Cameroon’s 10 Year Governance Report Picks Hole On Accountability

The 2016 Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) published recently by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation-UK indicates that Cameroon has failed in overall governance in Africa within the last decade.

According to the index, Cameroon came 38/54 with a total score of 45.7 %. Meanwhile Mauritius, Botswana, and Cape Verde were the first three with a total score 79.9, 73.7 and 73.0 respectively; and  Central African Republic, South Sudan and Somalia, the last three with a score of 25.7%, 18.6% and  10.6 % respectively. Côte d’Ivoire, Togo, and Zimbabwe, and were the three most  improved countries in Africa in term of overall governance, and Libya, Madagascar and Eritrea,  the three most deteriorated countries in Africa in this category within the last 10 years.

The detailed result indicates that, Cameroon is 30th in Africa in term of  Personal Safety with a 47.3%  score and an improvement trend of 3.6 within the last 10 years. Regarding the Rule of Law Cameroon came 36th with 42.8% score.

In the area of National Security, this ranking placed Cameroon on the 41st spot with a total score of 62.8%. The country was scored 30.9 % in Accountability and ranked as the 33rd most accountable country in Africa.

The country’s performance in Participation & Human Rights stood at 37.9%, occupying the 39th spot on the continent with a deterioration rate of -2.4. This rating placed Cameroon on the 29th  spot in term of infrastructure in Africa with 36%  with a +16.2 improvement trend within the last decade.

In term of Public Management, Cameroon came 32nd  in Africa scoring 40.4 % in the continent with a deterioration trend of -8.7.  Regarding Business Environment Cameroon occupied position number 28 with a 40% score and a -6.8 deterioration trend.

In the Educational Sector, Cameroon was ranked 20th in the continent with a score of 53.4% and a 10 year improvement trend of +10.9. A similar result was also recorded in the domain of Health. Here Cameroon was the 21st in Africa with a 71.5 with a +0.6% improvement trend within the last 10 years. In Human Development, Cameroon was the 26th with a total score of 48.3%.

Summary result therefore indicates that Cameroon failed in Personal Safety, Rule of Law,  Accountability, Participation and Human Right, Infrastructure, Public Management, Business Environment and Human Development within the last 10 years; and passed in National Security, Education, and Health. She registered her highest score (71.5) in the health sector and her lowest score (30.9) in accountability.

Following the Anglo-Saxon grading system, Cameroon within the last 10 years passed in three sub-sectors recording a ‘B+’ in Health, a ‘B’ in National Security and a ‘C’ in Education, and failed in eight sub-sectors recording a ‘D+’ in Personal Safety, a ‘D’ in Rule of Law, an ‘F’ in Accountability, an ‘F’ in Participation and Human Right, an ‘F’ in Infrastructure, a ‘D’ in Public Management, a ‘D’ in Business Environment and a ‘D+’ in Human Development per the 2016 Ibrahim Index of African Governance.

In a nutshell, Cameroon’s report card on Governance in Africa within the last 10 years will read; 1B+, 1B, 1C, 2D+, 3D and 3F.

By Bertrand Shancho Ndimuh  & Emmanuel Nkeng

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123 Elephant Tusks Confiscated in SWR

Some123 elephant tusks and 350Kg of Pangolin scales have been confiscated by the Southwest Regional Delegation of Forestry and Wildlife at the Tiko Warf. The confiscation was effected in the night of Monday 24th October, 2016 by a team comprising of the Divisional Officer of Tiko, Assistant State Counsel of Tiko, Chief of Special Branch Police, and MINFOF officials.

 

Confiscated elephant tusk displayed at MINOF, Buea

Confiscated elephant tusks displayed at MINOF, Buea

According to the Technical Controller No. 4 at the Southwest Regional Delegate of Forestry and Wildlife, Mr. Tataw Victor Echombe, the Chief of Forestry Poste for Tiko discovered some wildlife parts at the Tiko Warf and immediately alerted the Regional Delegate of MINFOF who together with other MINFOF staff and administrators visited the scene where they met the tusks and pangolin scales.

“The tusks were loaded in four bags which we opened and found used clothes and shoes camouflaged on top. We counted 123 pieces of tusks in the bag, and among the tusks, one was cut into 3 pieces, about 11 into 2 pieces, and about 3 cut into one piece, while the rest stayed whole,” Mr. Tataw explained.

The Regional Technical Controller disclosed that, the number of elephant tusks indicates that over 62 elephants were killed. He affirmed that most of the tusks came from totally protected elephant species.

“When we reconstituted the tusks which all weighed 294.19Kg, we counted 62 elephants massacred to get this number of tusks. Of the 62 elephants, 6 of them belonged to the class ‘B’, meaning that the tusks were more than 5Kg, and 56 of them belonged to the class ‘A’, meaning that they weighed less than 5Kg. The class ‘A’ elephants are entirely protected,” Mr. Tataw expounded.

Meantime, some giant and dwarf Pangolin scales weighing 350Kg were seized months back still at the Tiko Warf. The Regional Technical Controller explained that all Pangolins in Cameroon are entirely protected.

“According to the Convention for International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) list, both the giant and dwarf Pangolins are presently considered endangered and so must be protected,” Mr. Tataw said.

The perpetrators were not apprehended at the time of the confiscation but the regional Delegate of Forestry and Wildlife, Mr. Dipanda Francois, affirmed that investigations are ongoing and sooner than later, the culprits shall be tracked down and brought to justice.

“We are presently preparing administrative and technical reports from the exhibits we have with us. The investigations that shall be championed by my ministry, will soon be opened and in less than no time, the culprits behind this illegal act, shall be apprehended,” Mr Dipanda stated.

The Regional Delegate pleaded for more collaboration from custom officials at the border. To him, illegal forestry or wildlife activities at the border can be stopped if all collaborators play their part.

According to article 101 and 158 of the 1994 forestry law of Cameroon, anyone caught with a whole or part of a protected wildlife species, will be penalized with a fine of 3 to 10 million francs, or face a prison term of between 1 to 3 years.

By Fonki Yanick and Ndimuh Bertrand

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Illegal Wildlife Trade Growing With Increasing Fight!

Last Monday October 24, 2016, Some123 elephant tusks and 350Kg of Pangolin scales were interceded at Tiko Warf by the South West Regional Delegation of Forestry and Wildlife on transit to the international market. Though no information was gotten as to where the tusk of these totally protected wildlife species is coming from or going to, the number of tusks indicated the world’s population of African Elephants has decreased by over 62.

During celebrations marking the 44th edition of the World Environment Day, last June 5, 2016, United Nation Secretary General, Ban Kim Moon called on countries the world over to intensify the fight against illegal wildlife trafficking. As the Cameroon government beefs up strategies against this trade, illegal wildlife trafficking seems to be gaining even more grounds in the country.

In the South West Region for example, illegal wildlife traffickers are currently undergoing trials in different courts across the region.  Information from the Southwest Regional Delegation of Forestry and Wildlife indicates that trial ongoing at the Court of First Instance by some traffickers who were tracked down last year after they were caught in Edenau with parts of endangered wildlife species. A similar case is also going on at the Court of First Instance in Tiko, Muyuka, Mamfe and Kumba.

One will think such legal measures will scare perpetrators of illegal wildlife traffickers but this is not the case. Last July 2016 for instance  pangolin scales and parts of some wildlife species were confiscated by the West Regional Delegation of Forestry and Wildlife. Meanwhile Some 42 illegal wildlife traffickers were detained in the Southern Region of Cameroon after they were caught transporting elephant tusks and some illegal games during this same period.

A few years ago, it was the case of some armed poaching gangs from Sudan, who massacred more than half of the elephants in the Bouba Njida National Park in northern Cameroon. Also, one of the largest burnings of poached wildlife goods in African history was observed recently in the country’s administrative head quarter with the burning of some 2,000 illegally trafficked elephant tusks and hundreds of finished ivory products.

Cameroon’s minister of forestry and wildlife, Philip NgoleNgwese, during this burning exercise, said seized tusks and ivory, much of which originated abroad, were now “beyond reach.”  He described the human costs of poaching, mourning several guides and park rangers who have been killed in recent years.

The problem is precarious and far reaching and have been blamed on a number of factors including corruption on the part of some forestry and custom officials, porous borders, limited number of guards per protected area and inadequate equate equipment for fighting poaching and illegal wildlife trafficking amongst others

In a chat with some five eco guards on patrol a few months ago, they painted vivid picture of their plight:   “As guards on patrol, we are at the war front and can be attacked at any time; the poachers are our enemy but most of them like the elephant hunters,  have very sophisticated guns and are brutal…but see us; a group of persons on patrol in a class ‘A’ park in Cameroon with one gun produced since 1939-during the Second World War…how do we face such a situation?  The government has giving us the best of training but has failed to equip us; you cannot send somebody to the war from without weapons!”

In another chat with the South West Regional Delegate of Forestry and Wildlife a few days ago, he indicated that plans are underway at the Ministry to supply more sophisticated guns to protected areas in the country to reinforce the capacity of forest guards so that they can easily track down poachers and bring them to justice.

This is a great move if only it is not another government machine that will ‘grind slowly but surely’

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Environmental Challenges Amid Cameroon’s Hosting of AFCON 2016

Over 3000 persons including Nigerians, South Africans, Equatorial Guineans, Kenyans, Egyptians Zimbabweans and the entire sports loving population of Africa will be converging on Limbe, Yaounde and other towns in Cameroon in the months ahead for the 2016 female African Cup of Nations (AFCON) to run from November 19 to December 3.

Though such massive population influx will boost business and tourism activities in the country, the environmental ramifications abound. Increased population influx means increased green house emission via cigarette/tobacco smoking, and intra-city/intercity transportation by spectators, organizers and footballers.

Energy and water supply is another great environmental challenge watch out for. Water and electricity supply in the two major towns to play host to the historic jamboree is often characterised by paucity and irregularities especially during the dry season, which happens to be the period when the competition will be on.

It is therefore very important for the government and the national organising committee to double check measures put in place to handle this and be sure that there are apt enough to meet up with the several thousands of persons that will be making way into the country.

The influx of thousands of persons from the eight participating nations and other football lovers in the African continent to Cameroon also means increased amount of waste generation during this period; both biodegradable and non-biodegradable. Players, spectators and people from all over the continent will be drinking bottled water and other consumables leading to increase amount of plastic and other wastes. Businesses too will sprout from all corners of Buea, Limbe, Tiko Yaounde and other neighbouring towns. This also means increase in waste production requiring the putting in place of a proper waste management schemes.

In an interview with the Southwest Regional Delegate of MINEPDEP, Set Ekwadi Sone, he admitted that waste management will be a major challenge during the female AFCON but indicated that a lot has been put in place to ensure proper waste management.

“Hygiene and sanitation will be a hard knock to crack. We have organised a meeting with the Hygiene and Sanitation Company (HYSACAM) and brewery companies in the Region to chat a way forward on how waste will be managed during this period of AFCON. In the days ahead we will also be embarking on a mass sensitization campaign to sensitize people against littering; our banners will also be up with proper waste management messages” the regional delegate explained.

In a similar chat with the Chief of Service for Hygiene and Sanitation at the Limbe City Council, Mrs. Rose Diboma, she disclosed that the City Council is putting in place series of measures to maintain proper hygiene and sanitation during the tournament

“The council is going around with its normal duty of keeping the streets clean and ensuring that businesses around the road are clean. However, more focus is on restaurants and hotels to ensure that their services are professional and their environments are kept clean before during and after the competition” the Chief of Service said.

Mrs. Rose Diboma added that the City Council has signed an order promising sanctions to anyone who will be caught throwing dirt on the streets and even through moving vehicles during and after the female AFCON.

Efforts should therefore be made by all to ensure a green and environmentally friendly female 2016 female AFCON in Cameroon.

By Bertrand S. Ndimuh & Queen Achingale

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When Man’s Will Wheels Against Nature’s Will

Each time man’s will wheels against God’s will, God has most if not all of the time treated man with mercy and compassion.

In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve wheeled their wills against God’s; they ate of the forbidden fruits and God casted them out of the garden/His presence slamming various sanctions but later had mercy and compassion, and sent Jesus to redeem man from all these.

Nature is different! Each time man’s will wheels against nature’s will, nature has always paid man in his own very coins.

Nature's wrath in action

Nature’s wrath in action

In the 1700s, man especially those from the West depleted natural resources establishing factories etc. Trees were cleared to feed the factories. Those of the developing world sacrificed the forest for farms and on the altar of livelihood. This was man wheeling his will against nature’s wheel. Little did man know that nature was not like God.

Today, nature’s wrath is wagging against man; nature has gone ‘hot’! Man calls it climate change. It has become so serious that man has termed it “the biggest global health threats of the 21st Century”. One of sectors that has seen the ugly face of climate change in recent years has been the agricultural sector.

Agriculture remains the driving force behind Cameroon’s economic development with statistics indicating that about 80% of the poor in the country live in rural areas and depends on agriculture for their livelihood. Water, temperature and light which are indispensable for food production.

Crops and plants need enough moisture especially during germination and fruit development but rainfall needed to generate such moisture is hardly available during these stages in most part of the country. This, couple with the prevalence of pests and diseases,  has greatly reduced agricultural productivity in must rural communities of Cameroon leading to increase food prices in the market.

For instance a bag of groundnut that was sold in the Ngoketunjia Division at cfa 15,000 in 2006 now sells at cfa 50,000. It is a similar plight with maize, potatoes, rice cassava production in other parts of  the North West Region;  cocoa and banana production in the Center and South West Regions, cotton and nillet production in the North and Far North Regions and vegetable production in the West Region of Cameroon.

The impact of climate change on food production has become a global concern. It has been so perennial in recent years that the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations has placed the 2016 World Food Day under the theme: “Climate is changing. Food and agriculture must too” with a call on countries to redress food and agriculture in their climate action plans and invest more in rural development.

This points to the fact that man must subject his will to nature’s will for nature’s wrath to subside.

Ndimuh Bertrand Shancho

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SOS: Mile 18-Buea Water Catchment Cries For Help!

The mile 18 water catchment in Buea, which has over the years been  the ‘Oasis’ of the people of the Wonia Mavio, Bomaka and Molyko communities in Buea ,  especially during the dry season when water supply is epileptic, has been bitten  so painfully that it is crying out for help!

Depleting Mile 18-Buea water catchment

Depleting Mile 18-Buea water catchment

The eastern flank of the catchment was bitten a few years ago by a magnificent structure. This vexed the neighbouring communities who saw it as a deliberate or rather ignorant attempt to deprive them of their God given source of potable water. They however grumbled and stayed!

In a bid to heal the wounds inflicted upon this ‘source of life’, the ERuDeF Institute of Biodiversity and Non-Profit, in collaboration with the local communities and the Southwest Regional Delegation of Environment, Protection of Nature and Sustainable Development planted some 450 trees around the water catchment.

Few months after, the watershed once again received another bite at its southern flank; the trees planted at the catchment were destroyed and a parking lodge is being constructed for a nearby hotel, also under construction.

This action has harvested lots of verbal petitions from community members with most of their fingers pointing at the Chief of Wonia Mavio Mile 18.

“People can really be heartless. This water is what God has given to all of us and we all are drinking from it. Why should somebody build on it knowing very well that it can pollute the water? I learnt that the Chief sold the place to this man, who has this hotel for the construction of a parking lodge and to plant flower trees. Is this not being wicked to the community?  The Bible says “do unto others what you will want them do unto yo”. This man has drilled water for his hotel and wants to destroy our source of water…God is watching!” said Ms. Tata Priscilla, a mile 18 resident.

A Malingo based  business man,  Enow Stanely, met at the watershed said the volume of the water is gradually reducing with increase in human activities and development.

“When I just came to Buea some 10 years ago, this water was flowing with much pressure even in the dry season but look at what is happening now, all round the catchment you have houses, the flow has reduced and the water may even be contaminated; who knows?”  He lamented.

Meanwhile some community members are already sceptical about the quality of the water from the catchment

“I use to drink from this catchment before, but recently realised that the rate at which I suffer from typhoid is more than it were before. So when I carry water form this catchment, I ensure that it is boiled before drinking” a store keeper besides the catchment, who preferred to be known simply as David, explained.

Reacting to allegations from his community members, the Chief of Wonia Mavio Mile 18 said the water catchment area was already sold to the occupants before he became chief.

“How can I sell a water catchment? Is it proper? The truth is that people must speak. My predecessor sold all these lands before I became chief; even where my house is, I bought it…..so I don’t know who authorised them to build there.” the Chief said.

The Chief explained that a man building a hotel nearby asked for permission  to plant trees around the catchment to beautify the area and not to construct a parking lodge.  He said it was okay by him if the government takes any legal action against those constructing around this water source

“If the government can assist in evicting those people constructing around the water catchment, I will be happy. I can’t go fighting those who have constructed on the water catchment; they will be taking me to court up and down which I don’t want” the Chief quipped.

The Southwest Regional Delegate of MINEPDED, Mr. Set Ekwadi, on his part said article 4 and 16 of the 1988 law managing water resources in Cameroon forbids any construction around the water catchment. This according to him inhibits infiltration, contaminates the catchment and reduces flow rate.

“Water is the second important think in the life of man after air. Those who are building around the water catchment, do you mean to tell me that they are not conscious of the important of water in their life? Of course they know! You cannot see a water catchment and go and construct there because you are waiting on the Delegate of Environment to come and fight you or to come and question you. It’s a general concern. So we are calling on you people of the press to help us sensitize this people to protect their environment” the Delegate said.

He disclosed that a report was submitted about the plight of the catchment to the Ministry of Environment, Protect of Nature and Sustainable Development and the Minister, last August, 2016, instructed the Governor to follow up the issue to ensure that all construction work around the water catchment is stopped.

By Bertrand Shancho Ndimuh

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MOUNT CAMEROON MAY ERUPT IN 2017?

Some 17 years after the Mount Cameroon eruption, speculations are rife that the mountain is likely to erupt again any moment from now. “Scientifically, we have established a periodicity of the eruption of the Mountain that runs from 17 to 25 years. It’s 17 years since the last eruption, 1999-2000. So we are within that periodicity and can expect the eruption at any time” disclosed Dr. Charles Mafany Teke, a Geologist/Chief of Service in Charge of Innovation at the Southwest Regional Delegation of Research and Scientific Innovation in an interview he granted the GV recently.

1999 Mt Cameroon  eruption.  Photo Credit: Société Volcanologique Européene.

1999 Mt Cameroon eruption.
Photo Credit: Société Volcanologique Européene.

Quizzed on the readings of the Mount Cameroon Volcano Monitoring station, which the government set up in 1984 to monitor activities of the mountain, the Geologist revealed that though no seismicity of major concern has been discovered, volcanic activities can be unpredictable.

“We see some anomalous activities where we have an increase in seismicity then it drops. As far as we are concerned, the mountain is quiet but activities may pick up and within less that 3 days it attends a very high proportion and there is an eruption. If I say the mountain is quiet today and there is an eruption tomorrow, I shouldn’t be quoted as somebody who said there wasn’t going to be an eruption.  As you and I are talking, I don’t know what the seismography is reading in Ekona; it’s possible that it’s picking anomalous signals as we are talking. So if it erupts tomorrow, don’t come back here saying I said it was not going to erupt and it erupted” the Geologist quipped.

He advised that in case of an eruption, people should be vigilant and avoid panic because most people can die of pandemonium from stand pits than the direct effect of the eruption.

“If there is going to be an eruption and somebody goes on air and say lava is flowing down towards Buea so people should run; you will have accidents, panic, stand pits and people are going to die when probably the lava is not going to flow towards Buea. So people should listen to competent authorities because they will give the public information on how to behave before, during and after an eruption” Dr. Mafany advised.

Key Discoveries about Mount Cameroon

Given the active nature of Mount Cameroon, the Cameroon government in 1984 set up a monitoring station to monitor activities of the mountain. This was so that it could predict the eruption of the mountain.  32 years down the lane, Dr. Charles Mafany says a lot has been discovered about the Mountain.

One of such discoveries according to him is earth tremor.

“Eruptions on Mount Cameroon are preceded by earth quakes, and earth quakes are measured by way of magnitude. Those earth quakes of low magnitudes are difficult for humans to detect without the use of instruments. That’s what the monitoring station is doing. Before the 1999 eruption for example, we were able to see anomalous activities in seismicity of the mountain because there was an increasing frequency in the number of earth quakes per day that was some indication that there was some activities taking place beneath the mountain” He said.

Dr. Mafany disclosed that via monitoring, the periodicity of the eruption of the mountain has been established that is 17 to 25 years.

Hazards Prone Zones

The Regional Chief of Innovation said through monitoring activities, a hazard map for the Mount Cameroon Area has been produced. According to the map,  Limbe, Bonduma, and a strip around Tole are susceptible to landslide while Lake Barombi in Kumba is susceptible to gaseous explosion. Meanwhile the South-western flank of the volcano stretching from Ngeme to Idenau, and part of Buea is susceptible to lava flow.

For areas prone to volcanic activity, Dr. Mafany advised communities to put up structures that are resilient to seismic activities,

“I haven’t seen any policy document that forbids 3 storeys. If you build up to 3 storey, that should be the maximum. If you go above three, it may be difficult for such building to withstand seismic activities. It is not the height of the building that matters, but the quality of construction.  Take for example Japan has sky scrapers but the level of seismicity there far outweighs that of Cameroon. But in our area, the kind of engineer that we have is different so I would advise everybody not to go above 4 storeys” he recommended.

Dr. Charles Mafany explained that when anomalous activities are observed, Department of Civil Protection at the Ministry of Territorial Administration, which is in charge of managing both anthropogenic and natural disasters, is alerted. This department represented by the governor of the region, and at the divisional level it is the SDO, then calls for a crisis meeting. In that crisis meeting, all other stakeholders will be brought on board including the delegate of communication, who manages how this information goes out. This meeting will come up with management mechanisms before, during and after the eruption

The Geologist noted that there is no way man can run away from the volcano given its provision of fertile soil, good climate, tourism potentials.  He said as hazardous as the volcano may be, we don’t need to have any fear but to peacefully co-exist with it.

By Ndimuh Bertrand Shancho

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