When a dog eats its own puppies

When a bitch begins to eat her own puppies you can tell one of three things is happening – famine has hit on a life-and-death scale, or she has lost control either of the litter, or she has lost her mind.
Cameroon has become that weirdo of a bitch that is voraciously devouring its own puppies, and it is anybody’s guess which of the above catastrophes has befallen it. We dare suggest that may well be a combination of all three.
When Ahidjo razed down Bamileke and Bassa villages in the early sixties it could have been argued that it was not the decision of a head of State. He was a surrogate of France, handpicked to read speeches about a nation he knew little about, and had Hobson’s choice when it came to implementing pro-French, anti-nationalist polices. He saw Cameroon through glasses tinted by French exploitative deceit, and the spirit of Cameroon as a nation did not inhabit him until the last decade of his stint in power.
Biya, like his peers of the pré-carré, is still under the thumb of the Elysee, though he cannot lay claim to the same excuses as Ahidjo for continuing to serve French rather than Cameroonian national interest.
He has had the benefit of a good education and greater pre-service exposure to statesmanship. He inherited a nation that was no longer just a geographical expression but a complete socio-political reality. So what will excuse him before history for repeating Ahidjo’s mistake? When people are arrested, they are often told they have a right to remain silent, as whatever they say may be used as evidence against them. How can President Biya ever exculpate himself for unleashing a genocidal war on the people of Southern Cameroons, especially if he sees them as an integral part of what he calls an indivisible nation?
Now let us look at the possible reasons a bitch can be eating her own puppies.
1. Loss of control over the litter. Because he devoted too much of his resources to living it up abroad, to the utter neglect of complaints that threatened the integrity of the nation, he finally lost moral authority over the complainants. To subdue them, and indeed any other form of dissent, the only trapping of power he has left is military brutality. But the heartlessness with which he is going about that suggests that the malaise may be deeper. African wisdom says rats in the same house fight with their tails rather than with their teeth. It is virtually impossible to convince anyone that the calamity being visited on the people of Kembong, Kwakwa, Ebonji, Batibo or Mofako is the work of the security forces of their own country and not that of some savage foreign invaders. President Biya has to take responsibility for these outrageous acts, whether the perpetrators are acting on his instructions or he has lost control of them too. And the scorched earth policy they seem to be implementing cannot but lead to ultimate loss of control over the victimized populations, unless it will be control over the land after having exterminated the entire Southern Cameroons population. Every new day that breaks, every new house that is burnt, every new person that is shot, makes reconciliation between them and the Biya regime that much less conceivable.
2. Acute famine. The war in Cameroon may well be a response to the threat of famine, especially from a “chop-broke-pot” regime that is used to eating without thinking of tomorrow. By famine here we refer to general economic mayhem. The prospect of losing Southern Cameroons causes the specter of famine to loom, given that that is where the breadbasket is. Even before this crisis, and perhaps more as a result thereof, Biya’s henchmen, rather than help him produce more and consume less, have shifted into higher kleptocratic gear – shamelessly stashing billions away in their ceilings and wardrobes where they cannot cart them abroad. And send a thief to catch a thief.
So SCEXIT is bound to usher the lean cows into Etoudi, and when Yaounde sneezes, Paris cannot but catch the cold. France makes no bones of the fact that without the exploitation of its African pré-carré it will become a third world country. With increasing nationalists awaking in Africa, that pre-carre is coming apart and that puts the French economy in dire straits. So the fear of famine must account for the planting the French are alleged to be doing in Kembong. Ironically, they are said to be planting either landmines or motion detectors, not cassava or plantains.
The crowning irony about this war is that instead of saving Yaounde from famine, it will exacerbate it. It is doing so already. And a hungry soldier is an angrier man, and eventually no soldier at all. This may be the link between the famine and the loss of control.
3. Brain damage. You may lose your livelihood and control over your family, but to end up eating your own children, you have to have lost something else – your mind. When this last loss comes in the form of senility due to age, it is best to withdraw from public life and manage it in the dignity and intimacy of one’s family. When it is the after-effect of …, sensible people submit to medical help for catharsis. They don’t wait until they hit the streets in the “Emperor’s new suit.”

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