Monthly Archives: June 2015

Cameroonian Movie Industry; Brenda Shey, the “Mother Hen”

Brenda SheyCompared to the likes of the Nigerian movie industry and Ghanaian movie industry, the Cameroonian movie industry has only until recently been making impressive strides. With limited resources-both human and financial, the industry is presently maximising resources at her disposal to meet up with her competitors who have been around for decades. Thriving on the commitment and passion of individuals, with some peanut support from the Cameroonian Ministry of Arts and Culture, the Cameroonian Movie industry is no doubt representing Team #237 positively on the international scene.  At this point, the industry celebrates several great actors like; Brenda Shey, Desmond Wyte, Solange Yijika and Epule Jeffery, with several great movies like “My Gallery” and “Decoded” available on popular online platforms.

bre picDeeply engrossed mainly as a result of passion, Brenda Shey, fondly referred to as `Ma Bren`, wrestles with the internal and external challenges of the toddler industry to keep it striving. Her eloquence, charm, charisma and tenacity offer a reassuring touch to the forging industry.  She is a Producer, Actress and the Vice Chairperson of the Cameroon Film Industry. She is equally the Vice Chairperson of the prestigious Sonnah Awards (An annual Cameroonian awards ceremony honouring achievements in film, music, fashion, sport, television and digital media). Brenda Shey pushes on all fronts to make the Cameroonian movie industry vibrant and accepted .She Co produces a weekly program “Onset” on  the Cameroon Radio Television, CRTV (the Government owned radio and television broadcasting organ in Cameroon) which promotes the Cameroonian movie industry and movie stars. In this light, she facilitates a cordial relationship with actors from the Nigerian and Ghanaian movie industries by featuring `big names` from the aforementioned industries in  some Cameroonian Movies.

Cameroon has higher education programs offering theater arts, however most graduates from these programs rarely get to practice in their field of studies due to limited opportunities and poor remuneration.  Brenda is one of the numerous Cameroonians who go against all odds to make the Cameroonian movie industry conspicuous in Africa and the World at large which will hopefully create more jobs for the youths. DC Communications encourages such rare individuals who seek not only to represent their country positively on the international stage but also help others live their dreams.brenda 4

Sexism in Camfoot

Female Football teamOn June 20th 2015,while Cameroonians home and abroad were getting vocal (on and offline)  in support of their Female National Football squad, ahead of the march pitting Cameroon and China at the ongoing FIFA Women’s World Cup, Camfoot.Com (A suppose  reference for information on Cameroonian Football) published  a ridiculous sexist  article titled “Ecclesiastes 9:9”. This article questions the participation of Women in a sport like Football.

Finding an article which questions both the participation of women in Football and the overwhelming support Cameroonians were putting up for the Lionesses on a medium that is supposed to be professional and unbiased, looks quite out of place especially at this time when the Lionesses have proven their worth. So far, they have triggered more applause and won the hearts of many than the present Male National Football squad.  According to the author of the said article, who purportedly got his inspiration from the Bible:

“Bible commands clearly, in no uncertain terms, to enjoy a woman all the days of your life of vanity. My take on this overrated adventure of Cameroon women playing the manly game of soccer in Kanuckland is far from being ambivalent. First I have my reservations about football being played by nappy-haired or blondish females with glossy lips. Second, I do not really believe that women could ever play the beautiful game with a fair measure of panache, flair and technicity. I could be wrong, granted. But I will stick to my guns. I do not believe that the Bible ever meant for us to enjoy them on a football pitch. Léon Gwod- Camfoot.

Gwod, did you say you could be wrong? In fact, you are not only wrong but your statements are quite ridiculous. Gwod quotes, “Ecclesiastes 9:9”. Which when extrapolated word verbatim from the New International Version of the Bible says, “enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun-all your  meaningless days.  For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun”, as the base for his weird assertions. For possible alterations in Bible translations, the highlighted words are only changed to “Live happily with the woman you love ……”.  There are basic things every writer of any sort should know when drawing reference from another body of work. Firstly, you need to understand the context of whatever text you are citing. Secondly, you do not cite texts in isolation and thirdly but most importantly, Bible principles are NEVER based on one scriptural passage. One does not necessarily have to be a theologian to know that this reference was incorrectly used to perpetrate the opinion of an apparent gender-biased individual. This verse talks of enjoying life with the woman you love. I don’t see how playing Football makes a woman not lovable. In fact, a woman representing her country is even more honourable and loveable. Mind you, these ladies are in their line of duty, not in some romantic relationship.

Football is a game played between two teams of eleven people, where each team tries to win by kicking a ball into the other team’s goal. Nowhere is it said Football is for Men. Without sounding like a jerk, enjoying women as explained in the verse above has nothing to do with the profession an individual chooses to pursue. If this passage is actually the rationale for Gwod`s reservations towards female Football, I will suggest he re-examines his motive(s) for this write up and not misinform Camfoot`s audience with an inappropriate and misguided paraphrased verse from the Bible.

It is quite hilarious to find such an outrageous display of gender prejudice on a suppose reference  for information. It brings me to a position of questioning the values and editorial policies upheld by Camfoot .Who wakes up from his bed and publishes his sexist feelings on an official source? Who publishes a seemingly primitive opinion about a set of people who are bringing nothing but honour to their nation? During my days at the University, my News Writing lecturer, Diffang Funge always said “Let your opinion and feelings stay with you. Just give us the facts.”I will advise Camfoot takes heed to these wise words.

While I applaud my friends and colleagues who are fervent in their course of Feminism-”Feminist”, I have always tried to identify more with “Justice” than  “Equality”  when discussing gender issues. It’s true that these two terminologies are somewhat interwoven when discussing gender issues, however, advocating for justice gives more meaning to every gender than just equality. That notwithstanding, this perspective of women in Football is surely an issue to frown at, with the two sets of gender advocates since it propagates prejudice and marginalisation.

Cameroon´s Lionesses` participation in this year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada definitely brought a couple of pleasant surprises to the tournament and once again made Cameroon a proud Football nation.  Despite Cameroon`s elimination, the Lionesses no doubt put up a remarkable and historic performance at just their first outing to the World Cup.  In a quick summary, the Lionesses beat Ecuador in their opening game 6-0.The ladies accepted a honourable defeat of 2 goals to 1 from one of the competition`s favourites-Japan and then secured a comfortable qualification ticket to the second round of the competition by beating Switzerland 2-1. Cameroon`s experience in Canada ended on Saturday 20th 2015 following a 1- nil defeat in favour of China. They left the tournament as the best African team.

In the past, the country relentlessly supported the Men’s Football team which has brought nothing but humiliation to the nation lately while rigorously consuming taxpayer’s money. The Female squad has dared to prove its worth despite all odds. With Poor training facilities, relatively low match allowances, these ladies have brought honour to the nation. Qualifying for the second round at their first outing to the World Cup with spectacular performances  from names like Manie, Enganamouit and Onguene, what these girls deserve is gratitude and not attitude from people with unguarded male egos. I will request Camfoot to pay attention to the implications of articles published on her website. It will not be an exaggeration to say that, this article falls short of news worthiness, good journalistic writing, responsible journalism and patriotism.

Notes;

See Camfoot… http://www.camfoot.com/point-de-vue/ecclesiastes-9-9,21600.html

Credit Cards – Cash is King in Africa

Credit CardsThis is a guest post written by Godlove Ba.

Contemporarily, the lack of access to credit is an indicator of poverty. Statistics show that, there is a near linear relationship between the GDP of a country and the number of credit cards in circulation. According to 2011 reports from Euromonitor International Marketing Data and Statistics, in 2009, the USA, Japan and China, were said to have an estimate of 632.46, 351.28 and 185.27 Million credit cards respectively in circulation. On the other hand, figures taken from the April 2015 edition of the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook (WEO) Database revealed that, these three countries also fall in the top 3 for the 2009 GDP ranking.

Credit card usage in Africa trails other continents significantly mostly because of the extreme rural nature of most areas in the continent. According to a study done by McKinsey, (February 2014) on “Sub-Saharan Africa: A major potential revenue opportunity for digital payments”, more than 90 percent of retail transactions in parts of Kenya remain cash based, and Gallup’s survey of 11 countries in sub-Saharan Africa found that more than 80 percent of adults there have made bill payments or remittances with cash. Given the lack of digital-payment penetration, consumers, banks, and governments in sub-Saharan Africa are still bearing the high cost of cash payments—costs associated with manual acceptance, record keeping, counting, storage, security, and transportation.

Many African countries in general do not have adequate technological resources that can enable them setup infrastructures such as swipe card systems. The absence of affordable nationwide internet network necessary to establish a credit card system also makes it difficult for credit card networks to be installed.

From a cultural perspective, this difficulty results from the reluctance of the African people to flip pages from their traditional rotary credit association, which is a financial system otherwise known as ‘njangi’ (a practice common in sub-Saharan Africa), to adopting the Western financial system called credit cards. The latter is profit oriented whereas the former is community welfare oriented.

Also, in contrast to Cameroon, other African countries show a more visible trend towards the use of credit cards. In February 2015, the Central Bank of Kenya’s website published the number of ATMs in use at 2643, which is also used as an economic indicator and the number of credit cards in circulation at 20047. Nigeria on the other hand which issued its first credit card in 2004, had 95,000 credit cards in circulation by the end of 2007 as estimated by Euromonitor International.

That notwithstanding, the apparent sluggishness of the pace at which credit cards are gaining grounds in many African countries could be justifiable since it took several decades for what was initially called charge cards, first introduced in the USA in the 1920s, to evolve into today’s credit cards. Cash is certainly still king in Africa.

How does it Work?

A Credit card is a rectangular sheet of plastic issued by lenders (banks in general) to qualified individuals so as to enable them carry out monetary transactions (such as purchase of goods and services) without using their own money. It’s make up consists of a Magnetic strip, a Signature strip and has a number embossed on it corresponding to the Card Number. They have a standard size of typically 85.60mm by 53.98mm. The two most prominent types of credit cards are MasterCards and VisaCards. All of the latter type card numbers start with 4 and consists of 16 digits (or 13 for old cards) whereas all of the former type card number start with numbers 51 through 55 and also consist of 16 digits.

The benefits of using a credit card are pretty obvious. It is highly convenient, serving as a mobile bank to which you can access while you are on the go. In fact, the world of credit cards introduces a cashless society.

The concept of credit cards involves borrowing money now and paying later without the provision of a collateral security. The amount of money lenders will be willing to make available to an individual or entity is based on the assessment of the financial position of that entity. In business, the term Solvency is used to describe the level of credit-worthiness of a potential card holder, with various levels being represented by a numerical figure called credit score. A credit score determines whether or not a credit card application can be approved. In order to come up with this score data such as employment type, employment history, minimum income (individual and/or household) is required.

Credit cards offer a lot of flexibility as purchases can be done in person, online and also over the phone. Its use may or may not be free. Some lenders charge an annual fee for using the card whereas others don’t. It is therefore very important to read the contract terms carefully before adhering to the card. Also beware of hidden fees which are not usually disclosed by the merchant.

Many credit cards will offer interest-rate-free credit during a period, known as the ‘Grace Period’, of typically 20 to 55 days depending on the type of credit card and the lending financial institution (bank). Should the card be paid off by the card holder within this period, no interest will be incurred (Zero interest).

Another important advantage of a credit card is, no collateral security is required but there is a limit however, to how much a cardholder can use on his or her credit card.

Credit cardholders also have many different services linked to the use of the card depending on the type of credit card. These include:

Balance Transfer It consist of transferring credit balance from one credit card to another (that is, paying off a credit card with another credit card) so as to take advantage of a lower interest rate on the card to which the balance is being transferred. Such transfers are usually subject to a transaction fees.

Cash Advance – It consists of transferring funds from a credit card to a bank account. Quite often, instead of using a credit card to withdraw money from an ATM (acronym for Automatic Teller Machine; a computerized telecommunication device that provides clients of a financial institution access to financial transactions in a public place) the card holder might decide to transfer the money into a bank account and then make a cash withdrawal from the account. Generally, for security reasons, some restrictions are placed on type of account into which funds can be transferred. In Canada for instance, some of the major issuers of credit cards, will only allow the primary (or secondary) card holders to transfer funds from their credit card into a checking account belonging to the primary card holder.

Rewards – Rewards are offered in the form of cash (cash back) or points which can be accumulated and later exchanged for cash (or specific goods and services). In the US some credit card holders can get as much as 400$ of cash back per year resulting from cash back cumulated from purchases made each month within that year.

Insurance – When travel tickets for example are bought with a credit card, it is possible for the cardholder to benefit from travel insurance if such an advantage comes with the card. Sometimes it might require subscription before it can apply. Generally, insurance coverage that comes with credit cards, are not easy to benefit from. Advertisement can sometimes make it sound highly attractive by offering up to a 1,000,000$ insurance coverage but the conditions to be fulfilled in order to take advantage of the service are not usually easily met. For instance the loss of an eye, either both upper limbs or lower limbs could be a few characteristics of the nature of an accident, a cardholder must be a victim of before he or she can be eligible for the claim

Hence, with GDP being considered as the broadest indicator of economic strength and growth, one can hope that the occurrence of an economic boom in Africa will incite people to make use of credit cards. In fact, the recent growth in bourses now shows Africa is at the verge of an economic boom, which should generally mean a promising future for the use of credit cards in the continent.

The `Frenchification` of Anglophone Courts in Cameroon

This is a guest post written by Amabo M.Law Court

The Republic of Cameroon is a multilingual country with two official languages (English and French). These official languages are the heritage of Franco-British rule in the country between the end of the First World War -which ended Germany`s presence in Cameroon and Independence.

However, there is an unequal distribution in the usage of English and French as official languages with a minority English speaking Population and majority French speaking Population. Hence, the policy of official language bilingualism, originally aimed at guaranteeing political integration and unity of Cameroon, now seems to constitute a source of conflict and political disintegration with conspicuous acts of marginalization of the minority by the majority population.

For decades since the independence of Cameroon, the Anglophones have constantly been in the battle of trying to negotiate their identity in the country. There has always been a call to denounce the Frenchification of Anglophone Cameroon and severe criticism of the Francophone-dominated states`s neo colonialism and repression coined the `Anglophone Problem`. The Anglophone Problem is actually not a forbidden ground when discussing Cameroonian politics. In fact, there are several expository write ups on the issue even by Francophone scholars like; `Tribalisme et Problème National en Afrique Noire` .Without exaggeration, the Anglophone marginalization problems is one of the most important problems in the country which the government has so far handled with somewhat irresponsibility. That notwithstanding, one should not overlook the fact that there are equally some Francophone intellectuals and activist who empathies with the Anglophones without necessarily approving the call for federalism.

Among several confrontations between the Francophone-dominated state and the Anglophones were major issues like, the demand for an autonomous General Certificate of Education (GCE) board-1990-1993 and the protest against the government´s announced privatization of the Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC)-1994, which were the remnants of the Anglophone Identify and Heritage. These were some of the occasions where the Anglophones out rightly demonstrated their solidarity to the course of fighting the Anglophone Battle. However, the victory obtained from these two battles where short-lived following a comeback by the government which took the Anglophones by surprise withdrawing their previously offered concessions. Recently, an event of this nature surfaced with an attempt to Frenchify Law courts in the North West Region- a major English speaking Region.

English language which is the modus operandi in the courts of the English speaking part of Cameroon has suffered major setbacks in North West courts over the past months. A decision by the President of the North West court of Appeal last February 2015, compelling lawyers to make their court submissions in the French language was seen by the Anglophone Lawyers as a complete violation of the Common Law system and procedure, practiced in this region. Apparently, this decision stemmed from the fact that, most of the Magistrates that were recently appointed to courts in the North West Region are Francophone who can hardly use English as a working language-an evidence of Frenchification of Anglophone Cameroon.

Instead of them trying to adapt to the Common Law system like their Anglophone colleagues appointed to courts in the French speaking part of Cameroon, who adapt to the Civil Procedure system; receive court submissions in French and render decisions in French, these Francophone Magistrates rather prefer to cause the Common Law system to ‘adapt to them’.

According to, Barrister Robert Nso Fon, the President of the North West Lawyers Association (NOWELA),“We are obliged to make our submissions in French, so why would they oblige us to make our submissions in French again in our own courts? It is clear that they simply want to completely eliminate the common law system in Cameroon. We the lawyers could understand and even speak the broken French, but what about our clients who understand no single word in French?.

Last year, there was a move by the government to post Notaries to the English speaking part of Cameroon, something which is contrary to the Common Law tradition wherein, every practicing lawyer automatically acts as a Notary Public. This faced fierce resistance from the Anglophone Lawyers.  This year there is the issue of the use of French in English courts.

In the past, it was very common to find discussions of Anglophone problems without constructive and practical recommendations on how these problems can be solved. Frustrated and disgruntled, the Anglophone lawyers (of the Common Law extraction) met in Bamenda on May 2015, to adopt resolutions to address the situation, amongst which is a resolution demanding the French dominant Biya regime to return Cameroon to Federalism. It is ambitiously reasoned out that, Federalism would go a long way to permit the peoples of the two cultures to develop themselves freely while adhering to the same constitution as a Nation. Considering that, these demands have been put forward by lawyers, it is envisaged that it will not be taken for granted.

It is the right of every group of people on planet earth to pursue their happiness and liberty with the use of all the resources at their disposal, without infringing on the rights and liberty of others. If Anglophones in Cameroon, after a `came we stay` marriage of perseverance for more than 50 years, do not see the long courting period productive, it is not over demanding of them to take an `ausfahrt` seeking alternative solutions. The Anglophone problem is definitely not just a problem to the Anglophones but to the Cameroonians because it handles issues like marginalization, exclusion and unfair distribution of wealth throughout the country. If the Anglophone problem can be discussed frankly in the spirit of patriotism without mischievous calculations resulting to seeing Federalism as a step towards secessionism, then that will definitely be a step in the right direction.

Notes: See May 9, 2015, Resolutions of Anglophone lawyers below.

PROPOSALS FOR A NEW DIRECTION IN THE JUSTICE SECTOR IN CAMEROON: 

  1. We demand an Independent Bar Association free of any Government Supervision and Control.
  2. We hereby propose a new direction for the future of the Justice Sector in Cameroon and recommend the creation of a national, Independent Law Reform/Review Commission comprising principally, Practicing Lawyers, Jurists and Judges.
  3. We therefore recommend that:
  4. The government should halt any project on the harmonization of laws until the national law commission is put into place and functional.
  5. All Judicial Processes and proceedings in the Common Law Jurisdictions should be conducted in the English language – in criminal matters; this should be from interrogations through investigations to hearing and Judgment.

iii.           The Two Divisions of Common Law and Civil Law be clearly defined and operated side by side in ENAM and the quota of intake in both divisions known in advance. Only common law trained Magistrates to be posted in the South West and North West Regions and Civil Law Trained Magistrates to the Civil Law Jurisdictions.

  1. That the Educational System in the South west and North West Regions should not be adulterated, English speaking citizens should have their studies in the English language from cradle to professional life. That all Public Examinations be organized in two Poles; English and French with none being translated from the other and the quota in both poles known in advance.
  2. We demand the establishment of TWO chambers of the Supreme Court of Cameroon that represent the Common Law and Civil Law System,with Judges appointed to the Chambers from Common Law and Civil Law backgrounds to address legal issues from both legal cultures respectively.  In this regard, we propose the appointment of Judges from the Private Bar into the Various Courts of Justice of the Common Law System.
  3. We recommend the amendment of law no. 90/059 of 19th December 1990 to organize practice at the bar and make provision for the creation of Law Schools.
  4. We propose the creation of a National Council of Legal Education to ensure the direction of legal education in the Common Law and Civil Law jurisdictions, develop curricula for academic and professional training of lawyers and to set up and supervise a system of continuing legal education for Lawyers, Prosecutors, Judges/Magistrates and other judicial actors.
  5. We also reiterate our previous resolution unanimously endorsed at the Cameroon Bar Association’s General Assembly in Buea on the 28th day of June 2014; that no Notaries be appointed in the North West and South West Regions of Cameroon.
  6. We have observed with utter dismay that there has been and continues to be a lack of protection with regard to the rights of the minority(Anglophone Cameroonians) as provided for in the constitution of this bi-jural, bilingual and bi-cultural nation. It is obvious that the rights of the Anglophones in Cameroon in the spheres of education, socio-cultural values,administrative set ups etc, are continuously and systematically being eroded with a view of imposing the socio-cultural and administrative views of the French and or Civil heritage of the majority Francophone Cameroon.
  7. We demand that the State should exercise its Constitutional duty to protect the Anglophone minority and by so doing, protect our history, heritage, education and cultural values. Consequently for the better protection of the minority Anglophone Cameroonians and the Common Law heritage, we strongly demand a Federation.
  8.   We hereby give Government a reasonable period from the date of deposit of these resolutions through the Bar Council to react positively to our demands, failing which this conference shall take the necessary disposition within the national legal frame work and if dissatisfied, seek further redress from international dispute resolution fora as shall be deemed appropriate.

DONE AT BAMENDA THIS NINTH DAY OF MAY 2015. 
SIGNED AND ENDORSED BY ALL PARTICIPANTS PRESENT AT THE CONFERENCE.