Sometimes I cry

There was a time, when I used to fall asleep, to a pleasant, dreamless, dark depth, totally at peace, but not anymore. Nowadays, I feel an intense bitterness welling up in my mouth; I am a grief-stricken man. Cries of caution and shouts of discomfort with the current socio-political crisis rocking the English-speaking parts of the country seem to be like water off a duck’s back.

Some people appear to be snaffling the peace and their attitude has snagged Cameroon’s much advertised unity in diversity.This nation has become a black hole where any lunacy can thrive and there is a black smudge on the national sense of wellbeing. One is tempted to wonder aloud, when all the chaos will come to an end. Schools in the country are to be reopened on Monday, September 4, after the long holidays and in the Northwest, the burning question is: “shall they effectively resume?”

Many have joined the fracas over the school resumption issue in the Northwest and Southwest Regions of Cameroon. Some parents shudder at the thought of their progeny being maimed, kidnapped or killed, following threats from self–styled revolutionaries, who have dubbed the school boycott operation a collective sacrifice.

Who indeed is making the sacrifice? It appears to me that the school attending children and students are taking the brunt of this so-called Anglophone struggle. The ghost town situations increase the number of sacrificial lambs with business people and petty traders losing a lot of money, and what about teachers of the private sector?

Where is the love, peace and unity? On both sides of the political spectrum, everyone is in favour of dialogue, but no one appears to be willing to take a seat at the negotiating table. There is need to thrash out this Anglophone problem as I hear it being called, to wipe the slate clean, to start afresh. The burning, threats and chaos have to stop, the children are innocent and even ignorant about what has made hell to break lose.

Nelson Mandela preached love and forgiveness and taught by example.

Do these words mean anything to those vested with the power to preside over the destiny of this nation-amnesty, pardon, good faith, dialogue? And to those advocating a spilt; what have the children done to you? Honestly, there are many preposterous vicissitudes in this life than any philosophy can conjure.

So, I the Bohemian of Abakwa, born on the last day of the month in the land of the people, this day declare: when I hear that the football in the country of the African champions needs to be made normal, and the children in some parts are running the risk of missing out on yet another school year; I cry. Some times I agree with who says big boys don’t, but I tell you, sometimes I cry.

By Winston Lebga

Willful self-deception

“What is going on?” One is tempted to ask. The threat of disaster begins to loom very large in my mind. News of strange happenings hitherto considered by many in these parts to be meant for faraway places, seem likely to be happening here, anytime soon. That is, if the body politic does not stop playing the game of accusations and counter-accusations.

The truth might offend some, but speaking the truth can never be a sin. We seem at times, to be a ‘dog eat dog society’ and at other times, we appear to be a ‘man eat nothing society.’ The questions keep pouring in, ‘who are we?’ or ‘where are we?’ as Patrick Tataw Obenson a.k.a Ako-Aya would have asked.

I was reading about a man called John Pombe Magufuli, who was elected Tanzania’s president in 2015. I never cease to marvel at his moves towards righting the wrongs that have crept into that East African country’s body politic. I wonder whether those moves could make sense in our fatherland.

This is a man who, as member Government, tended to keep a low profile, eschewing acclaim for successful projects, shunning foreign visits, unlike most of his peers and on occasion, speaking out clearly and bluntly. Here are some of his moves:

  • Cancelled Independence Day celebrations and all the extravagant expenses Government traditionally splurged out. Instead, he wanted the day spent on street cleaning and enthusiastically participated.

 

  • Slashed the budget for the usually opulent opening of parliament by almost 90% and demanded that the money saved be spent on purchasing hospital beds and road works.
  • Cancelled foreign travel for Government officials and put a stop to the purchase of first class tickets. He decreed that henceforth, Government meetings would be held in state buildings rather than in expensive hotels.
  • Trimmed down a delegation of 50 set to tour commonwealth countries to four.
  • Rooted out 10 thousand ‘ghost workers’ from various Government departments and fired more than 10 thousand civil servants, after an investigation into the use of forged certificates among Government employees.

 

  • He appointed a 19 ministry cabinet and publicly warned those selected as ministers and other Government functionaries that he would not tolerate corruption, laziness or excessive bureaucracy. He told them to expect nothing more than to work tirelessly to serve the people of the country alongside him.

 

So, I, the Bohemian of Abakwa, born on the last day of the month in land of proud people, after hearing about these things, this day declare, if it becomes clear in this our fatherland that the gravy train has come to an end – that Government posting no longer means a life of ease, privilege and the opportunity to make money, would that not be a wonderful prospect. Government posting should mean hard work, motivated by nothing more than a fierce desire to serve the public. That could move the country a notch or two, but, I know what you are thinking; that I am either guilty of wishful thinking or willful self-deception.

By Winston Lebga