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Everton salvages Samuel Eto’o

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Nightmares are over, rumour mill grounded, as Cameroon’s international Samuel Eto’o Fils has ultimately secured an edgy, eleventh-hour deal to join another Liverpool team, Everton FC.

Although the striker would have been a classic choice for Liverpool FC, the Anfield side instead preferred to go for Italia’s hothead, show boy Mario Balotelli.

With the chance to play UEFA Champions league football snatched, dashing the hope of Eto’o, he had no choice but to settle for anything on the table before the transfer window shuts on 1 September.

If half bread is better than nothing, Eto’o almost miss out completely, either because he was asking for too much or expecting too much.

Unfortunately for him his price tag as “A star of the past” has faded or has lost its sparkle to better buyers.

With a murky World Cup in Brazil, where he barely played a match before limping off, and then left Chelsea and boss-friend Jose Mourinho, over a silly comment on his age, Eto’o absolutely was going to struggle finding a place to post his luxurious luggage.

Instead of concealing his pride to secure his job and negotiate another season at Chelsea, Eto’o surely, raised his shoulders and refused to pardon Mourinho, expecting an apology from him.

Seldom, do we have a beggar receiving an apology from a donor, and the consequence is that the beggar has to take what is offered or proposed or way walk away with pride and languish later.

Eto’o walked away as a free agent hoping to find another big club, but as the wait and drama only ended with the signing of his hasty two-year contract with Everton, he was at the verge of hanging around with no club.

Martinez, the man for Eto’o

Everton narrowly missed a place in the UEFA Champions league, but has one of the best seasons ever under new manager, Roberto Martinez, just 41.

The move to Everton might come as a surprise to many fans, but looking at the anxiety the team has shown, especially in encounters with Chelsea and Manchester United, and local rival, Liverpool, Eto’o would quickly fit in at Goodison Park.

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Raising to fame as one of the highly sought after young managers in the Premier League and even Europe Roberto Martinez, has a good mastering of the game and knows how to get the results from players.

Young and dynamic, the Spanish coach would expect Eto’o who also speaks Spanish more than English to unleash his arsenal of talents at the higher level and help Everton move to the top four by the end of the season.

Although, the 33-year-old’s report card with Chelsea in his debut year in the English is not bad, taking off the pressure of trying to impress and make history in the Champions League, Eto’o would want to play every game and make an impact.

In his 34 appearances for Chelsea, Eto’o scored 12 goals as the London club finished third behind Manchester City, the League winners and Liverpool the unlucky runners-up.

It took time to settle at Stamford Bridge and to find the net, but with the Midland teams always in the top flights, he would want to prove that age is a figure with immediate results.

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2014 in News Analysis, Uncategorized

 

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From Dreamer to Digger

 

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I’m tired of dreaming
I’m tired of being a dreamer
I think it’s time to face reality
I can’t carry on waiting for manna,
I can’t wait always for others to think for me,
As I kill time daydreaming.
No qualm dreaming, though, you think of it
But I can’t live my life woolgathering
Dreaming of a flamboyant future,
Even as I barely feed myself like a dog –
Sometimes, on the leftovers of wolves
At least I’ve a brain to think and eyes to see
See the reality of life, and ways to face it,
Face my foes and work my way out
Out of idleness and darkness
I’ll be a digger, not gold digger, and dig my goals
I’ll dig Gold not Silver nor Bronze for myself
I know I can, and I’ll dig even deeper
For hidden treasures and become a treasurer

 
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Posted by on August 19, 2014 in Read, Uncategorized

 

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French Family’s kidnap, menace to Cameroon

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As search and rescue intensify to find an entire family kidnapped by armed men on speedy bikes, fear has gripped the local population who have often suffered in the hands of roadside, cross-border bandits.

These armed highway robbers believed to be perpetuated by foreigners often target well-off travellers and traders plying to and fro the northern and southern regions of Cameroon, and not foreign tourists. With this recent kidnapping of a French family and their car taken before being abandoned, it is believed the ambush and harassment have now moved to a tactical level of hostage taking. Crossing Cameroon’s borders from either West, the Nigerian end or from East, the Chadian side, these armed gangs locally called coupeur de route randomly stop vehicles at hasty mounted checkpoints to demand money and jewels. If in the course of an operation an alarm is raised to alert the Cameroonian police or Special Forces, stationed in this vulnerable area, these armed bandits are said to often sneak back into their country of origin. Not knowing what is happening or awaiting them in the other side of the frontiers, the Cameroonian forces can only limit their pursuit to their own borders.

As a way to keep the gangs off Cameroon’s territory, a rapid intervention battalion deployed in the region constantly patrol the areas, especially strategic outlets with abnormal activities. In other security measures to protect the population, soldiers of this battalion who are well trained and armed to the teeth, often escort vehicles traversing the area, especially in the night. However with the area of operation along the Chad Plain vast, and dotted with picturesque high grounds, these Special Forces are often overstretched. With the forces outnumbered by the task and terrain to cover, it is possible that the watchful bandits can move in whenever a loophole emerges along the borders.

Time to act now or never

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Whether the bandits are actually part of the militant groups terrorising people in northern Nigeria under the mask of spreading Islam or simply a group of armed thugs, the Cameroon government needs to act now, and act quick to protect its borders and populations. With the militants being chased and tracked down daily in Nigeria, it is but obvious to suspect that they could easily cross over to Cameroon to seek refuge. However because they are armed and equally looking for means to survive as well as keep fighting, foreigners and local people have now become their prey. It is a shame that the French are the one more worried about the situation of the kidnapped family with four children included than the Cameroon government that is good at talking than taking action.

As the nation of concern, and equally as an endeavour to reassure all tourists on a safari trip to the Waza             National Park that their safety is guaranteed, Cameroon must leave no stone unturned to lead rescue – for the seven French to be handed over alive and in good health. It shall be an utmost challenge, but Cameroon must brace up for it. Any government in power must protect its populations as well as its territory to prove that it has jurisdiction and supremacy over them. Apart from the search and rescue, Cameroon government must also be vigilant that the militants do not use Cameroon as a launch pad or springboard for attacks in northern Nigeria or initiate some wayward Muslims in northern Cameroon to start their own rebellion against the Yaoundé administration.

The French government led by President Hollande, might be planning other operations to get the family back. Whatever such plans are and how feasible they could get the family from the captives without any casualty, Cameroon must give its accord and must be involved in every stage. For any operation or deal for the release to be successful, Cameroon authorities should play the role of mediators since the militant would obviously not want to talk with the French who they termed as enemies of Islam and their jihads.

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2013 in News Analysis, Uncategorized

 

Pope did the right thing

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The announcement of Pope Benedict’s resignation on 28th February has taken the world, especially Catholic faithful aback, but the pontiff’s decision to throw in the towel seems the finest and timely. Although the reason behind the abrupt exit has been pegged on age, more is added to that. From pressure of the child abuse or sex scandal to the ordination of gay priests, to the introduction of female priests and the need for modernisation within the church itself are just a scratch on the surface of the other reasons. All these problems have actually tied the hands of the pope from judiciously executing the powers bestowed on him as the head of the Roman Catholic Church. If age is the top on his list, this is simple. At 85, it is evident that his physical strength and charisma to preach the gospel to his millions of worshipers worldwide are fading out. Being a man of God most Catholic worshipers would have rather preferred him to carry on until he drops death while in service.

Resignation predicted  

Putting the excuse of age aside, for critics of the Pope Benedict XVI, the writings of his resignation had been clear and clean on the walls for ages. The child abuse scandal had been a thorn in the flesh for the pope, especially as it was alleged that he was the head of the diocese at the time when the abuse took place. Although he fell shot to take the blame admitting that he was aware of the mishap within his diocese, he did at least accept that the scandal had affected the church and called for order. As if that wasn’t enough then came the controversy over the ordination of gay priests that created division in the church.  Then it was the debate of officiating gay marriages in the church.

In an article, titled, Christianity at bay, by-lined by Edward Lucas and published in The Economist, The World in 2013, it was predicted that churches both Catholic and Anglican, would lose ground to the secularists. In both Europe and the Middle Eastern homeland of Christendom this year was going to be bleak for the mainstream churches that have carried the Christian message for centuries. That is to say declines would accelerate and problems would intensify.  Before focusing on the Catholic Church and the pope, Lucas stresses that by the end of 2013 the churches would have lost the battle over gay marriage, with their reputation for tolerance a casualty.

As for the Catholic Church, the article predicts that Pope Benedict’s lot look little better. Little did Lucas could envisage that the situation of the pontiff was far from better! The number of priests and parishioners across Europe and North American has continued to nose dive. This decline has put lots of pressure on priests that are supposed to have gone on retirement to carry on work even when they barely can stand for a whole mass. In some churches in Scotland, there are no priests at all, while worshippers have to rely on visiting priests to preside over masses or conduct marriages as well as funerals.

More pressure, need for reforms

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With modernisation come the needs for more reforms.  As a way to curtail the declining numbers of people to preach the gospel and win as well as keep more Christian faith alive, they have been debate on whether to bring in women priests, and to accept the ordination of married men. All these proposals have not been better off to accepting gay priests as they all are against the canons of Catholicism.  With the sex scandal not to be swept under the carpet, the pontiff was going to have more nightmares and as other cases of sexual abuses were expected to emerge as more investigations have been going on. As the turbulence has been far from subsiding it was obvious that the intelligent but ageing and ailing pontiff was going to have a stormy sail through this year.  However, no one even his close aides would have guessed that the problems were going to be too much for him to deal with.

Taking a close look at the pope’s resignation declaration, the points of deteriorating health and the inability to probably serve stood out. However when the declaration talks of the need of both the strength of the mind and that of the body to properly serve the ministry, it seems the mind might have been troubled not only by some of the problems mentioned above but others still to be made public. Whatever these other problems are, it is not the concern now, but who is to inherit them.

The problems are already too many, and many challenges will await the new Holy Father as he starts his papacy. Nevertheless, the new pope will need to work relentlessly to clean the house and keep the faith of faithful burning with the desire to find solace in the Lord Jesus Christ, especially at this tempting era. That is an epoch when the churches are becoming almost empty, but for a handful of old worshipers; and an era when the Catholic catechism is constantly coming under treat from secularists. Whether the new head of the Vatican finally comes from South America with the highest number of faithful or from Africa, where its dynamic and charismatic priests are highly sought after in Europe to fill more vacancies, unity most be the first step to finding solutions to all the pile of files at the papal office.

 
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Posted by on February 11, 2013 in News Analysis, Uncategorized

 

Africa: Rebellion today, change tomorrow

 

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François Bozizé of Central African Republic, CAR, recently appointed rebel leaders into his new government as part of the ceasefire accord signed last month to halt rebels’ progress towards the capital city, Bangui. The concern now is whether African leaders want an uprising before they can bring change to the people or respect their pre-election pledges. After DR Congo, Central African Republic, are were expecting other rebel groups to pick up arms and lead a rebellion for change?

Bozize’s fulfilment is welcomed by the Seleka coalition, though some groups seemed dissatisfied with their own portions of the national cake. Although the ceasefire is being observed by all parties, the rebels still have the gun power to start another attack at anytime. They are yet to disarm – still in possession of arms and ammunitions. Bozize, himself should know from experience as a military officer and also former coup master planner that it is hard to please rebels once they have their eyes set on taking over power. Therefore, the appointment is more of a double-sided sword. It can be taken as kind gesture as well as an act of weakness on the part of Bozize, who has always struggled to contain rebellion. After snatching power from late Ange-Félix Patassé in 2003, with the backing of Chad, Bozize for over the years has been unable to fortify his own forces to defend the country single-handedly. It is even believed that his presidential guards are all Chadians.

Weak leader, weak state

CAR, itself is a landlocked country though harbours minerals like uranium, diamond and other resources remains poor. Notable for its history of mutinies and leaders relying on foreign protégés to stay in power, it is a former French colony.  Today, the country is also a refuge for insurgent groups operating within its dense forest region, where Joseph Kony, and his Lord’s Resistance Army, LRA are suspected to be hiding.  President Bozize has constantly had to seek assistance from neighbouring countries – Cameroon, Chad, Congo Brazzaville and Gabon to hold on to power. If he is not lobbying for financial aids to boost his economy, he is soliciting for military intervention to stop rebels overthrowing him.

As experts of international relations would tell you, a weak nation is by itself a threat to regional stability. Vulnerable, it can be attacked at any time.  To continue to exist, a weak state will always be expecting assistance from outside, therefore any insurgent group with sponsors from abroad can easily mount a coup d’état to unseat a ruling government. In analogous terms, a weak state is more of a parasite that will always need a host for its existence.

Another problem with a weak state just as a weak leader is that it is constantly under pressure both from within as well as from exterior.  In order to endure this pressure, the head of state something is pushed to the walls, thus forced to sign accord that cannot be respected. When this happens there is always that probability that another conflict can ensue. For how long will neighbouring countries continue to provide support for Bozize to hang on an edge? Only Bozize can tell. As a result of this insecurity, most Central Africans have no choice but to flee to neighbouring countries that are already overburdened by their president.  With Bozize more of a beggar than a respected leader, which the rebels and opposition parties understand very well, his days in control are barely counted. Offering ministerial posts to rebel leaders is more like trying to mix water and oil. No matter how hard one tries to stir the two to mix, oil will always stand out.

All is not lost

Although the various groups have accused Bozize on many occasions for failing to respect the accords he signed for the rebels to disarm and join the regular army, the real problem is that of his feebleness. Weak in everything from rhetoric, to electoral campaign, to ruling and to taking concrete decisions, Bozize has often exposed his lapses that have initiated the very rebellion that he is trying to waft off today. Thinking more of a military commander, constantly being worried about his safety and escape routes in case of an assault, Bozize has lost support of his citizens and grip on power.

However, Bozize can blow his own trumpet that he is not alone. Joseph Kabila of DR Congo has been in the same hot seat for years. Whether Bozize first move to respect the Libreville, Gabon accord is welcomed or not, he would need more than a mere paper appointment to move the country ahead. More political reforms and economic initiatives and the will to promote democracy, good governance and dialogue even with his own opponents can play the trick. Being a former rebel, he must also be smart to understand other rebels and must work hard or hand in hand to build mutual understanding for the entire Central African Republic and not for his family or ego. Once bitten, twice shy.

 
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Posted by on February 6, 2013 in News Analysis, Uncategorized

 

Cameroon’s Biya ends flopped, French visit

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France’s military operation in Mali has continued to garner moral, logistical and financial supports from all countries around the world except for one, Cameroon. While sympathetic countries are digging deep to chip in whatever they can afford, Cameroon’s President Paul Biya has instead opted for a show-off trip to Paris.

Some people might call it a state visit to France or a meeting to strengthen Franco-Cameroon diplomatic relations. Better still, an invitation from French president. Whatsoever name you what to label the trip, it’s in fact meaningless at this crucial moment.  No reasonable person would expect the French President, Francois Hollande, to be offering a state visit to a good-for-nothing president, especially at the time when his government’s hands are full or preoccupied with having a successful operation in northern Mali. Keeping security alerts on all its borders and diplomatic institutions abroad and also trying to provide protection and shelters to French and European Union citizens trapped in conflicts across Africa are other added duties for France to sort out.

However, though President Hollande, decided to receive him, what they may have discussed that would be of interest to both France and Cameroon is yet to be known. That is, if they actually had strategic or working meeting to discuss any topic of interest at all. With no much to talk about, some smart French entrepreneurs may have taken advantage to discuss business with his entourage. Again whether any lucrative deal could have been reached at is another impasse. Business people are interested in people that have feasible deals or potential markets that can entice investors. Unfortunately for Biya, his valises were instead full of bogus or made-up contracts, embezzlement case files, poor human rights records, bad governance, unaccountable foreign debts, and the list is inexhaustible.

Who cares about Biya’s visit?

In power for more than thirty years, Biya could hold the record for the president that has made the most visits to Palais de l’Élysée– the official resident of French president. From François Mitterrand, to Jacques Chirac to Nicolas Sarkozy, Biya has been a regular face with strange stories. Strange, in the sense that once there is a new president elected in France; Biya seems to take it as a personal challenge to make friendship even if the person does not like his persona, profile or politics. How Biya gets to arrange these official visits is also another mystery. People pay visits to others because they either have something amicable to show, share, offer or learn and eventually to build a mutual bond that would last for long. Biya on his part visits for the cameras, the media or to make cheap publicity since he is even a stranger in his own country. A president who nobody knows where he is, what he is doing and what his plans are. A president who does not know what his ministers are doing, and only wait to be told when something had gone wrong.

As Biya does not know who is doing what and what is supposed to be done and what is left to be done, his government if often chaotic with more than half of his ministers being thieves in disguise. Either it is pressure from foreign donors or an attempt to win back hearts, for three decades in power; it is only of recent that Biya has pressed for corrupt administrators to face trial for embezzlement. A good gesture, though initiated too late when the state coffers have been emptied and Cameroonians are left to bear the brunt of continuous misappropriation. They continue to live in abject poverty, when Cameroon is a country with plenty for everyone. The gross fraud carried out by ministers including a former Prime Minister has raised concern about the president himself since most of the ministers today in jail or awaiting trial were all his close associates. To go by the saying, show me your friends and I’II tell you who you are, therefore if your friends are thieves, there is no way that you can convince anyone that you aren’t a thief as well. It’s time waiting for Biya to try to convince anyone that he was not aware of all the corruption that have marred his government and brought Cameroon’s economy to its knees. If Biya cannot trust his ministers or administrators, then they cannot trust him, so are Cameroonians. How then can any business person want to invest in a country where corruption and embezzlement are so widespread? The answer is obvious that if Biya and his untrustworthy entourage went to France to win over investors for business deal, they surely returned with nothing.

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Apart from the timing of the visit, Biya could be on France’s black list of leaders that must be dealt with using a long spoon. France may be right here, for if your people don’t like you then they must be something wrong with you. Cameroonians’ living conditions are dropping with underemployment quite high. The need for a change being what they all hope for though they still don’t know when it shall come true. With France being the highest importer and exporter to Cameroon, it is evident its leader know very well that Cameroonians deserve better lives since they know how much money come in and out of the country. As the visit has ended, the only thing Cameroonians should be hoping for is that President Hollande should force Biya to put his house in order –  change his way of governance, and be ready to hand over power by not taking part in any upcoming election. Whether Biya would yield to any external pressure, only his age and health would determine that.  Ageing, losing home support and trust, and ruling with an iron fist, Biya like Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe is yet to accept that his time is up.

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

 
 
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