I was going through some old boxes a few days ago when I stumbled across a bunch of pictures I had taken back in 1991 of an anti-Biya rally organized by university of Yaounde students in Limbe following the May 6, 1991 events at the university. May 24, 1991: University of Yaounde students march through the streets of Limbe with a mock coffin of President Biya and "Biya Must Go" placards.
The placards that the students carried were replete with "Biya Must Go" type messages at a time when the President was on the ropes, and being pommeled by a buoyant pro-democracy movement.
A documentary by Franck Bieleu whose feature length documentary, Big Banana, was nominated for the jury's prize at the 2012 Al Jazeera International Documentary Film Festival.
"Environment groups are accusing a New York-based agricultural company, Herakles Farms, of going forward with plans for a 73,000-hectare palm-oil plantation and refinery in southwest Cameroon... in the face of significant community opposition."Inter Press Service.
"Given the terms of a 99-year agreement under which Herakles Farms is allowed to establish a plantation of about 70,000 hectares [in Ndian division], it’s not difficult to see why Cameroonian NGOs fear the worst for local people. The agreement does not clarify to what extent – if at all – Cameroonian labour laws will apply, it exempts Herakles Farms from paying any taxes for the first 10 years, and it enables Herakles to rent the land from as little as US $0.5 per hectare, increasing by 2 % per year, contributing almost nothing to the state budget...
French businessman Michel Thierry Atangana has spent the past 15
years behind bars in Cameroon. In 1997 he was accused of embezzling
public funds, put on trial without a lawyer and sentenced to 15 years in
A court in the capital Yaoundé will soon decide if he can walk out of prison a free man or remain in his cell for another 15 years. For Mr Atangana’s family, lawyer and many observers of Cameroonian politics, both his trials were purely political.
Achebe, Chinua. 2012. There was a country: a personal history of Biafra. New York: Penguin Press.
Chinua Achebe's eagerly anticipated memoirs of the Biafran war went on sale in the UK on September 26, 2012. The US edition goes on sale on October 11, 2012.
Synopsis Chinua Achebe, the author of Things Fall Apart, is a writer whose moral courage and storytelling gifts have left an enduring stamp on world literature. There Was a Country is his long-awaited account of coming of age during the defining experience of his life: the Nigerian Civil War, also known as the Biafran War of 1967-1970. It became infamous around the world for its impact on the Biafrans, who were starved to death by the Nigerian government in one of the twentieth century's greatest humanitarian disasters.
After a marathon session which began yesterday at 2 pm, the Mfoundi High court finally gave its verdict early this morning in the case of The Government of Cameroon vs. Marafa Hamidou Yaya, Fotso Michel
Yves, Kounda Julienne, Sandjon Geneviève, Chapuis Jean-Louis, Assene
All the accused received heavy sentences ranging from 10 to 25 years:
Marafa Hamidou Yaya, Yves Michel Fotso and Jean-Marie Assene Nkou - 25 years.
Jean-Marie Chapuis, former CEO of the Fotso-owned Commercial Bank Cameroon (CBC), and his collaborator Genevieve Sandjon - 15 years.
Julienne Kounda, former Assistant CEO of CBC - 10 years.
They must jointly pay 21 billion Francs CFA ($42 million) in damages and interest to the state plus more than 1 billion Francs CFA ($2 million) in costs.
With the verdict in the Marafa/Fotso case scheduled for tomorrow, here's a quick look at the key issues and players in the presidential aircraft cases...
A decade after it all began, very few people can confidently and/or correctly explain what the “Albatross Affair” or the “presidential plane affair” is all about. Scenes reminiscent of the 1971 Ndongmo-Ouandie trial - Marafa Yaya arrives in court under heavy military escort. (c) Patrice Nganang
With the passage of time, the story has merged with fiction to become a complex, convoluted and confusing urban legend. However, at the heart of it all is a fairly straightforward story, albeit with numerous sub-plots, of how an attempt to buy an aircraft for the President of Cameroon via unorthodox channels resulted in a very tangled web of poor financial judgment, appalling managerial incompetence, a complete lack of oversight, financial impropriety, political intrigue, and to crown it all, a series teleguided judicial proceedings.
In yet another twist to the already convoluted Presidential aircraft saga, Yves Michel Fotso, the former Director General of Camair, who is currently in jail for his role in the alleged swindling of $31 million meant for the purchase of presidential aircraft, has filed a lawsuit against the Republic of Cameroon and President Biya in the United States District Court in Eugene, Oregon. In the case of YVES MICHAEL FOTSO vs. Republic of Cameroon, Paul Biya, Pascal Magnaguemabe, Justice Soh, Jean Baptiste Bokam, Colonel Amadou, and Innocent Mbouem, the plaintiff documents instances of degrading treatment and torture, first during his detention in the Kondengui Maximum security prison in Yaounde between December 1, 2010 and May 25, 2012, and later, in the Gendarmerie lock-up at the Secretaire d’Etat a la Defense (“SED”) where he was, among other things, "beaten, kicked, shocked with electricity, and otherwise subjected to physical and emotional torture by hooded soldiers."
Fotso is seeking punitive damages in the amount of $10,000,000 for torture by a public official, false imprisonment, and breach of contract.
New Media, Old Regimes: Case Studies in Comparative Communication Law and Policy, by Lyombe S. Eko, is a collection of novel theoretical perspectives and case studies which illustrate how different communication law regimes conceptualize and apply universal ideals of human rights and freedom of expression to media controversies in real space and cyberspace. Eko’s investigation includes such controversial communication policy topics as North African regimes’ failed use of telecommunications to suppress the social change of the Arab Spring, the Mohammad cartoon controversy in Denmark and France, French and American policy of development and diffusion of the Minitel and the Internet, American and Russian regulation of internet surveillance, the problem of managing pedopornography in cyberspace and real space, and other current communication policy cases.
Motion picture covering the official state visit of President Ahmadou Ahidjo of Cameroon to the United States, including welcoming ceremonies with President John F. Kennedy and a visit to the White House, other stops in Washington, D.C., and a visit to New York City and the United Nations (UN) headquarters.
Source: United States Information Agency (USIA), received from Paul Fisher, White House, 9/18/64. Presented by: United States Information Service (USIS). Produced by: Thomas Craven Film Corporation Productions.
In Part I of this two-part article, we focused on the narrative of the Investigating Judge in charge of the Albatross case, along with the sworn testimony of the Albatross flight crew and members of the President’s personal military staff to disprove repeated claims that the Albatross had a catastrophic technical breakdown during its maiden flight to Paris, and that this may have been the handiwork of individuals intent on harming the President and his family. Homeward bound! The "Albatros" taxis from the Delta facility in Atlanta on her delivery flight to Cameroon (April 22, 2004). (c) R.W. Whitlock.
In this second and last part, we will look at the actual condition of the Albatross at the time of its delivery to Cameroonian officials. Was this “second hand” aircraft safe and airworthy, or was it really an “old bucket,” a “flying coffin” leased by corrupt or negligent government officials who wanted to get rich off the deal? To answer this question, we will refer to the reports of the team of Cameroonian experts, including members of the President’s personal military staff, who performed the technical inspection of the Albatross in the US before it left for Cameroon. We will also get Boeing's official position about the airworthiness of the aircraft.
Beyond legitimate questions about the guilt or innocence of all the individuals arrested in the Albatross affair, or concerns about the “instrumentalization” of the justice system for purposes of “political cleansing”, there is one element in this complex and convoluted story that everyone seems to agree on, albeit in varying degrees, i.e., that in a bid to swindle money, government officials colluded to purchase an ageing and defective presidential aircraft which put President Biya’s life in danger during the aircraft’s maiden flight from Yaounde to Paris. The Nose of the "Albatros" (c) Steve Hill
For example, The Post newspaper recently described the Albatross as "an old bucket that rattled Biya", while François Mattei, author of Le Code Biya, a praise book commissioned by the Biya regime, was more scathing, labeling the aircraft as a "Flying Coffin" – a view shared by newspapers such as l’Independent, which claims that « l'Albatros était tout simplement un cercueil volant destiné à tuer le chef de l'Etat et toute sa famille. » (The Albatross was simply a flying coffin meant to kill the Head of State and his entire family). Although it did not go this far, even Le Messager once described the Albatross’ maiden flight as “pénible et émouvant” (painful and emotional)…
Joseph Ewunkem, former Captain of the legendary Prisons Social Club of Buea in the 1960s and 1970s, member of various West Cameroon football selections, and part of the Cameroon national squad that took part in the 1975 Military World Cup in Germany, died in Buea on July 10, 012. The young Ewunkem being introduced to President Ahidjo before the 1968 Cup Finals.Mbappe Leppe is seen watching over the President’s left shoulder.
An iconic figure of West Cameroon football, Ewunkem is probably best remembered for his dramatic act of defiance during the 1968 Cameroon National Cup finals when, in the presence of President Ahidjo, he broke protocol to protest, in a most dramatic manner, against injustice to his team - an act which many believe was instrumental in the dissolution of the West Cameroon Football league.
In this commemorative article, Ashuntantang Tanjong tells the story of Prisons Social Club of Buea and the 1968 Cameroon Cup finals.
Find below a downloadable version of the presentation that served as the basis of my talk at the conference on threats to Nigeria's security which took place today at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, DC.
Panelists at the conference included Jacob Zenn, Analyst for West African Affairs at The Jamestown Foundation; Dr. Andrew McGregor, Editor in Chief, Global Terrorism Analysis; Mark McNamee, Analyst at The Jamestown Foundation; Lauren Ploch Blanchard from the Congressional Research Service; Carl LeVan, Assistant Professor of African Politics at American University; Colonel Gene McConville, Senior Military Advisor at the Africa Center For Strategic Studies; Ambassador Eunice Reddick, former US ambassador to Gabon and São Tomé and Príncipe, and currently Director of the Office of West African Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
Professor Kofele-Kale who is a leading scholar on the impact of corruption in developing countries and has been at the forefront of the growing movement to make corruption a human rights violation punishable under international law, has issued a statement explaining why he has taken up Marafa's case. Here is the statement in its entirety:
Internet at Liberty 2012: Promoting Progress and Freedom
Following the highly successful Internet at Liberty 2010, activists and experts from around the world will converge at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. on May 23-24 to explore the most pressing dilemmas and exciting opportunities around free expression in the digital age.
The Internet as a global, free, and open resource, is constantly developing. Over the past year we have seen how the Internet can shift power, broaden scope, and accelerate political and economic change. Simultaneously, governments and multinational companies shape what is possible online. Today, more than any time in history, technological and political forces are colliding to draw lines about how the Internet functions.
In the last six months, three former high-ranking government officials currently in jail for a variety of financial crimes have published books about their prison experience. These books also explain their own version of events that landed them in jail, while casting a critical glance at the political system in which they once played pivotal roles. The courtyard of Kondengui Prison in Yaounde
Prominent among these unlikely authors are two former Secretary-Generals at the Presidency of the Republic, Atangana Mebara and Titus Edzoa, and Nguini Effa, the former Director General of Cameroon Petroleum Depot (SCDP).