By Tony Lohu
PUPILS and students in  Benin Republ;ic are expected to resume for classes in the next few weeks. Unfortunately, however, there is a controversy surrounding the official date for the start of the next school year.

Last year, disruptions due to teachers’strikes led to a slight redesign of the school calendar and the late organization of examinations. After the publication of the results of various examinations, the government had set an official date for the 2014-2015 school year.

From the trade unions, no date has been announced. Some talked of September 29, 2014, while others argued for October 13.

Addressing the issue, the general secretary of the CSA-Benin, one of the leaders of trade unions in Benin, Dieudonné Lokossou, said the resumption of classes should be subject to negotiations between the government and the social partners, adding that the date of return was not yet a priority for CSA Bénin. However, the CSTB Deputy General Secretary, Kassa Mompo, ignored the date on which the resumption would take place.

But he explained that usually, the government consults with unions at various levels of education for the choice of a consensual day. He said that September 29 was proposed, but the last he heard, it was postponed to October 16.

Lokossou said that last weekend, during an official ceremony, the minister for Secondary, technical education and vocational training shifted the date of October 13.

The ministry for Higher Education, however, announced that the academic year would have been set for next October 20. This means then that no official date has been chosen for the next term of classes, a situation that puts students and their parents in a total doubt. Uncertainty comes above all by the side of the Central trade union and Confederations which announced that the new school resumption date will depend on the results that will come from future meetings-government -unions called for mid-September.

Beninoise Council votes FCFA2bn for change of election register

THE Extraordinary Council of Ministers has decided to disburse 2 billion FCFA to the benefit of the COS/LEPI, institution in charge of the election’s registrar’s correction and additional 500 million FCFA to the CENA, commission in charge to the organization of elections in Benin.

Last Friday instead of the two billion FCFA promised, only one billion FCFA has been given, and so far nothing for the CENA. The delay in the release makes it impossible for the commission to respect the deadline of November 30, 2014, and tasks the maintenance of communal elections in 2014, as promised by the President of the Republic Boni Yayi.

The willingness of the government to make available the election’s registrar is definitely real. But here it seems not to be good intentions, but to disburse in time, the expected funding. Of the 2 billion FCFA announced by the Extraordinary Council of Ministers last Tuesday, the COS/LEPI  has just got  one billion FCFA. And it is hoped that the remaining billion be disbursed. Ditto for the 500 million FCFA announced in favour of the CENA by the same Council.

Beyond that, the reality is that the delay in the disbursement of funds had a negative impact on the timing of the COS/LEPI. The Chairman of the commission repeatedly conditioned the fixing of November 30, 2014 at the timely disbursement of funds. This means that the government will respect its promise to untie the cord from the stock market in time. One thing is to be disbursed, and another to make it available in time. Consequently, the timing of November 30, 2014 is missing, and the only one responsible is the government that has not disbursed on time, financial resources.

From that moment, it will be pure demagoguery to continue to say that the municipal elections will be held before the end of 2014. There is no point running to botch the job, which it should be remembered, is the subject of controversy. Political realism wants to be put in the dynamic of coupling the three elections in 2015. This new situation calls deputies of the National Assembly to get out of their “coma” and develop a bill that takes into account wherever the severity not to hold parliamentary elections in March 2015, forcing the Constitutional Court to review its copy which is “without the election’s registrar, no elections.”

No one will support the crazy idea to see members extend their constitutional mandate. This means that whatever unimaginable equations, legislative elections are to be held in March 2015 and presidential ones in 2016, when due. The political class is challenged, unless we are complicit in an appalling conspiracy against the nation, in the name of selfish and malicious interests.

Police shifts ban on use of motorcycles

Repression of unregistered motorcycles did not start on Monday, September 15 as planned. The government still gave six months to citizens to be ready in this new security reform. The decision came from a meeting between the administration of land transport (DGTT) and the National Police . It then means that management of transport is not yet ready to meet the large number of motorcycles to be recorded.

According to our investigations, the lack of staff in the general direction of Land Transport is the leading cause of slow operations. The second fact which justifies this is the slowness related to the company that makes the plates. At this level, the necessary equipment that can enable rapid manufacturing and in record time is not the availability of this company. To all this is added the fact that some agents of DGTT wanted to profit from these transactions organizing incidentals, in collusion with some “fake freight.” This atmosphere sometimes misunderstood and uncontrollable by officials of the Direction of land transport is subject to the fact that even if people are able to submit their entries, it takes two to three months or more before the plate is actually available.

It is urgent that the DGTT reviewing its policy by performing not only the liberation of the sector but also in the recruitment of staff to make it easier for people. It is also necessary to carry through the press an explanation to the people of the actual duration for the registration of a motorcycle and arrangements underway to make them profit from these six months postponement.

Councillors plan new rules for ethical conduct

THE authority in charge of media’s regulation has defined the new rules for councillors for the fifth term of office of the High Authority for Audiovisual and Communication (HAAC). At a meeting, with media executives last Friday, decisions were made to redefine the ethical principles following the discrepancies noted in the treatment of the recent statement made by the head of state in the northern part of the country (BOKO), relative to the cost of elections.

The exercise was seen initially as a form of a veiled meeting. But finally, media managers may have enjoyed the process. In a relatively relaxed atmosphere, the partners involved have revisited the ethical texts and taken options along the lines so as to tease the tension.

According to Boni Tessi, president of the HAAC, the first session of exchange with officials was scheduled to be held in October. But due to the treatment made by journalists to the statement of the President Boni Yayi at Boko, advisers were keen on putting off the fire sparked by waves of reactions in the press. The meeting virtually improvised an ethical approach. President of the HAAC, said Benin was borrowing the critical paths of the elections and it is the duty of the press to help calm the passions.

He said the choice of words in debates and writings, rigorous process in the search of information must converge, adding that the intention was to call for calm, unity and solidarity. The discussions went on for hours. At the end, media representatives and advisers of the HAAC agreed for a minimum so as to have a more responsible press. Media professionals at the end of the meeting appreciated the initiative. They, for the most part expressed their willingness to follow the lead set by advisors online. It should be stressed that they have failed to emphasize the gravity of the statement. For them, it was an appropriate response.

As to remind, a week ago, the head of state, Yayi Boni, had a speech in the northern part of the country stressed the need to reduce the cost of elections. During that moment, he said that elections in Benin were more and more expensive, a  reaction which tend to avoid organizing elections, so as to get a third chance; what is unconstitutional.


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