Tuesday, April 28, 2015

2015 International Labour Day: Trade Unionist's Call For Peace, Solidarity, Decent Work’

 Message to the North West Region Workers on the 129th Edition of the International Labour Day 2015

Dear Comrades of the North West Region,
Tse Anye Kevin, CCTU Regional President
I am delighted to welcome you all to the 129th edition of the International Labour Day celebration on the theme: ‘Let us build our country in peace, solidarity and decent work’.
I humbly thank and appreciate all our efforts in the attainment of 2014 goals for the workers which dwelled on decent work at our work place wherein we all condemned in very strong terms the bad and unethical practices at our job places such as: child labour, sexual harassment, homosexuality, embezzlement and corruption. The list goes on.
Although in 2014, a lot of unusual and unethical situations occurred, we praise God Almighty for the collective efforts of our unions to handle them. In future, the unions shall be more prompt in responding to similar unethical actions that could render untold hardship on workers in particular and the population in general.
 In 2015, our collective efforts to promote peace, solidarity and decent work at all levels will go a long way to create an enabling environment for economic growth and the promotion of our development.
I therefore wish to call on all the workers to embrace peace as an instrument of economic development, solidarity as we must be one and indivisible to better protect our society. Above all, we must know that the promotion of decent work is about the sustainability of our enterprises and the social protection of workers. We must shun marginalization, the sexual harassment of workers, corruption in all its forms, exploitation of workers by employers, and much more.
I am convinced that if proper strategies and checks are put in place, we will be taking the North West and Cameroon to an era where our economy is placed at the centre of development and where embezzlement, corruption, tribalism, the man-know-man syndrome and discrimination in all its forms, become things of the past.
2015 ushers in enough maturity in workers and I urge you to continue to be involved in the development of your various communities and especially in showing concern for the elderly and non-workers for better harmony in society. I will also like to urge all those who are working in the formal economy to understand that the level of success or progress in their careers depend largely on the level of engagement and contribution of those in the informal economy. My reflection here is on the enormous effort and work put in by women as house wives in particular and in domestic work in general, even as such work  is never really taken into consideration. These categories of unquantified workers deserve our attention as they also deserve decent working conditions.
Without their contribution, we can hardly achieve the theme of this 129th International Labour Day which is that of building our society in peace and solidarity. If we as workers take all this into consideration, we shall be creating an ecosystem of  better life and better living conditions for all, and above all; of a more just, open and democratic  society.

In 2015, we must grab our economy to our hearts; remain united as one people in one nation, fight for our rights, those of the elderly as well as women in domestic work. To achieve this, fellow workers, we must believe in ourselves and our ability to attain our lofty goals. More importantly, and above all, we must trust in the God Almighty.

Long Live the Trade Unions 

Long Live the International Labour Day

Long Live the North West Region and Cameroon

In God we Trust
Tse Anye Kevin
Regional President
Confederation of Cameroon Trade Unions, CCTU

News Breaks Out, We Break In. (The 2014 Bloggies Finalist)

Monday, April 27, 2015

South Africa and Nigeria spar over xenophobic violence

Durban, South Africa - The recent xenophobic violence in South Africa against migrant workers has sparked a new diplomatic rift with Nigeria, with the South African government condemning Nigeria's decision to withdraw its envoys from Pretoria.
On Sunday, the South African government released a statement calling Nigeria's move "an unfortunate and regrettable step" and said the government and a wide range of civic organisations had been "decisive and unequivocal" in condemning the attacks on foreign nationals in the country.
The statement by South Africa's Department of International Cooperation, however, goes on to deride the Nigerian government over its inability to rein in the Boko Haram insurgency in the north of its country. It also points out that South Africa did not blame the Nigerian government for mishandling the aftermath of the collapse of a church building in 2014, which left 84 South Africans dead.
Nigeria's acting high commissioner in South Africa, Ambassador Martin Cobham, and the consul-general, Ambassador Uche Ajulu-Okeke were called home on Saturday to brief the Nigerian parliament about the welfare of Nigerian citizens in South Africa following the anti-immigrant violence in Durban and Johannesburg.
Tolu Ogunlesi, West Africa editor of the Africa Report magazine, criticised the tenor of the South African government's statement.
Ogunlesi said it was not logical to compare the Nigerian Church disaster in 2014 to the xenophobic attacks and referring to the church disaster was misplaced in a diplomatic context. The Nigerian government has been criticised for mishandling the response to the collapse, with bodies repatriated some nine months after the incident.
"The statement sounded like the thoughts of someone, rather than a diplomatic response," he said.
Many South Africans however, including prominent South African analyst, Eusebius McKaiser, have described South Africa's response as justified.
“This response from South Africa - via Clayson Monyela [deputy director-general of the Department of International Relations and Co-Operation] - is fully justified in my view," McKaiser wrote on Facebook on Sunday night.
"However it certainly helps neither South Africa nor Nigeria - and definitely not the continent, geopolitically - for diplomatic relations between us to deteriorate," he added.
Nigeria 'opportunistic'
While some have described Nigeria's decision to recall its envoy as "opportunistic", others say the action has only come after public pressure. 
"The government did not say anything even in the face of protests almost on a daily basis especially in Abuja and Lagos," Deji Badmus, a freelance journalist based in Lagos, said.
Badmus told Al Jazeera that the government decided to act following the decision of the parliament and a meeting of the Nigerian senate.
"I don't think it would have been proper for the Nigerian government to say nothing, do nothing, when, foreigners, not just Nigerians are being attacked in South Africa," Badmus said.
Jackie Cilliers, executive director of the Institute for Security Studies in Pretoria, however feels that Nigeria's diplomatic withdrawal is not indicative of a continent-wide indictment of the South African government's failure to stop anti-immigrant violence.
"I don't think Nigeria's action is a statement on behalf of the rest of the continent," he said, adding that the "reality is Africa is multi-polar and there is no singular country that can speak for the entire continent".
Rift between leaders
Few believe Nigeria's decision to recall its envoys speaks for anyone other than themselves.
Nigeria and South Africa haven't enjoyed close relations in the past decade, especially under the leadership of presidents Jacob Zuma and Goodluck Jonathan. Analysts see this rift as part of the larger story of worsening relations between the two countries.
"It has become an all-out contest for influence in Africa between South Africa and Nigeria," Cilliers said.
Leaders from Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe have publicly condemned the attacks, with both Malawi and Zimbabwe sending buses to repatriate citizens following the violence.
Few doubt however, that the violence has been a blow to South Africa's image.
"I think African states have reacted quite strongly to the xenophobic violence in South Africa this time," Cilliers said.
Zuma's administration has come under much criticism for the violence. But not everyone agrees the South African government's response has been poor. Cilliers, for one, describes the government's response as "admirable".

Tolu Ogunlesi said the latest developments between the two countries was only a manifestation of the quality of leadership in both.

"President Goodluck Jonathan has been a dismal leader and Zuma has also not lived up to his responsibility," he said from Lagos.
"They both don't inspire confidence within their countries and outside." 
At least seven people in South Africa have been killed in the attacks against migrants since March 20, when South Africa's Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini spoke out against foreign workers.
Source: Al Jazeera

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Plan Cameroon Extends Hand of Fellowship to War Victims in Northern Cameroon

Plan Cameroon has donated material support to refugees in the Northern Region of Cameroon worth over FCFA 670 million according reports.  Sources say the items from Plan Cameroon consist of tents, blankets, mosquito nets, soap boxes, tarpaulins; latrine slabs, kitchen utensils etc were handed to beneficiaries last April 22, 2015.
The support from Plan Cameroon made possible thanks to the contribution of AERich Aid. It should be noted that Plan Cameroon has been working at the Minawao refugee camp in the area of education, protection as well as hygiene and sanitation. For example, Plan Cameroon has been building learning spaces for displaced pupils and student given that every child is at the heart of everything Plan Cameroon does in Cameroon.
The Minawao camp it should be recalled was established in the wake of the first refugees fleeing the atrocities of the Islamic sect Boko Haram from Nigeria as well as accommodate the Central African Republic (RCA) conflict. Originally planned to house 18,000 refugees, today an estimated 34,000 refugees are reported to have stormed the camp in six months, and latest statistics show that there are more than 40,000 refugees in the camp.

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Sunday, April 26, 2015

Dr. Ndonwie Peter to Organize Free Eye Screening in Bamenda

Dr. Ndonwie Peter talking to the Press in Bda

By Fai CN
In Cameroon, there are many people whose daily lives are affected by vision issues that usually originate from neglect. This is very peculiar in villages and semi urban cities due to abject poverty and the lack of access to medication as well as related eye service.  Dr. Ndonwie Peter, the Managing Director of the Pan African Organization for Research (based in Ghana) and elite of Nkwen village in Bamenda, in the North West Region of Cameroon has announced that he will launch the first ever eye care campaign across Nkwen next week. Talking to journalists at his Nkwen residence the upcoming free for all campaign, used the opportunity to urge members of the public not to miss the opportunity to meet opticians. To him, the programme is not a politically inclined but rather it is geared towards improving the health standards of the population as a whole. “Whether you belong to which political party, be it the CPDM (my party) or the SDF, we are all people of Nkwen. I grow up in this village and that is why I always have my village at heart whenever I am around”. According to Dr. Ndonwie, home is home reasons why he makes sure that he comes back home atleast four times every year. I cann’t just go without doing something significant to my people that is why I always believe that the little that you do to the people is what matters”, he emphasized. “The eye screening for Bamenda free is intended to also reach out to youths who have been working on computers as well”. He added that after screening the public will also benefit from free glasses and lenses.
When quizzed whether this is not a political campaign, Dr. Ndonwie said that it is part of the little efforts that he puts in place to change lives. “If tomorrow, a mother or father goes to church and he/she is able to open the Bible and read the scripture, I think I have impacted on his or her life positively. Or if tomorrow a voter is able to make a right choice by seeing well the ballot, and vote wisely or read a hospital prescription without calling on someone to come and read, I think that is something”. Accordingly, he emphasized that he is not doing it for politics but for his people, implicitly, he is just trying to give back something significant to his community. “Whether they paid my fees or not, I am still appreciative to my people”, he continued. Dr. Ndonwie also reiterated the fact that political campaigns and elections will always come and go. “We should do things for the sake of doing it and not always because of political interest”. He said he left the Mezam Section in 2006, yet every time he comes back home, he makes sure something significant is done for the betterment of all. He however said that if the people of Nkwen whom think that they can push him up when it comes to decision making, he cannot be indifferent to it.
On whether he has a package of ideas and programme to unveil every time he is home, Dr. Ndonwie said that even though he is a development worker, what he is doing is also part of his upbringing by his father taught them to always share the little they have with others. “You see, my father actually assisted in developing Nkwen and Bamenda when they were in the Nkwen council. We saw the good work they were doing with people like Pa Wanky, Pa Asongwe, and the Late Fon of Nkwen. Sincerely, supporting community development is part of us. My taught us to always come home and our family is development oriented, so, every time we always think of how we can make Nkwen a better place”.
Harping on the Ebola Campaign in Ghana, Dr. Ndonwie said Ebola has to do with something that has been putting the lives of children, women, men and the entire population of most West African countries at risk. “Looking at our work with schools, we see that when children are sick or families are sick, it really jeopardize the education of children”. He revealed that Pan African Organization for Research started intervening in the Ebola awareness campaign to make sure that people are aware of what Ebola is all about and how they can stay away from contracting it. “For that reason we worked in collaboration with our partner in Spain (EDOCU) and with them, we supported 40 schools in a municipality called Savelugu-Nanton where we supported hand washing facilities and also provided them with sanitizers, hand washing soap etc”. The support he said was intended to eradicate in- hygienic conditions given that Ebola spreads where there no hygiene. He also added that they also worked towards sensitizing the population on the importance of keeping the environment cleans as well as why they should wash their hands after touching someone who is sick. “It was not just washing hands but more importantly, washing hands in running water. So if you look at the type of equipment we distributed, they are all adapted, because there is a tap that allows water to flow and after washing your hands, it is thrown away”. He said the campaign was very successful and the results could be judged from the fact that Ebola is being minimized in West Africa. He also revealed that he did not noticed any case of Ebola in Ghana, and this is thanks to the intervention of NGOs including the Pan African Organization for Research as well as the collaboration of the communities. According to Dr. Ndonwie, working in collaboration with the Ghana Education Services is a success story given that given that they also support schools and communities with learning and teaching materials. This he said include amongst others the Rights and Protection of Children, as well as making sure that children are not sent on early marriages. “We have been working to make sure that children who are less than 18 years old should be in school and not marriage homes”, he emphasized.

Who is Dr. Ndonwie Peter
Dr. Ndonwie Peter was born in 1968 in Nkwen-Bamenda in the Mezam Division of the North West Region of Cameroon. He holds a Master Degree in Humanitarian Studies from University of Liverpool ( School of Tropical Medicine) and PhD in Business and Management from University of South Central (Los Angeles) USA. At International level he is working as a development consultant and is the Program Director of Pan African Organisation for Research and Protection of Violence on Women and Children in Ghana. From 2010, 2011 and 2012 Dr. Ndonwie Peter won numerous awards for his work. He received the ‘’Best Social Entrepreneur’’ award for promoting the rights of children in Northern Ghana from a Swedish Organisation (Reach for Change) and Tigo Ghana, an award that has supported his work with more than $75,000 for the past three years. As researcher, he is also a refined writer of many story books in his credit and development publications. This is so because has spent more than 18 years studying and working in development related programs in Cameroon, United Kingdom, Germany, Israel, Ghana and other countries. He is married with children. 

When News Breaks Out, We Break In. (The 2014 Bloggies Finalist)

Saturday, April 25, 2015

UN Chief Appeals to Indonesia to Stop Planned Executions

Source: AP
The U.N. chief is appealing to Indonesia to stop the planned executions of nine foreigners and one local who were convicted for drug crimes.
A statement from Ban Ki-moon's office says the United Nations opposes the death penalty "in all circumstances."
The executions have caused widespread outcry and threats from France, Australia and others of diplomatic consequences.
Ban is calling on President Joko Widodo to "urgently consider declaring a moratorium on capital punishment in Indonesia, with a view toward abolition."
Indonesian officials have not said when the executions will take place but have vowed to carry them out. Widodo has said Indonesia is suffering a "drug emergency."
The foreigners are three Nigerian men, two Australian men, a Filipino woman, and one man each from Brazil, Ghana and France.

When News Breaks Out, We Break In. (The 2014 Bloggies Finalist)

On World Book Day: ESERVI, Book Aid International Launch Open Doors Children's Library (PhotoNews I)

Inside the children library of the Bamenda City Council. Project conceived by Book Aid International and executed by EISERVI, a Yaounde based NGO. 

When News Breaks Out, We Break In. (The 2014 Bloggies Finalist)

On World Book Day: ESERVI, Book Aid International Launch Open Doors Children's Library (PhotoNews)

Award of Prizes to winners during the official launching of the Bamenda City Council Library Open Doors Children's Corner. Project executed by EISERVI with the partnership of Book Aid International

When News Breaks Out, We Break In. (The 2014 Bloggies Finalist)

On World Book Day: After Bamenda, ESERVI to Setup 8 Open Doors Children's Libraries

The Bamenda City Council Library Open Doors Children’s Corner which is executed in Cameroon by a Yaounde based NGO- Education Information Services International-EISERVI was launched on April 23, 2015 with over 200 kids in attendance. The Open Doors Children’s Corner according to Andrew Nyenty, Executive Director of EISERVI the project seeks to create safe space in libraries and communities as well as support the promotion of reading and learning in children. Andrew Nyenty further emphasized that this project is conceived by Book Aid International and it is executed across 10 countries in Africa. After Limbe, Bamenda is the second city to benefit.
EISERVI and Book Aid International he added donates above 60.000 books and educational materials yearly to universities, NGOs, schools, councils, orphanages etc. Andrew Nyenty also revealed that in the next few years his organization will work with Book Aid International to setup 8 more libraries. The selected areas include, Mamfe, Kumba, Kumbo, Mbengwi, Ekondo Titi, Belo, Bafut and Tiko.
On his part, the Secretary General of the Bamenda City Council expressed gratitude to EISERVI and Book Aid International for the timely support which he added “will go a long way to impact the reading culture of kids in the city of Bamenda”. The SG also used the opportunity to call on the population of Bamenda to use the gift for the purpose that it is intended by sending their children to enjoy the services especially during holidays.
To add more impetus to this year’s World Book Day, EISERVI and the Bamenda Council Library also organized a competition for pupils and students. The selected pupils and students took part in the essay writing competition, reading and spelling inter-school challenges for pupils and secondary school students (Form I,II,III). At the end of the day, winners took home huge prizes. 


Andrew Nyenty

Open Doors library

one of the winners 

When News Breaks Out, We Break In. (The 2014 Bloggies Finalist)

SDF At 25; When Every Newspaper Reader Becomes A Professor Of Journalism

By Aminateh Nkemngu

NI John FRU Ndi

The month of May is an eventful one in Cameroon. If not for anything, but for the fact that it carries four significant celebrations for Cameroonians who enjoy “enjoyment” especially beer drinking. And this “enjoyment” usually begins with Labour Day celebrations. Far from being a moment for workers in diverse fields to articulate work related issues, it is usually the day to forget all frustrations on the job and go merry making. And then comes the 3rd of May, otherwise referred to as “World Press Freedom Day”. For some unexplained reasons ,journalists and media houses in Cameroon usually shy away from labour day, only to come out two days later on 3rd May ,to make a lot of noise about press freedom ,oftentimes without addressing working conditions in their respective media houses, as many as they are. But this does not in any way cancel the fact that the world over, press freedom  is a measuring instrument  of democratic progress .Then comes 20th May, the National Day when all Cameroonians celebrate as one people irrespective of region of origin  ,ethnicity , race, religion,polticial affiliation  or any other social variable. Under normal circumstances, National Day is the most important in the life of every nation, as is rightly the case with Cameroon, especially in the face of the Boko Haram War. But some “misguided “individuals have continued to hang on to colonial cleavages and vestiges to sow seeds of discord. Finally, but more subjectively is the 26th of May ,which is the birth day of the SDF party, already going down in history as Cameroon’s leading oppositions party for more than 25 years. This will formally be confirmed on 26 May when the party celebrates its silver jubilee in Bamenda, its birth place on 26th May 2015.The sensitivity of this issue can be reflected in an article captioned “SDF 25TH Anniversary; “Founding Militants Want Fru Ndi Out”, published on page 6 of The Sun Newspaper No 0312 of Monday April 20, 2015.The reactions to the said article is not only mind bugling, but has also pushed the author of the article to revisit it. During a brief private stay to the South West Region recently, the said article came under a lot of debate to the point where the publisher and editor of the Sun Newspaper both received several calls on the position of the article that “founding militant want Fru Ndi out at 25th anniversary”. That’s not all, the national media including CRTV ,Canal 2,LTM,STV and several local radio stations in Bamenda and the South West  region as well as newspaper readers ,TV viewers and radio listeners have  taken much interest and reacted diversely to the story including dictating what ought to have been written and who ought to have been quoted. And all of these debates bring us back to the story; Firstly, the article was written in a particular context, the National Executive Committee Meeting, NEC, whose sole agenda was to discuss the 25th anniversary of the party. The author of the article was physically present at the gathering. In fact the Chairman of the organizing committee, Honourable Awudu Mbaya Cyprian and the National chairman of the SDF, Ni John Fru Ndi are extensively quoted in the article.
Secondly, the article made mention of “founding militants” and not “founding fathers”. In as much as stereotyped readers might have erroneously understood “founding militants “ to mean the same as  “founding fathers,” the article simply broke the stereotype and took the debate out of the box. This means that away from the “Founding fathers” who have all along taken to the rostrum, several or many “founding militants” or those who were at ‘Liberty Square” when the party was launched in 1990 and who have braved the “labourious existence “ Awudu Mbaya referred to  are still alive and have also found time to air their opinion on the functioning of the party. Afterall, the author of the article was a primary school pupil on 26 May 1990.
Thirdly, many newspaper readers cum “professors of journalism “who have never taken a single lecture on journalism have claimed that the article did not quote any militants. But they must also be reminded of the sacrosanct principle of protection of sources especially in such a sensitive context where witch-hunting can set in as is now proving. This issue is particularly addressed in section 50(1) of law no 90/52 of 19 December 1990 which states that “journalists and their collaborators shall not be bound to disclose their source of information”. Section 47(1) of the same law states that “a journalist shall be bound to process information in an objective and responsible manner”. The chairman of the anniversary organizing committee, Honourable Awudu Mbaya Cyprian and party chairman Ni John Fru Ndi are widely quoted in the write-up. Why must there be emphasis on the release of the identity of the “founding militants” contrary to section 50(1) of the law just quoted above, if not for ulterior motives by self seeking individuals?
Furthermore, the reaction to the story is an indicator that the article and the newspaper are widely read, contrary to doomsday prophets who have undertaken to attack the newspaper and not the issue. Above all, even in mass communication theory in university lecture halls, ”Agenda Setting “ is one of such theories. Without prejudice, the article has only successfully ignited a debate on the “information market place”. This could just be a good research topic for the roadside “journalism professors” to go back to the laboratory .After all, the position of National Chairman of the SDF is elective, and only the militants can decide who stays and who goes.

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