samedi 31 octobre 2009


By Tikum Mbah Azonga

This paper is an adaptation of an earlier one I delivered on the Cameroon National Radio Station in 2002 on the occasion of the visit to Cameroon of a group of German parliamentarians.It was a spontaneous reflection on the political state of play prevailing in the country at the time. The paper was one of the daily political commentaries I delivered on the 6.30 a.m. prime time national and world news on Cameroon Radio Television (CRTV), Yaoundé, between 2002 and 2005.


This is a crucial point in the political evolution of our country, Cameroon. In fact, we have reached a crossroads from which we must move forward, despite the odds.

It is important that whatever step we take, we make it the right one in order to avoid any pitfalls.

In the paper that follows, our political commentator, Tikum Mbah Azonga argues that to put things in perspective, it may be helpful to imagine that this is Cameroon a hundred years from now.


A hundred years from now, we shall be in the year twenty hundred and two, or two thousand, one hundred and two. Looking ahead from here and now, some people will say they have no idea what Cameron will like at that time. That is understandable.

One thing that is certain though is that by that apocalyptic time, an overwhelming majority of us would have passed on to the world yonder. It is likely that the population of Cameroon would have grown by geometric progression, to about 60 million inhabitants. Everything being equal, the cure for the dreaded HIV AIDS may have been found, thanks perhaps to the ingenuity of our very own Cameroonian Professor Victor Anomah Ngu. By the D-Day of the 29th of July 2102, our national fight against poverty may have been won to a certain extent with the result being probably a significant rise in the number of Cameroonians living above the poverty.

Maybe English and French will cease to be our official languages with the role they play for now being handed to one of our national languages, a linguistic consensus having been found. It is possible that the now strong and divisive linguistic and ideological boundaries of anglophone, francophone, bamileke, bassa, beti, wimbum, bakossiphone, will have disappeared, with there being firmly established a sense of nationhood, everyone just feeling Cameroonian, no more no less. Maybe Cameroon will be waxing stronger in the new dispensation that is the decentralized administrative regions now currently taking root in conformity with the constitution which according to supporters of President Paul Biya, is intended to strengthen nationhood and foster development, but which according to his detractors, has been tinkered in order to give the president an unfair advantage. But then, again, there may be people casting nostalgic glances, moaning and claiming that in 2002, far from jumping on their own accord, they had been blind folded and then pushed into a wrong direction.

Another certainty is that 100 years from today, all the politicians ruling us will have left the political stage altogether with all the political wrangling, recrimination and internecine strife that have characterized them. That is because if one considers that today the said politicians are already adults, who a hundred years from today must have grown old enough to die and exit from the scene. But the 1000 dollar question is, who will have replaced them, and will it be for better or for worse?

The answer to that question brings us back to here and now, in the hope that it is not some force landing. The truth of the matter is that Cameroon in the year 2102 will be made, or is being made by us now. Whether we like it or not, we are building that foundation every single day. Whether with time that foundation turns out to be one made of sand or of solid rock depends on how seriously we take the task today.

By implication, we must view any discord or dissension we may be having now only as another tribulation as we move towards our destination. If we manage our crisis well, it will turn out to be only a storm in a tea cup, and not the deluge, let alone the earth quake we feared would sweep away our cherished institutions.

A crisis should not also be a reason for us to upset the apple cart or rock the boat, or to contemplate suicide. The year 2102 is still too far off any way. So, we must exercise patience, fortitude and forbearance while we get there.

When that time comes, history and posterity will be waiting at the door to judge us. They will do so with the available means and the records in front of them, and above all, without us, for we would have left the stage. But Cameroon will still be there, since people come and go but the national remains

© 2009

jeudi 29 octobre 2009

Brave New Words: Translation and Journalism

Yes, translations within journalistic texts should mention the source of the translation.

You can visit my blog at

I am currently an assistant lecturer in journalism and mass communication at the University of Buea here in Cameroon. My highest qualification is the MASTAIRE ES LETTRES EN JOURNALISM (BAC + 6). I was trained as A French teacher in France and a Spanish teacher in Spain. I also studied at the ECOLE SUPERIEURE DE TRADUCTEURS ET INTERPRETWES IN Lille, France.


Tikum Mbah Azonga

samedi 24 octobre 2009


The President
Mr Njong Vincent
Baforkum Sub Section
CPDM Party

Mr President,

I wish to thank you for sending me a copy of the speech you made at the last sub section come-together, the letters acknowledging the support given by Comrade Geoffrey Mbaku in the USA and myself, as well as the poem on our National Chairman and Head of State of Cameroon, Comrade Paul Biya.

Due note has been taken of the celebratory meeting billed for Friday 30 October 2009, the purpose being to mark the accession to power of President Paul Biya. I am pleased to inform you that as his own contribution to the successful holding of the event within the Baforkum Sub Section, Comrade Geoffrey Mbaku has sent me a financial contribution of 54 217 FCFA. I have not yet collected the money from Western Union but I hope to do so on Monday or Tuesday. Once that is done, I will forward it to you. You will receive my own contribution later.

Permit me to make the following observation: How was it that the date of the celebration was chosen without me participating in the choice? I personally do not think that Friday is a good day because it is a work day and I will be at work. I believe that November 7 which is a Saturday would have been a better day because it is the weekend when most people are not a at work and are therefore available. Secondly, those who are employed would have had the first one week of November to receive their salaries and be financially prepared. What was the reason for choosing the 30th of October? And by the way, although you mentioned the date of October for celebration of the anniversary, you did not say the time. So, when is it starting and when is it expected to end? What is on the agenda?

Mr President, I would urge you strongly to stop working alone and use fully the huge resources you have at your disposal. Consult and concert. For instance, your speech was not bad, but obviously, it could have been better. What was wrong with you sending it to me to read and making suggestions before endorsing it and delivering it? As it were, it omitted some key points which I think should have been included in it. In order to give the speech greater weight.

You mentioned the new educational structures in Tubah. These include the newly created second cycle for general education and the further creation of the first and second cycles of the Technical Teacher’s Training College, all of them starting this academic year. But you could also have gone further and appealed to the National Chairman to restore to the Agric Farm, today IRAD Bambui, what used to be its former glory when we were growing up at the time. Today, IRAD is only a shadow of the old Agric Farm. Yet the place has enormous potential. If well supported, IRAD could again manufacture machinery badly needed in rural agriculture and sell it to what I consider a ready market. IRAD could once more be a major production centre for vegetables such as carrots, lettuces, onions, leeks, tomatoes, etc. IRAD could excel in the production of animal husbandry and dairying products such as beef, milk, butter, cheese, yoghurt, etc.

A few other details: You referred to Comrade Alfred Mulutakwi as “Director General in MINFOPRA”. No! He is Director of General Administration in that Ministry. You alluded to Dr Ndiforchu as the Regional Delegate of Public Health. That is correct. But was he at the meeting because he was delegate? Does it mean that if tomorrow he is replaced, the next delegate will automatically attend our sub section meetings, regardless of where he or she comes from?

Although the theme of the last conference was “: Achievements of the CPDM in Baforkum-Bambui at the interface of Socio-economic Development”, with the emphasis being achievements of the party in Baforkum, the speech did not do enough justice to the context of Baforkum. A lot was left unsaid. For example, why was the Head of State’s attention not drawn to the fact that the chief of Baforkum, who is supposed to be a third class traditional ruler, has not had his status recognized by government? You also did not make political capital out of the fact that we of Baforkum have the oldest Fon in age in Tubah Sub Division, and perhaps, Mezam as a whole. You could have asked government to help in refurbishing the palace of Baforkum which is derelict and dilapidated, yet could be an attractive tourist site. Remember that the Fon still has adorned on the walls of his palace, relics of the World War he fought on the British side over fifty years ago, such a photograph of the King of England who like him, fought in the war but was killed while fighting. He also has a photograph of Queen Elizabeth who ruled England at the time of the war and still rules it today. These aspects could have been fully exploited by our Sub Section.

You did not say that within the Sub Section jurisdiction, we have a primary school, P.S. Baforkum, which has stood the test of time and trained lots of children not only from Baforkum but beyond. That is a useful contribution to national building. You did not mention our legendary Pastor Wara who pulls crowds to Baforkum and thereby helps in putting the name of the locality more firmly on the map. By administering to the many people who come to him, Pastor Wara is helping to bring peace not only to Baforkum but to Cameroon. Our national President should know about this. The president could even have been asked to make a contribution towards the construction work being envisaged by the Church in Baforkum.

You said the following about the SDF-led Tubah Council to which Baforkum belongs: “Militants, people of Baforkum. The Government has done its utmost; the rest is left to the SDF Tubah rural council, which has repeatedly failed to defend the values of decentralization for development of the people by the people. The dividing line between virtue and development is competence and development delayed is enlightenment denied. Unless the right people are chosen, the future remains obscure; consequently it is high time this council is quicked out of office.” I would like to focus on two aspects of that excerpt. By saying that the Council has ‘repeatedly failed to defend the values of decentralization for development’ you imply that the Council has registered no success. This stance is debatable. You conclude by saying that they should be removed from office.

Well, my view is that our great party, the CPDM, will win the battle not just in Baforkum but also in Tubah Council and the Tubah-Bafut constituency only if it first wins the hearts and minds of the people. But then we all know that it may not be easy because since multiparty politics came to us, those jurisdictions have always been SDF. It is therefore not easy to boot them out, let alone, simply wish them out. We can do this only by recognizing that which they have done well and condemning that which they have done badly and then show how we can do it better. That is what the people want to hear. And that is what will move them. But we can not say that what the SDF has done is completely and totally bad. The SDF is facing problems at the national level precisely because of that kind of approach. That is why whenever SDF officials react to a speech made by the Head of State, they say it was “empty with nothing in it”. But that is neither true nor possible. Comrade, we must recognize that the SDF is today the main opposition party in a country which has over two hundred legalized political parties. We must recognize that the SDF has also done some good things in the National Assembly and thereby contributed to the development of the nation. We would be putting ourselves and our party in a difficult position if we fail to acknowledge the good points, especially if they themselves are convinced about those good points. They will label us as liars and refuse to listen to us.

At the Section Level (Mezam V Section Tubah), we made the same error when campaigning for the last legislative and municipal elections. The message the party in Tubah sent out was: “We have come to bury the SDF!” This was the wrong approach and I told the Section President, Dr Peter Alangeh Abety, so. My question was that how could we be out to bury “someone” who had not yet died? Even if we forget about politics for one moment and think about it, is morally right to bury someone alive? My greater concern was even that if we claimed to have come to bury the SDF and in the end they still won the elections, what next would we say? As it turned out, the party grabbed both the Council and the parliamentary seat, thus maintaining its hegemony and stronghold in our own backyard. Surely we must change our tactics if we want to win. Luckily, for some militants of the CPDM in other parts of the country, victory for the party is always guaranteed because they are a CPDM fiefdom. But we can not say the same thing for our own locality which at least for now looks like an SDF safe haven. The battle ahead for us is therefore tough. We must also come up with equally tough strategies.

By the way, the celebration of the President’s accession to power is a golden opportunity for “welcoming home” Tubah people who are decamping from the opposition parties to our CPDM. Then we welcome them and they join in the celebration. Do you think that is an aspect of the celebration we can still work on for this year? If we could do it, then it would be music to the ears of the National Chairman. The Section President, Dr Abety, used the strategy so well and so successfully at the joint Sections Conference that preceded the last elections that some newspapers led their stories with the news.

Mr President, in the position that you occupy, you should be able to seize opportunities as they come to you because as they saying goes, an opportunity only knocks once. Some weeks ago, I informed you that I had set up a discussion forum for sons and daughters of Baforkum. I asked for your email address in order to sign you up on it and also asked you to send me the email addresses of your adult children. You sent me yours and said those of the children would follow. I then took the necessary steps to sign you own, with the last part being for you to activate the account at your end. As I write today, it does not seem as if you have done the reactivation. So, as we speak, you are still not signed up. You have also not sent me the children’s addresses.

Mr President, we live in a fast changing world. Let us adapt so that we do not get left behind.


Tikum Mbah Azonga


By Tikum Mbah Azonga

1. Appointment

At midnight today
And no later than today
When husbands turn over and start snoring
And women looking for intelligent children fret
Roofs will quiver
And foundations will be rocked.

The reason is that we are at the crossroads
The road our ancestors took
The one along which women too vulgar are punished
As things stand we have ourselves to blame
We must then make sacrifices
There will be no peace until they are appeased.

2. Time Out
(For Pamela Abeyie)

I am the mid road man
I creep like the silent plant
Where I go, only monks enter
Where I sit, only king makers sit.

The thunder has shut up
The rain has ceased
The fire is going out
And you, you wear a cynical smile.

Don’t take it out on me
I mean you no harm
I’m only a mid road man who creeps
I can never claim to be your boss.

3. Equity
(For Lord Baron Pienyam Teku, the man with the literary mind)

Let those who left first
Also pay first
For, never can it be fair
That some cut and run
And those who stay the course
Are made to face the music.

If it was a matter of thirst
Then who doesn’t know thirst?
Or is it that only those who dare
And do nothing, even for fun
Must at all times and sometimes by force
Be given the Green Card and to boot, Swanzik?

4. That Which We Treasure
(For Sir Ralph Awa the Rover who made literature meaningful to me)

Oh, God of hosts
Strengthen each day our lines
Our defence lines
And help us to keep the bridge
Send the rain and thunder to the North
Not the south where we are
Those lines we carry
Come from our ancestors
And to us they are sacred
We shall allow no one take them
We shall allow no one defy them
We would rather give our breath
So that even if we are gone
These lines must remain
They must be here
Here at all times
To bear witness
To tell the tale.

5. Counting the Cost

(For my Uncle, Pa Victor, who knows something about being cut off from the rest of us by the swept away bridge.)

(For Pa Moses Moka and his long time assistant, Joshua, for making the several fish ponds a lasting land mark at the Agric Farm in Bambui. And also those of us at the time little children who prayed whenever the sky went dark and groaned noisily, that the heavy rains should come with huge tides and cause the fish ponds to overflow their banks and in the process scatter fish – some already dead, others still wagging their tails - all over the place for us to pick up and take to our mothers for dinner.

Even now that I speak
The stream still flows
With all its vigour and manhood
The tide hasn’t stopped rising
Already, the bridge has been swept away
Cutting us off from them
What we fear most is that
The rising tide may
Cause the fish pond to break its banks
If that happens, then that’s the peak
Ten years hard work will come tumbling down
Treated waters will be wiped away
Precious tilapia nilautica left without hem
Killed and flushed out for us wanton beings to eat fat
It always happens in this dreaded month of May
After that we start from scratch and close ranks.

6. Who I Am
(For Lillian)
My name is Lillian
But I assure you, I’m not a Sicilian
I’m just an ordinary Ensabian
Who is also a worthy Christian.

I don’t have much to say
Thank God you don’t ask everyday
If you did, then no way!
What I believe in is making hay.

Don’t ask me about tomorrow
That will only bring sorrow
Let’s take care of today and not borrow
Because wherever the Lord goes, we follow.

You may think I’m evasive
No, I think I’m very persuasive
Otherwise, why is everything we buy so expensive?
Only God can lead us to what is extensive.

7. Liar

I heard him call her an idiot
Although he strongly denies it now
Expect that from men without a vow
Because all they know is the road to the griot.

8. At a loss

What should I say this time?
I feel lost and empty and sapped
It’s like asking me to commit a crime
Otherwise, why forget the lines that were wrapped?

9. Freedom Day

All was calm on the home front
The curtains were drawn
The chickens still pent up
And the table set for three.

Then the strong winds came like a united front
And all the Christmas sparrows were flung on the lawn
Suddenly, the sky grumbled, went dark and we shut up
And a voice from above cried out:
‘We have come to set you free
For this country is rotten’.

10. Memories

Do you remember the dance for two?
When as if enchanted
You and I drifted towards each other
In the middle of the floor
With everyone else, watching
Either scandalised or lost?

That was for me the first earned due
Thereafter I became respected
For, they all asked: ‘How did he charm her?’
Remember the engaging ring at the door?
And the weeding ring worth more than a farthing?
Today I wonder what would happen if all that was lost.

11. Born Again
(For Ntembe Paul Amombi, the typical Aries man)

Let all the wealth I have in the world,
My gold, my silver, my diamonds
Go up in flames!
I don’t need them any more
I have found
The truth
The way
And the life.
Let it all go up in flames
But let no one have one bit of it
Not one bit
Lest someone else becomes
As trapped and as enslaved as I was
For so long.

12. Trapped
(For Mr Sylverius Mbuye, the unequalable secondary school teacher of ours we nick-named ‘Agent de Terre’ because he was such a good secret agent!))

The cry came from afar
It rang out once
It was shrill, sharp, agonised
At once we picked up our tools
And made about–turn
We knew that in these parts
Anything could happen.

Too bad it was dark and we were far
We knew at any time they could pounce
For it wasn’t long since the last boat capsized
So, like Azonga and Anukwe, typical examples of bush men
We were prepared to spurn.
Although we had the carts
We lacked the fruits about to ripen.

13. Climax

Her shrill cry rang out
And we woke up with a start
‘Oh my God! She’s lost it again!
Before I could pull off the loin
She was out in the night, naked,
Trying to catch something in the air
‘What are you doing there, Ngwenyi?’ I asked
‘They’re here! They’re here!’
‘Who? Who is here?
‘Can’t you see?
They’ve come back.
They’ve torn up my post card
And they’re tossing up the pieces
For me to catch!’
‘No, I see nothing
No one, except you
In the sheltered light of the night’
‘Well then you’re blind,
If not mad!’

14. Apocalypse

It was between twelve and one
When the silent birds had sunk deep
And the midnight song had gone hollow
All the forsaken beasts of burden
For too long left on the sidelines
Knew that come what might
The wedding bells would never ring again.

Now that I sit here brazen faced with a frown
I see the shiny necklaces creep and weep
The bride set in china on an altar made fallow
And the groom too lost to notice her all sodden
All of them lined up for a parade with no lines
What I failed to see, not being a knight
Were the huge cumulus clouds announcing the rain.

15. Conspiracy

I heard the tree branch crackle
And the tilley birds in the deep night
Quarrel about the futile tattle
For so long condemned rattling.

16. Deceptive flower

I love to contemplate the moon flower
With its million branches
And annoyingly identical petals
They are the very receptacle
On which David of old placed his harp.

Hearing this you may say a flower is a flower
But at church, no two benches
Regardless of their uniformity in terms of rentals
Can serve as stool for the pastor’s spectacle
The only real spectacle on earth is that which is sharp.

17. Cut It Out
(For the Rev. Fr Mac Mahon who taught us English at Sacred Heart College)

Get it together
By all means, get your act together
And save us all
From final damnation

Cut your ‘T’s and dot your ‘I’s
Never again will you see the face of the Holy one
For, Jacob didn’t live twice
So, make loose ends a thing of the past.

18. Flashback

It was not quite anger
No it was remorse
That was what made me do it
The emptiness, the vacuum.

19. Duty

When the rains come back
And the last queen fails to return
All kingmakers off track
Will run round the palace with the Fon’s lantern.

20. Hold up
(The president’s traffic jam)

Tell them the road is blocked
Tell them it’s blocked at both ends
No one gets on, no one gets off
The search is on in earnest
There will be no let up whatsoever
Until the president’s jewels are found
For how can anyone get away with the kings pearls?

© 2009

N:B These poems are taken from my forthcoming publication of poems in English, THE COWRIE NECKLACE,to be published by Langaa Publishers.

vendredi 23 octobre 2009



This paper is an adaptation of an earlier one I delivered on the Cameroon National Radio Station on the 16th of December 2003. This was a post card view of Limbe as perceived by this blogger after a recent visit to the historic seaside resort. The paper was one of the daily political commentaries I delivered on the 6.30 a.m. prime time national and world news on Cameroon Radio Television (CRTV), Yaoundé, between 2002 and 2005.

Anyone who has visited Limbe recently can not have helped succumbing to the city’s irresistible charm. Such a traveler must have realized that the attraction goes far beyond just the city itself and embraces all of what can be considered as the jurisdiction of Limbe Sub Division. That includes the area from the east of the city westward towards Debunscha - which has earned itself the reputation of being the wettest place in Africa where it rains all year round - right to the town of Batoke.

This was the fascination that caught this commentator when he was in Limbe three years ago, but even more so when he was there only a week ago. This time around, the entire community of Limbe looked reinvigorated, reawakened, and very much alive. New companies were springing up, thereby intensifying economic activity. These included the Limbe Shipyard in Limbola village, next to the National Oil Refinery, SONARA. The enterprise is expected to provide jobs for some 3000 people when it becomes operational. A thermal plant was also being constructed by the national electricity authority, AES SONEL with a view to curbing the frequent power failures that have gripped the nation like some pandemic, in recent years.

That was not all. The much heralded Limbe Deep Sea Port was also found to be fast becoming a reality. It is to be noted that the structure has for years constituted a far cry on the part of Anglophone Cameroonians West of the Mungo who feel marginalized by the Francophone majority on the other side of the Mungo. At SONARA, there was now a new General Manager, Charles Metouck, who was appointed by presidential decree in replacement of Bernard Eding who died in service. However, the appointment left tongues wagging as some indigenes of Limbe, headquarters of Fako Division in particular, and the South West Province as a whole, grumbled that although SONARA was in the land of the Bakweris, the president kept appointing “outsiders” to lord it over them. Both Eding and Metouck came from the Bassa tribe found partly in the Littoral Province and partly in the Centre Province.

This commentator also noticed that despite the cutting off and privatization of the tea production component of the Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC), the rest of the corporation was still waxing strong under the leadership of son of the soil Henry Njalla Quan who has an unstoppable love for culture and sports, but especially sports. The CDC which owns and manages huge plantains of cash crops mainly for export, was set up by the Germans when they colonized Cameroon before being thrown out by the allies at the end of the Second World War. Today, the corporation is not only the second employer in the country after the State of Cameroon, but also one of the largest plantation managers in Africa.

From what this commentator saw, it was clear that some key attractions in Limbe had been consolidated. These included the Limbe Botanic Gardens, said to be home to some rare flora in the world. The main tourist sites in the locality still retained their golden luster of old. Among these were the Limbe black sandy beaches, the legendary tropical rainforest, the Cameroon Mountain lava track, the German colonial lodge used by Von Gravenreath in 1906, and which today serves as the Senior Divisional Officer’s official residence. The Engelbert Catholic Mission constructed in Bonjongo in 1892 was still conspicuously present. Bimbia, Botaland, Wovia, Batoke and the Mondoni islands, were all still compulsory stops, even for the unwilling. The rich cultural heritage of the indigenous Bakweri, Isubu, Bota and Bomboko people and popular dances such as ngosso, nyanga and the njoku elephant dance, were still forces to be reckoned with.

Considerable progress had definitely been made in the city itself, for generally, it looked cleaner, healthier and livelier. Limbe Council had relocated into new and more attractive buildings and now looked better organized with clearly defined service directives, a clear anti AIDS policy and an all inclusive “Call me clean city: proud of Limbe” campaign.

Explaining the reasons behind Limbe`s success story, the City’s boss, Government Delegate Lifanda Samuel Ebiama said: “The Council`s mission to which we strongly adhere is to bring out positive change by encouraging economic, social and cultural development through the active participation of each and everyone.”

No wonder, the musician Sam Mbende chose Limbe as the theme of one of his songs, and the poet, André Mvogo Mbida included a poem on Limbe, “Je reviendrai Limbe”, in his book, “Reflexes des Temps Rois.” Decidedly, the story of the romance of Limbe has only just begun.

© 2009

jeudi 22 octobre 2009


This paper is an adaptation of an earlier one I delivered on the Cameroon National Radio Station on the 13th of August 2003. This was on the occasion of the visit to Cameroon of the International Monetary Fund (IMF0) Boss, Horst Köhler. The paper was one of the daily political commentaries I delivered on the 6.30 a.m. prime time national and world news on Cameroon Radio Television (CRTV), Yaoundé, between 2002 and 2005.

It is a well known fact that meeting the goals and objectives of the major international donors such as the IMF and the World Bank is a hard nut to crack and a bitter pill to swallow. In fact, so bitter is the pill that one African country, Zambia, then under President Kenneth Kaunda, broke ranks with the lending bodies by abandoning a programme it had drawn up with them in exchange for loans intended for development of the country. The Kaunda government decided to rescind the accord on the grounds that the amount of suffering the country had gone through was simply unbearable. President Kaunda went further and justified the move taken by Lusaka by saying that no country had ever been taken to court for not paying its debts, the implication being that even if Zambia did not continue with the programme or even refund the funds disbursed, the risk to the country was minimal.

Here in Cameroon, the situation has been radically different because ever since the government in place decided to work with the Bretton Woods institutions in the mid 1980s in order to turn around the ailing economy, the country has never looked back despite the very stiff and painful sacrifices Cameroonians have had to make. These sacrifices include compulsory salary cuts of up to seventy per cent for civil servants, a freeze on the annual increase in salaries which civil servants enjoyed before, slashing of fringe benefits for employees and suspension of recruitments in the public service. Perhaps this is evidence of the validity of the aphorism that nothing good comes easy, or that one can not make an omelet without breaking eggs.

As things stand, the visiting IMF Boss, Horst Kohler, has cited Cameroon among African countries where structural reforms have paid off the most. This view was within the general African context with the observation being made that despite an overall downturn in world economies, Africa had on the whole resisted the rising tide, thus registering some real progress as a result of governments knowing where to focus attention.

As if to encourage other countries to follow suit, Horst Köhler pointed out that countries where there had been no wars like Mauritius, Burkina Faso, and of course, Cameroon, had seen prudent macro-economic policies lead to the stimulation of growth. According to him, such positive results also led to debt relief within the context of HIPC funds.

In a related development, the IMF and World Bank have given the seal of approval to Cameroon’s Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP), that enddorsement being no doubt a crowning of the country’s efforts in the drive for economic recovery.

Our country has therefore come a long way. In other words, it is so far so good. What Cameroonians need now is a measure of patience and forbearance, because the country is definitely getting out of the woods. The economy is alive and kicking with obvious tell tale signs being the continuous shortage of accommodation throughout the country, whether for habitation or business. The situation has prevailed, despite the numerous houses that continue to be built all over the country. Another proof comes from the readily available daily basic necessities such as clothing, household equipment and gadgets, mainly from China and at affordable prices. In fact, it is no longer a secret that with five hundred francs, one can clothe oneself, even if the lifespan of the goods is short. Furthermore, the growth rate in Cameroon is positive, standing at around four per cent. Inflation is better than expected, standing at three per cent instead of the four per cent that was forecast. Real term growth that marked some key sectors in recent years has continued to firm up. Significantly, the balance of trade deficit was slashed from –CFA 114.6 bn in 2001 to – 64.7 bn last year.

Nevertheless, it has not been plain sailing. In fact the IMF boss pointed out the grey areas of the Cameroonian economy which need special attention. These include governance, the fight against poverty, pursuance of financial reforms, attraction of investment , establishment of the rule of law, and the all out fight against corruption which although not described by the IMF boss in those terms, has become endemic in Cameroon.

Whatever is the case, the government must realize that although the battle may have been won, the war itself is far from over. In fact, it is still raging on.


This paper is an adaptation of an earlier one I delivered on the Cameroon National Radio Station on the 5th of May 2003, as a spontaneous reaction to the repeated power cuts that rocked the country. The paper was one of the daily political commentaries I delivered on the 6.30 a.m. prime time national and world news on Cameroon Radio Television (CRTV), Yaoundé, between 2002 and 2005.


No one who lives in or has visited Cameroon recently can claim not to have noticed that the country has been plunged into a crisis of unprecedented proportions, for never before has energy supply been such a bone of contention to so many Cameroonians. Surely, if the damage done to businesses and homes were to be quantified, the figures would be horrifyingly high. And of course, if someone were to dare to take the bull by the horns and sue the national power provider, AES SONEL, for damages, the cost to the latter might be so astronomical that the company would fold up. Yet, as far as the consumer is concerned, the key question remains: who will pick up the pieces, especially as they so much look like those of Humpty Dumpty? That question is pertinent because the gulf between supplier and consumer appears to be deepening and widening by the day. But instead of seeking ways of easing the tension, AES SONEL appears to be digging in its heels and rubbing it in with higher customer bills.

Surely, it may be argued that within the new context of the national electricity board having been privatized, the new owners deemed it necessary to tax consumers a bit more in order to improve services. Under normal circumstances, hardly anyone would quarrel with that approach if the goods were delivered to the customer’s satisfaction, so to speak. But as things stand, not only is offer mediocre, it is getting worse.

Faced with the dilemma, the helpless and impotent consumer has no choice than to cry to the state for salvation. Although it is true that the Prime Minister Head of Government has handed down firm instructions for the situation to be reversed, many still think he should have put his foot down more firmly by taking the same robust action he took previously when Yaounde, the national capital, was plunged into acute water shortages a couple of years ago. At the time, the prime minister simply issued an ultimatum which was taken seriously.

The key players who should implement the decision of the prime minister are the Electricity Regulatory Board, commonly known by its French acronym, ARSEL, and the Ministry of Mines, Water and Energy which is the parent ministerial department. For the minister concerned, the electricity crisis has come to intensify his baptism of fire, previous instances having been the acute shortage of cooking gas and fuel felt in the country.

AES SONEL`s explanation for the crisis situation with power supply is that poor rainfall has led to low voltage which has in turn forced the corporation to ration electricity through a strategy they call `load shedding`, or `délestage`, in French, the other official language of Cameroon. But as the crisis deepens, more and more questions crop up. For instance, why is it that the nation never knew a predicament of such a dimension when SONEL was for years run by the Cameroonian team led by its General Manager, Niat Marcel Njifenji? If the problem is inefficiency, then why does the new team, mainly from North America, not come clean and throw in the towel? Furthermore, how could there have been such a total reliance on rainfall alone to power the turbines, when everyone knows how temperamental and unpredictable the rain can be? Why is it that alternatives such as water fall power or solar electricity have not been sought? Why were no emergency measures, no contingency plans, taken?

Beyond the rhetoric and the semantics, the consumer is interested in knowing when he will be given fair treatment and not be served with a sub standard product coupled with grief and misery. All eyes are on the authorities to see whether they will be up to the task.

mercredi 21 octobre 2009


This paper is an adaptation of an earlier one I delivered on the Cameroon National Radio Station on the 10th of April 2003, on the occasion of the holding of the fifth edition of the Cameroon annual secondary schools sports competition, commonly known as the FENASCCO Games. The paper was one of the daily political commentaries I delivered on the 6.30 a.m. prime time national and world news on Cameroon Radio Television (CRTV), Yaoundé, between 2002 and 2005.


The ongoing edition of the games is the fifth in the series since it was instituted by the state, five being a significant figure for those who care about numerology. In fact, the figure 5 represents the extra person in the context of a two-a-side match, the fifth person being the referee. The fact that this fifth member is the odd one out, alone and unpaired makes him or her, an outsider, a foreigner and a stranger. As a referee therefore, although in principle, his neutrality is bound to be more palpable.

For Catholics, the figure 5 stands for the joyful, glorious and sorrowful mysteries of the Holy Rosary. Whatever way one looks at it, the end result of the game is one of combination, addition, cohesion and configuration, which have made up part of the organizational philosophy that underpins sports competitions for ages, regardless of venue or age.

FENASCCO is always a high point to which participants look forward with baited breath. It is an extraordinary opportunity that allows students who show talent in a given area of sports and physical education - whether in athletics or ball games - to show case that gift and even carry home an award or two in recognition of the feat. The key word from the organizers is always `participation`, an appellation that implies team work, concerted action and unity, in conformity with the saying that unity is strength.

The very process by which competitors are selected is broad based and all embracing in the sense that conscious attempts are made to get in only the best, although occasionally, some undeserving ones are still made to slip through the net either as a result of pressure from above or through kick backs to organizing officials. Selection starts at the level of the school, and then progresses to the sub Division, the Division and finally the Province. The higher and further a participant goes in the selection process, the more he or she will come in contact with peers and organizing officials from further away. Such social interaction does go a long way towards consolidating “knowledge of the other”. In this way, mutual trust and brotherliness are consolidated with national unity winning the day. Furthermore, trust, tolerance and forbearance are fostered. No wonder, the sporadic riots between Muslims and Christians that one hears about in neighbouring Nigeria are unknown here in Cameroon.

The fact that the games rotate, which means they go from province to province, also enables participants to discover different parts of the country. And for the information of those who have never been to Cameroon, it is a vast country, roughly the size of Great Britain. However, the diversities that exist and cohabit in Cameroon are by far more than those in Britain. For instance, in addition to being a country that uses both French and English as official languages, Cameroon has some 230 languages of its own, and with probably as many ethnic groups. The country is made up of Christians, Muslims and people observing other religions.

Thanks to FENASCCO, secondary school children can come face-to-face with `new` linguistic, social and cultural realities of their country. Participants at the ongoing competitions taking place in Garoua, the provincial headquarters of the North Province, for example, will no doubt be taken aback by the arid desert vegetation of the province, which pops up with its sparse and stunted flora. The other side of the coin is that if they can make it to the parks or game reserves, they will be thrilled by the game and wildlife in action. Perhaps over above everything, they will be flabbergasted, held spellbound by the magnetism of the culture and fantasia of the people of the North.

Obviously, this time around, it is the North Province. But each year brings the soothing freshness, the irresistible charm, the uniqueness of a different province. That is why when one considers the profoundly diversified nature of the Cameroonian landscape, one can not help agreeing with the dictum that our country is, in deed, Africa in miniature. For the young sports boys and girls called up this year and indeed each year, the discovery aspect is a veritable icing on the cake.

Yet the savouring of Cameroon’s melting pot cultural richness is not limited to FENASCCO. The state universities and other institutions of higher education recognized by the state also have their own version of the annual sports jamboree, another event bringing together people from other regions of the country. Surely, before today’s sports competitions, agro-pastoral shows and party congresses used to be the rotating national crowd pullers. Perhaps this is all the more reason why agro-pastoral shows which had since been fractured should be rehabilitated. If that happens, then conceivably some day, somewhere, sometime, somehow, FENASCCO may pride itself on having participated in restoring to the nation, one of its most cherished belongings.


This paper is an adaptation of an earlier one I delivered on the Cameroon National Radio Station on the 20h of March 2004, on the occasion of the celebration of World Water Day in Cameroon. The paper was one of the daily political commentaries I delivered on the 6.30 a.m. prime time national and world news on Cameroon Radio Television (CRTV), Yaoundé, between 2002 and 2005.


When Cameroon joins nationals in other member countries of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central African States (CEMAC) to mark World Water Day on Tuesday, they will be doing so from a vantage point because unlike some of those other countries, Cameroon is a country where generally speaking, water flows. Even where it is not very forthcoming like in the Far North and North provinces where weather and climate can sometimes be harsh, the state has put in place structures such as artificial dams to ensure that water prevails at all cost.

Cameroon’s reserves of water are backed by the considerable access that the country has to the sea and the fact that it harbours what is widely regarded as the densest rain forest in the whole of Africa. In fact, although Cameroon, like most other countries in Africa, has two seasons per year, one wet and one dry, the country has gone down on record as one with the wettest place in Africa. That place is a locality called Debunscha, in the South West Region, where it rains all year round.

Despite those aquatic endowments, Cameroonian authorities would be wrong to rest on their laurels because there are still some gaping gaps in the nation’s water security mechanism. The proof is that only a few days ago, the agriculture and rural development minister sounded the alarm bells to the effect that the northern part of the country faced impending famine as a result of poor rainfall having wrong footed farmers and cut food production by up to 20 per cent. This phenomenon is hardly surprising because the northern part of the country is characterized by arid, semi-desert vegetation, which is a sharp contrast to the constantly bathed thick rainforests of the south.

However, it must at the same time be pointed out that abundant rainfall which generates a good flow of water does not necessarily mean that water derived thus is good for use. In other words, the availability of water does not of necessity mean that the population’s water needs are automatically met. That is because when it comes to looking at the fraction of Cameroonians that has access to potable water, a problem arises. Far too many families still do not have the privilege of drinking potable water, if a privilege it is. While comparatively few Cameroonians use pipe borne water, most use alternative sources such as stream water and sunk wells. Interestingly, Non Governmental Bodies (NGOs) such as PLAN International have seen the wisdom of wells and are increasingly providing them, especially to the rural communities which are more vulnerable when it comes to needs, so that potable water can reach as many Cameroonians as possible. It is to be noted that in an urban setting such as Yaounde, the national capital, more and more landlords are sinking wells for their tenants. And systematically, the tenants draw from the well to do their washing and washing up, while reserving pipe borne water for drinking and cooking. Such a procedure helps in cutting water bills because all consumers really pay for is the tap water.

The theme of this year’s Water Day, “Water, Source of life”, constitutes a real challenge for government which must now do everything in its power to ensure that there is enough potable water for more Cameroonians. Last year’s World Water Day theme, “Water and Disasters”, was centered on ways of predicting and averting water related diseases. It will be interesting to know what will be the theme of next year’s event, or even those of subsequent years.

The truth of the matter is that water is such an indispensable commodity that the battle for it to flow for all and flow consistently must be won. For this to happen, all hands must be deck. That is when World Water Day will have a lasting impact on the people whom it is meant to serve.

mardi 20 octobre 2009


This paper is an adaptation of an earlier one I delivered on the Cameroon National Radio Station on the 30th of June 2003, on the occasion of the holding in Yaounde of the 14th Meeting of the African and Indian Ocean Planning and Implementation Group (APIRG) for air navigation. The paper was one of the daily political commentaries I delivered on the 6.30 a.m. prime time national and world news on Cameroon Radio Television (CRTV), Yaoundé, between 2002 and 2005.


Although the Yaounde conference gave participants the opportunity to reexamine the use of air craft in Africa as a whole, it did so more tellingly for Cameroon, by virtue of the fact that the event was hosted by Yaounde. The procedure gave interested Cameroonians the opportunity to see first hand what air navigation on the continent is all about.

It was therefore not surprising that while delegates from other countries and their governments geared themselves up for updating on air navigation techniques in order to make the sky more secure, their Cameroonian counterparts appeared to be a step ahead. For instance, the general manager of the Cameroon Civil Aviation Authority, Sama Juma Ignatius who had already prepared well for the meeting, said the Cameroonian civil aviation outfit was already taking steps to conform to the modernization era. He did so, citing as examples the setting up of aircraft maintenance installations and the retraining of air and ground staff.

Another development in Cameroon’s preparedness in this area of transportation is the government’s recently introduced law that makes it mandatory for all civil aviation installations to be checked regularly as a means of ensuring that international standards in air navigation are observed. Even so, it must be acknowledged that for African skies in general and Cameroonian skies in particular to be safe, team work is required of all stakeholders involved. That is why the Agency for the Security of Air Navigation in Africa and Madagascar was put in place to oversee air security throughout the continent. Whether that organization is fully or even partially fulfilling the mission is another question.

Nonetheless, to be fair to the air navigation watchdog, the task assigned to is by no means an easy walk over. This is because its remit includes management of up to 161 million square kilometers, five flight information centres, ten regional control centres, fifty seven control towers, over 25 international airports, 76 regional airports, and a fairly large civil engineering support pool. The agency also carries out maintenance of equipment; it runs an information system and the Regional school for Rescue and Firefighting in Cameroon` economic capital, Douala. This job description has, of course, is within the overall navigation plan as defined and supervised by the civil aviation international body.

When Cameroon’s Transport Minister, John Begheni Ndeh spoke at the opening of the Yaounde gathering, he placed it within its global context. According to the minister, Cameroon took the lead in air navigation security because the country is always in favour of the international synergy which militates for an aviation active in the promotion of sustainable development of mankind, This he said, should be done through the war against terrorism, the protection of the environment and the search for the well-being of the people. In other words, the common good.

If it is acknowledged that Cameroon has done well, at least so far, the onus is on the other countries to show the same enthusiasm, matched by the same results, if not better ones.

dimanche 18 octobre 2009


I have followed with keen interest the debate on the Yahoo groups forum, about some Israeli authorities claiming for one of theirs, the USA President Barrack Hussein Obama, the reason being that the Israelis said they "raised" Obama in the USA, etc.

The author of the posting on the forum of the claim sounded peeved that the Israelis should make such a claim about the American president. Nonetheless, let’s face facts. In view of the fact that America is a melting pot with people from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds from all over the world, why should anyone be piqued that one group of Americans, namely the Jews, are claiming Obama as their own man? Yet, it is clear that by so doing, the Israelis have not and can not close the door to further claims of Obama `ownership` from others. Isn’t it true that African Americans – and by extension, Africans - are also claiming Obama as being African on account of his father’s Kenyan ancestry, and also that the Arab countries can claim him because of his middle name, “Hussein”? We also know – don’t we – that White Americans have a right to view Obama as theirs, because of his White mother.

My conclusion is that since Obama is so obviously “everyone’s property”, so to speak, instead of complaining, the authors of the plaintiff posting ought to assert their own “ownership” of the American president, instead of sweeping that of the Israelis under the carpet. Here I would like to paraphrase the French phrase that talks about “everyone trying to pull the blanket to their own side”. Such is the reality that we must face in the world of today. Let’s be inclusive and not exclusive; let’s fight from within and not from without; let’s stand up and be counted and not sit down and be passed over.

By the way, if those who raised the alarm about the Israelis did so out of unease that hopes which had been placed on Obama on his coming to power, to steer the American ship of State regarding Israel differently from his predecessors, then my response to the Palestinians side (in the large sense of the word) is that they should ask themselves why the American-Israeli tie has stood the test of time for so many centuries. And if it can’t be ruptured, why has the Palestinian camp not set up a rival and more powerful union and thus pulled the carpet from beneath the feet of Israel, so to speak?

Tikum Mbah Azonga


Il s`agit de poèmes tirés de mon recueil de poèmes sur le sida, dont la moitié est écrite en anglais et l`autre moitié en français. Paru sous le titre de `SAY No TO AIDS`, cet ouvrage est en usage dans les établissements scolaires camerounais depuis septembre 2009.

(Il se fait dépister)

Alphonse est un jeune homme de poids
Il porte une véritable ceinture de sécurité
Il se fait dépister fréquemment car il faut être sur de soi
Notre bonhomme suit le counseling avec assiduité.

(Le CNLS à votre service)

Avez-vous fait votre test?
Faîtes votre dépistage
Connaissez votre statut.

Si vous êtes séropositif
Nous vous montrerons comment vivre pleinement
Si vous êtes séronégatif
Nous vous dirons comment demeurer tel.

(La séropositivité n`est pas la mort)

Si vous êtes séropositif, mon ami
Ne désesperez pas
Surtout pas!
Venez nous voir même en catinimi.

Nous sommes là pour vous tous
Les activités de conseil
Pour les amis comme vous au conseil
C`est notre affaire de toujours.

Venez nous voir en toute confidentialité
Nos sessions de counseling se font en douceur
Vous n`est pas seul car d`autres sont venus sans rancoeur
Et sont partis satisfaits et pleins de vitalité.

(Victime du SIDA)

Madouka Kolba Jean Pierre
Mâle, sagittaire
Né le 01 décembre 1962 à Kolbizangoué
Décédé du Sida dans la capitale
A l`âge de 41 ans.

(Victime du SIDA)

Luc Z.S.
Grand commis de l`Etat
Né à Bandougana
Le 1er janvier 1951
Décédé à Paris
Le 1er janvier 2003
Il laisse une veuve et huits enfants mineurs
Cause du déces: VIH/SIDA.

(Ou pleurer un mort)

J`ai pleuré pour toi
Depuis que tu nous a quittés
ça fait un an
Mais un an long comme cent ans.

Le jour se lève à peine
Que déja je sanglote
Soleil, dis-moi quelque chose!
Mamy Nyanga te pleure aussi.

Marre de t`attendre et coît
Je prendrai ma guitare et mes vers rimés
Et ensemble on se jetera au flueve Ekan
Pour qu`on soit tous perdants.

(La vie saine)

Il est minuit
Et je m`ennuie
Au fait, je m`agite
Mon avenir m`évite
Car j`ai un passé compromis
Et ce, sans préavis
J`attends le pire
Plus jamais je ne connaitrai de rire.

D. est partie il y a une semaine
Je veux dire, elle a rendu l`âme, sans haine
Elle est partie
Ayant perdu la partie
Doucement, souriante mais sûrement
Sur son lit d`hospital elle a dit son testament
C`était comme un jeu
Et moi, impuissant comme un gueux
Je suis resté là, figé
Les larmes aux yeux.

(La transmission mère-enfant)

Je m`appelle Marthe
Je suis mère de trois enfants
Dont le dernier a huit mois
Les trois autres, que Dieu soit loué!
Ont trois, cinq et sept ans
Je me suis fait dépister a chaque grossesse.

Dieu merci, tout a été négative
Mais si j`avais été testé positive
J`aurais suivi les conseils du médicin
J`aurais pris des médicaments
Pour ne pas contaminer mon bébé.

Avais-je peur du test? Jamais!
Car il y a le counseling
Alors, si vous êtes enceinte
Comme moi, faîtes –vous dépister
Protéger votre bébé.

(l`oeuvre gigantesque d`une dame de Coeur)

Frustré, angoissé, résigné, ma foi
Oh, écoute ce cri du coeur poussé pour toi
Né chez nous ou ailleurs, il faut espérer car
D`une dame de coeur, Chantal Biya sans tare
Assister, promouvoir, mobiliser contre pauvreté et maladie
Telle est la vocation de la Fondation agrandie
Ici viennent démunis, déshérités, handicaps
Ou lépreux, aveugles, sourds-muets et abandonnés
Nul n`est censé ignorer cette initiative de notre Chantal.

Car, n`est-elle pas pour nous vitale?
Horizon nouveau, le Cameroun est en haut
Avec sa Chantal, ses enfants et mères mûriront tot
Nulle part ailleurs on ne peut trouver
Tout le temps, hôpital pour mère et enfant désespérés
A tout monment un Centre de Chirugie endoscopique
L`école primaire et le Centre Intégré non-utopique.

Batême de feu ou baguette magique, qu`importe?
Infectés ou affectés, il suffit de frapper à la porte
Yaoundé est là avec sa Chantal
A vous tous alors de dire alléluia!


samedi 17 octobre 2009



Ce matin de mots de passe
Qui jonchent le petit passage de papa est foutu
Au loin, reculé dans les derniers arbres
Les affamés se comptent sur les doigts
De mille mains.

Entre les deux inconnus qui
Ne s'offrent pas de morceau de pain
L'un à l'autre
Il y a un silence inouï et fulgurant.

Le matin du septième jour
Un gros morceau de beurre tombera
Avec vengeance et éclat
A vous rendre sourd.


Toi qui cherches à
Envoyer une lettre
A Dieu
Au bon Dieu
Pour lui dire
Merci Papa
Merci pour tout
Vas-y alors!
Ta lettre est prête
Vas-y donc
A la poste!

De l'employé
Véritable fardeau
De quel bois fera-t-il flèche?
Tes cris
Tes soupirs
Tes pleurs
Tes larmes
Ton désespoir
Le poussent
Aux larmes.

(A Jean Okah Mandengue, camarade de Lille)

Tout le monde en parle
Ce sont tes frères qui t’ont fini
De partout au Cameroun on murmure
Sur des notes de désespoir
Etouffées de larmes de crocodile
Dans l’espace nu de ma chambre
J’entends des cris de femmes ivres
Qui se disputent ta fortune.
Dehors la paix criarde contredit tout
Comme dit le proverbe :
« L’arbre que l’orage va emporter
Ne voit pas le ciel s’assombrir. »
Toi qui es parti chez les Blancs
Peux-tu aussi vraiment finir comme nous ?
Tu fais honte à tes idoles
Sors de ta cachette !
Lève-toi et marche ! Ne sois pas lâche ! .

(souvenirs de France)

Dans ces ateliers en désuétude
Où rien ne bouge, même pas le chat d'antan
Là où le vieux oeuvrait jour et nuit
Dans une demi-lumière
Et dans un grand fauteuil
Une odeur sulfureuse se dégage
Et cette petite cage de bois qui s'accroche
Me rappelant la Vielle France,
La bonne vieille France!
Ce fameux coin du Port de Dunkerque
Les coffres du vieux avare de Besançon
Les maudits sentiers de la Pigalle
Le premier plan du tableau
De Picasso qui trône au musée de Paris.

Dans cet univers du temps perdu
Où même Proust et Combray ne signifient rien
Et où ni De Gaule, ni Madame Soleil
Ne pourraient déchiffrer
Aucune écriture arabesque
Une seule fenêtre s'ouvre sur le monde extradiégétique
Et cela ne se fait que lorsque sonne le glas
Alors, les pieds de l'enceinte tremblotent
Les oiseaux de fortune s'envolent comme maudits
Tous les guerriers du coin
Avec des fugitifs sans asile
Clignotent à la première jeune dame
Qui passe sans soutien gorge ni caleçon.


Le sable argenté du sommet de farine
Qu'il le veuille ou pas, merde!
Fera bouger de fond en comble
Tous les sacs de maïs que papa a bradé.

A partir de cette plaque tournante sans narine
L'homme lion qui siège comme un roi
Au-dessus des mousquetaires de la ronde
Se mousse comme un gamin sans mousseline.

Dehors, au milieu du cercle concentrique
Devant le seuil de la grande porte
Le gueux qui fait la gueule
Tend à chaque passant un gros livre vert.


(A la jeune fille en quête d`un homme par Internet)

Jeune fille camerounaise
A la recherche de l’amour
Je me suis enfuie de la braise
Pour m’offrir enfin ce voyage sans retour

Sans caramel délicieux, ni bouquet de fleurs
J`ai abandonné glaciers et palais de marbre
Pour partir à l’assaut du prince charmant sans peur
Bien que fatiguée, j’irai jusqu'en Flandre .

Belle jeune fille, joli signe des gémeaux infatigables
Je partirais loin à la recherche de cet amour évasif
Jamais je ne baisserai les bras ! Même par câble
Pour la bénédiction j’irai voir le pontife .

Je ne suis pas poète, je l`avoue volontiers
Mais une chose est sûre
Lorsque sonnera le glas sur Poitiers
Loin de ce désert, je serai à la Cote d`Azur .


(A l`inconnue du Ministère du Commerce)

Rien de particulier, rien je vous jure
Ne m’attire à cette fenêtre de grand standing
Vous m’accusez, me dîtes-vous
De l’avoir choisie aussitôt
Faisant fi des hommes sur mon passage
Le coup de foudre
Je ne dis pas le contraire
Car à cette fenêtre à deux battants
Je vois quelque chose de magique, d’irrésistible
D’inexplicable, d’envoûtant…qui m’emporte
Dans un monde mystique et éclectique Elle me taquine et me chatouille

Ah ! Ces battants de verre
Un fermé, l’autre ouvert
Me forcent la main à une partie de cache-cache
Ce reflet de mon double de toujours
Tel un Picasso ou un Velázquez à la Sixtine
Est-ce Las Meninas ou les Béatitudes?
Je suis sidérée, bouche bée, transposée.

Pourtant ce n’est qu’une fenêtre, une simple embrasure
Qui m’amène à l’au-delà, loin de Dame Foning
Ah ! Ces moments vitrés qui font penser à tout !
Là où je suis, vous tournant le dos
Il y a tout un autre monde au-delà du fenêtrage
Hommes pressés, femmes sans soutien-gorges
Machines à coudre à tout casser
Le parking de Son Excellence
Qui ne jure que par Voltaire
Ce monde est devenu un microcosme amorphe Sans enfants
Et moi, à partir de cette plongée
L’invincible miroir et boucle de première classe
Elle m’emporte.

Infortunée que je suis, laissée pour compte
Mais septique jusqu’aux bouts des ongles
Elle m’accueille à tout moment sans souille.
J’ai pu tenir le coup, même lorsque à terre
Kapo et Cie peuvent bien me classer parmi les pervers
Simplement par ce que je suis fenêtrée
Où est donc la hache?
Sachez que les hommes viennent et partent tous
Tous les jours
Pourtant cette fidèle compagne
Est toujours là avec moi comme Vandame
C’est le grand As pour qui je n’ai que gratitude
Car elle sera toujours là
A l’écoute, adorée et vénérée.

Ce poème est dédié à la jeune employée du ministère du
Commerce et voisine de Kapo qui fut prise en flagrant
délit de regarder par la fenêtre de son bureau le 23 septembre 2005.


(A Monsieur l’Administrateur Civil)

A l’origine de toute fortune
Il y a toujours un crime
Et je l’affirme haut et fort, sans rancune
Car je sais de quoi je parle, avec ces rimes.

Je ne suis ni pessimiste ni fataliste
Je ne suis que simple administrateur capricorne
Et qui en bonne et due forme agit sans grogne.

Je ne suis pas riche, oui je me nourris
Mais je ne dispose d’aucune fortune
Car je ne suis ni Fotso , ni T. Bellac, ni El Hadj
L’opulence, oui mais pas à n’importe quel prix !

Souhaiterais-je être comme l’Homme Balance ?
Jamais, car à chacun son rythme
L’Homme Balance veut tout avec instance
Moi je calcule et je pense d’abord à l’hymne.

Que l’on le veuille ou pas
Il faudra toujours un jour rendre des comptes
Toute la fortune amassée fera l’objet de débats
Et les crimes qu’elle cache exposeront sa honte.


(A Françoise)

Qu`est-ce que tu veux que je te dise ?
Qu`est-ce que je peux dire d`autre ?
Car c`est Noël aujourd`hui, cher apôtre
Mais combien de candidats en lice , Elise ?

Les vautours survolent la mangeoire
L`archevêque et ses cohortes
Tous trempés jusqu`aux os exhortent
Et se perdent dans la sacristie aléatoire.

Néanmoins comme je ne suis pas de Nanga
Lorsque les oiseaux émissaires du seigneur repasseront
Je sais qu`il n`y aura de place que sur le goudron
Alors je me signerai et je fuirai vers Mbanga.

(Au collègue inconnu entendu au Studio I)

Je ne veux pas quelqu’un qui est souillé
Je veux quelqu’un qui est doué
Car je suis qui pour juger le monde ?
Veux-tu que les vagues m’inondent ?


(Au groupe des quatre amis réunis à la Dolce Vita)

J`aimerai écouter tous les faux sons de cloche
Moi je veux écouter le petit ruisseau
Chansonner comme les bottes de Malabo
Ou alors pleurer traumatisé sur tes épaules.
C`est tout ce que je veux.


La vérité de cette croix sans creux
Qui, à l’insu de Monsieur le Curé
Se taille la part du lion à Mvele
Sans se soucier de Mgr séquestré à Ngaoundéré .

C’est que le jour de la messe pontificale
Lorsque le PAN sera parti à la Mosquée
Tout Yaoundé à l’unanimité et par voie royale
Réclamera à cor et à cri les listes tant décriées.


(A tous les Yaoundéennes et Yaoundéens)

Je reviens de Yaoundé
Ville fétiche et robuste
Yaoundé est un petit pot de vin scindé
Dont les morceaux recollés font un buste

Du haut de cette tribune d'honneur
La grosse main invisible pleure
Elle pleure ses fils tombés par malheur
Sur l'esplanade les fidèles fondent sans lueur

Un jour lorsque les grands axes seront barrés
Et que par plaisanterie Yaoundé sera dans les ténébres
Toutes les calebasses de vin sur nos têtes posées
Seront le symbole iconique de la visite des lugubres.


This paper is an adaptation of an earlier one I delivered on the Cameroon National Radio Station on the 21st of August 2002, as a preview of the visit to Cameroon of the Chinese President in that week. The paper which was broadcast a few days before the arrival of the Chinese President was an attempt to assess Sino-Cameroonian ties. The broadcast was one of the daily political commentaries I delivered on the 6.30 a.m. prime time national and world news on Cameroon Radio Television (CRTV), Yaoundé, between 2002 and 2005.


The impending visit of the Chinese leader to Cameroon is in many ways an honour to our country, and the fact that he is not coming alone but accompanied by his wife, the icing on the cake. All of that is taking place against the background of the recent visit to Cameroon of a United Nations (U.N.) Under-Secretary.

There is no doubt that the visit of the Chinese statesman will go a long way towards consolidating relations between Cameroon and China. Over the years and increasingly so, China has proved to be a worthy friend of Cameroon, turning out to be like Mary the Mother of Jesus whose ardent supporters say is more willing to give to mankind than mankind is ready ask from her. Examples of Chinese interest in the development of our country abound. The Chinese have supplied us with goods of all kinds for daily use. They have built hospitals for us and provided accompanying medical staff for them. They have constructed lasting landmarks such as the Yaounde conference Centre which stands out eloquently on one of the hills of the national capital. The latest Chinese monument in Cameroon is, no doubt, the multipurpose sports complex soon to be built in Yaounde, at the famous Carrefour WARDA, located in the city centre.

One thing worth noting about the Chinese is that unlike Western powers they do not have any former colonies in Africa. Consequently, they do not enjoy with any African country the type of intimate relationship that France, Britain, Spain or Portugal has maintained with its former colonies. Perhaps that is the reason why China the late starter has embarked on this journey whose objective appears to be to “carve a place for her in the sun”. Since the Chinese leader can not conceivably visit every African country, Cameroon should count itself lucky to be among the chosen few. For that reason, Yaounde would do very well to roll out the red carpet for the august visitor, for this, indeed is a mark of honour.

Thanks to the visit of the U.N. top personality to Cameroon, we now learn our country may soon host a division of the United Nations University which will cater for Central and West Africa. When that happens, we have every right to jump and shout with joy, for, hosting such a major international organ is the dream of every country.

Obviously, both the earmarked Chinese-built sports complex and the soon-to-be United Nations University will greatly boost our already blooming regional and international standing; they will attract more foreign investors and tourists to our country and thus create new jobs for Cameroonian citizens. Just as is the case with revenue which employees earn on the Chad-Cameroon pipeline project, earnings from these two latest projects will go a long way towards meeting the needs of many a family, thus reinforcing the fight against poverty and underdevelopment.

Despite what some politicians and newspapers may say, the choice of our country by the two authorities is by no means a haphazard matter. In the last three years or so, Cameroon has hosted more international events than any other country in the sub region. The number of regional bodies headquartered in Yaounde, the Cameroonian national capital, is large and growing further. Of all the six member countries of the Economic Community of Central African States, commonly known by the French acronym, CEMAC, Cameroon has emerged as the indisputable leader. Cameroon is the breadbasket of the region, thanks to its longstanding prioritization of agriculture. In fact, under the country’s first president, Ahmadou Ahidjo (1960-1982) the country struck oil and when exploitation began, the government coined the warning slogan: “Before oil, there was agriculture and after oil, there will still be agriculture.” Cameroon serves as an outlet to the sea for two landlocked member states of CEMAC – Chad and the Central African Republic. Furthermore, Cameroon alone accounts for half the total population of CEMAC and fifty per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Surely, although countries may be allotted quotas for entry into the United Nations University, the fact that Cameroonians will have the privilege of having the institution in their backyard should be motivation enough for them to want to enroll in it in large numbers and thereby make a name for their country. As the Chinese President visits, Cameroonians in all fields and all walks of life should seek to build lasting and fruitful business partnerships with their guests. In other words, the visit gives Cameroonians an opportunity to showcase themselves. So they must do everything possible not to sell themselves short because that would be tantamount to shooting themselves in the foot. We Cameroonians must believe in ourselves before we expect others to do so. After all, the country is ours, not theirs.


This paper is an adaptation of an earlier one I delivered on the Cameroon National Radio Station on the 15th of November 2004, on the occasion of the celebration of the feast of the ram by Moslems in Cameroon. This was of course, a worldwide event of which the Cameroonian community was only a part. The paper was one of the daily political commentaries I delivered on the 6.30 a.m. prime time national and world news on Cameroon Radio Television (CRTV), Yaoundé, between 2002 and 2005.


One recurrent theme heard in the sermons delivered by imams throughout the country as the nation celebrated the feast of the ram yesterday was that of peace. The feast of the ram, it will be recalled, depicts the biblical incident in which Abraham proceeded to offer his son as a sacrifice to God as ordered by the Almighty before God, discerning the obedience of Abraham, asked him to let go his son and instead use a nearby ram he had provided for the circumstance. As such, peace was made to reign not just between God and Abraham, but also between Abraham and his own son.

That was why yesterday, imams throughout the country showered praises on Allah for the peace that has reigned in Cameroon for long decades, thus turning the country into an island of peace in the middle of a sea of repeated turbulence. The Moslem spiritual leaders also glorified Allah for enabling Cameroonians to prepare for the holding of presidential elections on the 11th of October in absolute peace and harmony. Incidentally, the Moslem feast week coincided with the celebration of the 47th anniversary of the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon (PCC), an occasion which the leader of the church in Cameroon, the Moderator Nyansako-Ni Nku also used to thank the Almighty for the peace and tranquility prevailing in the country.

Despite these acknowledgements of peace, some observers argue that peace does not necessarily mean the absence of war. According to holders of that thesis, Cameroon is therefore arguably not in peace. However, the fact is that whereas war and all the ravages associated with it have for a long time been a reality in most neighbouring countries, Cameroon has stood out of all of that like a lone white chicken among hundreds of red ones. Anyone who has been to war torn countries like this commentator who has been to Chad, Angola and Mozambique, can not help blessing the Lord after returning to the safe haven of Cameroon.

Curiously enough, the tendency is for Cameroonians not to understand to what an extent they are so blessed. Instead, often, it takes a foreigner to come and point it out to them. No wonder, when the American ambassador spoke on another occasion, at the inauguration of the newly-built American embassy, he said the fact that his country had moved out of rented property into its own purpose built compound was an indication that America was “here to stay.” Another eloquent example is that of the words spoken by the Gabonese Minister of Communication when he received this commentator in his office in Libreville some years ago. The minister was full of praise for Cameroon, for as he put it, Gabon’s top journalists, military officers, diplomats, doctors, engineers and other professionals, were trained in Cameroonian professional schools. Again, only a few days before the Moslem feast, when Jacques Isnard, President of the International Union of Bailiffs spoke at a seminar in Yaounde, he referred to Cameroon as a leader in the region. He alluded to the country as one whose jurists are of a special breed on account of the country’s dual legal system that is the product of both the French and English systems. It is to be remembered that after Germany, Cameroon’s real colonial master, lost the Second World War to the allies, Cameroon was split into twos and placed under French and British protectorship respectively. Each Great Power then developed its own territory according to its own culture, hence the inheritance of the French and English languages. Looking at the larger picture, one notices that Cameroon has also earned itself the reputation of being the only country in Africa using both French and English as official languages.

Obviously, a combination of factors can explain Cameroon’s vantage position, one of which is, of course, religious tolerance, for the degree of religious integration in the country is clearly one of the highest in Africa. Not only do religions cohabit peacefully in our country, but they also work in close collaboration with each other frequently. For instance, when some Cameroonians were burnt to death in the Nsam locality of Yaounde some ten years ago as they attempted to take advantage of a fallen petrol tanker and recuperate some of the spilled fuel for their personal use, the three main religious denominations in the country – Catholics, Protestants and Moslems - jointly offered a church session in Yaounde, for the repose of the souls of the departed.

Surely, all of that does not mean that Cameroon has overnight become a bed of roses without a single thorn, or that it is armed with a magic wand with which it has wished away all its problems. Far from it! Nonetheless, the meaning is that although the country has its fair share of shortcomings, the elimination of problems must start with a careful balance sheet being drawn up, indicating what has been achieved and what remains to be done. It is only then that a solid foundation that will stand the test of time can be put in place. Only then can we sons and daughters of the fatherland build a strong, viable, vibrant and enduring country for ourselves and for posterity.

vendredi 16 octobre 2009


This paper is an adaptation of an earlier one I delivered on the Cameroon National Radio Station on the 16th of December 2003, on the occasion of the visit to Cameroon of a group of German parliamentarians. The paper was one of the daily political commentaries I delivered on the 6.30 a.m. prime time national and world news on Cameroon Radio Television (CRTV), Yaoundé, between 2002 and 2005.


It is noteworthy that since the German parliamentarians, led by Dr. Klaus Lippold arrived on Saturday, they have been permanently with their Cameroonian colleagues, led by First National Assembly President Etong Hilarion, and occasionally by Louis Claude Nyassa, also a member of the ruling Cameroon Peoples Democratic Movement (CPDM) and current chairman of the German-Cameroon friendship Parliamentary Group.

In every sense of the word, both groups are mixed and include parliamentarians from different political parties, with the Parliamentary leader of the main opposition Social Democratic Front (SDF) party, Joseph Mbah Ndam, being conspicuously present. Humour is another unmistakable characteristic of the composition of the assemblage with one CPDM parliamentarian cracking a joke during a working session at the National Assembly yesterday, when Joseph Mbah Ndam walked into the hall: “Vous suivez le RDPC partout!”, which when translated into English, means, “You are following the CPDM everywhere!” As it turned out, it was a joke which Mbah Ndam the supposed victim, dramatized even more, by joining in the hilarious laughter that ensued. For those who do not know Cameroon well, this alternate use of French and English in the country is nothing strange. It happens daily, because Cameron has the rare blessing (if at all it is not a curse) of being the only African country using French and English as official languages.

The same conviviality has been noticed in the equally broad-based German camp. For those keen on gender issues, it is perhaps noteworthy that the German side includes two women and the Cameroonian side, one. The lucky one is CPDM member, Fotso Josephine.

By every indication, both sides seem to be enjoying the visit. Yet it must be said that behind the jocular nature of the team, some serious work is going on behind the scenes. For one thing, relations between Cameroon and Germany go a long way back. In fact, although France and Britain are known to have greatly impacted Cameroon, it is Germany that can actually be said to be the country’s `colonial master`. The fact is that after Hitler’s Germany lost the Second World War to the Allies and the latter shared the spoils of war among themselves, the former German Cameroon was split into two parts with the French taking the lion’s share of four fifths as a trust territory and the British taking the remaining one fifth for the same purpose. During the period Germany ruled Cameroon, the great power put in place significant developmental landmarks which have to this day survived the test of time. Among the legacy one can cite the sumptuous lodge that served as the official residence of the Prime Minister of Anglophone West Cameroon when that part of the country later gained some form of autonomy. At the time of the Germans, it housed Very Important Personalities such as the Governor. Other German institutions in Cameroon include the fort in Bamenda and the massive plantations they set up for the cultivation of needy cash crops such as cocoa and rubber.

In 1997, Germany ranked ninth out of the first 15 countries importing Cameroonian goods. At that position, Germany came after Italy, Spain, France, Holland, China, America, South Korea and Belgium, in that order. Although that ranking may be said to be negative for Germany, it must be recalled that in terms of the exportation of goods to Cameroon, the country came fourth, after France, Nigeria and the USA. In 2002, bilateral trade between the two countries accounted for an estimated 190 million euros. The main products Germany sold to Cameroon were iron and steel pipes, lorries and special vehicles, cars, wheat as well as second hand clothing. Cameroonian exports to Germany included oil and natural gas, tropical fruits, timber, cotton as well as coffee. It is significant that German development cooperation towards Cameroon has been concentrated on basic health needs, sustainable management of resources and infrastructure, with the German international technical cooperation agency, GTZ, playing a key role. In the cultural domain, the Goethe Institute has, as usual, stood out stoutly.

Undoubtedly, the current visit enables both parliamentary groups and the Cameroon government officials receiving them, to cement those longstanding relations. Even so, Cameroonian Assembly members must know that they stand to benefit more if they stay in touch with their august visitors, long after they are gone. So, the onus is clearly on the Cameroonian side.

vendredi 2 octobre 2009


(A ne ma, Tikum Mbah Azonga, man Mvog Manga, Mongo nnam)

Me boya?
Mininga wam a ndegle ma
A djona a ding ki ma
Akar na a yi Oyono
Veda Oyono asiki massa wam
Asiki yegle wa
Asiki ngomna wam
Asiki nkukuma wam.

Teghe, Ine na
Me bele massa, veda massa wam asiki Oyono
A ne Atangana, man Biwongbane
Me bele yegle, veda asiki Oyono
A ne Jean Jacques Ndoudoumou, muon Mvoutessi
Me bele ngomna, veda siki Oyono
A ne nti Recteur
Me bele nkukuma, veda asiki Oyono
A ne nti Zamba ngul mese.

Ma djo na, Antoinette, Mininga wam,
Oyono wa ane za?
Amu ne ma yem be Oyono abui
Ma yem Ferdinand Leopold Oyono
A ne Nti Ministre ewulu minam
Ma yem Guillaume Mbia Oyono
Ane yegele sukulu a université
Ma yem Oyono Vincent de Paul
Ane monyam wam
A ne mon nti Professeur Mendo Ze
Amu ne a nga ke va nya krismet a bot ba sud.

Mininga wam
Wa yin a ma ke. Nga?
Wa tub ma
A mu ne wa ding Oyono.
Za kar wa na Oyono yi wa aluk?
Wa vuon na bi abele buon?
Mbarga a ne. A ne a faculté
Joseph a ne. Ane a sukulu be fada
Ane etug anti
Bi abele Anastasie
Ane isie prefecture.
Ngu wa ligi ma amune wa ding mor fe
Bia boya?

Ma djo na?
Wa yem na one prostituée?
Kele wé
Ma yi ki wa fe
Ma ding ki wa fe
Kele wé
Ebwal elang!
Kor ma mis!

copyright 2010

jeudi 1 octobre 2009


This paper is an adaptation of an earlier one I delivered on the Cameroon National Radio Station on the 12th of September 2002, as the world joined America in marking the first anniversary of the tragic bombing of the Twin Towers in New York by terrorists. The paper was one of the daily political commentaries I delivered on the 6.30 a.m. prime time national and world news on Cameroon Radio Television (CRTV), Yaounde, between 2002 and 2005.


It was a drama that few would ever forget. Thanks to advances in modern technology, the world was able to watch how plane after plane nose-dived into the buildings that had become the unmistakable symbol of American economic might and pride. For American to have relived that nasty experience yesterday, much courage must have been mustered by them. It is therefore not surprising therefore that since the attack, security has become something of an obsession to the American government and the shocked citizens who in their helplessness, look up to the government. It is to be recalled that when the attack took place, the American President at the time, George Walker Bush, swore that as far as he was concerned, the perpetrators would be brought to book.

What happened to the United States, incidentally the World’s most powerful country, took the world by surprise and got other countries into a state of perplexity, for they now reasoned that if it could happen to the giant, what more of them? For that reason, it is incumbent on other countries not only to step up security in their own territories, but also joining forces with America to track down the bombers and even go as far as helping to forestall any similar future act. In other words, 9/11 as the incident has come to be known in America is far from being “an American crisis”. It is a global calamity.

Naturally, our President, Paul Biya, was in New York for the commemoration, thus also showing his solidarity and that of the Cameroonians to the American counterparts. There is no doubt that pundits will continue to ponder and make suppositions about the cause and effect, as well as how America should respond to this “unprovoked act of aggression and humiliation”. While that happens and the rest of the world reviews its security system, it is vital that Cameroon jumps on the bandwagon and thus make hay while the sun shines. In the case of our country, Cameroon, there is one comforting fact: not only is the country in peace, but it is also reputed to have one of the best security systems in Africa. That is why unlike the case of most African countries, the entry of foreigners in Cameroon is very tightly controlled.

But then, an accident is an accident and usually strikes like a thief at night while everyone else is asleep and no one is suspecting anything. Undoubtedly, Cameroon has had its own share of disasters, although mainly natural ones such as the Lake Nyos explosion that led to toxic gas nearly wiping out entire villages, the Nsam fire disaster in Yaounde which involved a fallen leaking petrol tanker catching fire while profiteers attempted to siphon oozing petrol. In the end those caught in the ignited fire were reduced to unrecognizable charred bodies. There is also the case of the Mount Cameroon which erupted, although not for the first time. The Cameroon mountain, nicknamed “the chariot of the gods”, because when it erupts, it spits fire, is the tallest in West and Central Africa.

Even so, Cameroon can not exclude itself from a possible terrorist attack from outside of the country. After all, are we foolproof? Do we believe we have crossed the Rubicon in terms of security measures? Surely, a look around indicates that even if some ground has been covered, a lot still remains to be done. For instance, thousands of Cameroonians still live and work in storey buildings whose safety measures are far below standard. If there were to be an outbreak of fire in the building, many would perish because not only are security measures inadequate, but also because unlike in the more advanced countries where occasional fire drills take place so that those who work in the premises should acquaint themselves, just in case, many would perish. Furthermore, far too many despite warnings, still illegally bottle petrol and sell it to drivers along the highway, as nonchalantly as if it was ordinary harmless water. The risk of disaster in such circumstances is very high.

Clearly, the best lesson we can learn from the American catastrophe, while fully sympathizing with the American people is by reference to ourselves: We must reexamine overhaul our own security systems. As the saying goes, a stitch in time saves nine.