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Cameroon

Agbor Balla strikes defiant tone to Justice Mbeng kidnappers: “We will not be bullied into silence through the barrel of a gun

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Former leader of the outlaw consortium and human rights lawyer Barister Agbor Balla has released a statement following news of the kidnapping of former vice president of South West Appeal Court early Sunday April 8, 2018 in his village Ewelle, South West region, to release him with immediate effect.

Justice Mbeng Martin is reported to have been kidnapped as he went to bury a family relative on Sunday April 8th 2018 and kidnappers are demanding ransom from the family, tebopost has learned.

Reacting to the news, the revered Bala who is the President of the Centre for Human Rights and Democracy for Central Africa said decry the kidnappers and call for the chief justice’s immediate release by those responsible

“We deplore the kidnapping in the strongest possible terms “the statement reads in part before adding that “we will not be bullied into silence through the barrel of a gun by armed groups”

Bala once again called for inclusive and genuine dialogue to end the escalating crisis ravaging the North West and South West region of the country.

Kidnapping a new normal?

Armed groups in the restive Anglophone regions of the country have embarked on kidnapping government and former government officials to send their message to authorities in Yaoundé as the conflict widens and gradually moves to a dangerous face.

The first government official to be kidnapped was the DO of Batibo who is yet to b released, neither has any video of him being alive been sent out by the groups.

All the search and rescue operations launched by the government have failed as many more kidnappings have been recorded with some released while others are reportedly killed sparking public outcry.

Justice Mbeng is the latest casualty in the long conflict between the government and armed Ambazonian groups

An emboldened Balla?

Once revered and adorably referred to as president Balla, the international human right lawyer who spearheaded and once led the all-powerful but outlaw consortium was the hope of the people.

His arrest in January 17 2017 and subsequent 8 month in prison generated massive publicity, brought international pressure on the government as Anglophne regions witnessed an uneasy calm punctuated by ghost towns all through his stay in kondengui.

After he was released in September 2017, alongside others through a presidential pardon, the man many had dubbed to lead the secessionist movement refused to move an inch from his original stance insisting he still believes that two state federation was the best way to solve the ongoing Anglophone problem, angering his base along the way who had wished his time in prison would have changed his mind.

His position distanced him from his base, pro-independence activists brandished him a traitor and puppet of the government, and his popularity amongst the people tumbled within weeks.

His words no longer had the kind of impact he once had and his following dwindle as the conflict moves to an armed conflict.

But with high profile meeting with international bodies, US government and major decision making bodies around the globe, Balla suddenly feels embolden and is forcefully making his case in either side to end conflict.

His latest criticism comes just days after he took to social media to decry what he says were massive human right abuses by the country’s army against civilian population.

An accusation the country’s military spokesman colonel Didier Badjeck has denied

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Cameroon

February 2020 elections: SDF prepares to run, Anglophones prepare to bury the party

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In November 2018, top brass of the Social Democratic Front SDF organized a press conference after shocking results at the polls.

The chief opposition party or should I say former chief opposition party had just emerged a distant 3rd, surrendering its natural second position to a rising Kamto for the first time in its history and blaming government and party top brass for the shameful fall.

Defending the their allegations of fraud at a marathon post election trial at the constitutional council shortly after 2018 Presidential elections, the party’s lead counsel Barister Sama made a shocking and chilling admission “if this results were done fairly and transparently, SDF would have emerge winner or at-least our second position which has always been ours since 1992”

It is the second part of the statement which which exonerates crictics of the party who say the party have entered an unholy and secret agreement with the regime and are satisfied with the position of first opposition party.

But if that dismal Defeat of 2018 was the death of Fru Ndi’s party, 2020 municipal elections might be the funeral service.

Anglophones who constitute the historic base of the SDF have been in crisis for three years now, they blame the ruling party for their predicaments and SDF for not supporting them forcefully.

There have been calls for SDF MPs and senators who constitute an insignificant minority anyways to abandon the parliament and throw their weight behind the people.

Critics of the party says SDF cannot survive without Anglophones and risk losing relevance if they don’t respond to their demands

Even a one time SDF MP honorable Joesph Wirba who gained rockstar status and political prominence  following his defiant speech in parliament which endeared him in the hearts of many back in December 2016 has urged his former colleagues to resign en mass  and leave parliament as a sign of support to the cry of the people

The party has stubbornly resisted the call, brandishing its credentials as a national party and rubbished any suggestions that it’s an Anglophone party.

Its chaireman John Fru Ndi insist his MPs and senators needs a platform like the parliament to advance the peoples concern, something almost all his supporters disagree, saying they haven’t changed anything since 1992 when they started taking part in elections.

The Anglophones drifted away from the party and what followed was a humiliating and disastrous defeat to first timer Joshua Osih as head of the party in the 2018 Presidential race forcing national executives of the party to go on apology spreee.

When the party in it’s August 10th 2019 executive meeting announced it will not run for municipal and legislative elections if government doesn’t resolve the Anglophone crisis,most of its crictics and those left of its dwindling supporters welcomed the move, saying it will put government under pressure to do more to end the crisis and reconcile the party with its lost supporters many of whom don’t  see any future through the ballot.

On November 13th 2019, barely two days after the party confirmed its decision to boycot the February race, party officials make another shocking revelation yet again, they are satisfied with government’s efforts so far to resolve the crisis, effectively announcing their plans to take part in the elections

Fru Ndi issued a communique calling for his MPs and mayors across the country to compile documents for the elections- a shocking king twist of  events for a party struggling with identity

The decision has not gone well with many who took to social media to express their indignations.

Wafor Wilfred writes “SDF had long been dead and buried since the last presidential election. it is only crying in the grave in spirit”
Another user by name Tony Ngah writes
“This is the end of the CPDM branch called SDF” one social media writes

“ We don’t even care anymore about anything politics, we are focus on our freedom” another equips as thousands of comments flooded social media

This is not the first time SDF is making a u turn when it comes to election participation in the country leaving many to question the independence of the party and its secret dealings with the CPDM

SDF might consider itself a national party at par with Biya’ CPDM but in reality it has never realy resonated beyond North West, South Wes, West and Littoral regions

Even some of the South Westerners see the party as a Bemenda party while the West region has decided to embrace one of their sons, political rising star Maurice Kamto, abandoning the SDF in the process.

Littoral still looks uncertain but Kamto’s MRC seems to have that covered if results of last presidential elections are anything to go by

If the unpopular decision by the SDF to run for 2020 elections is seen by party hierarchy as a way to win back lost voters , 2020 might prove to be the year SDF finally died and indeed got buried.

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Politics

Chaos welcome Biya at Paris Peace forum

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President Biya joins world leaders in Paris France on the invitation of Macron to attend the second edition of the Paris Peace forum.

The two days forum which seeks to create a peaceful world will see one of the biggest gathering of world leaders in European soil

But amidst debates and criticism at home for snubbing landslide victims’ memorial service in Bafoussam where he was represented by premier Dion Ngute to attend a peace forum in France, President Biya has come under fire from the diaspora pressure group known as BAS

Members of the much threaded BAS who have made Europe uncomfortable for the President “welcomed the 86 years old with massive protest outside his hotel

Shocking images and videos of a protest-ready Cameroonian diaspora battling with hundreds of anti riot French police infront of Maurice Hotel lodging the Presidential once again embarrass Yaounde and put the country in the spotlight for wrong reasons

French anti riot police had battled to contained the sometimes violent protesters yesterday November 11th 2019 who wanted to force open the door of the hotel , leaving Cameroonian Presidential guards to scramble as more people all over the country troop into Paris to join the protest team

Protesters where chanting “Paul Biya assasin” in French while others sang the team song for Anglophone protesters “how many people Paul Biya go kill?”

While there are no reports of any casualty, TeboPost gathered the French authorities have demarcated an area around the hotel where protesters can carry out their civic right of protests.

President Biya’s visit in Europe lately have been met with violet protests from the so called a “Brigade Anti- Sadinarde” , a group which has constituted themselves as Kamto supporters but seen in Yaounde as traitors of the republic.

In January 28 ,2019, BAS protesters joined MRC militants at home to strike in many European countries, calling for President Biya to end the war in Anglophone regions, free Kamto and step down

Cameroonian embassy in Paris was attacked, properties within the embassy destroyed as diplomats flee for safety.

Many back home had criticized the French police for the attack and their failure to protect the property from violent protesters.There were also protests in Belgium and Germany that same day

In July 2019, members of BAS from different parts of Europe stormed the intercontinental Hotel in Switzerland which was hosting the Presidential couple for a private stay, clashing with protesters and forced the Swiss government to send the President and wife back home prematurely in a move which was seen as a big win for the movement which is causing serious headache to Yaounde.

Some body guards of the president were also charged in Swiss court for harassing a Swiss reporter who was filming the protests. None of them was arrested or sentenced.

The latest round of protest comes barely a month after opposition leader professor Maurice Kamto and his team were released from prison on October 5th 2029, satisfying one of the key demands of BAS movement has raise fresh concerns about the end goal of the protesters.

After Kamto’s release, the movement issued a brief statement, saying they welcome the move but will continue to protest until President Biya steps down.

Biya is currently enjoying a new mandate which runs til 2025. He will be 92 Years of age.

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Cameroon

How competent is CONAC? Agency shockingly snubs $15.3 million embezzlement lead

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Ever since it’s creation in March 2006 by Presidential decree with the mandate to fight corruption and embezzlement of public funds, the country’s anti-corruption agency CONAC which is suppose to be one of the busiest anti-corruption agencies in the world given the decree of corruption in the country has been in the spotlight -but for all the wrong reasons

The body incharge of ensuring a corrupt free Cameroon has come under scrutiny from critics for its selective investigations, incompetence and ironically corruption within its ranks

The head of CONAC, Rev Dieudonne Massi Gams has always insisted that his agancy which doesn’t have the mandate to persecute is doing its best efforts even though it seems those efforts rest in their annual reports which government then decides which one to implement or not

But amdits the shortcomings of the text creating arguably the most important agency in the country, CONAC isn’t helping its own course, and its mode of operating only adds firepower in the hands of its critics.

Despite massive sensitizations and about the need for people to report cases of corruption to the agency, TeboPost finds out CONAC is so poorly equipped to fight corruption in modern day Cameroon

A three minutes phone call this reporter had with a member of the CONAC team today Monday Movember 11th 2019 reveals the gross incompetence of the agency to ensure safety of witnesses who might be willing to come forth to testify.

A Staff member showed text book expample of bad customer service and put into question the competence of some staffers and agencies’ ability to rid out corruption in Cameroon

Following a lead from a lady (whose name and nationality TeboPost is withholding for security reasons) who claims to have knowledge about a supposed 15.3 million USD theft by a former Cameroon ministers, with knowledge on where the money is kept and when the plans to remove it from the country, this reporter tried reaching CONAC for days in order to hook them up with the witness.

Their mobile and fixed lines were not passing for the better part of Friday throughout weeknends as time the witness says was running out

When this reporter finally gets to CONAC through the number 6 58 26 26 82 on Monday November 11th 2019 at 11:18 the feedback was not only discouraging but offers a rare glimpse at the inner workings of the agency and how poorly equipped they are to fight corruption

After introducing myself, this reporter explained the situation and tried to inquire if the agency could setup an urgent and secure means of communication with the Zambian lady to get the necessary evidences and hear her testimonial about the supposed stolen fund.

The lady who was in no urgency refused to tell this reporter her name but rather insists she is CONAC saying the agency cannot make any special arrangement for any weakness because according to her, it goes against their agency’s policies

Pressed on why an anti-corruption agency can’t ensure a witness feels safe enough to give incriminating details worth over USD 15 million which is about to be taken out of the country? The lady replied in a rude and unprofessional tone “ if she cannot tell us like this then let her leave it “ shocking and disbelieving as it may sound this reporter insisted given the importance of the of the subject matter and it’s urgency.

Let her leave it? This reporter ask again and she replied “ yes other!people have been given us information through this means so why can’t she” she replied

This reporter added , she can’t because she is scared that her phone might be tapped or something, I don’t Knowe her dealings with the said ministers and how she got hold of the information but it will be important you get to hear from her Madame, then the lady replied “ why is she scared” if she is scared th let her leave it”

But I didn’t stop asking

Madame I have introduced myself to you and where I work, please can I know who are my talking to? “Why do you want to know my name”she asked

Me: just so I can tell the lady Mrs. Say Glory from CONAC says they can’t arrange for a secured call say though WhatsApp with you as it is against their policy

The lady: I can’t tell u my name, I am CONAC and I’m the only one who uses this number.

Me: No Madame I know you are working for CONAC but you aren’t CONAC, administrative protocol demands you atleast introduce yourself, name and desk when taking calls on behalf of your company

Lady: if you insist on knowing my name then you have call app or download it and you will see my name

Me: Really? Madame! I have to download an app just to know your name

Lady: have a nice day
End of call

The late morning phone calls between this reporter and staff member at CONAC reveals appualing neglect of security measures necessary to build confidence on the part of any person willing to come forward with a helpful information.

The unprofessional approach and zero customer service exhibited by the staff is replica of what obtains within our very corrupt government structures and brings into serious questions about the credibility and competence of CONAC to fight corruption

If an Agency charged to fight corruption can neglect with so much unprofesionalism and nonchalance a lead worth tens of millions of US dollars of stolen wealth in an improvereished country, then one really begins to wonder the fate of Cameroonians in CONAC’s erra

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