Nfon Mukete’s Lamentations

EDITORIAL 30 Apr 2019
Nfon Mukete’s   Lamentations

The dust has still not settled after the storm that Nfon Victor Mukete stirred at the Senate a fortnight ago, which seemed to suggest that, what he said on that day, he will never say it again, probably because time was fast running out for the game. We are aware that what he said might have been received with mixed feelings. While cynics may be quarreling why he didn’t raise his voice all along for the past fifty years, others may be saying there could be no other appropriate time to say what he said than when he actually said it.
To be fair to the man, we in this Newspaper strongly believe that Nfon Mukete did state just the facts which we think ought not to be contested by any honest citizen of this country. Nfon Mukete said it loud and clear, and at the most appropriate venue: ‘THE SENATE,” our so-called “Upper House”, where important national issues, such as the Anglophone crisis, the plague of embezzlement, the plunder of state treasury etc., ought to be discussed with a sense of dignity and patriotism. In an “Upper House” where Senators turn a blind eye at errors of government, and the voice of one person becomes acceptable as the truth and the whole truth, Nfon Mukete could no longer bear it in his mind that the “SYSTEM HAS FAILED” and in a broader sense, the state.
Nfon Mukete used the forum of the Senate to send a message to President Biya that “We have suffered in this union”, and ‘We’ in this context referring to the Anglophones. To resist pains of suffering for more than fifty years is a sign of good faith not weakness on the part of the victim, whose only hope has been that someday things will change for good. It is also an illustration of the commitment of the Anglophones with their minds focused on the creation of a nation state, beating its diversity of cultures, languages and systems of governance.
The focus at the time was on a nation that will be a unique example of the form of a unity suitable for an emerging African continent. There is no doubt that Nfon Mukete was a frontline fighter in the struggle for the realization of this dream. There is also no doubt that the federal system of government was the most suitable for the realization of that dream and this was actually the brandished system which wooed the Anglophones into accepting reunification with La Republique du Cameroun.
If therefore, Nfon Mukete today comes up with the lamentation that his people are dying and suffering and the regime is simply playing games in Yaounde, it is because there is more than the eye can see behind the regime’s deliberate refusal to adopt the option of a return to the federal system. Take for instance even the regime’s proposal of a structure of ten regions is a farce that only constitutes the rules of the games Nfon Mukete emphasizes that the regime is playing in Yaounde. That, since 1996, when the Owona constitution drafting commission, rejected the Anglophone draft constitution which proposed a federal structure, there is every reason to question the very provisions of that constitution as far as the status of these regions are concerned.
In the first place the constitution provides that the regional assemblies which the constitution has bluntly refused to recognize as such, only to reduce these bodies to the status of appendixes of whatever political party that happens to have the majority number of municipal councils in each region. This means that even as we are about to hold these elections soon, the ruling CPDM already has its vicious strategies on the ground. This apart, governors of the various regions as well as other officials will be appointed by the head of state.
It is obvious that the real force of decentralisation lies in the ability of very unit in the decentralised system to manage its affairs with some flexibility void of excessive control from the centre. Under the provisions of the present decentralization process, there is still the heavy hand of the centre in the day to day running of these regions and this is unacceptable in the present circumstance in which the system will only be a re-oiling of the chains that have tied the Anglophones for the past half a century.
Other regions may take it lightly, but we think for the two Anglophone regions, it is no longer an issue to toy with. Lives have been lost, thousands rendered homeless, others languishing foreign lands, it is only a genuine federal arrangement which is likely to mellow down the separatist’s determination. This is why it becomes obvious by the day that every step taken by government towards solving the Anglophone crisis, which evades the option of an exclusive dialogue, is in bad faith.

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