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