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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

At 23rd Anniversary of the SDF: 302 Decamp from CPDM, Over 12.000 in Attendance

Hon. Mbaya and wife (Mary Awudu) at the Nkambe Granstand
 By Fai Cassian Ndi
The slogans of the Social Democratic Front, SDF were alive at the Nkambe Grandstand stadium on Sunday May 26 as the leading opposition party celebrated 23 years of continued existence. To reecho its existence over 12.000 SDF militants staged a pacific march that lasted for over four hours, chanting “tell me your party if you don’t know SDF”.
The unexpected happened when 302 CPDM militants crossed the carpet to join the SDF. There was trumpet blast when Samba Napoleon alias La Samba, moved to the rostrum to declare he has decamped. “After 17 years, I have decided to quit the CPDM. I prefer to be in a winning side”, he concluded. In his testimony, Pa Ta Shey Elias Kargong said he has militated in the CPDM since inception but has taken a firm stand to move into the SDF.
Addressing the crowd, Hon. Awudu Mbaya Cyprian, the Member of Parliament for Nkambe Central, congratulated the population for the massive turn-out. To Hon. Awudu Mbaya their massive presence is warning signal and an open letter to their political opponents. To this Hon. Awudu Mbaya added that SDF militants have reaffirmed the assurance to strengthen the great effort to win power and ensure equal opportunities for all in Cameroon.
SDF officials at Grandstand
As the count down to this year’s municipal and legislative election narrows down Hon. Awudu Mbaya also used to opportunity to challenge CPDM bigwigs stiffen their boats else some of them who promised to empty their accounts to flush the SDF may go bare footed. He however, saluted party militants who have been steadfast for 23 years and urged them to take care and not to fall into temptation as they all prepare to win power and bring hope to Cameroonians.
Harping on why the SDF was created, Mangoh Jones Tanko said after 23 years, he has seen a more determined people like was the case in 1991 when Ni John Fru Ndi visited Nkambe for the first time. He said he has heard and seen some naïve people who have nothing to offer claiming that they will effect change in Nkambe. “Give them zero votes” he emphasized. When asked by this reporter to assess the impact of the SDF as ruling party in Nkambe, Mangoh Jones said that when the SDF took over the municipality some 18 years ago, the district hospital had no drugs, doctor and even nurses. The population of the municipality was confused given that there were no roads linking villages, no dispensaries; schools were operating under sheds and borrowed premises, Nkambe council had no town hall etc. But the coming of the SDF has recorded the construction and equipping of 44 classrooms, construction of four health centers (dispensaries), opening of farms to market roads, and access to potable water has been achieved by over 79% etc. “May 26, 2013 has demonstrated that the SDF remains the strongest political party in Nkambe and I think those were misled are leaking their wounds now. In 1996 we won by 81%, this year we are going to go out very fully” he concluded.
Addressing the population at the Nkambe Grandstand, Madame Mary Awudu on her part called on SDF militants to remain steadfast. She said it is better to be poor and have people because money can never buy peoples’ consciences. She wondered whether they weren’t anyone from Mbum land who could be made senator by the CPDM. “It is shameful that we have been reduced to the level of Secretaries of state, even now we do not have one”. Madame Mary Awudu also wondered loudly why the construction of the ring road ends only in Kumbo. “Those who are talking of developing Mbumland today should tell us what they did when they were in government for years”. In her usual tempo, what she could not say in her speech, she ended it in a song.
Cross-section of the over 12.000 man-crowd
 It was clear that the SDF is gaining steam when judged from the massive turnout. . He inspired followers to renew commitment with actions that produce results. He however, saluted party militants who have been steadfast for 23 years and urged them to take care of their health as the way forward to prepare for greater efforts to win power and bring hope to Cameroonians.
He called on SDF sympathizers to take advantage of re-opened biometric registers to massively register, vote and defend their votes.
On his part Mbeh Wilfred SDF district Chairman called on the militants to be more vigilant. He said their massive turnout clearly demonstrate their attachment to SDF dogma. Over 300 dance groups took part in the celebrations. Allegations are rife that 13 cows were slaughtered for the feast. 

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

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Why Herakles Farms Project Gets Gov't Suspension

 "If you think you’re going to go into an African country and do as you please to make some quick money, it now turns out you’re in over your head." -- Anuradha Mittal of the Oakland Oakland Institute . After coming under fire from environmental and social justice organisations for violations of land protection laws, Herakles Farms, a New York-based agricultural company, has suspended a large, controversial palm oil project in Cameroon. The announcement comes after the Cameroonian government ordered the company to halt its operations, saying the project had failed to obtain necessary permits. Critics of Herakles’s Cameroon plans are celebrating the decision as a victory for the power of local community activism, though the suspension is currently seen as merely temporary. 
“People on the ground are celebrating, and the suspension is being viewed as recognition of the [Forest] Ministry standing up for what is right,” Anuradha Mittal, executive director of the Oakland Institute, a U.S. watchdog group that has followed Herakles Farms’ Cameroon project for years, told IPS.“In fact, what it shows is that it’s communities on the ground that will make governments honourable – and that’s what democracy is supposed to look like. This is sending a strong message that African countries are open for business, but they’re not open for theft.”
In a 2009 agreement, the Cameroonian government authorised a Herakles Farms subsidiary to develop more than 73,000 hectares for new palm oil plantations. Much of this forestland has reportedly already been cleared, and the company says it is currently in the process of transporting saplings to the plantation areas from nurseries.
Yet local NGOs have increasingly accused Herakles Farms of ignoring community concerns and failing to comply with both court mandates and a government injunction. The company’s decision to suspend the operation now comes following a mid-April order from the Forest Ministry that the company halt a logging operation in the Cameroonian southwest. A request for comment from Herakles on Friday was not responded to by deadline. Ministry officials say Herakles has failed to attain two required permits, with Forestry Minister Ngole Philip Ngwesse noting Thursday that previous agreements between the company and government don’t “exempt” Herakles from following “legal procedure”.
Ngwesse said his office was forced to act following grievances lodged by local communities. Authorisation to resume operations is now based on a “declaration of public usefulness”, according to the ministry.
In announcing the suspension of work, Herakles stated that it “always has and will comply fully and transparently with government regulations in force” and that it “hopes to understand and resolve these actions” by the ministry. Noting that nearly 700 employees involved in the project could now be furloughed or laid off, Herakles said it “finds these events especially tragic”.
Need to “safeguard reputation”
Yet according to Mittal, newly released evidence of Herakles’s internal operations suggests that moving forward could be complicated for the company, which says it has invested some 350 million dollars in the Cameroon project.
“Given the other evidence that we have of the company’s mismanagement, it will be interesting to see how exactly they decide to handle this,” she says. “After all, this could now undermine a misconceived business plan. If you think you’re going to go into an African country and do as you please to make some quick money, it now turns out you’re in over your head – and there’s no way to fix that quickly.” Earlier this week, the Oakland Institute and Greenpeace International jointly released a report highlighting wide discrepancies between how Herakles was presenting its projects in Cameroon to investors and consumers and the environmental and social impacts on the ground.
At the heart of the issue is Herakles’s presentation of the Cameroon project in a way that emphasised its purported environmental sustainability and beneficial impact on local communities – the company even began its own development group, called All for Africa. Yet internal documents included in the report now show that executives at Herakles were aware of the legal holes in the investment.
One e-mail between company executives called the management situation in Cameroon “pathetic” with a “grossly overstaffed office”, and urged “formal approval from the government for land concession”. The e-mail also warned that the situation in Cameroon should be addressed “to safeguard Herakles investments and reputation”.
“What’s really unique about this [instance] is the web of lies and deceit,” Samel Ngiuffo, director of the Center for Environment and Development, a Cameroonian NGO, told reporters this week. “It’s not just to consumers … it’s to investors and the Cameroonian government.”
Chief among these allegations is that Herakles, despite denials to the contrary, began clearing forest and developing palm nurseries before obtaining certificates required by Cameroonian law. According to the report, some evidence suggests that the projects have been in violation of those laws since 2010.
Herakles has also touted the project’s employment potential. Its corporate website, for example, states that the company has developed a “staffing plan and will work closely with village leaders to identify and train candidates and employ as many of those seeking employment as possible.”
Yet a convention Herakles signed in 2009 allows the company to pay according to minimum wage scales “fixed on the basis of productivity and efficiency criteria”, rather than according to Cameroonian minimum wage laws.
“Small-scale farmers who are already producing cash crops like cocoa are making far more independently operating than they would be as labourers in a Herakles plantation,” Brendan Schwartz, a forest campaigner with Greenpeace International, told reporters this week.
Additionally, Herakles Capital, an affiliate company, is a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, a group designed to set and monitor environmental standards for such investments. The group formally prohibits its members from using so-called high conservation value forests (HCVF), or forests designated as ecologically, economically or culturally vital, for palm plantations.
Despite this, the new report points out that the Germany Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), among other monitoring groups, has indicated that “part of the [Herakles] concession area has to be considered as HCVF.”
Now, the Cameroonian government’s strong position on the Herakles project shouldn’t be read as an attempt to close the door on foreign investment, the Oakland Institute’s Mittal cautions. 
“The ministry is not saying that Cameroon is a bad place to invest,” she says. “It’s just saying that investors need to follow the proper regulations.”

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

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Prime Minister Suspends FECAFOOT Elections

Prime Minister, Philemon Yang has slammed a ban on FECAFOOT Election. According to information filtering into our office, the Prime Minister Yang Philemon stepped into the scene when the National Olympic Committee rejected Iya Mohammed's candidature. It is alleged that PM Philemon Yang acted on instructions from the Presidency of the Republic given that the Supreme State Control had earlier suspended Iya Mohammed, the outgoing FECAFOOT President of holding any public.
However, three candidates were competing for the post of President. The election date was announced for May 25 at 10am, yet the decision to suspend the election was announced when delegates nationwide were already in Yaounde. The latter has been canceled for unknown reasons. Analysts are of the opinion that it is a masterminded plan to frustrate the outgoing President Iya Mohammed. The outgoing President, according to what we gathered has been hooked following an appeal filed by John Ndeh (also a candidate, in addition to Marlene Emvoutou).

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

Friday, May 24, 2013

Ni Amboh Declares Parliamentary Ambitions, Hon. PC Fonso in Difficulties


NI AMBOH’S  CAMPAIGN MESSAGE FOR 2013 PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION
MOMO EAST CONSTITUENCY-MBENGWI
Dear God’s People,

Six years ago, you elected me as your Alternate Member of Parliament for Momo East Constituency. At the age of 30, you made me one of the Youths in Africa elected in an opposition party at the National Election into the Cameroon National Assembly. At a time when the Youths, your children, are unemployed, marginalized and suppressed. They are leaving the country because of bad Governance [Corruption and Injustice]. The old even after 70 years dominate political positions in our country. This Biblical death age, is characterized with loss of memory and an age where they need to involve the Youths. An age, where they need to write more books for posterity! My family won the American Lottery but we turned it down. We feel that we can contribute greatly towards changing the many ills plaguing our country. Our Youths, to a larger extent, are fraudulently being admitted into professional schools. The future of our country is made worst by the many Bad Laws forced on Cameroonians making Parliamentarians not to play their Rightful roles of Initiating and passing Bills into Laws. All the structures of our country are managed by the Head of State alone! In other more developed countries, the D.Os, Governors, Rectors of State Universities, are Elected so that they can put the population first. In Cameroon, our appointed officials work to satisfy not the people but the person who has Appointed them, who unfortunately wants to hold tied to Power till death! The weak  are not protected. Mostly the strong bribe their way to the top. We must create a society in which a little girl or boy born in Fringyen should not only be equal and free in God’s eyes, they should be free and equal in our own eyes. Our parents should live in dignity and not die without having their Pension. Justice should come before Peace. Not Peace before Justice .Whoever Maltreats the people, should not be allowed to rest. That is why I belief in peaceful non-violent demonstration as a means of projecting and protecting the Truth and fighting the ills of our society. Whenever we came together, we succeeded in providing a lasting solution to the problems we faced. Though I was often punished by the authorities, I was satisfied that there was Change! Cameroon cannot be Changed through words only. The people must stand together to fight for the great values such as Justice, Accountability and Democracy.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the SDF constitution stands for these Great values that can transform our country. Though our path be as dark as night, I tell you there is Hope. There is a star to guide the Humble. Trust in God and do the Right.

Six years ago, I spoke to you about the Rescue Salvation Mission, the difficulties we had in Mbengwi. The need for a Just and Transparent Management of the yearly eight million francs for projects. I fought tirelessly. This was not achieved! In Bamenda, the Parliamentarian gives the money to the committee to plan, execute and evaluate the Projects. In Mbengwi, some Projects are done at the discretion of the MP.

I realized that we do not lack rich Leaders in our country. We lack Inspired and Honest Leaders. Obama became President with one car and one house .Imagine the millionaires we have and millions suffering. We must work Hard to identify the Leaders who can help change our country. Not those who use politic as business. Fighting for themselves and promoting Corruption. We must strive to look for those who will put God first despite our human weaknesses. I did not know that I could fail to change people when I talk to them directly. I have Prayed to God to hold down the wicked and those Promoting it. He should fight and weaken them. Lasting Justice and Peace can only be established by God. We must put our Land, Country and our Continent into prayers.

My Dear People, I know how hard it is for you to belief that I will be different from them. I have seen and felt that most of our leaders are out to manipulate and deceive the people. I own one house and one car. Controlling a yearly family income of over 5.5million francs which for the past 6 years give an income of 33 million francs. Our Leaders should declare their asserts before and after they leave power. As a student, whenever I saw my friends being maltreated, I did not sleep until we took measures to solve the problem. That is, I feel that your support to me will enable me to begin a long journey of making Great contributions towards changing our World. I have prayed to God that what happened to Nelson Mandela should not happen to me except it is His will. Let the evil ones not be allowed to punish those who want to fight and protect the suffering people. If my goal was to make fast money, I could have allowed myself to be bought or I could have fought for appointments since I am a trained teacher. But with great support from my wife and family, I have been able to stand for the Truth. Mr Mbah Gottfried, our late District chairman, despite his age, stood for the Truth. ‘He didn’t want to chop’. He fought for a micro project committee which is not functional. Though an old man, he did not fight only for his stomach. He did not betray you especially when he had the right facts. He may be surprised that Mayor Tah George is in Prison for alleged corruption. He might not have had the right information on how to correct him. He had his own threats for the Truth he stood for before his death. Those who do not stand for the Truth like some exco members are not being threatened. Those who are frank are hated and excluded. I have examine my conscience and have prayed to God to give me the strength to defend, protect and serve the suffering masses, the poor, the weak, the suppressed and marginalized.

I therefore stand to give you Hope. Hope in a bright future where there will be Accountability and Justice. There is power in change. When we change it is there that we can compare two things. I know I will not provide solutions to every problem but I promise to tell you the Truth especially when we disagree. It is my wish that we live happily while waiting for death. That is why I am encouraging free Herbal Treatment using our own herbs. I promise to continue to help you know the treatment for malaria, typhoid fever and other illnesses for free. For malaria you harvest 30 bitter leaves, 4 yellowish pawpaw leaves. Squeeze in 5 litres of water. Drink 3 times daily for 8 days. For typhoid, boil eucalyptus leaves in 4 litres of water. Drink 3 times daily for 5 days. Health is wealth. We can depend on herbs that grow in our backyard for the effective treatment of many illnesses. This is an issue that should be pursued even by a Head of State. We should exchange our raw material for technology. We should not allow the white man to continue to take our cocoa and coffee to produce chocolate and sell to us. Rather, they should teach us how to produce the chocolate. They can buy the cocoa and coffee to produce the chocolate for their own population. That will be real equality in our world.

We have also succeeded, through the Youth Multipurpose CIG, where I am the Secretary, to bring over one hundred million francs to farmers in Meta through projects sponsored by a Non Governmental Organization. I will continue to work with the government, the civil society and individuals who will promote values that protect the people, the poor.

I have also been to some nearby but enclave communities in our constituency like Fun, Chup, Tuanyang, Zang-Tabi etc which lack electricity though they are just less than 4 kilometres away from the communities with electricity. In Ngwokwong, most of the families have generators. They all deserve the extension of electricity. When I talked with the paramount Fon of Meta about the future development of Meta and Cameroon, I saw a good vision in him. I am aware of most of our problems. Through joint efforts and accountability, crowned with the fear of God, we will be able to satisfy our people and prepare them for Heaven. That is the meaning of the RESCUE SALVATION MISSION

Thank you very much
Long live the course for Justice
Long live SDF,  Long live Cameroon



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

Thursday, May 23, 2013

REDD+ and Climate Change: NW Coordination Unit Kick-starts Activities

 By Tamngwa Marcel Kwalar
Some twenty environmental oriented groups have been called upon to get set for the implementation of the REDD+ and the Climate Change platform in the Nkambe Council area. The clarion call was made by the Regional Coordinator of Civil Society Organizations (representing the national platform in the North West Region) Mary Nyuyinwi. Addressing participants during the workshop of May 22, 2013 at the Nkambe Council Club, Mary Nyuyinwi told participants that Reducing Emissions from Deforestation, Degradation and Conservation of Biodiversity and Climate Change (REDD+ and CC) is a World Bank sponsored programme aimed at mitigating the effects of climate change in the world. Accordingly, she also disclosed prior to the implementation of REDD+ and CC Platform in 2015, some $ 28 million would be put at the disposal of Cameroon to enable actors educate and sensitize selected groups on issues related to the actions and intentions of the platform.
Talking further, Mary Nyuyinwi said coming to Nkambe was no doubt important as it offers an opportunity for them to meet groups working in the sector, collect information on local realities that need to be considered during the implementation phase and set up a council unit to oversee the activities of the platform in Nkambe Council area. She ended by stressing that REDD+ and CC is important given that if well implemented it will mitigate the adverse effects of climate change, promote healthy weather conditions thereby increasing agro-pastoral output.
Capitalizing on these benefits, she called on one and all to preach the gospel of REDD+ and CC given that man’s socio-economic and industrial activities are at the center of climate and degradation of biodiversity. Other speakers who took turn during the workshop elaborated on the role of various stakeholders in the process. Talking on the role of civil society organizations, participants were informed that they have the task to assist communities, community based organizations to map and identify biodiversity resources in view of conservation, create awareness on REDD+ and CC, provide funding for conservation etc. the workshop stressed on the role of women and indigenous people who equally are the main target group to benefit from the programme given that they have a lot to conserve.
After reviewing the various environment problems and that stakes ahead, a three- man team was elected to oversee the activities of the platform in the Nkambe Council area. The organizations that will henceforth act as lead out of the twenty are SURUDEV, Dynamic Sisters and DOMABA.
Talking to the Divisional delegate of Environment and Nature Protection for Donga Mantung, Tumi Emmanuel at the end of the workshop, he lamented that the greatest problem of the platform would be to identify groups that are active in the field as well as o work with the local population. On his part, the 3rd Deputy Mayor for Nkambe Council Nfor Baleri expressed joy with the fact that Nkambe municipality is among the few selected council areas to benefit from the platform. Noting that Nkambe is a victim of climate change going by the recurrent water crisis experienced in the municipality, the 3rd Deputy mayor was hopeful that if these organizations work hand in hand with the local population especially farmers and grazers the negative effects of climate change and climate change itself could be a thing of the past.

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

NEPAD Launches A New Rural World

Addis Ababa – May 23, 2013: The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Agency is taking a significant lead in supporting and driving policy on Africa’s rural transformation.
The Agency today launched the Atlas on rural development titled “A new Emerging Rural World”, in Ethiopia, Addis Ababa. Published by NEPAD’s Rural Futures Programme, the Atlas is an important tool for policy makers because it carries concrete figures on the rural dynamics of how Africa can develop.
Speaking at the launch, the African Union's Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture Mrs Rhoda Peace Tumussiime said “It is important to look at urbanisation as an opportunity. In the rural areas agriculture is done by our old folks but we see generation of young people in urban areas who are more educated, are techno-savvy and can in future transform the countryside with these skills and knowledge.”
NEPAD Chief Executive Officer Dr Ibrahim Mayaki said the publication is not about vague speeches but is an important scientific tool to transformation.  “We cannot talk about inclusive growth if we do not tackle the issue of rural development. Sixty five per cent of our population is made up of youth who will be in the majority in fifty years’ time. It is a pertinent time to look at the critical dimensions that will shape the future.
Estherine Fotabong, Head of the Rural Futures Programme lamented the issue of rural poverty as a paradox in a continent which is also making economic gains in the urban areas, with some counties having the fastest economic growth in the world.
The Rural Futures Programme, launched in 2010 reflects the commitment of African leaders to advance the rural sector as a more effective engine for development and transforming the lives of the majority of Africans who still live in rural areas.
 
Earlier this month, the NEPAD, the Government of Benin, and other international development partners will held a special Forum on Taking Forward the Rural Development Agenda in Africa” in the Benin capital Cotonou.
 
The forum culminated in the Contonou Declaration, a framework with tangible deliverables is vital in that it will serve as a guiding framework for African Union member states and the NEPAD Agency, in designing and implementing a development strategy that emphasis transformation and growth in Africa’s rural areas.


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

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Gov't Indicts Herakles Farms (SGSOC), Suspends Activities

 By Ian Makia
The Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife has suspended all deforestation operations of Herakles Farms pending further investigations in the company’s illegal activities in Cameroon.
As the PSMNR report strongly advised that Herakles Farms (SGSOC) land negotiations should be stopped in particular outside the proposed Herakles Farms (SGSOC) concession to avoid potential land use conflicts, also the report stated “Based on our field observations Herakles Farms (SGSOC) has open around 300ha which is far above the 60ha tolerated by the law if no presidential land lease decree has been signed. Herakles Farms (SGSOC) has already planted a portion of the land and piles of timber are waiting to be auctioned”.
“Some serious evidence of illegal timber exploitation by Herakles Farms (SGSOC) has been noticed close to Fabe village with tracks opened by a caterpillar. There are also very active lands clearing in the area with huge portion of land opened with chainsaws. This may be a sign of land speculation starting in the area” a report stated. It should be recalled that environmentalists have decried and demonstrated that the project is located in a biodiversity hot-spot.
Herakles Farms (SGSOC) negotiation was done with lots of intimidation and bribery, targeting the chiefs and some few influential decision- making members of the communities the report stated.
The negotiation was not transparent and also differs from one village to another. SGSOC negotiation methods were clearly not respecting “Free Prior and Informed Consent” process (FPIC) principles. “FPIC implies that communities have the right to decide whether they will agree to the project or not once they have a full and accurate Understanding of the implications of the project on them and their customary land”. Communities should be informed on what is a large scale plantation, on the positive and negative impacts of Herakles Farms (SGSOC) project in the short, medium and long term. Communities should also be made aware of other development models and on the contribution of the forest to their livelihood.
 
In recognition of the increasing threats to forest and wildlife resources, Cameroon has signed a number of global and regional conventions as a demonstration of the country’s commitment to the conservation of the world’s environment and resources.
Two of such conventions include the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the March 1999 Yaoundé Declaration. In the latter, Central African Heads of State jointly agreed to stamp out poaching (illegal hunting) and any non sustainable exploitation…as well as work with local communities to sustainably manage forest and wildlife resources in the Sub-region. Furthermore, in 1995 the government of Cameroon formulated a new forestry policy with the aim to protect the environment and its resources.
This new policy and the legal framework provided for (1994 Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries Laws), express the wish of the government of Cameroon to increase the involvement and participation of local populations in the management and conservation of forest and wildlife resources in order to improve their living conditions.


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