Posers for CPDM trouble shooters to Anglophone Regions

Fellow Cameroonians I am Dr, Simon Munzu speaking to you on behalf of the Anglophone Cameroon Dialogue Forum, ACDF. Today, October 16, 2017, I want to talk to you about the delegations the Prime Minister and head of Government has sent to visit the people of the Northwest and Southwest Regions between 15 and 24 October 2017. This visit, according to a press release from the Prime Minister’s office is on the instructions of the Head of State.

It is now 12 months since the current socio-political crisis in the Northwest and Southwest Regions of Cameroon started. In these 12 months, many innocent lives have been lost, civil liberties have been eroded, property has been destroyed, the people’s economic activities and social life as well access to internet have been disrupted. When the territory of the Southern Cameroons united with that of the Republic of Cameroon on October 1 1961, to form a new state, the Federal Republic of Cameroon, they brought into this union of equal partners its own heritage in such areas as, democratic politics and governance, justice, education, public administration, maintenance of law and order, the economy, infrastructure and culture. In the light of this, the light of the Anglophone problem today, this has given rise to the current Anglophone crisis, lies in the facts that, for 56 years, this system has been purposely and systematically dismantled. For 56 years, Anglophones in Cameroon have been marginalized, dominated and subjugated.

They have the need to feel as a conquered people, as second class citizens in their own country. On October 1, 2017, and for several days after, state security forces used firearms against peaceful and unarmed civilians in towns and villages in the two Anglophone Regions, pursuing them in some cases even into holy places such as Churches and other places of divine worship. The dead are still being discovered, counted and buried in our towns and villages. No one knows exactly how many they are. The wounded and the maimed are still being treated. No one knows where, how, with what and by who. They disappeared are not yet accounted for. No one anywhere, knows how many exactly they are. The traumatized are still to be psychologically rehabilitated. No one knows how long this would take or who would pay for the care given them, for several months or even years.

Fellow Cameroonians, it is in the midst of all these that the Prime Minister and Head of Government decided to organize delegations to visit and commune with the population of the Northwest and Southwest Regions, as instructed by the Head of State. We want to ask the following questions: Mr. Prime Minister and members of the 13 delegations sent to all Divisions of the Northwest and Southwest Regions. During two full weeks of killing, wounding, maiming, disappearance of Anglophones and destruction of their property in your home Regions in the North and Southwest from October 1 to October 15, 2017, what did you do for your suffering people? You did not speak up for them; you did not protect them from the ravages of state violence; you did not even visit and commune with them until now, you were instructed by the Head of State to do so.

Should we conclude from this, that you would never have come to your own Regions in these circumstances if the Head of State had not instructed you to do so? Are you that unconcerned about the fate, suffering and hardship of your own people? How are the people of the Northwest and Southwest Regions supposed to interpret the fact that, in 12 months of socio political upheavals, killings, wounding, maiming, disappearances, destruction of property and abuse of basic human rights, the Council of Ministers chaired by the Head of State has not convened even once to discuss this crisis. In 12 months, this crisis has not been discussed even once in any of the monthly cabinet meetings chaired by the Prime Minister who is an Anglophone. In 12 months, neither the Senate nor the National Assembly whose members are said to represent the people and most of which are dominated by the ruling party, including many senior ranking Anglophones has debated the Anglophone problem at any of its sessions. In 12 months, none of the governing organs has been summoned even once, to examine the Anglophone crisis.

Mr. Prime Minister, why are your delegations that are meant to visit and commune with all the people of the Northwest and Southwest Regions made up exclusively of members or sympathizers of the ruling party the CPDM? If Cameroon is truly one and indivisible, why is your delegation made up of natives of the Anglophone Region alone? Are our Francophone brothers and sisters especially those of the ruling CPDM so unconcerned about the people of the Southwest and Northwest Regions that they would not want like you, to visit and commune with them? Honorable Prime Minister, if you consider the undeclared but very effective state of emergency that prevails in the Northwest and Southwest Regions, if you consider the high level of militarization, and if you consider the continuous lamentation of the people of these Regions, over the dead, wounded and the disappeared, what is the normalcy to which you say you and your delegation have been instructed by the Head of State to encourage these two Regions to return to? How do you and the elite accompanying you ensure that there are conditions for the return of normalcy in these two Regions? Do you have the power or the authority to do this? What dialogue do you propose to have with the people of the two Anglophone Regions? What would make the dialogue as you wish it constructive? If you and members of your delegation, being Anglophone, Anglophone Ministers, Anglophone Prime Minister, Anglophone office holders, Anglophone Senators, Anglophone Members of the National Assembly and Anglophone traditional rulers, if you dialogue with the population as envoys of the Head of State,  who then would represent the Anglophone people with this dialogue with you?

By the way, why are you the people dialoguing with the people of the Anglophone Regions? Are you in dispute with your own people? Do you have a problem with your own people which you hope to solve and resolve through dialogue? When it comes to dialogue over the ongoing Anglophone crisis, are you supposed to be the Head of State’s envoys to your suffering people or your suffering people’s envoys to the Head of State? Which is the agenda for this constructive dialogue as you call it, that you have embarked upon? How is the dialogue to be conducted? What is its expected outcome? How binding will its conclusions be? Would several delegations go to all 13 Divisions of the Northwest and Southwest Regions at the same time? What consistency would the content of the dialogue have across the two Anglophone Regions?

Honorable Prime Minister, could it be that this hastily conducted dialogue with the people of the Northwest and Southwest Regions has been prompted by the need for the Head State and the Government to be able to report to some prominent personalities who are scheduled to visit Cameroon next week? That dialogue between the Government and the Anglophone people that was recommended by the international community took place between October 15 to October 24 2017? Honorable Prime Minister, for 56 years the people of Southern Cameroons, West Cameroon and now Northwest and Southwest Regions of Cameroon have been asking for dialogue concerning their fate since the beginning of the union of their territory with that of the Republic of Cameroon in 1961. In over five decades, their call for dialogue has been systematically ignored by the ruling elites in Yaoundé who have called them unpatriotic, secessionist, extremist and of late terrorist and dogs. Now that the governing elites in Yaoundé appear to have accepted the need for dialogue, the people of the Northwest and Southwest believe strongly that the time for dialogue has come indeed. However, the only dialogue, worth having now is that which would lead us, to put an end peacefully and forever, to domination, subjugation, marginalization of the Northwest and Southwest Regions of Cameroon and their people by the governing elites in Yaoundé. In this connection, on Friday, October 13, 2017, the Anglophone Cameroon Dialogue Forum delivered a letter by email to the President of the Republic, calling on him to convene a national dialogue on the Anglophone problem and transmitting to him a document entitled “The civil society programme for the national dialogue of the Anglophone problem in Cameroon.” That document is now available for the wide population of the people at home and abroad. Prior to attending the national dialogue, the people of the Northwest and Southwest Regions would meet in a preparatory conference reminiscent of the AAC 1 in 1993 and AAC 1 in 1994 which some may want to call AAC. In that preparatory conference, they would agree on the set of issues to be tabled on the national dialogue on the Anglophone problem which is expected to be convened by or with the instructions of the Head of State. They would also on that occasion designate the people to represent them at the national dialogue.

Fellow Cameroonians, our constitution stipulates that Cameroon is one and indivisible, but if this unity and indivisibility of Cameroon are to be more than just constitutional slogans, they must rest on the paradigm of one nation, two systems. Fellow Cameroonians, as I said in the beginning, I brought this message on behalf of the Anglophone Cameroon Dialogue Forum, ACDF. The ACDF is a civil society organization. It emerged in March 2017. As a network of Cameroonian individuals, and groups in Cameroon or abroad that are committed in finding a lasting solution to the Anglophone problem through genuine, frank, inclusive and comprehensive national dialogue. The network comprises of individual members of political parties, professional associations, women and youth groups, associations of traditional rulers, religious bodies and other interested parties.

By Dr. Simon Elvis Munzu

Chronicling criminal disregard for humankind

Not too long ago, the point was made here that an urgent need exists to rebrand Cameroon. This assertion is the outgrowth of coming to grips with current institutionalization of governance that hinges on discourtesy for human lives. Sadly, this deleterious perception of statecraft springs from a clan of ordinarily intelligent functionaries who brandish certificates from some of the best universities existent on planet earth.  How this came about is still enigmatic to many, but a cursory look at their modus operandi would reveal incursions into moral depravity occasioned by disregard for the yearnings of fellow Cameroonians. Grabbing seems to be the credo and any attempt to bar perpetuation of this newfound inclination to base avarice is stymied with remorseless brutality. Indeed, the intensity of contempt for humanity and the need for the peaceful coexistence gained over the years to trickle down to the rest of their compatriots is anathema. Which is why, this putrid acquisitiveness has in its wake engendered country-wide despondence and avoidable agitation in some portions of the polity. Hence the urgent need for rebranding advocated earlier.

As corollary, Anglophones whose exposure to British ethos underlined by rule of law began sending warning signals adumbrating their discomfiture in a system that has over the years been transforming them from partner to pariah. Unfortunately, because of the erroneous view that the political coup d’etat represented in May 20, 1972 referendum had legitimized annexation of West Cameroon by East Cameroon with whom they had agreed to enter into an entente of equal partners, gradual and systematic assimilation of the former and all it embodied was embarked upon by successive administrators, against wise counsel from West Cameroon leaders and some discerning Francophones.

Instead of pondering over these events and seeking lasting solutions to their root causes Government as usual sought solace in brute force; seeing itself as a leviathan prodded by the principle of man being wolf to man (apologies to John Locke, 17th century social philosopher). And where has this landed us. We are in a situation where arrogance,  ego pampering and illusions of grandeur have made the ruling class recline to the comfort of their cushions, hoping erroneously, that bayonets and obsequious military high command will ensure safety for their ill-gotten wealth,  their blood money. This way, their hegemony will be for eternity as their progenies would have been handed over relay batons by the time inevitable death comes calling. No way!

A new generation of Cameroonians is inching its way into public significance. That generation is the nucleus of the vanguard that is being steadily exposed to untimely but programmed death from the bestiality of a Government that has sworn to perpetrate its stay despite clear signs of having been disavowed.

That generation is incarnated by Anglophones who have decided that it is either a new Cameroon or nothing. A new Cameroon, where there shall be censure to being looked upon as sub-human. A Cameroon wherein their voices shall count and not be discounted as currently obtains. A new Cameroon where one man’s pronouncement is no more important than that of the sovereign will.  We are aware of the Herculean task ahead but not even the persistent resort to carnage as represented in last October 1 barefaced killing of dozens of peace flower-carrying youths will quench the fire of Anglophone spring in Cameroon.

The die is cast and there can be no turning back. Whether our Francophone brothers choose to partner with us or not, one thing is certain: come the next six months at the maximum, Cameroon shall never be the same again. Should our Francophone brothers join us in this inevitable journey to freedom land, then there might be room for coexistence in a unified Federal Cameroon. However, if they persist in their current ostrich game, and in that case, indolently watch our spritely radicalized youths wrest independence from Government in their secessionist bid, let them be aware that it will no longer be a partnership of equals but that of foreigner and citizen. The choice is theirs.

The ruthlessness of the Biya regime had started being felt as far back as when a pogrom was unleashed on alleged propagators of the April 6, 1984 botched coup d’etat. This atrocious attitude was visited on innocent citizens during the launching of the SDF and the state of emergency imposed on Bamenda in the wake of post-election tension in 1992. Undisguised disregard for humanity began embedding itself on President Paul Biya’s governance tenet. Admittedly, although inexcusable, the off-putting moments of the sixties warranted the barbarism of Ahidjo and the French on Cameroonian nationalists, the fact that the country has been experiencing relative calm, under Paul Biya, even if in moribund governance, relegates the current bloodletting fixture into the realm of malfeasance.

Furthermore, as if such atrocious brutality was a mere prelude, we were pushed into the oddity of “Bepanda nine” with its accompanying narrative of summarily executed young and vibrant Cameroonians and their subsequent burial in mass graves in Douala. On the heels of this a few years later, was to emerge one of the most dishonourable occurrences in the entire history of our country. The massacre of hordes of protesting youths across the country simply because they had been expressing discomfiture against a system of governance that had been making life increasingly unbearable through high cost of living and galloping unemployment.

However, the emergent political pluralism of the nineties brought into being a new vista in political perception by erstwhile indolent and emasculated people to whom  it began dawning that the ruling class had all along deprived them of natural and inalienable rights. The upshot was of course, predictable. The invincibility of the ruling CNU, later christened CPDM by Paul Biya, Ahidjo’s heir apparent, was momentously eroded and its impending overthrow lay bare.  Unfortunately for Cameroonians, political grandstanding by the Social Democratic Front, SDF, coupled with complicity and barefaced conceit from the likes of Bello Bouba Maigari, Augustin Frederick Kodok and Dakolle Daissala robbed the country of the closest opportunity to oust a regime that had begun its governance pilgrimage with rigour and moralization mantra only to end up with “ou sont les prevues?”   In the event corruption and election rigging to perpetuate opaque and ruthless dictatorship held sway and all attempts to make regime goons see reason in more accountable governance fell on death ears.

Having lived and experienced the remorseless brutality unleashed on Bassas and Bamilike by Ahidjo with tacit French support, many Francophones did not see of necessity to be part of vanguard agitation for a change in leadership in Cameroon. To make things worse, the well canalized plan via civil disobedience had failed, owing to hegemonic claims and ego pampering adventures that formed the fulcrum of thought in most politicians. Which is why consensus could not be reached and as denouement, Biya remained triumphant and persisted in foisting pebendalism on Cameroonians.

Be that as it may, whether it is accepted as being of the essence to our corporate survival or not, the impressions held of the governing class by visitors and those who sacrificed their sovereign will for Government’s existence, come to play monumental roles in the success or failure of any regime in acquitting itself of the responsibility to establish transparency, accountability and the rule of law as governance ethos. Of course, the responsibility of a Government towards its citizens is defined by the mechanisms put in place to ensure traceable milestones that can hold it accountable in the event of dereliction. Which is why, such signposts of accountability in governance have to be accretions from consensual, if not unanimous decisions arrived at after due consultation and stakeholder-wide dialogue. The aberration to the above contention happens to be the case in Cameroon and accounts for the current state of topsy-turvy that has taken firm grip of relationship between Government and Anglophones.

Holding Government legally responsible is in itself a function of the calibre of citizens that inhabit a country. If the case of Cameroon is taken as point of departure, the insight that readily comes to mind is alchemy of complicity, indolence, apathy and conscientization, all rolled in one.This has been at play in the last 56 years that underlie the reunification of East and Southern Cameroons.

The lore of dialogue

Dialogue as opposed to confrontation has always ended up the better option in conflict management. This holds good even for litigation where solicitors advise clients to place higher premium on out of court settlements than open court where victors are separated from vanquished. The thinking here is that most human beings are ego driven and the thought of having been openly humiliated either in court or war front does not leave room for unscathed reconciliation.

On the contrary it stokes embers of revenge and other adversarial contrivances intended to make good lost prestige or illusions of grandeur. From whatever angle it is viewed, dialogue is a better option to confrontation.

Even among young students in universities where the ideal has always been to fight to finish (aluta Continua, victoria acerta) there is the permeating proviso of three Cs, represented in Consultation, Consolidation and Confrontation. What this portends is that there must be every attempt to let the opponent see your side of the story before contemplating confrontation. In the event, head on collision is minimized, relegated to last resort. This perspective of conflict management makes what we are currently witnessing in Cameroon grossly dishonourable. It is so because there has never been any conflict without remote causes. Nipping the Anglophone crisis at the level of remote causes is what our system has failed to uphold in the illusory view that force should be employed as solution to all problems, inherent character of such crisis notwithstanding. With time, the crisis has festered to a point of demanding more circumspection than before. Hence the persistent skirmishes between Government and Anglophones.

Which is why, occurrences attendant to Friday, September 22 mass protests in Anglophone Cameroon are leaving no one in doubt that Government has completely shot wide off target in relation to what ought to have been the next steps. While the more volatile Northwest Region is regaining relative calm with business seemingly thriving, the Southwest Region is in anomy. Concordant information tells of mayhem in Ekona where senseless confrontation between forces of law and order and resolute youths of this notorious vicinity has left at least, four dead at the last count. Eyewitnesses recount that early morning raids have become customary and it is in one of such that the people were subjected to the indignity of being hauled half naked into waiting army trucks. The same scenario festooned Mile 16 neighbourhood in Buea when football aficionados in the process of savouring footballing exploits of Chelsea London and Athletico Madrid, were rudely deprived of their favourite recreation and ordered into waiting military trucks for onward movement  to Buea.

Indeed, no one is in the know as to why this recklessness in governance is fast becoming the norm. However, one thing is certain and it is us- and- them mentality that seems to have gripped Government functionaries, aggrieved by the fact that the immediate past mass protests have exposed the lies they have been telling the Head of State. The breadth, intensity and spontaneity of the protest matches belied the much bandied impression of Anglophone agitation being piloted by a few misguided elements wanting to credit President Paul Biya with less than deserved governance savvy. Yes, as they say in folklore, the wind has blown and the hen’s rump has been exposed! Some other contraption, therefore, has to be unearthed as face saving device. Unfortunately, being essentially constituted by one-track mentality species, the recourse these impudent administrators have had to gaining back their master’s confidence is to float the notion that they had not been wrong in their assessment of the gravity of Anglophone distress and, by extension, resolve to fight to finish.Hence resort to sham and illegal arrests to frighten potential fomenters of trouble into scampering for safety.

The mass protests of September 22 and undisguised determination to resist to finish exhibited by the youths of Ekona, alleged to have confronted armed state security operatives last weekend with catapults, stones and machetes, meaningfully, reveals the extent to which intransigence has eaten deep into the protagonists of the imbroglio pitting Anglophone irredentists against a cabal of derisive Government functionaries who actually run the country in the name of Mr. Biya. These Anglophone youths are apparently,  resigned to fate on account of Government tenacity to perpetuate Anglophone alienation instead of making palpable moves to bring into being lasting solution to this whole episode of Anglophone marginalization. The fear is that with this kind of posturing that radicalizes instead of instilling fear in our youths, we may be in for more senseless and outrageous killings on either side of the Anglophones/Government dichotomy. This is certainly not auspicious for our vision of a Cameroon that should be emergent by 2035. Emergence, in any case is a function of many intervening variables including, peace, justice, progress and stability.

Having painted the above ominous scenario, the hope would have been that our so called governing class sees need for utmost caution and tread softly on the issue of impending confrontation between Government forces and unseen apparitions of Southern Cameroon restoration Government to be formally installed in Buea on Sunday, October 1. On the contrary,discerning Cameroonians have been treated to embarrassing lack of hindsight and sycophancy relating to last Friday’s, hurriedly summoned meeting, ostensibly, by Regional headship of the ruling party, that ended up in opportunity for these otherwise respectable leaders of the Southwest Region, including serving and past ministers to be scolded and ordered about by the administrative head boy in situ. Oh yes, they have become hewers of wood and drawers of water in their ancestral land because of cheap and soured pottage. Instead of calling the Governor to order and letting him see the irresponsibility embedded in his gong-ho approach to crisis management, they sat there smugly to endorse highly provocative threats to their kith and kin.

These wags who pass off for elite have quickly forgotten the University of Buea incident in whose wake confusion arose relating to responsibility for the excesses committed by the forces of law and order deployed on campus. Of course, Okaia Bilai as Governor, wriggled himself out and put the blame squarely on then Vice Chancellor Pauline Nalova Lyonga, alleged to have prodded him through several entreaties to send wild troops into the campus. The same scenario is being waxed. How on earth would elite of the Southwest Region have converged on Mountain Hotel, Buea just so that an appointee, who ordinarily, should be schooled by them, turns around to be the maestro of their Region?  What if, some awry circumstances were to emerge on October 1 or the preceding days under Okalia’s bellicose gubernatorial edict, even as this is not the wish here? Would this not have been occasion for these per diem-chasing hirelings to tell this regional head of presidential dogs that the solution to the Anglophone problem lies in true, effective dialogue and that that is their considered prescription to the Head of State through the latter’s good offices?

Judging by the accounts of those present at the meeting, the “dog whistler” was swearing openly to kill at the slightest provocation as if would be victims that may be felled by bullets are not Cameroonians, let alone homo-sapiens.  They probably conjured images of stray pigs to be felled without qualms. When someone on temporary posting to a jurisdiction perceives in such assignment opportunity for self-aggrandizement and pecuniary gains instead of service to the people, a compelling need arises for the notion of governance to be totally reviewed and such irreverent functionary sent on remedial course to bring him up to speed with android age administrative prerequisites. This conceited approach is moribund, given that the world of feudalism had long been consigned to antiquity!

We must not allow our personal inclinations to acquisitiveness endanger lives of innocent Cameroonians. It is true the regime’s assailants have succeeded in eroding manhood from many of the fickle minded. However, we must always look up to God our Creator and, remember that judgment day is real and its prospect impels us to ensure our current actions reflect willingness to serve and not to be served. As the late sage, Mohandas Gandhi, aka Mathama, succinctly put it, “there is enough for everyone’s need but not for their greed.” Let us look at life from the perspective of being each other’s keeper; from the angle of classlessness, not master against servant. If Cameroon is supposed to be one and indivisible, then, there ought to be no us-and-them mindset as is currently being showcased by regime flunkeys. If we truly love this country as we purport, let us sit as brothers; Government and Anglophones, akin to problem solving in typical African village setting where everyone sits under a tree and palaver is stripped of its disruptive toga.

By Ngoko Monyadowa

Anglophones demand transparent and accountable governance

What has recently been described as the Anglophone uprising seems to have been over explained, often maligned, and even taken for granted? It would be better to say something altogether new since even most angry Anglophones in Cameroon do not understand the enormous historic tide they are swimming against and the nation-shaping results of their risk-taking and sacrifice.

Even the most obedient and mind controlled among Cameroonians have some inner suspicion that this country is blighted by tremendous problems; that a threat to our unity looms. Sadly, their only recourse is to support the very system of corruption and inertia that is itself the threat and it is like doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result.

How MPs and Senators sell their People for 30 pieces of silver.

Those who suffer the highest today under oppressive regimes may not know that their one companion is darkness. Their eyes are looking up to men whom they elected to speak on their behalf in kangaroo parliaments deceiving themselves that help will come from there. The so called MPs and Senators in many places do not represent anyone but their stomach constituencies. They consistently ignore the people’s plight.

Many Cameroonians are insisting that our elected representatives must teach themselves to defy dangers, and even death, to bring their people salvation. Symmetrically almost all our Honourables, like Judas Iscariot do not hesitate to adopt bills that do more harm than good in as far as their mouths are oiled. It seems that during legislative sessions, MPs and Senators wine and dine with rapacious politicians until they get drunk before speaking with Government agents about how they could betray their own people and receive slush money or some other messy pottage. Jesus Christ clamoured despondently: “but look the one who betrays Me is here at the table with Me.”

Elected men in reality should be friends of the people, fighting so hard for their own people, not even fearing to die for them. But this is not the way it is, especially in Cameroon. Our country particularly has remained in the whirlwinds of poverty and oppression because those who were meant to be the watchdogs of society, the guardians of republican ideals, and the voice of the voiceless have elected to be selectively and conveniently dumb.

Men have graduated to tin gods because of power and those who were to be ever present to listen to us are always unreachable. Needless to say that it is almost impossible to seek an appointment with the godly Senators, MPs and very busy mayors as everyone seems to have forgotten the meaning of service.  Our country could have been better if our hitherto deified leaders were true servants of the State and its people. Today and so painfully, the paradigm of service has been forgotten and looking everywhere one sees so clearly that in all directions, in low and high places, men are paid much money for sitting down to eat and doing no work, while the one who serves truly can only manage to eat breakfast meant for dogs.

Watch out and don’t be a fool forever. Many men claiming to speak on our behalf only speak for themselves. They align with the people only when they need them and misalign with them when their people need them and even denying taking the cup of suffering away from their own flesh and blood. And always it is with a kiss that most Senators, MPs and Mayors betray their people. At each session, only God knows how many times they have denied their own people even before the rooster crowed.

The level of unquestioning obedience and outright reverence to the Biya regime has managed to impose on the legislature, the judiciary, the press and the armed forces, largely without direct force is incredible. In the end, the Government would announce that two and two makes five, and you would have to believe it either by persuasion, cajolery or coercion. It was inevitable that Anglophones should take to the streets sooner or later. Not merely the validity of experience of living in Cameroon, but the very existence of military men all over suggests a certain degree of subjugation. The heresy of heresies today has become the Anglophone question. And what is terrifying is not that they would kill you for thinking differently, but that they might be right for killing you.

As someone has said, it is not distance that separates men. It is rather the silence of honest men in the face of injustice, man’s wickedness on man, betrayal, hypocrisy, envy, pride and fat lies. Where are the good men and where are the men of courage? Where are you true fathers of the nation who understand the motto: peace, work, Fatherland? For keeping silent all these years, our elected representatives have made it clear to all and sundry that deliverance for Cameroon will arise one day from somewhere else while they slumber like metal gates left to rust. Anglophones like Oliver Twist may be asking the Government of Cameroon too much in recent protest marring the country’s two English Regions, but we must weep bitterly and not laugh when police and Gendarmes knowingly fire live bullets at unarmed protesters even when they are described as extremists. Can we ever forget that although He was impeccable, Jesus the Christ shared the fate of criminals?

Some elected representatives will read this and agree with it, yet make no resolve to make Cameroon a better place, but they must understand that they are accountable to God for the position of influence they have received. Our MPs and Senators can choose to slumber during crucial parliamentary deliberations and present the miseries of their people only as subsidiary issues. As they have gone on singing hymns of praise and clapping their hands for a failing regime, these men have simply squandered their own chance to leave behind a Godly legacy for the next generation, with actions that evidently lack eternal value.

When will the time come in Cameroon for Senators and MPs to openly and frankly tell Biya that cuts must be made in Government spending since there is no reason why Directors General of State Corporations and Ministers and all those in Government who are not productive should be allowed to go on wasting tax payers’ money on expensive cars, building big private mansions here and there and making expensive trips abroad almost all the time while employment, education, environment, health, social security and transport are ignored.

Cameroon needs Senators and MPs who will clearly tell those in high places that their lavish life styles can no longer be accepted when truly, Cameroon has settled at the bottomless pit as a highly indebted poor country.

By Solomon Lyonga Ikundi

Cowardly and Complicit carnage!

Gradually, the spectre of genocide and /or civil war is taking shape in our polity. This apparition, ordinarily a complete stranger to the Cameroon of yesteryears is fast becoming a fixation in our daily ontological escapades. In just two weeks we have witnessed scores of vibrant and in certain cases innocent youths felled by bullets of drafted trigger-happy troops. There have been precedents in the likes of February 2008 nationwide riots, or Bepanda 9, particularly, in Yaounde, Douala, Yaounde, Kumba, Bamenda. However, their point of convergence is limited to spontaneity, simultaneity and breadth. While the one was a nationwide strike against high cost of living, the latter has been spearheaded by irate Anglophones wanting their pound of flesh from a system that has for over half a century subjected them to undeclared annexation and feudalism. Be that as it may, the Sunday, October 1, carnage particularly, in Buea was, from every indication premeditated, uncalled for and condemnable in all its material particulars.

While chastising the audacity of the unarmed youth in daring the armed to the teeth soldiers, a very huge temptation immediately arises to question why such combat readiness had to be deployed against peace flower brandishing youths.  Oh yes! from Bakweri Town to Buea Town, behind Mount Mary Hospital and finally the Golgotha of the day, Bongo Square, the carnage snuffed life out of many unfortunate souls to the point where two days later corpses were still been retrieved from nearby bushes behind Mount Mary Catholic Hospital. What a shame!

The unwary youths could be seen congregating in the vicinity of Sandpit Transformer Number 1. Teeming youths spiced with men and women of ages ranging from 35-55. There was a mixture of anguish and determination in them. Somehow, they had succeeded to trick the troops who had come in to frighten their vanguard by shooting in the air to believe that their apparent dispersal translated into a no show. How wrong they were. In less than five minutes a sea of heads estimated at no fewer than 300 had reassembled and was headed for Bakweri Town to eventually confront combat ready soldiers at Bongo Square parade ground.

Death could be smelled as they thronged the road oblivious of the coldness that had been instilled in soldiers on the prowl, via apparent instructions to shoot to kill. The apparition of carnage had engulfed the atmosphere. Only a few days earlier, the Chief Regional administrative head had sworn to kill in a meeting ostensibly convened by the Regional headship of the ruling party. It came to pass. The resultant carnage has been captured by a nurse who passed by around, 5pm wailing and cursing a system which she accused of institutionalizing murder.

Yes, combat ready soldiers had been commanded to shoot on sight – and shoot they did. The times are very unpromising. Indeed, we are sinking deeper and deeper into the abyss of irreverence for human life. We are blindfolded; we cannot see why an alternative solution to brute force is ultimate in our current circumstance. We must waste lives to be seen to be purveyors of a “one and indivisible Cameroon.”

The anger in our youths has been palpable and understandable. They have been pushed by unbearable arrogance and insensitivity to their now meaningless existence and a slant radicalization that is exposing them to early deaths from the bullets of gullible sadists. In their naiveté, they believe that Odeshi (Igbo word for protection against fatality in gunshots) would bar live bullets from penetrating their frail bodies. How wrong they are; this explains why from Mamfe, Kumba, Ekona, Buea, Bolifamba, Bamenda and Kumbo the story is the same. Bullet ridden bodies, some mutilated by proximity aims, adorn mortuaries.

Government reaction of course had been predictable! Business as usual after, bullets felled some “stray pigs.” Tchiroma’s casualty figure was so blatantly doctored, it shamed common sense.

How else, can this be characterized, if not as premeditated and complicit carnage. This contention is buttressed by the fact that last Thursday the crème de la crème of the Southwest Region was summoned peremptorily to Mountain Hotel, Buea and bullied into endorsing carnage that was to ensue three days later. Although the official agenda of the meeting was to ensure hitch-free commemoration of October 1, it turned out to be an opportunity for Government lackeys to wrest endorsement of murder from this so-called elite. And endorsement it got.The result is what now numbs our collective conscience. Government blustering has been translated into carnage and few, very few are bold enough to blow the whistle against such outrage. Instead of schooling Government on the need to tread softly by opting for dialogue in lieu of brute force, frightened perdiem-chasing elites sat smugly and listened to an avoidable riot act being read to their progeny.  Yes they will have plenty of explaining to do when arraigned before the courts of public opinion and prosperity.

Such an immeasurable cowardice can only be seen as complicity from mindsets that prioritize pecuniary gains rather than service to one’s kith and kin. The kind of complicity that blinds us from the fact that we are alive today, thanks to tomorrow’s prebend. This ought to have imbued us with a spirit of classlessness and concern for posterity. We ought to be asking ourselves what will be our legacy after bungling recurrent opportunities to right the indignities our co-pilgrims to the land of emancipation have been enduring for 56 years and counting.

Nevertheless, solace is inherent in the fact that oppression and brute force have their limits. The continuous radicalization of the suffering masses is only prolonging the crises, and, extending the breadth and intensity of wrath against emasculation. In the circumstance therefore, not even the acclaimed oppressor would be said to be having the swell time expected to accrue from ill-gotten, blood stained wealth and decimation of the commonwealth. They will not recline on their luxurious conclusions. They will be victims of the people’s unquenchable anger.

By Ngoko Monyadowa

Infusing realism into governance

Finally, it is dawning on Government that brute force as means of securing acquiescence from those, whose sovereign will had, in the first place, brought into being its existence is anachronistic and redundant in civilized skies. Adjunctive to the above assertion, is uplifting elixir from watching images and news commentaries pertaining to last Friday’s multiple and well-coordinated protest marches in Anglophone Cameroon. This reassurance is not so much from the fact that aggrieved citizens were demonstrating as to the surprising reaction from erstwhile trigger-happy security forces. Concordant reports bespeak general orderliness and little or no provocation, be they from protesters or security forces dispatched to ensure the events had smooth sail. Barring a few unfortunate incidents perpetrated by some overzealous administrators and protesters leading to deaths, we can say congratulations to President Paul Biya, alleged to have personally instructed erratic hirelings to refrain from confrontational inducements.

Be that as it may, there are some dark clouds that need to be highlighted. The commendable reaction of security forces has been tainted by some occurrences that unfortunately, portray invidious posturing of some elected and appointed officials in the polity. Uncontroverted reports have ascribed the murder of one of the demonstrating youths in Buea to the maverick Mayor, Ekema Patrick Esunge. For the avoidance of doubt, no one free of lunacy tag would subscribe to the damage allegedly inflicted on the fleet of cars pompously displayed in the courtyard of his Molyko abode. However, the fact that the victim was shot out of his gate and his inability to rely first on frightening the irate youths with gun shots in the air instead of shooting directly smacks of unmistakable intention to kill. The same gaffe is alleged to have been perpetrated in Mamfe by its now fugitive Senior Divisional Officer, SDO, and yet another in Santa in the Northwest Region. Whatever the circumstance of this killing in cold blood, the fact that these acts of coldness to human lives usually perpetrated by the forces of law and order have now reverted to administrators and elected officials who ought to be more sensitive to sacredness of God’s creation, raises the spectre of descent into governance abyss.

On the other hand, even as the events of last Friday can be said to have been spontaneous in character and execution, and by that token, difficult to pin down excesses on particular individuals, there is need for caution to be preached to Anglophone youths. It is difficult to see the nexus between a peaceful protest march and ripping of the gate of the National Social Insurance Fund edifice in Mile 17, ostensibly to deprive vehicles from accessing the junction. The entry into Government Bilingual Grammar School Molyko and subjecting unwary students to despicable whipping, also, conjures the image of a bunch of insensitive and depraved zealots on the rampage. In some areas the excesses attained the level of the nation’s flag being pulled down and replaced by that of a yet to be recognized ‘Ambazonia’ state. Such incivility does not portray the imprimatur inherent in Anglophones; a people imbued with respect for the rule of law and reputed to be each other’s keeper. Let our social media generals rise up to the challenge of educating youths on the need to tread softly and avoid unnecessary provocations that engineer undue loss of lives. Peaceful demonstrations, yes but no to anarchy!

Unfortunately, the portentous events of last Friday had been unfolding when President Biya was on the podium of the United Nations in New York, where he had gone to pontificate on compelling urgency for security against terrorist outfits like Boko Haram, ISIS and of course, other little known insurrections occasioned by disaffection of citizens over obtuse mismanagement of their patrimony by imprudent cabals. Another issue that caught the president’s attention, or is it that of his speech writers is climate change, even as timber is being illegally and unconventionally exploited behind his house. Setting aside the fact that he was addressing an almost empty auditorium, which in itself speaks volumes relating to treatment accorded our Head of State by his peers in other skies, there is the issue of keeping one’s house in order before worrying about the fire about to engulf that of a neighbour.

To add salt to injury, hired hand clappers and destitute foreigners were brought in to cushion disgrace emergent from apathy to our Head of State’s presence in the United States of America. This was done with the colossal sum of 750 dollars per person daily; the equivalent of about FCFA 500,000, from a treasury under suffocating pressure from the International Monetary Fund, IMF, to embark on structural adjustment niceties that will heighten pauperization of citizens. Such ego pampering would have been comprehensible from the likes of Ali Bongo of Gabon or his Central African Republic colleague in their 50s and not a man in his 80s, whose concern ought to be the mathematics of bequeathing a strong and stable country to posterity.

Lest it escaped his memory, Biya, should be reminded that charity begins at home. While conceding it is true that in terms of diplomatic rating, his presence in New York and the rare privilege of addressing the General Assembly of the United Nations are alluring to any Head of State, the number of years he has been officiating as Cameroon’s President ought to have been uppermost in his mind and dissuade him from such an ego pampering jamboree meant to further deplete his country’s already lean purse. Such grandstanding should be for much younger leaders who still yearn for stardom that President Biya’s twilight age can no longer give. If at all he needed this, he ought to have worked for same much earlier in his current Methuselah sojourn.

Back at home, the hope is that this aberrant departure from “autorite del’etat” (inviolability of state authority) has come to stay and will henceforth canalize government actions such that its current characteristic of AK-47 democracy ceases to adorn the minds of discerning Cameroonians, accredited diplomats and foreigners. Thinking of the current Government volte-face from its notoriety in employment of brute force to repress protesters, inexorably, compels us to imagine the number of lives wasted during previous commandeered expeditions that led to avoidable killings and destruction of property. The oddity of “Bepanda nine,” readily comes to mind. The discovery of mass burials in its wake reveals the extent to which Government can go in its desperation to foist President Biya on Cameroonians. Another episode of the sordid narrative of “kakhistocracy” as statecraft in Cameroon is the February2008 generalized strikes. Here, too, no fewer than 100 lives were lost in Yaounde, Douala Bamenda and Kumba to repression that materialized in gunning down unarmed youths protesting against mismanagement of the commonwealth. Had the Government applied the same tact that underpinned last Friday’s protest marches, we would certainly not be haunted by the ghosts of innocent Cameroonians who became sacrificial lambs for the perpetration of atrocious governance in our polity.

Prevailing times are very unpromising and call for above average attention to details. Such details include adherence to the principle of classlessness in dispensation of justice, resource allocation and legislation. Our country has lost too much to palpable negligence by implacable sycophants who hide incompetence under the yoke of loyalty to moribund party machinery and courtesan buffoonery. The breadth, spontaneity and organizational dexterity of last Friday’s peaceful protest, per force, allude to one thing; that is, Government has been taken completely off-guard. Having been caught napping, the solution is not resort to bravado. Such blustering, in the event that Government adopts it as option, would only lead to confrontation and loss of lives which is not what is needed at this very dreadful moment.

The solution lies in dialogue. For how long will Mr. Biya turn his face and give the impression that all is well when in reality, minutes are ticking off for a time bomb to explode. Can a genuine father allow his children to wallow in perpetual fear of sanguinary confrontation?  The signs are very clear. Government has lost legitimacy in Anglophone Cameroon. The solution is an all stakeholders’ conference to canalize an architectural prototype for a new Cameroon. This should be tailored to suit the yearnings of currently disgruntled Anglophones, and why not, our complacent Francophone brothers seemingly under a spell that causes them to endure suffering while smiling (apologies to late Fela Anikulapo-Kuti). This conference is more urgent and mandatory than hosting of AFCON 2019 or safari trips to the UN that have no bearing with local reality that require much savvy that only perceptible enormous drive and commitment to purpose from Government can provide.

By Ngoko Monyadowa

 

 

Previewing Mamfe Common Law lawyers’ confab

Inspiration for today’s commentary draws heavily on the imminent Common Law lawyers confab, slated for Mamfe, come September 23. To this effect, reliable but unconfirmed sources hold that the Divisional Officer, DO, in charge of Mamfe Central Sub division has, submissively, granted approval for the much awaited and anxiety-raising event on high instructions of the powers that be. Furthermore, information increasingly gaining currency is that the main item on its agenda is suspension of smothering strike action that has padlocked Law Chambers and brought routine business in Courts and Legal Departments of the Ministry of Justice to standstill in Anglophone Cameroon. In the event, even as there is yet to be incontrovertible evidence relating to thrust of the meeting there is need to thread softly.

This admonition is adjunctive to the impression being bandied around regarding suspicious coziness between managers of Common Law Lawyers syndicate and Government; hence the gratuitous manner in which permission for the meeting has been obtained in a system that has persistently ascribed enemy stigma to anything Anglophone.

As counterpoise to accusations of treachery, a very livid Barrister spoken to by this chronicler on grounds of anonymity rebuffed any insinuation of collusion between lawyers and Government and set records straight that the meeting had all along been delayed by successive DOs who would not kowtow to the verbal authority of the Governor of Southwest Region who, too, had tactfully, avoided committing himself in writing. He, nevertheless, derided those who do not see sacrifice in what lawyers have endured in terms of material and psychological loss in the last 11 months of their decision to embark on indefinite strike. However, he did not rule out the possibility of calling off the strike temporarily, as this had been the position of Southwest Region Common Law lawyers in unanimity before one of them scuttled the scheme via unholy association with Bar Council President, Barrister Jackson Ngnie Kamga. In the event a decision intended to spotlight how they are amenable to dialogue and compromise was appropriated by Ngnie Kamga, through inadvertence of their colleague.

As correlation, it will be unfair therefore for anyone to think that lawyers do not deserve respite after sacrificing all this while. Indeed, the ignominy suffered in the hands of a cabal masterminded by the State Counsel in the Southwest Court of Appeal (Procureur General) is unprecedented and it is the prayer of all well-meaning Cameroonians such dent on our corporate image never has occasion to be replicated. That, men of law, some in robes were subjected to such dishonour as materialized in public trashing and invasion of privacy of chambers and carting away valuables including wigs, gowns and even books, reflects the nadir governance in Cameroon has relapsed. Even worse is to think that this atrocious conduct was perpetrated by juvenile conscripts from Mutengene Police College and other Precincts in Douala, to foil recognition and possible retribution.

With regards to the decision to resume regular presence in Courts of Law, that is an issue that can only be handled by lawyers themselves and requires no external intervention. Late Robert (Bob) Nester Marley, sang in one of his hit songs that ″who feels it knows it,” and so only 11- month absence from courtrooms can tell them whether the material and ancillary costs incurred owing to boycott are worth being sustained or it is time to call for temporary or permanent truce. If, temporary, for how long? What is the conditionality to be met and what happens in the event of Government failure to act upon expiration of deadline?  These are some of the issues the Anglophone public would expect to engage the minds their legal luminaries.  No one, in any case, is expecting that there would not be issues of leadership, especially, in this circumstance of incarceration and eventual release of Barrister Agbor Felix Nkongho and the stigma of treachery hanging on one of his close collaborators in the Fako lawyers’ league where he is President.

Whatever the nature of the meeting, in other skies, lawyers, apart from representing interest of the ordinary citizen in terms of solicitude and advocacy, especially, in litigation, they are the conscience of the nation; calling the governing class to order whenever its actions are seen to have run counter to prevailing statutes. They are indeed the soul of every polity. Do not mind what obtains in our peculiar circumstance wherein the Minister of Justice and Keeper of the Seals is emissary of the Presidency of the Republic to foster emasculation and pauperization of citizens instead of facilitator of the rule of law. By this token, legal practice, that ordinarily should be independent of fetters, is subjected to severe Government control. No doubt, this is permissible in Civil Law tradition with its inquisitorial undergirding, limiting the maneuverability at the disposal of the accused. Common Law on the contrary, eschews unsubstantiated incursion into its essence, given its adversarial physiology that accords much freedom to the accused, on the principle that onus of proof resides in the defence.

It is in the quintessence of Common Law that the Mamfe meeting is embedded. Outside evaluation of the path treaded this far and the way forward, there are other issues of capital importance to the existential wellbeing of Cameroon as a polity. This is even more urgent in this time of clamour for clear-cut definition of a form of state that reflects the mindset of average Anglophone Cameroonians. This assignment to dissect and proffer the most relevant counsel based on current circumstances cannot be entrusted to any other body than lawyers, imbued with requisite interpretative skills by training. The method of representation for Anglophones in the event Paul Biya moves from unyieldingness to dialogue should also be uppermost in their minds, just like the mode and extent of devolution of power from the centre to peripheries. To this too, must be added the principle of resource allocation based on derivation. This way communities endowed by nature will not feel estranged or cursed if their endowment is not reflected in their wellbeing as is currently the case.

Unfortunately, this is where the cookie crumbles. There is a replication of the Biblical narrative of Tower of Babel, featuring a cacophony of voices, in different languages. The trajectory of two-state federation akin to what the much discredited Foumban Conference spewed was en vogue among Anglophone Lawyers before current upheavals that date back as recently as October 2016.

However, owing to influence peddling, inordinate ambition and unbridled treachery, many splinter views have surfaced threatening to screw-up unity among Common Law lawyers. The new variants include those with Government who see no harm in the status quo, those who want a ten state federation, those who want a two state federation with possibility of creating more states within the Anglophone section and secessionists who want nothing to do with La Republique henceforth.

With our lawyers divided by inclination to particular form of state, ordinary mortals would definitely find it difficult to articulate their stand. It therefore behooves them to use Mamfe confab as avenue for consensus, not to say, unanimous opinion on the form of state that will advance the course of Anglophone emancipation in Cameroon. While not wanting to infringe on their deliberations, they should, nevertheless, be guided by the fact that undue radicalism espoused by juvenile minds that see life from the portals of social media must be avoided like a plague. We have come a long way as Cameroonians to be bordered by thoughts of escaping from our shadows. This, in any case, does not mean that if our eventual proposition is stonewalled by Government, we would not have recourse to secession as last resort. Which is why, it may come up for discussion as precautionary move, but should not be the locomotive force of reflection on this issue of form of state.

We wish them well in their deliberation in the hope that whatever decision emergent theretofore, we, as legal neophytes, will have no reason to regret given we were just accompanying them in a pilgrimage whose destination could be discerned best by lawyers alone.  We cannot be seen to be intervening, full force, in the position they are to adopt regarding suspension or calling off the strike action outright.  That is, principally, an arena that public opinion cannot determine. But we will be very apprehensive of any inclination to undue coziness with Government.

By Ngoko Monyadowa

 

Political deities, lesser mortals and non denial, denial

By Charlie Ndi Chia

The non denial, denial concept is most likely to have been propounded by communication theorists. It is largely applied today by politicians and political scientists. It is reported and analysed by journalists, political, strategic commentators and public affairs analysts. The concept has a lot to do with hoodwink and chicanery.

Political deities and tin gods are often first to swear by democracy. Insipid speeches which “democratically elected leaders” insist on boring the rest of us with, are always laced with the hackneyed definition of democracy, to wit: “Government of the people for the people, by the people.” But what “new dealers” easily manifest is Government by horsewhip, teargas canisters, subtle blackmail and intimidation. Pimping spins, bottom women and gullible songbirds like Issa Tchiroma Bakary ensure that non denial, denial is put into convenient, effective gear… for a small fee.

The lilting approach to statecraft is deeply entrenched in this country’s governance system. However, sycophants and bleating in perpetuity notwithstanding, Anglophone agitation recently spelled doom for circus clowns. Agitators burst the bubble and exposed decades of cheating and mistrust. Pent up anger spilled over. There was a clamour, for decades of shady political deals to be exhumed and wheeled in for autopsy.

But what really, is non denial, denial? It is generally perceived as depicting a particular kind of equivocation or elusion; specifically an apparent denial that, though it appeared clear cut and unambiguous when heard, on examination turns out to be ambiguous and not a denial at all. The phrase is more associated with politics and means in effect, something made to sound like a denial without actually being one.

Internet information indicates that since the word “lie” means “something meant to deceive or give a wrong impression, “a non denial, denial,” is a lie, even if the words are literally true. The phrase is said to have been popularized during the Watergate era by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein in their book, “All the President’s Men,” in reference to evasive statements by then United States Attorney General, John Mitchell.

It occurred during the scandal over Monica Lewinsky that engulfed the then President of the United States, Bill Clinton, after he issued an apparently unambiguous denial that he had had sex with her.   It later transpired that the truth or otherwise of the statement hinged on Clinton’s definition of “sexual relation,” he claiming to having defined sex to himself as an act that involved genital contact.

Non denial, denials and their variants are seen as examples of public relations and political spin, namely, the conveying of an ambiguous message in an apparently unambiguous manner that contains enough “get out clauses” to enable the person using the language to apparently break their word if necessary with explanations that the listener had misunderstood the words and read into them a certainty that when closely examined, proved to be there in reality. Note that at least, one Iscariot in a state controlled media has this uncanny habit of “interpreting” the president’s speeches and body language, to the extent of convincing Cameroonians against the evidence of their own eyes. As a result, the person being communicated to, not the person doing the communicating is often blamed for any divergence between what the words appeared to mean and subsequent acts.

It is minions like this one that prod and flatter “leaders” into ruling as if they conquered the people. Hence, a system that produces lots of wealth for those that run it and crass poverty for those they purport to govern. The current Anglophone agitations in particular and the cry for a brighter day by other Cameroonians in general, one would imagine, should have served as an opportunity for genuine change. This was, or is an opportunity to have the likes of Atanga Nji, Laurent Esso, those thieving administrators, especially in Fako Division and other treasury looters well known but reluctantly protected by the ruling cabal to dance to the music of justice.

The ‘Anglophone Spring’ afforded the regime this opportunity to adopt open accountability and transparency. Otherwise, what is the regime accounting for now, when the entire governance process is shrouded in secrecy, intimidation by local administrative predators, games and gimmicks? When shall some of them speak kindly, tell parents whose children they donate to be jailed in Yaounde, beaten, raped and maimed that they are sorry before requesting that they beseech their wards to hearken to jingling school bells? They would rather opt for threats, talking tough and mobilizing troops, frittering away scarce resources with which scores of decent schools would have been constructed!

When shall we stop this primitive quarrel with the faithful mirror reflecting the true image that we cast before it and rather have a frank national conversation? Is it more prudent to detain, browbeat and intimidate  constructive dissidents for eight months in the gulag, calling them despicable names, downgrading the judiciary by entering a nolle prosequi for their release and “resubmitting” them to power drunk administrators for fake lessons in patriotism? Who is to be called a patriot; the one constructive critic or the treasury looter only out to cover his messy tracks? Let’s get serious! Why don’t we quickly fix this quagmire and become one another’s keeper in a progressive nation. Let’s stop lying in order to cling to power like ticks on a cow’s back. Let us give the judiciary and other institutions of this potentially great country a fair chance to deliver. Let’s set up, reform and refocus the nation’s institutions, such that issues are seen through the eyes of justice and the common good, and not through this single pair of eyes that belong to just one ordinary mortal, whom like you and I, God created in His image.

The cheap resort of referring to one’s compatriots as extremists and secessionists just because they complained is indicative of the fact that power has been turned on its head. And the message former Kondengui unwilling guests, Agbor Balla and Fontem should be giving both their Quixotic abductors and the Diaspora baby ‘Generals’ is that there is nothing as beneficial as dialoguing genuinely.  Blocking the channels of communication can only lead to war; avoidable war!

Again, those who purport to govern Cameroon should be told in no uncertain terms that without transparency and humility… if issues accruing from every political transaction are not resolved in such a manner as to achieve the ‘buy-in’ effect of the feuding parties, disobedience of valid and subsisting legislation would most likely germinate. Impunity and the endorsement of illegality by both the oppressor and the oppressed would take the biscuit.

Our President ought to have long [personally] presided over a transparent and unbiased reconciliation process. Without calling some of his own children names, and sanctioning their being treated as though it was God’s “apprentice” that created them, Mr. Biya would have summoned the likes of Felix Agbor Nkongho and Neba Fontem to a room, talked to one another, with a view to arriving at a win-win strategy for the resolution of the Anglophone crisis. This way, the resort to a flim-flam hireling like Issa Tchiroma would have been unnecessary. By the way, Issa has all along passed off as this unsolicited do-gooder, eager to call men of refinement and good standing names, resorting to sub judice and portraying Cameroon as a country that has no interest in due process or the rule of law. Preposterous!

H And now, this…

Anyone not portraying a genuine will for an unbiased and transparent reconciliation process can only be said to be clumsily intransigent and not having the interest of this nation at heart. Similarly, barely decreeing a nolle prosequi without getting the ‘buy-in’ and active participation of the contending parties would be mere window dressing that would merely prolong the raging crisis. Call it theatre of the absurd if you wish! One should appeal here to the conscience of Mr. Biya and the Diaspora dissidents. Instead of engaging in this hide and seek; in avoidable, nay, protracted war of guts, they should think of posterity. They should both be humble to eat that “patient pie,” lest it gets yucky. They should invoke the dictates of good conscience, common sense and prudence, reflect on what roles they are playing in this crisis, knowing full well that history is being made… that posterity is writing on the crystal walls of their hearts and that when the day of reckoning comes, they’ll have to answer to forces higher up than those they take delight in manipulating.

Life is…

Each time you answer a question, you only find in that answer another question!

 

 

 

A peep into Biya’s trial discontinuance edict

Desirous of being ascribed the character of magnanimous father, always carried away by the plight of his numerous and suffering children, even if undeserved, President Paul Biya, last week caused the air waves to be inundated with news of his edict pushing for discontinuance, forthwith, some matters in the Yaounde Military Tribunal relating to the current Anglophone Crisis. This act of “clemency” would have been worth its full weight in gold if the mode and reason for the release of some of those who had been standing trial for upwards of six months were anything but altruistic. Nevertheless, since a popular saying admonishes against worrying about how a good thing comes about, but instead, concentrate on what to do with such an opportunity, President Biya, can be accorded the benefit of doubt credit for letting his deflated ego become public knowledge through capitulation to popular pressure. At least, Barrister Felix Agbor Nkongho, Justice Ayah Paul Abine, Dr. Fontem Neba and a chosen few, are out from wrongful detention and by that token, in a position to strategize anew.

In the event, need arises to further calibrate President Biya’s Greek gift, bearing in mind some issues of almost insurmountable concern in relation to impact on the commonwealth, need to be subjected to close scrutiny.

Indeed, President Biya, in his desire to be seen as maestro of the Cameroon classical music orchestra, has once more demonstrated coldness to the yearnings of Cameroonians for true democracy, founded on the rule of law. While admitting his disposition to the current Anglophone crisis in general and current drama surrounding release of Justice Ayah and others, in particular, reveal nothing strange about his perception of governance as object of personification, the fact that the accused were due in court the next day ought to have informed our all-knowing President to allow due process to take its course, such that the order to release the victims would have emanated from a presiding judge. No! That does not work in Paul Biya’s Cameroon. Had such been the case, the aura of inflated importance stemming from the Supreme Magistrate and keeper of the fate of all Cameroonians status surrounding him would have been meaningfully eroded.

This misanthropic perception is informed by the release not being undergirded by avowed determination to bring about necessary thaw in Anglophone Crisis. This assertion hinges on its specificity regarding those Government  considers useful (Justice Ayah, Barrister Nkongho and Dr. Neba) in its drive to cajole Anglophone parents  into believing it is amenable to dialogue. Mancho Bibixy, and many others are still in the dungeon of Kondengui Central Prison. Somehow, Biya and his minions need reminders relating to very profound loss of legitimacy attested by adherence to Bibixy’s “Coffin Revolution” in Bamenda or ongoing ghost towns in Anglophone Cameroon. Bibixy, may not be a lawyer, judge or university teacher, but he evocatively, incarnates the sovereign will of Anglophones. Lest we forget, the immediate cause of the coffin revolution is the ignominy surrounding deplorable road network in Bamenda city in particular and the Northwest in general. This malaise is yet to be addressed. So, keeping Bibixy in detention and hoping that schools will resume is applying carrot and stick diplomacy.

Judging by the partiality emergent from the Head of State’s edict, it is obvious that Government still equates the Anglophone crisis with kicks of premature horses, with no impact on its asserted resolve to perpetuate alienation and annexation of the latter. However, when flooding starts upstream, downstream residents cannot determine accompanying undercurrent, because they hardly take on board the number of tributaries emptying themselves into it. In such unpreparedness and sometimes idiotic stubbornness, they are easily swept off and carried into perdition. That is exactly the situation in which Government finds itself. “We cajole them into believing we are out to dialogue and if we succeed in establishing a semblance of law and order, our obsequious military will then be thrown in like wild dogs to ensure obeisance,” seems to be their mindset.

Oh, yes! The masterminds of the Anglophone agitation have been released. This, at least, gives us the opportunity to ensure that schools resume on schedule. Unfortunately, Government reasoning that the release is condition sine-qua-non for schools to resume as scheduled, does not see the need for effective security tab but instead, relies on administrators who see the Crisis as God-sent opportunity to increase security budgets and ensure luxurious retirements via pilfering from the common till. They let Government ride on the crest of state authority instead of dialogue, only for it to be disgraced in the end when it realizes it has lost legitimacy and, ipso facto, compelled to genuflect to public opinion. Imagine all the resources that have gone in proving the regime is invincible only for it to capitulate in the end.  What a shame!

Away from the mode of release of Justice Ayah and others, the reason for their release needs to be played up. Such need arises because of Government’s illusion about its ultimate role in the scheme of negotiations for school resumption, come September 4. While not in league with the naysayers behind the ghost schools campaign, contention here is, recriminations against Government must be put in proper perspective. There are many issues affecting Anglophone education, being glossed over hoping with time, the status quo ante will prevail. Ordinarily, this would not pose any problem, given that there is incontrovertible evidence of boycott fatigue among Anglophone parents, students, teachers and pupils. Talk less, of the effect on our economies. Anglophones are clearly on the losing end. While leaning on aluta continua, victoria acerta, we must strategize anew to come up with killer punches to tip Government over.

Notwithstanding our goodwill, if we take Mr. Biya’s inclination to use and dump as point of departure, our heroes, newly released from incarceration, must tread very softly. This is so because there is stigma already affixed to their names by those who see no good in schools resumption before January, when by their reckoning, the United Nations Organization would have intervened to bring about much anticipated independence of Southern Cameroon.The story making rounds and gaining momentum relates to precondition of release centered on Justice Ayah, Barrister Nkongho and Dr. Neba, joining Government in crusading for hitch-free schools resumption. The allegation, founded or not, even named names, including Ben Muna, Ni John Fru Ndi and Kah Walla as those who brokered the negotiations between Government and the now released Anglophone leaders.

The issue is not veracity of the allegation, as much as what any inclination to Government enticement would inflict in terms of eroding integrity which, as Anglophones, they cherish and would not want to be seen to have sacrificed same on trite prodding. They have resisted enough enticements before. While conceding that freedom has no price, their lives and that of their progenies are at stake. In this light, even if physical aggression, not subscribed to here, is ruled out, the stigma that will trail any form of betrayal will be akin to that of the biblical four generations injunction.

While supporting schools resumption, a people’s fate cannot be tied to the apron strings of a single grievance out of many other pertinent ones. Indeed, it is true also; politics must not impede full development and attainment of self-actualization by our youths. However, when no immediate recourse is in sight, holding back education could be a very potent weapon as has been demonstrated in this case against Government. The point has been made and illegitimacy of Government exposed. The time is now to sit back and evaluate how far we have gone and whether we could have fared better. If so, what were the impediments that barred us from reaching set goals and what corrective measures can we bring into play. Like one man, let us ensure that our children return to school, but this should not be misconstrued as agitation fatigue.

On the contrary, the fight for improved governance in Cameroon will always be at the fore of any Anglophone assembly. A turning point is in the offing come November, when the enlarged Anglophone conference billed for Buea, will materialize.  We are aware that the Biya regime is prone to brutality. However, monopoly of brutality was never handed down by God to any individual. While decrying arsonists and other ruffians sullying the image of Anglophones, let no one be in doubt that any attempt at spilling innocent blood will be matched by commensurate vengeance on the perpetrators.

By Ngoko Monyadowa

Jesus where are you?

It is apparent that in many places and even in our country truth is dying in darkness. No genuine intellectual can debunk the fact that today in our country particularly, truth has little or no value. One immediately thinks of Pilate’s question to Jesus in John’s Gospel: What is truth?

We must understand that question in two ways: It either means do we eat the truth or what profit can truth bring? Many Cameroonians abhor the truth of things as seen in politicking wherein people refuse to choose truth, especially if truth speaks truly but is unable to buy hearts and minds with money and drinks. We all have become profiteers and will deny even absolute and self-evident truth and even go as far as saying white is black for very selfish reasons.  We live in a generation in which almost all standards of good behavior have been dismantled and every manifestation of truth is being attacked from the time of Plato to John the Baptist and Jesus Christ. Government propaganda has always been an excuse to handle nihilistic rampage in every country. God pity Cameroon whose journalists, especially those of state owned media, who at a time that they must be the watchdogs and the cure of every social problem and lovers of objective truth have become both an arm and a victim of political impishness. For hating the truth so much, CRTV praise singers have established a trademark of communal disapproval and prejudice in our highly relativistic country. Most of those pseudo-journalists and inept university dons who compromise the truth and comply with the corruption of this age and adhering to its errors, do so with the thought of wanting to live more comfortably or receive approbation from the powerful and some of them nurse the corrupt ambition of attaining a high status in a country gone astray, plagued by moral fragmentation. In the end however, they would have lost everything that really matters. Journalists and all true men are called to speak not as trying to please men.

For what they have not done and sometimes for what they plan to do, journalists have praised powerful Government men, even buttering up Senators, MPs and Mayors for doing nothing. Without any credibility or good name to protect some men have consciously or unconsciously made lying a survival technique. Empirical findings reveal that newsmen will kill a truth especially when money is promised and when dusts may be raised, sidestepping the truth like Lilliputians afraid to bite the finger that feeds them. Cameroon will remain in the frontiers of indecency and corruption if its citizens continue to reject the standard of truthfulness.

No money can buy truth and we must endeavor to always speak truthfully about people, sticking to facts without any gross exaggeration. Speaking the truth in love does not mean that we end up entangled in the cobwebs mounted by the devil who indeed is the father of liars. All Cameroonians, especially Senators, MPs ad Mayors need to be ashamed because they are soon going to die without leaving any victory for humanity.

By Solomon Lyonga Ikundi