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« Bello Bouba Threatens Own Militants With Legal Action | Main | Torture Victims Encouraged To Invoke African Court »

Thursday, 28 June 2007

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Tita Mofaw

Even headmasters? The only way to remedy the situation in Cameroon is to completely wipe out a ciertain generation.It doesn't really matter if somebody is a minister, police office on the highway or a taxi driver.They would do anything to get quick and easy cash.We need a generation cleansing in cameroon

Donbon

This is a case of "monkey see; monkey do" and is emblematic of the rotten to the core Cameroon society and system. A society in which everyone feel they are owed a living and will sacrifice their their souls to the devil to have their own piece of the gateau. When headmasters, the very symbol or pillars of our community would recklessly jeopadized their status to keep with the adage of "the goat eating where it is tethered", my tears will never cease to flow for the pity that I feel for the future of Kamerunian children - the future of my children.

Donbon
rexon

Greetings to my Manyu brothers and sisters,


I am writing to you from Douala where I have spent the greater part of the last three years.


As you all prepare the MECA and NOMA conventions, I wanted to provide a little insight on what life is like here. As often as I can, I read the mail from the various net groups. I think that sometimes, some of you lose perspective of what MECA or NOMA are all about. All of the bickering, insults on futile things distract us from what ought to be our common goal: the advancement of Manyu. There is very little on projects and a whole lot on personality conflicts. I would have hoped that by now, with all the experience we have with each other, we would understand that defending ourselves from personal attacks, no matter how vicious and unfair, continues to perpetuate the infighting. We will never advance as long as the infighting continues. We need to learn to turn the other cheek and keep the focus on what is important: better lives for the people of Manyu.


Unfortunately, Manyu problems cannot be solved without taking the whole context of Cameroon into consideration. So what is it really like here? In short, it is nothing like what any of you left behind. Cameroon and Cameroonians, have changed; and mostly, for the worse.


Cameroon is extremely expensive. Douala is the most expensive city in Africa and for what? Our offices are on the main boulevard of the business district and for the last two months, we tread in mud from construction started and abandoned. Our office has no more running water in the day time because SNEC cannot provide sufficient power but our water bills have increased from when we had running water. Our electric bills hover between 500k and 650k a month ($1,000 to $1300), and we have power outages that sometimes last 2 days. Instead of investing in staff, therefore reducing unemployment and poverty, we are forced to spend $10,000 on a backup generator and buy fuel to continue working. We have lost thousands of dollars on equipment that gets destroyed by power surges. A surge protector here lasts just a few months before it has to be replaced. One power surge caused a serious electrical fire, that had we not had fire extinguishers, could have destroyed the entire building.


A decent internet connection (256k to 512k) costs about $2,000 a month or more. Imagine how many more people we could hire with that? The rent for a two bedroom apartment in downtown Douala is between 500k and 850k a month ($1,000 t $1700 a month). This is before electricity, water, etc. And the apartment comes completely bare: no cabinets, no fridge or stove, no air conditioners, nothing. Then you must pay a deposit of 3 months and 6 months to a year’s rent in advance. Fuel here costs almost 600F a liter. That converts to about $3 a gallon.


So how do people manage? They steal. Plain and simple. Call it corruption, call it “commissions,” call it whatever you like, it is organized kleptocracy that does not tolerate anyone not adhering to that method. Not just in government but in the private sector. Remember your best friend in high school? He is now the IT director of a multi-national. You send a proposal and you know you have the best price for the best solution. Well, plan on increasing your invoice by 10-50% for his “commission.” They call it “surfacturation” or overbilling. It is normal business practice. If you don’t comply, be prepared to stay without a contract.


Let’s say you even get a contract. Trying to get paid is an exercise in futility. Now you understand why landlords want payment in advance and why banks don’t lend money. If a company or individual does not want to pay, there is little or nothing you can do to collect. If you are courageous, you can take them to court and subject yourself to a judicial system that thinks the law is something that is only on paper. There is total impunity. A judge can completely disregard the law and there is no consequence. In fact, he will probably get promoted. If your case is crystal clear, includes no subjectivity, and is being monitored by the US Embassy or other “powers” you might even get a judgment in your favor. But try to enforce it. A judgment is as good as a piece of toilet tissue with the main difference that it costs you years of procedures and legal fees. Let us not forget that once you have your judgment and before you can try to execute on it, you need to pay a 5% registration tax on it. On money you are likely never to collect on..


Then you have the tax authorities. We have had our offices sealed for being late 1 day for 6,000 CFA ($12). A half dozen tax agents invaded our office manu militari, locked people in the office and sealed the outside, This is when they even had a motive. Our office was sealed so many times that we have lost count. No reason, no paper, nothing. You want to have it opened? Go and negotiate… Then there is another common practice. They send you bills for incredibly high amounts. We got one for 983 million CFA which covered a period during which we were under seal (we don’t negotiate, we just wait for them to get tired and unseal the office on our own so we have had sometimes periods of several months when we remained closed). So for this period, they want 983 million in taxes (almost $2 million). Sounds crazy but it is a tactic; to contest an invoice from tax authorities, you must pay a deposit of 10%. So the tax guys then came and offered to let us off with 30 million ($60,000), much less than the 10% we would have to pay to contest the bill! We refused. We were sealed. Eventually, they re-opened and abandoned the claim. The harassment is continuous. Just this past week we received a letter stating that we would be audited for the same period and the exact same transactions for which we have already been audited 3 times, paid moneys due, penalties, and so forth. They will probably seal us again soon J.


Fortunately, we don’t deal with customs much. But IT equipment and software are subject to 56% in customs tax and duties. In 2002, they briefly removed duties on some equipment but after 2 months, the duties were back on. Our other experience with customs is as a client. It is a very long story but to summarize: We delivered software as a matter of national emergency to Customs on the basis of a letter signed by the minister in charge of the project which stated that we would be paid in full the following week. That was in December 2006. It is not enough that we have not been paid. They actually launched a bid process, made us buy the bidding document, submit a proposal which is still being evaluated by a commission of 7 people all of whom are waiting to be “motivated” into awarding us a contract for software which the government has been using for 6 months. Then, if we are awarded the contract, we have to register it at 2% of the contract amount and then submit the invoice for payment.


I wish I could balance some of this with positive things to say about Cameroon . In all sincerity, there is not much. The food is good (although expensive). That’s it. Why am I still here you might ask? The answer is two-pronged: First, I did not have much choice. We lost $4 million on a project that I had to collect on and my presence was required (I was only partially successful in collecting) but more generally, this country belongs to all of us, not just to the thieves who are currently running the place (I am talking about private sector too not just government). There are a few people, in and out of government who really want things to change. They need support. If those of us who are privileged enough to say no to the corruption do not participate in the process, then who will do it? One cannot ask of someone who needs to feed his family to risk jail because he refused to give bribe to a policeman on the street.


So the next time you want to respond to an email where someone insulted you, stop and think; you are sacrificing your ego and not your life or welfare. Perhaps your keyboard could be used to do something more meaningful, like finding ways to support Manyu entrepreneurs who are unable to prosper because of the business climate, the lack of infrastructure, roads, etc. Perhaps you could suggest ways to better educate the Manyu child who is growing up in a Sodom and Gomorrah and has no point of reference to know better than to cheat, lie, beg or steal as a way to get through. Perhaps you could organize yourselves as a powerful lobby by officially contacting and meeting with authorities of US and international organizations to push an agenda which they can they push to the Cameroon government (I think we all agree that pushing an agenda to the Cameroon government directly is an exercise in futility).


I will be in the US soon (for security reasons I will not be specific as to exactly when) and hope to meet some of you while I am there. There is much more that I cannot say in an email but will not be afraid to say face to face.


I look forward to seeing positive, productive exchanges on Manyunet and NOMA-Manyu in preparation for upcoming elections. Let us set the example for Cameroonian politicians who are also entering an important election period.


Warm regards from your sister,

Ma Mary

Sister, do you think you can really rescue la republique? Tell us. You used to be a political activist back in the day, until you got seduced by la republique to return from DC to "do business." Then you made fun of the struggle. What you are describing is hell. Move to Nigeria. Just be an African; you would be much better off in any number of African countries from South Africa to Kenya. Or rejoin the struggle to free the Southern Cameroons.

katakata

TO THE WRITER FROM MANYU

Dear sister,
whether you be man or woman is of no consequence. You dont want people to speak back at the Manyu sons and daughters for their greedy folly uh!Thats even nmore terrifying than the tax persecutions and unpaid bills you claim against the authorities.

Are you addressing this letter, lambasting the government because it is not Manyu sons and daughters who swindled your company or whatever of these monies??

Be honest with yourself....I dont know you, and dont wish to know you...but what am sure of is that you are one of those who had been rubbing shoulders with this very administration in your hey days, and now that they have turned against your interests, you are clamouring fire and saying all bad things.

True we do not condone all the malpractices you mentioned, but am sorry to say that these very malpractices are practiced in high places by socalled elites of Manyu against all Cameroonians...

Can somebody give me one reason why a bad Manyu man should not be called a bad man, and another reason why it is only a bad Bassa man who should be called bad??

Sister, or whoever you are...THINK well before darkness covers you up.

rexon

Katakata,

I removed the writers credentials because it was an email she sent to MECA. She was an affluent Cameroonian born African American IT professional who decided to set up an IT consultancy in Cameroon. If i am not loosing my mind, her company is called Apple (something) and she has been having problems with corruption with the system ever since she relocated to La Republique. I think her letter speaks volume and is not only for the Manyu audience but for us all to learn from her ordeal. Corrupt henchmen from La Republiques junta really mean business and we must also fight to outsmart them.

Cheers.

TAGRO

When a society is built on the quick sand on lawlwssness and lies, nothing progressive and lasting can take hold.

The day la Republique Francaise du Cameroun will embrace the rule of law, the people of the Southern Cameroons will take them to court to justify the occupation of the their land. La Republique Francaise du Cameroun will lose.

But because LRC does not want to entertain this prospect, the true respect of rule of law will never be achieved under the present circumatances.

That macro-illegality of occupation (including the fact that the president is the biggest macro-level thief enjoying absolute impunity) has now seeped down and instituted itself in all nooks and cranies to constitute a culture of micro-illegalities and impunity.

And this is what will destroy la Republique Francaise du Cameroun. And I know that when the Franco-Camerounese start going after each other as the recent University of Peace study has predicted, my Southern Cameroonian brothers and sisters will abandon their nightmares in Douala and Yaounde and come back home to build a civilised society, the type of society we were building when the French and their Camerounese surrogates were commiting genocide in la Republique Francaise du Cameroun before this illegal concept of independence by joining.

Fon

46 years after independence, Cameroon and probably most African countries have proven that they were not riped for independence. Cameroonians, I mean the common man, would have been 100 times better off under colonial rule. How I wish Cameroon is recolonised by a western country?

M Nje

Ma Mary,
The fun is that this lady`s father was one of those behind the Cameroon Anglopnone Movement (CAM).

I can`t understand how she got back to La Republique. Well, she is geting a test of it. I have run a business in that place and I know what she is talking about. Someone needs to bring here and many others to order that the solution to our problems is in a Southern Cameroons state. If she is thinking that she can effect any change in La Repblique Du Cameroun, a country in which she and many other Southern Cameroonians are not legal citizens, then she is making a mistake.

rexon

Lets dont discount the help we have been offering La Republique in their horrendous crimes. For example, we have been the ones colouring thier inexistant democracy through our SDF, our intellectuals and fons have been helping them preach lies (generosity of Biya, road this or that, etc), divide and rule, etc in the Southern Cameroons. The CPDM have been exported to USA, UK mostly by our own brothers and sisters from the Southern Cameroons. In all these crimes, we are also guilty, because our foolishness has helped them in one way or the other. So, while we hope to build a truly independent Southern Cameroons, we have to acknowledge that the actions of our politicians and greedy people is part and parcel of the problem.

Ndiks

http://www.edennewspaper.com/nationalnews/nnokobegs.htm


"listening to the paper presented by the Secretary General of the council, I forgot one thing, I forgot to include in the speech that you should use your powers to recommend my stay at the helm of the Kumba Urban Council,”

Nnoko Mbele Urges SDO To Lobby His Stay In Office byTalla Aghaa Kitts in Kumba

The Government Delegate to the Kumba Urban Council, Caven Nnoko Mbelle has pleaded to the Senior Divisional Officer for Meme, Abath Zangbwala Malgloire to recommend to Government to prolong his stay at the helm of the Kumba Urban Council.
Nnoko Mbele made this appeal in his office Wednesday 13 June 2007 during the familiarisation tour of the SDO to public services in Kumba. Hear him: “after listening to the paper presented by the Secretary General of the council, I forgot one thing, I forgot to include in the speech that you should use your powers to recommend my stay at the helm of the Kumba Urban Council,”

.

Nnoko Mbele begs to remain in Office.


The Secretary General of the Kumba Urban Council Samuel Ekenue Osang had presented a paper to the August quest giving a brief history of the council, its achievements and some problems plaguing its smooth functioning.
Before the speech, which the Government Delegate said was written in collaboration with his colleagues, he pointed out that with the splitting of the council into three council areas, “we are anxiously waiting for the uplifting of our council to a city council.”
Nnoko Mbele took the SDO and his entourage to some of the projects realised by the council. The projects include, the Anne Gabonary Library, the on going construction of the Kumba market, the Customary Court and the Kumba municipal garage where the SDO was shown sophisticated bulldozers and trucks owned exclusively by the council.

Problems in Divisional Delegations
The familarisation tour to Public Services by the SDO gave him the opportunity to see for himself problems plaguing various Delegations in the division.
The 49 public services in Kumba had similar problems with insufficient staff, no service vehicles, porous roofing of some building and lack of infrastructure to host some delegations with some sharing the same building.
The most pathetic situation that embarrassed the Meme boss was at the Delegation of Communication. Here, the delegate, Tafon Tchitchi was the only staff in his delegation with only a chair and a table, and no working materials.
He told the SDO that he finds it very difficult to work alone as he is always forced to lock his office anytime he is going for break or other duties out of the office. He said that he has never had a running credit more than FCFA 50,000 for the whole year.
The SDO who was accompanied by his immediate assistant Joseph Obate, DO for Kumba David Kouam, the commissioner of the Central Police station Ella, Andre Fils and the pressmen, praised the divisional delegates for hard work. He urged them to continue to work for the interest of the State and that he shall forward the reports of their problems to the hierarchy for immediate solutions. He however, said he will not hesitate to sanction Delegates who work for their personal interests.

dimle

ITS EASY TO HEAP BLAME ON OTHER PEOPLE ESP THOSE FROM LA REPUBLIQUE BUT WE NEED TO TAKE A GOOD AT OURSELVES(SOUTHERN CAMEROONIANS)WE ARE MARGINALISED OVER THERE AND WE COME BACK TO OUR OWN AREA WE ARE TRAMPLED UPON BY OUR OWN BROTHERS AND SISTERS WHO TAKE THE LAWS INTO THEIR HANDS.A CERTAIN COMMISIONER IN LIMBE THINKS HE IS A SON OF THE SOIL AND SO INFRINGES ON PEOLES RIGHTS AND ACTS WITH IMPUNITY AND STILL GOES FREE.HE HAS COMMITTED SO MANY CRIMES RANGING FROM THEFT HARRASSMENT AND LAND GRABBING FROM HIS CLOSEST NEIGHBORS AND YET NOTHING HAS HAPPENED TO HIM.

rexon

Dimle,

Can u give us the name of the commisioner. We need to know such criminals conspiring with hypocrites from La Republique to terrorise our people, so that when we create our independent Southern Cameroons, we can persecute them for their crimes against humanity.

Cheers.

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