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“Wirbalized” Resistance: Anglophone Cameroon Matters in Postcolonial Cameroon -2
September 27, 2019 | 0 Comments

By By Hassan Mbiydzenyuy Yosimbom*

File Picture.Prime Minister Dion Ngute holding a peace plant in Bamenda. Many are wondering if the dialogue he is leading will yield any results

“The Force of History or the History of Force: Writing Anglophone Cameroon into Cameroon History and/or Writing Cameroon History from the Anglophone Cameroon World”

The brilliance of the methodology of the Bishops’ Memo is that it is emblematic of oral storytelling, a style that flies in the face of the stolidity of the typical architecture of a novel with beginning, middle, and end. The Memo is a concert of “educated” voices that opens and closes with an epic voice that is at once omniscient and first-person plural. It recalls the immediate present of the crisis’s time but does so by reconstructing the historical pressure that generates the present. In it, the Bishop protagonists become a collective entity: that is, the masses of contemporary Cameroon, figured as historical agents with the capacity to overcome oppression; and its rousing cadence connects the story of Anglophones to a larger narrative whose historical scope stretches from the African-continental to the global. Looked at from the perspective of Wirbalized resistance, the Memo as a text illuminates the Anglophone world/problem through six functions of the epistolary technique. First, the letter functions as political bridge/barrier (distance breaker/distance maker). In conformity with their predilection for dialogue, the Bishops immediately prioritize the Memo’s function as a political bridge/distance breaker by opening the Memo with the submission that “[b]ecause of her role and competence, the Church is not identified in any way with the political community nor bound to any political system” (1). Consequently, this places her in “a uniquely privileged position to provide a balanced perspective on the current problem between the government of Cameroon and the population of significant segments of the Northwest and Southwest Regions of Cameroon” (1). To the Bishops therefore, the Memo is meant “to assist the government to seek a lasting solution to this problem and enable its citizens to live in peace and harmony” (1). The Memo’s mediatory property makes it an instrument that both connects and interferes. On the one hand, the Memo is an imperfect intercessor, calling attention to estrangement, whereas on the other hand, it is a mediator without which the government and the population of significant segments of the Northwest and Southwest Regions of Cameroon, even in the presence of each other, cannot communicate. As an intermediary step between indifference and intimacy, the Memo lends itself to narrative actions that move the government, the Bishops and the Anglophones in either direction (Altman, 1982:186). By calling attention to estrangement – “[i]n the eyes of West Cameroonians, Law No 84-1 of 4 February 1984, was incontrovertible evidence that the original intentions of our Francophone brothers and sisters were to absorb Southern Cameroon [because] [a]fter thirty-three years of union, [Southern Cameroonians] had all ended up as citizens of the Republic of Cameroon or East Cameroon” (4) – and attempting to mediate between the government and the community, the Memo is a demonstration that history is not (necessarily) written by the winners but also by survivors and that perhaps, the real Cameroon Anglophone history can also be written by Anglophone losers who refuse to lick their wounds and write self-justifications: “No matter what some self-appointed elite and spokespersons for Anglophone Cameroonians as well as government Ministers say in public, the participation of various strata of the population and the growing popularity of separatist movements among young and older members of the Anglophone community demonstrates that there is an Anglophone Problem” (4). As a form of Wirbalized resistance, the Memo’s function as a distance breaker or distance maker is an affirmation that Anglophone matters because the government cannot “dis-possess” the Anglophone cultural space, a heritage site that has developed a global resonance by attributing a demonic presence to that space. That is, Wirbalization of the Anglophone problem insists that the government cannot “dis-possess” a tangible site or subject of the past by branding it intangible and yet preserve and protect the traumatic heritage of its memory without which Anglophone history is silenced, and memory is made mute. As a bridge, the Memo affirms that the understanding of the Cameroonian world by far exceeds the Francophone understanding of the world; there is no Anglophone/Anglophone social justice without Cameroonian cognitive justice and the emancipatory transformations in the Cameroonian world may follow grammars and scripts other than those developed by Francophonecentric critical/social/political/cultural theory, and such Cameroonian diversity should be valorized (Santos, 2014: vii).

Furthermore, the Memo reveals the political confiance/non-confiance opposition. If the winning and losing of confiance constitute part of the Memo’s narrative content, the related oppositions confiance/coquetterie (or candour/dissimulation) and amitié/amour represent the two primary types of relationships captured in the Memo. These distinctions, as well as the blurring of these distinctions, are a function of the Memo’s dual potential for transparency (portrait of soul, confession, vehicle of narrative) and opacity (mask, weapon, event within narrative) (Altman 186). This explains why the Bishops assert that for almost one month “a series of unrests and violence occasioned by the strike of the Anglophone Lawyers and of the Teachers’ Trade Unions of the English Sub-system of Education have led to the loss of human life and to the destruction of property” (1). From a political confiance/non-confiance opposition the Bishops affirm that there have been flagrant abuses of human rights, a premature end to the first term of the 2016 school year and a paralysed court system in the Northwest and Southwest Regions (1). The hallmark of the political confiance/non-confiance opposition, the Bishops argue, is that the government and the striking groups have reached an impasse because the “unrests are symptomatic of a deeper unease among the inhabitants of this geographical circumscription of our nation” (1). Despite the presence of both elements of political confiance/non-confiance, the conciliatory tone of the Memo registers the writers’ desire to focus on building political confiance/candour/amour. Thus, in order to demonstrate the deep-seated nature of the absence of confidence and thus political opposition, the Bishops introduce the Memo with a succinct historical background to the Anglophone problem in Cameroon. The aim here is not to teach the government a history she knows/should know better that them. Rather, it is their way of recognizing that divergent renditions of the union between West and East Cameroon may result in larger, complementary forms of understanding in which one enriches and animates the other from separate vantage points. By narrating the 33 year history of the Republic of Cameroon from when Kamerun was a German protectorate in 1884 to 1984 when Law No 84-1 of 4th February Francophonecentrically provided for a constitutional amendment that changed the country’s name from the United Republic of Cameroon to the Republic of Cameroon thereby absorbing Southern Cameroonians not as equals but as citizens of the Republic of Cameroon or East Cameroon (3-4), the Bishops contend that Wirbalized resistance contends that our perspectives on history, especially minoritized history, also change because history as an interpretation of the past changes because it is a human created artifact. Every generation of Cameroonians will interpret the past in ways that agree with its fund of knowledge and with current social theory. History is a conversation the present continuously holds with the past and therefore will always be a work-in-progress because the “present” is continually becoming occupied by new generations and new evidence is becoming available and new ways of thinking about evidence are being developed. Most importantly, the historical background supports the Memo’s insistence that Cameroonians need to have a sense of their past or matters in order to define themselves in the world of the present. One way wonder why the Bishops chose to begin a Memo on the Anglophone problem by returning to the ruins of the past. Yet, by harking/Wirbalizing back to the charnel house of historical memory/matters, they argue that a Wirbalized Anglophone justice relevant to our global age, “must take [the most brutal episodes/matters of Cameroon history] as a starting point, and build an ethically sound and politically robust conception of the proper basis of political community, and of the relations among communities” (Held, 2004: 178). Minority histories in part express the struggle for inclusion and representation that are characteristic of liberal and representative democracies. Conceived in this way, “minority histories”, like the Memo, are oppositional chiefly because they are excluded from mainstream historical narratives. The Memo confirms that the Anglophone accounts of the Cameroonian past need to be absorbed into, and thus made to enrich, the mainstream of Cameroonian historical discourse.

The Memo also evokes the political writer/reader dichotomy. The Memo’s epistolary situation evokes simultaneously the acts of writing and reading, as correspondents alternate, within the same Memo, between the roles of narrator and narratee, of encoder and decoder. The readers’ consciousness explicitly informs the Bishops’ act of writing itself. The movement from the private to the public in the Memo, like in much of epistolary fiction, the Memo connotes political privacy and intimacy; yet as a document addressed to another, it reflects the need for an audience (Altman 186). As a narrative, the Memo’s narrators and narratee decode a Cameroon “of interlocking lives, projects and communities” (Held 173). By arguing that Anglophones are made up of secessionists, federalists and unitarists (5), the narrators/narratee assert that there is no “outside” – ideological, political or ethical – to the Cameroonian system/matters. In other words, whatever alienates Cameroonian interdependency, or annihilates cosmopolitan values, must be seen to be an effect of her internal dialectic – “a demonic dynamic – of the global condition itself” (Bhabha, 2007: 39). “Deadly danger to any [Cameroonian] civilization is no longer likely to come from without”, Arendt writes that “[t]he danger is that a global universally interrelated civilisation may produce barbarians from its own midst by forcing millions of people into conditions which, despite all appearances, are the conditions of savages” (Arendt, 1973: 302). As political writers writing for a political audience, the Bishops in line with the dictates of Wirbalized resistance, observe that Anglophone matters include but are not limited to marginalisation in human resource development and deployment, the treatment of the English language, the flooding of Anglophone Cameroon with Francophone administrators and workers, mismanagement of “West Cameroon” patrimony, the “Francophonisation” of the English Educational Subsystem and the Common-Law System, admissions into state professional schools and gradual erosion of Anglophone identity (6-8). Thus the “stateless” Anglophone minority represents emergent, undocumented lifeworlds that break through the formal legal language of “protection” and “status” because, as Balibar writes, they are “neither insiders or outsiders, or … insiders officially considered outsiders” (2004: 122).  Their indeterminate presence – legal or illegal – turns cosmopolitan claims of Cameroonian ethical equivalences and interrelationships into the chains of national alienage. As insider/outsiders they damage the cosmopolitan dream of a “Cameroonian world without borders” or l’humanité sans frontières by opening, in the midst of national polity, a complex and contradictory mode of being or surviving somewhere in between legality and incivility (Bhabha, 39). From a Wirbalized resistance dimension, the shifting dimensions of the inside/outside status of Cameroonian minorities frequently leads to the restriction of rights and representations in the name of say, the Anglophone enemy “within” who is seen as coming across the hegemonized Francophonecentric “border” from “without” (40). Wirbalized resistance argues that the very nature of the border has changed/is changing and “within and without are no longer territorial limits as much as they constitute complex conceptual and legal zones in the midst of the [Cameroon] political community” (40). By arguing that the government of Cameroon has been downplaying or even denying the existence of an Anglophone Problem;  Government Ministers (even those of former West Cameroon extraction) have been denying the existence of any such problem in the media and in public speeches and that government has been consciously creating divisions among the English-speaking elite, “remunerating some allies with prestigious positions in the state apparatus previously reserved for Francophones only, and repressing all actions designed to improve on the status of Anglophone Cameroonians in the union” (Memo 6), Wirbalized resistance affirms that the connection between cultural bigotry and political tyranny has been very close in Cameroon and that the asymmetry of power between the ruler and the ruled, which has been generating a heightened sense of identity contrast, are being combined with cultural prejudice or Anglophobia in explaining away failures of governance and public policy.

Christian Cardinal Tumi recently met with Prime Minister Dion Ngute and with recommendations from his own findings in the field

The Memo equally represents the here/there and the now/then political contrariety. The Memo’s narrative depends on reciprocality of writer-addressee and is charged with present-consciousness in both the temporal and the spatial sense. Through the Memo, the Bishops are engaged in the impossible task of making present both events and addressee; to do so they attempt to close the gap between their locus and the addressee’s (here/there) and create the illusion of the present (now)by oscillation between the then of past and future (Altman 187). In the Memo, one of the most important matters is the historical demonstration of the Gradual Erosion of Anglophone Identity. Describing the here/there and the now/then of Anglophone identity, the Bishops contend that “‘Anglophonism’ goes beyond the mere ability to speak or understand the English language because “[i]t speaks to a core of values, beliefs, customs, and ways of relating to the other inherited from the British who ruled this region from 1916 to 1961; [it is] ‘Anglophonism’ is a culture, a way of being which cannot be transmitted by merely learning a language” (11). Identifying contemporary political contrariety, the Bishops remind us that “Anglophone Cameroonians are slowly being asphyxiated as every element of their culture is systematically targeted and absorbed into the Francophone Cameroon culture and way of doing things” (11). To them, these include “the language, the educational system, the system of administration and governance (where appointed leaders are sent to lord it over people who cherish elected leaders), the legal system, and a transparent democratic process where elected leaders are answerable to the electorate who put them there in the first place” (11). From a decolonial perspective, the Bishops argue that “[t]he two All Anglophone Conferences (AAC I and II) of the early 1990s, the rise and popularity of the SCNC and other secessionist voices are born of the frustration of Anglophone Cameroonians of being ignored and ridiculed for asking for what they deem to be theirs by right, namely the preservation of their culture” (11). They further remind that “in his resignation letter from the post of first Vice President of the CPDM on the 9th of June 1990, J.N. Foncha cited in point 9 of the letter, as a reason for resigning, the fact that the constitution was ‘in many respects being ignored and manipulated’” (11). Foncha’s resignation confirmed Wallerstein’s postulation that a historical system, cannot be “egalitarian if it is not democratic, because an undemocratic system is one that distributes power unequally, and this means that it will also distribute all other things unequally. And it cannot be democratic if it is not egalitarian, since an inegalitarian system means that some have more material means than others and therefore inevitably will have more political power” (2000: 3). As a society in transition, debates about egalitarianism ought, therefore, to include four components: “a process of constant, open debate about the transition and the outcome we hope for; short term defensive action, including electoral action; the establishment of interim, middle-range goals that seem to move in the right direction; [and the] develop[ment of] the substantive meaning of our long-term emphases… a world that is relatively democratic and relatively egalitarian” (272-73). This explains why the Bishops end the Memo with a call for “justice for all”, insisting that “[e]very Anglophone group that has raised its voice in protest has chronicled a number of perceived injustices which either the group or the Anglophone community in general suffers” (16). To them, “[a]s long as these people, rightly or wrongly, continue to feel that they are the victims of injustice, we cannot build ‘the Island of Peace’ in Central and West Africa we have been proclaiming that we are, and we cannot develop our country without this peace either. We do not believe, in conscience, that locking up people who speak up against injustice (real or imagined) will kill dissent and bring peace” (16).

The Memo engenders the political closure/overture; political discontinuation/continuation of writing. The dynamics of the Memo’s narrative involves a movement between two poles: the potential finality of the Memo’s sign-off and the open-endedness of its being a segment within a chain of dialogue (Altman 187). However, the dialogical tone of the Memo ensures that the Bishops favor the pole political overture and continuation. Thus, as a segment in a chain of dialogue, the Bishops argue that like other historical systems, the Republic of Cameroon has reached its point of demise because small inputs are having large outputs. (Wallerstein, 1999: 1). To them, the cause of that demise is the Anglophone problem. They state very succinctly that the Anglophone Problem is five matters: first, “[t]he failure of successive governments of Cameroon, since 1961, to respect and implement the articles of the Constitution that uphold and safeguard what British Southern Cameroons brought along to the Union in 1961” (6); second, “the flagrant disregard for the Constitution, demonstrated by the dissolution of political parties and the formation of one political party in 1966, the sacking of Jua and the appointment of Muna in 1968 as the Prime Minister of West Cameroon, and other such acts judged by West Cameroonians to be unconstitutional and undemocratic” (6); third, “[t]he cavalier management of the 1972 Referendum which took out the foundational element (Federalism) of the 1961 Constitution” (6); fourth, “[t]he 1984 Law amending the Constitution, which gave the country the original East Cameroon name (The Republic of Cameroon) and thereby erased the identity of the West Cameroonians from the original union. West Cameroon, which had entered the union as an equal partner, effectively ceased to exist” (6) and fifth, “[t]he deliberate and systematic erosion of the West Cameroon cultural identity which the 1961 Constitution sought to preserve and protect by providing for a bi-cultural federation” (6). The Bishops recommend that in order to solve the Anglophone problem, the government must exercise honesty because “the former French President, Jacques Chirac, the Commonwealth, the European Union, and many others have recognised that there is an Anglophone Problem and advised that the government of Cameroon and the discontented Anglophones engage in dialogue” (13). It is only through honesty can the government avoid sowing disaster for the future, giving way to extremist tendencies in the Anglophone community born of frustration thereby looking the beast in the eye, confronting it together and overcoming it for the sake of peace and unity in Cameroon (13). Even though the Bishops declare that it is not for them to dictate to the Cameroonian people what form the government should take or what solutions should be provided for the problems we have highlighted (12); and that “the Church respects the legitimate autonomy of the democratic order and is not entitled to express preferences for this or that institutional or constitutional solution” (12), they warn that “[t]he government’s continued denial of any Anglophone Problem, and its determination to defend the unitary state by all available means, including repression, could lead to an escalation of Anglophone demands past a point of no return, and this is not something any responsible citizen would wish for their country” (13). The solution to the Anglophone problem thus requires an exercise in “diatopical hermeneutics” (Pannikar 1988: 129) or “pluritopical hermeneutics” (Mignolo, 2000: 185) because  the distance to overcome, needed for its understanding, “is not just a distance within one single culture (morphological hermeneutics), or a temporal one (diachronic hermeneutics), but rather the distance between two [the Anglophone and Francophone cultures] (or more) cultures, which have independently developed in different spaces [West Cameroon and East Cameroon] their own methods of philosophizing and ways of reading intelligibility along with their proper categories” (Pannikar 129).

*African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA)Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Urban Management Studies (CUMS)University of Ghana, Legon . The article is the second of a three part series

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’Africa Must Breed Crop of New Young Pan-Africanists like Robert Mugabe’’ – says Malema
September 25, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu Munhumutapa .

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

HARARE- Economic Freedom Fighters Leader Julius Malema, the most active opposition politician of South Africa paid a visit to Zimbabwe, 23 September on Monday. The main objective of the visit being to console the Mugabe family at the Blue Roof residence in Borrowdale, Harare’s most cheered flashy suburb.

Julius Malema met the widow of the late former President of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe who passed away in Singapore on 6 September. The cause of his death has been linked to cancer biologically, though some reasons politically were cited.

Robert Mugabe was described as a true liberal Pan-Africanist of all Historic times despite some other reasons. Malema expressed deep disappointment by sharing light moments of commemorative talk and cheer of the hero’s political maverick charm of Pan-        Africanist leadership style.

‘’Africa must breed crop of new young Pan-Africanists like Robert Mugabe. These must be our new Pan-African Leaders from our young people who must cherish and emulate the work left behind by Robert Mugabe.’’

‘’He made his strong contribution to liberate African people. I do not go against the fact that he was a hero in his time. Still he remains a true hero. What we need then to cherish is the spirit of liberalism in him as a Leader born to lead and direct not only Zimbabwe but the whole of Africa.

‘’The whole of Africa must then work towards social, economic and political emancipation of those who are still undermined as Africans.  The need to work together as one people, one nation is a thrust towards economic growth and development.

Malema has encouragement spirit to make young people become the true epitome of Robert Mugabe so that a new emerging generation become Pan-Africanist in character and style. He urged young people to unite and build communities towards peace and oneness.

‘’Africa no more needs any move towards war or conflict of any sort. It is time to move forward as new Pan-Africanists of unique developmental styles in economic development leadership.  Leadership of today must be charismatic as well,’’ he said.

He was accompanied by his spokesperson Dr Mbuyise Quintin Ndlozi . Malema has made his voice in opposition to xenophobic attack on Zimbabweans who have been under tribal abuses in  South Africa .

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Ivory Coast first lady Dominique Ouattara Talks Child Labor in Cocoa Sector
September 23, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

First Lady Dominique Ouattara speaking at the Atlantic Council

After a fierce rebuttal by the US administration with treats of sanctions and a possible ban on the importation of Ivorian cocoa due to allegations of child trafficking, exploitation and child labor in Ivorian cocoa farms, the first lady of Ivory Coast, Dominique Folloroux-Ouattara accompanied by a strong delegation from the West African nation, has presented the Atlantic Council with some stringent measures undertaken to fight child abuse in cocoa farms.

Speaking at the headquarters of the Atlantic Ocean, a think tank American organization that galvanizes US leadership and engagement in the world in the field of international affairs, the first lady asserted that they were deeply concerned by the letter written by Senators Ron WYDEN and Sherrod BROWN suggesting an embargo on Ivorian cocoa, because of child labor in cocoa production.

Recognising the fact that child labor plays a minute role in the Ivorian cocoa, a country ranked as the top producer of the beans worldwide, the first lady took out time to present measures implemented to fight the against child traffic which has adversely affected the cocoa sector in Ivory Coast.

“Since 2011, The National Oversight Committee, which I chair, and the Inter-ministerial Committee have carried out actions to curb child labor in cocoa farming, in collaboration with our partners. Since 2012, we have implemented three successive National Action Plans to combat child labor in Côte d’Ivoire. The third National Action Plan for 2019-2021 has just been launched, with a budget of 127 million dollars, to fight the root causes of child labor from a holistic approach.”

The first lady with Ambassador Haidara Mamadou at a reception in Washington ,DC

+“Immediately in 2012 upon taking up my new role, I sought to understand: Who are these children who are working on cocoa farms? Where are they? Where do they come from? and do they go to school?” she said.

Citing research conducted by the US Department of Labor which revealed that 85 % of the children involved in cocoa farming attend school; live with their parents and occasionally accompany them to the fields after school hours and on weekends; and 15 %, they do not go to school and often don’t live with their parents.

To her, these children are more at risk, and need all our attention.

“As regards forced labor, available research including recent studies undertaken by the American NGOs Vérité and the Walk Free Foundation estimate the number of children victims of forced labor in cocoa production at 0.17 % of the total population of children working in cocoa farming, she told attendees at the gathering.

She was accompanied to Washington DC by Patrick ACHI, Secretary General of the Presidency; Mamadou Haidara, Ambassador of Côte d’Ivoire to the United States of America; Patricia Sylvie YAO, Executive Secretary of CNS, the National Oversight Committee to Fight Child Trafficking, Exploitation, and Child Labor: Georges Koffi, Chief of Cabinet for the Secretary General of the Presidency; Nadine Sangare, Director of the Children of Africa Foundation; Tod Preston, Senior Vice President of GPG; Tessy Winkelman, CNS Consultant on Child Labor Issues and Brahima Coulibaly, Director of Communication.

 Before forging ahead with her presentation, she took out time to thank Congressman Dight Evan; Chris Fomonyoh, Director for Africa at NDI; Connie Hamilton, Assistant US Trade representative for Africa; Ambassador Philipp Carter III; and Scoley, President of the World Cocoa Foundation, for their support and contributions towards bettering the cocoa production and marketing sector in Ivory Coast, stating that; “today’s roundtable gives me the opportunity to present the progress made in the fight against child labor in Côte d’Ivoire.”

On some of the implemented measures she said “We have launched extensive communication campaigns throughout the country. Changing mindsets and making farmers aware that child labor is strictly prohibited has proven to be the most important part of our work and it was difficult. We have explained that the children who help their parents on the farm after school should not be exposed to dangerous work, notably involving the use of machetes or pesticides.”

“We have also hosted seminars and trained over 70,000 key players in the remediation chain, including cocoa farmers’ cooperatives. In 2011, we realized that there were few schools near the cocoa-growing communities. To remedy this shortage, the Government of Côte d’Ivoire and its partners have invested massively in the construction of schools and canteens, health centers, and hydraulic wells, to improve the cocoa-producing communities’ living conditions. 30,000 classrooms have thus been built in rural cocoa-producing areas.”

All these actions, she said, enabled the Government to make schooling compulsory in Côte d’Ivoire, in 2016 thus increasing the number of children attending school from 59 % in 2008 to 90 % in 2019.

With poverty identified as the root cause of child labor, she explained the engagement of the President of the Republic who has undertaken reform of the coffee and cocoa sector that guarantees a fixed income for the farmers.

“For my part I am personally engaged in the fight against women’s poverty, notably via FAFCI, a micro-credit program I have set up with the help of the President of the Republic; it has enabled more than 200,000 women to become autonomous and improve the living conditions of their families.”

With Ivory Coast been the economic spearhead of French-speaking West Africa; with 40% of the French-speaking sub-region’s GDP, many people from neighboring countries cross over for greener pastures and this leads to cross-border child trafficking.

As an offset to this, Dominique Folloroux-Ouattara stated that in 2017, she organized the conference of the First Ladies of West Africa and the Sahel on combating cross-border trafficking and child labor, with the participation of 14 West African and Sahelian countries.

“This conference allowed our different countries to sign cooperation agreements against child trafficking. As regards child protection and professional care, my Foundation Children of Africa has built three shelters for child victims inside the country to provide support and care for children victims of exploitation and to ensure their safe return to their families and their reintegration in society.”

Citing laws put in place which has so far seen more than 220 traffickers have been sentenced to imprisonment, she beamed with smiles while saying their efforts have been acknowledged by the US Government.

 “Indeed, the State Department has commended our initiatives on several occasions and has ranked Côte d’Ivoire among the countries that have made significant efforts toward the elimination of child labor. This has been the case every year since 2012.”

“Furthermore, in May 2019 Côte d’Ivoire was recognized by the International Labor Organization as a pioneering country toward achieving Target 8.7 of the United Nations’ sustainable development goal on the elimination of child labor.”

Maintaining that over 6 million farmers rely on the cocoa sector to make a leaving, the first lady acknowledged the fact that the USA and Ivory Coast are both committed to eliminating the scourge of child labor in West Africa.

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“Wirbalized” Resistance: Anglophone Cameroon Matters in Postcolonial Cameroon (1)
September 22, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Hassan Mbiydzenyuy Yosimbom*

Hon Wirba took the fight to the National Assembly of Cameroon

“A Divided and Dividing Parliament cannot Stand: The Birthing of “Wirbalized” Views of Struggle and Resistance in Anglophone Cameroon”

  In Chapter nine – “Views of Struggle” – of Chinua Achebe’s Anthills of the Savannah, a tall elderly gaunt-looking Abazonian with a slight stoop of the shoulders (112) and a voice with compelling power and magic (112), the leader of the Abazonian Delegation that has come to Bassa to “say their own yes” (116) to the Big Chief in order to rescue the Abazonian water project from total abandonment by the disgruntled government, tells his fellow Abazonians that “the Almighty has divided the work of the world” (113). In his first categorization, the elder argues that “[t]o some of us the Owner of the World has apportioned the gift to tell their fellows that the time to get up has finally come (113) To others “He gives the eagerness to rise when they hear the call; to rise with racing blood and put on their garbs of war and go to the boundary of their town to engage the invading enemy boldly in battle” (113). Lastly, “there are those others whose part is to wait and when the struggle is ended, to take over and recount the story” (113). Asserting the importance of the third categorization in the Almighty’s world, the Abazonian elder explains that “[t]he sounding of the battle-drum is important; the fierce waging of war itself is important; and the telling of the story afterwards – each is important in its own way. I tell you there is not one of them we could do without. But if you ask me which of them takes the eagle-feather I will say boldly: the story” (113). The elder further points out that when he was younger if anyone had asked him the same question, he would have replied without a pause: the battle (114). To the elder, the story is chief among his fellows because recalling is great. To him, the story plays several important roles: It continues “beyond the war and the warrior; outlives the sound of war-drums and the exploits of brave fighters; saves our progeny from blundering like blind beggars into the spikes of a cactus fence; escorts

[us]

” (114). It also “owns and directs us; makes us different from cattle; the [story is the] mark on the face that sets one people apart from their neighbours; [and it is] everlasting” (114). The elder stresses that “[w]hen we are young and without experience we all imagine that the story of the land is easy, that every one of us can get up and tell it. But that is not so” (114). He acknowledges that even though we all have our little scraps of the tale bubbling in us, what we tell is “like the middle of a mighty boa which a foolish forester mistakes for a tree trunk and settles on to take his snuff” (114). He concludes that the appointment of someone to tell the story of the community is always the responsibility of the Agwu, the god of healers, who picks his disciple, “rings his eye with white chalk and dips his tongue, willing or not, in the brew of prophecy; and right away the man will speak and put head and tail back to the severed trunk of our tale” (115). Furthermore, “[t]he miracle-man will amaze us because he may be a fellow of little account, not the bold warrior we all expect nor even the war-drummer. But in his new-found utterance our struggle will stand reincarnated before us” (115). I have quoted the Abazonian leader’s three categorizations at length because, first; there is a parallelism between them and Honourable Wirba’s and the Bishops of the Ecclesiastical Province of Bamenda’s roles in the November of 2016 through January of 2017 uprisings in the North West and South West Regions of Cameroon, and second; that parallelism provides a corollary between Wirbalized resistance and the Anglophone Matters that the Bishops presented in the Memo to the Head of State, Paul Biya, on the 22nd December 2016.

On December 13, 2016, a man with physical features and a voice like those of the Achebesque Abazonian elder, Honourable Joseph Wirba, an SDF parliamentarian from Jakiri, North West Region of Cameroon, delivered a rousing speech through which he told his fellow Anglophones that the time to get up had finally come. In an unapologetic voice Wirba told parliament that “a slave has risen in the master’s house”. He reminded Cavayé Yéguié Djibril, the Speaker of the National Assembly, that “there are two Cameroons that came together. If you are telling us like a state minister stood here last year and told us that what happened in Cameroon is like dropping a few cubes of sugar in a basin of water. Then tell us who is the sugar and who is the water?” He went down memory lane to argue that, “Our ancestors and forefathers trusted you to go into a gentleman’s agreement. That two people who consider themselves brothers could go to live together.” He then concluded that, “if this is what you show us after 55 years, then those who are saying that we should break Cameroon are right. They are correct! the people of West Cameroon cannot be your slaves. The people of West Cameroon, are not, you did not conquer them in war.” In the same manner that Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. showed deep commitment to black freedom in the USA, Wirba spoke with deep commitment to Anglophone freedom. He called on Anglophones to rise with racing blood and put on their garbs of resistance and go to the boundary of their Anglophone heritage to engage the invading Francophone enemy boldly in battle against marginalization and assimilation. In one of the most defiant voices ever heard during a parliamentary session in the entire African continent, Wirba told the Speaker of the National Assembly in particular and the Francophone-dominated parliament and government in general that after more than 50 years of cohabitation with East Cameroon, West Cameroonians were fade up with a political union that had only succeeded in creating Francophone Prosperos and Anglophone Calibans. Wirba repeatedly quoted Martin Luther King Jr.’s idea that “when in justice becomes law, resistance becomes a duty.” Wirba’s speech highlighted two distinctive features of a genuine advocate of freedom: authentic anger and genuine humility. He was visibly upset about the condition of the Anglophone Cameroonians. When Cameroonians saw him speak or heard his voice, it was projected on a gut level that the Anglophone situation was urgent, in need of immediate attention. Cameroonians even got the impression that his own stability and sanity rested on how soon the Anglophone predicament could be improved upon; he was angry about the state of Anglophone Cameroon and that anger fuelled his boldness and defiance. This boldness and defiance constitute what I identify in this essay as “Wirbalized Resistance”, the “Wirba force” or the “Wirbalization” of the Anglophone problem. In stark contrast to most present-day Anglophone political leaders “who appear too eager for status to be angry, too eager for acceptance to be bold, too self-invested in advancement to be defiant” (West, 1993:58); in dissimilarity to present-day Anglophone political leaders who “when they drop their masks and try to get mad (usually in the presence of [Anglophone] audiences), their bold rhetoric is more performance than personal, more play-acting than heart-felt”(58), Wirbalized Resistance makes sense of the Anglophone plight in a poignant and powerful manner and avoids contemporary Anglophone leaders’ oratory that predominantly appeals to the Anglophone community’s sense of the sentimental and sensational (58). With Wirbalized Resistance, even aggressiveness is accompanied by a common touch and humble disposition towards ordinary Anglophones. It preaches that humility which is “the fruit of inner security and wise maturity” (59) and insists that “to be humble is to be sure of one’s self and one’s mission that one can forgo calling excessive attention to one’s self and status” (59). This explains why on June 21, 2017, Wirba came back to the same parliament and asserted, “I am back for the same purpose; you cannot shut the mouth of the people forever. I am back and I want us to go back to issues that have to do with West Cameroon. I am asking Parliament to put the issue of West Cameroon on the table and let us talk about it. That is what I have come for.” He further affirmed the government’s indifference to the Anglophone’s plight by reiterating that “the people cry out and they don’t listen. More than a million students are out of school for over six months and the National Assembly cannot talk about it. Businesses have been shut down.”

The peaceful marches with plants were met with brutal repression from the Cameroon military

 More pointedly, Wirbalized Resistance through its unapologetic tone, “revels in the accomplishments and potentials of Cameroonians, especially those with whom one identifies and to whom one is linked organically” (59). It abhors the relative absence of humility in most Anglophone political leaders because that absence is symptomatic of “the status-anxiety and personal insecurity pervasive in Anglophone middleclass Cameroon (59). Wirbalized resistance is the product of what one may (with inspiration from Cornel West’s idea of “race-transcending prophetic leaders” (61)) refer to as the hallmark of an Anglophone-transcending prophetic leadership. It requires “personal integrity and political savvy, moral vision and prudential judgment, courageous defiance and organizational patience” (61). The most disturbing thing about the reception of Honourable Wirba’s speech was not only the mean-spirited attempt of Cavayé Yéguié Djibril to stop him but also the spineless silences of some parliamentarians of Anglophone origin – both revealed the predictable inability of most ruling party politicians to talk candidly about the marginalization of Anglophones in Cameroon. Less than a month after Honourable Wirba’s call to battle, the Bishops of the Bamenda Ecclesiastical Province, in Achebesque terms, were appointed by Agwu, the god of healers, to tell the story of the Anglophone community. Agwu picked these men of God as his disciples, rang their eyes with white chalk and dipped their tongues, willing or not, in the brew of the Anglophone prophecy; and right away the men spoke and put head and tail back to the severed trunk of the Anglophone tale. These miracle-men amazed Cameroonians not because they are fellows of little account, but because they are not the bold warriors Anglophones all expected. They are not even the war-drummers. But in their new-found utterance, the Anglophone struggle suddenly stood reincarnated before all Anglophones. These Bishops, Agwu’s disciples, produced a Memo, an epistolary expression of “minority history” that authenticated them as democratically-minded historians fighting the exclusions and omissions of mainstream narratives of the Cameroonian nation. The Memo is a challenge to official or officially-blessed accounts of the Cameroonian nation’s past by these champions of Anglophone minority history. As a critique of the grand narratives of Francophonized and Francophonizing Cameroon history, the Bishops used the Memo as ammunition in the process to argue that the Cameroonian nation “cannot have just one standardised narrative, that the nation is always a contingent result of many contesting narratives” (Chakrabarty, 1998: 15).

In this essay, I attempt an exegesis of the Bishops’ Memo as epistolary aesthetics whose content qualifies it as minority/apocryphal history, border thinking, decolonial thinking and an epistemology from the South. In the course of my analysis, I interdependently use the word matters as a noun designating issues that concern Anglophones and are of important to their wellbeing; and a verb denominating the insistence that Anglophones form an indispensable part of Cameroon’s past, present and future. For all its disturbing polysemic malleability, my usage of the concept “matters” in these two interdependent senses circles back and touches the tail of other Cameroonian minority writings, participating in what Ben Okri describes as an “African aesthetic” which “is bound to a way of looking at the world in more than three dimensions. It’s the aesthetic of possibilities, of labyrinths, of riddles . . . of paradoxes” (1992: 87–8). Proceeding from an affirmation of human subjectivity, and assuming an individual’s capacity to produce history, my polysemic use of Anglophone matters remains solidly humanist in orientation, attempting to provide a fascinating but often-neglected alternative to the anti-humanism that has continued to characterize mainstream Cameroon history. Anglophone matters as noun and verb acknowledge that there is difference, but not inferiority or antagonism, the usage attempts to generate a cultural model which respects, rather than fears, undecidability, complementarity, and otherness. The Anglophone matters in/of the Memo suggest that minority history “describes relationships to the past that the rationality of the [mainstream] historian’s methods necessarily makes ‘minor’ or ‘inferior’ as something ‘irrational’ in the course of, and as a result of, its own operation” (Chakrabarty, 2000: 101). The Memo testifies that the cultural and political work of the subaltern or minoritized historian (in this case the Bishops) is to “try to show how the capacity (of the modern person) to historicize actually depends on his or her ability to participate in nonmodern relationships to the past that are made subordinate in the moment of historicization [and that] [h]istory writing assumes plural ways of being in the world” (101).

The projection of the Memo’s Wirbalized resistance is not to say that other Anglophone writers have not been critiquing Anglophone marginalization. Rather, the point is that because the Francophone has continued to be all over the Anglophone in an outwar of marginalization and the Anglophone has been all over the Francophone in an in-war of emancipation lead by Anglophone writers, Wirbalized resistance’s unremitting defiance becomes crucial in any de-colonial project that will start from the weaker end of the Francophone imperial/colonial/hegemonic difference. Unlike most critiques of Anglophone marginalization, Wirbalized resistance is an intensified form of de-linking that requires analysis of the making and remaking of the imperial/colonial Francophone differences and visions and strategies for the implementation of equality leading to de-colonization of Anglophone power, knowledge, being and the English Language. That defiance aims “to remove the anchor in which the “normalcy effect” has been produced as to hide the fact that the anchor can be removed and the edifice crumbled” (Mignolo, 2010: 352-3); it asserts that “[t]he future could no longer be owned by one way of life, cannot be dictated by one project of liberation and de-colonization, and cannot be a polycentric world within [Francophone] categories of thoughts” (353). It insists that “[a] world in which many worlds could co-exist can only be made by the shared work and common goals of those who inhabit, dwell in one of the many worlds co-existing in one world and where differences are not cast in terms of values of plus and minus degree of humanity” (353). Wirbalized resistance is the intensification of liberation projects that have emerged and are emerging in Anglophone Cameroon; opening the possibility of Anglophones and Francophones entering into a pluri-versal dialogue of equals in a common march toward a Cameroonian world in which “Free Life” will be the horizon in which many worlds will co-exist with a pluri-versal and not a uni-versal vision.

This commentary draws on the Memorandum presented to the Cameroonian Head of State, Paul Biya, by the Bishops of the Ecclesiastical Province of Bamenda on the current unrest in the North West and South West Regions of Cameroon to demonstrate that the emergence of Anglophone-nationalist sentiments in these Regions of Cameroon from November of 2016 through January of 2017 to the present, especially among young people, is a revolt against a sense of always having to “fit in”. The Memo bears witness that the variety of Anglophone-nationalist ideologies from the moderate views of John Ngu Foncha’s “unitarism” through “secessionist Groups”, “restorationist” and “Federalists” to Mancho Bibixy’s “coffin revolution” and Joseph Wirba’s “duty of resistance”, rest upon a foundational truth: Francophone Cameroon has been historically weak-willed in ensuring cultural justice and has continued to resist fully accepting the humanity of Anglophones. The commentary further affirms the Memo’s argument that if double standards and differential treatment abound, Anglophone nationalisms will continue to thrive. The Memo suggests that to establish a productive framework for Anglophone-Francophone interdependence, Cameroonians need to begin with a frank acknowledgement of the basic humanness and Cameroonianness of each Cameroonian. Cameroonians must recognize that as a people, they are on a slippery slope towards economic strife, social turmoil, and cultural chaos. The November 2016 through January 2017 to the present upheaval forced Francophones and Anglophones to see not only that Cameroonians are not connected in ways they would not like to be but also, in a more profound sense, that this failure to connect binds Cameroonians even more tightly together. The commentary concludes that there is no escape from a Cameroonian intercultural interdependence yet enforced cultural hierarchy dooms Cameroon as a nation to collective paranoia and hysteria – the unmaking of any democratic order.

*African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA)Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Urban Management Studies (CUMS)University of Ghana, Legon . The article is the first of a three part series

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Gambia:President Barrow says 2019 is a turning year for success, says economic grows
September 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Adama Makasuba

President Adama Barrow

President Adama Barrow

President Adama Barrow has described 2019 as a turning year of success for his government saying that the economy of the country has registered a significance improvement.

President Barrow was speaking during his third time of addressing the state of nation at the National Assembly in Banjul on Thursday where he spoke about quiet verities of issues regarding the development of the country.

“I am proud to report that the country economic growth has general strengthened while inflation has now moderated. For the past two years the economy grows by 4.8 per cent and improved to 6.5 per cent in 2018,” he said.

According to him, estimates indicates that the current account deficit narrowed to 1.5 per cent of GDP in the first half of 2019 compare to a deficit of 1.7 per cent of GDP of the correspondent quota of 2018 in the balance of payments.

He added: “the improvement in the current account balance is attributed to the increase of foreign inflows related to the support of diaspora remittances and tourism.”

He said the exchange rate of the country’s dalasi (money) remains broadly stable which he said is supported by “market confidence in an increase

He said the total expenditure and net lending has declined from 11.5 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product last year to 10 per cent of the GDP in early part of 2019, adding “government physical operation for the first six months of 2019 indicated that total revenue and grants stood at 9.8 percent of GDP compare 8.6.of GDP in the same period last year.”

Despite the government announcement of economic growth, many Gambians complaint that they are not feeling the growth of the economic and that living is increasingly getting harder and unbearable in the country.

 

 

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Mozambique: Elections period clouded by attacks on civil society leaders, activists and journalists
September 17, 2019 | 0 Comments

Serving and former Presidents from several countries graced the signature ceremony of a new peace accord between the government and the leading opposition movement recently

Serving and former Presidents from several countries graced the signature ceremony of a new peace accord between the government and the leading opposition movement recently

Amnesty International has today published a human rights briefing for all parties and candidates taking part in the Mozambican election after revealing a shocking catalogue of abuses carried out against human rights defenders, activists, journalists and other members of civil society over the past few years.

The briefing, Turn the page! A human rights manifesto for Mozambican political parties and their candidates, details dozens of examples of prominent civil society activists and journalists facing intimidation, harassment and violence because of their work, ahead of the 15 October election.

“In Mozambique, challenging the government comes with devastating consequences, including abductions, arbitrary detentions and physical attacks. You speak out at your own risk,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa.

“Civil society leaders, journalists, human rights defenders and activists are facing more risks as the country approaches polling day. This briefing is bringing to the fore a pattern of human rights violations that all political parties and candidates must take seriously and stand against as they go to the polls.”

Harassment and intimidation

In the aftermath of the October 2018 municipal elections, civil society leaders, human rights defenders and activists, religious bodies and the media were targeted for harassment and intimidation, including receiving death threats for their role in monitoring and disseminating the results following the vote.

They received threatening messages, warning that they should “be careful” and that their “…days are numbered” simply for doing their work. Some were even threatened with “… disappear[ing] without a trace”. They were blamed for contributing to the defeat of the ruling party, the Mozambique Liberation Front (FRELIMO), by organising individuals to monitor polling stations and publish live election results.

Two journalists were threatened for publishing election related information on social media in Tete Province, with the editor of the weekly Malacha newspaper receiving death threats for publishing election results on his paper’s Facebook page.

Extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearance, torture and other ill-treatment

 South African businessman, Andre Hanekom, died at a hospital in Pemba in January 2019 after he was shot in the arm and stomach and abducted in August 2018 by four AK’47-armed masked men in Palma district, Cabo Delgado province. He was held by state security forces under mysterious circumstances and denied private visits from family throughout his detention despite a judge ruling that his detention was illegal and ordering his provisional release on bail. During the military detention, Hanekom was allegedly subjected to torture and other ill-treatment.

On 27 March 2018, unknown gunmen abducted Ericino de Salema, a human rights lawyer and political commentator, outside the offices of the Mozambican Union of Journalists in Maputo. The men beat him up, breaking his arms and legs, and later abandoned him on the road, leaving him for dead. Salema, a well-known critical voice in the country, was told by the men that he “talks too much” and that they wanted to teach him a lesson. Before the attack, he had received threatening phone calls from unidentified individuals.

Attacks on people, arbitrary arrests and detentions

Brutal attacks in the Cabo Delgado Province by a local extremist group locally known as ‘Al-Shabab’ has claimed at least 200 lives and forced thousands of others to flee their homes since October 2017.

The attacks have continued despite a heavy military presence in affected areas. The province has become a no-go area for journalists, researchers, scholars and non-governmental organizations, and many who have tried to access the area have been arbitrarily detained by security forces without arrest warrants.

For example, journalist Amade Abubacar spent nearly four months in arbitrary pre-trial detention earlier this year for reporting on the attacks and fleeing residents.

While in detention, Amade was subjected to ill-treatment, including 12 days in incommunicado military detention, denial of family visits and poor medical treatment. He is facing several charges, including “public incitement through electronic media”.

On 30 June 2018, Zimbabwean journalist Pindai Dube, working for eNCA, an independent television news station based in Johannesburg, South Africa, was arrested by police in Pemba while conducting research in Cabo Delgado province. He was accused of spying and released three days later without charge. It is not clear why security forces won’t allow anyone access to the area.

Suppression of freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association

 In the past five years, the authorities have escalated their crackdown on the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association.

On 18 January 2019, Fátima Mimbire, a human rights defender and researcher with Centre for Public Integrity (CIP), at the time, received intimidating messages and death threats through social media. The attacks began after her organisation launched a campaign denouncing a move by the Mozambican government to repay over USD$2 billion in loans which were secretly and illegally acquired to set up three state-owned companies. Known FRELIMO militants had been advocating violence against her on social media, including Alice Tomás, a member of parliament who called for Fatima “to be raped by 10 strong and energetic men to teach her a lesson.”

On 2 December 2017, a gunman threatened to kill Aunício da Silva, an investigative journalist and editor of IKWELI, a weekly publication in Nampula City in the north of Mozambique. The gunman accused da Silva of publishing articles that tarnished the image of a local politician. Da Silva has continued to receive death threats via phone calls and SMS for his investigations on illegal trafficking of natural resources, people and drugs as well as allegations of corruption, election fraud and land grabbing.

On 23 July 2018, the Council of Ministers issued a decree requiring journalists and media organizations to pay prohibitive accreditation and licensing fees for both local and foreign press wanting to report on the country.

“As Mozambique moves closer to the election in less than a month, political parties and candidates who are contesting it must commit to a culture of respect for human rights and outline a concrete plan to build a rights respecting society,” said Deprose Muchena.

 “Full respect for the human rights of everyone should be the new cornerstone of Mozambique post-election. Anything less is not acceptable.”

 Background

 Mozambique will hold its sixth general election since the end of the civil war in 1992, on 15 October 2019. The vote will combine presidential, legislative and provincial elections.

*Source Amnesty International

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Gambia: Junta Spokesperson Describes Gov’t White Paper on Janneh Commission as Witch-Hunt
September 17, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Captain Ebou Jallow

Captain Ebou Jallow

Ebou Jallow, former Spokesperson of Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council (AFPRC) has described the government white paper on commission of inquiry as ‘purely political process to malign and witch-hunt perceived enemies’.

The commission of inquiry, also called Janneh Commission was setup in 2017 to look into the financial activities and dealings of ex-president Yahya Jammeh and his close associates from 1994- 2016.

The government white paper of commission of inquiry report of 1600 page strongly recommended that Ebou Jallow, Edward Singhateh and Yankuba Touray all former members of the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council (AFPRC) have been asked by Gambia government to return stolen monies belonging to the state in the sum of thirty two million, two hundred and twenty thousand dollars ($32, 220, 000).

Ebou Jallow former Spokesperson, Edward Singhateh, Defense Minister and Yankuba Touray former Minister of Local Government were found culpable by the commission of inquiry otherwise Janneh Commission for failing to account for $32, 220, 000 loan from Taiwan and thus liable for the accounts unaccounted for.

They have also been indicted by the commission for obtaining $35m loans from China on behalf of the Gambia government out of which only $2.3m have been deposited at the Central Bank of the Gambia while $2.7m is been claimed to be handed over to Yahya Jammeh then Chairman of the Military Junta.

“Mr. Ebou Jallow, Mr. Edward Singhateh and Mr. Yankuba Touray are hereby ordered to pay back to the state the sum of $32, 220, 000 within 30 days from the publication of this white Paper failing which their properties will be forfeited to the state and sold. The proceeds of sale shall be applied to the payment of monies for which they are found to be liable in the report, in addition to criminal proceedings to be instituted against them,” government white paper submitted.

The white paper noted that Mr. Ebou Jallow, Mr. Edward Singhateh and Mr. Yankuba Touray are no longer fit to hold public offices for eternity as well as banned from holding any director position in any state enterprise in The Gambia for fifteen (15) years effective from 13th September, 2019.

 

However, Jallow, who is based in US in response on his Social media network, said the Janneh Commission just like the TRRC is not in compliance with Gambian Constitution. It has now turned out to be nothing but a purely political process to malign and witch-hunt perceived enemies.

“It was the Minister of Justice himself, Ba Marie-Tambedou through Saihou Saidy-Leigh of the UDP who cajoled me into participating in the Janneh Commission, and I accepted it knowing fully well what I was going to do: debunking lies. I have no doubt today that President Barrow is nothing but an unfortunate president with an incredibly sinister and incompetent administration at his service constantly misleading him into serious errors in governance,” former junta spokesperson said.

He explained that: “Nobody has ever served me an adverse mention from The Gambia government according to law. The Gambian Constitution Section 204 states clearly – (1) “Where a Commission of Inquiry makes an adverse finding against any person, it shall, at the time of submitting its report to the President, inform such persons of the finding and the reasons therefore.”

“Yet The Gambia government blatantly abused its authority and went on a smear campaign in a typical fashion of a banana republic calling the establishment of a bona fide diplomatic relation between two sovereign countries a “forgery”.  President Barrow’s government also nose-dived further to the deep end of mendacity by accusing me of being part of “the AFPRC that failed to account $32,220,000 of the loan from Taiwan,”

According to him, he resigned from the AFPRC just about two months after the Gambia Government secured the loan from the Republic of China Export-Import Bank, and $30M of those proceeds were deposited at the Republic of Gambia Special Development Account with the Citibank, NY; $2.3M was deposited in a Special Government Account with the Central Bank in cash; and Yaya Jammeh kept the remainder in his custody at the State House at 1 Marina Parade.

Jallow further explained the entire loan package was later ratified by The Gambia National Assembly into law and if the Gambia government was interested in the truth rather than political chicanery they could have easily identified and traced every transaction from those bank accounts managed by the Gambia Central Bank.

“The records of these transactions exist. I have copies, and so do the Citi Bank of New York and the Central Bank in the Gambia,” he said.

 

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Cameroon: International Day of Democracy commemorated with a call for inclusive Participation
September 16, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Speakers at the International day for Democracy organized by CHRDA

Speakers at the International day for Democracy organized by CHRDA

The 2019 edition of the international day of democracy has been celebrated with a call for the government of Cameroon to create a favourable environment for the participation of everyone in the democratic process. During the celebration on September 15, organized by the Centre for Democracy and Human Rights in Africa, CHRDA on the theme “Strengthening inclusive participation in democratic participation in Cameroon”, speakers talked about the shortcomings that have characterized the democracy in Cameroon.

This day comes at a vital point in Cameroon’s history where the country is characterized by crisis such as the Boko Haram insurgencies, the crisis in Anglophone Cameroon, marginalization of various groups of persons amongst others.

The International Day of Democracy is celebrated on September 15 every year since the resolution was passed on November 8, 2007, in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). The day is celebrating for promoting the tenets of democracy with this year’s theme being “Participation”.

During the event women and youths were called upon to be part of the political process. To Shey Lesley, Founder of Lesley Foundation, the youths should get themselves register on the electoral register so as to take part in the upcoming elections such as the legislative, regional and municipal elections.

Speaking to Fah Elvis Tayong, journalist, political analyst and member of the opposition MRC Party he said the government has not respected the rights of active, substantive and meaningful participation in the country. “The key actors in the conflict are not present and the environment is not favourable because you cannot tell me the Diaspora that is sponsoring the fighters in the bush to come for a meeting in Yaounde – it cannot go.”

“In the present instance, the principle of neutrality is expected; those to chair the dialogue are to be acted by both parties in the conflict. We need a neutral environment whereby neutral persons come in who doesn’t have any interest to the parties. But now that we are not seeing this, the dialogue is heading towards a total failure.”

On the issue of inclusive democracy in Cameroon, Fah Elvis is of the opinion that is a term in Cameroon that works on paper but practically it is zero. He wondered, “How many youths are in? How many conditions have been made favourable for people to be in? How many women hold key positions- 63 ministries are there but how many are there for women, disabled? At the end of it, the issue moves but on theory but practically it is zero.”

“We are encouraging all the women to actively participate in democracy because this is the only medium through which their voices can be heard” said Nyonsue Ebi Epey, Founder/CEO of Centre for Reintegration, Empowerment and Transformation Cameroon (CREET CAM), while adding that, “The best we can do is continuous sensitization and advocacy for these women. To my fellow activists, you should not be discouraged when talking to women because most at times when we talk to women, they feel like there is a system already in place which will not listen to their opinions…”

She went further to call on the government to create an enabling environment which will make women want to participate in the democratic process. “An enabling environment means creating structures that are accommodating. There are structures already in place but these structures are not accommodating”, she said while adding that, “Women are not participating fully because the system in one way or the other hinders them from participating and they do not see the need for starting something that their voices will not be heard.”

To violet Yigha Fokum CHRDA Gender Officer and Deputy Executive Director, the main problem hindering women from participating in democracy stems from the socialization issue. She said, “Most women have been socialized to belief that they are always in the kitchen and they cannot be at the decision making table. CSOs have been doing a lot to make women know that they have to pick up. It is time for them to make their voices heard, let the world know that experiences and their worth because they are the ones bearing the brunt of the ongoing crisis in Cameroon.”

Participants and speakers at the close of the commemoration of the International Day for Democracy

Participants and speakers at the close of the commemoration of the International Day for Democracy

The UN Secretary General on his part has urged each Government to respect its citizens’ right to “meaningful participation” in the political process. He said, “At heart, democracy is about people”. “It is built on inclusion, equal treatment and participation, and it is a fundamental building block for peace, sustainable development and human rights”.

While saluting all who “strive tirelessly to make this happen”, he affirmed that these values and aspirations “cannot be seen as tokens or lip service” but must instead be “real in people’s lives”. “Yet the International Day of Democracy takes place at a time when trust is low and anxiety is high”, Mr. Guterres continued. “People are frustrated by growing inequalities and unsettled by sweeping changes from globalization and technology”.

He attributed this to their seeing “conflicts going unresolved, a climate emergency going unanswered, injustice going unaddressed, and civic space shrinking”. “As we mark Democracy Day, I urge all Governments to respect the right to active, substantive and meaningful participation”, concluded the Secretary-General`

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Gambia: Ex-President Jammeh Gets Life Ban from Holding Public Office
September 14, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Yahya Jammeh ruled the tiny West African country for two decades [Issouf Sanogo/AFP]

Yahya Jammeh ruled the tiny West African country for two decades [Issouf Sanogo/AFP]

Gambia Commission of inquiry that is setup by coalition government to look into the financial dealing of former President Yahya Jammeh and his close associates has recommended to pressed legal actions against the Former President Yahya Jammeh for economic crime, corruption and theft as well as banning him from holding public office for the rest of his lives.

The commission of inquiry report of 1600 page strongly  recommended that  Ebou Jallow, Edward Singhateh and Yankuba Touray all former members of the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council (AFPRC) have been asked by Gambia government to return stolen monies belonging to the state in the sum of thirty two million, two hundred and twenty thousand dollars ($32, 220, 000).

The three  have also been banned from holding public offices in the country as well as clear unfit to manage or run any state enterprises for the rest of their lives.

This latest development came on the heels of the submission of the report of the commission of inquiry launch by the government of President Adama Barrow in 2017. It was tasked to look into the financial activities and dealings of ex-president Yahya Jammeh who is alleged to have embezzled over one billion dalasi within his 22 years reign.

Ebou Jallow former Spokesperson, Edward Singhateh, Defense Minister and Yankuba Touray former Minister of Local Government were found culpable by the commission of inquiry otherwise Janneh Commission for failing to account for $32, 220, 000 loan from Taiwan and thus liable for the accounts unaccounted for.

They have also been indicted by the commission for obtaining $35m loans from China on behalf of the Gambia government out of which only $2.3m have been deposited at the Central Bank of the Gambia while $2.7m is been claimed to be handed over to Yahya Jammeh then Chairman of the Military Junta.

The government threaten the trio of losing their assets on failure to pay back to the state within 30 days with possible legal actions taken against them.

The commission found them responsible for overthrowing a democratically elected government that subsequently sets the stage and substantially enabled former President Yahya Jammeh perpetrate and perpetuate unprecedented looting of more than D1.1billion.

“Mr. Ebou Jallow, Mr. Edward Singhateh and Mr. Yankuba Touray are hereby ordered to pay back to the state the sum of $32, 220, 000 within 30 days from the publication of this white Paper failing which their properties will be forfeited to the state and sold. The proceeds of sale shall be applied to the payment of monies for which they are found to be liable in the report, in addition to criminal proceedings to be instituted against them,” government white paper submitted.

Government also disclosed in the white paper that Mr. Ebou Jallow, Mr. Edward Singhateh and Mr. Yankuba Touray are no longer fit to hold public offices for eternity as well as banned from holding any director position in any state enterprise in The Gambia for fifteen (15) years effective from 13th September, 2019.

The report added; “Consequently, the government has decided that they (Mr. Ebou Jallow, Mr. Edward Singhateh and Mr. Yankuba Touray) are not fit to hold public office and should be banned, and Mr. Ebou Jallow, Mr. Edward Singhateh and Mr. Yankuba Touray are hereby banned from holding public office for the remainder of their lives. They are also banned from holding any director positions in any state owned enterprises in The Gambia for fifteen (15) years from the date of publication of this white Paper”.

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Gambia Opposition Leader Predicts Failure in Barrow Led Gov’t
September 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Musa Yali- Batchilly, leader of Gambia Action Party

Musa Yali- Batchilly, leader of Gambia Action Party

Musa Yali- Batchilly, leader of Gambia Action Party (GAP) has stressed that a cartel government is destined to fail, as the miseries of President Barrow led government will continue to unfold unless they change and find the right trajectory that will mould people’s lives and destiny as a nation.

In an exclusive interview with Pan African Visions correspondent based in Banjul GAP leader pointed out that the inconstancy and ineptness of his administration has proved otiose that investigation was the only choice left which implies simple failure to achieve a desired result.

“A government that does not put the interests of her people ahead of individual gains shall be a surplus to requirements. Our problem as a nation is President Barrow and never shall we expect to have solutions as long as the corporate thieves and sharks stay in our public offices. The President is the problem and we must get rid of him when we want to tailored out the solutions. Constitutionally, diplomatic passports cannot be issued in the absence of the President whose assent must be sought for approval,” he said.

He asked that: “Now, tell me how those crooks, drug peddlers and smugglers were issued with diplomatic passports without his acknowledgement? What kind of procedures did they followed and what are the responsibility of the officials of the Foreign Affairs’ Ministry? An administrative failure to the maximum extent possible”

He alleged that “We are in a state where Party Leaders and other relevant stakeholders are denied diplomatic passports in the name of different ideologies or seen as enemies but given to foreigners, drug dealers, family members and every Tom, Dick or Harry as if they’re entitled for accession.

The diplomatic passports issued to our Justice Minister’s family members, was a sign of injustice to the families of electorates who voted for the change. This is where justice begins. It’s pathetic that our Justice Minister cannot even administered justice at the detriment of poor Gambian people. Many others not only him but unfortunately, his acts were exposed. Many will be discovered as time goes on. They struggled for their families when the very people who sacrificed so hard to effect this change are neglected. Along the road, some were divorced, jailed, died and even some names were procured to death penalties had the previous regime still in power. How about our mothers, sisters and fathers when they are sick the government cannot even provide them with medications, are they not citizens who deserve better treatment?

He pointed out that there are important things that the government should prioritize and quit from irregularities.

He added that: “Our roads remain dilapidated, our resources are exploited by the foreign powers, our streets and houses goes without electricity supply, our taps goes without clean drinking waters, our hospitals remain without drugs, the farmers hope continue to dwindle and our educational institutions continued to be inefficient and unproductive”   He urges the President Barrow to take on more serious works as expected.

 

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Mozambique: 10 dead in Frelimo election campaign
September 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Arnaldo Cuamba

At least 10 militants and supporters of the ruling Frelimo party lost their lives in northern Mozambique at the end of another “vote-hunting” day for the general elections sheduled for 15 October.

In the tragedy, occurred at the 25 de Junho stadium in Nampula, 85 other people were injured, Frelimo Provincial Secretary Agostinho Trinta told the press.

“The accident happened at the end of a show when our members and supporters were trying to get out of the gate, which led to confusion where some people fell and others trampled.”

It is not yet clear what caused the crash, but Pan African Visions learned that there was a failure to coordinate police teams and the security team of the Head of State. According to a source, at the end of the event, the confusion was set up when a huge human frame wanted to see him closely and greet him, but some exit doors were closed for security reasons.

Joaquim Sive, provincial police commander was suspended following the incident, the source said.

The Frelimo Provincial Party Committee issued a note presenting the most condolences to the families of the bereaved members, and further informs that it has already reported to the Mozambican Police for due legal expertise and procedures.

According to Trinta, a committee has already been set up to monitor the families of the victims, including the wounded, and to provide all necessary support and solidarity.

Wednesday’s election campaign in the city of Nampula was attended by thousands of people who hosted the show run by Frelimo presidential candidate Filipe Nyusi.

 

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Cameroon: Case against Kamto Postponed to October 8
September 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

MRC Leader Maurice Kamto has been in prison for some 8 months now.

MRC Leader Maurice Kamto has been in prison for some 8 months now.

The case against Maurice Kamto, leader of the opposition Cameroon Renaissance Movement, CRM party and his political allies, and supporters have been postponed to the 8 of October 2019. Kamto, who was runner-up to the last presidential election, is accused of insurrection, rebellion and could face the death penalty.

On the 28 of January 2019, authorities in Cameroon arrested Maurice kamto and his supporters who had staged a peaceful protest march against the decision from the constitutional council, declaring President Biya as winner of the 2018 Presidential election.

The MRC Party alleges that the presidential election was rigged to favour the incumbent President Paul Biya who have been in power for 36 years. The MRC Leader says he is the winner of the election according to statistics obtained by him.

“While the charges against them were being read, one of them- counselor Christian Penda Ekoka- felt dizzy and I have to tell you what led to this discomfort. This audience was held in a sort of matchbox; forgive my use of the term. The room is very small and poorly ventilated. We were suffocating, and I think this is what led to the discomfort that caused suspension of the hearing,” Kamto’s lawyer, Ntchale Michel said.

Per multiple reports, the court case resumed after the collapsed member was taking to the hospital. The defense lawyers pleaded for the case to be adjourned, which the court did.

Speaking to the Secretary General of the MRC Party Barrister Ndong Christopher said, “We are now waiting for the case in October. His state of mind is clean, he is healthy. There is nothing to fear.”

Antoine Vey, French lawyer for Kamto speaking to AFP said, “There is no justification for Mr Kamto and his supporters to have been incarcerated for eight months in these conditions”, while indicating that “None of them took part in acts of violence, none called for acts of violence or rebellion, there is no reason for their arrest other than a political move.”

Many have reiterated the need for the Anglophone crisis to be resolved while political prisoners, and those arrested in connection to the crisis are freed. “I traveled more than 600 kilometers to attend this trial. For me, it’s a historical trial. We are asking the Biya’s government to do two things, solve the Anglophone crisis and release the political prisoners. This will calm tensions”, psychologist and president of an association for the protection of human rights, Germain Ekwala said.

Human rights groups have denounced the jurisdiction of the military court to try the case. Meantime, Cameroon’s former colonial master France, U.S.A, and the European Union has repeatedly called for the release of the MRC politician.

In March, the U.S Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Tibor Nagy told RFI that Cameroon would be “very wise” to release Kamto because his detention is widely perceived as politically motivated.

 

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