Tensions have erupted in Koba, a village in the Konye Subdivision of the South West, as villagers protest what they describe as the forceful imposition of a chief by the Divisional Officer (DO) of Konye, Attah Moses Ndep.
In a show of dissatisfaction, angry locals took their protest to the office of the Senior Divisional Officer (SDO) of Meme, Chamberlain Ntou’ou Ndong, demanding justice.
At the premises of the Meme SDO’s office, the irate inhabitants expressed their frustration with what they consider a dictatorship orchestrated by the Konye DO, coupled with recent arbitrary arrests in the village.
Talking to the press, they disclosed their objection to the candidate forced upon them for the traditional ruler position, emphasizing that the individual is not supported by the local population.
“The DO for Konye is imposing on us a candidate who is not the choice of the people. Because of this, we are not accepting this candidate,” said Mosima Ernest, the spokesperson for the Koba locals.
He further detailed instances where the Divisional Officer reportedly intimidated villagers and arrested those protesting against the imposed leadership.
“I myself was locked up in Konye. A house that has not got a father, things will never move well. So we have difficulties in leadership, we need a head in the house,” Ernest lamented.
Representatives of the aggrieved villagers were later received by the 1st Assistant Senior Divisional Officer of Meme.
During discussions, the 1st Assistant SDO pledged to address their concerns and seek a resolution to the ongoing dispute.
From the SDO’s office, the locals proceeded to the High Court of Kumba, where they demanded the release of relatives reportedly unjustly arrested in connection with the protests.
It is noteworthy that Koba village has been without a traditional ruler since 2017, and the recent attempt to impose leadership has heightened tensions.
This incident mirrors similar occurrences in other parts of Cameroon.
Recently, accusations were leveled against the SDO of Kupe Muanenguba and the DO of Nguti, who were accused of imposing a chief on the Manyemen village in the South West Region.
The act of appointing traditional rulers against the will of villagers by government administrators has raised concerns about local autonomy and traditional leadership in Cameroon.