving it in peace and in economic prosperity. 

 
History tells us that no mankind has ever achieved everything he wanted to do in life. In democratic society such as the United States, each time there is alternance, the outgoing president always says to his successor: “Here is what I have accomplished, here are the works to be done”. The idea that Mr. Alpha Condé started something in Guinea he needs to carry through is foolish.

 
How can the international community be of help in supporting Africans fighting for democratic reforms?


The International community can be helpful by persuading Mr. Alpha Condé to stay away from such move. This is neither in his personal interest nor in that of people of Guinea. The International community can also support the grass roots organizations in the country to reinforce the institutions that are already there. As former US president Obama rightly said: “Africa doesn’t need strongmen, it needs strong institutions”. We also know that the United States under President Trump is not supportive of those autocratic leaders in Africa who have failed their peoples so miserably. Alpha Condé is certainly one of those leaders today. So, such message is rather encouraging.

How has the media fared under President Conde and how much of a force is it in the political dispensation in Guinea?

Under President Condé, I must say that the media has fared very poorly because of lack of resources. Like any country under dictatorship, the state media, including the National Broadcasting System (RTG), is the mouthpiece of the government. The independent media, specially the media online, tends to do better job though limited in scope. In Guinea, Independent media is under constant attack. In recent years, several journalists were killed in the line of duty while others are arrested, harassed, beaten or jailed.

*Full interview published in May issue of Pan African Visions Magazine

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FG can seize unexplainable assets from citizens — Osinbajo, Nigeria’s VP
May 15, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Olumide Ajayi

Nigerian VP Yemi Osinbajo

Nigerian VP Yemi Osinbajo

Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said the federal government can seize assets from citizens who cannot explain the source of their wealth.

The vice president made this known on Tuesday while declaring the anti-corruption conference organised by the office of the vice president and the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) in Abuja on Tuesday.

“The Supreme Court in a lead judgment of Akaahs JSC, recently held that forfeiture under Section 17 of the Advanced Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act is a civil process which neither requires the criminal conviction of the property owner nor his innocence,” he said.

“This opens the door for forfeiture of assets that the purported owner cannot explain, whether or not an allegation of corruption is made.”

According to him, corruption has made Nigeria’s debt and poverty figures double in spite of the highest oil revenues in Nigeria’s history

He said the Buhari-administration is not deceived into thinking that it has won the battle against corruption as it was tackling grand corruption first.

“By that, we mean the stealing of huge public resources directly from the treasury; usually at the highest levels of executive authority; and the stealing of budgeted funds through various schemes,” he explained.

“We are now poised to deal with the wider problem of systemic corruption; especially where the average person interacts with government.

“Corruption in the issuance of contracts, licenses and other government approvals; there is no reason why any Nigerian should have to give bribe to law enforcement agents for obtaining drivers licenses or passports or to clear goods at our ports.

“All the relevant government agencies have shown a serious commitment to eradicating these forms of corruption; our next level is to create the environment for collaboration between our agencies, civil society and other stakeholders.”

He said the enforcement of treasury single account(TSA), the presidential initiative on continuous audit, and transferring civil servants on the IPPIS electronic platform has helped to control official theft of public funds.

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New Oil Players Embrace President João Lourenço’s Investment Drive with Angola Oil & Gas 2019 Forum in June
May 13, 2019 | 0 Comments
The Africa Energy Chamber proudly endorses the Angola Oil & Gas Conference 2019, organized by Africa Oil & Power in Luanda on June 4th to 6th 2019
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, May 13, 2019/ — Under President João Lourenço, the Angolan oil and gas sector has grown from strength to strength and opportunities await for businesses in all sectors who are keen to increase their exports into new markets.

The reforms by the government so far will benefit all Angolans and increase the ability of employers to generate more opportunities for Angolan citizens, investors and the region. The Africa Energy Chamber proudly endorses the Angola Oil & Gas Conference 2019, organized by Africa Oil & Power in Luanda on June 4th to 6th 2019.

“Under the leadership of President João Lourenço’s, Angola is undergoing structural reforms politically, economically and socially, which if successful, will transform Angola away from its reliance from oil. Therefore, our support for the Angola Oil & Gas 2019 Conference and the people of Angola is very important,” explained Centurion Law Group CEO and Executive Chairman of the Chamber NJ Ayuk. “Angola is a prime investment destination due to its oil reserves. With about 9.9 billion barrels of proven reserves, it holds some of the world’s most promising oil deposits and estimates of Angola’s probable commercially recoverable reserves are at least 10.7 billion barrels. This is a great opportunity for new explorers and service companies as well.”

“This will be Angola’s largest and most important industry platform,” declared recently-appointed AEC President for Angola, Sergio Pugliese. “Since 2017, we have seen the passing of landmark regulations for the sector, including gas regulations, marginal fields regulations, and a complete new oil licensing strategy up until 2025. The conference will also see the launching of Angola’s first Marginal Fields Bidding Round, which is ideal for all African E&P companies and international independents seeking to expand beyond their home country.”

Pragmatism on Local Content legislation and relaxing visa rules has been aimed at keeping Angola competitive globally and we welcome these changes. During the Angola Oil and Gas conference, the Chamber will organize a trade mission to Angola offering an opportunity for upstream, midstream and downstream oil and gas players to explore and consider the Angolan market.

With its upcoming Marginal Field Bidding Round, ongoing licensing of several blocks from this year onward, and numerous opportunities across the gas value-chain, Angola has become one of the most attractive and lucrative markets for oil investors.

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AU Envoy meets African Business Association to drum up support for building “Wakanda” in Africa
April 6, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Ben Bangoura*

Ambassador Arikana and some participants at the discussions.Photo Ben Bangoura AlloAfricaNews

On Wednesday April 3, 2019, the African Union Envoy to the United States, Dr. Arikana Chihombori -Quao, met for several hours with the African Business Association in Washington, DC. They discussed efforts to mobilize African diaspora in order to invest in the continent, to create jobs and opportunities for all.Over lunch in an African restaurant in Hyattsville, outside the nation’s capital, talks began with a crucial question from a representative of African Business Association who wanted to know how African Union plans on connecting its 54 member countries to each other, building infrastructure and addressing the youth unemployment.

Ambassador Arikana began her remarks on this question by recalling a long and painful period in history, dating back to the 19th century.

“In Addis Abeba,1963, our leaders got together to create what was then OAU. This was an effort to repudiate the Berlin Conference in 1884 that divided Africa in small countries among colonizers from Europe,” Arikana said. However, she indicated that she does not believe that objective was completely achieved because the disagreement between the Casablanca Group and that of Monrovia, at the time, doomed the prospect of a United States of Africa.

She insisted that Africa will “never be free” as long as the continental body of AU’s operating budgets were being funded by donor nations.

To address that, Arikana said extra resources are to be raised through a 0.2 per cent levy on “all eligible” goods imported to the continent, a reform put forward by AU.

Ambassador Arikana and Mubang at the event. Photo Ben Bangoura AlloAfrica News

“When all the countries have started contributing, we are going to realize 1.2 billion dollars a year. With that African Union will be able to fund itself.”

Indeed, that projected figure is actually higher then the current 900 millions dollars budget, mostly donated by the majority European nations.

She also pointed out a number of reforms being implemented on the continent, including the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, with the goal of creating a single market followed by free movement of people and a single currency union. “This will open up the sky”, she commented.

Moving forward, AU Ambassador stated that Africa needs capacity to grow. That capacity, she said, is in the diaspora, harboring substantial expertise in areas such as healthcare, at the time when hospitals in Africa are empty.

She specifically mentioned Ghana, the country of her husband. In recent years, Ghana has improved its Health infrastructure, building new hospitals and renovating others.

But “guess what. Half of those hospitals are sitting empty. There are no doctors. There are more Ghanaian doctors in New York City alone then the entire country of Ghana”, she lamented.

Part of solution to this “we have to organize ourselves. I am dividing this country in 8 regions which would have 7 states. This saturday, we are having a retreat, where we are going to be finalizing, strategizing ,and having volunteers to be Chairs within the regions states.”

As she talked about one of the most important projects of her mission in US aimed at building “Wakanda” in five regions of Africa, Arikana said the future infrastructure will serve as nerve centers for development delivering state-of-the-art healthcare facilities, hotels, industrial homes, shopping centers and other amenities for Africans. The Wakanda project requires a 5 billion dollars investment that must com from Africans living outside the continent.

Following Ambassador’s remarks, the President of African Business Association, Joe Mubang, took the stage to praise Dr. Arikana for her basic authenticity, and her shared vision for a “free and better Africa”. He expressed full support to all initiatives presented during the meeting which, Arikana said, is the longest so far with any organization since she became AU Representative in 2017.

The recently created African Business Association is the first of its kind in the Washington DC region. The organization consists of all business owners including real estate agents, healthcare professionals, lawyers, farmers and other business professionals.

According to its founding President Joe Mubang, a business tycoon of Cameroonian descent, one of the main goals of the African Business Association is to bring private capital inflows to Africa, improve Agricultural Sector to Boost Food Security, and Nutrition.

“Part of our strategy is to increase African products in the United States and to promote those products on market here”, says the 60 year-old health professional Mubang who was elected last month by acclamation as President of the ABA.

*Courtesy of AlloAfricaNews

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Forty African Countries Converge In Zimbabwe To Promote Innovation Development
December 3, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu .

Primary and Secondary Education Minister Professor Paul Mavima

Primary and Secondary Education Minister Professor Paul Mavima

From 28 to 30 November, Zimbabwe hosted 250 African Regional Delegates from 40 countries. It was an occasion to gather momentum and discuss key issues and priority areas in Information Communication Technology. This ICT initiative, it was learnt supports Education and promotes economic growth and development.

Addressing delegates at the venue of the conference in Harare at a local hotel, Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Professor Paul Mavima said Zimbabwe stands to confirm its commitments in the development of Information Communication Technology in the country .He pointed out that ICT is one of the main key strategic areas the Government is pushing on in-order to foster economic growth and development.

He also said the 8th Innovation Africa Conference has come at a time the country is walking the talk on the implementation of a new curricular. Adding on, he cited that already there are fruitful results out of the curricular program.

‘’The Africa Innovation conference has come to Zimbabwe at a time the country is receiving better yields from the new curricular already in schools . This conference will there- fore strengthen our whole hearted effort in coming up with more skills in the digital World.

‘’We have the ground work plan to build 2000 new schools. In a modern world, this comes with the introduction of new Technology. This technology of Information Communication is a new development we need to cherish in hailing economic growth and development.

‘’Therefore there is no doubt maybe little doubt that Technology leads to economic growth and development. It is clearly, possible, but we need to support this through finance, policy development and promoting education infrastructure around the country. The first focus must target marginalised, poverty stricken and vulnerable communities’’, he said.

John Glassy, Innovation Africa Director said the developed World has managed to succeed through strategies, policy implementation, promoting and launching programs in community schools.. He added that the World is here to support the idea of technology, promote with research and high quality base knowledge capacity.

‘’ Africa’s Brains must unite Education partners in International Social Cohesion .These partners are vital in the whole process of Information Communication Technology Development in schools. Therefore Innovation Africa’s support in Schools Infrastructural development is a theme we need to raise flags on. On top of the whole idea, professionalism is needed in teachers who needs to train then train the students in schools.

‘’The need for technical devices is vital in the developing world. The developing world is still yet to develop its Information Communication Technology using computers in schools. This leads to attainment of Innovation Vocational skills for the Industry’’, concluded John Glassy.

Experts at the 3 day gathering agree to support development of schools in many rural marginalised communities in many parts of Africa. The strategies put in place develop digital vocational skills for Innovative Industry .However, the aspect of Gender Equality in ICT remains a challenge with some developing countries. In Africa 25% fewer women than men have access to Internet in Africa .The Gender gap is at 45% peg.

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Why African Leaders Should Be Optimistic
November 30, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Matshona Dhliwayo

Africa Union Commission Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat (2ndL front row) poses for a family photo with Africa's Presidents (fromL) Sudan's Omar al-Bashir, Rwanda's Paul Kagame, Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahamed and Chad's Idris Deby, on the sidelines of an AU summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. (AFP)

Africa Union Commission Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat (2ndL front row) poses for a family photo with Africa’s Presidents (fromL) Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir, Rwanda’s Paul Kagame, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahamed and Chad’s Idris Deby, on the sidelines of an AU summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. (AFP)

Not too long ago, the two words “Africa Rising” were on everyone’s lips.  After a decade of sluggish growth, Africa was finally showing real potential to follow in the footsteps of Asia.  The Financial Times predicted the continent would enjoy a long period of mid- to high single-digit economic growth.  Income would rise, a middle class would emerge, and consumer spending would increase.  Was the media wrong?  Were tabloids exaggerating?  Certainly not, for since 2001, six of the world’s ten fastest-growing countries had been in Africa.

However, almost a decade later, some are still asking themselves: “Is there hope for Africa?  Can the continent experience sustainable growth to give the world’s oldest inhabited region a new narrative?”

I belong to the hopeful group, and so should every African leader.  Below are ten reasons why African leaders should be optimistic about the future:

  1. Our resilience. Contrary to popular belief, adversity has benefited us greatly.  Slavery, colonization, institutionalized racism, the AIDS epidemic, poverty, and famine were all meant to kill us, but have only made us stronger.  Because we have gone through the worst, we are stronger mentally, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually.
  2. Our natural resources. Since the beginning, Africa has been blessed with an enormous quantity of natural resources.  The envy of other continents, many of its precious metals remain undiscovered or barely harnessed.  Those who doubted the extent of Africa’s mineral wealth were shocked to learn the continent possessed 90% of the world’s chrome resources, 85% of its platinum, 70% of its tantaline, 68% of its cobalt, and 54% of its gold, just to mention a few.  Assuredly, the ticket to our prosperity is beneath our very feet—underneath the ground we tread on every day.
  3. Our human resources. By 2050, it is estimated that Africa will have a larger and younger workforce than China or India.  More people equals more talent, and more talent equals more growth.  More children also means that more products have to be produced, such as food, clothing, and furniture.  Likewise, more schools and homes have to be built, which economically benefits the education and construction industries.  An increased population inevitably leads to a larger domestic market.

 

The final benefit of Africa’s larger population means foreign enemies will think twice about invading the continent.  The greater a nation’s population, the greater its army; the greater its army, the greater its security.

  1. Our spirituality. Africa is a continent rich in spirituality.  Wherever you go, the majority of people’s lives are governed to a small or large extent by a higher power.  While religion has brought much good and bad to the world, spirituality has only brought good.  And, by some estimates, Africa is the most spiritual place in the world.  Even those who don’t subscribe to a particular religion believe in a higher power.  The benefits?  Even the science community has admitted that there are rewards.  To the marvel of many, despite being poor, we are gracious, grateful, optimistic, humane, and fulfilled.  What would kill others we endure with a smile, and our spirituality is responsible for it.
  2. Our rich culture and heritage. Many have tried to mock, undermine, and even destroy our heritage, but to no avail.  It is indisputable that Africa has the richest culture—one that goes back to the beginning of civilization itself.  It includes the way we respect life, and the way we honor the dead; the way we celebrate children and, at the same time, highly regard elders; the way we esteem knowledge and revere wisdom; the way we conduct ourselves in both private and in public; and the way we treat foreigners, as well as live amongst ourselves.  Without our culture, there is no doubt that Africa would have fallen a long time ago.  A nation or a people without a heritage will not last for long, no matter how great or prosperous, but a nation or a people with one will thrive, no matter how unexceptional or poor.
  3. Our history. When ancient kings conquered a people and took over their land, one of the things they would do is burn down their libraries in order to erase not only their history, but also their sense of self.  We, of all people, have the grandest history—mathematics, science, literature, philosophy, and arts can all trace their beginnings to Africa.  With this on our minds, we can meet the future with a smile, no matter how bleak or bright; our victory is certain, not only in our minds, but also in our hearts.
  4. Democracy is on the rise. Democracy has been steadily rising in Africa, as the masses have realized they cannot put their destinies in the hands of one party or ruler.  To the chagrin of those with tyrannical ambitions, democracy has and will continue to bring freedom, equality, justice, and responsible government to the masses.  When the citizens’ rights and interests are protected, a nation is sheltered.
  5. Higher literacy rate. In 1990, the adult literacy rate in all of Africa was 53%.  By 2015, it was estimated to be at about 63%.  Clearly, we are doing something right, and if we continue, it will only get better.  A higher literacy rate means better education, a better economy, and better governance of the country, all of which improve the well-being of the people.
  6. Our climate. Since time immemorial, people have tended to migrate to warmer climates.  Africa being the hottest continent on Earth makes it very attractive—you don’t have the same worries as those who live in cold climates.  Science itself has proven that living in warmer weather is better for your health.  Improved memory, more Vitamin D, and increased physical activity are just a few of the benefits.  Warm weather is also better for our heart and lungs, and studies have shown that there are higher death rates in colder climates.
  7. Less civil wars. Indeed, peace continues to bring much good to the continent, including increased tourism, investments, and general well-being of its citizens.  Due to our ethnic and religious diversity, however, from time to time, some countries experience civil strife.  Economies are damaged, and fear ripples through communities.  But, in recent years, civil wars have been on the decline; old enemies are mending fences as they realize they are better and stronger together than they are apart.  Martin Luther King Jr. said it best: “We must learn to live together as brothers or we will perish together as fools.”
  8. Nature and wildlife. Africa has a large variety of natural wildlife, much of which can be found only on the continent.  Straddling the equator, the land is home to many of the world’s most beloved flora and fascinating fauna.  Despite all the negative publicity Africa has received, its nature and wildlife make it an irresistible tourist destination, a testament to the undeniable beauty and allure of the motherland.
  9. Improved energy access. Why has Africa been experiencing rapid growth during the last decade?  Slowly but surely, our energy sectors are improving.  There are still many problems, but we are better off than we were ten years ago.  Factories operate more efficiently, leading to higher productivity and a higher GDP, thereby increasing the standard of living.

 

Improved energy access is also crucial for food security, affordable and reliable water, and environmental protection.  People will cut down fewer trees if they have a dependable substitute source of energy.

  1. Improved educational institutions. As child enrollment rates have been steadily rising all across the continent, it has forced governments to invest more in education.  However, although teachers are still underpaid, the quality of teaching has improved.  If this trend continues, even the greatest skeptics among us must admit that we will inevitably return to our former glory, with groundbreaking improvements in the arts and sciences.

 

What are the benefits of this?  Innovation in the arts and sciences not only betters the economy, but also brings prestige to a nation.  The best example of this is the Renaissance: it brought untold glory to Italy, the honor and prestige of which the country is still enjoying today.

  1. Improved infrastructure. As capital has been pouring into the continent, slowly but surely, our infrastructure has been improving.  Better roads and infrastructure have allowed companies to operate more efficiently, which has also means that more investments have come pouring in.
  2. Improved healthcare. Healthcare has improved dramatically over the past decade.  More quality educational institutions have led to more knowledgeable doctors, and more knowledgeable doctors have led to better healthcare, all of which has contributed to increased life expectancy rates.
  3. Increased foreign investment. Most, if not all, of the above points lead directly or indirectly to increased foreign investment.  Foreign investment means more jobs, more income, and more spending, all of which grow the economy.

In conclusion, African leaders have much to be optimistic about.  Africa matters to the world; the world cannot do without us.  We are the most habitable place on Earth, not experiencing the same natural disasters bedeviling other parts of the world; we also have the greatest capacity for maintaining balance in the biosphere, helping to avoid further depletion of the ozone layer.  And, in a world full of strife, it is the very values passed down to us by our ancestors that hold the key to human survival on Earth.

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A Response To Moise Shewa’s ‘Don’t Fan Flames Of Hatred In Cameroon’
November 29, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Mufor Atanga

 

Dear Moise Shewa,

History Lesson: 64th President of the UN General Assembly Ali Triki presents President Biya with two maps of La Republique du Cameroun and Southern Cameroons in an audience during festivities to mark the 50th independence anniversary of Cameroun

History Lesson: 64th President of the UN General Assembly Ali Triki presents President Biya with two maps of La Republique du Cameroun and Southern Cameroons in an audience during festivities to mark the 50th independence anniversary of Cameroun

It is one thing to express your bias opinion through fiction; it is completely another matter to try to make such an opinion pass as facts, as in your opinion piece in the New African of November 2018, (pp 34 – 38).  The actual facts do differ with the general thrust of your article and the otherwise highly respected New African has done itself no favours by publishing such a vacuous diatribe. However, what makes it most disagreeable is your deliberate attempt at fudging the facts. Deliberate, because you should know better or ought to; and if you do not, you should first educate yourself on the subject before making what is at best spurious claims to the truth.  It would seem though there is a more sinister agenda at play here; first popularised by the Nazis and now being rehashed by the adepts of Trumpism like yourself, it relies on the simple premise that you only need to repeat a lie several times and people start believing it, even when they know it is not the truth. There are many things that have gone wrong with the way and manner in which the quest for restoration of the statehood of the Southern Cameroons is being pursued. However, that does not in any way undermine the legitimacy of the issues raised, or the cause itself. Ordinarily, I would have ignored your article, as I do most that have been published during the course of the current phase of the Southern Cameroons quest for restoration since 2016. However, this will be doing you and the readership of the New African a disservice if the fallacies contained therein were not to be corrected:

  • I read Chimamanda’s piece at the time it appeared and I have watched a couple of JJ Rawlings’s and PLO Lumumba’s outings on the Southern Cameroons. There is nothing in their views that could be contested as being unfounded. What makes your referencing them as the anchor of your article particularly disingenuous is your argument that because they are foreigners, they do not fully understand what is happening in the Cameroons. Your attempt to discredit their stance as such with the rather weak argument of proximity to the situation and circumstances falls flat as it is an argument that has already been debunked on several different occasions and one need not belabour here. As it has been proven several times over, often foreigners are not only more knowledgeable about local history and situations but also do appreciate the nuances that underpin local circumstances and actions.

 

  • Are you ignorant of the fact that in the Cameroonian context the use of the term Anglophone (as with Francophone) has a specific historical, geographic and socio-political connotation that goes beyond one’s mastery of the English language or principal language of communication?  It is not some Anglophones who believe that they are marginalised; it is the vast majority of Anglophones who are aware of the fact that they have been under colonial occupation by what is itself a French colony since 1961, and who want to be out of Cameroun through the restoration of the statehood of the Sothern Cameroons. Aren’t you well aware of the fact that it is not about language but the instrumentalization of language, in this instance, English and French? Besides, aren’t you well aware of the uncontested facts on how the Southern Cameroons as a territory and people have fared in Cameroun since 1961, and to say it is simply a matter of belief is another lie? The problem with some journalistic opinion pieces, such as yours, is that they are often shallow and devoid of facts. Besides, it is near impossible to attempt refuting every sentence that is misleading or an outright lie. Often it is a waste of time attempting to debunk an article not only because it is presented as an opinion piece but also because it is not all those who might have read the initial article who would invariably read any rejoinder.

 

  • It is also misleading to state that in 2016 the lawyers were protesting against the use of English in the courts. As important as the language being used in the courts in the territory is, the protests of the lawyers at the time, as you ought to know, went far beyond the use of language. I recall it was Ngongang Ouandji who as Minister of Justice in 1985 whilst on a visit in Bamenda, at a meeting with the judicial corps stated to the effect that there is need to harmonise the legal system; and his very next sentence was that what obtains in the Anglophone provinces is bad, meaning there is need for the Anglophones who practice the common law system to adopt the civil (Napoleonic) law system that obtains in French Cameroun. So too, with the educational system, for until our widespread protests in 1984, led by Anglophone students in the then lone University of Yaounde, our cohort would have been the experimental guinea pigs of writing the BAC syllabus in English in the name of harmonisation of the educational system. Hence, as with the legal system, harmonisation has never been about the development of a unique indigenous system in Cameroun but a superimposition of a bastardised and poorly mastered francophone system onto the anglophone education system. The recent presidential decree (October 2018) truncating the GCE Board further illustrates the point, and bears testimony to the demonstrated bad faith of the Francophone led regime, from the onset of the tacit Union, if any was still required. As amply experienced during the past 57 years, intention cannot be legislated, as the Francophone led regime had approached unification as a zero-sum game and subsequently back peddled on every written understanding entered into with the Anglophone community; for, it is as recently as 1993 that the GCE Board was established after protests by anglophone parents, teachers and students during which many were injured and lives lost. It is that mindset that still informs policy formulation and decision making when it comes to Anglophone Cameroun.

 

  • It is another false argument to state that the Anglophones are protesting against the lack of jobs and development in the territory, as important as these are. As you should know, there was a clearly spelt out tacit agreement and terms which brought the two territories together in 1961 in the form of the federal constitution. The Francophone led regime orchestrated the abrogation of this agreement through the pseudo-referendum that took place in 1972, thereby ending the quasi-federalism that existed until then. Hence the constitutional and institutional arrangements that were meant to guarantee the autonomy of the territory and people were systematically undermined and destroyed. As such nothing legally binds the two territories together.  Not only that and as I have amply demonstrated elsewhere (The Anglophone Cameroon Predicament, 2011), the Francophone led regime over the years systematically destroyed all important economic initiatives, both state and private, that could have provided opportunities to the people of the territory turning it into a vast labour reserve. Otherwise, what happened to the once thriving commercial seaport of Victoria where you live and are heavily invested, to mention only this?

 

  • Another not so subtle argument which you make, and is often made by the Francophone led regime and most of the Francophone intelligentsia who are against the restoration of the Southern Cameroons statehood is that the territory historically belongs to Cameroun and was simply returned in 1961. I wouldn’t go into this as it has been extensively exhausted by others. Suffice to extent your logic by asking why the other parts of German Kamerun that are now parts of Nigeria, Chad, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and the Congo Republic haven’t been returned to Cameroun? I suppose you would claim not to have come across the 2005 Banjul judgement of the ACHPR on the territory and peoples either? Don’t you know of when boundaries in Africa became immutable? And has the position of the African Union on the immutability of boundaries at independence changed?

 

  • Your assertion that the issue in Cameroun is one of tribalism is not only insulting but nonsensical given some of the preceding points advanced and to follow. Does it mean that if tribalism was to be removed as a factor in the body politic of Cameroun would it suddenly rediscover its once vaunted peace and stability? Isn’t it being rather reductionist to conflate and reduce the myriad of governance issues that make Cameroun inherently unstable to the existence of tribalism? Again, it is similar to some of the arguments made by a number of Francophone intellectuals that the problem in the Cameroons is one of tribalism:

 

  1. the so-called Anglophones as you very well know, are not a tribe; and there are many ethnicities or nationalities in the Southern Cameroons;
  2. this is the same argument that the Francophone led regime advances with its since abandoned geo-ethnic policies (in favour of the concentration of power and resources overwhelmingly in the hands of one ethnic group) whereby Anglophones are perceived as an ethnic group in the allocation of resources, spoils of political office and appointments in the civil service; and
  3. What is the basis of your assertion that the reason for the many wars that have plagued our continent since independence is tribalism? There is no need for me to go into the theoretical and ideological underpinnings of wars here. Suffice to state that the causes for wars generally and in particular in Africa are multi-dimensional. Whilst ethnicity is often a factor in African politics, it is very simplistic to attribute the lack of the ability to manage diversity (which ought to be a source of wealth) to be the main cause of fragility and violent conflict in the postcolonial state in Africa. Besides, the Southern Cameroons (which is multinational and multi-ethnic) quest is not to capture power in Yaounde per se, but for the restoration of its statehood;
  4. again, to illustrate how simplistic your argument is, how many ethnic groups (or tribes, your preferred terminology) constituted the old Somalia which you covered as a journalist in the early 1990s? And why has Somaliland refused to be part of the old Somali state, given that it is made up of the same ethnic group?

 

  • Another fallacious assertion you make is that most of the leaders of the uprising live abroad. This is not only cannily similar to the argument that the Francophone led regime makes, but it also denies those living the experience back in Cameroun agency and the ability to think for themselves. It was in May 2015 that the lawyers initially made their demands to the government from Bamenda; publicised by way of a Conference Declaration, all of them were living in the Cameroons. It was because the government gave deaf ears to the legitimate demands of the lawyers initially and subsequent follow ups that by mid-2016 the situation degenerated. The teachers soon followed suit during the latter part of 2016 with their own legitimate demands. These were not simply trade union demands as some would rather misrepresent as both the legal and educational systems have a material and immediate impact on the daily lives of the people. It was precisely because the government failed to address the demands that the trade unions along with other civil society organisations hastily created the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium (CACSC) which led the initial attempts to negotiate with the government. The government’s half-hearted attempt to negotiate (perceived in many quarters rightly as an attempt to identify the leaders) with CACSC failed primarily because the government concessions were correctly perceived as window dressing and did not go far enough in addressing the grievances.

 

  • Prior to the CACSC being banned in January 2017, in November and December 2016 the government had already killed hundreds of those who sympathised with the cause of this organisation. It is precisely because the government banned the organisation, arrested some of its leaders with whom it was previously negotiating, whilst others who had escaped the government’s dragnet went on exile that the organisation morphed into the Southern Cameroons Ambazonia Consortium United Front (SCACUF). As such:

 

  1. Whilst some of the leadership of the uprising are currently to be found abroad, most of them remain in Cameroun and are either in jail or leading various forms of resistance including self-defence;
  2. It is the government’s poor management of the crisis which led to its degeneration and the demands for a return to federalism;
  3. The government’s refusal to entertain the demand to reconstitute the nature of the initial implicit union led to further demands for the restoration of the statehood of the Southern Cameroons, which had been a longstanding demand of several groupings, particularly accentuated since the 1993 All Anglophone Conference;
  4. There is ample evidence to demonstrate that prior to young people taking up arms in the Southern Cameroons for self defence the government had carried out massacres in the territory particularly on 22 September and 01 October 2017 against peaceful demonstrators.

 

  • There is equally credible evidence to show that most of the intimidations, kidnappings for ransom, banditry, is perpetrated by elements of the Cameroun military and vigilante groups set up (to discredit the Amba Boys) by Anglophone government functionaries – Patrick Ekema, the Mayor of Buea and Atanga Nji Paul, the notorious Minister of Territorial Administration, it has been repeatedly alleged, are said to be behind many of such fake Amba fighters and incidents, such as, the Menka-Pinyin massacre of May 2018, the kidnapping of a number of Chiefs around Fako in August 2018, or the recent (around the 4th and 5th of November 2018) abduction of about 90 students from a Presbyterian secondary school, PSS Nkwen, in the city of Bamenda.   Recently, the leader of the once formidable opposition party, the Social Democratic Front, claimed to have evidence of government Ministers who are sponsoring fake “Amba Boys” as reported by the Guardian Post.  It is the government that as the current US Ambassador to Cameroon, Peter Henry Barlerin once indicated, employ targeted killings, kidnappings, etc in the territory. It is the President of Cameroon who in November 2017 declared war against a section of the country and a people he claims to be ruling.  It is the armée Camerounaise that is applying a scorched earth policy in the prosecution of the war against the so-called ‘Amba terrorists’ with at the last count over 140 villages razed; with old grannies and the infirmed being burnt alive in their homes, hospitals and schools being set ablaze, just as it was done in the Bamileke region in the 1960s.

 

  • Again, it is a lie that the Anglophone leadership of the uprising has advocated for the attack of Francophones. On the contrary what I am aware of, is the repeated emphasis that the quarrel is with the Francophone led regime in Yaounde and not with the ordinary Francophone who generally are mired in the same poverty and misery as prevalent in Anglophone Cameroon. On the contrary, there is well documented evidence of senior government officials, such as the Governor of the South West Region, Bernard Okalia Bilai, referring to Anglophones as rats that should be exterminated; whilst a number of Francophone radio and TV stations such as Vision 4 in Yaounde have gained notoriety with their anti-anglophone propaganda.  Through such inflammatory utter nonsense, it would appear it is the author and his likes who are attempting to fan the flames of hatred of Anglophones by Francophones and vice versa. What needs to be pointed out here as well, is that very few Francophones (such as Patrice Nganang) have realised that the shortest course to true independence for French Cameroun is by supporting and teaming up with the Southern Cameroons restoration quest.

 

  • What are the exaggerated stories of marginalisation, that have been told to Ms Adichie, Messrs Rawlings and Lumumba by their Anglophone friends since reunification 59 years (sic) ago? How, by the author’s own admission, does the brutalisation and murder of students, teachers and lawyers, or the shutdown of the internet and many other atrocities being committed by the paramilitary gendarmes, the army and other agents of the vampire state become an exaggeration? As you did read English Literature in the University of Yaounde, you should have been taught by Prof Bernard Fonlon who is considered not only as a leading Anglophone of his time but also an intellectual of international renown – largely perceived in certain quarters as a system legitimiser because of his close collaboration with the despotic Ahidjo regime, are you unaware that he is one of the principal authors of the New Social Order published in 1985 and hence one of the intellectual godfathers of the Ambazonian uprising along with the likes of Fon Gorgi Dinka and Albert Mukong? Did you ever read his Shall we Make or Mar which as the scribe of the KNDP he penned to Ahidjo and his UC acolytes in 1964 and which shows that by then there was already clear signs of the collapse of the union? If you cared to, you would have discovered that there is a body of academic literature generated largely by Anglophone scholars  and their foreign counterparts beginning with the Canadian Jacques Benjamin’s Les Camerounais Occidentaux… in 1972 being the first book length publication on how federalism had been practised and collapsed in the Cameroons?[1] Did you read the article published by a Francophone, the former Governor of the then Anglophone provinces of the  North West and South West and subsequently Secretary General at the Presidency of Cameroun, Abouem à Tchoyi in  January 2017?  What of the memorandum published by the Catholic Bishops of the Episcopal Province of Bamenda in December 2016[2] as well, to mention but these few?

 

  • Even if independence had been declared on 01 October 2017, symbolic or otherwise, did those who had made the declaration use force? Was the wholesale slaughter of unarmed civilians by the so-called security forces the most appropriate response by the government? Was that the first time such a declaration had been made or the population coming out to celebrate? I may not have agreed with the actions of those who had made such a declaration at the time – however, given the many illegal acts of the regime from 1961 signposted by the subterfuge of a referendum in 1972, reverting  to the name La Republique du Cameroun through an ultra vires presidential decree in 1984, and being the name with which French Cameroun  was known prior to the purported union with the Sothern Cameroons, the various presidential decrees over the years that eroded the autonomy of the Anglophone region, amongst many other illicit acts, making such a declaration by the restorationists was quite understandable and it is not treasonous as you posit. That’s why as earlier referenced the letter published by the Catholic Bishops of the Bamenda Provincial Episcopal Conference (BAPEC) in December 2016 recommended addressing the root cause of the uprising just as the American Ambassador, Henry Peter Barlerin, amongst many others, have stated. In this instance, just as throughout your article your stance reflects the regime’s position and often using its exact phrasing.

 

  • Again, comparing the Anglophone territory and peoples to other regions in Cameroun is another false comparison as those regions never held a UN organised plebiscite (whose legitimacy is now being questioned by some in the International Community) in 1961 to gain independence by joining the Federal Republic of Nigeria or La Republique du Cameroon; nor did they enter into an informal union with Cameroun through a clearly defined federal constitutional framework (although with its own shortcomings) which outlined  minimum safeguards to guarantee and preserve the identity and autonomy of the region. It is not the Southern Cameroons that breached the informal agreement at every turn and there is no point returning to the status quo ante as the experience of the past 57 years has been one long nightmare. Obviously to you, the complete wiping out of more than 140 towns and villages, the deliberate indiscriminate slaughter of the peoples of these towns and villages with over 4000 dead so far, the more than 50 thousand refuges to be found in Nigeria, the more than 500 thousand internally displaced persons (many living under extremely precarious conditions in the forests) in the territory, do not constitute acts of genocide perpetrated by your Francophone kinsmen from across the Mungo and Matazem.

 

  • It is unsophisticated sophism to attempt to compare the Southern Cameroons restoration quest to the Biafran experience or other civil wars that have been fought on the continent in the recent past, for reasons already advanced here and more. Besides, the Southern Cameroons quest is to a large extent a demand for the rectification of a historical injustice done to it with the complicity of the so-called international community, in particular the UN, Britain and France. Restoration is not antithetical to pan-Africanism either as you attempt to insinuate. If anything, it is the acts of genocide currently being perpetrated that will hinder good neighbourliness for a people and states condemned to live side by side, whatever the outcome of the current uprising.

 

  • There’s nothing confusing about the status and identity of immigrant peoples and settler communities in the Southern Cameroons. Such immigrants were granted Southern Cameroons citizenship if they so choose and many of them actively participated in Southern Cameroons politics and many held senior cabinet and civil service positions in the various governments in the Southern Cameroons and subsequently in the various governments in West Cameroon. I happen to know that most of them, are quite active in the current restoration quest. If the author understood the Anglophone and had searched the soul of the Southern Cameroonian, he would have discovered deep within the burning desire for liberty that cannot be quenched by some cosmetic changes; he would have realised that this time nothing but visible irreversible progress towards the attainment of such freedom will calm the uprising that has gripped the imagination of the population. If the views expressed in your opinion piece, and which are not different from those of the authoritarian regime in Yaounde, are the same you express when you are with some of your Anglophone friends, it is not surprising then that they throw jibes at you as to your ‘Anglophoneness’.

 

  • No less a personage than the highly respected and most eminent Christian Cardinal Tumi recently confirmed that more than 80 per cent of the Anglophone population is for restoration, if the story carried in The Guardian Post of 02 November 2018 is to be believed.  Amongst the Anglophone population, only a tiny minority, less than 0.25 percent, in the main senior politicians and civil servants as well as business people, who rely heavily on the regime’s patronage and contracts for survival are not in favour of restoration. Even amongst these most will settle for a loose form of federation with La Republique du Cameroun. However, given the events of the past couple of years this is no longer a tenable proposition.

 

  • Your condemnation of some amongst the Anglophone leadership for holding British or American citizenship is not dissimilar from the hypocrisy of the Yaounde regime that has systematically, and since the beginning of the current crisis intensified the  prevention  or expulsion from Cameroon of its critics who travel on foreign passports such as the writer and academic, Patrice Nganang (perhaps it is worth pointing out that Patrice, a Francophone, and redoubtable critic of the regime actively supports and campaigns for the Anglophone cause) in January 2018, or refusing to grant a visa to the iconic  musician, Richard Bona  to attend the funeral of his mother in mid-2017 – both of them having acquired US citizenship. These would have been understandable if the regime applied such measures even-handedly; but it is not the case, as most of Biya’s Ministers and senior civil servants openly carry foreign passports. Perhaps the issue then is not foreign passports per se and the only rational explanation is that these regime functionaries who also hold French nationality are not considered by the regime to have dual nationality since Cameroun remains a French colony in everything but name, and one could as such see why the current policy that does not allow for dual nationality does not apply to them. During the last French presidential elections, Roger Milla, the soccer legend and Adolf Moudiki, the Director General of the National Hydrocarbons Corporation (SNH), were shown on the national television, CRTV, casting their votes at the French Embassy in Yaounde.

 

  • It is extreme mischief, if not outright cruelty, at a time when the peoples of the Southern Cameroons are confronting an existential threat, for the author to make light of the struggles of the long-suffering and besieged Anglophones in the Cameroons. He is the one indulging in irredentism with a very strong dose of revisionism. A lot of blood has already been spilt and remains ongoing, on both sides, simply because the moribund but arrogant regime in Yaounde lacks any redeeming leadership features. It should be clear to all including the regime by now that this is a war it is not going to win in the battlefield. Initially, it thought that it will be a matter of weeks before it crushes the uprising; exactly a year since the formal declaration of war by Mr Biya, yet the ragtag and poorly equipped Amba Boys are only growing in strength with each day that fighting continues. In spite of several false flag activities carried out by the agents of the government and the military such as the Menka-Pinyin massacre, aimed at discrediting the Amba Boys with the international community by portraying them as mere bandits and terrorists; and alienating them from the population who by and large they rely on for support. It remains incumbent upon the regime to open negotiations with the Anglophone leadership.

 

  • Disagreeing with the legitimate aspirations and quest of a people, doesn’t mean the truth should become the first casualty as your writeup attests. If anything, a veritable revolution has taken place during the past couple of years – the people have awoken to the magnitude of historical injustices carried out against them. At no time in the history of the people of the Southern Cameroons have they learned as much of their long-suppressed history as now.  As such, no amount of hacked writing and distortion will ever sway the people from this consciousness and their burning desire for freedom. As it is often the case, nobody is currently in control of the violence that has been unleashed on an unsuspecting people by the rogue regime in Yaounde. Ultimately both parties will end up at the negotiating table and a responsive and responsible  government could have spared all us from this unnecessary senseless war.

[1] For a quick but comprehensive introduction to understanding what is happening in Cameroon today, see amongst others, M. Atanga, (2011) The Anglophone Cameroon Predicament, Langaa RPCIG, Cameroon;  Piet Konings and Francis Nyamnjoh (2003) Negotiating An Anglophone Identity: A Study of the Politics of Recognition and Representation in Cameroon, Brill, Leiden and Boston; and Carlson Anyangwe (2008) Imperialistic Politics in Cameroun: Resistance & the Inception of the Restoration of the Statehood of Southern Cameroons, Langaa RPCIG, Cameroon.

 

[2] “Memorandum presented to the head of state, His Excellency President Paul Biya, by the bishops of the ecclesiastical province of Bamenda on the current situation of unrest in the Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon”, BAPEC, 22 December 2016.

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Mozambique and Kenya Commit To Ease Visa Restrictions
November 28, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Alexandre Nhampossa

Presidents Uhuru and Nyusi see prosepcts for greater cooperation between Kenya and Mozambique

Presidents Uhuru and Nyusi see prosepcts for greater cooperation between Kenya and Mozambique

The Governments of Mozambique and Kenya are willing to create conditions to boost business relations and have therefore decided to remove visas, including for ordinary passports, and are  reflecting on the possibility of eliminating double taxation.Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi  made the announcement recently while taking stock of a four day visit and participation at the International Conference on the Blue economy in Nairobi, Kenya.

According to Nyusi, Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta announced at the Mozambique-Kenya Business Forum on 21 May that in order to further strengthen the contact between the two countries, not only from a diplomatic but also a commercial point of view, his country will open a consulate in Maputo in the first quarter of 2019.

During the visit, the two Heads of State reaffirmed that their Governments will continue to create the necessary conditions to encourage investment for a favorable business environment and for the promotion of stability in their countries.

For now, Kenya is considering importing gas and coal from Mozambique to support mainly its energy production industry.Kenya has a huge energy deficit and seeks to put in place various initiatives for its production, ranging from the use of renewable materials to fossils, such as coal. Despite criticism from environmental groups, the country is engaged  in the construction of  the Lamu Power Plant, a megaproject for the production of coal-fired power, to be installed in the north of the Kenyan coast.

In the face of this situation, Kenyatta announced at the joint conference with the Mozambican Head of State, Filipe Nyusi, held on March 23, that negotiations are underway between the governments of the two countries for an agreement that will  ease the purchase of coal and liquefied gas by Kenya.

Mozambican mineral coal has already reached Kenya through exports, which are still small – around 30,000 tons – of the Mozambican Mining Company, SA (EMEM SA). Exports of 70,000 tons / month are expected for 2019,said  EMEM chairman Celestino Pedro Sitoe , who was also part of the Mozambican delegation.

Mozambique is also placing at the disposal of Kenya the refined sugar to be produced in the south of the country in a factory to be inaugurated by the head of state on November 29.This means that, from 2019, Mozambique will stop importing this product to supply the domestic market.

Kenyatta said there is still much to explore between the two countries. In 2017 imports from Kenya from Mozambique reached approximately $ 31 million. And exports from Kenya to Mozambique were about $ 12 million.

At the business forum between the two countries, presenting the favorable economic indicators, as well as the potential of the resources – land for agriculture, gas, coal, graphite and tourism – that Mozambique possesses, President Nyusi challenged Kenyan entrepreneurs to seize opportunities and to invest in Mozambique.

Making use of the popular saying “The sleeping shrimp, the wave takes”, Nyusi said: “Let’s not sleep, we Mozambicans, we Kenyans, we Africans, otherwise others will take these opportunities and then we will regret.”

Nyusi’s visit to Kenya was a return to that made in March of this year by Kenyatta to Mozambique. During his stay in Kenya, Nyusi visited several production facilities and went to Mombasa, where, in addition to visiting the local port, one of the most important on the east coast of Africa, he met with the Mozambican community based in that country.

An important population group with origins in Mozambique has been installed in Kenya for several decades, with local authorities eventually recognizing it as the 43rd ethnic group in the country and named Makonde.

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Russian PMCs expanding missions in Africa
November 28, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Scott Morgan*

St Petersburg, Russia. 23rd May, 2018. ST PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - MAY 23, 2018: Faustin-Archange Touadera (L), President of the Central African Republic, and Russia's President Vladimir Putin shake hands during a meeting at the Konstantin Palace in St Petersburg. Valery Sharifulin/TASS Credit: ITAR-TASS News Agency/Alamy Live News

St Petersburg, Russia. 23rd May, 2018. ST PETERSBURG, RUSSIA – MAY 23, 2018: Faustin-Archange Touadera (L), President of the Central African Republic, and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin shake hands during a meeting at the Konstantin Palace in St Petersburg. Valery Sharifulin/TASS Credit: ITAR-TASS News Agency/Alamy Live News

It has been a year since the UN Security Council in its wisdom decided that it was a benefit to the Central African Republic for the Russian Federation to be granted a waiver on an arms embargo and  send arms there[1]. While this idea was being debated in New York the United States, France and the United Kingdom grudgingly gave their approval to this concept. The blowback from this move is radiating through the continent as we speak.

What was supposed to be a direct to direct Military training by the Russian Military to the reorganizing Army of the Central African Republic grew to include trainers and advisors from several Russian PMCs (Private Military Companies)[2]. Some of these companies have a history of operations in Africa supporting several nefarious regimes as they attempt to retain power by whatever means necessary.

 

The first question is what would compel Russia take such action? The easy answer is to some people Africa is not a major security concern. Therefore it is not an issue to be watched closely until some event occurs that brings the situation into focus. Another explanation could be addressed by the phrase “Nature abhors a vacuum.” As the United States and other powers seem to withdraw from African Interests Russia feels that it is in their interests assert their influence.

The apparent disinterest in the situation inside the  Central African Republic by the west and the neighbors plays out to a tune that is seen as similar to heavy handed responses towards Sudan in the past has driven these regimes into their hands to conduct business. We are seeing this play out with new deals by Moscow with Eritrea,[3] Eastern Libya[4]and Mozambique. These are countries for the most part have been shunned for Human Rights violations and other governance issues.

The move into Mozambique is proving to be an interesting one. Already there is an American PMC currently operating in the Country. This group is headed by Erik Prince[5] who gained fame and scorn with the operations of Blackwater during its time as a contractor operating in Iraq after the US Invasion during the administration of George W. Bush. The situation in the Northeastern part of the country is a matter of concern for a year.[6] A series of random attacks that seem not to be a matter of concern to the authorities in Maputo makes this move to potentially become a flashpoint between the United States and the Russian Federation. What happens when these two combustible elements collide? Will there be a quick disengagement? This is a scenario that is both scary and tantalizing. There have been fears that these attacks have been launched by Jihadists Elements moving into the region as some groups actively seek a new safe haven.

So considering how insular Russians can be how have they reacted to anyone who has been attempting to conduct any oversight? The situation in the Central African Republic has been unique for the actions of the accounting of the Russian Government to the UN in the number of weapons and amount of ammunition that has been sent to the strife torn country. Compare that to the reaction of Wagner group when some Russian Independent Journalists tried to investigate their actions in the country.[7] This incident did raise some alarm bells regarding the actions of these group in Central Africa.

It is felt by some that the US and EU place too strict of a series of benchmarks on several of these states that restricts them from conducting any business with these states. This pushes them into the hands of Russia and other states where Business trumps other concerns. As long as these leaders get paid it doesn’t matter what happens inside their borders.

 

The influx of Russian PMCs may show that just like the US Military it may be overextended by current Operations in both Ukraine and in Syria. Outsourcing these efforts also gives the Kremlin what it feels a modicum of deniability that it often uses to temper critical voices from the International Community.

*The Author is President of the Washington DC  based  Red Eagle Enterprises whose mission is supporting African Business Development ,and also Providing Analysis of African Intelligence in a critical and timely manner for business, non-profits and Government.

[1] https://www.nation.co.ke/news/world/Russia-asks-UN-for-green-light-to-send-arms-to-C-Africa-Republic/1068-4226152-lsosek/index.html

[2] https://citeam.org/ru-mercenaries-in-africa/

[3] https://www.voanews.com/a/russia-eritrea-relations-grow-with-planned-logistics-center/4554680.html

[4] https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/jul/11/russia-moving-into-libya/

[5] https://clubofmozambique.com/news/erik-princes-security-company-in-northern-mozambique-plot-or-coincidence/

[6] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mozambique-attack/at-least-10-beheaded-in-mozambique-attack-state-radio-idUSKCN1IU1L5

[7] https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/31/world/africa/russian-journalists-killed-central-african-republic.html

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Troubled opposition at loggerheads again
November 28, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

File Picture.Nasa leader Raila Odinga with other leaders of the opposition alliance addresses a press conference at the OKOA Kenya secretariat in Lavington, Nairobi. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO

File Picture.Nasa leader Raila Odinga with other leaders of the opposition alliance addresses a press conference at the OKOA Kenya secretariat in Lavington, Nairobi. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO

A new spat in the opposition, National Super Alliance (Nasa) coalition over the affiliates political parties’ funds contribution has emerged.

FORD-Kenya party leader Moses Wetangula, one of the coalition’s principals has threatened to sue Raila’s ODM party for sidelining its three political partners in sharing money allocated for the opposition.

Speaking on Sunday, the Bungoma Senator castigated ODM for denying his partners for denying its partners what lawfully belongs to them.

“ODM is appropriating all the political parties funds being paid from the exchequer to the exclusion of ANC, Wiper and Ford Kenya,” said Wetangula.

In rejoinder, ODM party led by its Secretary General Edwin Sifuna said the party owes no one money adding that it has right to control the bigger share of the money owing to its large membership.

The ODM claimed it contributed highest number of votes to the coalition during last year’s polls unlike its partners. They refuted claims by Wetangula that he contributed much to the presidential vote saying the same vote was nullified by the Supreme Court while October 26 repeat poll they boycotted.

“The Ford Kenya has no locus standi. The money belongs to ODM and it is the party which will decide what to do with it. There is nowhere it is agreed we share money with anybody,” Said Edwin Sifuna.

ODM treasurer Timothy Bosire reiterated Ford Kenya has no authority to demand funds advanced to the Orange party. He maintained that funding from the treasury is a constitutional right after meeting the criteria set by the political parties Act, 2011.

The act states that a political party must secure at least 3 per cent of the total number of votes at the previous general elections to qualify for the funding.

The party must also have 20 elected legislators, 3 Senators, 3 Governors and at least members of the county assemblies. The two-thirds of its registered office bearers must not be of the same gender.

Among its partners ODM is the only party qualified to receive funds. The Raila led party has 73 elected Members of Parliament, 20 Senators. Ford Kenya has 12 legislators and one Senator, Wiper has 21 Members of Parliament and three Senators while ANC 13 legislators and 3 senators.

Bosire reminded Wetangula his “messy and noisy divorce” remarks after the coalition stripped him off the minority Senate post. He accused him of making baseless demands even when he is aware that his party does not qualify for public funding.

“I have tremendous respect for Wetangula who appears to be an authority in law. But this time he has gotten it very wrong and wants to pursue the messy situation he promised,” said Bosire.

The Nasa affiliate parties have in the recent past been fueding over sharing of funds. They want a share of money allocated to political parties and keep monthly contributions from their legislators.

Frequent rows have marred the opposition since the famous handshake, threatening to tear it apart. Wetangula had labeled the outfit a moribund organization while ANC party leader Musalia Mudavadi insisted it is alive and active.

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Kenya eyes marine resources to boost economy
November 28, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

President Uhuru Kenyatta

President Uhuru Kenyatta

Kenya, Somalia, Uganda, Zanzibar, Mozambique and Seychelles have united to contrive policies aiming at safeguarding their marine and aquatic resources so as to improve their economies.

The heads of these states in addition to the African Union chairperson Mousa Faki among other leaders are holding a three day Global Sustainable Blue economy Conference in Nairobi.

Speaking during the inauguration of the conference yesterday, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta revealed four new measures Kenya will implement to boost its blue economy. The measures are: adoption and introduction of new policies, head-on confrontation of waste management and plastic pollution in waters, responsible and sustainable fishing and security in the seas.

The Head of the State also announced the formation of the Blue Economy Implementation Standing committee to enlarge institutional governance mechanism to improve coordinated management of the blue economy.

Upgrading of the Kenya Maritime School, revival of maritime transport and adoption of a programme to accelerate the development of fisheries are the strategies that are expected to complement the measures.

The leaders noted that blue economy will stimulate trade, increase revenue and create jobs. Kenyatta appealed to the leaders to be keen on the impact of human action on the health and productivity of maritime resources.

“We have paid inadequate attention to the impact of human action on the health and productivity of our waters and as a result, many of the ocean systems are under immense stress. Their ability to act as a climate regulator and as a key engine for economic and sustainable development is being progressively eroded,” Kenyatta said.

His Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni suggested the removal of those who have invaded riparian land. He gave an example of how his country is using eccentric means to eject those leaving in wetlands.

“We are trying to bribe our people who encroached wetlands to get out. It is a type of a bribe but it is better than using crude methods because we might lose votes if they are violently evicted,” he said.

The stakeholders are expected deliberate on the opportunities and challenges and practical actions that can be taken to help the world change to change to blue economy.

The conference comes just one week after President Kenyatta launched Coast Guard Services at coastal region to protect maritime resources.

*jsammy.254@gmail.com

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Sierra Leone:USL mounts verification exercise
November 28, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma

Vice Chancellor & Principal USL, Prof. Foday Sahr signing the verification book at the Administrative Building at IPAM

Vice Chancellor & Principal USL, Prof. Foday Sahr signing the verification book at the Administrative Building at IPAM

The University Of Sierra Leone (USL) has  started a verification exercise for their staff at the Institute of Public Administration and Management secretariat, Tower Hill, in Freetown.

Speaking to journalist immediately after presenting and verifying his documents, Vice Chancellor & Principal USL, Prof. Foday Sahr said the verification process was done in order to check fakes, so as to ensure faith with the university in achieving quality education adding that the university started verification for students and same should be for staffs and academics.

He said that the verification process has been an ongoing process as it is part of the president’s vision in attaining Free Quality Education.

‘’Already the verification have over 94 people from IPAM, 93 from COMAHS, 202 from FBC and 55 from USL secretariat’’, he said.

Prof. Sahr said the response so far has been good adding that they have engaged both staffs and academics on the relevance of the verification process.

He revealed that this academic year, student union government would be active in all colleges within the University, citing that NJala University had already done theirs adding that the university is ready to create the enabling learning environment for students.

Chairman USL verification Committee, Dr. Dalton Faulkner, said their mandate was to check people working in the university so as to verify their documents adding that the principal USL has been interviewed which shows the seriousness of the issue within the University of Sierra Leone.

He however said the whole exercise he believed would come to an end in January

2019 adding that they will brief USL and its authorities after the exercise.

The Verification Committee Chairman said the verification process has been challenging with some staffs stating that they cannot trace their certificates and diploma adding that they will informed the authorities, verify from the institutions whether they have such persons in their book and if there no proof the university with take its necessary actions.

The USL Verification exercise is done by colleges with in the country which includes Fourah Bay College, Institute of Public Administration and Management and College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences.

 

 

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