Enemies of national cohesion

While the entire country was reveling in respite from the gangrenous war pitting Government forces against Southern Cameroons separatists provided by the now fallacious story of a woman who resurrected five years upon being pronounced dead after a caesarian section in Mbanga under Moungo Division in the Littoral Region, two important events caught this chronicler’s attention.
The first is the blanket ban on sugar importation by the Head of State and the second- the fact that out of bizarre lethargy we have allowed ourselves to become infants or at best primary school pupils who have to be taught the rudiments of self control and survival tactics, in spite of our advanced ages and seemingly impressive academic standings. We are now contented with being managed by Bretonwoods institutions and we make no bones about it to the point where when these creditors are in our country for one working visit or the other, air waves of our audio visual media and pages of regime sponsored newspapers are inundated with swan songs of messianic presence.
Not surprisingly, “therefore, after over 57 years of misrule with the worst of them under the current Head of State and his swaggering CPDM political ruffians, we are shamelessly crying wolf in regard to the presence of spoilers in the country who are jealous of the indivisibility credo that has bound Cameroon together all these years”. Instead of engaging in serious introspection that would have led us to how we found ourselves beggars in the midst of plenty, we are reading mischief making in the activities of those who are daring to say that a people cannot be led by their noses to the slaughter in broad daylight.
In typical Bantu cosmogony, such occurrence would signify the absence of men with balls and chiming bells for the extinction of that generation. But since our motto is “rejoice while the good times last,” we have attributed wrong doing to everybody except the governing class that reckons to have been ordained by God to lord it over the rest of us.
Indeed, it would have been surprising if the country had not reached its current abyss of putrid governance. Take the example of the blanket ban on sugar importation as point of departure and add to it the fact that Government shares in SOSUCAM with plantations in Mbandjock and Nkoteng are not up to 20 percent, which translates easily to the fact that it is essentially foreign-owned. Government contention is that the ban responds to a felt need to protect locally produced sugar that cannot compete favourably with imported brands and by that token exposes many Cameroonians to the fang of looming unemployment. Impressive display of patriotism at face value one would say! However, how much is a labourer paid daily? When was the last time a comprehensive overhaul of their machinery was actualized for the close to 40 years that the sugar company has been operating in Cameroon?
You cannot plant grapes and harvest onions. In essence, their high cost of production must not be borne by hapless citizens. If Government wants to help local companies, it should subsidize them for competition in a world governed by the dictates of demand and supply.
Those who took advantage of inefficient and ineffective business style of local producers to complement and even supplement sugar availability in the country must not be made scapegoats of a deliberate effort to pander to the whims of colonial apron strings. In the face of this and,should the situation deteriorate to the point where workers go on strike and or are laid off because of inability to compete, who would have caused the ensuing social disorder,?
Is it the irate workers or an insensitive Government? Yet they want to be talking down on us about national unity from saintly pedestals. This same situation obtains at the Douala Autonomous Port, CAMRAIL and SOCAPALM where foreigners have a stranglehold on sensitive economic outposts.
And in a country where xenophobia and nepotism have become national pass time, brain wracking issues like availability of sugar in adequate quantities and at affordable prices or the economy being strangulated by foreign domination elude our intellectuals. We are more interested to fight to finish for undeserved promotions by sitting on television and radio panels or pages of newspapers to spew hate among compatriots.
Yes, it is Beti turn to run the affairs of Cameroon. Any attempt to curb Beti hegemony is anathema, despite the blistering misrule to which they have subjected Cameroonians. The credo is that issues of state are not amenable to immediate solutions. From the spectrum of their warped minds, such matters take time to be conceived and implemented. And so with this kind of mindset we have been exposed to over 57 years of contemptible misrule that has lingered to the point where some extremist have opted out of the union.
Over the years, seemingly innocuous issues like equitable revenue allocation based on derivation and devolution of power from the centre to the periphery were turned into rocket science that only political gurus from an outer space institution like ENAM could master. We have all of a sudden been reduced to receptacles that have to swallow hook, line and sinker nebulous notions like indivisibility of Cameroon as if the persistence of misrule and injustice are not in themselves greater ingredients driving the entrenchment of fissiparous tendencies and by extension irredentism in Cameroon. No one in the governing class wants to remember that at the outset two years ago there was a simple request for OHADA laws to be translated into English after which teachers asked for the Anglophone sub-system of education to undergo some overhauling to tally with their aspirations.
On the contrary, the purveyors of what is now sapping Cameroon of all traces of national unity have been rewarded for their provocative and incendiary outbursts before the current crisis deteriorated in the latter part of 2017. The roll call reads like who is who in heaping calumny on Southern Cameroonians. From our own Atanga Nji Paul, Elvis Ngole Ngole and Pauline Nalova Lyonga to Fame Ndongo , Laurent Esso, Isa Tchiroma and other hirelings, the inducements to radicalism had reached unbearable levels and with the radicalization of youths from persistent snobbery by Government, the conflagration has reached a point wherein if care is not taken what happened in Rwanda would have been child’s play. Actually, judging by the hate literature being propagated on social media, by adherents of the separatist Ambazonia republic, something must happen and happen fast for avoidance of a cataclysm.
But the justification being advanced by the separatists is premised on persistent Government incineration of villages in Southern Cameroons that has rendered many homeless and reduced others into refugees in Nigeria and, yet others internally displaced people with scavenging becoming customary to their daily existence. A Government fully aware of its responsibility to cater to the needs of its citizens, they reckon, will not engage in such callousness in the name of fighting separatists. Why, they are wont to ask, is it that soldiers do not comb the bushes in search of suspected separatist loyalists. Instead they raid villages and spray bullets that end up snuffing lives out of many innocent citizens. Yet we expect national unity to prevail. Unity is not an issue that can be decreed. It is worked for and earned like a salary at the end of each month.
By Ngoko Monyadowa

Political Sorcerers at it again!

While the drama panned out last week in the Senate, one particular issue reared its ugly head very succinctly. It is the fact that schooling has not in any way influenced the way Cameroonians behave when exposed to power and its perks. Indeed, the saying that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely cannot be truer for any country than Cameroon.
If this were not the case, how then do we explain the correlation between the fact that Biya’s tenure as head of state is direct antithesis to that of Ahmadou Ahidjo who never had the luxury of sophisticated education. With a degree in Law and post graduate certificate in political science, Biya is not very likely to be envied by the bikers who run commentaries at newspaper kiosks. See the drama that he caused in the senate, an issue that belies the eggheads that throng our universities and corridors of power. What a shame!
Correlated to the above is the combined comedy and tragedy that unfolded at the Conference Centre in Yaounde, last Wednesday. The denouement of the drama has established the belief that our pinnacle law making institution is a repository for spoiled regime faggots. From its conceptualisation by the architects of the 1996 Owona constitution, the wellbeing of Cameroonians was not on its framework. And, it is now clearly playing out.
That a simple fact like the incompatibility inherent in being a Senator simultaneously with Board Chair of a Para-public Corporation should become rocket science that arcane standing orders have to be invoked despite unambiguous provision by the Electoral Code bespeaks the levity that the Biya regime brings to bear on governance. Indeed, the common denominator of this action is that Biya is in charge and whoever is dissatisfied with his misrule may as well go to hell. If one may ask; which comes first, the Electoral Code or the standing orders of the Senate? What this means is that such incompatibility ought not to have arisen ab initio, if the President had been pre-empted from spewing such anomalies.
Even the coming into being of the overhyped Constitutional Council fails woefully to douse the reserve of many Cameroonians in respect of establishing the legality of the presence of Board Chairpersons and traditional rulers at the Senate. Interestingly, some of the offending Senators are lawyers by training. But, the law creating the Constitutional Council clearly states that it cannot on its own delve into the constitutionality of issues. It must be seized by either the President of the Republic, President of the Senate, National Assembly or two thirds of either house. Knowing the CPDM for its party discipline credo, is there any chance of its majority Senators shooting themselves on their legs by supporting the ouster of their colleagues?
For once, the effect of new blood and genuine representation was about being felt. Oh yes, people who had been genuinely elected into the Senate unlike those who represented the SDF during the last mandate when the CPDM treated the foremost opposition party in the country like an orphaned child that had to be accorded pity at all cost. Yes, Barrister Henry Kemende, now Senator, who had walked the talk by resigning as ELECAM boss for Ngoketunja Division owing to that position’s incompatibility with his legal practice, introduced a point of order and delved into the incompatibility issue and the possibility that the lady who purported to be the youngest senator may have just been benefiting from absence of due diligence in the conduct of business at the Senate. His axe fell ruthlessly on Senator V.E. Mukete’s head. Charles Salè, Board chairperson of Gynaeco-obstetric Hospital and Rene Ze Nguele, Board Chair of Institute of Research for Agricultural Development, IRAD, are also, senators, appointed last April by Presidential decree.
On this score, a flustered Centenarian, Nfon Victor Mukete was only bailed out of public opprobrium by Pierre Flambeau Ngayap the sharp-witted UNDP appointed Senator. Indeed, the standing orders of the Senate allow aspirants to sit as Senators before commissions are formed to put their eligibility under scrutiny. Imagine the disgrace in sitting there only to be told upon scrutiny that you are persona non grata and by that token must make an unceremonious exit! Imagine the Herculean task for a man of 100 years to engage in a volte face barely a few months after he had made it known in an interview with Jeune Afrique Magazine that federalism is the most appropriate solution to Cameroon’s current socio-political malaise!
That President Paul Biya had to reappoint Nfon Mukete as Senator is in itself a hallmark of spitefulness to the people of the Southwest Region. What this means is that not even one of the centenarian’s eminently qualified sons was fit to replace him as Senator, talk less of other burgeoning politicians and technocrats from the Region at his beck and call, whose vibrancy undergirded by youthfulness would have been more resourceful to the country. If the President must gratify Senator V. E. Mukete, is the Chair of CAMTEL not enough compensation for him to sit back and enjoy a deserved retirement?
With all due respect, Nfon Mukete represents more than that to Southern Cameroonians.
Although Senator Flambeau Ngayap succeeded in reinstating Nfon Mukete through some technical gibberish, the damage has been done. Three issues have been brought to the fore including the fact that the hand-picked SDF Senators from Adamawa and the West Region of the last mandate were either incompetent and by that token failed to come to grips with the incompatibility clause or they actually perceived it but refused to rock a boat whose owner’s benevolence had raised them from ordinary scums of society to the coveted positions of Senators. Secondly, it signifies the emergence of parliamentary debate at the level of the Senate. Unlike the last mandate when unqualified Senators were foisted on the SDF for political expediency, this time there are two eminent Barristers, meaning the days of business as usual are in the mortuary, heading for the grave yard.
Thirdly, as earlier mentioned, it has exposed the sloppiness that underpins the administrative machinery of the Senate. How come it that it is to a commission constituted by would be Senators whose mandates are still pending validation that credentials of elected and appointed Senators are tabled for scrutiny? The proverbial case of referee and player at the same time one would say. Knowing the system for its “come and see American wonder” modus operandi, anything can crop up after the concerned persons would have already sat in the Senate. The issue of the lady who was the youngest Senator during the last mandate and was assumed to be so this time around without prior verification confirms the skewed approach to Government business in Cameroon.
By Ngoko Monyadowa

Repugnant dross

It played out like a typical scene in Columbia during that Latin American nation’s 50 year civil war. Cheerleaders, rented from Dschang, to perform a well choreographed theatre of the absurd for the attention of Biya the dispenser, were intercepted, taught how not to pander for a few grains of peanuts, ruffled and sent back with a clear message for their paymasters.
A similar scenario was acted out with Professor Ivo Leke Tambo, GCE Board Chairman. The old man was snatched to a hideout and subjected to indignities, including being blindfolded, stripped down to his dross and held for 48 hours. The experience was harrowing for the learned professor and others of high polish and refinement.
Tambo’s captors were predominantly carefree lads, probably unemployed and frustrated victims of the crass ineptitude and moral turpitude that has characterized governance in Cameroon over the past decades. They were youthful “Ambazonians,” ostensibly eager to tell the world, that they, like their parents before them have endured enough of criminal marginalization. They were out to prove, albeit “repugnantly,” that both their kidnapped victims and those whose bidding they do, evince revulsion, to say the very least.
Such revulsion could be traced to an incompetent, corrupt regime, manned by intractable individuals, who would rather see the nation die than forego power and the filthy lucre which they daily reap from the whirlwind of confusion and political scamming they have been sowing. The bubble had to burst, one day or the other. And even here, prudent social engineering would have meant handling the issue better than it was and is still being handled.
By protesting against a malfunctioning system, lawyers and teachers were, by no means reinventing the wheel. Pig-headed Laurent Esso and Fame Ndongo didn’t need to further fan smouldering embers of provocative marginalization. Mr. Biya didn’t need to resort to swearing, insulting, intimidating and promising Armageddon. He had to listen and empathize. But he overly resorted to employ the military in solving a socio-political problem, trusting to the fickle support (or promise thereof) of his minders.
Notwithstanding the cunning resort to unsubstantiated Tchiroma-designed propaganda, suppressing democratic protests by benevolent autocracy and legitimized cruelty, the Anglophone problem is gradually but steadily stalemating. It will likely elude a resolution for decades to come. Biya ought to beat a hasty retreat from negative imaging, belligerence, justifying and legitimizing military violence to dominate the narrative.
Biya acted in bad faith. He pretended to dialogue, while continuing to engage forces that have massacred villagers, burnt down their ancestral homes and wheeled the nation’s economy into the intensive care unit.
Instead of ranting at unarmed protesters and declaring war on a part of the country he is so eager [not] to see divided, Biya should eat this very humble pie being so generously served him by posterity … Mr. President should ask himself what, indeed, is responsible for the Anglophone disenchantment. He should halt the slaughter of some of the very [nice] people he claims voted, have been sending motions of support and keeping him in power for 36 years. He should, unconditionally, release every Anglophone detainee from prison and apologize to those compatriots that have lost limb and life in this senseless war of inflated egos. That’s what is expected of leaders worth the name.
Only the free can dialogue/negotiate (dixit Nelson Mandela). Let him check the intractable looting machine oiled by his cohorts and rampaging security operatives. The occasional charade of selectively keeping away “suspects” in Kondengui won’t help Cameroon. It would, at best, only briefly extend Biya’s tenancy at Etoudi.
Biya ought to acknowledge the prevailing moral confusion in the nation, conceive and openly define his options. Let him know that many of his appointed officials, especially local administrators are irresponsible; stealing openly from local peasants, taunting and calling them vulgar names. The slipshod intellectual design of his policy content has set the nation adrift. What is evident is an unspoken transfer of political responsibility to the military.
Cameroon is sick. Her so called leaders are living in denial. Somebody just has to give up! “Sparrow Hawk” and other political shooting of the breeze notwithstanding, the nation is running on the oxygen of corruption. Look here! Security is not only about threats in insipid, coughing guns and pellets. Radicalization is staring Cameroon in the face.
Last line…
There is a definite human angle to the question, and this, Mr. President, is glaring in the Tambo kidnap saga; a euphemism for what barely hides what is so repugnant about Cameroon’s corporate dross. To have a happy family, you must have a conversation…