Wednesday, September 26, 2018
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Following Vewessee 

 By Francis Tim Mbom

 
Some 20 members of the Fako Agricultural Workers Union, FAWU, which was headed by the late CPN Vewessee before his passing in January, 2013, have lodged a complaint at the Buea High Court demanding that the current leadership of the Union call fresh elections for a new leadership. 
 
Pa Vewessee, following his demise, was succeeded by one of his close aides, Charles Mbide, who has since then, been investing time, brains and energy to, in his own little way, make better the Union than he met it. But, John Ephanga, one time Estate Manager of the Cameroon Development Corporation, CDC, and member of FAWU, told The Post on Tuesday, September 9, that the current leadership team of FAWU led by Mbide was, as he said, “illegitimate.” He stated that by the labour code, an elective general Assembly or congress had to be organised for a new leader to be elected to replace the late Vewessee after his demise. 
 
According to Ephanga, this was not done. He stated that the last Congress of the Union was organised way back in 2000 where the late Vewessee was re-elected for a five year mandate and Vewessee’s mandate, as at 2000, had to run for five years, after which he was to call up fresh elections. “But since 2000 neither new elections nor a congress has ever been called up.”
 
When The Post approached Mbide, he stated that his executive and the Ephanga-led team of 20 members had, early August, 2014, met with the Divisional Delegate of Labour and agreed that a meeting shall be held on or before August 15, where the date for the Congress would be fixed. But he said he was surprised that on August 16, Ephanga and his team went straight to Court. He admitted that the last Congress for FAWU was held some ten years back but added that, he had just taken over a year ago and his executive were already, as agreed with the Delegate, working on a plan to organise a Congress in order to have fresh elections.
 
Mbide denied Ephanga’s claims that he and his exco agreed to organise a Congress on August 15. He said their agreement before the Delegate was to meet on August 15 and table the issue of organising a congress and for the exco to decide a date.
 
The matter first came up at the Buea Court on Monday, September 1, and was adjourned to Monday, September 22, where the Court shall proceed to determine the legitimacy or “illegitimacy” of Mbide and his team and probably decide on the way forward for FAWU.
 
Asked if Ephanga might be willing to stand as a candidate for the elections if the Court so rules in favour of new elections, he stated that he was a staff of the CDC and was comfortable with his salary and simply wanted the Court to put in place some order. But he, however, stated that if taking over the mantle to lead FAWU as President shall be the wishes of the union members, he shall accept it.

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