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Glimpses Of the Capital 

By Yerima Kini Nsom

The GCE Board Bloomer!

CameroonPostline.com — Anxiety and frustration gripped the thousands of students who thronged the streets of the nation’s capital on August 1. The GCE Board had released the Advanced and Ordinary Level results, but they were nowhere to be found. Then a group of irate students stormed the Yaounde Bureau of The Post, hoping to get the results as usual. No succor!

The GCE Board totally refused to give out results to The Post and other press organs. The Board gave results only to CRTV, ignoring the private press. Given that the private press, has been an effective distribution channel of GCE results over the years, the Board’s refusal remains an unpardonable bloomer.

Calls on some officials of the Board to reverse the situation and enable The print media render its normal public service to GCE candidates fell on deaf ears. Each and every one of them shirked responsibility.

It is reported that some mean-spirited officials thought that the print media were going to make money out of it. But in their sadistic mind, they forgot to measure the weight of the public service that the papers were going to render by disseminating the results on a mass scale in every nook and cranny of country.

The paradox of it was that while Government is professing access to public information from tree tops, the GCE Board is demonstrating an affront to such a policy. The GCE Board’s contradiction of Government policy reeks of a miasma imposed by some unscrupulous officials who are pretending to be more royal than the king. The misdeed was the undoing of a bunch of conservative “nanos” who are scheming to take Cameroon back to the Stone Age.  

Not only students were starved of the results. School managers, principals, parents and other stakeholders were numbed by desperation. By Friday August 3, three days after the results were released, the authorities of English High School in Yaounde were still wondering how to get the detailed results of their students.

In stark juxtaposition, the National School of Administration and Magistracy, ENAM, takes space in newspapers whenever it releases the results of successful candidates in order to effectively disseminate the information. The GCE Board rather sells and refuses to sell results to newspapers at its whims and caprices.

Rising Fuel Prices As Fuel For Civil Unrest

A potentially explosive situation now reigns in Cameroon following Government’s bid to increase the prices of petroleum products. Despite popular resentment, the Minister of Labour and Social Security, Grégoire Owona, told a tiny group of journalists during a press lunch last week that the increase in fuel prices is inevitable.

The Minister made the statement a few days after trade union leaders told the Prime Minister that they would not tolerate any increase in the prices of petroleum products without a correspondent increase in the salaries of workers. For one thing, Government’s argument for the suspension of petrol subsidies remains lame.

It claims that the subvention has become so much of a big burden that it needs to stop it in order to divert the huge sums of money for development projects. Yet, it has not explained how it has allowed its functionaries to be using free fuel worth FCFA 73 billion on a daily basis. It remains a mystery to the ordinary Cameroonian that fuel is very expensive in a petrol-producing country like Cameroon.

According to the authorities, the problem lies with the fact that Cameroon produces very heavy crude oil that cannot be refined by SONARA. Thus, they in turn export the heavy crude and import light crude that SONARA is able to refine. Such an argument, to many observers, does not hold water given that the crude oil the country produces is not useless.

The mooting of an increase in the prices of fuel raises the specter of a situation akin to that of 2008. The various segments of the society, especially taxi drivers in Yaounde, are said to be ready only for a spark to stall their engines in protest.

Patriots are warning Government not to implement the decision. They hold that many great revolutions the world over have been caused by rising prices resulting from economic bad weather. Going down memory lane, they remind Government that one of the immediate causes of the French Revolution, the greatest uprising in human history so far, was an increase in the price of bread.

Trying Marafa Under Military Surveillance

Ever since the trial of the former Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralisation started last July 16, the Mfoundi High Court in Yaounde looks like a place under siege. Gun-toting gendarmes take strategic positions, barring suspected Marafa supporters from entering the court premises. They seize cameras, recorders and other paraphernalia from journalists. During one of the court sessions last week, gendarmes seized cell phones from a number of journalists, and removed the batteries to prevent them from taking any photos.

One gendarmerie captain was the subject of ignominy on Thursday, August 2 when he stormed into the court hall and harassed two white women, one of them the RFI correspondent for Yaounde, Sara Sarko.

Mad with rage, the captain seized handbags, searched scrupulously but found nothing incriminating. The scene looked ugly; causing an observer to remark that the behaviour of the gendarme was not only primitive but also a glaring testimony that the fear of the gendarme is still the beginning of wisdom in Cameroon. In other words, Cameroon is under military rule in disguise. More so, that President Biya’s system of Government is a democracy that is adulterated by very strong elements of dictatorship.

Legal observers hold that elements of freeness, fairness and transparency in the trial of Marafa, Yves Michel Fotso and Julienne Kounda are already being eroded by the military intimidation in the court premises.

It is observed that suspects, who are presumably enjoying the presumption of innocence, are already having their own share of injustice from the Cameroonian justice system.

First published in The Post print edition no. 01364

 

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