Education Live Update

Ndu Sub-Division: Fleeing civil servants ordered to resume work

The Sub-Divisional Officer of Ndu Sub-Division in Donga Mantung Division in the North West Region of Cameroon, has called on all civil servants who have deserted their duty posts in the sub-division to resume work immediately.

In a release signed on the 13th of September 2020, Adamu Shuaibu Ibrahim says 30th September 2020 is the deadline for all to resume work.

Following the massacre of people in Ngarbuh in Ntumbaw village on the 14th of February 2020 in the sub-division, civil servants and other inhabitants of the sub-division have taken refuge in other towns and villages in Cameroon.

Following calls from the D.O for civil servants to return, a secondary school teacher posted in government secondary school Ndu says the call is not backed by effort from the government to maintain security. Speaking to Mimi Mefo Info anonymously, the teacher says:

” Going to Ndu at this time can be compared to a cow getting to a slaughter house with no hope of returning alive.Let government resolve the crisis then i shall go back to teach. For now I can’t risk my life”.

Anonymous Teacher

Note that school resumes in Cameroon on the 5th of October after close to seven months break as a result of COVID 19.

Report by Mbatho Ntan

Human Interest/Society

Civil Marriage Celebrations: Widening the linguistic Divide in Cameroon

The past four years have heightened the language divide in Cameroon, with the gulf between the English-speaking and French-speaking sections of the country significantly amplified.

In addition to the many political arguments provided to explain the feeling of marginalisation expressed by Anglophones for many decades, there are other socio-cultural issues that have also reared their ugly heads. One of the areas that systemic social injustices seem to prevail is the current conduct of civil marriages east of the Mungo.

Many Anglophones who have had the ignominy of conducting their marriage in some parts of Cameroon have a sad story to tell.

A wedding day shattered
That moment when he was asked out of the Yaoundé III council building by the mayor, in the presence of his family members, is the main image that Nkah Rogers holds of the civil marriage ceremony of his brother.

“Everything was in French and the couple themselves were only struggling to understand French, but without success. The legal text about marriage was read entirely in French”

Rogers said.

“At a certain moment, people started grumbling in the hall, that they were not understanding, but the mayor continued as if there was nothing wrong, until the eldest man of the family stood up to tell the mayor that the family were not following the ceremony being conducted in French.

The mayor in a rather cavalier manner told them to make an effort. When I stood up to suggest English language, or that an interpreter be used for English-speaking couples especially when it comes to reading the legal text about marriage, the mayor asked me out of the hall,” Rogers recounted.

The civil marriage ceremony that took place in late July 2020 at the Yaoundé III council went bitter, not only for Roger, but for their parents and family members who braved smoking guns, rampant killings and bad roads, from the enclaved war-torn Anglophone North West Region of Cameroon to be part of the civil union.

They will become frustrated and disappointed by the decision of the civil executive for Yaoundé III council, to conduct the marriage in the French language, in disregard to English which is the first language of the couple and family.

The Anglophone family felt cheated especially as nothing could be understood from the French-speaking municipal executive official.

Qualifying it as social injustice, Rogers, who is teacher in Douala, stood up to the mayor on behalf of the family, to object the choice of French language, which according to him, has left their parents lost in the midst of the ceremony.

His concern unfortunately earned him a chase out of the council ceremonial hall by the mayor who told him that, they were not the first Anglophones to perform their civil marriage rituals at the council. The mayor according to him, said Anglophones have always had their marriages officiated in French there.

Speaking to Mimi Mefo Infos, Rogers imagined a marriage when couples are told what the law says about marriage, in a language they do not understand. He thinks many Anglophones go through that ‘injustice’ on a daily basis in many facets of their lives such that it is almost convinced as ‘normality’.

The case of French-speaking couples in Anglophone regions

To Better understand the legality of the choice of language of the mayor, MMI tried without success to get to him. Speaking to the mayor of the Bamenda III council on what obtains in a similar situation west of the Mungo, when couples are French-speaking, Mayor Fongu Cletus Tanwie says English, as the first official language west of the Mungo, often times takes precedence.

“When you choose to conduct your marriage in Bamenda III for example, what you should keep in mind is the fact that the first language of the municipal executive is English”

Mayor Fongu clarified.

“The use of French in any marriage here is only possible, when the civil magistrate can understand and speaks French” the Mayor reiterated.

To the Mayor, couples should always take into consideration the first official language of the Council executive, while deciding whether to conduct their civil marriages east or west of the Mungo.

The Mayor of Bamenda III however, says his council sometimes make use of interpreters, and/or pidgin language depending on the request of the couple.

What does the law say?

To understand what the Cameroonian law provides for, in this context, MMI sought the opinion of Barrister Richard Tamfu, a member of the Cameroon Bar and of the Nigerian Bar, based in Douala, Cameroon.

To the legal luminary, the law demands mayors to use any of the official languages in Cameroon, French or English in conducting civil marriages.

“The choice of French over English is legally dependent on the municipal official concerned”

Barrister Tamfu added.

The Barrister however regretted that a long-awaited Family Bill which would have clearly addressed all these issues, is still pending tabling, at the National Assembly.

While related concerns of social injustice suffered by English-speaking Cameroonians, is the reason why the Anglophone crisis persists, MMI, found that far from being simply a matter of marginalisation, the issue of dual language presented a challenge that ought to have received more cogent attention. The discomfort of Anglophones with the Francophone dominance in every sphere of life within the country, is probably responsible for the feeling of dissonance expressed by Roger and his family at their ceremony.

Civil law Vs Common law
Placing the common and civil law systems in this conflicting context, Barrister Tamfu says the law regulating marriages in Cameroon, is Ordinance No. 81, which is the harmonisation of both systems since 1981. What this implies is that at the level of the law, efforts have long been made to find middle ground between the two systems, as far as marriage ceremonies are concerned.

However, the experience of Roger’s family and the views expressed by the Mayor of Bamenda III and Barrister Tamfu, confirm that the practical interpretation of the law leaves much to be desired.

Could Misunderstanding be avoided?

Within the prevailing situation, one wonders if a misunderstanding such as what ensued in the Yaoundé III council could have been averted. In the absence of an interpreter, and the inability of the Mayor to speak English, what was the other alternative that could have made the wedding Anglophone entourage feel at home in Yaoundé?

A civil society leader and a prominent Anglophone voice, Dr Nick Ngwanyam says the problem is with the Yaoundé III Council Mayor’s attitude which leads him to conclude that the Mayor “is an uneducated idiot” though literate. Dr Ngwanyam says the mayor lacks emotional intelligence which would have permitted him to better manage the situation.

“Such intelligence warrants an official to understand that the language he has chosen, is not doing effective communication, irrespective of the context or situation” Dr Ngwanyam opines.

Dr Ngwanyam goes on to add that

“the problem is not with the president or the laws, but with these uneducated natives who misuse power at their deferent levels, just like a priest delivering a message and not minding the language in which it is delivered “.

Dr Ngwanyam

Dr Ngwanyam fears that such problems are recurrent in Cameroon and might continue if “uneducated literates” are not educated on how to manage the diverse population that makes up the Cameroonian polity.

Given that the ongoing crisis has forced and continues to necessitate many English-speaking Cameroonians to seek refuge within the French sections of the country, it is the sad reality that many older persons for whom it might be too late in the day to learn French, have very little choice.

While the French-speaking Cameroonians in the Anglophone regions can opt to travel and conduct their marriage in a council where the language is that which they understand and are comfortable with, the same cannot be said of Anglophone families who have been condemned by conflict to stay away from the comfort zones.

For many families such as that of Rogers Nkah, it seems there is currently very little alternative, than to attend their own marriages, where there are ‘strangers’ who are spoken at, without being communicated to.

Mimi Mefo Info


Cameroon IDP innovator steps up despite government neglect, showcases new creative designs

The past months have seen the emergence of several young Cameroon creative minds.

One of those who have shot to the limelight is Awah Blaise Chi. The youngster who is currently an Internally Displaced Person, IDP became widely known in 2019 after he displayed samples from his automobile toy factory, Chi Style.

Awah Blaise Chi

One year later, he is still waxing strong. Unlike last year when he used cartoons and paper to make his samples, Blaise has upgraded to scrap metal, adding functionality to his robots. His key creations include airplanes, military fighter jets, trucks and more recently, a functional mini-excavator frontend loader.

After his exposure last year, he says he was assisted by persons of goodwill enabling him to purchase more durable equipment, though it remains insufficient. He says “I always go to where I can find iron scrap, since I can’t afford some of the materials.”

“Both the aircrafts and caterpillar (frontend loader) took me about seven months to create, largely due to lack of materials. The caterpillar is made of complete heavy iron, that’s why it also took a lot of time,”

he tells Mimi Mefo Info.

The lack of finance and resources have however not restricted the youngster’s creativity, as he has still been able to improve on the mechanical system, the designing and electrical system of his innovations. His work, he says, will be easier provided he has the necessary support, tools and space.

“I need an open workshop equipped with good machines like the lead machine, a milling machine and a 3D printer. The iron prototype is not a perfect design of what I had in mind due to the lack of these …. I used poor and wrong parts for the construction because it was not easy to afford,” he reveals.

The lack of the above equipment have also posed a serious challenge to his health, due to the lack of safety kit, almost costing him a finger.

“I had a serious injury because I was using only a filling machine, a drilling and welding machine which cannot do a perfect job.”

Despite being unable to work for a month due to the injury he sustained, Awah Blaise describes himself as an addict to creativity with big plans.

“I am addicted to technology. I feel troubled when idle and not thinking of what to create… I have a plan to obtain my PhD in engineering in order to gain perfect skills in the technology field. Also, I plan to create an industry here in Cameroon so that children will learn too. When I watch European kids operating technological devices while youths in my country are not doing same, it makes me to wonder a lot,”

Awah Chi laments.

Call for government action

Blaise’s plans may be long term but at the moment he is doing the best he can with the available resources and avenues. This includes educating anyone he can, whenever he can.

“There are about five friends that I have taught some of my innovations and they are powerful now… one is a brother that recently flew his aircraft in Bamenda. When he started, he could only build a skeleton of it but when I went to Bamenda, I took him to Douala and showed him where to buy the electrical gadgets that the aircraft needed to fly. After that he spent about a week with me and I taught him how to carry out the electrical wiring and using the remote on his aircraft before he left for Bamenda.”

With the aid of government, Blaise believes more creative minds like himself can be shown the right path and given an avenue to express themselves freely. This, he adds, will require the creation of a physical structure to cater for their needs.

“I really wish government could create an innovation center for youths and provide them with tools and what they need to prove their inborn talents. In the space of three years, Cameroon will be full of powerful talented youths as far as technology is concerned … nothing is really hard to do in this world.”

Using himself as an example, he adds that “most people believe only white people do machines and at times I am so surprised I came out with the mini version you see functioning. I really believe youths can team up together and do something bigger than people imagine.”

Despite the existence of initiatives like the ICT week that sees youths compete with technological creations, many believe more needs to be done to identify, support and nurture young creatives.

Lifestyle Sport

Clinton Njie Apologizes Over Sexual Misconduct

Cameroonian international football player, Njie Clinton has begged to be forgiven after last year’s sexual misconduct.

In a release on September 12, Njie admitted he was drunk when he mistakenly posted on Snapchat a video of himself having sex.

Thousands of followers had already viewed the video before it was taken off.

“I am sorry, I had drunk too much… I celebrated my new contract and wanted to read the news. I pressed the wrong button,” said Clinton Njie.

Clinton Njie also recorded another misconduct in 2018 when he allegedly spent time with two female friends in his hotel room while on international duty.
He then turned up on a later day than expected ahead of a friendly clash between his Cameroonian side and Burkina Faso, according to reports.

The two scandals have not left the player’s professional integrity unstained as he lamented: “I deeply regret this sad episode in my life that I neither wished for nor enjoyed and which greatly affected me, my loved ones and my family,” he said.

He added: “Since the onset of this unfortunate moment, I have been looking for the best way to express my apologies to anyone who has been hurt or outraged.”

Although the player has failed to be selected in Cameronon’s newly-named 32-man preliminary squad ahead of a friendly against Japan in the Netherlands next month, Clinton Njie still holds his country at heart.

“I would therefore like, by speaking today, to express to all the Cameroonian people, to the Government, in particular the Ministry of Sports; to the officials of the Cameroonian Football Federation, to the technical staff of the Indomitable Lions and all my teammates. My apologies and my desolation for any inconvenience or indignation this may have aroused,” he said in his recent statement.

Clinton Njie played for Russian side Dynamo Moscow during the 2019/2020 Russian Premier League football season, during which he played fifteen times, scoring one goal.

Dynamo Moscow bought him over from Olympique Marseille at $6 million after he spent two seasons with the club.
Njie has scored nine goals for Cameroon since 2014 in his 32 caps with the Indomitable Lions.

He played with the Indomitable Lions at the 2015 and 2019 African Nations Cups, and during the 2017 edition which Cameroon won the trophy in Gabon.

Mimi Mefo Info

News Security/Insecurity

‘Repentant’ Ambazonia activist Success Nkongho begs Government to rescue Frankline Njume

Pro-government activist, Nkongho Success has expressed his support for fellow activist Njume Frankline over allegations of his job being under threats.

In a video making rounds on social media, he appears to cry saying Njume who is known for trumpeting the propaganda of the Biya regime “is sacrificing his life while others are trying to erase his existence”.

It is not really clear what trials Njume is facing at the moment, but the government apologist in a series of Facebook posts in the past days denounced ensuing tension between education officials and the Ministry of Territorial Administration.

Njume also stated that his job was at risk as a result of the conflict.

Success was a staunch supporter of the pro-independence movement in Anglophone Cameroon before crossing the carpet to the dismay of many some months back.

Njume’s Facebook page has been a tool of government propaganda and incitement of hate and violence.

The days ahead may be pregnant as we follow up on developments in and around Yaounde.


Cameroon News

The Paradox of the Cameroon Anglophone Crisis

More footage from Bamenda shows civilians seeking refuge at a police station as the sound of gunshots filled the air yesterday.

Sources, however, say the gunshots were fired mainly by security forces after one of theirs was killed by suspected separatist fighters.

Relative calm has returned to the town this morning, but some residents remain scared due to yesterday’s reaction from security forces.

This video showing a large crowd seeking refuge with the police would appear normal given that it is the State’s responsibility to protect the population. In this case, however, it raises a paradox, given that the main argument of the separatists is that they are trying to ‘free’ the population from the current administration.

Analysts have questioned the sustainability of the Cameroon government’s approaches, which have so far failed to solve the crisis.

Others are pointing to the paradox in the police providing ‘protection’ to civilians in Bamenda, while their counterparts in Boyo have recently created an outcry following the wrongful arrest and killing of some civilians.

The situation in Bamenda and indeed, a great percentage of the two Anglophone Regions, remains very delicate for ordinary citizens.