Municipal Development Counselling (MUDEC) Group .:: MUDEC GROUP ::.
  • Our Mission

    • Reducing poverty in our municipalities through encouraging gender equality and increasing citizen (End User) participation in democratic and governance processes.

Why Farmers Should Diversity and Add Value

Farmers in Cameroon generally speaking are hardworking and open-minded. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in my is opinion doing a great job. For a critic of Government Policies, this ministerial department commands a thump up. The average farmer in Cameroon has an educational level that is less than the ordinary level at the General Certificate of Education (GCE). Inculcating modern farming techniques will therefore encounter resistance. In 2000, farmers were using cutlasses and hoes.  In 2009, the same tools are of utmost uses? What can we conclude about production and productivity?

In 1990, farmers could grow, harvest and crush cassava into garri, what should they be doing in 2009?

In 1990, a Farmers Union had as main crops Cocoa and Coffee, what should challenge them as cash crops in 2009?

If machines are made by man to facilitate his aspirations, what are the aspirations of our farmers if they do not see need to add value to existing products? If in 1990, farmers were engaged in the production of Cocoa, Coffee, Bananas and Palms. Why can’t farmers think about Plantain, Cocoyams, Cassava, Fruits, Pepper and other Spices and Vegetables? We know in 2009 that there are countries that depend on flower production & marketing. Are Cameroon farmers die heart conservatives? Can our farmers not conceive ways and means of adding value to our products? When you visit non-tropical countries and see mangoes, pears, plums on market shelves all year round is it magic or reason for our farmers to plot a strategic to do same chez-nous?

Why  is it that the government thinks that is is should employ people causing them to reduce their ages rather than create a sustainable environment for individuals to engage in creative activities that will put their knowledge to action?

Why should the government maintain a high number of employees whose salaries require immense taxation on business ideas?

Why is the government having so many Ministerial Departments that could be merged for increased efficiency? This writer sees every reason why ministries such as Secondary Education, Higher Education, Livestock, Sports, Youth Culture, Tourism, State Control and Several others only go to divert much-needed funds from Primary Ministerial department such as Agriculture. The Farmers feed all of us and if we expect to be food self sufficient, we need to support the creation of an enabling environment for farmers to add value to our primary outputs. What do you think?


Regions and Culture

The EDEN issue of Monday 22nd 2009 caught my attention on South West Artists and Culture. The idea of a non indigene president of South West Artists did not go well into my brain and this is why.

10 Regions with more than 240 tribes are enough indicators that Cameroon is multi-cultural. National Integration should be proactive in order to encourage all shades of Cameroonians to have a sense of belonging. To think that National Integration should carry complete horizontal as well as vertical dimensions is a fallacy. It will never work!! Our Regions have their peculiarities, which should be protected at all cost.

Culture cannot be nationalized because we are not a homogenous community. Rather, we are a heterogeneous people who have decided to form one country –Cameroon.

My worry takes me to the South West Region where annexation policies are being tested as a pilot zone. The issues are many but let us limit this time around to aspects of culture. The President of South West Artists is not from the Region. How was he elected? What Role did the South West Regional Delegation of Culture play? What technical advice did they offer? Are they sensitive to the aspirations of the people or they are there to exploit any given opportunity? How is this fostering the Culture of South West Region? An Artist President who speaks French and cannot communicate in the English language at the level required of Regional Representatives. He is of West Region Extraction. Think for one minute the ramifications that this has on our cultures from the 6 Divisions? Dressing, way of living, speech, reasoning and you name the rest. He cannot tie a wrapper or sanja? He cannot relate to any of the divisions of the Region. He is quick to speak in French and encourage other of his stock to take up shop in the Region. Government policy is to enhance indigenous cultural values. How is this cause served by someone who does not relate? Are we not mixing Eru ,Achu, Bobolo and Myondo?

In making appointments in certain Ministerial Departments (especially at Regional levels).the government should ensure that an indigene of that Region is appointed. Ministries such as Culture, Tourism, Basic /Secondary Education, Agriculture must have indigenes at Regional Delegations, Divisional Delegations and even Sub Divisional Delegations. Reasons being that they belong and can even speak to the locals in dialects.

CRTV should encourage the Culture of the people. Reason why music played over Radio Stations should largely have a Regional colouring. Have you listened to CRTV-Buea recently? You would think that you are in Yaounde where ‘Bikutsi’ music should hold sway!

We have several South West artists including but not limited to Tata Kinge, Njume Loko, Agbor Mats, and Toka Mo. What happening to their music on radio? We have Professional Choirs that sing religious well as songs on issues affecting daily lives.  What on earth is happening? While we sit and pretend to be more Cameroonians in this country indigenes from other Regions are slowly but surely taking high stakes in the South West Region. It is common for one to hear a high government function of the South West origin defending the national cause even at the detriment of his Regional or Tribal aspirations.

If there were to be a National Festival of Arts and Culture (as holds sway in other countries) who will be the spokesperson for South West Region? A Bamileke man? What language will he speak? (French or Pidgin English).  Will the songs of South West be Bikutsi or Bellisumbu?

Why should one so much embrace the doctrine of National Integration and fall short to see the coming of National Annexation?

If the status of Regions are not clearly defined then we are headed for chaos and eventual confrontation. It is unacceptable that English is compromised in favour of French (which is fast becoming the working language even when Anglophones speak to one another). Also unacceptable that indigenes are sidelined in favour of persons of Littoral, Center and South extraction.

No matter how much you love your “Best Friend or Colleague” from any other Region, the South West Child has a responsibility at any given situation to speak in English and remind those best friends and colleagues that if they step on your toes by trying to crap land or lobby for positions allocated in this Region, you will defend and fight at all cost. Maybe  when restructuring of State Institutions come by (which are eminent )we should think of having 10 Stars on the Cameroonian Flag!!!

Charlie MBONTEH


Nguti Council Elaborates Monographic Study

ngutielectionsAbout 30 Development Actors (27 men and 3 women) in Nguti Municipality participated in a 2 day (17 -18 of April 2009) workshop with objective to identify missing data and validate data collected from the 54 villages that constitute the 9 clans of the Council area.

This activity was one in a series that are planned within the framework of the Project to Elaborate a Monograph Study, Draw –up a Strategic Plan and an Operational Plan (2010) for Nguti Municipality.

Participants of this workshop comprised Heads of Government Technical Services, Heads of Private Medical Institutions, Council Executives, Councilors, Staff and Traditional Authorities. Participants crosschecked data that had been collected by 23 Surveyors during the month long data collection exercise. They also identified missing data in the domains of Education, Health, Infrastructure, Culture and the History of Nguti. The map of Nguti Municipality locating villages, rivers and its precise borders were also deliberated upon.

This validation workshop serves as the basis for writing the Monographic Study Report which will be used for the upcoming Strategic Planning workshop that has been scheduled for 13th -16th May 2009.

It is important to note that Nguti Council is supported in this venture by the Programme for the Sustainable Management of Natural Resources in the South West Region (A Ministry of Forestry and Germany Technical Cooperation activity)

MUDEC Group, a Buea based Service Provider is faciliting the exercise in collaboration with Nature Cameroon of Nguti.Nature Cameroon of Nguti.


Nelson Mandela Day in Buea

The Organizing Committee for the celebration of Nelson Mandela Day in Buea has billed another set of activities that will take place in Buea on 17th and 18th July 2009.

According to a press release sent to Eden Newsroom, activities this year will include a one day seminar on the ideals of Nelson Mandela. The target group for this seminar is University Students fron all shades of the Cameroonian society. They are expected to deliberate on the Cultural, Economic and Political ideals of Nelson Mandela and how to incorporate same to advance the Cameroonian context. The second day will witness amongst others a photo exhibition at the Mile17 motor park, a CRTV radio program during which the South African High Commissioner to Cameroon and her colleagues will chat with Mwalimu George Ngwane and competent Journalists who will attempt to bring our pertinent issues about Nelson Mandela. There will be brief stop at the Mandela Park in Bokwoango where the Lord Mayor of Buea will give a brief history of Buea and link it with why the town is destined to play a leadership role in creating awareness on Nelson Mandela. There will be a visit to a nearby hospital to offer gifts to Women and children. The Cultural Jamboree is scheduled for the Rev. Suillivan Hall at the Cameroon OIC beginning at 6pm with a film on the man: Nelson Mandela. Paper presentations will follow and a musical showcase will crown the evening. The Mandela Day in Buea supports the ongoing attempt in advocating for a world wide day to be ste aside in honor of this truly great African : Nelson Mandela. It is expected that resource persons for this years activities will include but not limited to  the Rt. Moderator of the PCC, Dr. Nyasako ni Nko, the High Commissioner of South Africa to Cameroon, Mr. Mato who is the First Secretary in that Commission, Mr. Charlie Ndi Chia of the Post Paper, Mr. Zachee Nzo Ngandebou of the Eden Group, Mrs. Agbor Meg of CHAMEG Small Business NGO and a host of others. The organizing committee is composed of the Mwalimu Goerge Ngwane, Charlie MBONTEH, Tabot Nicholas Egbe, Mr. Opio and Dr. Ernest Molua. The Nelson Mandela Organizing Committee invites you to be there personally to contribute your ideas on how we can make Mandela Day a world wide event.

Be There!!!


My Take on SWELA

The South West Region is one of 10 such Administrative Units in Cameroon. It has amongst others rich vegetation, soil and a dynamic population of about 2 million inhabitants. Mindful of the need to have a concerted effort at regional development, the South West Children brought forth SWELA (South West Elites Association) which is an umbrella organ of the region. SWELA is headed by a Secretary General. This position is rotatory (after 2 years it moves from one division to the other). Currently Manyu is baby sitting the position and come August 1st it may perhaps be the turn of Meme. Analysis indicate that since inception, only 2 Secretaries General have been non civil servants: Late Barrister A. T. Enow (Founding SG) and Nyake Besong. Further analyses indicate that these 2 were also the most results oriented. We need not spend time to discuss what A.T. Enow did in terms of fighting out distractions from elements of the 11th Province. For Nyake Besong (his Mobilization and Organizational Skills) history will take him as one of the dynamic South West Leaders of recent times.

The others have largely used SWELA to seek out career advancements within the civil service. Don’t quote me on that! SWELA has had no female Secretary General; Manyu narrowly missed giving as the first one….. Will Meme think Gender Sensitive?

Well my take on SWELA is not to criticize but to suggest better focus on concrete development initiatives. How? Let’s reason together….

The South West Region has highly placed State Functionaries including the Current Head of Government of Cameroon. I think even critics will agree that Prime Minister Inoni is the right man on the spot, Kudos! Mr. PM. I am sure that the Advisers at the PM office (Technical and Special) are all hands on deck in performance of their State Duties.

My take largely anchors with the Management of SWELA and our Locally Elected Officials (Members of Parliament (MP), Mayors, and Councilors).

The South West Region has 15 MPs who each receive 8 million francs annually for Micro Projects. (Their Salaries aside). Together they receive 120 Million FCFA annually. This translates into 600 million FCFA by the end of a mandate. Can this money not Open and Regularly Maintain Farm to Market Roads? Can it not Renovate Health Centers and Schools? Can it not Regularly Supply Basic Drugs and Didactic Materials to Health Center and Schools? Can it not render more effective our Local Roads and Water Maintenance Committees?) Question: How are MPs using this money? Has anyone bothered to take stock? How are projects identified, funded and followed –up? Is it a `one person’ decision or do they constitute a constituency-wide panel to make participatory decisions? What is SWELA thinking and doing about this? Micro Project funds are not given to MPs to decide as they wish. The funds are intended for the population in each Parliamentary Constituency. Consequently, the Elites of each constituency must design mechanisms to force MPs to subject to participatory management of Micro Projects Funds. The other day l called an MP and requested which Micro Projects he had funded so that we could include the information on the Monographic Study of a council area. He repeatedly told me that it was not necessary for me to know. He saw no reason for the information to be included into such an important document that reflects development initiatives within the council area. SWELA should create a forum for MPs to dislodge such information through advocacy and lobbying!!

SWELA can cause future aspirants for MPship to sign an undertaking towards participatory management of Micro Project Funds. We can lobby government to re-channel Micro Project Funds to Management Committees at the level of each parliamentary constituency).The same argument will hold sway for our Local Councils especially as government is about paying subsidies directly (not through FEICOM).

In the same vein, SWELA can cause all Mayors to accept to a Public Hearing at least annually through which they can inform the population on what they are doing and also answer questions on burning issues affecting the municipality. As our Locally Elected Officials pay lip service to poverty alleviation, they should see reason that decisions on funds at their disposal should be participatory and responsive enough to meet the felt needs of the population that voted them into office. That’s Inclusive Governance and Accountability…

I know from traveling in other countries that sustained advocacy is a powerful peaceful strategy to put the heat on public officials and cause them to take actions. I know that it will work in this Region and Country where several people thrive because of the near absence of information to the general public.

I think you should join the team that is already fighting for More Open Democratic Societies in the South West Region and Cameroon at large. This is my take on SWELA and its Advocacy role on Micro Project Funds! What’s your take?

By Charlie MBONTEH


Legislative Oversight in Cameroon

Basic principles of political science dictate that there are 4 arms of Government (Executive, Legislative, Judiciary and the Press). These arms each have clearly defined Terms of References some of which constitute Checks and Balances on the other. My interest here is on the Legislative arm. The 1996 constitution (article 14(2)) allows Parliament to Legislate and Control Government Actions meaning that it plays on Ombudsman Role. How is the current Parliament faring in playing this role? What score will you give your Member of Parliament (MP) individually or collectively? If your score is low, what do you tell them? What are you thinking about the 2012 Parliament if MPs say that the   Executive is overbearing and not allowing them to freely exercise their right! What would you propose? Party Hierachy, discipline and dogma should not stand in the way of deliberations on concrete issues that would foster the health and happiness of Cameroonians. Once voted the MP is a Representative of Cameroonians and not the party.

Are MPs looking at the unemployment rate for our Youths? Do you see Urban and Rural decay in our towns and villages? Do you know the number of Cameroonians who live without drinkable water? What happened to the 2005 Population Census figures? The Public Service Statutes (Decree no 94-199 of 7th Oct 1994; Section II, Article 31(2). “The Civil Servant shall be bound to satisfy the information needs…in answer to request from users….”

Why don’t we have access to the 2005 Population Census? What measures does Government use to allocate resources for development? How can we still maintain 180 MP, when our population has tremendously increased since 1980? According to the Demographic Indicators of Cameroon (Published by MINEPAT 1993 Edition), the Population of Cameroon has been steadily increasing between 2.81 and 2.89 percent annually. How many MPs read these instruments in order to make valid arguments when they take to the Rostrum? How many MPs even take to the Rostrum?

Why can’t we have more than 180 MPs? Using the same budgetary allocation for their salaries, we can have Parliamentary Constituencies with same boundaries as Local Councils or Municipalities. In Liberia MP, earn $1,200 (about 600,000FCFA)! They work for 12months with only a Christmas recess. They ride on bicycles to go to Parliament. Compare to Cameroon where MPs earn more than 750.000 frs, and single handedly control Micro Project Grants (between 8-10 million annually), they work for less than a combined period of 45 days per year and take every possible contract available. No wonder MPs sit quiet even with their immunity.

Cameroonians must demand of their MPs to dare in order to re-invent Cameroon. No one should be allowed to be President /Speaker/Committee Chair who does not understand the value of a hard days work on the farm!!!

When will we find an MP who is free from greed, self, tribe and full of Service to Cameron?

Since the current Parliament seemingly is contented then we should begin to dream of the 2012 Parliament which l dare to christen as “Clippers of the Executive Wings” batch. If the Executive is too powerful for this Parliament, the next Parliament should set the agenda for reducing Executive abuses.

Charlie MBONTEH


Farmers and the 2012 Council Elections

More than 70% of Cameroonians are engage in Agriculture related activities. This means that collectively they constitute the majority in relation to other professions.

The 2004 Law on Decentralization as applicable to Councils mandates locally Elected Officials to amongst others foster Locally Economic Development within our local collectivities. Research on secondary data concerning council management reveals that Teachers constitutes the majority of those appointed (Municipal Administrators) and those elected as councilors since 2002 council elections. Generally speaking, Teachers are learned persons yet as managers, some of us reserve our comments. That our Councils have continued to stagnate due to a multiplicity of problems: insufficient resources, unskilled management, citizen apathy, conflicts of roles and relationships, neglect of the marginalized, lack of transparency in management and the list goes on. The results include rural exodus, decay, unemployment, rise in crime, prostitution and HIV/Aids.

Nobody will attribute all theses to Mayors who have largely been teachers. Rather, what l am saying is that time is ripe for a different set of professionals to take hold of our Councils. Here, l am proposing Farmers, the silent majority. The farmer has a proven record of being able to harvest from the land over several years. We know of enlightened farmers who are successful as managers. I strongly believe that farmers should intensify their take in local politics and begin the groundwork now. Farmers should target the 2012 Council and Parliamentary elections so that we can witness a showdown between Teachers and Farmers. Those who have a proven record on the use of the soil and those who have a proven record on the use of general knowledge. This is not a fight, it is not destructive rather it is constructive and creates an enabling environment for a healthy competitive spirit.

“Teacher fit make you fail exam but ground no fit fool farmer”.  As a member of the electorate in 2012, the choice is yours! My vote is sold! What about yours! We must begin to accept that local politics is not sustainable because state employee are the managers. When you and l agree that self-employed persons including farmers should be our managers our rate of development will be faster because these set of persons will be able to speak freely without fear of promotion or demotion.

Charlie MBONTEH


Elected Governors in 2011

As an observer and student of Public Administration, l am tempted to share my ideas with a few in Cameroonians who dare to read!

It is no secret that in several of his speeches during the last 26 years, Mr. Paul Biya has seen wisdom in people taking active part in the management of their own destiny. Mr. Biya has decried “Inertia” repeatedly. The problems lie in the fact that neither he nor his associates look for long lasting solutions or “Sustainable answers” to our problems. They prefer quick fixes. I do not wish to spend my limited space to justify the above because you know the facts on these issues

Cameroon is a country like any other that is trying to forge a common identity. 250 plus tribes. 10 Regions, several religions and cultures necessitate a careful approach toward nation building. However, the participation of the population at grassroots/local levels should never be compromised. The aspirations of the population of South West Region are not the same as those of the Adamawa Region for example.

Consequently, the managers of these Regions cannot and should not be mixed –up.

It is better to deal with a son/daughter from the same region who is a bad manager than to deal with one who comes from a different region who is generally also a bad manager. Do not pretend!

Children from within that region should manage Regional Councils or Governments. Mixing them will mean mixing Achu, Eru, Bobolo…. You must purge. Currently Cameroon is purging and has been for too long. We see evidence of entrenched corruption as senior civil servants liquidate their credit as they do in Mafia houses. Some of them are contractors!! No Accountability and Responsiveness to the people. The Electorate cannot use their vote to sanction corrupt behaviors at Regional levels.

If Mr. Paul Biya seeks another mandate in 2011, which is clear that he will, Cameroonians should demand (through peaceful manifestations in 2009 and 2010) that he also call for the Election of Governors when he provokes Presidential Elections in 2011. Cameroonians should not settle for less! Cameroonians should prepare to embrace the worst. Demand your rights peacefully but firmly. If we miss this opportunity, we will have to wait for another 7 years of wasteful time that would begin in 2011. Collectively, we can negotiate with our longest serving President. Sir, as you take yet another term of office, let us vote for our Regional Governors. The time for giving some one a blank cheque is past. You scratch my back… I’ll scratch yours too!

Charlie MBONTEH

Buea.


Decentralization in Cameroon: Slogan or Reality

The 2004 Law on Decentralization ushers a new think tank process on how our Local Councils can be managed. Reality on the ground however, gives this writer a chill in the spine in that the Law says one thing and our actions portray exactly the reverse.

Local Councils within the Framework of Decentralization are expected to improve upon the living standards of their constituencies through Local Economic Development in several arenas: Economy, Health, Education, Infrastructure, Culture, Social and Sports. How can our Councils provide services in these domains when recent studies indicate that their quarterly stipends from the Council Support Fund (FEICOM) is on the decrease as well as an eroding Council internal tax base. How can our Councils perform when Supervisory Authorities are trigger ready to stifle Development Initiatives set for by Dynamic Mayors? Well, the ruling CPDM in its recent anniversary manifestations played much talk on decentralization. What is of interest to this writer is whether this was in line with enhancing the stipulations of the 2004 Law on Decentralization or yet another slogan around which they could rally party adherents.

This writer is of the opinion that decentralization to Regions is a blessing. What bothers me is our level of seriousness on the issue. Decentralization will amongst others benefit Cameroon is that, it will increase Responsiveness and Accountable to the local Electorate; it will serve as a Source for future National leadership who command grassroots support. It will foster genuine Coalitions, Alliances and Cooperation between Regions and Cameroon as a Country will benefit in that several Partnerships and Synergies (Public and Private) will be developed. If someone currently wielding power is playing around with words, he should know that the population is slowly but surely getting enlightened. We the people of Cameroon should demand a roadmap with benchmarks on the implantation of Decentralization in our Country. Anything short of Regional autonomy is suicidal.

The people will soon speak and loudly they will. I rest my case!

Charlie MBONTEH