Digression from matters of the moment

Penultimate week, the social media was awash with reactions to what has now come to be termed the Messanga Nyamding challenge. The substance of this gibberish is the self-acclaimed Biyaist’s contention that Southern Cameroonians are supposed to be grateful to President Biya whose so called magnanimity has permitted them to enjoy the luxury of elite professional schools whose doors would ordinarily not have been opened to their dim-witted tribe. My take on it is to refer all those who feel their feathers have been ruffled to the anecdote in one of Chinua Achebe’s novels that throws up the scenario of a mad man in rags who went into a stream where villagers usually bathe and carried away the hanging clothes of someone who had gone into the steam. The narrative continues that instead of reflecting for a while on the issue so as to come up with a palatable solution, the victim jumped out of the stream and set out behind the mad man in his nakedness.
The account continued that, the madman ran into a crowded market with his pursuer valiantly behind him. Note that in African mythology the simple act of a mad man entering a market automatically renders his affliction incurable. To aggravate issues, mad man was known all over for his weird attitude but, the victim whose clothes he had taken from the improvised hanger at the stream had been known to be a rational being. However, his appearance in the market in Adam’s suit conjured up no other explanation than that he too, had suddenly gone mad to the point where he had entered the market and cannot be cured. The lesson here is that when somebody who is supposed to have been educated up to a certain level suddenly opts to rant using statements that cannot withstand the cannons of incontrovertible data especially, if such a person more than usually associates himself with the CPDM, the conclusion is that very little rationality should be ascribed to him.
Not being inclined to waste useful time on worthless name-droppers and mean attention seekers like Messanga Nyamding the suggestion here is to redirect our energy to more poignant issues that foretell grave danger to Southern Cameroonians if requisite attention is not brought into play. The issue is of course, is Professor Jacques Fame Ndongo’s revelation on Radio France International, RFI, that the CPDM party is ready to discuss federalism with the aggrieved component of Cameroon. Straight-out nonsense! What a cheap form of digression! Where has the indivisibility of Cameroon been consigned? Are they now willing to negotiate with terrorists? Or, like the Southern Cameroonians who have opted for separation as worst case scenario in their quest for greater autonomy they too, are giving the impression of embracing federalism to entice moderate Southern Cameroonians.
Without subscribing to the extremism of those who want out of Cameroon, the temptation nevertheless arises to query the sudden capitulation? And, why is it that it is coming from the ruling party and not the Government even though such a distinction is irrelevant in our skies underpinned by politics of next of kin. If there is any realism in Fame Ndongo’s claim, then it must be borne out of avowed impossibility of imposing their will on Southern Cameroonians. Should this be the case, then its import must be relied upon heavily in the event of any negotiations for a federal system of Government in Cameroon. They shall be negotiating from a position of weakness and so must not be accorded the privilege of dictating the pace of deliberations. The worst case scenario of a return to the status quo antes 1972 but, without the one party system instituted by Ahmadou Ahidjo in 1966 must be relied on as our pathfinder.
While conceding that this might be the first step towards an armistice in the current mutually devastating hostilities, the fact that this is coming so suddenly and more than half a year since President Biya declared war against unseen terrorists, floats the perception of weary warmonger pretending to be inclined to peace when the reality is that underestimation of the opponent has occasioned a drastic reversal in fortunes. In the event, what Southern Cameroonians had begun clamouring for since the late 70s, and followed up in the 80s and 90s is now being proposed on the airwaves of a foreign radio.
Our president is too big or has surrounded himself with an aura of inflated importance such that he cannot address the nation on the issue. A lesser being must be the one assigned to talk down on people he still considers second class citizens. How unrepentant and daft!
Granted that a modicum of seriousness can be ascribed to Government intention to discuss federalism; did it have to take so much loss of lives and property for the regime to be jolted to reality? How are the mighty fallen! Fame Ndongo, of all people in Cameroon was the one saddled with the announcement that the regime is disposed to engage in discussions on federalism after he had derisively posited that “Southern Cameroonians are just two cubes of sugar in a basin of water, ” meaning their grieving voices do not count. Nevertheless, circumstances including resilience of Southern Cameroonians and pressure from the international community even though not enough is rubbing off on the abysmal callousness that the Biya regime has brought to bear on governance and conflict resolution in Cameroon.
When international observers voice what trenchantly reflects its modus operandi of their governance, the regime opts for trading insults with an organization that will still do the same thing the next time the opportunity arises. Driven by a disposition that sees every issue as being susceptible to quick fix provided a reasonable wad of money comes into the fray they had hoped Amnesty International would succumb to fleece bait. Unfortunately, for them, not having their umbilical cords buried in our skies, the same indicting reports with corroborating evidence have kept rearing their heads to the chagrin of an irredeemable regime mired in ruthless abuse of the rule of law.
The desperation is clear. What is certain is that the country is down and out! Stone broke! But this does not seem to mean anything to an old man whose very close association with an avaricious wife has induced puerility and outright freebooting into his mind-set. And, so no matter the hue and cry out there, he is steadfast to clinging onto power until his dying day. He wants to see the stadium named after him go operational like a kid anticipating new dresses at Christmas. A man who chooses to host Africa in a sports fiesta whose alternative is many more hospitals, schools, houses and improved livelihood for every Cameroonian is certainly not in tune with the prerequisites of android-age governance. He wants to be adored, venerated and even pampered. Too bad, the nimbus clouds are gathering and soon the storm will appear with a ferocity whose end will be difficult to determine.
Oh yes, the diversionary tactics will not change what God has reserved for those who have wholeheartedly embraced the devil and are occasioning avoidable pain on ordinary citizens whose only request is an enabling environment for peaceful living. Nemesis has decreed retribution and the price shall be incalculable.
By Ngoko Monyadowa

Mr. Biya, embrace zero tolerance accountability!

Those who have worked with projects where accounts have to be rendered to donor agencies are quite familiar with the title of today’s missive. What this means is that deliverables are known through planning workshops and outcomes can easily be monitored through well set out monitoring and evaluation mechanisms that eventually lay bare reasons for successes or failures and in the event of the latter corrective measures are evoked pronto. Even as this is conceptualized at the micro level, no insurmountable impediment bars it from being transposed to the macro realm. This way, the maneuverability that engenders corruption is profoundly marginalized.
What is being marshaled here is the fact that we are afflicted by our current woes because of absence of proper planning, monitoring and evaluation in the course of managing our economy. Our approaches have been ad hoc at best and, not surprisingly, our outcomes are anything but reliable or reflective of inputs in terms of human and material resources. In the event, bread and butter issues like food, health, housing, electricity and education have become luxuries instead of necessities.
We have found ourselves in this quagmire on account of abysmal disregard for human suffering. Some say it is inherited from Jacobin fixtures traceable to Napoleonic France while others parry such inclination by positing that France wherefrom such philosophy is deemed to have emanated had since moved to governance that tallies with current technological and managerial realities whiles we are still ensnared by medieval European feudalism. Our quest for undeserved comfort reflects unbridled profligacy that has eaten deep into the internal fabric of the ship of state to the point of boring holes that are now threatening it with possible capsize.
Even so, the horror of imminent Armageddon does not seem to impel us to embrace caution through eschewal of unwarranted provocation and wanton acts of misrule. After mismanaging the economy of a potentially very rich country like Cameroon for the past 36 years, President Biya and his coterie of CPDM political gangsters still think that they ought to be given another chance. Ordinarily, there would have been no axe to grind with such a decision, given that it is a constitutional right for every eligible Cameroonian to aspire to the highest office in the land. However, 36 years of profligacy and callousness in governance have reached the limit of tolerable indecency. Fortunately, Francophone Cameroonians are beginning to clean the cobwebs from their faces and coming to terms with the essence of Anglophones’ clamour for imperative constitutional reforms that would bail us out of impending descent into hell.
Not surprisingly, as if hit by some demonic affliction, Mr. Biya and his regime are still to see that we are all in the same boat in the middle of the ocean without life jackets. This means if the boat were to capsize, there would be no survivors, including those of them at the forefront orchestrating disaster. The atmosphere is still that of business as usual, despite immutable signs of regime end. We are still deluding ourselves of our invincibility even in the face of a tough adversary like the United States of America. In our delirium we see ourselves crushing every obstacle along the way to eternal bliss at the helm of state. We have hired chiefs, some inconsequential in terms of their chiefdoms and the legitimacy of their suzerainty over their subjects to sing lullabies, all in a bid to console ourselves that we are still in charge.
While this revelry in utopia lasts, our children are dying on a daily basis. Indeed, youths who are derisively referred to as “leaders of tomorrow” are the greatest victims. Whether on the Government side or separatists, the story is the same. Young men between 18 and 30 are sent to die in a senseless war that would have been averted if we had not allowed our bloated egos to have the better part of us. This does not mean anything to a regime blinded by inordinate focus on perpetuating itself in power despite glaring signs of having been disavowed by the citizenry and by extension total loss of legitimacy.
At the last count, no fewer than 40 youths were slaughtered in what will henceforth be remembered as the Menka-Santa carnage. As usual the barbaric act has been justified by the regime’s Joseph Goebbels as retaliatory action against terrorists who had been kidnapping Government officials and killing law enforcement agents on official assignments.
Whatever the stigma that is attached to the slaughtered youths, nemesis is bound to catch up with the perpetrators. This is so because power is always ephemeral and no matter the length of time it spans, there is always a beginning and an end, given that change is the only immutable fixture on planet earth. While we deceive ourselves by sending a few who have deprived the rest of us of water, light, food, housing and healthcare facilities to Kondengui Central Prison, we should be preparing our way to the International War Crimes Tribunal and eventually to hell as retribution for condemning whole generations to eternal misery through acts of commission. We have over the years watched how an avoidable conflict was degenerating to intractable internecine war. And, because we were not prepared for what we have foolishly embraced out of bravado, our otherwise valiant soldiers have needlessly fallen prey to more determined separatist forces with a genuine cause to defend.
This is in no way an extolment of the puerile bravado of the separatist forces that have taken up arms against their fatherland. Far from it! On the contrary, this exuberant youths who hardly master the stakes of the cause they are supposed to be defending must be told that world history is replete with cases of intransigence that has led to decades of senseless bloodletting. While admitting that the process of courting peace had been mismanaged by the regime, there is no excuse for the callousness that has taken hold of an otherwise commendable initiative to bring to world attention the excesses of the Biya regime as concerns alienation of the Anglophone component of Cameroon.
We are all culpable: that is those that have taken arms against a legitimate Government no matter their grouse against it and a Government that embarrassingly sees no fault in its decision to embrace bloodletting instead of dialogue with a component of the state that has every merit to be aggrieved, judging by the decades of misrule that adorn Mr. Biya’s Governance report card.
If his CPDM cohorts and he are driven by the illusion of invincibility to think that they can begin crying Uhuru then they must have their brains examined by a neurosurgeon. This is no time for bland rhetoric like not negotiating with terrorists. It is not time also, to worry how we found ourselves in this avoidable miasma. On the contrary, before it becomes too late, let this whole frenzy over perpetuating himself in power through elections whose outcome is already determined despite unmistakable signals of having been disavowed by the citizenry not stoke the embers of an already looming genocide. We still have time to trim and even prune our bloated egos for the good of our country. No one can claim greater allegiance to a “one and indivisible Cameroon” than the other. We are merely failing to see the pitfalls to such a desired vision. Once more, Mr. President retrace your steps and save the country from imminent cataclysm otherwise, you will have to render account to posterity and face retribution that may inexorably, bring your children on board.
By Ngoko Monyadowa

Exotic dancers

You see a wench pass by on a busy street, and as she sashays down the lane, the men and boys with the instinct of hunting dogs will stare, with a snarl fantasizing about chunks of luscious flesh, packaged in a small delicate piece of cloth. Yeah! I am talking about the miniskirt, the short skirt or simply put the mini.
Some are so short that as clothing, it is a paradox that they reveal rather than conceal sacred body parts, but, is that not attractive in the manner of an exotic dancer? The miniskirt could at times be so tight that the wench has difficulties bending or stooping to pick up an item and will have to drift slowly down like a schoolgirl who is about to curtsy. Some bum sides are protruding like gigantic protuberances, everything bursting at the seams and it appears the whole thing would snowball into an avalanche of moist flesh.
Society says girls and women who dress in minis are calling for attention and attracting the prowling animals with a human face who take women without bothering about whether they are consenting partners or not and whether the victim is a baby, minor, adult or granny does not matter.
My friend Vicky says associating rape to short skirts is like considering that the dress code of a community determines the number of twisted minds that could be found there. Whatever men might say, except the miniskirt is wrapped is a pile of s**t, few if any are not aroused. Brethren, one can’t live against one’s reputation forever. Sooner or later, you become what other people think you are.
The Bohemian noticed only recently that June 6 is world miniskirt day. It was planned in 2015 by RACHID BEN OTHMAN and feminist activist NAJET BAYOUDH. Their call to Tunisian women to participate in a miniskirt rally on June 6 is seen as a sign of solidarity with oppressed women. They were moved to act, by stories about women being punished for not covering the entire body. In Algeria, a girl is said to have been sent out of the exam room for wearing a short skirt.
Men and people will call you names; prostitute, witch and what have you? But see them cough, delivering themselves of some sepulchral mucus just to get the attention of the passing mini.
So, I the Bohemian of Abakwa, born on the last day of the month, by the shores of the Atlantic in the land of the proud people, this day declare; whether a designer skirt or a cheap imitation one, a miniskirt is a mini-skirt. Those who wear it enjoy how much flesh they expose; a firm elegant thigh and voluptuous body. There are women who dismiss the point that miniskirts attract rapists saying their dress code cannot be blamed by acts carried out by a twisted mind. Is there any adult who has not played the exotic dancer, even as a solo performance, just once, at least? The miniskirt fascinates with the same appeal of a lap dance and it is a statement to the hypocrites; “if you are shy enough to conceal your well sculpted features, we are proud enough to let you see our Know what?” We are all thrilled by the type of performance that can only be given by exotic dancers. It is not difficult to become one – put on a miniskirt and you will become an exotic dancer, and it means you can dance even when there is no music.
By Winston Lebga

Do you smoke?

How time flies and how yesterday en vogue habits have become today’s nasty habits is. It was a symbol of intellectual stimulation but today, cigarettes are considered a poison with hundreds of toxic substances. This year, the world tobacco day event has been pegged on establishing a link between cigarette smoke and cardiovascular disease. Some people point to the warning on the packets; “Tobacco seriously damages your health and that of persons around you…”
Many are surprised that in spite of the much advertized warning many are picking up the habit. Smokers keep carrying on with the habit because they are addicted. Pictures of people whose health has deteriorated because of tobacco related products could do the trick but how many will resist the temptation?
Two years ago, the World Health Organization, WHO, talked about the need for Governments to subscribe to the plain packaging of tobacco products. The WHO holds that plain packaging reduces the appeal for smoking and believes it is a demand – reduction measure that reduces the attractiveness of tobacco products, it is intended to restrict the use of packaging as a form of advertising and promotion; limits misleading packaging and labeling and increases the effectiveness of health warnings.
But, give me a long break! Is it possible to prohibit the use of logos, colours, brand images or promotional information on packaging other than brand names, displayed and product names, displayed in a standard colour and font style? If yes, is there any guarantee that making the packet plain would frighten smokers and drive them away from tobacco which firmly grips those who use the products?
There is a whiff of hypocrisy in the global anti-tobacco campaign. Tobacco products, especially cigarettes, have been widely shown to be dangerous to the health, leading to millions of deaths worldwide – a threat to the workforce and the economy. What beats my imagination is the fact that the furthest any Government has gone towards prohibiting the so-called poison stick is to ban smoking in public. Now we hear that cardiovascular diseases account for several deaths worldwide and that smokers are more likely to be killed than their non-smoking mates. We also hear stuff like passive smokers could be more affected than their smoking companions.
The Bohemian wonders aloud, is someone trying to take the children of the planet for a ride? Cocaine has been banned, heroin possession is criminal, marijuana trafficking, possession and consumption is illegal. But wait a minute! Is tobacco or related products like cigarette prohibited in this land of promise and glory?
After considering the issues around this tobacco palaver, I the Bohemian of Abakwa, born on the last day of the month by the shores of the Atlantic, in the land of the proud people this day declare; something must be preventing our rubber stamp lawmakers from securing legislation to ban cigarettes. Isn’t it true that cigarette manufacturing and sales companies are billion dollar enterprises that oil the economic machinery, and employ hundreds of millions of people who could be on the streets if Governments consider legislation to outlaw their job and products?
Cigarette smoke kills – that is true, but a disorganized healthcare system which has little or no infrastructure, equipment and expertise, plus poverty and ignorance kill at supersonic speed with genocidal consequences. Do you smoke? If you do brethren, then it is time to put the murderers out of business and surprise those who are simply preaching to play safe and not really because they are concerned about us dying. Tell me, do you smoke?
By Winston Lebga

Palm oil drinkers

We cannot stop noticing that ours is a country of born politicians whose speeches cackle with a dry biting wit; but although they may be impeccable on theory, they are nothing to write home about on practicalities. The political scene is replete with slogan daubers and armchair nationalists, many of whom are guilty of endless furtiveness and mind-numbing drabness.
As someone would say, lunatics are in charge and the wise have fallen from favour in the eyes of the king. People are desperately in need of a better life, so they look on to the politicians to figure out ways of moving out of this maze of hair-raising circumstances. But, what do they get? Slogans! The propaganda machine has been churning out high sounding, sometimes confusing slogans: “light at the end of the tunnel”, “Big debate”, “Achievement point”, “Great Ambition”, “Vast construction site”, “Emerging Economy by the year 2035”
These are slogans, probably born out of good intentions, but the smart people, though they may appear to be docile have noticed that so very much has been said, but so very little has been done.
Men and people have taken up arms, though many are said to be primitive weapons, and are charging against the state and striking at their fellow countrymen. What is going on? We really are in the native land of the hypocrite, where it is natural to tell lies. Every man is struggling to get across his lie with the hope that all will agree that this lie is in actuality the truth. We tell lies through smiling fangs, if not in the social media networks or print or broadcast media. Whose lie is more convincing now, yours or mine?
Corruption is rife, injustice, the order of the day; here, the legalized bullying of the small man by the rich and powerful is common place. In such a country, the honest man is guilty; yet, if we change our mental altitude, we can change our lives.
So, I, the Bohemian of Abakwa born on the last day of the month in the land of the proud people by the shores of the Atlantic this day question; how can a multitude be pushed into believing that lake Awing had exploded and then they go about boozing palm oil, believing that it could act as an antidote? Who started such a rumour in the wee hours of Saturday, May 19, 2018?
Those who did not have palm oil knocked at the doors of neighbours even the ones with whom no love was lost. Babies, toddlers, teenagers, adults, senior citizens, dogs, cats, and probably goats were given the free vaccine against Lake Site gas explosions; palm oil. The Bohemian has heard that victims of gas explosions die from suffocation, so palm oil cannot be used as first aid in such a situation. Well, when I analyze the stench, it makes some sense. We are all palm oil drinkers in this grand pit toilet, so why blame the maggots for digesting the s**t? Let’s drink palm oil; it is said to soothe our pain.
By Winston Lebga

Last kicks of a dying regime

Professor Elvis Ngole Ngole seems to be regretting the fact that he had seemingly atoned for his erstwhile gaffe when he pitched his tent in the camp of those who had refused to acknowledge the Anglophone problem and its poignant existentialist essence for the corporate survival of Cameroon. His dismal outing on Cameroon Calling where he was pontificating as professor of political science evoked the impression of motorcycle rider handling an issue in rocket science. In a desperate attempt to justify the puerile outing of the Minister of External realtions in the matter pitting the American Ambassador against paul Biya, Ngole Ngole chided the former interferring in Cameroon’s internat affairs and even went to the extent of saying tthat Cameron as a sovereign state is legally and ligitimately correct to use any means to subdue insurrection within its territorial confines.
Unfortunately for the man who passes off for Professor, he had set his own question different from what was in issue, which is that the American ambassador’s grouse with the Biya regime was not on the legality or otherwise for it to quell a rebellion that is threatening its territorial integrity. On the contrary the ambassador, being the representative of a country in skies where due process or the rule of law is accorded its deserved primacy, is miffed by the fact that extra judicial killings, burning looting, maiming and even rape had become customary to the manner the regime was proclaiming its unilateral declaration of war against his citizens whose only crime is expression of discomfiture against palpable misrule.
In riposte to the above, some public commentators say the embers of cold war between CPDM genuine and pseudo intellectuals and Cameroonians with integrity should be stoked. By their reckoning, the protagonists are seeking strategic positions to facilitate accession to power given that Biya’s exit is already immutable. However, such hypothesis tends to diminish the strong presence of world acclaimed intellectuals like Achille Mbembe who have been clamouring for the departure of Mr. Biya and shining light on his horrendous misrule over the years for no other reason than altruism. His recent outing on the excesses of the regime, particularly, its reaction to chiding cum counseling by the United States of America via its Ambassador to President Biya is very telling. In his opinion, the best option for Mr. Biya is to make peace with the Americans and seek a peaceful exit from power rather than the perilous trajectory into which his hawks are pushing him.
Be that as it may, there is every reason to opine like Achille Mbembe and many other Cameroonians. Prevailing circumstances in the country do not require a crystal ball for the outcome to be discerned. The fall of the Biya dynasty is very imminent. Otherwise, how does it happen that a man, be him American Ambassador, with whom Biya was negotiating how to repatriate Cameroonians suspected of stoking the flames of “Southern Cameroon spring” in the US would turn around and instead use euphemism to the effect that Mr. Biya has done his best and it would be ungentlemanly for him to still be seen as wanting to advance his candidacy for the upcoming presidential. No matter the angle from which it is viewed, this is a blow intended to send our head of state to the surgery for some scrotal repair that may not be successful, given the might with which it was inflicted.
We can worry our self to hell and back regarding the territorial infringement undertone of the ambassador’s outpouring, but one thing is certain. We did not cover our flanks and with open flanks every enemy has free entry. Did the head of state and his advisers need the American Ambassador to tell them that what they have embarked upon in the guise of a war against citizens who were simply complaining against incontrovertible evidence of misrule is barbaric and smacks of callousness? Did it need the presence of the ambassador at the Unity Palace for Biya to know that more than 60 villages in the Northwest and Southwest regions have been torched by soldiers acting on the instructions of their high command? For God’s sake the regime should spare us ignominy inherent in this puerile drama being acted for a disinterested audience. We are certainly worth more and by extension deserve better perception in the comity of nations.
Indeed, the impression being evoked by the delirious outbursts of regime apologists only lends credence to the view that their days are numbered and since they cannot continue in their profligate revelry they must leave the country in an orgy of genocidal chaos. Oh yes, this is very evident in the callousness and opulence that panned out from May 20 celebrations in Yaounde. It is certainly not amusing that an old man in the last days of his sojourn on earth still finds pleasure in riding in a car whose cost is the equivalent of at least 10 well equipped Health Centres. And, on top of this, an integral part of the country is enmeshed in wholesale misery inflicted by forces loyal to the regime. This deos not mean anything to the head of state who bandies national unity. The American ambassador had to be the one to remind him that his inept governance has caused no fewer than 25000 Cameroonians to be languishing in refugee camps in Nigeria with another 200000 acceding the repugnant status of internally displaced people.
Mr. President, the American ambassador was simply echoing the fact that your misrule does not fit in a world that has advanced to android and other cutting-edge technology. It will not encourage our youths to come up with the much vaunted start-ups that government expects of them. Mr. President, you do not need the American ambassador to feel for your compatriots who are living in bushes owing to destitution brought into being by marauding soldiers who were supposed to have been their protectors. Mr. President, conventional wisdom would have informed you that cowards stand alive to point at the houses of stubborn heroes. What the American ambassador was politely telling you Mr. President is that you have not only mismanaged the current crisis pitting your regime against separatist Southern Cameroonians but, your tenure as head of state is overdue apart from being unmitigated disaster to Cameroon. What indeed, do you want to achieve that 35 years of free lease on the country has not permitted you?
Mr. President, did you expect respect from the American Ambassador when you had publicly declared that you are the best student of another head of state? Oh, common, spare us all this avoidable disgrace. What the American ambassador is telling you is that call your soldiers to order, make peace with your aggrieved compatriots and exit the political scene very quietly to avoid the wrath of the people that is already gathering and may reach a boiling point any time soon. You said in France in the early 90s that you will want to be remembered as the man who brought democracy to Cameroon.
It is difficult to fathom how what is going on now in the country can be likened to democracy. A war of attrition occasioned by greed, callousness of your regime and inexplicable intransigence is suffocating your compatriots but, you are sticking to your unshakable believe in the use of force. Mr. President, posterity will certainly hold you and your hirelings accountable for the chaos you have inflicted on our heavily endowed country in terms of human and natural resources. Repent and be on the right side of God’s eventual judgement.
By Ngoko Monyadowa

‘Water dong passes garri’

When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when a wicked man rules, the people groan. (Proverbs 29:2)
It is a Biblical quote; unchallengeable, sacrosanct. By the same token, data-based and other cast iron facts published by the media are automatically elevated to sacrosanct status, even if they leave bleeding scars on the proverbial wicked man.
Entropy in basic physics is, simply, transformation after energy. But in strategic communication, this concept would be the tendency for any system to run down, resulting in chaos. Entropy has engulfed Cameroon. Authorities are babbling. They are rambling, with conspiratorial intent. The supreme leader has gone beyond brinkmanship to declaring a full scale war on a part of the nation. Note that no such war was declared on the dangerous, internationally recognized and dreaded Boko Haram terrorist outfit in the North of Cameroon. Note also, that Boko Haram terrorists are into full scale suicide bombings in markets and other crowded places. Elsewhere in the country, security operatives have gone hay-wire, shooting to kill; they are looting, burning entire villages and destroying communities.
Thousands of hurt, nay, radicalized youth have found employment in a guerrilla war that has, invariably, kept an inept, intransigent regime on its wobbling feet. The comatose economy has not even been taken into intensive care. The situation is promising to get worse before it gets better.
The so called international community is dilly-dallying as usual. By and large, the world gendarme’s envoy to Cameroon has recently been talking, tongue in cheek. Diplomatic abracadabra has taken the biscuit. The envoy told some hard to swallow truth and the Methuselah regime kicked back. He was summoned and ridiculed, pelted and blamed like a lazy schoolboy that had failed his exams. Donald’s envoy was not just made to swallow a frog; he was actually forced to kiss the ugly, slimy amphibian. Other neo-colonial vultures are patiently waiting and watching, studying the diplomatic weather cock with a view to determining where it would be best suited to cast their greedy lot.
The collectivist authoritarian clique, despite seeing the handwriting on the wall is hesitant to learn from history. Loyalty to the man in power as opposed to the state is propagated by regime songbirds. The open-mouthed Tchiroma is singing a lilting song of death, a swan song with every discordant note clearly standing out to the vulture’s, albeit, undertaker’s delight.
Regime spin doctors and songbirds expect the rest of us to appreciate, celebrate and cheer the big man for donating a toilet to “We, the People.” But strange enough, they are not also informing their minder that “We, the People” ought to eat first; that “We, the People” should at least, “drink cold water garri,” if we must be pressed to use the “donated ultra-modern toilet.”
“Scapegoating” a la Tchiroma and Atanga Nji is heavily employed to generate or reinforce general support for Etoudi. Staggering amounts of cash are used to identify and tag groups, categories of people and blame assigned to them for the problems Cameroon is facing. Unfortunately, when the United States Ambassador had occasion to point out the provenance of hate speech, he conveniently left out the dame in flowing academic robes, now (in)famous for her well documented xenophobic outburst at Buea Mountain Hotel. She got rewarded for her Rwanda-type rant with a ministerial position anyway.
Trump’s envoy expediently forgot those who went against the indivisibility of Cameroon credo and persistently referred to other nationals as dogs.
He did not remember the rant and cant of the “television star” that made the point on several of his programmes that Cameroonians of a particular cultural expression are rats and cockroaches that should be exterminated. The regime lead songbird is a regular on this “television star’s” programme. He routinely congratulates him for doing a marvelous job as a “journalist.” Tchiroma uses this platform to contradict his minder by categorically declaring that there is no Anglophone problem in Cameroon. Disgusting!
Despite their obsession with the “Second Amendment,” the typical [ambivalent] American still subscribes to the fact that news must both be proportional and relevant. Despite the manner in which their envoys selectively pamper some dictators while demonizing the likes of Zimbabwean old Bob, they still uphold the journalistic principle of serving the citizens, rather than the narrow interests of collaborative dictators and ethnic cleansers.
Last line…
What is intended to be persuasive communication embarked upon by songbirds of the regime purportedly offering assurance to an embattled people has fallen on all fours. Regular imploration for them to come out of the bushes and continue with their day to day concerns “because their safety is assured by security forces” is a long yarn which predators and outright sadists are spinning. How about their homesteads that have been burnt to ashes? Plus, they have become target practice for their so called protectors. Their choice is what they really see and believe and their resilience in the face of adversity.
True, true, water dong pass garri.
Cheers and let’s keep suffering and smiling!

Enemies of national cohesion

While the entire country was reveling in respite from the gangrenous war pitting Government forces against Southern Cameroons separatists provided by the now fallacious story of a woman who resurrected five years upon being pronounced dead after a caesarian section in Mbanga under Moungo Division in the Littoral Region, two important events caught this chronicler’s attention.
The first is the blanket ban on sugar importation by the Head of State and the second- the fact that out of bizarre lethargy we have allowed ourselves to become infants or at best primary school pupils who have to be taught the rudiments of self control and survival tactics, in spite of our advanced ages and seemingly impressive academic standings. We are now contented with being managed by Bretonwoods institutions and we make no bones about it to the point where when these creditors are in our country for one working visit or the other, air waves of our audio visual media and pages of regime sponsored newspapers are inundated with swan songs of messianic presence.
Not surprisingly, “therefore, after over 57 years of misrule with the worst of them under the current Head of State and his swaggering CPDM political ruffians, we are shamelessly crying wolf in regard to the presence of spoilers in the country who are jealous of the indivisibility credo that has bound Cameroon together all these years”. Instead of engaging in serious introspection that would have led us to how we found ourselves beggars in the midst of plenty, we are reading mischief making in the activities of those who are daring to say that a people cannot be led by their noses to the slaughter in broad daylight.
In typical Bantu cosmogony, such occurrence would signify the absence of men with balls and chiming bells for the extinction of that generation. But since our motto is “rejoice while the good times last,” we have attributed wrong doing to everybody except the governing class that reckons to have been ordained by God to lord it over the rest of us.
Indeed, it would have been surprising if the country had not reached its current abyss of putrid governance. Take the example of the blanket ban on sugar importation as point of departure and add to it the fact that Government shares in SOSUCAM with plantations in Mbandjock and Nkoteng are not up to 20 percent, which translates easily to the fact that it is essentially foreign-owned. Government contention is that the ban responds to a felt need to protect locally produced sugar that cannot compete favourably with imported brands and by that token exposes many Cameroonians to the fang of looming unemployment. Impressive display of patriotism at face value one would say! However, how much is a labourer paid daily? When was the last time a comprehensive overhaul of their machinery was actualized for the close to 40 years that the sugar company has been operating in Cameroon?
You cannot plant grapes and harvest onions. In essence, their high cost of production must not be borne by hapless citizens. If Government wants to help local companies, it should subsidize them for competition in a world governed by the dictates of demand and supply.
Those who took advantage of inefficient and ineffective business style of local producers to complement and even supplement sugar availability in the country must not be made scapegoats of a deliberate effort to pander to the whims of colonial apron strings. In the face of this and,should the situation deteriorate to the point where workers go on strike and or are laid off because of inability to compete, who would have caused the ensuing social disorder,?
Is it the irate workers or an insensitive Government? Yet they want to be talking down on us about national unity from saintly pedestals. This same situation obtains at the Douala Autonomous Port, CAMRAIL and SOCAPALM where foreigners have a stranglehold on sensitive economic outposts.
And in a country where xenophobia and nepotism have become national pass time, brain wracking issues like availability of sugar in adequate quantities and at affordable prices or the economy being strangulated by foreign domination elude our intellectuals. We are more interested to fight to finish for undeserved promotions by sitting on television and radio panels or pages of newspapers to spew hate among compatriots.
Yes, it is Beti turn to run the affairs of Cameroon. Any attempt to curb Beti hegemony is anathema, despite the blistering misrule to which they have subjected Cameroonians. The credo is that issues of state are not amenable to immediate solutions. From the spectrum of their warped minds, such matters take time to be conceived and implemented. And so with this kind of mindset we have been exposed to over 57 years of contemptible misrule that has lingered to the point where some extremist have opted out of the union.
Over the years, seemingly innocuous issues like equitable revenue allocation based on derivation and devolution of power from the centre to the periphery were turned into rocket science that only political gurus from an outer space institution like ENAM could master. We have all of a sudden been reduced to receptacles that have to swallow hook, line and sinker nebulous notions like indivisibility of Cameroon as if the persistence of misrule and injustice are not in themselves greater ingredients driving the entrenchment of fissiparous tendencies and by extension irredentism in Cameroon. No one in the governing class wants to remember that at the outset two years ago there was a simple request for OHADA laws to be translated into English after which teachers asked for the Anglophone sub-system of education to undergo some overhauling to tally with their aspirations.
On the contrary, the purveyors of what is now sapping Cameroon of all traces of national unity have been rewarded for their provocative and incendiary outbursts before the current crisis deteriorated in the latter part of 2017. The roll call reads like who is who in heaping calumny on Southern Cameroonians. From our own Atanga Nji Paul, Elvis Ngole Ngole and Pauline Nalova Lyonga to Fame Ndongo , Laurent Esso, Isa Tchiroma and other hirelings, the inducements to radicalism had reached unbearable levels and with the radicalization of youths from persistent snobbery by Government, the conflagration has reached a point wherein if care is not taken what happened in Rwanda would have been child’s play. Actually, judging by the hate literature being propagated on social media, by adherents of the separatist Ambazonia republic, something must happen and happen fast for avoidance of a cataclysm.
But the justification being advanced by the separatists is premised on persistent Government incineration of villages in Southern Cameroons that has rendered many homeless and reduced others into refugees in Nigeria and, yet others internally displaced people with scavenging becoming customary to their daily existence. A Government fully aware of its responsibility to cater to the needs of its citizens, they reckon, will not engage in such callousness in the name of fighting separatists. Why, they are wont to ask, is it that soldiers do not comb the bushes in search of suspected separatist loyalists. Instead they raid villages and spray bullets that end up snuffing lives out of many innocent citizens. Yet we expect national unity to prevail. Unity is not an issue that can be decreed. It is worked for and earned like a salary at the end of each month.
By Ngoko Monyadowa

New wave

The Bohemian is confused, really confused, confused with tons and tons of confusion. This is hard to reconcile; what is easily noticeable in this country is that even the best intentioned of men become corrupted by the temptation of wealth and power. We also notice that the visible leaders that are paraded before us are mere puppets whose strings are pulled by their masters.
Men and people in high places find no crime too great for them to commit, no deception too base for them to practice, no disguise too difficult for them to assume. It is their studied aim to rescue wealth and power: these people who had impressed ignorant and fanatical minds with the idea that no wrong was committed by stealing and killing, but come to think of it, valuable people are those who value other people.
Consciously or unconsciously, whether we admit it or not, there is a concentrated barrage of propaganda from the news media to convince people to worship and glorify their leaders and to turn a deaf ear to the truth. But, whose truth are we talking about?
One thing is clear; a nation cannot be built simply by glorifying its big shots. Take a look at the country today, especially areas considered as English speaking Regions; what do you see? Lawlessness, dissipation and corruption are sweeping in on the national triangle like an overwhelming tide.
There is envy, evil surmising, hypocrisy, estrangement, emulation, betrayal of sacred trusts. Even the Courts of Justice are reportedly not spared of corruption. Jurists are perverted, bribed; deluded. The current events look like a film packed with sharp dialogue, a seemingly appealing cast and a vivid cameo of the more sinister face of the country.
Nowadays in the Northwest, there is a cauldron of speculation with the continuous deterioration of security. The exchange of gunfire between the defence forces and the suspected secessionists of the self proclaimed Federal Republic of Ambazonia. The perpetual killing of soldiers and civil servants and threats; all spiced with a one-day a week ghost town operation, observed by a Region where petit traders and small enterprises bear the brunt of the chaos.
So, I, the Bohemian of Abakwa, born of the last day of the month by the shores of the Atlantic in the land of the proud people, this day declare; there is panic in the towns and villages. We have a 16-hour day now, and a six-day week. We are adopting new ways, for the gubernatorial curfew requires for men and people to be indoors by nine in the evening. When did it all begin, when shall it end?
Who is making gains out of the mayhem to the point of wanting this condition to be permanent? We know conflicts and diseases are good for business; and the black market thrives, attracting all sorts of people in times of war, not only black people. The everyday phenomena of humiliation, rejection, lies and betrayal, point to the citizenry that ours is a life built on a foundation of shifting sand. We have dreams and we struggle to attain them; then we realize there were mirages in the desert. The struggle is the fun. The dream is just the motivating force. Nothing more! That’s the new wave.

By Winston Lebga

Where is the news?

When the Bohemian was in college, there was this story about a journalist who got into the studio at news time and announced: “Here’s the news read by J.W…” The listeners waited and waited but there was dead air. Then, the newsman went on, “…but, where is the news read by J.W? He questioned while the searching his jacket and the swish was audible. The story goes that J.W. had been in his favourite watering hole where he prepared the news on two sheets of paper. He folded the sheets and tucked them in one of the pockets of his jacket. He rushed in to the studio at news time, certain that everything was in order and while on air, after announcing the news, he went for the wrong pocket. “I sey eh, where is the news read by J.W. nah?” He blurted out. When he finally found his scripts, he cried; “Ah Ha, here is the news read by J.W!”
The Bohemian can neither confirm nor refute whether this situation really happened but the story entertained many Bamenda denizens in the Bohemian’s school days. Today, this could be very possible, not because the newscaster might have been lost about the whereabouts of his or her scripts but simply because at times the news need not be made public according to the whims and caprices of both power brokers and those who wield power. So, nowadays, it is possible for an anchorman with the scripted bulletin in front of him to ask, “where is the news?” The reason being the scripts contain everything but the day’s news making matters.
Anyone who understands the tradecraft and practice of modern journalism, would as well understand that a country cannot be built simply by glorifying its big shots. Journalists are paid to stick their heads above the parapet and to say what they believe to be the truth. It is true the most important function of a journalist is indeed to tell stories: not in the sense of making up comfortable lies to keep people happy, but of providing an accurate digestible way to make sense of the confusion and apparent chaos of everyday life. Why must you kowtow to people of authority?
Take politicians for example. Party politicians, naturally enough see everything in terms of partisan politics. They cannot understand people like the Bohemian who may be interested in politics but don’t approach the subject from the point of view of any particular party commitment. Look at this example; CPDM officials think if the party is being challenged by journalists, it is because the journalists are instinctively pro-SDF. And when precisely, the same journalists challenge the SDF’s actions the officials think it is either because they are instinctively pro-CPDM or because they owe their allegiance to the ruling elite. It does not always occur to them that the journalists might be simply doing their job.
It is true that whatever journalists may say, they must make sure they do not annoy the one who pays them, for, if as a journalist you are not comfortable with the umbrella term for limiting press freedom; ‘editorial line’ , you resign. You can ask the Rolling Rock, who made people contemplate the difference between live and lies, one or both coming from studio four. Don’t ask me what I am talking about. Although some great minds have tagged the news media as the fourth estate, some little minds wield enough power to keep the watchdog chained to its cage. Who even thought of calling the news media society’s watchdog? Now, look at how people treat journalists even worse than what is known in the local parlance as a ngong dog.
So, I the Bohemian of Abakwa, born on the last day of the month, along the shores of the Atlantic, in the land of the proud people, this day declare: true journalists are natural members of what the BBC’s John Simpson calls the awkward squad, difficult, unpredictable, dangerous to be with in the sense that you can’t take them and their work for granted; impossible to buy off with money or honours. Journalists, it seems to me have a duty to resist being simply corralled into obedient silence. It isn’t good for journalism and it isn’t good for government. To keep quiet when things are not right is the reverse of patriotism: it is to cover up for those interests that stand to gain from silence. It is to be a partisan of inefficiency and stupidity and mindless cruelty. So brethren, where is the news?
By Winston Lebga