Repugnant dross

It played out like a typical scene in Columbia during that Latin American nation’s 50 year civil war. Cheerleaders, rented from Dschang, to perform a well choreographed theatre of the absurd for the attention of Biya the dispenser, were intercepted, taught how not to pander for a few grains of peanuts, ruffled and sent back with a clear message for their paymasters.
A similar scenario was acted out with Professor Ivo Leke Tambo, GCE Board Chairman. The old man was snatched to a hideout and subjected to indignities, including being blindfolded, stripped down to his dross and held for 48 hours. The experience was harrowing for the learned professor and others of high polish and refinement.
Tambo’s captors were predominantly carefree lads, probably unemployed and frustrated victims of the crass ineptitude and moral turpitude that has characterized governance in Cameroon over the past decades. They were youthful “Ambazonians,” ostensibly eager to tell the world, that they, like their parents before them have endured enough of criminal marginalization. They were out to prove, albeit “repugnantly,” that both their kidnapped victims and those whose bidding they do, evince revulsion, to say the very least.
Such revulsion could be traced to an incompetent, corrupt regime, manned by intractable individuals, who would rather see the nation die than forego power and the filthy lucre which they daily reap from the whirlwind of confusion and political scamming they have been sowing. The bubble had to burst, one day or the other. And even here, prudent social engineering would have meant handling the issue better than it was and is still being handled.
By protesting against a malfunctioning system, lawyers and teachers were, by no means reinventing the wheel. Pig-headed Laurent Esso and Fame Ndongo didn’t need to further fan smouldering embers of provocative marginalization. Mr. Biya didn’t need to resort to swearing, insulting, intimidating and promising Armageddon. He had to listen and empathize. But he overly resorted to employ the military in solving a socio-political problem, trusting to the fickle support (or promise thereof) of his minders.
Notwithstanding the cunning resort to unsubstantiated Tchiroma-designed propaganda, suppressing democratic protests by benevolent autocracy and legitimized cruelty, the Anglophone problem is gradually but steadily stalemating. It will likely elude a resolution for decades to come. Biya ought to beat a hasty retreat from negative imaging, belligerence, justifying and legitimizing military violence to dominate the narrative.
Biya acted in bad faith. He pretended to dialogue, while continuing to engage forces that have massacred villagers, burnt down their ancestral homes and wheeled the nation’s economy into the intensive care unit.
Instead of ranting at unarmed protesters and declaring war on a part of the country he is so eager [not] to see divided, Biya should eat this very humble pie being so generously served him by posterity … Mr. President should ask himself what, indeed, is responsible for the Anglophone disenchantment. He should halt the slaughter of some of the very [nice] people he claims voted, have been sending motions of support and keeping him in power for 36 years. He should, unconditionally, release every Anglophone detainee from prison and apologize to those compatriots that have lost limb and life in this senseless war of inflated egos. That’s what is expected of leaders worth the name.
Only the free can dialogue/negotiate (dixit Nelson Mandela). Let him check the intractable looting machine oiled by his cohorts and rampaging security operatives. The occasional charade of selectively keeping away “suspects” in Kondengui won’t help Cameroon. It would, at best, only briefly extend Biya’s tenancy at Etoudi.
Biya ought to acknowledge the prevailing moral confusion in the nation, conceive and openly define his options. Let him know that many of his appointed officials, especially local administrators are irresponsible; stealing openly from local peasants, taunting and calling them vulgar names. The slipshod intellectual design of his policy content has set the nation adrift. What is evident is an unspoken transfer of political responsibility to the military.
Cameroon is sick. Her so called leaders are living in denial. Somebody just has to give up! “Sparrow Hawk” and other political shooting of the breeze notwithstanding, the nation is running on the oxygen of corruption. Look here! Security is not only about threats in insipid, coughing guns and pellets. Radicalization is staring Cameroon in the face.
Last line…
There is a definite human angle to the question, and this, Mr. President, is glaring in the Tambo kidnap saga; a euphemism for what barely hides what is so repugnant about Cameroon’s corporate dross. To have a happy family, you must have a conversation…

Proposal paper on the short and long term peace strategies: “Anglophone” crisis (V)

By Maxwell N. Achu, Diplomat,
(Peace Advocate, Conflict Transformation Researcher,
Academia, MA. International Relations) 2

• What are the drivers to ensure effective accomplishment of these short-term peace proposals?

The drivers that guarantee success in the implementation of these short-term peace proposals are collaboration, commitment and cooperation, which substantially legitimate its effect with time. The type of stress Cameroon is facing requires components that address political, economic or social inclusion. The case of Cameroon is internal divisions between social or geographical groups, which are the major factor in mobilization of violence.
Additionally, the type of problem facing the nation is somehow institutional. Cameroon has “fairly strong” capacity but inclusion is weak, reform action needs to draw marginalized “Anglophones” into decision-making and ensure they benefit from national growth, service delivery and welfare improvements
As highlighted above, commitment, coordination and cooperation are three core functions of institutional actors that are needed to ensure that peace accords and expected results are made possible.13
• Commitment: this enables the GoC and “Anglophones” to rely on the credibility of the dialogue resolutions so they can calibrate their behaviors accordingly. The case of Cameroon is most premised on commitment. The GoC with its people must reach credible agreements; first, to renounce violence and endow the state with the monopoly on the legitimate use of force – see the case of Somaliland wherein commitment was achieved by establishing institutional arrangements that provided sufficient incentives for all key actors to work within the rules. The bottom line is that, the commitment to deal between the GoC and the people must be credible, so that all parties stand to lose if any party reneges on those arrangements. When commitment to deal lacks integrity, contending sides (GoC and the “Anglophones”) walk away from the bargaining table and violence prevails.
• Coordination: beyond credible commitment is coordination. Independent credible watchdog institutions MUST regulate implementation commitments as well as coordinate the GoC decisions with the expectation of its people and other conflicting parties. This is very sensitive because coordination problems can occur at many levels of the peace process.
• Cooperation: herein lies the core to successful and effective peace plans; both at the long and short-term periods, as it requires the political will of the GoC and the “Anglophones” willingness to cooperate. The “Anglophones” must be willing to comply and cooperate. Cooperation is enhanced by credible commitments.

Enabling commitments, inducing coordination and enhancing cooperation are therefore essential institutional core functions for making peace policies effective. There must be an aggressive political will in the national arena. This is because; decision makers – elites-14 may have the right peace plan and objectives, such as this, and yet may still be unable to implement the right peace policies because doing so would challenge the existing equilibrium and the current balance of power. Thus, the balance of power in conflict and violent societies may condition the kinds of results that emerge from commitment, coordination and cooperation.
Ultimately, how peace resolutions through dialogue are effective depends not only on what resolutions are chosen, but also on how they are chosen and implemented. Peacemaking resolutions and peace agreement implementation both involve bargaining among different actors. The policy arena-the setting in which governance manifests itself, can be found at the local and national levels of Cameroon. Interested groups in Cameroon upheaval should be empowered to take part in the shaping of peace agreements – this would be a fundamental enabler to pacific agreements effectiveness. There should be an equal distribution of power in the bargaining process, as this power symmetry will definitely influence peace policy effectiveness. Power asymmetry is not necessary harmful, but negative manifestations are reflected in political clientelism as well as social and economic exclusions. Power 13

asymmetry excludes individuals and groups from the bargaining arena, and can be particularly important for peace and security, such as in Somalia. A cross country statistical analyses using the Ethnic Power Relations data set from 1945-2005 indicates that states that exclude portions of the population based on ethnic background are more likely to face armed rebellions.16/17
• Dialogue Procedure

Before nose-diving into this part of the proposed peace agenda, it is worthy to recall that violence is just a symptom reflective of discontentment. Just like unemployment, which is a symptom to a failed economy to grow enough to absorb all employable labour, violence as well, is a result of various economic pressures, rising job complexities, high levels of inequality, and even digital disruptions. Whether or not such discontentment are justifiable is usually immaterial, as long as lives are lost there is need for concern. Let Cameroonians remember that, the private sector, which is the engine of job creation, needs long-term view of the credible direction of the GoC’s peace and economic policies to be able make long-term investment decisions. Ultimately, any of such inconsistencies or impairments like violence only exacerbates economic downturn and lowers productivity. Consequently, it is a perfect breeding ground for protest from disgruntled citizens.
Most importantly, the “Anglophone” crisis is just as far-gone, because the discontentment of some frustrated “Francophones” can spark unrest, which tied with the present crisis, can plunge Cameroon into a full-blown civil war with unimaginable and maybe irrecoverable effects. During such circumstances, marginalization18, fragmentation19, and segmentation20 just to name a few, which the “Anglophones” condemn, might not be the same motives of the Francophones. Regime change, job creation, economic boom, equal distribution of political appointments, infrastructural development21, request for decentralization service provision, hassle-free border relations,22 other related Economic, Financial23 and Political risk might be at the forefront of such conflict-risk query. Such scenarios can easily be forecasted, especially as Cameroon’s growth experiences more volatility than the regional average. By this, this paper calls for the inevitable peace through dialogue between conflicting parties.
(To be continued)

Scratch and sniff

Do you realize that it is those at the low end of the bureaucratic totem pole who tended to try to exercise their power most? They are the ones most likely to ask the question, do you know who I am? So, who really are you? Brethren if you are swimming with sharks and you start bleeding, then you have to get out of the water.
And so, President Biya’s mighty pen and much sought after signature produced their trademark effect on Thursday, April 12. The bulwark of the ruling party had been riding high in the country, without any fear of its not being given its landslide majority, with the opposition said to be weak and disorganized. New people have come to be chorusing praise-songs to Papa Paul and asking the populace, do you know who I am?
There are some things you cannot run away from, some things you do not ever forget and sometimes things get into a complex tangle. As Chinua Achebe puts it, “…and they will ask you-as my father did- if you thought that a sensible man would spit out the morsel that good fortune placed in his mouth.” The Bohemian sees people who are very active in politics at the grassroots, like this time-honoured chap, with a lot of spring and spirit in his voice. He is among the lot who are always grumbling because their services to the party have not been rewarded with the usual prize appointment to some public corporation or other position considered as juicy.
As AYI Kwei Armah, the Ghanaian author will say “…Government chop, me too, I chop- contrey broke!” The CPDM senatorial campaign team in the Northwest kept telling the members of the Electoral College, that they are the people who master the twists and turns of the corridors of power and would be able to successfully lobby for development projects. They made pronouncements arguing that they knew what doors to open as well as how to present the problems of the people where it matters most.
They shall be in the senate, in their overwhelming majority. This means the next five years could be full of development projects in the entire country. Talk about a vast construction site! The Bohemian has been thinking a lot these days, especially about what people are saying. The Bohemian walks in to this mean looking, ill-lighted, spit- and- sawdust type of pub; it is his favourite joint , a dispiriting sort of place, where the bartender always reminds the boozers to keep their voices down and rings the bell to tell those who are still tarrying to quaff their drinks and disappear for curfew time is drawing near.
So, the Bohemian gets into the cheap public bar where life was beer and fags, and settles by this granny. The ashtray on the table in front of him is revoltingly full of stubs and ash. A guy joins us, a very loud type, who appeared to be addressing the bar and even if he was addressing a rally, he would not need a public address system. The Buea old guards would remember Mandela of Malingo. So the loud-mouthed drunk, the type Zachary Nkwo referred to as a mountain of a man screamed in his stentorian voice, “… what is the use of the senate in this country – can someone provide me with a convincing explanation?’’
Old man River pleaded with the drunken mountainous zombie to lower his voice. “There is a concentrated barrage of propaganda from the news media to convince the people to see with the idea – NONSENSE!” He blurted out and then pointed at the Bohemian. “Those are the liars, the spivs who are churning out doctored statistics…” The Bohemian just sat like a man about to be presented before the firing squad. “I agree with you.” Old man River concurred. “…but can you shut up for a second?” He added.
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: after subjecting the issue to microscopic scrutiny, the Bohemian has an observation. Public men in responsible positions directing the destiny of the nation appear brutal, hypocritical and corrupt. In Africa, this is typical; the constitution is often treated as door mat on which politicians and army officers wipe their feet after wading in the muck. The message to our senators both the elected and the appointed, should remember to keep the big picture in mind. For once, think about Cameroon; carry out the much advertized patriotic acts, and this does not mean lionizing the president for that smells of eye service. To those who are going to the senate with greedy and selfishness aims, you might be just part of the scratch and sniff picture and that does not smell good.
By Winston Lebga

Ode to our haunted youths

If there was any doubt as to the level of disaffection that Cameroonian nationality evokes among youths, the recent escape of athletes for the third consecutive time after being officially ferried to the Commonwealth Games has come to dispel such illusion. Come to think of it. The young men had been nursing dreams of going to countries where at least some attention is paid to budding talents who are nurtured and pampered to become assets to themselves and to the corporate image of their countries of origin.
Moreover, unlike others who have had to brave the vicissitudes that inhere in trans-Saharan misadventures through northern Cameroon to Chad and Libya and, eventually, life-threatening sea crossings between Libya and Italy or Spain they have had genuine travelling documents prepared by the state and transport fares paid from the public till. So why would they have bothered about coming back to drudgery when hustling out there bodes better prospects of livelihood improvement. Little doubt therefore that no matter what stigma is imputed to the deserting athletes, the unequivocal message they are sending is that “Le pays va mal.”
In a country that pays lip service to the youthful segment of its population, the reaction could not have been otherwise. Generations upon generations of youths have been sacrificed on the altar of greed and nepotism to the point where some people have reached the statutory retirement age of 55 without experiencing the ‘luxury’ of serving Cameroon even in Office Cleaner capacity. One contrivance or the other from the repository of Government magic represented in a skewed system of public service recruitment via competitive examination keeps knocking them off until frustration sets in and relegates them to permanent hangers-on to the apron strings of more fortunate school mates.Beer and food at least are hardly in short supply. And so they become executive beggars. This means that settled family lives of husbands, wives and children become unaffordable luxury. The drudgery, inexorably, accompanies them to their graves. How frustrating?

Oh yes, our youths have been sacrificed by a cabal that has raised gerontocracy to statecraft. Witness the recent clamour by traditional chiefs for President Biya’s candidacy in the upcoming presidential election. Can anything good be expected of chiefs who, out of unbridled sway to pecks from a moribund regime would sacrifice the wellbeing of their subjects? How would we expect youths not to rise against chiefs who spite their existential malaise just so that they may continue to await crumbs under the table? What these aggrieved youths are saying is that life has become unbearable in Cameroon and the only solution is a change of guards by any means.
Little wonder then that at a time when the rest of the world is capitalizing on tertiary industries’ contribution to generate wealth, we are still obsessed with second generation agriculture mantra in the face of abysmal incapacity to even engage first generation agriculture. That is our vision for our youths while oldies sit in state- of- the- art furnished offices, producing nothing but preying on the public till. Instead of creating avenues to engage the vitality of this rugged segment of our population, we contrive avenues to enrich kinsmen and regime loyalists. And so every means is sought to entrench the already asphyxiating centralized system of governance just so that a few sycophants with their youthfulness behind them continue to cling to the commonwealth like leaches. Where then is the place of our teeming youths? Why would they not see opportunity in illegal sojourn in more developed countries?
This explains why the Ministries of Education- Secondary, Basic, Civic, Higher and Youths and Sports that are all meant for the development of our teeming youths are all manned by individuals who have celebrated their diamond jubilees. Moreover, given that our statecraft makes no room for appointment of youths, all the Directors and Service Head positions are allocated to much older people. As if that is not enough, there are ministries in charge of development-Plan and Regional, Agriculture and Rural and very recently Decentralization and Local Development. Whatever this are supposed to mean remains a question to be answered by Biya’s spin doctors. If you add the Senate, and other moribund institution like the Economic and Social Council and Commission for Bilingualism and Multiculturalism, the picture of how the youths of this nation are deliberately fenced off becomes more glaring. These are moribund institutions whose leitmotif is reward to toadying the Biya regime. How then would the youths be encouraged to stay at home?
Were we expecting these frustrated youths to be patriotic on empty stomachs? Of course no! Patriotism stems from recognition of the value that the state attaches to the wellbeing of its citizens. It is certainly not a commodity that is sold in the open market and as such available to all and sundry. It is earned through governance that endears itself to the citizens via institutionalized populism. When this is raised to the pedestal of statecraft, obeisance to state emblems and constitutional provisions becomes automatic. Even in the circumstance where attempts have been made to concoct a simulacrum of concern for the youths, our pervasive inclination to line our pockets instead of serving the public deflects such initiatives into nothingness.
We do not plan for the benefit of the country but, for designated individuals and in the course of such insouciance, the country drifts into cataclysm. When the youths rise up in revolt as was the case in February 2008, the riposte from President Biya is that they had been under the instrumentality of some misguided political upstarts since they are not endowed with reasoning faculty. This explains why they have been taken off guard by Anglophone youths who have reached the point of sacrificing their lives for the improvement of governance in the country. Their resolve is informed by nothing else than the wellspring of frustration that has taken hold of their segment of society.
The situation has degenerated to the point where death means nothing to them. Whether it comes from joining the regular army or separatist forces, hesitance has been relegated to the background. Those who see no hope in fighting have opted for the misadventure of crossing the Sahara desert into Chad and Libya and eventually to Europe, with all the attendant risks of being sold into slavery, murdered or marooned on the high seas.
The country’s leadership has indeed lost legitimacy but, would not want to admit their condition and make way for a more dynamic system, powered by vibrant forces, whose youthfulness is an invaluable asset. Surprisingly, its headship keeps parodying the notion of youths being the leaders of tomorrow. Very impressive selling point, indeed! However, the reality on the ground is that our youths remain endangered species until such a time that they will take responsibility of being the potters that handle the clay to shape their destinies. This is very easy. They do not need the barrel of the gun as is currently the case. Let them register massively on electoral registers and vote out the Biya political rubble into obsolescence. This way there will be room for building a new Cameroon in which they will be pioneers.
By Ngoko Monyadowa

Mood of gaiety

To wish is to hope and to hope is to expect. This means Cameroon is bubbling with expectations with regard to the outlook of its Upper House of parliament. I am talking about the senate. The Bohemian is aware that many shall be the tears shed by some had-been senators in their last adieus to a place so much beloved. Talk about milking the cow.
There have been moments when one wondered aloud whether the Upper House was not in actuality a “gerontocratic asylum.” A place where old men sat and applauded every word uttered by any orator and then yawned before falling asleep. Then, they suddenly jerk back to reality awoken from their slumber by a round of applause and they join the fray without even knowing why people are clapping.
People expect those they elect to have a close relationship with the grassroots, and to understand their lives as they are lived. One thing should be made clear, it is not time or opportunity that is to determine intimacy; it is disposition alone. Make no mistake.
In the Northwest, the arrival of the new senators seems to afford the natives real satisfaction and their comfort to be an object of real solicitude to the Region’s inhabitants. People are hopeful and they are hoping not to be hoping against hope. The result of the 2018 senatorial elections will seriously impinge on the behaviour of the senators elect, I conjecture that. It is heart shredding to understand that politicians here don’t perform according to ideology or doctrine or conviction but money and position.
My friend Otto says the most recent electoral tussle between the two political juggernauts, CPDM and SDF in the Northwest gives the impression that the ballot box has still got some power in this country. I overheard a conversation in the course of which someone held this opinion: the victory of the Emilia Nkezeh – SDF list over the Regina Mundi – CPDM list is the full demonstration of the fact that the people are no longer willing to tolerate the ethnicized patronage politics that has polarized the country and pillaged public coffers.
The fire brand outgoing senators in the Northwest have been full of rhetoric which occasionally fell short of delivery. Now, they have been sanctioned, and with many top Government functionaries in prison, Cameroon’s chattering classes are speaking openly about the fall of a generation of untouchables.
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: the senate cannot and should not be accessible to he who has neither genius, taste, nor spirit. It is not for he or she whose understanding has no brilliancy, whose feelings have no ardour and whose voice has no expression. Thirty senators are to be appointed by presidential decree by Sunday. To many of the hopefuls, it is an idea to fill the heart with sensations of exquisite comfort and they expect to expand it in fervent gratitude. Well, brethren why sit in an attitude of deep meditation? Let’s be cheerful together, I am in a fine mood for gaiety.
By Winston Lebga

Village burning and self-destructive overreaction

It was headline news on CRTV. The top class reporter allowed the facts to speak for themselves. He could have interpreted the facts, but he didn’t. Rather he guided the Senior Divisional Officer, SDO, for Meme to tell his own story with his own mouth and in his own words.
Responding to traditional rulers’ grouse about the rampant burning down of entire villages by lawless men in uniform, the SDO, Chamberlain Ntou’ou Ndong hinted at Government rebuilding the homesteads, with other forms of compensations thrown in. Details of the [systematic] arson were being complied for the attention of the head of state. Biya would most likely order recompense. The SDO said nothing of sanctioning the measured sadism of security operatives ostensibly drafted to protect life and property. He said nothing of casually making unarmed, hapless villagers objects of their target practice, looting and burning villages to extinction with a criminal abandon.
Enter, the toothy Regional Governor, with his hackneyed, wishy-washy refrain of “…the army is there to secure the population.” I recalled the carnage that callous interests perpetrated in the neighbouring Central African Republic, CAR, recently, leaving in its wake pyramidal heaps of corpses. I recalled the inept, indolent, sadistic and greedy chaps that reaped from the programmed bloodletting!
Then my Private Eye saw the ‘new dealers’ with their hackneyed Good Friday pontifications. I saw a needlessly destructive overreaction; or better put, cutting off the nose to spite the face. I remembered the insipid speeches and cheap spin that admonish Cameroonians to look the other way while “Apostles of the grand stands” lie, cheat, loot, and burn.
By the way, the phrase, ‘cutting the nose to spite one’s nose’ is associated with numerous legends of pious women disfiguring themselves in order to protect their virginity. In the ‘new dealer’s’ case, he has been cutting his nose all these decades, to preserve the political virginity and sanctity of a ‘one and indivisible’ Cameroon.
The story is told of how Saint Ebba gathered her nuns together and urged them to disfigure themselves so that they may be unappealing to the Vikings, to rapists if you will. In this way, they hoped to preserve their chastity. She demonstrated this by cutting off her nose and upper lip and the nuns proceeded to do the same. The Viking raiders were so disgusted that they burned the entire building to the ground with the nuns inside.
The hard-hearted burning down of villages in the English speaking Regions of Cameroon by drafted soldiers is equal in effect to ensuring Biya’s resolve to keep Cameroon “one and indivisible.” Their act cuts the tragic figure of a man who, angered by his wife, burns down their house to punish her. But then, burning down her house would also mean burning down his own house, with all of their possessions.
Decades ago, I asked my dad why he had named one of his dogs Janus. His reply: Janus was an ancient Italian deity, regarded as having doors and entrances under his protection; represented with a face on the front and another on the back of his head; the doors of his temple in the Roman Forum were always open in time of war, and shut in time of peace. My dad told me that, it was difficult to easily determine which one represented Janus’s true face. Those who visited our homestead can attest to Janus’s surveillance attributes.
However, in the case of Biya’s hirelings, I can easily tell why they were rented. For example, the former grand dame of the “place to be” invited the army to loot, beat and rape students. She topped her infamy with unprintable xenophobic rant and cant (of all places) at the hotel where the “one and indivisible” pact was signed. For restraining dogs under her academic care, she was rewarded with a ministry that moulds young, impressionable minds. She is being hailed and passed off as an English speaking first timer, her sleazy antecedents notwithstanding.
Last line…
The more I observe those providing the yardstick with which societal values are measured, the more I puke.

Too little too late

Paul Atanga Nji, President Biya’s perceived antidote to Anglophone recrimination against crass marginalization was in the Northwest and Southwest Regions last week, presumably, to feel the actual pulse of the rebellion that has taken hold of this part of the country in the last 17 months. As Minister of Territorial Administration, it was quite fitting for him to have undertaken such a daring venture, given that his predecessor Emmanuel Rene Sadi, had spurned the need to be preoccupied with what his coterie of “one and indivisible Cameroon” advocates and himself see as unbridled impertinence not worthy of national attention.
In the Northwest, he, understandably, reached out to the people of Batibo in Momo Division, where a spate of kidnappings had introduced a new dimension to the orgy of bloodletting that has gripped regular soldiers and irate youths with obeisance to Ambazonia Defence Forces, as well as a select group of traditional rulers. By this token, one would have expected him to, also, extend the same goodwill to Menji and Alou in the Southwest Region, where not only kidnapping, but savage killings that almost snuffed life out of Zachary Ungitoh, Senior Divisional Officer, SDO, for Lebialem have become customary. However, he chose Buea and Kumba as stopping points, for reasons best known to him.
Atanga’s visit, coming in the immediate aftermath of the March 25 senatorial election that he said went on hitch-free, one would imagine, ought to have been opportunity for him to prepare the way for eventual mollification of Anglophones such that the current savagery unleashed on them would have begun assuming the character of being amenable to termination.
No! By his reckoning as Biya’s trusted courier, he was bearer of a message of encouragement to the forces of law and order and the administration from the Head of State who, like him, sees nothing wrong in the looting, burning and maiming being perpetrated on innocent, hapless villagers. As if to cap the regime’s insensitivity and lack of tact, he went about holding meetings with the same youths who constitute a bulk of commercial motorcycle riders to the point of asking them to denounce those with separatist inclination. Mr. Minister! Even an infant would have known that there was a no-deal situation from the day you unilaterally placed a blanket ban on movement of motorcycles in Ndian, Meme and parts of Fako Divisions.
If you really cared about the welfare of these squalid youths, groaning from the pangs of rabid unemployment, your demeanour would have been completely different. You would have at least pretended to publicly acknowledge with sympathy, the death of innocent citizens since the beginning of this almost inflexible showdown between Government and Anglophones.
Granted that those who have elected to take up arms do not have mandate from the majority population in the affected Regions, the fact that out of frustration Government forces have on several occasions succumbed to the bestial options of looting, burning of whole villages, maiming and raping makes an open apology from the Government categorical. The impression Atanga has left in the wake of his outpourings is that as long as the Government machinery has a semblance of functionality, all is well. Indeed, if as he claims, he actually had come with a message from President Biya, then they (the two Pauls) must be likened to the pre-repentance Saul in the Bible who transmuted after persecuting Christians and became Paul.
Such insensitivity and obsequiousness, readily brings to mind the impression harboured by many wary Cameroonians that the right information and/or advice in respect to immediate solution to the Anglophone crisis has hardly reached Biya. Forget that he is supposed to reason on his own, given that such was supposed to have been put into consideration each time mutilated elections have returned him as head of State. This thesis is grounded on the recent attack on CPDM adherents and sympathizers who were going to thank Mr. Biya for appointing Paul Tasong, one of theirs, as Minister Delegate in the Ministry of Economy, Planning and Regional Development. That such a venture could have been contemplated at the time it was about materializing, leading to the snatching and eventual release of Professor Ivo Leke Tambo, is ample proof that either Yaounde is underestimating the magnitude of the rebellion or local administrators are being manipulated to give false impressions that run contrary to reality on the ground.
Otherwise, how could Atanga Nji be announcing to the hearing of the whole world that senatorial elections went on hitch free, nationwide, when voting had to be exceptionally closed at 3pm instead of statutory 6pm in Menji, headquarters of Lebialem Division? Even the few 27 out of 92 voters who turned up for the voting had to be ferried by helicopter. Hitch-free is not when voters are scared off by the presence of separatist forces in Bangem, causing actual voting to end by 11 am. Mr. Minister, your percentage abstention that was read over CRTV reflects the absolute value. Conventional wisdom requires that because the current crisis in the country affects mostly the Northwest and Southwest Regions, those who did not vote on account of fear or actual physical presence of threats ought to have been aggregated based on the total number of electors in these two afflicted Regions. This is the only way to determine the exact impact of the rebellion on voter turnout.
Furthermore, how could Atanga Nji have been congratulating the forces of Law and order and the administration when the SDO of Lebialem is lying critically ill in Douala Reference Hospital from a gunshot wound on his head after being attacked a few days subsequent to the kidnap and release of Tambo? Just before this incident, the Gendarmerie post in Bechati was sacked and all the weapons carted away, only for the Rapid Intervention Battalion, BIR, to be brought in for the ensuing havoc wreaked on the population? How do you congratulate people who have been unable to locate and free the abducted DO of Batibo and the Regional Delegate of Social Affairs for the Northwest Region? How do you pat people on the back when they have constantly been overstretched by ragtag assemblages of irate youths who pass off for “Ambazonnia Defence Forces?”
Mr. Minister, if you guided instead by concern for your Anglophone kinsmen, you would have told the Head of State the truth; which is that the situation in Anglophone Cameroon is intractable and, only a well thought out and executed rapprochement, underpinned by sincere dialogue, would do the trick. Disabuse your mind of any illusion of reliance on force as is currently the case if at all you really love Cameroon. The world is watching. Would you allow President Biya to go down in history as the man who inherited great wealth but, squandered everything to the point of leaving his country insolvent in the midst of plenty? Certainly no!
By Ngoko Monyadowa

April’s fool!

We live in a country where many bear the emblems but the devotees are few. Many are employing smokescreen tactics, probably taking the citizens for a ride and no matter how powerful the Government may be, it cannot terrify the wrongdoers into staying away from their criminal activities. Hey, are you aware that as far as water supply is concerned in Bamenda, the only thing that is constant is the water bill? Many are wondering what they are being charged for. My friend Otto says we are paying the tap and metre rental fee.
In some people, the pain of living minute to minute simply grows so acute that they can finally stand to look into the face of death without blinking. They can even look at death as a friend and cross that river without a backward glance.
Like Christ, these people perpetually suffer in the hands of men. The sufferer can only get a perfunctory smile when the public eye is alert because he or she is considered a lesser being. Hunger compels the sufferer, who cannot find anything to delight his or her sensibilities to meditate about his or her soul, because they have lost the world, they must do all to gain their souls.
What is the point of going through life with illusions?
Mine was taken away when I was a little boy and I am gland for it. Is it a coincidence that this year’s Easter Day falls on April the First?
This man Jesus, also known as the Son of God and Saviour of man is quoted in the Bible as declaring that He is the way, the truth and the life. Nobody can go to the Father without passing through Him. It is said that His birth leaves biologists wondering aloud, He was born of a virgin. He confounded the chemists by turning water into wine, the mathematicians by breaking five loaves of bread and feeding five thousand people. He defied the laws of up thrust by walking on water, made nonsense of death by resurrecting after three days and broke the law of gravity by going up and not coming down. He had neither crown nor throne, but they called him King of Kings. He had no school but they called him teacher. He served many, washing the feet of his disciples but they called Him Master.
Today, many of the so-called men of God are not humble and are more concerned about emptying the pockets of members of their desperate congregations. Instead of feeding the five thousand hungry people like what Jesus did, today’s prophets are being fed by the five thousand hungry people.
Since many are looking upon any as their Lord and Master, the new day prophets are living up to their billing as grandmasters by providing the much expected drama. You see them on their numerous TV Stations, interviewing demons; “what are you doing in this man’s body?”, “so, you have destroyed his family and ruined his life?” Then they proceed to scream, “Out! Out! Out!” Were we not told in Sunday school that when demons are cast out, they must be directed to somewhere or thing if not they could possess anyone nearby? Did Jesus not direct demons to pigs – so our prophets when they cast out demons where are they directed to? As one of the prophets would say, “touch your screen”
So, after observing the hypocrites as they mingle with the good people we meet, 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 declare; so many people are distraught because of the hard times and are ready to swallow anything they are fed. I suggest that Government should be thinking of taxing religious movements because they have become more of income generating organizations that enrich their leaders. Who did Jesus die to save, the poor sinner or the rich preacher. Would you blame me for recognizing Rastafari Makonnnen Woldemikael Haile Selassie I as king of Kings, Lord of Lords, conquering Lion of the tribe of Judah? Would you blame me, or do you think I am April’s fool? Suit yourself and touch your screen.
By Winston Lebga

Hustlers!

Some people never learn their lessons.
You notice their cocky attitude, as they treat people as if life were simply a try at coconut shy. How many would have imagined that five years would pass by as if nothing had happened?
I hear some councillors were alternating between periods of optimism and a sense of emptiness. It is now time out for those whose eloquence is convincing, but have nothing to show for all the sweet pep talk. Every aspirant declared to have the magic wand needed to save the ship of state from sinking, others made pronouncements about their panacea which can make the “Anglophone crisis”, a thing of the past, with a wave of the hand. It is interesting to watch these “politricksians,” some of whom think their past unfulfilled promises now should be seen as water under the bridge.
This has been said for so long that it can be a new sing song. People are tormented by the past, tremulous about the future and very much disturbed by the present. Several men and women in the Northwest Region have for long felt that they were being nourished by a generation of broken promises. Some became bitter, quarrelsome and slightly pathetic; all these born out of the frustration of not seeing their elected officials taking interest in their troubles.
The ballot box is the proper instrument for the citizenry to sanction the actions of the ruling elite. Yes, there are complaints that there is a sophisticated rigging machine that is so effective that no one can beat it. But why fear such things? Truth is, no matter what “politricksians” might say, the virtues of honesty, candour, frugality and patriotism have withered and died. What is left, is a people whom neither the vices of their rulers nor the increasingly bold attacks of foreign and local enemies could shake out their apathy. You have dreams and you struggle to attain them, then you find they were a mirage in the desert. The struggle is the fun. The dream is the motivating force. Nothing more!
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; cheats, especially during an election are like a fake brand name garment or wrist watch that looks genuine but eventually disappoints. Wealth and vanity are at the expense of the weak and helpless. My friend Otto is a councilor. He says money is the name of the game, and many have been wielding money bags ready to oil the lips of the councilors who see the senatorial elections as the opportunity to get their own share of the Upper house gumbo. Otto says, “better take your own now and run. Who knows whether we will still be councilors …” My conclusion is that we are all hustlers.
By Winston Lebga

Very Important Prisoners, VIP

The brighter the light, the darker the shadow it casts. A political parvenu purportedly lit a light in 1982. He started spinning this long yarn of a deal which he insisted was new.
As young and naïve as we then were, we took to the streets, railing at the “ancien regime,” and hailing the chief proponent of rigour and moralization. Reporters swallowed the yarn, “scoop, line and sinker.” Before we could say ‘Ring Road, Deep Sea Port and egalitarianism,’ the ‘lion man’ had ‘rigorously demoralized’ us. His choice of ‘Ali Babas’ resorted to dry-cleaning the treasury as if Ahidjo’s cash had rendered it dirty. The dry-cleaning task was executed before we could blink our eyes. So, instead of beseeching us to fasten our seatbelts to collectively take-off to socio-economic and political prosperity, we were advised to tighten our belts against a looming economic crisis.
We obliged. We fell for the new deal talismanic influence on us and as a consequence descended to a base level of suffering and idiocy. Man Fridays and other quislings were conscripted from our very fold to sing the sustainable new deal song of six pence, a bucket full of rice, as it were. They titillated our senses with palliatives and lullabies.
Whilst dealing us deadly blows, the new dealer bellowed like a little Turk. He yelped about a certain light at the end of the tunnel. We were given the sackcloth of the people’s drinking movement, convinced to don it, because it was the only valid meal ticket; the only passport to civil service jobs and appointments. We grew leaner than the biblical Pharaoh’s lean cows by the day. Even so, we still groveled and deified the dealer to the point whereby, he conveniently adopted Godhead.
Today, the choice is for one to either sing or sink. But not the man, whose assigned mission was to ensure that we were dealt with, rigorously of course! Much unlike Franklin Delano Roosevelt from whom he borrowed the deal, our own dealer wasn’t and isn’t still prepared to play by the rules. Whereas Roosevelt’s New Deal failed; whereas this American president acknowledged such failure and launched a second New Deal (that worked) Saul is persistently stating that his own deal must sail on coercion and blood to the end.
Prime beneficiaries of a corrupt status quo have now become veritable ‘Vagabonds In Power,’ VIPs. Seeing as it were, that the piercing sirens that often accompanied them to and from thieving expeditions have lost their potency, they now prefer for the state to convey them in chartered flights. These flights, of course, gulp colossal amounts of tax payer’s money because even after paying for them, per diems and out station allowances must be spent for the repatriation of the likes of Basile Atangana Kouna from Nigeria.
Man hours must also be frittered by way of blocking Yaounde streets to enable free escort of a treasury looter that was in retreat. This, of course, is better than being initially vigilant to prevent the likes of Kouna from beating Tchiroma’s idea of eagle eyed, valiant security operatives.
Now, you see that instead of minting fiscal policies, our dealers, as new as they come, are opting for physical policies? I used to believe that the brains God gave us were to be used in improving the lot of others. But the dealer has proved me wrong, by taking selfish interest, by raking up every grain of power, even if it means airlifting Very Important Prisoners, VIPs, just so that the Vagabonds In Power, VIPs, can loot and rape the common till, until the dealer’s will is achieved by…
Last Line…
Our dealer has resorted to appointing educated sadists and streetwise comedians to see through his dream of hitting 2035. Do not say I told you!