Mission to Kodengui

Sunday, 19th May 2019, the Yaounde caucus of ‘Hut 2’ paid a visit to the Kondengui Principal Prison to visit the incarcerated members of the Southern Cameroons’ (Ambazonia’s) leadership. On arriving there, well before mid-day, we learned that we had undertaken an impossible mission because, since the previous week, there had been strict instructions from the Presidency that no one be allowed to visit the detainees. The strict instructions had been issued following the visit of Eric Chinje to the prison. The ‘Presidency’ is said to have been highly embarrassed by a video Eric promptly released in the world media following his visit to Kondengui.

However, since “le Cameroun c’est le Cameroun” we did not immediately give up our mission and return home. One of us knew very well some of the warders who advised that we should buy something like pallets of bottled water and, on getting there, say that we had come to see Reverend Father Andrew. Father Andrew is one of the Ambazonians who had already been sentenced (to eleven years with hard labour, I think). As a prisoner, as distinguished from a detainee, he has a right to receive visitors.  The little conspiratorial plan was that, once we were let in on account of the priest, we would then use the opportunity to see Sisiku and co. We proceeded accordingly, little knowing that our little secret was known to all the warders along the whole path. The one at the first gate, who took and registered our ID cards insisted that it was not Father Andrew we were going to see, that he knew who we were going to see and we should tell him. Whereupon I said that I wanted to see Father Andrew whom I had not seen since he was imprisoned and also a family member of ours, Shufai  Berinyuy, whom I had visited before. In fact, Shufai’s younger sister was with us and had narrated what difficulties she had encountered in recent times coming to see him.

In LRC all procedural problems with government regulations can be solved by putting your hand in the pocket; a veritable racket as everyone concerned gets to get his/her due share of the booty. So we were able to get in to the second waiting room. There was absolutely no going beyond this point but our co-conspirators had gone in to fulfill their part of the bargain and informed Sisiku and Shufai, who at the time were at some religious service, that we were there to see them. They shortly emerged, looking healthy, fit and in good spirits.

We had to discuss there in the waiting space in the presence of all the warders and other waiting visitors within the very short discretional time allowed, scarcely 10 minutes, all told. We rapidly told them about Hut 2 and our main mission, emphasizing the fact that one of our admission criteria insists that members must have no direct ambitions of a political or economic nature in the emergent Ambaland, so as to enhance objectivity and fair-mindedness.  That the group had sent us to sound them regarding the recent releases of the President on the IG. That the said releases had shaken the grassroots on GZ and, on balance, from the point of view of perception, had been generally highly unfavourably received. That the Hut wanted to contribute towards managing the situation. That they at Kondengui are certainly the face of the Revolution and that nearly everyone conceded that but, could the President, please, stay calm and keep a low profile while the challenges elicited by his releases are handled, in view of the fact that the Revolution  seems to be inexorably approaching the finishing line?

Our President, Sisiku Ayuk Tabe, responded more or less as follows. He is very happy that we come. That the recent actions he has taken were long overdue, but there is no time to tell us the whole story. That in prison, they are very well informed, more informed than most people outside and, with scarcely any distractions, they are focused on the revolution full time. They have been communicating constantly with many people including the diplomatic community some of whom have come several times to commune with them in prison. That they had a lot to do with the recent moves and actions of the European Union, USA and the UK. That the Revolution had come dangerously close to total collapse owing to the incompetence and corruption of the IG. That it is highly impossible for them to betray the revolution; that in fact each of them is so committed to our getting to Buea that, if an offer were made to kill one of them so that we get to Buea, there would be a scramble among them for who should bear that supreme sacrifice. He understands what we are saying about perception but that, because he is so sure of the rightness of his actions on behalf of the Revolution, he is holding on to them even in the face of receiving 90 percent blame or condemnation. That appearance is very different from reality and when we do get to Buea and lay the facts before everyone, some of us will thankfully fall at the feet of some of the people who are roundly being condemned today and look askance at some of those receiving high praise. That the Hut should please just give him the benefit of the 10 percent margin of doubt that remains in our mind.

Many questions remained to be asked but we had to go. Shufai, however, took our telephone contacts and it appears they are able to make calls from in there.  

Gobata (for the Yaounde Hut 2 Caucus)

‘Greener pasture’ politicians, patriots

For three years now and counting, life in the English parts of Cameroon in particular and the rest of the country in general has been hellish. Recently, thousands of Diaspora Cameroonians have been taking to foreign streets. They have been washing the country’s repugnant dross in public. Structures of Cameroon’s diplomatic missions in European capitals have been vandalized. They would eventually cost starveling taxpayers, billions to repair or replace.

Back in the country, the cabal of ‘greener pasture’ politicians and so called patriots are undaunted, unwilling to cede a genuine inch to suffering protesters. Routine Epicurean-type feasting, even as tens of thousands of compatriots live, procreate, and die in the bushes continues and is still beamed live on television channels. Every single protest is shot down with AK-47s.They are hailing the tired benevolent, nay, stubborn cow, almost milking it to death, artificially watering the pastures, hoping to maintain the status quo from which they have been greedilyreaping over the years.

The greedy tick sucking its host to death is most likely to die with the cow. Pundits are piqued by the hustling for power, wealth and fame.Weeks back, the mayor of Buea engaged thugs to hack open the doors of business premises whose owners were suspected of respecting separatists’ calls for ‘ghost town.’ It was daylight official banditry by any other name, carried out with the protection of heavily armed government troops. A few days afterwards, an electronics shop was burnt to ashes apparently by separatist militias. Its proprietor might have breached “ghost town injunctions.”

Elsewhere in Bamenda, capital of the Northwest Region, adherents of the ruling party who appeared on the ceremonial grounds for the May 20 feast couldn’t show their faces. They either feared subsequent reprisals from separatist thugs or they were starvelings, targeting the pittances that would eventually be doled out to those who dared the “terrorists” to at least, constitute a motley crowd of celebrants. Shameful!

But come to think of it. Cameroon is at war with its citizens today because of entangling alliances of ‘greener pasture’overlords that are lined up against what is largely seen as the bigger interest.In other words, it is the “chopping” few versus the protesting masses. Be that as it may, this is a problem that could have been treated as a mere spat. But the war option was gleefully chosen. War, like any other government project and maybe more so, is an expensive project that can easily go wrong. In our own case, it has gone thoroughly wrong, no matter how much anyone tries to hurriedly bury the staggering casualties to hide the gruesome realities.The ongoing war in the Northwest and Southwest Regions has, to say the very least degenerated. It is dirty and wasteful in every sense of the word. It becomes even more foolhardy when leaders are seen to be rather casually enthusiastic about engaging it or eager for a fight, even if they pride themselves on winning, when they do get into that fight.

In Cameroon, very simple, straightforward things are mostly achieved by way of cajoling, bullying, organizing political pressure and eventually engaging external lobbies at dizzying costs to the taxpayer. Those at the helm of affairs hardly pause to think of the cost effectiveness and benefits of their acts. Money, bullying and brute force are simply thrown in and policed.

Two men stand out in the epitomizing of this tomfoolery. They are Paul Atanga Nji and Ekema Patrick. The duo seems to have agreed that people get governmentally recognized and compensated when they make lots of bloody noise and so, have joined the fray. They understand what from every indication, is a simple game of political winners and silent or cheated political losers. Sustainable or better still business decisions for the likes of Ekema and Atanga Nji are just after thoughts. The master’s will, must be done.

But we have seen how such ‘horsewhip-like’ governance has destroyed the economy and created embarrassing misery, especially in the English speaking Regions of the country.We have seen how it has felled towering giants like the Cameroon Development Corporation, CDC and PAMOL Plantations. We have seen how it has decimated hundreds of villages and townships. We can see clearly that it has yielded more cost than benefits; more hatred for the regime and dissidents alike; more lives destroyed than saved with wasteful new institutions and procedures created with proliferating executive signatures.

Honestly, the most mavericks like Ekema and Atanga Nji can achieve from their quixotic acts of bravado would be political appointments for the political scavenging they are carrying out. The electorate, aka political customers aren’t going to stick with the Ekemas except by way of outright rigging or crass dictatorship. Under normal circumstances, Ekema’s ruling party members are expected to vote with their feet in droves because he has harmed them emotionally and economically. In any case, dead businessmen and customers aren’t going to recommend the likes of Atanga Nji, Ekema and the collectivity of Diaspora warmongers to their voting friends because their assigns raped and killed them and their businesses.

Ignoring the demands being made by teeming masses of Cameroonians and instead reeling out one decree after the other in the blind hope that government can change the laws of physics or change the laws of economics is tantamount to arguing with the faithful mirror that throws back the warts on your face at you. It has become fashionable for ‘greener pasture’ politicians and other Man Fridays to quote, praise and hail Mr. Biya, even at children’s birthday parties.It may sound warm and fuzzy and positive because free chop and “mimbo” are lavishly served, with rented women programmed toululate at every twist.

Yet, providing occasional chop, choice wines and freebies at lavish parties don’t last. What lasts is more businesslike approach to running the government while listening to the general public instead of the noise from rented motley crowds as supplied by ‘greener pasture’ politicians.  The best form of populism is its orientation against fawning, parasitic elites and in favour of the overwhelming majority of the population, even as specific policies come and go.

Last but not least, the current spate of protests by Cameroonians in European capitals, plus the ongoing mass protests in Sudan even after a Methuselah dictator’s butt has been rudely kicked should serve as a pointer to his ilk that the power of fools, especially when they are in multitudes should never be undermined.

‘All AFCON’ without work makes us dull citizens

By Charlie Ndi Chia

See what they have done to Mr. President! He was upbeat. He kept insisting that Cameroon will be ready to host the 2019 edition of African Football Cup of Nations, AFCON. He swore without any prompting in practically every policy speech he made that every piece of relevant infrastructure would be in place as and when due for the hosting of this foremost continental jamboree.

But the last time we checked, ‘AFCON Cameroon 2019’ was an opium dream. Cameroon had been ignominiously stripped of the hosting rights for very obvious embarrassing reasons we wouldn’t want to bore you with for now. As we write, the chances of the Indomitable Lions partaking at this year’s AFCON due to take off in less than three weeks, are hanging in the balance. The Comoros Islands insists that Cameroon lost the legal right to partake, and have gone to equity with hands that may be cleaner than Yaounde would want to accept.

Egypt was readier at very short notice, much more so than Cameroon that had several years to prepare for the event. Media reports claimed that while Mr. President bleated about how he would personally ensure that the event holds in Cameroon as and when due, he never [even for once] [personally] visited a single AFCON project site during the entire period of his sweet pep speech making. Looting from the AFCON project budget reportedly went “nuclear,” with certain vote holders and some other individuals concerned with the realization of the project, grabbing and eating until they were regularly vomiting on their shoes. Justice is yet to hold those responsible for scuttling Cameroon’s right to host the biggest continental sporting event. Certain purportedly corrupt individuals identified and fingered instead got promoted shortly after the Confederation of African Football, CAF’s, disqualification bombshell.

Cameroon must have juggled and demonstrated ‘diplomatic contrition,’ because instead of punishing her outright for desecrating the continent’s ‘football tabernacle,’ the Ivory Coast was foxed out of their 2021 hosting rights to give football legend Samuel Etoo’s country another quick opportunity to make amends. Whether this chance would be taken is left to be seen.

Some Six months after Cameroon was shut out of the hosting, the country is busy carrying out a bloody war against Boko Haram and separatists. No doubt, the war project is costing the nation billions monthly, plus international credibility. About a month ago, work was said to have grounded at the ‘Paul Biya’ Stadium, in Olembe near Yaounde. Protesting workers complained that they had not been paid for many months. So did the foreign contractors handling the project. Elsewhere, the road infrastructure linking the hosting venues are either dilapidated or whatever work being carried out here is at snail speed.

Roads, power supply, hotel and health infrastructures, all prerequisites for hosting are inadequate by FIFA and CAF requirements. They just might not be there come 2021. And even as Mr. President has been bleating in his speeches about the nation’s already harnessed electric power potentials, what is visible on the ground is a nation virtually groping in darkness. Last week Yaounde was facing a serious water crisis and the excuse the water board gave for the embarrassment was that there was lack of electrical power supply to gravitate water in the pipes from an Akonolinga catchment.

In most parts of the Northwest and Southwest Regions, including Bamenda and Buea, a running tap is practically celebrated with wine and beer. Certain parts of the two Regions, including major cities like Kumba and Bamenda celebrate a shining bulb. Mamfe is lighted by the national grid for about four or five days in a month. The list goes on and on and applies to many other parts of the Republic, including those that were supposed to have been hosting AFCON in less than three weeks from now. The speeches keep being sweetened. They continue to reassure, and implore us not to believe the evidence of our own eyes as it were.

And we ask ourselves, is it prudent or possible for a nation to prosecute a raging war, moot an elusive dialogue, host a continental soccer jamboree, handle multiple elections, purport to fight poverty to a standstill and strive to remain one and indivisible in just a matter of months? Is it possible for Cameroon to host AFCON without working to curb inertia, ineptitude, corruption and warmongering and still claim not to be dull citizens? The answer is blowing in the wind.