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

Zombie mentality

My initial contact with the word Zombie was sometime in the 70s when Fela Ransome-later Anikulapo-Kuti, was a deity in the city of Lagos, Nigeria, where his peculiar but ingenious genre of music, Afro beat, had taken the airwaves and night crawlers by storm and rendered them inseparable hostages right into his dying days in the mid-90s. Of course, After Shakara, Lady and Confusion, hit titles that were depictions of everyday occurrences, Zombie came under uncharacteristic circumstances. Brigadier and later on General Murtala Ramat Muhammad, had just overthrown another General, Yakubu Gowon, and set about proving to Nigerians that the decision of the military junta he led was justifiable.

As corollary, massive dismissals and a near reign of terror took hold of the entire Nigerian nation with the military virtually terrifying the “bloody civilian” populations with “orders from above.” And such “orders” were executed pronto, without any recourse to sifting, to ascertain if they made sense or were designed to enhance the livelihoods and, in that case, welfare of the citizenry. It was in an attempt to parody this uncanny knack of acquiescence to orders as is customary with military outfits that Fela, composed Zombie with orders like about turn, forward march, put it on reverse, go and die, go and quench and Zombie will not come unless you tell’am to come, forming its lyrics.

Whatever be the context of my coming into contact with the expression, Zombie, according to standard dictionaries signifies robot, android, automation; it lays no claim to affinity with animate or sentient beings. However, when guided properly, it can even outperform humans, given that issues like fatigue and other natural occurrences that limit human capacity to exert boundless energy on particular tasks come into play. It is the reason why our current and now ubiquitous smart phones bear the epitaph ‘Android,’ which simply means that with very insignificant prodding, they can perform just any task under the sun that requires use of thinking faculty.

It is in the light of such automatic response to circumstances that in the last two weeks, there have been strident calls by chieftains of the CPDM party relating to the necessity for schools to resume as scheduled by Government. To say the least, in its most intrinsic essence, the schools resumption lobby is not in any way magnetic to contempt and to be seen to be a major player with such a league, by extension, should not attract any public scorn. However, the fact that the CPDM meetings came on the heels of another tour of the Northwest and Southwest Regions  by the Minister of Secondary Education, to ensure that schools resume, smacks of inadmissible dread to take initiative or act on their own, except after receiving orders from their master.

Furthermore, a laughable irony emerges from the fact that the minister was running around, urging parents to send their children to school and in the process, putting to task traditional rulers and CPDM elite, without first instilling some order in his ministry to facilitate what he is advocating. To wit, Regional and Divisional Delegates were appointed only last week. Principals and other school administrators are yet to know their fate. Yet, the minister and Government are more concerned with having children in classrooms. In the appointments done this far, that of the two Regional Delegates of the Anglophone Regions invoke the spirit of vengeance on teachers in these Regions suspected to have masterminded or being in sympathy with the strike movement. In this direction, the issue of conviviality stemming from ethnic or tribal solidarity would have been completely deracinated by the decision to send the Southwest Regional Delegate of Secondary Education, to Bamenda, and vice versa.

Furthermore, and in line with our Zombie mentality, our version of Joseph Goebbels, Adolf Hitler’s Propaganda minister in Nazi Germany, Isa Tchiroma Bakary, was recently inundating air waves with his customary raving about enemies of President Paul Biya’s magnanimity-driven Government. This time around, he was at pains coming to terms with enemies of the ‘New Deal’ who would never see anything good in the actions of President Biya. Miffed by the recent showdown between Government officials ferried to some European capitals, ostensibly to douse the flames of Anglophone irredentism, Tchiroma announced to whoever cared to listen that investigations have been opened to determine the circumstances surrounding the ignominious confrontations between Government officials and Cameroonians of the Diaspora.

What Tchiroma did is typical of Government officials. After all, the master thinks and decides while the subordinates execute without attempting to display any sense of initiative. Nobody is worried about the fact that those who are now being seen as having been subjected to unfair spectacle were not supposed to be in those European capitals in the first place. While the country is almost ablaze from Anglophone agitation, Government, probably in the mistaken view that proving tough to Anglophones at home who have been yearning for dialogue would yield dividends by some abracadabra, opted to instead send emissaries abroad to confront avowed secessionists.  Of course, the result could not have been otherwise. You cannot pick coconuts under a mango tree! They got what they deserved, even as the conduct of our compatriots too left much to be desired, given that two wrongs don’t make a right.

Indeed, our tendency to react to circumstances instead of preparing for opportunities knows no bounds. It is this mindset that certainly informed the cacophony that emerged from the sting inflicted on Cameroon by CAF president, Ahmad Ahmad. We had all along been deluding ourselves with being in possession of requisite infrastructure to host AFCON 2019. And when the diminutive Madagascan jolted us with the possibility of transferring hosting rights to ever-ready Morocco and Algeria, hell broke loose to the point where Mr. president was swearing like an infant caught stealing but who will not plead guilty. Yes, we have been forced, at least, to realize that there is still much work to be done. And, the work to be done now includes tidying our Augean [football] Stables.

Oh, yes! We wasted time paying Joseph Owona and his band of tricksters hundreds of millions all in the name of normalizing football management in Cameroon. The few, who dared to rise against what was clearly a process to institutionalize banditry in football management in Cameroon, were stigmatized as naysayers who would stop at nothing to ensure that President Biya’s magnanimous governance is dragged into mud. But Abdoulraman and his clique have been vindicated by the same FIFA that had earlier sent a team to come and supervise the enthronement of a crook-led FECAAFOOT management. Who says corruption is limited to Cameroon and African countries? Even at the local ‘MTN Elite One’ level octogenarians like General Semengue, do not see any reason why Cameroonians with more vitality deriving from age ought to be in charge. No! Having been discharged from active duty in the army, he must look for a place to cling to, so as to continue making it impossible for younger generations to materialize on the country’s sports arena.

As if the above examples that shine a light on the ugliness of governance in the country are not damaging enough to our corporate image, the recent experience by ELECAM staff relating to payment of their July salaries on August 25, comes to reveal the abysmal twist that governance has assumed in Cameroon. How else can one explain the fact that a hyper sensitive institution like ELECAM, whose role is to ensure legitimacy of the sovereign will is being toyed with like a personal plantation that depends on the caprices of its owner? The excuse given for this insalubrious occurrence is that the Ministry of Finance has been delaying the disbursement of ELECAM funds. Foul! From where did all the money made available to Board members for allowances and tours come? Why did money appear immediately the information about non-payment of staff went viral on social media? The integrity of an institution reposes on field staff and not on top management. ELECAM is too sensitive an institution to be exposed to such imprudence.

A country, they say is as good as its leaders and citizens put together. This is so because bad leaders are chosen by bad people. Good people cannot choose a bad leader. However, Cameroon is a world exception in the sense that bad leaders have foisted themselves on citizens in the lurch, through a governance mechanism buoyed by occultist maneuvres and mendacity.

By Ngoko Monyadowa

 

 

 

The Anglophone Crisis in Cameroon – BACK TO THE FUTURE(From the book of my brain – Azong-Wara Andrew, Friday, August 18, 2017)

On October 12, 1993, the entire nation of Cameroon came to a standstill. Anglophones, wherever they found themselves in the national territory descended onto the streets in unison to demand the publication of the text of application of the Presidential decree of  July 1, 1993, creating the Cameroon General Certificate of Education Board. The military, the police and the gendarmerie were deployed, ostensibly to enforce law and order. In their characteristic manner, they pumped acid ‘rain’ from water cannons on the gathering of Anglophones, notably in the premises of the Ministry of Education in Yaounde, where the ‘Who’s Who’ of the Anglophones had assembled. Across the nation, songs of ‘no turning back’ rang. God heard our prayers and opened the Heavens. His rains poured down and neutralized the ‘acid’ rains of the tormentors.

Then the Government gave in. At 1.00pm, and for the first and only time in Cameroon’s history, the national news opened in English, with the reading of the text the Anglophones were demanding.

When the reading ended, there were uncontrollable outbursts of ‘It is not the text!’ Some evil hand had played monkey tricks with it and the pressure the Anglophone public was mounting on the streets had caused the Prime Minister to panic and sign the text without ensuring that it was the same as had been prepared by the commission he had set up for the purpose. A visibly disturbed Achidi Achu called Bamenda from where I was coordinating the strike and pleaded with me to call the Anglophone public off the streets and give him two (2) days to redress the problem. The leadership I had displayed to the Teachers Association of Cameroon, TAC, and the trust I had in the Prime Minister permitted me to concede.

On October 15, 1993, Anglophones from all over the country reassembled in Longla Commercial College, LCC, Mankon, to listen to TAC read the PM’s promised text. The messenger was brought by Dr, Peter Alange Abety, the present Chairman of the Council of the GCE Board. He handed the document to me in front of the large crowd which constrained us to read the document in the presence of all and declare on the spot if it was the right one this time round. We complied and after

carefully reading through the text, we concluded that it was indeed what we were expecting. As the leader, I took my responsibility and pronounced the end of our mission which was acclaimed spontaneously throughout the country.

As we rose to leave, the late Albert Womah Mukong requested to say a word before we closed. I obliged.

In his intervention, he called me and my colleagues traitors. He said the fight must not stop because he had expected us to carry it on and on until the independence of Southern Cameroons. In other words Mr. Mukong wanted to convert the struggle for the creation of the GCE Board into a fight for the independence of Southern Cameroons. Perplexed, I turned to the population and cast a look of expectation for help but everyone was as disturbed as we were. Then in a flash of inspiration, I put him off in the following words:

 “Sir, we received a mission from the Anglophones to create a GCE Board. The Board has been created and that mission has come to an end. If the same Anglophones want to assign a new mission to us to take them to Southern Cameroons, we are ready to give it thought.”

There was a resounding “No!” and we left LCC happily.

A week or so later, Anglophones converged in Buea at CEFAM to witness the installation of the Board and its Pioneer Chairman the late Sylvester .N. Dioh by the Minister of National Education Dr. Robert Mbella Mbappe. This was the main antagonist of the GCE Board but when in Buea, he was ‘pleased’ to announce that: “As Azong-Wara has said, I too was there.”

THE TEACHERS’ STRIKE OF NOVEMBER 20, 2016

Barely 23 years after the creation of the GCE Board, precisely on November 20, 2016, the Teachers Unions and Associations embarked on an indefinite strike action to address some ills they had identified in the Anglophone sub-system of education. It is important to emphasize that the teachers at no point in time questioned the authenticity of certificates issued by the GCE Board. In fact, in a study carried out together with the Cameroon Education Forum it had been observed that:

  • The General Certificate of Education Examination Board has impacted very favourably on the ‘Office du Baccalaureat’ in terms of the Setting, Organization and Conduct of Examinations. It was the GCE Board which brought the Office du Baccaleaureat into membership of the prestigious Association for Educational Assessment in Africa, AEAA.
  • Cameroon (thanks to its Anglophone subsystem) was one of the few countries selected by the Republic of South Africa and Namibia during the 1980s (years of political instability and armed conflict in these two countries) to give secondary education to their children. Children from these countries studied in St. Joseph’s College Sasse, Saker Baptist College in Limbe and others.
  • Finally, at no recorded time or period, has the United Kingdom or any other countries of the world doubted the validity, reliability and worthiness of the Cameroon General Certificate of Education as an entry qualification for admission into the University.

Therefore, the information being circulated in the social media that GCE certificates will not be recognized is total nonsense.

Again, the argument being sponsored in the same media that certificates issued to graduates of Cameroonian Universities are worthless because holders are truck pushers and ‘BuyamSellams,’ or what have you, is a baseless one. After all, there are graduates in the Diaspora who are making their living by washing corpses, taking care of the elderly, pumping fuel at petrol stations, driving taxis, etc. The absence of good jobs is not related to the lack of proper qualifications et al.

Excuse this digression! Back to the future!

The Teachers’ strike pushed the Government to set up an Ad Hoc Committee headed by Prof. Paul Ghogomu to study the problems presented by them and make recommendations for solutions.

The Cameroon Education Forum was represented on that commission as were the teachers unions/associations and many other education stakeholders. At the conclusion of the work, the teachers scheduled an explanation meeting at the Presbyterian Church Centre, Ntahmulung-Mankon.

It was a meeting like the October 15, 1993 meeting at LCC Mankon. Regrettably, that meeting has not held till date. By some twist of circumstance or fate, it would appear that, this time, the spirit of Mukong resurfaced in the form of the ‘consortium’ and took over the teachers’ strike to carry the fight to independence.

The question that haunts me and many that share my thoughts is this:

Does the Anglophone children’s education constitute a weapon in the hands of the ‘consortium’ in the war of independence?

OR

Is it still a weapon the Teachers’ Unions/Associations are using to find solutions to the problems which engendered the strike of November 20, 2016?

Since the schools boycott was an upshot of the strike action, I believe the onus of answer lies with the Teachers’ Unions/Associations. In other words the parents who are required to make the ultimate sacrifice need to know whether it is for achieving independence of the Southern Cameroons or it is for a better education system for their kids. Why am I having this sour feeling that the future will have no pity on the Teachers’ Unions/Associations if they fail to answer this question?

While we wait for the answer, I wish to state that my position on the Anglophone Crises in Cameroon is congruent to that of the Cameroon Education Forum, CEF, for which I am Secretary General. In its contribution to stemming the tide of the Anglophone Crisis in Cameroon, CEF holds that, “mindful of

Government promise to methodically and in an orderly manner, implement the resolutions of the Ghogomu Ad Hoc Committee, and, hoping that we have all learned our various lessons of history and strikes and minority rights, and that our children have been sacrificed enough, the Government,

the Church, the Parents, the Teachers and all Education Promoters, Stakeholders and the Civil Society should pave a smooth way for the children to go back to school.” The right to education is a fundamental right of the child. Let us do the right thing by allowing them full exercise of that right.

Secondly, I join my voice in appealing to Government to free all detainees involved in the protracted strike action, create an atmosphere of trust and regard the demonstrations in Cameroonian Embassies abroad as misguided, so that a prodigal son approach can be encouraged to give peace a chance.

Ati-Njong, Pioneer Registrar GCE Board,

Member of Order of International Fellowship

Tel (237) 672 460 280 / 699 907 686

Schools resumption jinx: between anvil and hammer!

It is obvious that the title of today’s chronicle will be of nuisance fringe to the uninitiated. Yes, it cannot be otherwise, given that the issue of “schools resumption jinx,” prefixing “between anvil and hammer” is highly topical and has gained notoriety in the last 10 months, consequent upon the Common Law lawyers’ ultimatum and concomitant teachers solidarity strike that have padlocked classroom doors and lawyers’ chambers in Anglophone Cameroon. For the benefit and proselytization of neophytes, elementary notions of technical education gleaned from dusted notebooks representing my first and second year in secondary school have become categorical imperatives.

Issuing from the above, an anvil is a contraption usually affixed to a table in a workshop to facilitate conversion of malleable and ductile metals into various tools, including knives, spears, diggers, arrows and even chisels. It permits red-hot metal to be beaten to desired shapes, using a hammer. The metal rests on the anvil while the hammer does the arduous but necessary task of giving it desired form.  It is precisely the same situation that prevails in the current logjam between resolute Anglophone parents who see no good in Government insistence on schools resumption and a headstrong Government determined to uphold supremacy of its regime.

To this effect, the need arises to situate what exactly, represents the metal between the anvil and the hammer. In our case, it cannot be anything else but the students and pupils who are being subjected to the pains emergent from the shock being emitted by contact of their fate on the anvil with the hammer in the hand of a blacksmith or any metal worker. Put in its least common multiple for comprehension, Anglophone agitators are the hammer while Government represents the anvil, with pupils and students forming a buffer between them. Whether Government position in the current stalemate has any basis in reality or not, remains a matter of conjecture, just like the blustering from Anglophone parents, prodded by activists, mostly, resident out of Cameroon. However, what is certain is that the fate of children, and by extension, youths we zealously cuckold as leaders of tomorrow will be in for a rough deal.

Unfortunately, our youths are in no position to determine which side to of the coin to lean on, given that those among them, who would have acted independently, are still hooked on their parents’ fishing rods, owing to a system of governance that has raised irresponsibility into an elegant art.They are, mostly, unemployed and cannot, consequently, stand on their own, or even support their younger brothers and sisters, actually feeling the pangs inflicted by irascibility of their parents and Government. In all fairness, this is not a matter wherein victor or vanquished would emerge. On the contrary, we are faced with the future of no fewer than 2,500,000 youths, whose fate is being toyed with by elders and parents, emboldened by ego pampering gestures that have imbued them with illusions of grandeur. Apart from exposing us to the comity of nations as governance midgets who do not master the essence of globalization and its cutting-edge accessories, we are more importantly, condemning ourselves to several years of servitude on the altar of underdevelopment by mortgaging the future of our youths.

Oh, yes! Those who by some twist of fate are piloting the governance train, do not seem to remember that they are Cameroonians first before being appointed by whatever fiat into the positions they currently occupy. No! To them, such appointments automatically confer elitist status on them. Note that their notion of elite is that of an exclusive class that has been bestowed with some larger-than-life privileges on account of their presence in the governing class and, so, must ride roughshod on the rest of the citizenry. These are people whose notions of history and political philosophy that were supposed to have been introduced to them during undergraduate studies, have been twisted to suit their cupidity. They have suddenly become replacements of the white colonialists to perpetuate the enslavement of their compatriots. This explains why they never see any good in any idea that reduces their grip on power, even if on the flipside, it heightens the brightness of the corporate image of the commonwealth.

This antediluvian mindset actuated by an inexplicable desire to exclude majority of other citizens of the polity from the spinoffs of community life and sovereign accretions, has inflicted indelible scars of materialism and petrifying individualism in our governing class. This disposition,also, explains why there can be no sense in the persistent agitation by Anglophones, particularly, since November 21, 2016, when West Cameroon teachers joined Common Law lawyers in a strike action that has, today, graduated into the now notorious Anglophone Crisis. Leaders of the movement to curb Anglophone alienation have been in detention for upwards of six months and this means nothing to President Biya and his hirelings in Yaounde, even as this is a precondition for schools resumption. Their trial has become an issue that evokes provocation each time the case is called up, by inexorably, eliciting caricature of justice that materializes in unjustifiable refusal of bail.

To extend the frontiers of their fools’ paradise, President Biya’s so-called proconsuls have indulged the country in the most brazen display of insensitivity. While the country is festooned with the ravages of the Anglophone crisis, the Biya clique revels in militarization of Anglophone Cameroon as exemplified in the installation of a Brigade Commander, personified by General Donassien Melingui, in Buea. As if that were not enough, our hard earned resources have been put at the disposal of rented pimps, some of whom are responsible for the visceral political impasse gripping the country, to go abroad, ostensibly, to douse the embers of Anglophone irredentism. This is being directed at a group of people who see no good in continuous fellowship with La Republique du Cameroun. They are outright secessionist! But this are the people our so-called Government prefers to go and pacify, leaving behind patriots whose only concern is a return to legality, and by that token, to the status quo ante May 20, 1972 political assassination that engendered the unitary state.

Much as Government’s recalcitrance carries the day in the realm of responsibility for the current political stalemate that has now engulfed schools resumption, Anglophone lack of unanimity regarding strategies to adopt in the quest to emancipate ourselves from Francophone induced alienation cannot be ruled out completely. Granted that we cannot deny the huge untrustworthiness that has been exhibited this far, by the Biya regime in relation to summoning lasting solutions to the plight of Anglophones in the country, Anglophone parents too must not be led like sheep to the slaughter. It is unfathomable that a few individuals sit abroad, ascribe titles to each other, and even dictate the pace of events back here in the country.  Make no mistake, their efforts are manifestly appreciated. However, threats to people who believe their children ought to be in school do not augur well for a people complaining against dictatorship by la La Republique.

Anglophones are noted for refined conduct, be they privately or officially, and cannot in the event, be seen to be using threats as a means of attracting adherence from an already convinced populace. That apart, our children being in school is a no compromise issue. We must seek concession between Government bravado and our sense of strategic sophistication, to pull our children out of the current doldrums of involuntary abstinence regarding school attendance. The moment is very crucial and it is in this clime that the genius in us must be brought into play. We cannot be seen to be limited to monolithic perception of an issue that clearly requires thinking out of the box. We are, indubitably, capable of mustering the requisite intellectual acumen to come up with a solution that precludes ghost schools.

As a true West Cameroonian, this chronicler holds President Paul Biya and his hirelings, solely and fully, responsible for whatever crisis the country is facing and calls on him to remember that reckoning time is coming, when they will have to account for their decision to inflict ruin on Cameroon despite the vast array of resources at their disposal. In the same manner, Anglophone parents will be exposed to retribution from the same children they are trying to protect via no schools campaign.

By Ngoko Monyadowa

Tender for a rebranded Cameroon

Adepts of Marketing and Communication  or Public Relations, Marketing and Advertising, depending on when and where one went to school, are certainly abreast with the idea of rebranding products after long exposure to market forces. The reason is that either the product no longer suits contemporary patterns of consumer reaction to its presence or need has arisen to catch up with new and improved technology. Such exercises are embarked upon to revalue products by making them appear new and, therefore, different such that they can attract attention and higher prices. The same holds good for corporate images of companies and even countries.It also, explains why in the case of sovereign entities, there must be constant tabs on the manner business is carried out both locally and internationally, especially in our current context of globalization. Secrets no longer exist. In the event, what happens in Buea, can reach the most remote parts of the world in barely seconds.

To this effect, the case of our cradle, Cameroon, readily comes to mind. And this is not limited to Anglophones or the ruling Government, given that events of the last two decades lend credence to the fact that our country is adrift; without clear-cut concepts in relation to what we want to achieve (lack of vision and goal) and what we shall do after attaining our objective. Consequently, we are either indicted with being the most corrupt nation in the world or condemned to living with the stigma of being among countries with the most anachronistic governance on planet earth. Indeed, positing that Cameroon is ungoverned will not be an aberration of what obtains in reality. What is saddening is the business-as-usual attitude that characterizes Government reaction to all these infirmities in the management of the commonwealth.

Let us begin with very rudimentary issues like water, light, food and housing. Over the years, we have had Cameroon Housing Corporation, SIC, National Electricity Corporation, SONEL, Cameroon Water Corporation, SNEC, Cameroon Airlines, CAMAIR and many others that do not need to be mentioned here to make the point. The impression that has been evoked by the disgraceful disappearance of these national flag bearers is that corporations are set up in Cameroon with particular individuals in mind rather than service to the community. This explains why Marcel Niat Njifendji could only remove the bed that had been screwed to the floor of SONEL headquarters in Douala, because they (clique of vampire oligarchs) had agreed that as a stunt in response to the dictates of Bretton Woods institutions regarding privatization, they would appropriate the company into their private estate. The same holds good for Clement Obou Fegue, of SNEC.

Furthermore, in civilized skies, housing is an issue between individuals and private banking institutions. Government only comes in to fine-tune the regulatory mechanisms governing such operations. In our case, there are corporations to allocate land (MAGZI and MAETUR), corporation to build the house, (SIC) and make loans available to those who submit to the crookedness that underlies granting of such facilities; corporation to recover loans, SRC. What these corporations do is to mystify public affairs management in such a manner that ordinary Cameroonians begin to wonder whether one needs to study rocket science to manage a state corporation in Cameroon. Surprisingly, the point of entry is nothing more than a diploma from ENAM, even as minutiae like progeny and willingness to be malleable and ductile to the point of being “wifed” by senior members of occultist fraternities usually come into play. Do not mind that this chronicler has not mentioned competence as a requisite criterion for appointment; it is hardly taken on board, for your information!

This rigmarole of repulsive statecraft in Cameroon has, over the years, meant nothing to President Biya and his governing clique. It explains why ministers are recycled like worsted metals into car assembly plants. The essence therein is to ensure that their stay at the helm is perpetuated by all means and at all cost, even if that includes wasting the lives of innocent Cameroonians. Elections are rigged, dissenting voices gagged either by incarceration or outright elimination. Did I hear you say without any regard to how the international community would react? No way! These guys are smooth operators. They act without qualms. After all, they contend being immune to ranting and balderdash from the likes of Amnesty International-their sparring partners in regular exchange of superficialities.These are mainly, the issues that have given rise to agitation among Anglophones.

In the face of this putrid circumstance, one would have expected our Anglophone brothers to have their heads above their shoulders. However, what is perceptible is, unfortunately, something that conjures indignities emergent from undisguised quest for leadership positions in the struggle to extricate ourselves from the governance conundrum that has been decried in the earlier part of this chronicle. Name dropping, name calling, insults and exchange of diatribes on social media and other news organs are customary. The acrimony has reached a head, and by this token, the need arises to question who is the real enemy? Is it those advocating federalism, secessionists, those in league with La Republique du Cameroun or La Republique itself?

Apart from its debilitating impact on the struggle to emancipate ourselves from the gangrening governance being rammed down our throats, the impression being given is that we have no reason to complain in the first place. How can we be complaining about governance when even before emancipation we are already at each other’s throat, claiming rights over non-existent property? As if to play down the incontrovertibly monumental role of detained consortium leaders, those who by vicissitudes of fate found themselves scampering for cover and safety in foreign countries are now the heroes of the yet-to-be-accomplished revolution; ascribing titles and roles to themselves with no iota of concern in relation to the fate of their detained comrades-in-arms.

And this bad habit of wanting to be seen and heard at all cost has been extended to delegations sent abroad to explain Government position regarding its current face-off with the Anglophone component of Cameroon. For the avoidance of doubt, this chronicler does not subscribe to the waste that sending such missions abroad constitute. To say the least, the mere conception of such pointless missions exposes the abyss to which reasoning and governance have been reduced in Cameroon. In actual fact, it foregrounds pigeonholed mentality that seems to have gripped those who pass-off for leaders in this country. They must rule at all cost, as opposed to lead according to the sovereign will. Hence they will not dialogue with those at home who are even compromising enough to advocate federalism.  No, they want to pacify secessionists abroad who do not live the day to day realities of this country. Nevertheless, as citizens motivated by Anglo-Saxon ethos, we are wont to be associated with, did we have to fight or be aggressive in order to make our point to the official delegations sent to various countries?

Viewed from either angle, Anglophone agitators, particularly those abroad, need to be reminded that in terms of stakes, they are not in any way more significant than the rest of us (homeboys). We are supposed to be above board-not given to the frolicsome perception of life that is usually ascribed to the current governing class.  We still would have listened to those delegations and made our points without the free for all that characterized all the meetings; be they in USA, Belgium or Republic of South Africa. Our imprimatur as Anglophones is orderliness. Let idealism, goaded by wishful inclination to secession not derail us into missing the point-that is going back to 1961.

It is only after we would have distinguished ourselves as better human beings than the existing governing cabal in the country that we can boast of being in need of better statecraft. As for the buffoons who persistently drag the image of our beloved country through acts of omission and commission in the name of governance, there is no way they can escape retribution from a new generation of Cameroonians that will, certainly, emerge from the ashes of a collapsed dictatorship. That will certainly, be the moment when the new team at the helm will hearken to the need for rebranding to avoid pernicious circumstances like poor ranking on doing business index, going cap in hand to IMF and Word Bank or the fact that erstwhile Lilliputian nations like Madagascar are challenging us today because it did not occur to Issa Hayatou, that after 29 years of CAF headship, he ought not to have contested for presidency for the umpteenth time.

By Ngoko Monyadowa