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Bad governance and corruption in the Cameroon Football Federation (FECAFOOT) leads to suspension by the World’s Football Federation (FIFA) – Chofor Che


The World’s Football Federation (FIFA) provisionally suspended the Cameroon Football Federation (FECAFOOT) on the 4 of July 2013. According to a BBC source, this was due to government interference of the FECAFOOT elections, which took place on 19th June 2013. During the period of suspension, Cameroon is not to take part in any regional or international matches, including club matches and friendly matches. In addition, no FECAFOOT member or official shall benefit from any development programmes or training courses during the suspension period.

Article 13 and 17 of the FIFA Statutes oblige member associations to manage their affairs independently with no interference from third parties. During these elections, former FECAFOOT boss Iya Mohammed who doubled as boss of the state owned cotton company, SODECTON, detained by the Cameroon authorities for alleged financial mismanagement of this state-owned cotton company, emerged victorious. The elections were cancelled by FECAFOOT’s appeals committee.

FIFA’s ruling came as a result of the 19 June elections, when FECAFOOT vice president and former transport minister Mr. John Begheni Ndeh installed himself as president on 28 June. Accompanied by the forces of law and order some of whom were stationed at FECAFOOT’s headquarters, Mr. Ndeh took over the federation and suspended the Secretary General Tombi A Roko. This also led to the resignation of FECAFOOT’s first vice president Seidou Mbombo Njoya, who had expected to step in as interim boss.

FECAFOOT has long been plagued by corruption and mismanagement. This has led to the poor performance of the national football team, the indomitable lions. A team which was once Africa’s glory is today classified as one of the weakest football teams on the continent. Cameroonian footballers prefer to play abroad for foreign clubs than to be humiliated back at home by their very own FECAFOOT.

Events leading to this unfortunate situation were alarming and visible. Despite cries from the public and footballers of the corruption and mismanagement of state funds pumped into FECAFOOT, the state remained silent to such cries. Many argue that since Iya Mohammed was a protégée of FIFA it was difficult for the state to intervene in the internal affairs of FECAFOOT. The state therefore allowed a very prestigious institution like FECAFOOT to be humiliated internationally.

A normalisation committee is to be set up as per Article 7 paragraph 2 of the FIFA statutes to revise the FECAFOOT statutes and to organise elections for new office bearers. This normalisation committee will be set up by FIFA in collaboration with the African Football Federation. The suspension will be lifted once the Cameroonian authorities allow the normalisation committee to enter the premises of the headquarters at conduct the said elections.

In as much as FIFA may be right in suspending FECAFOOT provisionally, Cameroon remains a sovereign state and has a right to meddle in matters affecting its wellbeing. Where the state of Cameroon erred was that it allowed an individual like Iya Mohammed to control FECAFOOT and SODECOTON for too long. In allowing such an individual like Iya control two important institutions for long, some state authorities benefited from corrupt dealings that were orchestrated during his era. The great football state, suffered from this state action.

In as much as Cameroon may have learned its lesson or not, it is vital for institutions like FIFA to ensure that institutions like FECAFOOT are not controlled by certain individuals for long. The state also has a say in issues concerning FECAFOOT, but should not take this advantage and usurp the powers of FECAFOOT. The indomitable lions have done no wrong to suffer from corrupt practices from big institutions like FIFA and FECAFOOT. If the state of Cameroon wants to regain its fame in the football circles once again, then it is vital to combat corruption and rethink its governance strategy over institutions like FECAFOOT.

This article is published at http://africanliberty.org/

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2013 in Africa Development

 

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Objectifs du Millénaire : moins de 1000 jours…, par Chofor Che


Huit objectifs du Millénaire pour le développement (OMD) ont été définis en 2000 quand un certain nombre d’agences des Nations Unies (ONU) s’étaient réunies à leur quartier général de New York. Ces agences de l’ONU promirent que d’ici à 2015, elles auraient réduit la pauvreté et la faim dans le monde de moitié, se seraient battues contre le changement climatique et les maladies, auraient résolu le problème du manque d’eau potable et accru les droits des femmes et des filles en matière d’éducation . Ce n’était pas la première fois que les dirigeants mondiaux faisaient de telles promesses grandioses.

La voix de nombreuses critiques, en particulier en Afrique, s’était élevée, avec un fond de cynisme, arguant que de telles promesses étaient très ambitieuses et en définitive vouées à être abandonnées. Tout de même, si beaucoup reste à faire, certains optimistes font valoir que ces objectifs ont aidé à affiner les objectifs de la politique publique des États, en particulier dans le monde en développement. Selon Ban Ki-moon, Secrétaire général des Nations Unies, 600 millions de personnes ont été sorties de la pauvreté. Des petites filles et des femmes du monde entier ont bénéficié de l’enseignement primaire. Il y a eu une baisse de la mortalité infantile et de la délinquance juvénile. Les investissements injectés dans la lutte contre le paludisme, la tuberculose et le sida ont contribué à sauver des vies.

En dépit des opinions défendues par le secrétaire général, il parait clair que les OMD étaient très ambitieux. Tel est notamment le cas au Cameroun, où le Programme des Nations Unies pour le développement (PNUD) a déjà entamé un partenariat avec les organisations non gouvernementales (ONG) pour un agenda post-OMD.

Plusieurs raisons expliquent la lente réalisation des OMD. Une des principales raisons pour lesquelles ces objectifs ne pourront être réalisés en un temps record vient de l’aide financière non coordonnée, en particulier aux États en Afrique. Une grande partie de l’aide financière, envoyée aux administrations centrales par les agences de l’ONU, a été par ailleurs détournée par des fonctionnaires corrompus. Une partie de cet argent a été placé sur des comptes bancaires en Suisse en particulier. L’ONU est bien consciente de ces opérations malveillantes, mais très peu a été fait pour s’assurer que l’aide financière destinée aux pauvres et aux miséreux du monde soit utilisée à bon escient.

Une autre raison majeure pour laquelle les OMD ne pourront être réalisés en un temps record est que la plupart des agences de l’ONU préfèrent opérer avec les administrations centrales plutôt que de s’adresser aux partenaires de développement comme des groupes de la société civile et des ONG. Il est vrai que la société civile et les ONG ne sont pas aussi organisés. Malgré ce fait, la plupart de ces groupes de la société civile et ONG sont en mesure de canaliser les fonds judicieusement vers les communautés dans le besoin. Le PNUD au Cameroun semble avoir compris que travailler uniquement avec les gouvernements ne peut résoudre le casse-tête des OMD – raison pour laquelle il y existe désormais une grande implication des organisations de la société civile et des ONG à travers tout le territoire national.

Si certaines préoccupations tourmentent la communauté du développement au sujet de la réalisation des OMD d’ici 2015, il est aussi vital de remédier à certains torts commis dans le passé par le système des Nations Unies. Si la priorité est donnée par le système des Nations Unies aux créations d’emplois et aux véritable privatisations (pas entre « copains », mais dans la transparence et l’état de droit) sans coercition étatique, plutôt qu’à l’aide financière, alors il peut être possible d’atteindre les OMD en un temps record. En outre, si les groupes de la société civile et les ONG en particulier en Afrique sont bien structurés et organisés, ils pourraient alors facilement aider le système des Nations Unies dans la réalisation des OMD d’ici 2015. L’aide financière seule ne peut pas résoudre les problèmes, une approche holistique est très importante pour la réalisation des OMD en un temps record.

Chofor Che est analyste sur AfricanLiberty.org. Le 15 avril 2013. Cet article a été publiée initialement en anglais sur http://www.africanliberty.org/content/less-thousand-days-respect-promises-millennium-development-goals-2015-chofor-cheAfricanLiberty.

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2013 in Objectifs du Millénaire

 

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Cameroon’s Special Criminal Court: Bad or good omen?, By Chofor Che, 24 January 2013


The Special Criminal Court in Cameroon is a special tribunal created in 2012 to investigate corruption related crimes. Information gotten from case files from this special court has left the population of Cameroon indifferent over the mandate and effectiveness of this court. Is the court an extension of the powerful executive or is a weak extension of the judiciary created to settle political scores?

According to Cameroon Tribune of the 22 of January 2012, in just two months of operation, the court has recovered about 2 billion francs CFA. It is disturbing to know that money projected for development projects is siphoned by individuals while the people of Cameroon continue to languish in poverty. The mandate of this court is to ensure that stolen money is recovered from such corrupt individuals, as corroborated the Minister of State, Minister of Justice and Keeper of the Seals, Laurent Esso, during the inaugural ceremony of the court on 15 October 2012.

Recently the court sentenced an artisanal pot producer caught stealing telecommunication cables of a state owned corporation. According to Cameroon Tribune, this is a sign that the court was not only created to target political criminals and high ranking officials involved in gross financial malpractices.

The court also recently decided to drop charges against the former Director General of the defunct Cameroon Airlines, Yves Michael Fotso, after he agreed to pay back stolen funds. This individual was accused of having swindled state funds and also for having crippled the defunct Cameroon Airlines.

The court is also handling the file of the former Prime Minister of Cameroon, Ephraim Inoni, who was also accused and imprisoned in the national state prison, Kondegui for having embezzled funds meant for development.

There is still a major worry on why colossal amounts of money are left in the hands on individuals without any stringent control. It is no secret that the central government created the problem in the first place by allowing such amount of money to be badly managed by dubious individuals.

Now that the Special Criminal Court has announced that it has and is recovering money from corrupt officials, what happens to the recovered money? Is there a special account where this money will be put to be utilised for specific projects or defunct projects? Has the special court or the central government put measures in place to ensure that this money is redirected to services that were deprived of these funds? What steps are being taken by the state to ensure that such amount of money is not siphoned by corrupt officials again? These are the questions that continue to plague the minds of Cameroonians who remain pessimistic about the mandate of the Special Criminal Court.

It is a laudable idea that such a court was created, but the purpose of such a move by the central government will definitely be defeated if the money is not pumped back into the economy. Cameroonians wish that the money recovered should be utilised for what it was meant for, or be judiciously utilised for defunct projects.

Having a special court is not enough. There is need for Cameroonians to be given a chance to engage in other lucrative sectors like agriculture and small and medium size enterprises. The agricultural sector in Cameroon is still to be mechanised and exploited. The state needs to reduce the current big government sector and increase the private sector. Such measures will definitely reduce the wanton corruption which still persists in the country despite the existence of institutions like the special Criminal Court and other anti-corruption agencies.

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Doing business in Africa, By Ian Mann, Fin24, 11 November 2012


Business in Africa: Corporate Insights, compiled by Dianna Games [A compilation of articles]

GAMES’ compilation of articles is a much-needed tool. It provides a very different perspective on doing business in Africa and fills the gap between data-heavy analyses and the popular press.

The book is divided into three parts. The first is an overview of the business environment by Games and provides a valuable gateway to a more positive, but measured view of the continent.

How things have changed is succinctly illustrated by the appeal from Portugal to its former colony Angola to increase its investment in Portugal’s ailing economy. Angola is now one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.

Large corporations such as Standard Chartered Bank, Unilever, Diageo and Nestlé are increasing their investment in Africa and there is no shortage of other good news stories. However, perspective is necessary.

Most of the growth is coming from economies which rest on a single economic generator, a natural resource and which indicates nothing about the general economy, the physical infrastructure or the quality of life of the citizens of these endowed lands. 

The restraints on growth remain: corruption, weak legal systems, obstructive bureaucracy and more.

For those who want the added depth that comes from an historical perspective, Duncan Clarke’s essay on Africa’s economic evolution is a short and very manageable overview that adequately provides context.

Some futurists, he reports, claim that Africa is capable of 5.1% growth from 2010-50 based on its demography and natural resources. This will make its gross domestic product similar to that of the US or Europe in 2010 – hardly shabby.

However, this level of growth for 40 years will be challenged by the capacity to absorb the growing workforce and by what Clarkes calls “the inherent curses on Africa’s economic house”. These include low competitiveness, poor land usage, weak nation states and more.

The essay by Leke and Chironga focuses on the growth story, which they tell succinctly and incisively. They see business opportunities lying in four distinct categories. There are consumer-facing opportunities in areas such food, telecommunications and housing.

There are also agricultural opportunities, particularly in the production of higher value items such as horticulture, all possible with the enormous amount of available arable land – some 60% of that available in the world!

The infrastructure needs of the continent are an obvious opportunity which the authors believe will attract $200bn by 2020. And of course, there is Africa’s resources including much-needed oil, gas, coal and iron ore.

All of the four opportunities come with the challenges of a slowing global economy, the necessity to maintain stability and the desperate need to avoid jobless growth.

The third part of the book is a collection of essays by or about corporations that have had important African experiences. All the reports cast light on the challenges of doing business in Africa from different angles.

What does emerge is that Africa has all the same challenges that are attendant to moving into any foreign country, such as unfamiliar business practices and legislation. However, the continent has many additional challenges.

The contributions are wide-ranging, from miner AngloGold Ashanti, to food franchiser Nando’s; from property company Liberty Properties, to the environmental tourism of Wilderness Holdings.

For the mining sector, the instability of the legal framework of African countries is a particular challenge, as is a changing tax regime. Ghana raised the corporate taxes for miners from 25 to 35%, in addition to a 10% windfall tax.

The significant contributions of these companies to the national economy reach far beyond tax contribution and extend to healthcare, employment and skills development. This is only gradually being acknowledged by the host countries, as is the fact that the country earns far more from the mining house’s efforts than do the shareholders.

The growing interest in Africa has spurred demand for more accommodation and, on the surface, appears to offer enormous opportunities. This, however, has to be counterbalanced by the lack of infrastructure, trained staff, materials and available land.

While there may be open spaces aplenty, the rights to the land is not as clear as it is in South Africa, for instance, where the ownership of each piece has been identified.

The Nando’s account of their forays into Africa offers some sobering lessons, the most pointed being the need to choose local partners with extreme care.

Knowing who you are entrusting your business or its reputation to will determine your long-term success or failure. No amount of legal work will ensure the relationship; this has to be built in the old-fashioned way, gradually, with constant communication of values and expectations.

The aim has to be to grow trust in both directions. 

Nando’s co-founder Brozin offers sobering advice: “Humility is a big factor in operating in Africa. You need to be humble and listen a lot.”

Being a collection of stand-alone essays unified by the theme, the book can be dipped into at any point, but one chapter should not be omitted – the 20 Tips on Doing Business in Africa, a quick set of lessons that could save the bold much trouble.

Readability:  Light –+– Serious
Insights:      High -+— Low
Practical:     High -+— Low

 – Fin24

*Ian Mann of Gateways consults internationally on leadership and strategy.

 
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Posted by on November 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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