Scratch and sniff

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

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