They call us dogs. But they prevent us from lying down when we fall asleep. They decreed that we are dogs, but opted to ride us like the proverbial willing horse to… They, the overlords loathe barking dogs, even though we bark because we are hungry, angry. Our riders pull and push us from both ends, they scream and lash out. Amba militias and those we purportedly voted into office expect us to run with the hare and hunt with the dogs, our administratively designated cousins.
Amba militants have decreed that we keep every Monday “holy.” They burn our shops; they trim our fingers and occasionally behead us especially when we venture to also obey those they love to hate. Amba opponents seize our cars, they seal our shops and other business premises when we perceive that venturing out of our homes could mean having our automobiles burnt to ashes or our fingers sadistically chopped off by psychotic militias.
We, the People have become the grass upon which two bullish elephants are clumsily fighting for political space and advantage. Whereas Amba chieftains have commandeered the social media through which their “commanders” and “generals” reel out Sharia-like edicts, their “elected” opponents swear at us via the insipid speeches and obnoxious propaganda they routinely force-feed us with. When they are not disconnecting the internet to return us to technological childhood so we become social cannon fodder, they are tacitly employing circus animals to chase us around for their evening television entertainment.
As we write, the buffoonery is playing out in Buea, chief town of the Southwest Region. “The army is here to protect us,” by way of providing rock solid cover for drugged street urchins, hired by the local council to seal the hundreds of business places that failed to open their doors on “holy” or “Amba” Monday if you will. Many shop attendants (mostly young girls) have been arrested and held in detention because they dared to reopen their shops; such shops as were illegally and criminally sealed in the first place. A select few have been left open either because their owners are “connected” or because a small bribe was paid to a member of the mayor’s prowling gang.
Like was the case in the American Wild West many years back, a Quixotic mayor, guarded by fully armed military personnel regularly parades the streets, barking out orders and threatening whosoever fails to fling open the doors of their business places. Even if one traveled out of town; even if one took ill and couldn’t open on a Monday, one’s shop was sealed. Television cameras follow the mayor for effect. Hundreds of taxicabs are commandeered and taken to the Town Hall. They are only released against an undertaking that their owners would be out on Mondays, daring the ubiquitous rag-tag militias.
As it stands, we, the People have become playthings on the chessboard of Amba militias and the very “infallible” state authority. We get tossed about and along like a bad coin in the market. Occasionally, we are slaughtered like chickens by both state and separatist fighters.
The prevailing socio-political climate in the Anglophone Regions particularly gives room for much trepidation. In Buea like elsewhere, morally bankrupt state authorities are making hay, feeding fat from what is clearly a bloody, sordid situation. Despite the dire times, residents of the so called town of excellence are chipping in money to fix their own roads and provide their own water. The hundreds of commercial bikers chased off the streets late last year have either been “baptized” into the Amba confraternity or at the very worst breaking and entering at night. The only visible sign of municipal action in Buea is seen in the clusters of boutiques practically taking over every side walk and green space and said to be realized on a “Build, Operate and Transfer, BOT, agreement. Otherwise what also constitutes development here is the television appearances of gallery eye servants spoiling to rule the roost.
The incidence of unemployed youth, miserable looking internally displaced individuals in addition to the dehumanizing poverty has more than obliterated what is left of human dignity. We are virtually in an era where deviance across the societal board is fast becoming normal, with law and order irretrievably headed for the brink with each passing day. Those charged with local leadership, including a quixotic mayor have virtually turned themselves to devouring monsters and parasites who feed on the misery of the mass populace.
The typical selective amnesia notwithstanding, those we call our leaders are invariably courting a national crisis of unimaginable proportions. The highest authority in the land is quoted millions of times daily, his name conveniently dropped by quislings eager to conceal their repugnant dross. And they do this with a creeping determinism. Despite the tough talk including a rather ostrich approach to solving the raging crisis, separatist agitations, virulent criminality and extreme insecurity persist. Summary executions by both the regular army and Amba boys are carried out with a devil-may-care abandon.
There is a progressive collapse of the organizing principles of society, loss of fraternity, empathy and confidence. And political scavengers and other cringing cattle egrets are hovering around the dung of misfortune, expecting to feed from crap at the expense of the common good.
The pyramidal heap of corpses, especially of innocent, harmless English speaking Cameroonians keeps piling. Starvation and poverty in capital letters is clearly etched on the average English Cameroonian’s forehead.
Speech makers keep swearing fire and brimstone. Soldiers and other gun toting operatives are transforming their guns and other weapons of coercion into meal tickets. “Dog whistlers” are ironically lashing out at their beasts of burden with sadistic relish while convincing the tin god that horses are meant to be ridden roughshod until they qualify for the knackers.
Selective amnesia prescribes that they forget about what hit the good old Bob of Zimbabwe.
Cheers, and let’s keep suffering and smiling!
By Charlie Ndi Chia