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Eric Ngonji Njungwe
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A constitutional amendment that limits the term of the President to two 5-year terms is certainly commendable. However, Paul Biya’s should not be eligible to run for any more elections in Cameroon, not even for a rural development initiative. The reality though is that these hooligans in Yaounde are seriously testing the grounds with a view to assess national and international reactions to this dubious suggestion. Paul Biya himself and his closest associates are behind this amendment game and if they realize that there is little or no outcry to the idea, they will definitely carry it forward and make Paul Biya the King of Cameroon. This possibility is really scary for Cameroonians who now seem resigned to faith in the hope that nature accelerates is course on this President. I would therefore like to draw your attention this article written in advance of this scenario presenting itself to the open. It is entitled “The Prospect of a Presidency for Life in Cameroon: Facing the Reality of the NEO/MINATD Charade”. You can read the full version at http://www.picam.org/Documents/The%20Prospect%20of%20a%20Presidency%20for%20Life%20in%20Cameroon.pdf. You can also the edited version published by The Postnewsline at http://www.postnewsline.com/2007/03/the_prospect_of.html#more. Eric Ngonji Njungwe: Executive Director, Progressive Initiative for Cameroon (PICAM), www.picam.org.
Please read a recently posted article entitled “The Prospect of a Presidency for Life in Cameroon: Facing the Reality of the NEO/MINATD Charade”. This article describes a probable game plan that could be underway in Cameroon. You can access this article by going to PICAM’s publication page at http://www.picam.org/publications.htm or by pasting http://www.picam.org/Documents/The%20Prospect%20of%20a%20Presidency%20for%20Life%20in%20Cameroon.pdf into your web browser. Kind regards, Eric Ngonji Njungwe Executive Director - PICAM
Streamlining the roles of various stakeholders in the promotion and protection of human rights in a country is without doubt a good idea. However, the track record of our government and the National Commission on Human Rights does not provide any guarantee that they can be effective in their roles. I am therefore skeptical about the whole idea of delimiting the actions each stakeholder can engage in, especially because the government is beginning to view the growing influence of NGOs as a serious threat to their agenda. Hence, I hope that this workshop was not a forum to introduce any secret government agenda of set ting limits on the activities of human rights organizations, but rather a forum to truly harmonize the activities of all state and non-state actors in the promotion and protection of human rights, good governance, and other positive governmental values within the Cameroonians society. Meanwhile, I would like to ask where the National Human Rights Commission and its Chairman Dr. Divine Chemuta Banda where, when the government tabled in the Bill Creating Elections Cameroon (ELECAM)? (http://www.picam.org/Camlaws/Law%20on%20the%20Creation%20of%20Elections%20Cameroon%20(ELECAM).pdf). What was the role of the Commission in the drafting of this PROBLEMATIC law and what has been the reaction of the Commission ever since its enactment. THE RIGHT TO VOTE AND BE VOTED IN FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS is a human right which the Commission must defend within the national territory of Cameroon. Therefore remaining quite in the face of laws that set out to violate this right can be construed as an act of conspiracy or at best, lack of independent stance on the part of the Commission. My personal experience of our National Human Rights Commission and my personal interaction with its pioneer Chairman, Late Dr. Solomon Nfor Gwei let to the publication of this article entitled The National Commission on Human Rights and Freedoms of Cameroon: A “sick” Institution of Common Concern (http://www.picam.org/Documents/The%20National%20Human%20Rights%20Commission%20of%20Cameroon.pdf). While our National Human Rights Commission is probably trying its best under the LIMITED authority granted it by the President (who remains the GUARANTOR of the independence of the Commission), it remains completely answerable to President Biya and lacks the authority to hold regime elements accountable for human rights violations. President/Executive Director: Progressive Initiative for Cameroon – PICAM: www.picam.org.
Hello everyone, Please read PICAM’s recent press release on this subject entitled "Minister of Justice Should Resign or be Dismissed Immediately" on the Minister’s comment not to entertain questions in English. You can read the release from PICAM's website (www.picam.org), or by typing http://www.picam.org/DEM/demjustminisshouldresign.htm into your web browser. Your can leave your comment at Cameroon Connection on this issue rephrased for debate as "Minister of Justice and the Vilification of Anglophone Cameroonians". You can get to Cameroon Connection by clicking on the appropriate link on PICAM's website or by typing http://picam.org/cameroonconnection into your web browser. PICAM appreciate your debate on issues of concern to the country. Sincerely.
Hello everyone, Please read PICAM’s recent press release (PICAM’s Reaction to President Paul Biya’s 2006 End of Year Address to the Nation) on the President’s New Year speech. You can view the press release by clicking on the appropriate link from PICAM’s website (www.picam.org) or by typing http://www.picam.org/DEV/devpicamreactsbiya06.htm into your web browser. Your can leave your comment at Cameroon Connection (PICAM’s web blog) on this issue rephrased for debate as (President Paul Biya’s End of Year Address: Was 2006 Really a Good Year for Cameroon?). You can get to Cameroon Connections by clicking on the appropriate link from PICAM’s website or by typing http://www.picam.org/cameroonconnection into your web browser. PICAM appreciate your debate on issues of concern to the country. Thanks in advance for informing others about our activities. Sincerely, PICAM.
I respect the courage of Patipe and Tabang and thank them for standing up for the rights of students in Cameroon. I also thank all those helping to comfort these guys through this very difficult time. I call on other students unions, student associations and civil society groups to organize themselves against this decision so as to pressure the government to annul this illegal decision of the Minister of Higher Education. PICAM (www.picam.org) has issued a press release on this situation (Minister’s Ban on Students, Illegal and Unacceptable: http://www.picam.org/DEM/demminbanonstudents.htm) as a way of exposing the illegalities of the Cameroonian society. PICAM has equally put up the subject for debate at its web blog (Cameroon Connection: www.picam.org/cameroonconnection). We hope that other civil society organizations will help publicize this case, which may create some pressure and the eventual annulment of the Minister’s decision. My best wishes to you Patipe and Tabang. Executive Director, Progressive Initiative for Cameroon – PICAM: www.picam.org.
It is shocking what Mr. PAUL BIYA and his ASSOCIATES are doing to Cameroon and Cameroonians. What is the difference between ELECAM and NEO? Is this really the result of the Prime Minister’s consultation? I am sure the drafters of this devious bill have sold their soles to the devil. How can we talk of an Independent Electoral Commission when the commission is everything but independent? I can only predict, ELECAM will be worst than NEO because everything about it is dependent on the President. Can Cameroonians afford to bear all these manipulations? When shall Mr. PAUL BIYA and the CPDM stop buying time with different forms of deceptive institutional experiments. ELECAM cannot be and will never be an independent electoral body so long as its members are appointed by Presidential degree. The consultation required in the appointment process in this Bill is a mockery and provocation to Cameroonians. Besides, the fact that ELECAM members can serve indefinitely, at the pleasure of the President is alarming. It is common knowledge that appointees always pay allegiance to those who appoint them. Therefore only those who are obedient to Mr. BIYA and carry out his instructions to the letter will be guaranteed the chance to continuously serve on ELECAM. An independent electoral commission must be able to have TRULY independent members with a fixed mandate (not Presidential appointees serving at the pleasure of the President); with the power to entertain petitions of electoral malpractices; and the certification of electoral results. ELECAM is already a failed experiment even before it comes into existence. Executive Director, Progressive Initiative for Cameroon – PICAM: www.picam.org.
It is shocking what Mr. PAUL BIYA and his ASSOCIATES are doing to Cameroon and Cameroonians. What is the difference between ELECAM and NEO? Is this really the result of the Prime Minister’s consultation? I am sure the drafters of this devious bill have sold their soles to the devil. How can we talk of an Independent Electoral Commission when the commission is everything but independent? I can only predict, ELECAM will be worst than NEO because everything about it is dependent on the President. Can Cameroonians afford to bear all these manipulations? When shall Mr. PAUL BIYA and the CPDM stop buying time with different forms of deceptive institutional experiments. ELECAM cannot be and will never be an independent electoral body so long as its members are appointed by Presidential degree. The consultation required in the appointment process in this Bill is a mockery and provocation to Cameroonians. Besides, the fact that ELECAM members can serve indefinitely, at the pleasure of the President is alarming. It is common knowledge that appointees always pay allegiance to those who appoint them. Therefore only those who are obedient to Mr. BIYA and carry out his instructions to the letter will be guaranteed the chance to continuously serve on ELECAM. An independent electoral commission must be able to have TRULY independent members with a fixed mandate (not Presidential appointees serving at the pleasure of the President); with the power to entertain petitions of electoral malpractices; and the certification of electoral results. ELECAM is already a failed experiment even before it comes into existence. Executive Director, Progressive Initiative for Cameroon – PICAM: www.picam.org.
Hi Rexon, I would like to get in touch with you for some inquiry. Could you contact me at njungwe@picam.org (www.picam.org).
I am impressed that Dr. Banda is talking straight but this has to be followed by real action. We need access to the Commission’s work. We know that the Commission has not operated with any independence since its creation and as such has no credibility in the eyes of many. An institution like the National Human Rights Commission needs a website which should contain basic documents on the promotion and protection of human rights nationally and internationally. The laws setting up the commission also has to be made public, including all the Commission’s reports. It is not enough to list the achievements of the Commission just by words of mouth. We want to have access to information on its activities including past, current, and future projects; information on how to report abuses or seek redress; and information on how the Commission has achieved results in the past. At the moment, the Commission to me seems to be a secret agency of the government, put in place to seek the approbation of the international community. We want a dynamic and AUTONOMOUS human rights commission which can promote and protect human rights by safeguarding civil liberties and ensuring that people can obtain recourse and redress in the face of injustice. Although a regional office in the South West and other provinces (as planned) is a laudable initiative, I am afraid that the Commission as a whole is still unable to function without political will. What we need is a totally new law, to be enacted by the National Assembly (NOT A PRESIDENTIAL DEGREE) setting up a Human Rights Commission that will be truly independent. Such a Commission should have credible human rights experts as members rather than Presidential nominees, who pay allegiance to their Boss whose administration is the No. 1 violator of human rights in the country. ERIC NGONJI NJUNGWE: President/Executive Director – Progressive Initiative for Cameroon (PICAM) – www.picam.org
I must sincerely say that at times I wonderful whether Biya ever went to school. He seems obdurately unreasonable and shows no will to move Cameroon forward. This man probably has in his bedroom, a well-preserved exercise book containing the names of his PRIMARY SCHOOL MATES. I believe that he consults this book each time he reshuffles the cabinet, otherwise, I wonder how proverbial the names of these RETIREES are to him. Should we expect this man’s cabinet to work, sleep, or STEAL? They will one day be held accountable for the decades of destruction caused to the country, and frustration caused to the people, whether on earth or beyond.
Hi Renox, I see you are very disappointed with the Cameroon judicial system as a whole. Your allegations are in most respects accurate. However, you must never resign to faith. Only you have the power to institute changes, and we must never shun any golden opportunity that comes our way. The new criminal procedure code is one of such opportunities. It is a revolutionary legislation. Regardless of its flaws, I believe it is a very good law. The fact that Cameroon is corrupt does not mean nothing can be done to address the situation. In the past there has been a lack of will deal with corruption, but I believe we are beginning to see signs of changes, no matter how slow. Please, redirect your thought towards ways of confronting the ills of the society, rather than giving up hope. There are many civil society organizations already engaged in this process including Progressive Initiative for Cameroon (PICAM) www.picam.org. Your views about how to right the wrongs of Cameroon are welcomed.
It is a pity that the government is still very determined to stall all efforts at democratic reforms in Cameroon. Perhaps this piece of advice for the government: civil society organizations must be allowed function because they are in most respects, the voice of the people. They are responsible for monitoring government actions, making inputs and guiding policy makers so that government can better serve the interest of its people. Preventing civil society organizations from holding seminars or from operating freely in the country is a step too far into autocracy. I wonder where Cameroon is heading to. Cameroonians must be strong in the face of all the hurdles of the government. We must continue to support civil society organizations and pressure the government into implementing the much needed democratic reforms in Cameroon. Progressive Initiative for Cameroon (PICAM) is an NGO established to strengthen civil society involvement in the affairs of the country. Visit www.picam.org to find out about PICAM.
It is wonderful to see the steps being taken in Cameroon to address the forgotten rights of detainees and suspects. We know how the security forces abuse their powers everyday with impunity. The new Criminal Procedure Code, I believe is a very good piece of legislation. It will curb police and gendarme abuses, guide and guarantee detainees, suspects, and accused persons their legally entitled rights, and hold people accountable for abuses. These and many others, are what the newly created organisation - Progrssive Initiative for Cameroon (PICAM) wants to advocate and defend in Cameroon.
My regards to you Mr. Ebot and to all the fellow brothers who worked hard to realize this film. Your intuition should take you to great heights and may your star shine forever. I don’t care about your photo with whomever. What matters to me is the work you do, your courage in undertaking such a project, and your determination to realize even more. I am very proud of you because you make me proud to call myself a Cameroonian. Best of luck in your future endeavours.
A Good Democracy Needs a Strong Civil Society Multiparty politics has been a complete disappointment in Cameroon and for Cameroonians. May be we shouldn’t have read the word “multiparty” as a synonym for the ideals of democracy, respect for human rights or development. True, the existence of multiparty politics in a country afford citizens an opportunity for democratic participation. This opportunity however becomes a sham in the absence of real choices. I am sure that many Cameroonians hold my view that our politicians use politics as a medium of greed and selfishness. To establish and sustain a democracy, we need an informed and effective civil society. I believe this is possible in Cameroon. We as Cameroonians have to be able to hold our politicians accountable, whether of the ruling party or the opposition. We need to stop perpetuating divisive ideas, let go of tribalism, and talk peace as Cameroonians. Civil society leaders must network, lobby, and advocate for better laws that will enable our beloved country move forward rather than allowing the current system in which almost all legislations grant the President the powers to do everything. The NGO, Progressive Initiative for Cameroon – PICAM is an initiative that aims to make meaningful contribution in Cameroon through broad-based programs aimed at building a strong and informed civil society.