‘Bami’ cash for ‘anglo’ blood?

It is rare for a journalist to hope or pray that a scoop turns out a non-story. But it cannot be otherwise when the social media breaks two news items in the same week about a most unseemly piece of behaviour on the part of the state. The first was that Yaounde is wooing Bamileke businessmen to fund the war against the Restoration of former Southern Cameroons. Not that there is anything wrong with appealing for patriotic support for a nation’s war effort. But here’s why such an appeal, if it did happen, must raise eyebrows:
1. Boko Haram apart, Cameroon is not at war with any foreign enemy. What we have is the regime waging an unjustifiable war against people it claims are part of its “one and indivisible” nation.
2. After what many believe to have been an unsuccessful cap-in-hand trip to China, such an appeal for funding along tribal lines would be an avowal of the scale of the economic mayhem the President must have unleashed on the country by declaring the war in the first place. At the same time it is a consolidation of the regime’s policy of obduracy against the search for a more sensible and far less costly resolution to the conflict. That speaks to President Biya’s lamentable lack of leadership.
3. The regime has always lumped the Bamileke together with former Southern Cameroonians (Anglo-Bamis) as people that must be kept at political arm’s length. Could it now be seeking alms from one of them to fund a war against the other, while the princes of the regime who have “dry-cleaned” the public coffers are sitting in Kondengui, but with their loot safe in foreign accounts?
4. The argument allegedly being used to woo them is that if former Southern Cameroonians are allowed to break away, they will confiscate or destroy Bami investments in their territory. Smart attempt to butter the susceptibilities of a money-minded ethnic group! But this would be a miserable misreading of both communities. First it would be taking the Bamileke for absolute morons. These are a people on whom Yaounde, under Ahidjo, once visited genocide on a scale comparable only to Rwanda – because they stood for the independence of Cameroon. To give those wounds time to heal after they were betrayed by their own Government in their war against French exploitation, the Bamileke have directed their energies into empowering themselves economically. And what snag has the current regime not thrown at them to thwart that empowerment? Are they now being asked to funnel the fruit of that uphill struggle into a senseless, unnecessary war against “their anglo brothers” whose only crime (like Bamis’ in the early 60s) is that they are demanding equity and respect as a people.
5. The regime would also appear to be measuring former Southern Cameroonians by the mentality of some tribesmen in and around Yaounde, who have, at every turn of the road, threatened to plunder local “Anglo-Bami” investments in and around the national capital. If the allegations were to prove founded, Yaoundé would now be asking the Bamileke to fear and distrust the only people who harboured them when Ahidjo’s military were hounding them through the forests of French Cameroons.
6. Bamileke and Bassa fugitives who crossed into former Southern Cameroons met with untold hospitality and when they settled thereafter, the symbiosis was proverbial. Even in Tombel where the killing of three native Bakossi men sparked the regrettable two-day “broomstick war”, healing returned very quickly. A Bamileke woman even became Mayor of that town – something you can’t dream of in most other ethnic communities.Quite frankly, one has learnt not to put Yaounde beyond any inanity, but to expect any sensible Bami – as indeed any patriotic Cameroonian – to fund genocide against warm-hearted brothers who have always been there for them, the brain damage must be quite advanced.
One reason all this had better not be true, is that if Bami were gullible enough to be taken in by this alleged ploy, it could identify them as ingrates and traitors in the eyes of the restorationists, and hence promptly and effectively put them and their investments in the firing line. In that way, they would, in trying to run away from the rain, get soaked by the dew. And in any case, if the thing went tribal, while hardworking tribes like the Bami fund the war, what would be the contribution of the lazy, binging tribes?
As we said earlier, this matter of “Bamifunding” is only one of two social media allegations begging to be promptly debunked by Yaounde, lest this war against former Southern Cameroons restoration rears more unexpected gorgon heads. The other is a foreign dimension which we will explore subsequently.

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