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Cameroon: Dr. Munjah Vitalis recommends solution to Anglophone crisis in PhD thesis

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By Atia Azohnwi

Munjah Vitalis Fagha bagged home a PhD in Political Science from the University of Buea Saturday, May 16, 2020 after a thesis defense in which he made recommendations that could see an end to the socio-political situation in the North West and South West Regions.

The thesis titled “The African Peer Review Mechanism and the Strengthening of Political Institutions in Africa: A Comparative Analysis of Cameroon and Rwanda” reveals that Cameroon’s governance structures need to be subjected to a comprehensive governance review process if the country wants to make remarkable progress in governance and in averting and resolving intra-state conflicts.

Munjah posits that the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) that was crafted as a blueprint for Africa’s renewal, with its most innovative and audacious element being the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), launched in 2003 to improve governance, can be a panacea for Cameroon’s deteriorating governance situation and rising intra-state conflicts.

Dr. Munjah told reporters that although Cameroon was among the first countries to accede to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 3rd April, 2003 to set up the peer review mechanism, it is yet to begin the review process in earnest.

“All discussions about the APRM process in Cameroon end at the Prime Minister’s Office and in the hands of all the three panel members designated by the APRM Secretariat in Midrand, South Africa to foster the implementation of the process in Cameroon,” he said.

Dr. Munjah Vitalis during his defense

Dr. Munjah Vitalis during his defense

He notes that the situation in the country’s North West and South West regions could even have been avoided if the government of Cameroon undertook the Peer Review process and drew up actions plans based on the country review report to address the issues raised. In the absence of that, the governance situation in Cameroon deteriorated making the executive arm of government to remain dominant over the other branches of government thus forestalling the separation of power, rule of law and constitutionalism.

“The APRM Heads of states and Governments Implementation Committee (HSGIC) and the government of Cameroon seem to be unwilling to kick start the peer review process in Cameroon 15 years after acceding to the MoU. Not even the current crisis has necessitated the review,” said Dr. Munjah.

In studying how APRM has strengthened political institutions in Rwanda and comparing it with Cameroon, Munjah focused on Democracy and Good Governance component, considering variables such as: the prevention and reduction of intra-state conflicts; Constitutional democracy; The rule of law and supremacy of the constitution; The separation of powers (including the protection of the independence of the judiciary and of an effective legislature); Accountable, efficient and effective public office holders and civil servants; and Rule of law and fighting corruption in the political sphere.

The APRM, Munjah posits, provides a useful lens through which political scientists can examine governments, and regimes that wish to abide by the principles of good governance propagated by the World Bank through the good governance theory. Munjah subscribes to the views expressed by apologists of the Good governance theory and contends that there are some basic principles in governance that must be respected by all governments, whatever its form.

The scholar in his recommendations enjoined the Head of State to personally commit to the African peer review mechanism so that Cameroon can get some of the benefits that have accrued to states like Rwanda, Ghana and Kenya because their Heads of State demonstrated a high degree of commitment to the ideals of the continental body and directed the review process. If that is done, it will facilitate open dialogue and learning, as well as build mutual trust among political stakeholders in Cameroon. In such an environment, frankness, robust debate, differences in opinion and criticisms will be less threatening and more acceptable .

“The APRM process should therefore be undertaken as matter of urgency in Cameroon, in view of creating a dialogue forum that might provide solutions to the on-going Anglophone crisis,” said Dr. Munjah.
The defence jury was made up of by Professor Paul Ntungwe Ndue as Chairperson, Associate Professor Moye Godwin as Rappoteur I, and Associate Professor John Ndefru as Rapporteur II. Associate Professor Banlilon Victor Tani and Associate Professor Abangma James Arrey were members of the jury.

Munjah entered the defense venue as a student but left a newly minted PhD. The jury declared the work as a novelty given that such a surgical study on Cameroon’s governance situation has never been done.
It is the first-ever PhD defense in the Department of Political Science and Comparative Politics at the Faculty of Laws and Political Science.

Munjah Vitalis Fagha bagged home a PhD in Political Science from the University of Buea Saturday, May 16, 2020 after a thesis defense in which he made recommendations that could see an end to the socio-political situation in the North West and South West Regions.

The thesis titled “The African Peer Review Mechanism and the Strengthening of Political Institutions in Africa: A Comparative Analysis of Cameroon and Rwanda” reveals that Cameroon’s governance structures need to be subjected to a comprehensive governance review process if the country wants to make remarkable progress in governance and in averting and resolving intra-state conflicts.

Munjah posits that the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) that was crafted as a blueprint for Africa’s renewal, with its most innovative and audacious element being the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), launched in 2003 to improve governance, can be a panacea for Cameroon’s deteriorating governance situation and rising intra-state conflicts.

Dr. Munjah told reporters that although Cameroon was among the first countries to accede to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 3rd April, 2003 to set up the peer review mechanism, it is yet to begin the review process in earnest.

“All discussions about the APRM process in Cameroon end at the Prime Minister’s Office and in the hands of all the three panel members designated by the APRM Secretariat in Midrand, South Africa to foster the implementation of the process in Cameroon,” he said.

He notes that the situation in the country’s North West and South West regions could even have been avoided if the government of Cameroon undertook the Peer Review process and drew up actions plans based on the country review report to address the issues raised. In the absence of that, the governance situation in Cameroon deteriorated making the executive arm of government to remain dominant over the other branches of government thus forestalling the separation of power, rule of law and constitutionalism.

“The APRM Heads of states and Governments Implementation Committee (HSGIC) and the government of Cameroon seem to be unwilling to kick start the peer review process in Cameroon 15 years after acceding to the MoU. Not even the current crisis has necessitated the review,” said Dr. Munjah.

In studying how APRM has strengthened political institutions in Rwanda and comparing it with Cameroon, Munjah focused on Democracy and Good Governance component, considering variables such as: the prevention and reduction of intra-state conflicts; Constitutional democracy; The rule of law and supremacy of the constitution; The separation of powers (including the protection of the independence of the judiciary and of an effective legislature); Accountable, efficient and effective public office holders and civil servants; and Rule of law and fighting corruption in the political sphere.

The APRM, Munjah posits, provides a useful lens through which political scientists can examine governments, and regimes that wish to abide by the principles of good governance propagated by the World Bank through the good governance theory. Munjah subscribes to the views expressed by apologists of the Good governance theory and contends that there are some basic principles in governance that must be respected by all governments, whatever its form.
The scholar in his recommendations enjoined the Head of State to personally commit to the African peer review mechanism so that Cameroon can get some of the benefits that have accrued to states like Rwanda, Ghana and Kenya because their Heads of State demonstrated a high degree of commitment to the ideals of the continental body and directed the review process. If that is done, it will facilitate open dialogue and learning, as well as build mutual trust among political stakeholders in Cameroon. In such an environment, frankness, robust debate, differences in opinion and criticisms will be less threatening and more acceptable .

“The APRM process should therefore be undertaken as matter of urgency in Cameroon, in view of creating a dialogue forum that might provide solutions to the on-going Anglophone crisis,” said Dr. Munjah.
The defence jury was made up of by Professor Paul Ntungwe Ndue as Chairperson, Associate Professor Moye Godwin as Rappoteur I, and Associate Professor John Ndefru as Rapporteur II. Associate Professor Banlilon Victor Tani and Associate Professor Abangma James Arrey were members of the jury.

Munjah entered the defense venue as a student but left a newly minted PhD. The jury declared the work as a novelty given that such a surgical study on Cameroon’s governance situation has never been done.
It is the first-ever PhD defense in the Department of Political Science and Comparative Politics at the Faculty of Laws and Political Science.

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Cameroon

Coronavirus: Mixed signals from Yaounde shows survival depends on you

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Earlier today Monday May 25th 2020, public health minister sent out a wake up call

He took to twitter to announce the worst is yet to come, saying we are entering a critical phase of the virus and more than ever before we need to respect government measures and keep social distancing to the best of our ability.

His message of social distancing and to avoid public places is consistent with his daily tweets to guard the public against contracting the deadly global pandemic.

The early morning tweet today though caries different underton, it signals we are yet to reach the peak of this virus,many more Cameroonians are likely to be infected and worst of all many more might die in the weeeks ahead especially as schools are planning to resume come June 1st 2020.

But his message of caution is in sharp contrast with government’s actions vis sa vis the fight against the virus

Government had rollback almost all the measures imposed in March to help curb the spread, deeming bars, hotels, restaurants, beeches, clubs and other services as essential and handed the burden of control back to business owners and citizens as the economy started to suffer under the weight of the lockdown.

What followed has been a spike in number of infected persons and deaths as many ignore social distancing and basic Hygienic calls

Same day government was announcing normalcy or near normalcy across the country, its public health minister was tweeting about the need for people to stay at home as much as they could, warning the risk of contracting the virus is higher and advising people to remain indoors and respect constant hygiene.

Today’s tweet on the eve of school resumption once again sadly reminds the population that the government is tasking them to fight for their very own survival amidst a deadly global pandemic

Cameroon has 4,890 infected cases this far, one of the highest in Africa.
1,865 have recovered while 165 persons have died according to latest official figures.

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Human Interest

Intelligent, nice and hardworking: A friend to Nkeng Lizette paints saint-like picture of deceased

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A very close friend to Nkeng Lizette, killed and abandoned at a student hostel in Buea has describe the girl as nice, hardworking and intelligent

Tifuh Sandrine who has known Lizette for years now was speaking to TeboPost this day May 25th 2020, saying her friend was anything but those she now reads on social media

She describe the deceased as reserved with strong facility values and says she was from a very comfortable home.

“ it’s pains me when I read online and Peoppe say she was dating men for me money” Tifuh told TeboPost before adding, she was from a very comfortable home, went to one of the most expensive universities in this country was was suppose to be abroad if not for coronavirus for her post graduate program

She wasn’t into men as people put it and wasn’t materialistic beceuse her family provided her with all her needs

Her remarks about the deceased is in sharp contrast to what has been trending on social media where reports say she was dating two boys for money and was allegedly killed by one of them

The corpse of Nkeng Lizette was found in a hostel in Buea on May 23 2020 while already at an advance stage of decomposition

Reports say she had been killed five days later by unidentified person(s).

She was immediately buried by the hygiene and sanitation unit of Buea council.

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Cameroon

June 1st School resumption: Teachers make demanding demands

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Teachers say they will Boycott June 1st School Resumption if Certain Conditions are not in Place by government to ensure smooth and safe teaching and learning  during the era of Covid-19

This is apparent from the document they issued during the week end where 19 Cameroon teachers syndicates including TAC and CATTU have declared that they will boycott the resumption of classes on June 1, 2020 if the conditions below are not met by the government

1. End of year exams be giving on basis of programs they have covered
2. Compulsory provision of sanitizer and face mask on campus
3. Risk allowance for teachers and allowance for overload
4. Not more than 24 students per class
4. Funds provided to schools to take care of health emergencies.
5. Remainder of school fees be paid to the schools among others

But amongst the numerous demands, the risk allowance for teachers has caught the eye of many Cameonians

Coming at a time when the nation like the rest of the world is suffering from the deadly pandemic, it’s only normal that teachers should fight for a safe learning space for their students and themselves

But demanding a risk allowance at a time when medics at the frontline are dying directly due to the virus and are yet to make any financial demands is seen by man as selfish in the part of the teachers

Many point to the fact that some of these teachers have not been teaching since 2016 when the Anglophone crisis started despite being paid their salaries in full and now are making strangulating demands before they go to class

Critics say Should government pay them risk allowance for teaching during the era or COVID-19, same allowance would have to be paid to all civil servants who risk their lives in one way or the other each day as they serve their nation.

Teachers they say are increasingly losing their sense of patriotism and all too often think only about their week being irrespective is the general interest.

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