Monday, June 11, 2018

As Anglophone crisis deepens: CDC to lay-off workers in crisis-hit estates


 But staff representatives oppose, write to Biya to salvage company


BY ATIA TILARIOUS AZOHNWI
The Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC) is contemplating laying off thousands of workers as the socio-political unrest in the North West and South West Regions deepens.

During a meeting, Friday, June 8, 2018 at the Senior Service (SS) Club Bota chaired by CDC General Manager, Franklin Njie, staff representatives were told that the corporation plans to lay-off workers in estates badly affected by the civil unrest.

Going by a report presented on May 8, 2018 during a meeting attended by 17 persons including CDC management staff, labour administrators and trade union leaders, “the crisis is taking a toll on the socio-economic situation of workers as several establishments are no longer in operation given that workers, out of fear and threats on their lives no longer go to work”.
In the document forwarded to government, attendees of the May 8 meeting agreed that many CDC camps have been deserted by the workers.

The social partners of the CDC meeting in the May 8, 2018 Extra-Ordinary Joint Industrial Council were mindful of the existence of about twenty thousand contracts of employment and the related monthly wage bill of about FCFA 2.5 billion.

“Considering the fact that production activities have ceased in many of the estates and industrial units; taking into account the likely deterioration of the existing socio-economic situation;” the CDC social partners recommended that “the government should take hasty measures to redress this situation so that social peace and economic revival be restored in CDC establishments.”

Gabriel Mbene Vefonge, President of the Divisional Syndicate of Agricultural Workers in Fako, DISAWOFA, who attended both meetings (on May 8 and June 8, 2018) told The SUN that the move to lay off thousands of workers in about nine CDC estates is in line with a ministerial order that spells out how workers who are victims of a prolonged force majeure can be indemnified and laid off.
“If such a force majeure goes for up to six months, then the contract will have to be terminated. In the course of the discussions and debates, the workers felt that it was an unhealthy situation – one which is sensitive and has to do with almost the whole of CDC. This may throw CDC in total confusion, which means that the social climate in the North West and South West Regions is going to aggravate if CDC workers are thrown into the streets,” Mbene said by telephone.

He said the General Manager gave a rundown which shows that nine estates were already affected by the crisis as at June 7, 2018. They include Mondoni Estate, Meanja Estate, Malende Estate, Moungo Palms Estate, Mokonje Estate, Tombel Estate, Mbonge Estate, the Boa Palms Project, Illoani Estate and the Illoani Oil Mill.

Mbene estimates that “we may be talking about laying-off between 4,000 and 5,000 workers. The danger is that the situation may soon affect all the workers given that the crisis is growing like magma, moving from one estate to another.”

The staff representatives told management that they are not comfortable that the law be applied as it is, given that the situation is very sensitive and the outcome may not be too good for government to manage.

The SUN learnt that the staff representatives have addressed a memo to the Head of State, President Paul Biya, calling on him to take urgent measures to rescue the situation.

They want the state to take its responsibility as owner of 100 percent shares of the corporation, which responsibility includes and is not limited to providing money for the payment of salaries and seeking measures to resolve the current crisis.

The Communications and Public Relations Manager of the CDC, Manyanye Ikome was not immediately available to react, despite calls placed to his line.


First published in The SUN Newspaper No. 0494 of Monday, June 11, 2018

Panic, tension grips Buea: Muea police commissioner kidnapped



-         Soldiers raid Wotutu
-         Heavy gunfire exchanges rock Tombel, Banga Bakundu

BY ATIA TILARIOUS AZOHNWI
As we went to press, news reaching our newsroom indicated that the escalating war between government and separatist forces took another dangerous twist with the kidnapping of a police officer in Mile 16, Buea. Reports have it that the said officer, Christopher Tazisong is commissioner of the third district police station in Muea.  We, however, could not independently confirm the exact identity of the police officer in question.
Elsewhere, it seems Buea subdivision is gradually sliding into a risky territory as soldiers descended on a village in the subdivision, Wotutu in an early morning raid. Unconfirmed reports say houses were ransacked and scores of able-bodied boys arrested.
It should be recalled that Geogiana Enanga, principal of GHS Mile 16 was abducted weeks back and later released. Several other persons including journalists and administrators live under fear of a similar fate befalling them.
In a separate development, heavy gunfire between soldiers and separatist fighters was reported in Tombel and Banga Bakundu. The Banga Bakundu shootings is said to have been followed by an arson attack.

First published in The SUN Newspaper no. 0494 of Monday, June 11, 2018.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Army Chief of Staff’s convoy attacked in South West


-        -  Convoy forced to retreat to Kumba from Big Ekombe
-        -  South West Governor travels by sea to install new Ndian SDO


BY ATIA TILARIOUS AZOHNWI
Gunmen believed to be loyal to the Ambazonia Defence Forces attacked the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Rene Claude Meka Thursday, April 12, 2018. The convoy of the defense chief was driving along the Kumba–Ekondo-Titi road.

According to reliable sources, the convoy left Kumba and made a technical stopover at a military camp at Small Ekombe. There, all non-military officials who were part of the convoy were kept for safety.

The army chief of staff and his ├ętat major then proceeded on a mission to evaluate the security situation along the Kumba-Mundemba road. They were said to be heading towards Big Ekombe in Mbonge Subdivision when a heavy gunfire greeted the convoy.

There was a heated exchange of gunfire between the military and the armed group. The military is said to have made huge gains, with only one soldier sustaining an injury.

Contrary to social media propaganda, our source said the military overpowered the gunmen, before retreating to Kumba. It is believed that the intruders recorded heavy casualties from the gun battle.
The turn of events were so rapid that the Army Chief of Staff’s convoy retreated without stopping over at the Small Ekombe camp to pick up members of the delegation that had been left there.
The daylight attack unfolded between 1pm and 2pm that fateful Thursday.

The Army Chief of Staff was in the South West Region to assess for himself the security situation in the region.  It was a kind of control mission of the activities of the defense forces and a forum for him to hand down further directives.

After witnessing the challenge the defence forces are surmounting on a daily basis in the region, General Meka gave firm instructions to the troops on the line of battle.

The message from the Army Chief of Staff was for the population to return to their communities and also for them to collaborate with the defence forces. He saluted the bravery of the military before leaving the South West.
Locals say the “Amba boys” have made commuting along the Kumba-Mundemba corridor “a journey to hell”.

SW Governor travels by sea to install new Ndian SDO
Thursday’s heavy gunfire forced South West Governor, Bernard Okalia Bilai to travel by sea to Mundemba on Friday where he installed the new Senior Divisional Officer for Ndian Division.
The governor was initially supposed to travel by road on Thursday ahead of Friday’s installation; but the security situation forced him to travel by sea instead.
Governor Okalia Bilai left Idenau for Mundemba early Friday morning. He got to Mundemba in time to installed Nwafua Lawrence Forwang as Ndian SDO. Nwafua was formerly serving as Secretary General at the South West Governor’s Office.
The governor in his installation address called on the population to continue to collaborate with the administration and the forces of law and order to maintain peace and security. He also enjoined them to conquer fear and send their children to school.

First published in The SUN Newspaper no. 0486 of Monday, April 16, 2018.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

"CPDM is intimidating PAP militants" - Ayah Paul, PAP Chairman

Ayah
Hon. Lord Justice Ayah Paul Abine, National Chairman of the Popular Action Party, PAP has urged members and sympathisers of his party to not be intimidated by the CPDM.
He says ahead of a "Unity March" organised by the CPDM this December 6 in Buea, members of his party are being froced to turnout to swell CPDM ranks.

His words:
"DO NOT BE INTIMIDATED
I have been briefed by the intelligence unit of my party - PAP - that some so-called CPDM elites are threatening Tole Tea Estate and CDC workers (some of whom are PAP members) with dismissal if they failed to attend the CPDM rally billed for today December 6, 2016.
In 2008, all of Biya's weapons were pointed to my head. But I stood my ground as the lone voice that argued that removal of presidential term limit is/was immoral. I did it alone ... what about you - the CDC workers? You are in your thousands.
By this notice, I call on all of you to massively boycot any such rally. The times are too serious for you to succumb to such pettinness. The carpet has already shifted from beneath their feet.
Stay home! Justice4all is watching... the world is watching..."

Ayah weeps for Southern Cameroons

Ayah Paul Abine, PAP Chairman
Hon. Lord Justice Ayah Paul Abine, National Chairman of the Popular Action Party, PAP weeps for former West Cameroon. He recounts the many institutions that West Cameroon lost after joining French Cameroon.
He writes:
December 5, 2016
RIP TILL…
POWERCAM
CAMEROON BANK
MARKETING BOARD
COOPERATIVE SOCIETIES
AMITY BANK
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
(TITANG) PRISONS
MOBILE WING
EMPIRE DAY
CAMDEV
CAMBANK
CONFIDENCE HOTEL ORCHESTRA
BALI MODERN JAZZ
LIDO ORCHESTRA
CHRYSTAL GARDEN ORCHESTRA
MOUNTAIN HOTEL ORCHESTRA
WEST CAMEROON HOTELS LTD
CAT (CAMEROON AIR TRANSPORT)