COMMUNES ET VILLES UNIES DU CAMEROUN :: UNITED COUNCILS AND CITIES OF CAMEROON

BUREAU NATIONAL :: National Office

WABANE

 

Mayor  NEMBO KETU Israel

Phone    +237 677 77 54 48

  

Location of council area

The Wabane council area is one of the three councils in Lebialem Division. It is found between latitude 5034’ and 5044’ and longitude 9055’ and covers a total surface area of 1800 sq km. It has an estimated population of 62,342 living in 40 administrative units known as villages. It is bordered to the North by Batibo Sub-Division of Momo Division (North West Region), to the South by Upper Bayang Sub Division of Manyu Division, to the East by Mbouda-Bambotus (West Region) and to the West by Alou Sub-Division of Lebialem Division. Major access route to the council area is through Dschang (Menoua Division), Lewoh (Lebialem Division) and Guzang (Momo Division) and Kombu (Bamboutus Division)

Geographically, Wabane is divided into three geographical parts made up of the lower belt, the middle belt where the council chambers is situated and the upper belt.

Biophysical milieu

Climate

The council area experiences two seasons – the dry season that begins in November and ends in March and the rainy season that commences in April and stretches up to October. It has 3 distinct temperatures owing to the marked difference in topography and vegetation. The lower belt popularly called Lower Mundani has a characteristic hot temperature typical on a tropical forest zone. The middle belt (where the council building is found) has a higher altitude and the temperature is mild. The upper belt (north-west) is tropical savannah with an altitude of up to 2100m. Here the temperatures can go below 180C in the months of December to January.

Soils

The difference in altitude and vegetation types gives rise to different soil types. From the field studies, soils of the lower belt to parts of the middle belt can be described as sandy-loam to reddish alluvial (ferralsols). The soils of the lower belt are highly exploited for plantation agriculture (oil palm and cocoa plantations) and to a lesser extend subsistence crops like plantains, cassava, cocoyam’s, bananas and pepper). The upper belt has rich alluvial and silty-loam soils interspersed with very barren chalk and clay soils. These soils serve for very high commercial market gardening crops like Irish potato, cabbage, carrots and leeks.

It is worth noting that the soils of the middle belt are loose, highly leached and more exposed to soil erosion and landslides leading to its characteristic poor nature.

Relief and Landforms

In terms of landforms, it is very varied with three distinct topographical regions and marks the end of the Manyu plain. The topography or landform is undulating and characterised by elevated, prominent mountainous terrain, with altitude ranging from lowland Bechati, Besali, (570m) and 72m (Nkong) through 1470m (Alongkong) to about 2200m at M’mouck Leteh. At the Bamumbu Fondom, hill slopes are steep to very steep, narrow boulder strewn crests and deeply incised valleys. The area of M’mouck Leteh is equally undulating but with broad hilltops and gentle slopes suitable for intensive vegetable farming.

Wind types

Two main characteristic types of winds blow across the area. These are the north-east Harmatan winds that come with the dry season and the south-east monsoon that come with the rainy season. The coming of the Harmatan winds is noticed in the council area in the month of November by violent winds particularly in the upper plateau which more often than not cost great damages in buildings and crops. This violent effect of the winds is also noticeable in the month of March-April during their take-off which is a transitional period between the Harmatan and the quick-off of monsoon winds in May. However the monsoon winds operate in an atmosphere of a gentle breeze. The cold dry Harmatan and warm wet monsoon winds give rise to the characteristic cold dry season and warm rainy season of tropical climate, experienced in the council area.

Hydrology

The main rivers and streams in the council area are found in the lower and middle belt. There are equally many drinkable springs in the whole of the council area. The main river of the municipality known as river Meyi gets it rise from mount Bamboutous and to it is added many other tributaries downstream resulting in River Manyu. During the rainy season, many of these streams overflow their banks and become fast-flowing and dangerous to cross.

The upper tropical savannah area of M’mouck Leteh , Atsuala, Magha and Fonenge have few streams and springs, many of the springs dry off in the dry season leading to acute water shortage both for household use and irrigation.

Flora and Vegetation types.

There are three distinct vegetation type within the municipality. There is tropical forest vegetation in the lower parts from the villages of Nkong, Bangang through Besali to Egumbo; wooded savannah in the middle part (Talung, Alongnkong, Nchingang and Banteng and the tropical savannah vegetation at the higher attitudes of M’mouck Leteh to Magha. The difference in vegetation type equally gives rise to different biodiversities

The lower tropical forest and the wooded middle zones hold the highest level of flora – timber and non-timber forest species (including medicinal plants). Much of the primary forest have been converted to secondary forests and void of major timber species.

The tropical savannah zone has grassy vegetation, with isolated patches of forest (stunted trees) or planted eucalyptus trees.

Forest Exploitation

There is the exploitation of tropical timber for furniture and the roofing of houses. The exploitation of wild or planted Eucalyptus forests for the same purpose is common in the Upper belt. Apart from the great animal diversity that is exploited for food from the forest though with a lot of restriction from the ministry of forestry and wildlife for endangered species, non timber forest species are becoming increasing important in income generation in Wabane council. A table of NTFPs below shows some very appreciated species.

Fauna

The difference in vegetation type gives rise to a variety of wildlife species (mammals, reptiles, birds and insects). A local Non-governmental Organisation Environment and Development Foundation (ERuDEF) has listed a number of animal species that could be found in the forest and grassland vegetation of the Wabane Council Area – some that are rare or endangered. Amongst others are the Primates (Chimpanzees and Western Lowland mountain Gorillas) to wild cats like African Civets, Genets, Foxes, Stone hayracks, antelopes, deers, caneras, grass cutters and a variety of Avifauna species like the Banaman turacle, Parrots etc

For fear of extermination of the above-mentioned primates ERuDEF is working alongside the Ministry of Wildlife to create a sanctuary in the lower Mundani zone though without some resistance from a fraction of the local population.

Protected area.

As of now, there exists no protected area in the municipality - even in the whole of Lebialem division. As mentioned above, there is an envisaged creation of a protected area facilitated by ERuDeF to protect some of the endangered species and to propose to the local population an alternative source of revenue other than from unsustainable forest exploitation. The protected area is expected to stretch from Lower Fossimondi (in Alou Sub-Division), Bangang-Bechati-Besali villages. Some of the wildlife species expected to be protected are listed in table 3 below.

Mineral resources.

The mineral wealth of the are is still to be discovered, for no proper study or research has been carried out by competent environmental geologists. This notwithstanding, some of the locals believe that some deposits of diamond, Muscovites and quartz can be found in the hills of Wabane.

Description of the socio-economic environment

The principal economic activity in the municipality is agriculture which occupies at least 95% and therefore economic progress largely depends on the exploitation of agricultural potentials. Other economic investment activities are very low, probably due to the enclave nature of the area. This can be confirmed by the limited number of service providers in different sectors. This agricultural sector is dominated by the production of food crops and cash crops. Livestock and fishery activities equally prevail in the area, though to a lesser extent. This is seen by the rearing of animals like cattle, goats, sheep in the upper zone and in a general trend in the entire municipality, each household may be having a few fowls let in the wild and a pig sty with at least a pig. Some hunting is practised and fishing though to a very limited extent. Rural urban migration is significant in the council area due to the poor economic situation and low rate of social amenities thus posing a difficult livelihood. Supplementary economic activities like petit trading, and transport services are practiced by a very limited percentage of the population.

History of the Wabane Council

The Wabane council is one of the three councils in Lebialem Division of the South West Region. The Wabane council was created by decree No 95/082 of 24/4/95 in April 1995. It has a surface area of 1800 sq km with a population of 63818 people (field data) The council has been managed since then by four Mayors in three successive mandates-Mr. Manfred Nkonganyi Fontem, Tanyi Simon Kedju ,Jong Manasseh Teba , who came in to complete the turn of predecessor and Nembo Ketu Israel. The council head quarter is located in Babong Bamumbu and manages an estimated population of 86721 inhabitants occupying a total surface area of 1800 sq km (source: Wabane Council logbook).

Population structure

It is widely accepted that the population of an area is the basis for any meaning planning for development or distribution of resources. According to the council logbook the population estimate of the council area stands at 86,721 inhabitants spread over a surface area of 1800 sq km (Council logbook). This gives a population density of 48 inhabitants/km sq. The recent field survey by CEPLODEV (2011) puts the population at 62342 inhabitants with a population density of 35 persons per km2.

Ethnic Groups and inter-ethnic relations

Wabane constitutes one main clan which is the Mundani clan - the population which can either be referred to as Lower Mundani (those living at the lowlands of Bangang, Besali, Bechati, Folepi, Egumbo etc) and Upper Mundani (those living in the mid and highlands). These people are said to have originated from Widikum from the North West Region. Others, the M’mouck tribe from the upper belt of Wabane sub Division are also said to have migrated from Dschang in the West Region as a consequence of the Makiza wars and others especially from the lowland from Upper Bayang in Manyu Division. The difference can be seen from their dressings, dance and their dialect. The main dialect is known as the Mundani. All live in harmony as one person.

Other tribes found within the municipality are the Bangwas, the Bamilekis, the Bayangs, the Meta and the Bassossi – most of who are civil servants.

Religion

Wabane municipality is receptive to all religious groups accepted in Cameroon. Christianity is the religion most practiced in the Municipality. The prominent denominations in the area are Presbyterian, Catholic, Full gospel, Baptist, Apostolic, and others with nomadic Muslims spotted around the Western part of the Upper belt. The religious groups serve the area with moral ethics and some social welfare services like health units and schools.

Population mobility

As with other rural areas of the country, movement of persons out of these areas is common. In the Wabane council area, emigration is very noticeable in the middle belt (urban space) as compared to the lower and the upper regions. This is due to the difficult topography, difficult access and the very poor nature of the soils that make farming unrewarding.

The huge production of palm oil and cocoa in the lower region and the Irish potato, cabbages, carrots in the upper region which is more accessible from nearby Dschang attract a considerable proportion of immigrant farmers from other areas of the Division and makes the population more stable.

Social organization

The population of Wabane municipality are divided into the Lower Mundani clan and the Upper Mundani clan. The Lower Mundani is made up of 7 villages (Egumbo, Banti, Bechati,

Folebi, Besali, Bangang and Nkong). They are governed by second Class Chiefs (popularly referred to as Fons) while the Upper Mundani is made up of 9 villages – each traditionally administered by a third class chief. These third class chief are all answerable to the paramount ruler – a first class chief known as His Royal majesty the Fon of Bamumbu. Chieftaincy is hereditary in the Mundani Clan. In the Clan, the Traditional rulers are generally called Fons though the fall in three different categories as Structured by the Ministry of territorial administration and decentralization. The Fons is directly assisted by the village council which is constituted of Sub chiefs or quarter heads. The quarter heads are directly assisted by the ‘Nkems’ who act as the link between the family heads and the council.

Land tenure system

Land ownership in the Wabane municipality is hereditary. The housing system in the Wabane council area is made up of non permanent structures which make about 97%. The nature of building material is about 90% mud houses with thatch roofs or corrugated iron sheets. At most 3% housing is constructed of cement bricks with iron rods and majority of wooden houses are found in Lower Mundani which is hotter.

About 90% of the population of Wabane live around water sources like springs. This reflects the tendency of human settlement around natural water supply points. A majority of settlement patterns is dispersed except of linear settlement in the lower belt, with an example of Bechati and Besali in particular. This should have a direct link with their lowlands nature.

Looking at the Zonal spacing of Wabane council, the population of is settled on two main geographical landforms with about 40% living around the lowlands of the lower belt. While 60% occupy the rocky, hilly, undulating middle zone and the slopes and plateau of the far upper zone.