By Ngoko Monyadowa
The recent judgement sentencing of Sisikku Julius Ayuk Tabe and the Nera Hotel, Nigeria abductees in the absence of their lawyers to life imprisonment with concomitant colossal amounts running into billions as fines has lain bare the Biya regime’s inveterate inclination to abuse power and, by extension, disregard for the wellbeing of the very Cameroonians who by agency of the ballot box, even if lubricated by rigging, accord it a veneer of legitimacy.
Without recourse to casting aspersion on it since the procedural accompaniments preparatory to its pronouncement had ab initio attracted the ire of legal scholars, the feeling here is that its timing and cruelty conjure up a combination of insensitivity to the plight of suffering Anglophone youths who need to return to school in the days ahead and nullification of the much vaunted and money guzzling back to school mantra that has seen parliamentarians laugh home with FCFA15million each.
To the extent that such a very sensitive issue has vaulted into the political landscape at a time when even diehard separatists had begun eliciting support for a return to normalcy, at least in regard to schools resumption, the temptation arises to lend credence to the assertion that warmongers and moral cripples have taken the country hostage and nothing but pecuniary benefits derivable from freebooting drives such coldness. Dialogue has therefore been jettisoned!
Admittedly, taking up arms against one’s fatherland is a heinous enterprise that requires meticulous investigation to bring out the reasons undergirding such adventurism and, if possible, proffer both commensurate punishment and solutions to the inducements advanced by perpetrators of such treasonable felony. Nevertheless, by the same token, government ought to have been more adroit in its management of the trial process to diminish the current legion of dissent. If for no other reason, the fate of children who have been away from school for three academic years and counting should inform a more civil disposition.
Indeed, at the risk of repetitiveness, there is every reason to believe that government has intentionally timed the sentencing to coincide with the back to school campaign. Unable to extricate itself from blame rooted in abhorrent misrule, it has instead embraced the scorn of local and international community by providing incontrovertible evidence of resolve to eschew dialogue in favour of military onslaught.
This explains why one could not hold back tears for Cameroon after seeing television footages of some parliamentarians distributing school bags and a few exercise books to hired crowds of pupils and students in the name of government support to the back to school hymn. The issue here is not the fact that state money is being used and abused by people whose mandates hinge on parents of the same children being subjected to such derisory drama but more significantly, the purpose and process of making means available for pupils and students to return to school. How do we explain the fact that a category of citizens who have lost legitimacy and by that token declared persona non grata in their constituencies are the ones championing the back to school mantra? How many people among their supposed target audiences watch television in the bushes where current circumstances have compelled them to seek solace?
It reeks of presumptuousness for a cabal of turncoats that has not mustered the courage to be in their constituencies for three consecutive days in the last three years to be saddled with such an arduous project. To all intents and purposes, the feeling is that the Ministries of Basic and Secondary Education have been seriously spited by the lawmakers. These are the direct managers of schools and to that extent ought to be the handlers of the process of ensuring that schools resume effectively come September 2, 2019. Oh, no! Money is involved and such money is only good for the pockets of law makers and not school managers. A glorious wish indeed but certainly not a realistic picture of political pragmatism as it has easily crumbled under the complexities of current insurrectionary ripostes to such misrule.
Correlatively, the impression is that of a people in frenzy after being caught in a maze occasioned by illusory bravado. They are simultaneously everywhere and nowhere! Their actions depict so much antipathy for the well being of citizens to the extent that apartheid is clearly delineated between the lifestyles of the governing class and those who elected them in the hope that their interest will be primordial. No Way! There is no stopping them for the train of profligacy and callousness is in motion and any attempt to do so will suffer from the incendiary pangs of human infernos. Yes, they operate with no qualms as if to say we are at it and so what! Indeed, our country is headed for a very dangerous precipice but surprisingly, many at the helm still lean on the fatalistic illusion of ‘all is well.’
Three years have come and gone like yesterday without any concrete solution to the political inferno that has bogged down governance. What began as a seemingly innocuous bubble has through inattention been allowed to degenerate into a festering sore that needs specialist attention. Its ramifications have reached a point where piecemeal handouts will not do the trick. The process of seeking solution to its malignant character must be holistic and drastic at the same time. In the circumstance, the feeling keeps cropping up that the intellectual repository that Cameroon seems to have represented is illusory and on that score wanting in intensity and reality. Otherwise, how can an issue whose character inheres in constitutional reform play foul on us to the extent that we are now killing ourselves? Greed, some may say while others posit that the explanation instead has root in uncertified lunacy that has afflicted many within our governing class.
Three years truly seem like yesterday but the repercussions have been ghastly and bestial. Roadside corpses have become mundane issues adorning conversations among travelers on major highways of Anglophone Cameroon. We seem incapable of properly calibrating the impact of the avoidable orgy of bloodletting that has sent most of us into trances from which we are still to regain consciousness. From premature deaths on both sides of the dichotomy between government and Anglophone separatists, we are now saddled with widows, orphans and prospects of famine judging by the business as usual approach adopted by government in distributing donations from the United Nations and other friendly donor organizations. As for handouts from government, they are already finding their way into local markets making it difficult for the intended beneficiaries to reap from such philanthropy.
Unfortunately, the time to sway public opinion is long past and gone. Blustering on television sets cannot and will not do the trick. Indeed, one would have imagined that there would be more ingenious ways of attempting to cajole Cameroonians like institutionalization of federalism but in a system operated by mobsters, money launderers and other people of doubtful credibility even the ordinarily intelligent get afflicted by indefensible callousness. This easily comes into play because of the unceasing and remorseless quest to be seen among the most obsequious of the emperor’s court jesters. And, since the emperor relies on such psychedelics to make decisions, the upshot is anti-people edicts that serve to implant apathy within the citizenry. Moreover, such civil sickness resultant from loss of national integrity engenders a credibility gap between government and the people owing to variance of interests.