Monday, October 29, 2012

Uncertainty at ELECAM as German NGOs, Media Pressurize Own Parliament to Stop G&D Contract for Corrupt Practice

The German Company, Giesecke und Devrient G&D that won the contract valued at FCFA 7.8 billion to do biometric recompilation of the electoral register in Cameroon last year and the contract was signed on April 18, 2011 is reported on heat back home. German media organs like the Stuttgarter Zeitung and some civil society organizations like the German Transparency International have called on the German Parliament to investigate into the deal between Elections Cameroon and G & D. As such, doubts have been emitted as the ongoing recompilation process kick-started at a snail pace. Having issued a decision giving the calendar and all the necessary information that recompilation will kick-start nationwide soon, ELECAM now faces the unknown for lack of kits.
According to information gathered some companies that tendered for the contract to do biometric recompilation of the electoral register and were all rejected have decided to unveil the maneuvers that led to the selection of G&D. The German media and Transparency International have all criticized the choice of the German firm arguing that something transpired during selection.
It was however strange that a company that did not even merit a place on the shortlist ended up winning the contract to supplier biometric equipments, they argued. German newspapers and NGOs are reported to be lobbying on the German Parliament to block the deal. The Germans lobbyists are arguing that the company that won the contract was never listed and have also casted doubts on the quality of material to be produced. In Germany, it is alleged G&D is not specialized in the production of materials for election rather the company specializes in production bank notes and bank cards. More so the turn-around to select a company that was not shortlisted we gathered was due to pressure from the Presidency of the Republic after the arrival on April 15, 2012 of the German Parliamentary Secretary of State in the Federal Ministry of Economy and Technology, Mr Ernst Burgdacher, who was accompanied by Mr Kung, the Vice President of G&D. Whether Mr. Ernst Burgdacher who met President Biya played a fast one to negotiate for the contract remains another issue that the German lobbyists have taken steps to reveal to Parliament.
The contract which involves the supply of materials for biometric voter registration and the training of Cameroonians who would utilise the materials has been put to question in Germany and is becoming the center of controversy in Germany. Some German media and NGOs have launched an action to seek Parliament support to cancel the deal stating that the selection was not based on merit because corrupt practices entered into play. It should however be recalled that a group of local engineers and companies from France, South Africa and Canada tendered for the contract. But surprisingly, the contract was awarded to a Munich company Giesecke & Devrient (G & D), which is widely known as a manufacturer of banknotes. It is even alleged that the company selected was much more expensive than other bidders.
They are questioning how G&D that did not even originally tender for the contract emerged winner. With all the cacophony, dark clouds now loom over ELECAM as to whether all the kits will be supplied in time for recompilation to kick-start nationwide.  The process of registration biometric voter in Cameroon is currently experiencing serious difficulties, the German operator Giesecke & Devrient (G & D) not arriving yet to deliver the kits necessary for the smooth running of operations.
Three weeks after the official launching in Yaounde the process has been very slow mainly because of insufficient material, we were hinted. Sources close to Elections Cameroon (ELECAM) also confirmed allegations that “G & D is a considerable delaying in the delivery schedule of the material that was supposed to be having been received in August.”
In addition, the 1200 stock first kits delivered in September developed abnormalities in use to the point that in some areas could not make entries on the electoral lists because of the problems. At this rate, the number of seven (7) to eight (8) million expected by ELECAM during the next six months may likely be shattered. The most serious threat is the expected legislative and municipal elections may not take place especially as than the average of 50,000 could be registered per day across the country, we learn from sources.
Nonetheless at the time of signing the contract, Hans W. Kunz, vice president of Giesecke & Devrient Group, stated that “the provisions were already made in Germany,” and that they are capable of doing the job as it is defined in terms of the contract.  Insinuating that “we have a lot of experience in this field”, because “we have been in many countries for work” he cited the biometric identity card in Brazil as one of their major achievements amongst others. Yet, allegations are rife that less than 400 kits have been supplied to Elecam and with the controversy surrounding the delay in the deliverance of kits and the dissenting voices in Germany, ELECAM may not be able to carryout the exercise as expected. Further more, some Cameroonians are of the opinion that it could have been another scam like was the case with the acquisition of the Presidential plane.
When News Breaks Out, We Break In. Minute by Minute Report on Cameroon and Africa

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Biya Regime Accelerates the Repatrition of President Adhijo's Corps?

Gradually, the arrest of former Minister of Territorial Administration and sentence may change many things in Cameroon. The Marafa letters we gathered have ignited the Biya regime to accelerate its plans to bring back home the remains of former Statesman late President Ahmadou Ahidjo. The Head of State and former Minister of State Marafa Hamidou Yaya, know decidedly more respite the prevailing truth that the mortal remains of former Head of State was never brought back home.  And now, thanks to their political rivalry rumours are bound and the thorny issue of repatriation of the remains of former President Ahmadou Ahidjo, who died in Dakar on 30 November 1989, is back on the news.  Sources say Biya’s allies in the North are of the opinion that for him to gain their support, the only solution is to the repartition of President Ahdijo’s remains from Senegal.
Confidential sources have hinted that President Biya is determined to re-launch the repatriation of the remains of his predecessor. Sources say President Biya has already assigned someone to mediate for the repartition.  Ahidjo Mohamadou alias Badjika still do not know where to head.  Yet it is not clear whether the former head of state’s family will show any "sign of life" on the subject which has been given by Paul Biya, the least we can say is that his credit with his family, especially in Germaine Ahidjo is found seriously undermined. Accused of having been fooled by the President, his inability to move the lines increases naturally with the "guardian of the tomb of the ex-President" means the distrust which, in fact, it is actually rarely parted.
Aware of the situation and anxious to quickly restart talks, the President may, according to various sources, give a new signal by appointing Mohamadou Ahidjo in government.  However, many Northerners do not see this as anything even if he is appointed into government.
According to information revealed by Le Sahel, the appointment could sink into a stalemate - create a problem of leadership in the family which would imply that the Biya could again appeal for an intermediary who enjoys the confidence of all parties. In any case, one thing is certain; it will no longer be Dr. Emile Derlin Zinzou, the former head of state of Benin, a close family friend to the Ahidjos, who threw the towel in 2010 after he spent two years mediating with Biya in vain. When he finally met Biya, the audience with Paul Biya at the Palace on March 31, 2008, left a glimmer of hope by the indecision of the President of the Republic.

After reassuring the region of the Far North for her good spirits against him during his last trip and maneuvering to break the political block, Biya is working now to rebuild the political map of the Benue the stronghold of the former minister of state, Marafa Hamidou Yaya.
At first during his recent visit to the North Paul Biya has first served a foot note to CPDM local executives, to sing his song on the fight against corruption. This was followed by tons of Motions of Support fabricated in offices.  So there, the President had had eyes only for the victims, snubbing political cadres of the party to whom it has granted any respect.  But indicators are clear that Biya would search of a rare bird that could limit the damages in the upcoming local elections. According to many analysts, the decline in the Benue CPDM could be in favor of UNDP, no doubt that the  Marafa Hamidou Yaya factor is playing it in his disfaour. To avoid this "symbolic defeat," the North is of the opinion that the head should fall, including the government. The most crucial is the protocol rank of the future "soldier" understood that the leader of the National Union for Democracy and Progress (Undp), Bello Bouba Maigairi, with the rank of Minister of State could not provide the aspiration that would satisfy Marafa’s supporters.

When News Breaks Out, We Break In. Minute by Minute Report on Cameroon and Africa

Monday, October 22, 2012

AES SONEL Carelessnes Leaves One Dead in Nkambe

Ali was a herdsman and for over 10 years before that fateful day, he has lived his life looking after cows. But little could he imagine that he would die by electric shock whereas he doesn't use electricity in his own house. A father of two he was and was 42 years old before AES SONEL neglect took him away from this world. According to eyewitness account, the accident that led to Ali's dead took place at about 11 am, as he was moving along the slope after the cows. 
It is alleged when he discovered that two of his cows were been electrocuted, he ignorantly rushed to rescue the animals and when he stepped on the cable, he was killed as well. The electrocution was such that he could not move an inch and he died with his stick in the hand. Ali's death is one of the most shocking and portrays how careless the agents of AES SONEL are in our communities. In fact what is even more annoying is that even with Ali's death, the high tension cables are still there waiting for more lives to swallow. In all, one person has been killed and two cows.  The most serious threat is that the high tension cable has been there for months and seems not to bother anybody even the officials of AES SONEL, Julius Ngala hinted. Whether the presence of the Senior Divisional Officer for Donga Mantung to the accident area meant anything to the almighty AES SONEL remains another mystery the population cannot understand. Many have been questioning whether with decentralization and with the carelessness demonstrated by AES SONEL, the Nkambe Council cannot produce and distribute it own electricity so much so that the security of the population is guaranteed. It is a common phenomenon in rural areas that high tension cables have been allowed to serve as dead traps. The complaints are many, in fact electricity in this part of the country is as scarce as dog tears. In Nkambe for example, cold stores have ceased to operate due to rampant electricity cuts. Electricity just seems to be too damn complex for AES SONEL people to handle if the company cannot care for the welfare of the people by carrying out immediate interventions in rural areas to avoid people being killed carelessly.

When News Breaks Out, We Break In. Minute by Minute Report on Cameroon and Africa

Sales of Nkambe Council Land Sparks Controversy

The Nkambe Council is in a state of commotion following a decision by the Senior Divisional Officer for Donga Mantung Division, Nzekie Theophile to allocate part of the Council land to some elite. According to information at our disposal, the hullabaloo started when council staff spotted people planting pillars on what they understand to be part of Nkambe council land. What followed immediately was the seizure and confiscation of the pillars which almost resulted to the arrest and detention of council staffs. In a bit to uncover the truth, staffs of the council were shocked to realize that the authorization to place pillars on the said piece of land was from the Senior Divisional Officer for Donga Mantung Division. The land which according to the administration falls within the category of state land has become the center of controversy yet, council officials say “it is an obnoxious act to deprive the Nkambe council of it property which they cannot watch it happen”.  When contacted, the SDO for Donga Mantung Division refuted allegations that he was selling council land. He however told this reporter that in his capacity as the Senior Divisional Officer, he only allocated the plot for elite who wanted to develop the land and it is the duty of the Minister of Land Tenure and State Property to take the final decision. He cited the case of the Catholic Church which was approved from Yaounde. He however referred the issue to the law of 1976 which clearly states that assets of the council which are not registered in conformity to that law automatically belong to the state. Accordingly, the SDO also said that the area in question needs a certain standard of houses and that if an elite want to use the land properly, it is the duty of the state to allocate rather than allow it for farming of crops. “We need modern houses, hotels and others and that area is good for such structures” he argued. It is even alleged that the Divisional Delegation of Land Tenure has already designed a map and the plots have been apportioned without the knowledge of the Nkambe Council. More, the present location of the Nkambe Council has been named as "Government Station New layout". 
On his part the Mayor of Nkambe Council Mangoh Jones Tanko decried fault and added that in 2004, former SDO for Donga Mantung Division by then Nasseri Paul Bia carried out a similar act and gave part of the council land to the military. Mangoh Jones said he was shocked to see that even the Nkambe Council forest may be taken over by the state without him being aware. He said the law on decentralization doesn't provide such premise and added that Chapter Three (section 14) of the Law No 2004 of 18 July 2004 states that " Lands considered as National land may, as and when necessary be registered in the name of the council especially to serve as a basis for public utility projects". He emphasized on the word "may be registered" and not must be registered as it made to believe with the distribution of land by the Senior Divisional Officer.
He said “we were taken aback when council staff moved to that part of the forest and they were chased away by the military. It was thanks to my intervention that it didn’t generate to fighting”. Mangoh Jones like many others are of the opinion that Nkambe Council land is not for distribution or sale giving that with the ongoing decentralization, the council needs land to put up befitting infrastructure to better serve the population. He said measures have been put for elite to acquire plots at the Nkambe new layout at affordable prices. On the 1976 law on council assets, Mangoh Jones said it is not the fault of Nkambe Council and many others in the country that all the documents that were sent to Yaounde for the councils to acquire land titles for their plots got burnt. He however said that the fact that the council doesn’t have a land title doesn’t mean that it property should be shared without them being aware. He however vowed that anyone who thinks he/she can pass through the administration to deprive the council of it property should consider his/herself in a state of sin. Elite, he said should protect the Nkambe council property and not contribute to it destruction. Public opinion in Nkambe is so stained on the issue. Many are of the opinion that if the procedure continues, the population should move to the street. Another school of thought holds that the council should never award a building permit to anyone found in any of its plot yet, majority of those who spoke to us are of the opinion that the matter be taken to the street. “We have observed that the administration continue to act as if the Council not a state institution or it is because we are in border that people turn to do what pleases them”, John Kilo questioned. To Kargong James, if the administration wants that they should decry the matter in the street, it would be done for Yaounde to understand what Nkambe has been undergoing. Kimbi Nsakwa on his part was astounded and wondered why elite who are suppose to meet traditional rulers to have land for free should be running after the administration for land in a bit to create disorder. He said anyone elite worth of salt is suppose to have land for construction for free (To be continued)

When News Breaks Out, We Break In. Minute by Minute Report on Cameroon and Africa

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Bernard Njonga Emerges Again as ACDIC President

 By Fai Cassimando
Members of the association for the Defence of Collective Interest-ACDIC meet in a General Assembly in Yaounde. The 2012 AGM which took place at the Faculty of Theology at Nlongkak in Yaounde gave members the opportunity to take stock of past actions of ACDIC and also to adopt new orientations. Coming at a point in time when the Permanent Secretary General Jacob Abongaha and Deputy Secretary General Tarkang Yvonne left for greener pastures, there was also an urgent need for new impetus into the national bureau. ACDIC which was created in the year 2000, with Founding Fathers like Njonga Bernard, Jacob Abongaha, Fai Cassian Ndi, Isaac Njifakwe, Dr. Atahanas Bopda, Roger Nkabong,  Doh Kehbila, etc etc…., the association today has over a hundred thousand members spread over the national territory. Yet, it founding fathers are aghast with Bernard Njonga for transforming the association into an extraordinary affair and a family estate. In other words, Bernard Njonga during the past years succeeded in manipulating the Chart of the Association and redefining who is supposed to be a founding member to suit his caprices. An action that angered many founding members who endorsed the birth certificate of ACDIC to the point that some does not even care to attend meetings like the General Assembly.  Bernard Njonga started scheming ACDIC founding members when he masterminded that a vote of no-confidence be passed on the first President of ACDIC, a former national Coordinator of FIMAC in an extraordinary General Meeting. Little did others new that the very illness that would kill coffee is the same that will attack cocoa.  When he was finally handed the Presidency of ACDIC, all those who questioned certain actions were pushed out of the scene to the point that ACDIC finally became an extraordinary affair. Since then, Bernard Njonga consolidated his grip of ACDIC. His re-election doesn’t come as a surprise to many. As a matter of fact, ACDIC is just like a hill that looks greener from afar.
However, as a lobbying and advocacy association, ACDIC has stood the taste of time in addressing burning issues. The fight against the importation of frozen chicken is one of the successes of the association as well as the study unleashing corrupt practices in the Ministry of Agriculture, such as scandal surrounding the distribution of Indian tractors, the embezzlement of funds allocated to maize farmers etc. Several of its actions have led to the arrest of members. In 2010, this reporter was also arrested and detained in Yaounde alongside other ACDIC members for participating in a protest march urging government to create a farmers bank. Even though the bank was created two days after, it had never gone functional.

When News Breaks Out, We Break In. Minute by Minute Report on Cameroon and Africa

Donga Mantung Adminstration Resolves Land Crisis at Mbawrong (Mbaw Plain)

 By Ricky Baweson
An atmosphere of stale familiarity which was looming in the Mbaw plain over a disputed farm land at Mbawrong as been cleared. Before the matter was cleared, there  was tension between Njirong and Ntumbaw villages (in Ndu Sub Division) over patches of farmlands located at Mbawrong which according administrative documents and even testimonies is part and parcel of Njirong village.  The land crisis which started as far back as 2004 resurfaced again between the two villages and almost resulted to confrontation recently.. Yet, the disputed area doesn’t have common boundary with Ntumbaw reasons why the fon of Ntumbaw was mute when asked to justify how he came to own land far off. Sources hinted that the matter which was laid to rest in 2004, resurfaced when the Cameroon Development Corporation-CDC is said to have visited the locality in search of land to set up a palm plantation and that strangers were spotted selling large pieces of land which they were not supposed to do so. More so, some farmers are also said to have transformed themselves to land owners and sold out large portions to the detriment of the peace loving people and the fon of Njirong, HRH Fon Ngahjoh who is said to be the custodian of the land. According what Donga Mantung SDO told this reporter when accosted, the people of Njirong village in a solidarity invited the fon of Ntumbaw to come and farm rice with them and gave him part of their land. Since crops were doing well, farmers from Ntumbaw also followed their fon to cultivate crops and after many years, those who begged land to cultivate crops are selling it. Today, the fon of Ntumbaw say he only shares boundary with the people of Ntem and Mbonso, meaning that entire Mbawrong is his land. When the SDO for Donga Mantung Division, Nzekie Theophile visited the area, ready to fight youths from Ntumbaw invaded the area and were threatening that they will not allow the administration to take their land and hand to Njirong village. But the SDO and his team were logical to have proven to the people of Ntumbaw that they have no right over the said piece of land. They were told to stop the sales of land and only farm their crops because the land do not belong to them. More so, the Fon of Ntumbaw was also told to write a lterre of apology to the Fon of Njirong. There is reported to have dancing and merrymaking at the Njirong Fons palace over the weekend to celebrate the success. Sources hinted that Njirong people for their hospitality have not been hostile as after all the intrigues, accepted that the people of Ntumbaw should continue to cultivate crops on the said land. SDO Nzekie Theophile applauded the levelheadedness of the elite of Njirong and added that they have proven that dialogue and mutual co-existence is the prerequisite for any successful society of good people.He however told the people of Ntumbaw and the fon that they have three months to apologize to the people of Njirong. Nzekie Theophile continued that if by December 31st, 2012 the said apology is not submitted, the people of Ntumbaw will face the rage of the law. Before leaving Mbawrong, he acknowledged the fact that the two villages accepted dialogue. But added that when the apology is submitted the people of Njirong and Ntumbaw will be referred back to the 2004 land resolution on the disputed piece of land.
It is alleged that during the stormy meeting of October 18, 2012, the fon of Ntumbaw could not provide documents which clearly justifies that the piece of land belongs to his fondom. Acting on the 2004 administrative decision and following recommendations from the Nkambe Court of First Instance, the SDO and his team of experts recommended that no person from Ntumbaw should henceforth sell land at the disputed area. However, sources from the disputed area say there is calm and serenity as the people of Njirong are looking at the administration to settle the dispute for once and for all.
In a similar story, the population of Nkambe town is also said to be aghast with the Donga Mantung administration over the allocation of land belonging to the Nkambe District Hospital to the Catholic Church and part of the Nkambe Council land to some personalities without consultation with local authorities. The population is questioning whether with a growing population, the Nkambe District hospital could not be expanded in the nearest future reason why they are against the fact that the piece of land allocated for the hospital has been handed over to the church. More so, the Donga Mantung Community Radio is located in part of the land which implies that the radio may likely be transferred whereas at it present location, it air weaves get to the entire division. By so doing, many have argued, the population shall be deprived of information.
(Coming Up: How Tempers are flaring in Nkambe over the Distribution of Nkambe Council Land by the SDO, Reactions from the population and other stakeholders)

When News Breaks Out, We Break In. Minute by Minute Report on Cameroon and Africa

Friday, October 19, 2012

Elections Cameroon in Double Illegalities

Hon. Ayah Paul
By Hon. Ayah Paul Dr fonkam Samuel Azu’u, the board chair of ELECAM, has told the world through CRTV radio programme – “Cameroun Calling” – that they of ELECAM “are under the law” and that they “apply the law as it is and not as it ought to be”. Earlier on, the Director General of Elections had told the universe that ELECAM was not under the law due to “force majeur”, (vis major). Also had a certain Minang arrogantly and unabashedly announced to the galaxy that the fact that the law provides that registration of voters lasts from January 1 to December 31 “does not mean that registration cannot be done outside that period”. In other words, the legal provision in his learned thinking is discretionary.
We can forgive the Director General of Elections and Mr. Minang for grappling with legal issues that tantalize them. It is presumed that they are lay men in the legal realm. Evidently, the Director General of Election is uninformed that vis major consists in an act extraneous to the conduct (i.e. outside the doing of) of the person invoking vis major. To put it otherwise, laziness, ignorance or omission fall out of the realm of vis major. Vis major leans on an unforeseeable event: an unpredictable occurrence, beyond human control, an act of God for example.
Dr fonkam by contrast, holds a termal degree in law. He surely is possessed of the fact that the law as it is provides that registration of voters in Cameroun takes place from January 1 to August 31 every year. Any registration between September 1 and December 31, as LECAM is currently doing, is not the law as it is. It is blatant illegality! That is one illegality!
Again, by the law as it is, registration runs continuously from January 1 to August 31; subject only to the calling of the electorate to the poll. The calling of the electorate to the poll is the sole prerogative of the President of the Republic. Putting an end to registration on February 28, 2013, as the Director General of Elections has decreed amounts to usurpation. So it is because the Director General of Elections has not the capacity to amend the law as it is, much less to legislate. Mr. Director’s action smacks of reprehensible conduct that is aggravated by his arrogant attitude of might is right.
Dr Fonkam on the other hand, for his position, and especially his level, never can be imagined to be ignorant about the law in the ordinary course of things. One is therefore in the right to hold that Dr Fonkam’s pronouncement is deceptive and malicious. Some bold jurist could even call it fantastic.
Everyone consistently gets away with illegality in Cameroun today from our having been indoctrinated by the ruling class that the truth and the good example come from the top. I do strongly feel vindicated in my holding steadfast that a taste of the forbidden is a second transgression. It would be remembered that Fon Gorji Dinka asserted in the 1990s that the President of the Republic was “going from illegalities to illegalities”, and cautioned that it was urgent to stop him. Even as he was promptly thrown in jail, time has proved him right. The President today is clearly above the constitution to the point where the constitution has lost its binding authority. To illustrate that assertion with a single example, Cameroun is sixteen years today without the Senate, the Constitutional Council, Regional Councils…And even as we claim that we are fighting against corruption, the application of Article 66 of the constitution remains illusory. The constitution apparently is treated as confering only discretionary powers in Cameroun today.
Also are cases legion where judgments of the Full Bench of the Supreme Court are lying in waste in ministers’ drawers, one should add. The provocation and oppression from those overbearing illegal powers are fast building up to a situation of total anarchy with the complacency and/or complicity of lawyers – the very bulwark against lawlessness elsewhere.
We should submit just again that there is no relative or minor illegality. We do know, for instance, that the massacres and confusion on our roads these days can be traced to a presidential malpractice that many may have dismissed as de minimis. We have seen on television time without number how the presidential convoy on a completely deserted road got to a roundabout and took left. This good example from the top has been copied by every driver to a point where road signs no longer have any meaning for anyone. You may wish to count the dead on our roads!
As the top is deified, it cannot be seen to have infringed the law. The solution now is to embark on the building of 20 million speed breaks for the physical restraint of drivers. Camerounese are in the circumstance portrayed as wild animals that need chains to be contained. What is more, quite apart from the discomfort occasioned by those speed breaks and the faster depreciation of our second-hand vehicles, (the only ones within the reach of ordinary Camerounese), the speed breaks compel vehicles to slow down with the result that they almost invariably fall into ambush laid by highway men. Wounding, maiming and killing of Camerounese are not any less here. A predicament that would have been averted had there been just little observance of the law.
One may confidently conclude that even the many slow learners we have in Cameroun these days would learn the lesson that the slightest infringement of the law can lead to disaster. Therefore have we not totally lost hope that ELECAM will some day come to learn that it is theft, be it a penny or a pound, a bicycle or a trailer!

When News Breaks Out, We Break In. Minute by Minute Report on Cameroon and Africa