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The following section is consisted of part, full or summaries of articles from diverses sources (newspapers, newsletters, etc...).
La section suivante est constituée d'exraits, de la totalité ou de résumés d'articles provenant d'origines diverses (journaux,bulletins, etc..).


10 / 14 - 20 / 2002 

CAMEROON-INFO 

L'article: "Péninsule de Bakassi: l’après verdict"

L’arrêt de la Cour de la Haye suscite encore des commentaires dans la presse. Chaque publication donne une interprétation des termes de la décision en fonction de la ligne éditoriale.

Pour Le Front Indépendant, «l’affaire Bakassi demeure sous les cendres du feu, voire de la guerre, eu égard au non respect des décisions de justice de la part du Nigeria. Il ne faut pas oublier que l’Etat du Nigeria avait déclaré la Cour incompétente». Les articles publiés par Le Messager laissent également planer le doute sur le respect de la décision. De l’avis de l’envoyé spécial de cette publication à Abuja «la colère monte au Nigeria. Les populations rejettent la décision de la Cour. Le président de la république qui avait engagé son pays à respecter le verdict de la Haye est depuis son prononcé confronté aux pressions intérieures multiformes (…) Vraisemblablement, l’avis du Sénat permettra au gouvernement fédéral, simplement de peaufiner sa position qui semble se dessiner ainsi: oui, au verdict de la Cij (Cour internationale de justice), à condition que personne ne bouscule les Nigérians dans les territoires attribués au Cameroun».

Dans les colonnes de La Nouvelle Expression, on peut lire: «Le Cameroun n’a pas gagné à la Haye». Ce titre à la une de l’édition du 18 octobre est en fait le point de vue d’un ingénieur-conseil de nationalité italienne. M. Massimo Campailla fait entendre un son de cloche discordant en donnant sa propre lecture de l’arrêt de la Cour. Pour lui, «c’est le Nigeria qui a bel et bien gagné à la Cij car, il n’est nullement sanctionné, il n’a aucune réparation à supporter et en plus il récupère, horm! is Bakassi, d’importants territoires jusque là occupés par le Cameroun (…) De plus, les exploitations pétrolières se trouvant de part et d’autre de la frontière camerouno-nigeriane sont principalement entre les mains de la France par le biais de son dinosaure Total-Elf-Fina». Le point de vue de cet expert en stratégies, méthodes et organisation de développement est tout de même, prévient le journal de Séverin Tchounkeu, à prendre avec des pincettes. En effet, Camapailla se propose de traîner l’Etat du Cameroun devant les tribunaux. L’affaire tourne autour d’une «créance de 400 milliards de FCFA découlant de la violation d’un contrat administratif de mandat portant sur l’exploitation des gisements de bauxite camerounaise et quelques autres projets».

Loin de ces opinions qui frisent le pessimisme à outrance, Cameroon Tribune s’est attelé tout au long de la semaine à publier des articles sur les aspects de la vie ! collective qui peuvent contribuer à normaliser et assainir les relations entre le Cameroun et le Nigeria. Comment asseoir l’harmonie entre les populations par la promotion de la culture ? Comment accorder les violons pour mieux gérer les relations consulaires ? Comment sortir les échanges de l’informel ? Voilà quelques unes des interrogations qui figurent à la une des cinq éditions du quotidien gouvernemental. L’intention première est à l’apaisement des esprits et non de céder à un triomphalisme susceptible de remettre en cause les efforts de rapprochement entre Yaoundé et Abuja. Du reste, ce souci de rapprochement n’a pas limité l’ardeur de la rédaction de Aurore Plus. En effet, ce bihebdomadaire se fait l’écho de façon un peu tonitruante de l’incendie le mardi 8 octobre du Bibindi, le bâtiment de liaison des troupes de l’armée camerounaise stationnées à Bakassi. A en croire l’article publié en début de semaine, «l’incendie s’est déclaré alors que le bâtiment était en mouillage aux larges de Issongo. Dépossédé du matériel de lutte contre l’incendie, la seule issue pour les occupants du navire était le sauve-qui-peut». Même si les causes du feu ne sont pas encore déterminées, le journal reconnaît que c’est une grosse perte pour l’armée camerounaise.


10 / 07 - 12 / 2002 

CAMEROON-INFO 

The article: "CIJ: la souveraineté de Bakassi reconnue à l’Etat du Cameroun"
Le sujet est à la une de tous les journaux parus en fin de semaine. Les rédactions font montre d’un triomphalisme plus ou moins excessif. Et ce en dépit de "la politique de bon voisinage" prônée par les présidents camerounais et nigérian.

The Herald et Cameroon Tribune ne passent par quatre chemins pour annoncer la couleur de leurs opinions. "Bakassi est bel et bien camerounais" même si la Cour a refusé d’accéder à la demande des dommages et intérêts exprimée par le Cameroun. C’est la même idée qui se profile derrière le titre à la une du journal L’Action: "Bakassi na Cameroon". Traduction: la presqu’île de Bakassi est camerounaise. L’éditorial de cette publication proche du Rassemblement Démocratique du Peuple Camerounais (RDPC) précise: "la Cour nous donne raison. Elle donne raison à Paul Biya qui a choisi de faire confiance à la légalité internationale et à la force du droit (…) Au delà de la victoire méritée et chaleureusement accueillie, ce verdict ne doit pas pour autant faire oublier cette réalité incontournable : de par l’histoire et la géographie, le Cameroun et le Nigeria sont appelés à vivre ensemble".

Le Messager voit plutôt derrière l’arrêt de la Cour un "verdict de la paix". En effet, l’analyse de Melvin Akam démontre que c’est un véritable jugement de Salomon qui a été rendu. "Le Cameroun, écrit-il, n’est pas reçu entièrement dans sa requête. La Cour ne lui accorde pas les réparations qu’il demandait; ce qui manque tout de même de logique à partir du moment où la CIJ reconnaît que le Nigeria a violé son territoire pendant des années. Plus grave encore, la Cour joue à l’équilibriste dans la délimitation de la frontière maritime. Elle reçoit la demande du Cameroun qui exigeait cette délimitation à laquelle le Nigeria était opposé, mais c’est la méthode de délimitation proposée par le Nigeria pour préserver les intérêts et ceux de la Guinée équatoriale qui est retenue". Au total, conclut Le Messager, "l’enjeu de l’arrêt du 10 octobre n’est manifestement pas de dire le droit dans sa totalité mais d’apaiser les relations entre le Cameroun et le Nigeria". Au bout du compte, souligne Mutations «le Nigeria perd très gros dans cette affaire: une zone considérée par les experts comme une véritable éponge dotée de réserves impressionnantes. Les multinationales du pétrole comme Exxon, Mobil, Total Fina elf devraient rapidement en tirer les conséquences qui de fait propulsent à nouveau le Cameroun dans le giron des pays producteurs de pétrole. Le Nigeria va perdre de sa très stratégique base de Calabar, à quelques jets de pierre de Bakassi, de laquelle il ne pourra plus gérer de manière indépendante tous ces navires en provenance de l’Afrique du Sud, sans l’autorisation et la surveillance du Cameroun". Pour le bihebdomadaire Aurore Plus, "on attendait un verdict satisfaisant mais la Cour internationale de justice dans son arrêt a plutôt coupé la poire en trois entre le Cameroun, le Nigeria et la Guinée équatoriale. Au final, affirme le directeur de cette publication, on pourra sans risque d’extrapolation aucun penser que le gain de notre pays ait été conditionné par des concessions qui, de fait, ont néanmoins aliéné une partie de notre territoire, qu’il s’agisse de la péninsule de Bakassi ou des îles tout autour. En fait, conclut Michel Michaut Moussala, il s’agit de garantir aux puissances étrangères impliquées dans l’exploitation abusive des ressources naturelles de la région un déploiement sans heurts et partant une spoliation continue de celles-ci". D’après La Nouvelle Expression, "le Cameroun aura peut-être le triomphe modeste, mais il tient sa revanche juridique sur le Nigeria. Il n’y a pas de scrupule à s’en réjouir alors que l’on a versé des larmes après le prononcé de l’arrêt de 1963 sur le Cameroun septentrional. Des sources crédibles affirment du reste qu’un accueil triomphal est en préparation pour Paul Biya lors de son retour au pays". Car, note avec humour Perspectives Hebdo, "le président camerounais, en bon vantard bulu, ramène gaillardement et fièrement un trophée au village".


10 / 09 / 2002 

THE HERALD NEWSPAPER 

The article: “Achidi Achu says Anglophones marginalise themselves, not Biya regime!”
Former prime minister, Simon Achidi Achu, has accused Anglophones of marginalizing themselves by refusing to take part in national debates. He said the Anglophone problem was only a «psychological problem» promoted by retired civil servants still feeding fat on the state’s resources.

In an interview on Politude, CRTV’s political programme to which he was guest last Saturday, Achidi Achu also fielded questions on decentralization and his difficult tenure as prime minister.

Achidi Achu, in what was interpreted as political dishonesty, claimed that Anglophones were the ones marginalizing themselves by refusing to have their views heard at official national forums.

He said by boycotting the 1994 constitutional revision, Anglophones missed an opportunity to articulate their problems.(Cardinal Tumi, J.N. Foncha, moderator Henry Awasom and S.T.Muna walked out but Lucy Gwanmesia, chief Endeley, N.N. Mbile and Achidi Achu took part in the constitutional revision.

«When people are invited to come and revise the country’s fundamental law and they refuse, who at this moment is marginalizing who»? the former prime minister who is ensconced in his Santa Rock farm as a farmer questioned.

On the Anglophone problem, Achidi Achu said it was only a psychological problem because the state was making enormous efforts at ensuring that everybody felt at ease in Cameroon. “Some of these problems of marginalisation are in my opinion, just psychological».

He said those clamouring for Anglophone independence were using it as a pretext to take the country backwards when 40 years ago the two Cameroons democratically decided to become one nation.

Achidi Achu said as one of the last vestiges of pre-reunification Cameroon, he had a duty to educate youths to adapt to the current situation. He accused the SCNC leadership of misleading Anglophones but still feeding fat on the state’s resources by way of retirement benefits.

Asked if the debate on Anglophone problem was not sidetracked, Achidi Achu, in what observers say was an attempt to please his Etoudi overlords, equated the Anglophone problem to just any other tribal or regional problem.

Talking about decentralization as provided in Cameroon’s constitution, Achidi Achu said it was welcome but should not serve as pretext to split the country. He said Cameroonians should not be in a hurry for regional autonomy because even in Europe countries were closing ranks in order to have economic and security benefits.

Asked what principal benefits government envisaged by enshrining decentralization in the constitution, the former prime minister said it was just a way of pursuing decentralization to the point where provinces would take care of their own affairs without jeopardizing the unity of the country.

On his stewardship as prime minister, Achidi Achu admitted that it was Aumultuous coming in the heat of political polarization but denied he was a sacrificial lamb used by the regime to douse the flames of ghost towns and opposition demands for a sovereign national conference.

Asked why his reign was characterized by failed standby agreements with the World Bank, Achidi Achu said he did not inspire confidence in the Brettonwoods institutions because he had to grapple with unemployment, political and moral crises that were hitting Cameroon.

The article:"Anglophones came into the 1961 union with a far higher level of self-government and a much better structured and institutionalised state than Francophones had".

The doctrine of the separation of powers worked enviably well in Buea. There was accountability, a high sense of public service discipline, and respect for the public good. That is Boniface Forbin’s characterisation of the "advanced democracy" that Anglophones brought into the 1961 union.

Unfortunately he says, in his ongoing review of the Anglophone problem, Ahmadou Ahidjo, the architect of Anglophone marginalisation, ignored these values out of embarrassment for acknowledging the superior strength of the smaller partner. In so doing he condemned both Anglophones and Francophones alike.

Gerald Ndikum puts the questions.
Hearing you speak about the unhappy outcome of reunification and the continuous longing of Anglophones to return to West Cameroon the impression given is that Anglophones miss a lot. What in fact do Anglophones miss? Was West Cameroon society that developed?
Southern Cameroons that became the federated state of West Cameroon at reunification in 1961 was not developed by any means as an economy. It had a poor road infrastructure and practically no industries. Its main export crop was banana; cocoa and coffee were also exported.
What Anglophones are often proud about their past is their very high level of governmental organisation. Anglophones came into the 1961 union with a far higher level of self-government and a much better structured and institutionalised state than the Francophones had.
The doctrine of the separation of powers worked enviably well in Buea. There was accountability, a high sense of discipline in the public service and respect for the public good.
If you know that in 42 years of Francophone post-independence rule Cameroon is still far from developing democratic institutions, then you can imagine how far advanced Anglophone society was at reunification.
You mean there was such advanced democracy in Buea?
You won’t believe it when I tell you for instance that there was a clear separation of powers between the Prime Minister, the chief justice who headed the judicial department and the Assembly. These three arms of the government functioned with as much integrity as you would find in Britain today.
In 1959 the CPNC government under Dr E.M.L. Endeley transferred power without a hitch to the KNDP of Dr John Ngu Foncha following its defeat in elections that year. Neither party had any complaint to make about the conduct of the elections that were organised by an electoral commission created by the Southern Cameroons House of Assembly. Institutions worked smoothly.
You can see that though the Anglophones economy was little developed there was a solid institutional foundation and framework for subsequent rapid economic development had the politics not been diverted from its path by Francophone rule.
It is no doubt on account of this sound foundation of institutional development that even biased Francophone commentators admit that the 1961 union with Anglophones offered Cameroon a very special and unique advantage for its future prosperity. Sorry, that was all ignored by Ahidjo out of sheer embarrasment for acknowledging the far superior strength of the smaller partner in the union.
So reunification denied Anglophones their prosperity; but Francophones didn’t have it either!
Yes, unfortunately economic development never came to Anglophones and Francophones alike. A 1994 poverty report by the World Bank showed that in three decades of independence the quality of life in Cameroon in 1994 was only comparable to that of 1964. Successive annual UNDP reports confirm that more than half the population of Cameroon live below the poverty line, a line drawn at less than 400.000 FCFA per annum!
Other reports show all development indices in the negative viz: health-care delivery, electricity, potable water, education, nutrition etc.
Francophone rule has been a disaster for all Cameroonians. Anglophones weep for two reasons. They left a better society than the one reunification offered them, then even in the new society they have been refused an equal opportunity to contribute their best and reap the reward of hard work.
Was it that the Francophone system was inherently inferior or was it Ahidjo who messed up the system?
Francophones’ conception of power, governmental organisation, public affairs management and everything else were the exact opposites of the Anglophone experience. As a deliberate policy, Ahidjo, out of spite for Anglophones, began a wanton campaign of dismantling the superior institutional heritage of the Anglophones and with it their entire value system.
Had Ahidjo understood what was good for Cameroon’s future, even without willing to do Anglophones any favour, he probably would have given a second thought to the wholesale rejection of the institutions and discipline of Anglophones.
Was it as a result of a limited education? Ahidjo was a postal clerk when he entered politics. The problem about pursuing this educational explanation is that Paul Biya who had a far superior formal education than Ahidjo, and who in addition had the benefit of seeing all of Ahidjo’s errors, hasn’t done better either. In fact he has hated and oppressed Anglophones in many respects even more than Ahidjo.
You say there was power-sharing in Buea, how much of it was there in Yaounde at the time?
Just think of opposites. Everything that existed in Buea, Yaounde had practically the opposite of it. The presidency, for example, was an elective post. But what Anglophones fond there in practice was an all-powerful super-institution upon which all other institutions depended.
Ahidjo who held the office became a super-human, an "incarnation of all the institutions", father of the nation, and grand camarade. Ahidjo thus became a god created by the people who then turned round and feared him and worshipped him!
With such a terrible development you can imagine that there couldn’t be power-sharing. The other public institutions became paralysed as they began instead to worship the president who owned them.
Multipartism gave way to monopartism under the chairmanship of the grand camarade. The constitution became subjected to the manipulation of the all-powerful president who altered it as he saw fit. Parliament was a one party house with members hand-picked, so you can imagine that deputies rubber-stamped Ahidjo’s bills even before they were tabled.
The public service and public institutions functioned according to the president’s whims and caprices and provided a vast field to exercise the president’s appointive powers. Friends, relations, cronies were placed in at the president’s pleasure. Tribalism, nepotism, favouritism reigned supreme. Sorry for poor Anglophones, they were firmly kept out.
Mustn’t we conclude from what you are saying that it was the institutions that Anglophones brought into the 1961 union that favoured development for the newly united Cameroon?
Yes, would you believe that it is exactly those same institutions that Cameroon’s international donors viz: the IMF/World Bank, the European Union, the Commonwealth, the UNDP and our bilateral partners, have been persuading the Biya regime to develop since 1987 - without much success!
See where we are today. The one party system for example failed to develop Cameroon. After much internal agitation in 1989 and 90. Paul Biya yielded to a multiparty system. Because he remained basically reluctant to share political power at that level he used the administration to block, and cheat, and weaken opposition parties. Now 12 years later we are back to a de facto one-party situation. Multipartism is now only nominal. That doesn’t take the country anywhere, does it?
Imagine that Cameroon under Francophone rule is still unable 41 years into independence to organise free and fair elections.
If the president wouldn’t democratise Cameroon why doesn’t he develop the economy.
That’s a good question. If Paul Biya refuses to create modern democratic institutions and share political power why doesn’t he free the economy to grow? We have for example the case of South East Asian countries, so called Asian tigers, all of which had unyielding autocratic governments which decided nevertheless to free their economies and take all the decisions that favoured genuine and rapid economic growth.
The result was miraculous. These tigers are South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan and Indonesia. What the Biya regime’s policies have done to Cameroon is choke all development. When Anglophones lament about their past it is not for nothing. Their own country held much promise and I believe that the practice of government and public affairs management that were already established there would have seen rapid economic development. It would have taken only a short time.
What were Ahidjo’s economic policies like? Would one suppose that they were different from Biya’s?
Yes, in intention, except that the result didn’t take us anywhere either. While holding tight to his overwhelming political powers, Ahidjo nevertheless had fantastic dreams about an economically prosperous Cameroon. And he took bold initiatives to realise his dreams. Yet he failed, essentially because his fundamental economic thinking was wrong.
Instead of developing the private sector, Ahidjo rather invested in the public sector based on a certain fancy he had for central planning. He gave his model the rather contradictory name of planned liberalism. The idea was to get the state involved in practically every sector of the economy. He thus multiplied parastatals.
Two equally attractive motives drove him into such an ill-advised model of economic development. First he detested the Bamileke and Anglophones whose sense of business and motivation, being far above the national average, would have been the ones to benefit the most from public investment in developing the private sector. Secondly, he needed a vast and expansive public sector to accommodate and reward those who were loyal to him and his regime. The central administration was quite small and limited for that purpose.
Based on Rostow’s theory of stages of economic growth, Ahidjo followed the pattern of five-year development plans. You won’t believe that based on a 7 per cent annual economic growth at the time Ahidjo began to tinker with the idea of Cameroon approaching the stage of economic take-off. That in fact was the theme of his policy speech during a huge celebration in 1970 of the 10th anniversary of independence.
Ahidjo was very proud of the economic progress of Cameroon under his leadership and he earned the respect of his African colleagues whose economies did not appear to be doing nearly as well. Many Francophone African countries looked up to Cameroon as a model. The question they have been asking Cameroonians in recent years is: what happened?
What did all that development boasting amount to in real development terms to Cameroonians?
No roads, no electricity, no drinking water, insufficient and ill-equipped schools, badly paid teachers, insufficient and primitive health -care delivery system etc etc. That’s what the father of the nation left behind after all the boasting.
Such was the nature of Ahidjo economics - a good example of growth without development. Parastatals without exception were routinely plundered but were continuously subvented from the public treasury, thanks to relative economic buoancy in those days. The edifice as such stood on a foundation of sand. That’s why in less than three years of Biya after Ahidjo the fake economy collapsed helplessly. Didn’t we suffer a 10-year recession?
When Ahidjo died in November 1989 after a few years of cardiac problems it was widely believed that his heart condition was caused by the deep shock of the very sad news out of Yaounde about the nose-dive of the economy which he continued to believe and to boast about that he left sound.
Didn’t he fool himself ? So some believe.


10 / 03 - 06 / 2002 

CAMEROON-INFO 

L'article: "Coopération: Yaoundé et Abuja vers la normalisation des relations"

Selon une information largement véhiculée dans la presse et les cercles du pouvoir à Yaoundé, la CIJ rend son verdict sur le conflit de Bakassi ce jeudi 10 octobre. Les autorités camerounaises et nigérianes n’ont pas attendu cette décision pour organiser les travaux de la troisième commission mixte de coopération bilatérale à Abuja.

Des commentaires de l’envoyé spécial du quotidien gouvernemental à ces travaux, l’on retient que "la relance est confirmée" entre le Cameroun et le Nigeria. "Les deux parties, rapporte Nicolas Amayena de Cameroon Tribune, ont manifesté une ferme volonté d’améliorer leurs relations politiques et économiques". Une résolution conforme à l’objectif de départ rappelé par L’Action à savoir: "mettre en place des mesures propres à renforcer la confiance mutuelle mais également harmoniser les positions des deux pays dans les domaines des douanes, des télécommunications et du transport aérien". Parmi les projets à réaliser à très court terme figure en bonne place l’échange des prisonniers nigérians et camerounais. Et si la presse nationale reconnaît que "le temps de la concertation" est retrouvé après 9 ans d’arrêt, elle ne manque cependant pas de souligner que le réchauffement des relations entre le Cameroun et le Nigeria intervient à l’approche du dénouement de l’affaire de la presqu’île de Bakassi. C’est vrai, bien entendu chaque publication, en fonction des convictions propres, voit à travers le prisme de la détente, la main invisible des pays occidentaux qui tentent de défendre leurs intérêts pétroliers. De ce point de vue, Le Messager Popoli évoque le rôle ambigu de la! France dans le conflit de Bakassi. "Dans ce dossier, déclare le journal satirique de Douala, Chirac jongle entre Biya et Obasanjo. En fait, il y a deux parties: le Nigeria et la France. Le Cameroun quant à lui intervient comme un figurant même si Bakassi ne se trouve pas dans l’Hexagone mais bel et bien dans le golfe de Guinée. D’abord sur le plan militaire, la France s’abstient de faire fonctionner les accords de défense qui la lient au Cameroun pour se réfugier derrière le prétexte de la diplomatie. Ensuite, le pays de Chirac ne se place pas au portillon de Bakassi pour rien: ce sont ses entreprises (Totalfina) qui en majorité travaillent sur le site". Pour boucler ce chapitre et avec beaucoup de prudence, Le Messager fait remarquer que "la publication de l’arrêt de la Cij ne signifie pas pour autant que l’affaire Bakassi est finie. Il faudra encore exécuter la décision des juges, déterminer la réparation le cas échéant des ! dommages et intérêts; ce qui pourrait être l’objet d’autres batailles politiques et diplomatiques". Le chemin est encore long.

The article: "41ème anniversaire de la réunification: le SCNC déjoue les forces de l’ordre"

Il n’y a pas eu d’affrontements meurtriers, mais les activistes du Southern Cameroons National Council ont mis en partie à exécution leur programme d’activité.

Si pour Cameroon Tribune, le 1er octobre a été un non événement, la lecture des colonnes du bihebdomadaire Dikalo montre bien qu’en dépit des menaces et autres dispositifs d’intimidation mis en place par les autorités ! administratives, les militants du Scnc se sont organisés pour tenir des réunions dans les différentes sections de l’association disséminées à travers la ville de Bamenda. A Buéa, dans la province du Sud-Ouest, le coordinateur du Scnc a demandé à ses militants de festoyer dans les domiciles tandis qu’à Kumba, l’on a hissé le drapeau du "Cameroun méridional". En revanche, à Kumbo lieu des affrontements de l’année dernière, l’on a soigneusement évité les manifestations de rue. Dikalo note au passage que, du côté des pouvoirs publics, l’on clame haut et fort "le Cameroun est un et indivisible et prend en compte le problème anglophone". Sur le terrain de la diplomatie, Le Front Indépendant révèle que "le Scnc a commencé à créer des institutions d’une république. Il se déploie notamment aux USA. Le Nigéria lui sert aussi de catalyseur afin que les choses aillent mieux".

Contre toute attente et surtout connaissant ses prises de ! position idéologique, L’Action estime que, "tout en condamnant avec la dernière énergie les manœuvres des sécessionnistes, l’heure est peut-être venue de prêter une oreille attentive à leurs revendications". De manière plus étendue, Aurore plus ne s’est pas contenté de constater que "les sécessionnistes reviennent au galop". L’éditorial du directeur de cette publication fait un rapprochement avec la situation qui prévaut en Côte d’Ivoire et développe la position suivante: "Si quarante ans après les indépendances, la moindre escarmouche dans nos Etats requiert l’intervention de la France, nous sommes loin de gérer nos destinées respectives qui, il faut le dire, auront été aliénées par l’égocentrisme de nos hommes d’Etat à l’autel de leurs ambitions pouvoiristes. Et comme il fallait s’y attendre, nos déboires d’aujourd’hui ne sont que la résultante de notre incapacité à penser nation en lieu et plac! e de nos réflexes régionalistes ou pire tribalistes. Car pendant qu’on parle d’ivoirité en Côte d’Ivoire, chez nous on parlera des notions aussi vaseuses que vides telle l’unité nationale pour nous endormir. Elles ne serve que les intérêts individuels de nos gouvernants qui en usent comme faire-valoir".

The article: "Politique: La refondation de l’opposition à nouveau au centre des débats"

Une table ronde sur la question "quelle chance pour la refondation de l’opposition au Cameroun ?" vient d’être organisée à Yaoundé. Cet échange est à mettre à l’actif du CRAC (Club de recherche et d’action culturelle).

De cette rencontre entre intellectuels, L’Action retient comme unique proposition originale la contribution du professeur Maurice Tadadjeu. Ce chercheur qui se réclame de la société civile propose: "au lieu de parler de la refondation de l’opposition, il faudrait plutôt envisager la refondation du pouvoir. Cela suppose le partage du pouvoir entre toutes les composantes de la classe politique au prorata des suffrages obtenus lors des consultations électorales". Ce point de vue est aussi celui de Biake Difana de Dikalo. Pour lui, "A dire vrai, l’opposition camerounaise n’est plus à refonder. Elle existe virtuellement et ne demande qu’à être consolidée dans ses bases au lieu d’être sujette aux éparpillements intempestifs. Ce sont les hommes qui animent l’opposition aujourd’hui qui font malheureusement le grand désespoir". Il est important de préciser que cette conférence s’est tenue au moment où le "parti politique du Grand Nord" fait du bruit.

Cameroon Tribune se fait le devoir de rafraîchir la mémoire de ses lecteurs en rappelant que la création de cette formation politique est une idée de cinq anciens ministres (Hamadou Moustapha, Dakolé Daissala, Issa Tchiroma, Garga Haman et Antar Gassagay). Pour eux, c’est la réponse à un "appel de la conscience" destinée à résoudre les problèmes de la région. De la surprise à la réflexion en passant par les interrogations et l’action, les élites du Grand Nord résidant à Douala viennent de se réunir pour prendre position. Sur la base de la motion de soutien au chef de l’Etat rédigée à la fin du meeting, Roger Owona du quotidien bilingue constate que cette formation politique porte les germes de sa propre destruction. "Il ne sera jamais illégitime, écrit-il, d’avoir à cœur les problèmes de ses compatriotes. Par contre, ce qui le sera toujours, c’est l’instrumentalisation de la misère des hommes et des femmes simples à des fins très personnelles (…) Les Camerounais et les Camerounaises sont loin d’être dupes. Alors, les embastiller dans le curage du village régional à l’ère du village planétaire" relève d’une autre époque. Toute l’agitation orchestrée par les regroupements régionaux depuis un bon bout de temps (le parti du Grand Nord et les députés de la province de l’Est) participe, selon Mutations, à la fois de "la volonté de développement et du positionnement politique dans une atmosphère de décentralisation et de fin de règne". La Nouvelle Expression conclut le débat en ces termes: "Si le concept d’unité ne saurait s’accommoder de tout regroupement régionaliste, il reste tout de même maladroit de renier la composition sociologique du pays. A défaut de faire disparaître les contradictions, il conviendrait avant de condamner, d’examiner les causes des replis régionalistes qui traduisent à n’en pas douter l’existence d’une fracture entre le pouvoir et d’importants segments de la société camerounaise".


09 / 23 - 27 / 2002 

CAMEROON-INFO 

The article: "Contentieux électoral: la Cour suprême confirme les tendances"

A l’issue des législatives partielles du 15 septembre dernier, le RDPC remporte 16 sièges sur les 17 mis en jeu. Les 14 recours en annulation ont tous été rejetés.

Parmi les réactions de la classe politique, Le Messager publie in extenso le communiqué du secrétaire général de l’UNDP (Union Nationale pour la Démocratie et le Progrès). M. Pierre Flabeau Ngayap dans ce document destiné à la presse écrit: "il apparaît évident après deux cycles de contentieux électoral que nos magistrats n’ont pas les mains libres pour rendre une justice sereine en matière électorale. C’est pourquoi, l’UNDP a décidé de ne pas perdre son temps à introduire et à défendre de nouvelles requêtes en annulation des élections dont le sort est d’avance entendu". Cette thèse rejoint quelque peu celle des évêques du Cameroun qui, rapporte Mutations, dénoncent la mascarade électorale. Dans un communiqué publié le 20 septembre, la conférence ép! iscopale tire un bilan négatif des dernières élections législatives. Morceaux choisis: "A entendre et à lire dans les médias, les déclarations auto-satisfaisantes des uns et des autres, il y a lieu de se demander sur quoi elles se fondent. Quel regard extérieur au système politique en place a pu observer ce changement subit, s’il en a existé, allant du tout au tout ? Des dizaines de milliers d’électeurs privés du droit de vote le 30 juin dans leurs circonscriptions ont-ils eu leur cartes d’électeur pour le scrutin du 15 septembre ?". Pour L’Action, le communiqué de la conférence épiscopale affirme de manière péremptoire qu’il y a eu des fraudes et des irrégularités le 15 septembre. Sans rejeter en bloc certaines critiques et observations relevées par ce communiqué, Christophe Mien Zock estime dans son éditorial que "l’Eglise catholique, à l’instar de quelques partis de l’opposition et de certains observateurs, tente de discréditer avec habileté la victoire du RDPC en la fondant essentiellement sur la fraude électorale". Ce qu’il y a lieu de noter au terme de ce processus électoral, c’est ce que La Nouvelle Expression appelle, le ton moins enjoué, "la fin des illusions". D’après ce journal, "le juge constitutionnel a débouté tout le monde. Motif officieux, l’administration n’a pas d’argent à jeter par les fenêtres".

The article: "Le SCNC se positionne à nouveau pour le 1er octobre 2002"

Les membres du Southern Cameroons projettent de commémorer ce qu’ils appellent "le 41eme anniversaire de leur indépendance". Les autorités gouvernementales redoutent la violence et mettent en garde tous ceux qui se rendraient coupables d’actes de vandalisme.

Si la presse évoque la violence, c’est en référence à la lettre de M. Nfon Nfon, président actif du SCNC basé à Bamenda. L’extrait de cette lettre que publie Mutations révèle en effet que la journée du mardi premier octobre 2002 est dédiée selon le mouvement sécessionniste au "Dieu tout puissant, créateur du ciel et de la terre". D’autres manifestations de rue sont annoncées. Dans tous le états majors administratifs, signale le quotidien de Haman Mana, c’est le branle bas. Des descentes inopinées sur le terrain sont régulièrement effectuées question de suspendre les activités jugées illicites. Les villes stratégiques de Tiko, Muyuka, Kumba et Buéa sont particulièrement visées. Au total, la tension est perceptible. The Guardian Post affirme d’ailleurs que le préfet de la Mezam dans l! a province du Nord Ouest, M. Bernard Okallia Bilai, a interdit toute manifestation publique à Bamenda jusqu’au 3 octobre. De son côté, The Herald revient sur la réunion tenue mercredi dernier par M. Kibuh Henry Tume, ministre chargé de mission à la présidence de la république avec l’élite du département du Bui. Il a été question de dissuader les "fauteurs de troubles" à mettre leur programme d’activité en exécution.


09 / 25 / 2002 

THE HERALD NEWSPAPER 

The article: "Memorandum on Grand North problems: Ex-ministers accuse Biya of marginalisation, warn of insurrection if plight continues"

Northern elite have cried out against "crass marginalisation" of the Grand North and condemned government's indifference to their plight.

They warned against a Rwanda-type insurrection should the region's problems of underscholarisation, poverty, drought and underdevelopment persist. In an unsigned 19-page memorandum drafted by five former Northern ministers, the Far North sticks out like a sore thumb in terms of regional distribution of the national cake.
Using well-documented statistics from the UN Development programme, the ministers express regret that in twenty years of the New Deal, the region which accounts for 47 percent of the country's population has seen its human development index drop considerably.

The memorandum which is intended to be a contribution of the Grand North to the refoundation of the opposition and advancement of Cameroon's faltering democratisation questions why government uses coercion and fraud to make a neglected region its bastion.

Warning Biya of the disastrous consequences of his policy of marginalisation of Grand North, the ministers say but for the legendary patience and forebearance of the Nordistes, the country would have been long plunged into a Rwanda-type civil strife. "In other countries, such a policy of disequilibrium and crass marginalisation is a source of tragic conflicts which we don't wish for our country. The cases of Rwanda and Burundi are eloquent testimony."

The ex-ministers who are in the course of creating a Northern party said the crucial problems of the Grand North persisted in spite of the appointment of Northerners into government because of "the absence of political will on the part of government to resolve them".

They said inspite of the potentials of the Grand North, it has been reduced to a testing ground for CPDM's electoral prowess. "Today the people of the Grand North only serve as a stepping-stone and electoral game".

The memorandum further warned that it was politically suicidal for the Biya regime to constrain a marginalised people to give it votes during elections.
"In these conditions, to want by force to transform the Grand North into a CPDM electoral fief while perpetually jeopardising its future, obstinately excluding it from the national economic and administrative fabric is humanely incomprehensible, politically revolting and intellectually insulting".

The memorandum catalogues cases of marginalisation of the Grand North in state institutions and public administration.

Though the region provides the speaker of the National Assembly, the distribution of National Assembly seats is disproportionately in the disfavour of the region. The Benoue constituency with a population of 676000 has only four deputies, while the Dja et Lobo division with 138000 people has 5 seats.

In state parastatals, notes the memorandum, Northerners occupy only dud positions.
The marginalisation is also noticeable in the public contracts board where only two of the 33 posts of responsibility are given to Nordistes.

For this reason, says the document, Northern businessmen are relegated to the background in term of contracts. Of 800 billion spent annually on state functioning and contracts, Northern businessmen get only 3 billion FCFA.

In public administration, the Grand North has 11 of 59 SDOs while the Grand South has 29 SDOs. This, the document says, is a calculated measure to facilitate rigging of elections.

The ex-ministers further accuse government of indifference to underscholarisation of the region. In the North, the ratio is one high school to 94000 people, while in the South it is one to 17000 people. The problem of drought and epidemics has also been badly handled by government.

The concluding pages catalogue the sacrifices made by the Northern provinces since power changed hands in 1982 which are unfortunately not requited by the regime. In this respect, the role of Northern sons in forging the 1991 tripartite, facilitating the conduct of legislative elections of 1992 and in breaking the political impasse that followed the controversial 1992 presidential elections are cited.

In return for these acts of restraint, reconciliation and respect of republican institutions, the region, notes the document, reaped rancour, vengeance and underdevelopment. The corpse of Ahmadou Ahidjo, for example, has not been repatriated. The memorandum calls on Cameroonians to join hands to fight for liberty and progress.


09 / 18 / 2002 

IRIN 

The article: "Ruling party wins majority in re-run"

Cameroon's ruling party won 16 out of 17 seats in parliamentary re-elections held on Sunday, after irregularities in the original poll in June, Cameroon Radio and Television reported on Tuesday.

Provisional results indicated that the Cameroon People's Democratic Movement (CPDM) party won all the seats except the Kumba urban constituency, which was taken by the Social Democratic Front (SDF), the national broadcaster reported.

The Supreme Court will officially proclaim the results after the votes have been recounted by the national votes counting committee, in accordance with the constitution, CRTV added.

Members of the national votes counting commission had begun meeting in the capital, Yaounde, to conduct the final count but have up to 20 days from Sunday to complete it, according to the report.

Cameroon's Supreme Court ordered fresh legislative elections in nine constituencies, with a total of 17 seats, because of irregularities during parliamentary polls held on 30 June.

In those polls, the CPDM increased its share of seats in parliament from 116 to 133. The SDF secured 21 seats, down from the 43 it previously held.

Nineteen of the SDF's seats were in its traditional stronghold, the English-speaking Northwest Province.

The Democratic Union of Cameroon (UDC) retained five seats in the June elections, all of them in Noun, the home district of party president Adamou Ndam Njoya.

The Cameroon Peoples' Union (UPC) increased its tally of parliamentary seats one to three, while two other small parties each lost the single seat they had in parliament.


09 / 16 / 2002 

IRIN 

The article: "Cameroon-Nigeria: Bakassi tension behind plans for refugee centre"

Nigeria plans to set up a refugee centre in the southeastern city of Calabar in expectation that the border dispute with Cameroon might trigger a refugee crisis, a senior official in charge of refugees said on Saturday.

Federal Commissioner for Refugees, Professor Ignatius Gabriel, told reporters in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, that an estimated four million Nigerians were living and working in Cameroon.

Many of these might want to return to Nigeria if the imminent ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the dispute between both countries over ownership of the Bakassi Peninsula had any unpleasant results, he added.

"We anticipate that, very soon, we might be faced with having to repatriate Nigerians living in Cameroon after the world court judgement," Gabriel said.

He said the Federal Commission for Refugees was already working with a presidential task force for the return of about 26,000 Nigerian herdsmen and their families who fled to Cameroon late last year and early this year, to escape ethnic clashes in Nigeria's northeast region.

Nigeria shares a border more than 1,000 km long with Cameroon, its eastern neighbour. A dispute erupted between both countries in December 1993 over ownership of the oil-rich Bakassi Peninsula, which juts into the Atlantic Ocean on their southern frontiers.

Cameroon filed a complaint with the ICJ in 1994, seeking a resolution not only of the Bakassi dispute but also of counter claims in the Lake Chad area in the north.

Both countries subsequently presented their arguments and hearings were concluded early this year. A ruling is expected before the end of the year.


09 / 12 / 2002 

INTER PRESS SERVICE (IPS) 

The article
:
"Nigeria/Cameroon: Agree to settle dispute through negotiations"

Nigeria and Cameroon have agreed to settle their long-running dispute over the ownership of the oil-rich Bakassi Peninsula, a 1,000-square-kilometre string of islands located in the Atlantic Ocean, through negotiations.

In an unpublicised trip to Paris by President Olusegun Obasanjo last week, the Nigerian leader met with his Cameroonian counterpart, Paul Biya at a parley initiated, and attended, by Kofi Annan, UN Secretary General and French President Jacques Chirac.

The meeting came a month ahead of the Oct 19 verdict to be delivered by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, The Netherlands, to which the two countries had referred the border dispute for adjudication.

Analysts say the meeting has brightened chances to a quick resolution of the conflict.

Fighting between Nigeria and Cameroon over the Bakassi Peninsula first flared in 1994, and both countries now have a large military presence on the island. The two countries have clashed several times over the peninsula since 1994, when Cameroon asked the International Court of Justice in The Hague to rule on sovereignty.

A UN statement, made available to IPS this week, says a number of strategies, including a possible withdrawal of troops from the troubled region, have been drawn up.

President Obasanjo and his Cameroonian counterpart Biya have resolved to respect the ruling of the International Court of Justice, according to the UN statement.

‘'Both leaders also agreed on the need for confidence-building measures, including the eventual demilitarisation of the Peninsula, with the possibility of international observers to monitor the withdrawal of all troops,'' according to the statement.

They also agreed to ‘'an early visit to Nigeria by President Paul Biya; and the avoidance of inflammatory statements or declarations on the Bakassi issue by either side''.

A joint ministerial commission, comprising Nigerian and Cameroonian officials, will meet in Abuja, the administrative capital of Nigeria, at the end of the month (September).

''This is a good development because Nigeria and Cameroon are not just neighbours but there are thousands of Cameroonians in Nigeria, while we have as many Nigerians in Cameroon. In a situation where our common border is too porous, nobody can keep the inflow and outflow of people in check,'' says Bola Akinterinwa.

Akinterinwa, a researcher at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs in Lagos, says: ''The meeting between the two leaders is desirable for two reasons; first, we cannot be talking of regional integration and African unity and, at the same time, talking about division. If we are talking of regional integration, there is no need for countries to quarrel.

''Secondly, the Lake Chad Basin Commission to which Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger belong, provides for political dialogue in settling disputes among member states,'' he says.

Akinterinwa is also happy that France is involved in the move to settle the conflict between Nigeria and Cameroon.

''We must praise Chirac and Annan for bringing the Obasanjo and Biya together. Their meeting in France is good because France never wanted war between the two neighbours because of her economic interests, especially in Nigeria. Nigeria plays host to more French investments than any Francophone (French speaking) country in Africa. French investments in the whole of Francophone West Africa are not up to French investments in Nigeria and for France to accept a war between Cameroon and Nigeria is also to accept the destruction of her investments in both countries,'' he says, without elaboration.

Tension mounted late June when Ngole Ngole, Cameroon's Minister of Special Duties at the Presidency, said his country had the might and the will to prosecute a war with Nigeria over the Bakassi Peninsula.

''As far as we know, we are serious. We have the might and the will and the 16 million people of Cameroon are behind the government to defend the territorial integrity of our country. Therefore, it is not a joking matter,'' Ngole was quoted by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) as saying in June.

Responding to Ngole's interview, Olu Agunloye, Nigeria's Minister of State for Defence, warned that ‘'Nigeria will not fold its arms and watch its territorial integrity rubbish by a belligerent neighbour.''

''It will be foolhardy and thoughtless for any West African country to think it can take on Nigeria at this point in time. But we will ensure that hostilities will not lead to full-blown war, but if it does, Nigeria will be fully prepared to handle any threat scenario that will arise,'' he told journalists in Abuja.

The people living on the Peninsula, he said, are Nigerians and that the government of Nigeria had been administering them since independence from Britain in 1960.

''Nigeria will therefore, not tolerate any act that will put the lives of the persons on the land in jeopardy. Anybody who dares this country, does so at his own risk,'' Agunloye warned.

Nigeria and Cameroon will, however, not be bound by the Oct 19 verdict, as ICJ does not have the instrument to enforce its ruling, says Akinterinwa.

''The two countries are supposed to abide by the ruling but there is the issue of unseen circumstances. The residents of the area can say they want to belong to one side if the boundary is demarcated by the ICJ, and if the country they wish to go with does not agree with them, they can ask for self-determination and autonomy,'' he says.


09 / 11-12 / 2002 

THE HERALD N° 1252 

Page 1-2
:
"Another Bassa appointed General Manager of SONARA" 

After a board meeting of SONARA, Mr. Joseph Aoudou, the Minister of mines, water and energy resources installed Charles Metouk of Bassa origin as GM of the Limbe-based oil refining company in spite of a strong lobby by South West Chiefs to have a South-Westerner at the helm of the corporation.

The appointment of Metouk who is a chemical engineer, is said to have met the creteria set by three foreign oil companies that have minority shares in SONARA.
He is a native of Mouanko in the Sanaga Maritime, the same division of origin of his predecessor, Bernard Eding.


09 / 06 / 2002 

IRIN 

The article: "Cameroon-Nigeria: Obasanjo, Biya to abide by ICJ border decision"

The leaders of Nigeria and Cameroon said on Thursday they would abide by a decision of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on a border dispute between the two countries, and would restore friendly relations.

Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and his Cameroonian counterpart, Paul Biya, discussed their border dispute over the Bakassi Peninsula (to which both countries lay claim) with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in the French capital, Paris, according to a statement issued by the United Nations.

Both presidents agreed to respect and implement the pending ICJ decision, and to establish implementation mechanisms, with UN support. They also said they would resume ministerial-level meetings of the bilateral Joint Commission on 30 September in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, the statement said.

Obasanjo and Biya also agreed on the need for confidence-building measures, including the eventual demilitarisation of Bakassi Peninsula, with the possibility of international observers to monitor the withdrawal of all troops.

President Biya is expected to visit Nigeria at an early date, after both leaders recognised that the Bakassi situation 'must be seen' in the wider context of the overall relationship between Nigeria and Cameroon.

The Nigerian and Cameroonian leaders also discussed other issues of interest, such as possibilities for economic cooperation, including joint ventures in the water and electricity sectors, according to the UN statement.

In 1994, Cameroon asked the ICJ to rule on a dispute "relating essentially to the question of sovereignty over the Bakassi peninsula, saying it was in part under military occupation by Nigeria, and to determine the maritime boundary between the countries.

Later that year, Yaonde extended the case to a further dispute relating to "the question of sovereignty over a part of the territory of Cameroon in the area of Lake Chad", which it claimed Nigeria was also occupying.


09 / 04 / 2002 

LE QUOTIDIEN MUTATIONS 

L'article
:
"Douala: Les maires allogènes sont devenues autochtones" 

A l'issue des élections municipales du 30 juin dernier, le Rassemblement démocratique du peuple camerounais (RDPC), parti au pouvoir, est sorti vainqueur à Douala en raflant toutes les mairies dont quatre dirigées par des "allogènes". Paradoxalement à la situation qui avait prévalue après les municipales de 1996 lorsque le Social Democratic Front (SDF) s'était accaparé la quasi-totalité des mairies, aucune tension n'a été enregistrée. En effet, s'appuyant sur les notions d'" autochtones et d'allogènes" contenues dans la loi fondamentale de 1996, certains chefs de la communauté Sawa avaient à cette époque organisé des marches dans divers points de la ville pour dénoncer l'arrivée d'allogènes à la tête de trois mairies (Douala IIème, IIIème et Vème). Ce qui avait d'ailleurs amené la direction du SDF à se plier aux injonctions des autochtones et à démettre le maire de Douala III.

A l'exception du changement d'étiquette politique, rien n'a véritablement pas changé et certains observateurs de penser que le calme actuel montre bien que le parti au pouvoir était à l'origine de ces marches dont le but était de fragiliser la main mise du SDF sur la principale ville du pays.

Déjà à l'époque, l'introduction des termes allogènes et autochtones dans la Constitution avait suscité un vif débat au sein de la classe intellectuelle dans le pays. Certains avaient même estimé que les dirigeants camerounais consacraient officiellement par cet acte la division ethnique.

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Other data on Cameroon / Autres données sur le Cameroun