When asked where they think tensions between the North West and South West Regions originate, answers vary. And for the most part, they are not convincing. Many are those in the South West who have been told to resent the people of the North West and nothing more.
The elite are playing politics under the guise of a problem that does not exist. Some Bakweri elites like Prof. Ewusi Kale, Prof. Ernest Molua have taken to Facebook to voice their hate for North West (graffi) people.
But for the most part, the messages of hate against the North West are crafted by the high and mighty in Yaoundé and Buea and executed by errand boys like Frankline Njume and Ewome Eko John.
Ewome Eko John alias Moja Moja, the traditional ruler of Bwassa village in Buea subdivision and soldier with the Cameroonian army has taken the anti-North West campaign to a new high.
Following the demise of the Chief of Mile 14 in the hands of separatists in December, Moja Moja rolled out an ultimatum for the people of the North West resident in Fako to quit the Bakweri land. To him, all “graffi” people are separatists.
On December 16, 2020, Cameroon’s Prime Minister Dion Ngute Joseph held a meeting with some traditional rulers in the South West Region. During the meeting, he urged them to collaborate with security officials to put an end to the activities of separatists.
While many expected the PM to call Moja Moja and others to order, he rather sent out a congratulatory message laced with smiles.
The exchange between Moja Moja and PM Dion Ngute went thus:
Dion Ngute: “Let’s keep fighting with unity, unity.”
Moja Moja: “While fighting, I’m not going to hurt anybody because I’m not above the law. But we just have to tell them that we too can stop them.”
Dion Ngute: “Yes! I know, I know. And I want to congratulate you on the good work that you have been doing. Thank you very much.”
PM Dion Ngute’s public show of support for Moja Moja’s xenophobic project met with an outcry.
On December 17, 2020, Moja Moja made a video to save the PM’s face. He alleged that the PM had rather asked him to fight for unity. Soldier cum xenophobia master said he was sorry for insulting the people of the North West, for calling them graffi among other derogatory names.
Days back, Moja Moja withdrew his apology. He said the people from the North West Region are cockroaches. He swore to chase them out of the South West. He said even nastier things.
Moja Moja’s recent outing now shows that his apology and other moves portrayed on social media following the public support from the PM was a window dressing. The PM had indeed praised him for his xenophobic exploits.
Though technically the highest-ranked minister, Joseph Dion Ngute is only the head of government in name and it is Paul Biya’s advisors who manage the executive’s day-to-day actions. The PM may be finding solace in the anti-North West fight regardless of the negative impact it has on Cameroon’s fragile unity.
At the onset of the current crisis rocking the North West and South West Regions, President Paul Biya imagined that the country’s unity and the living together of its people was at stake.
On January 23, 2017, Biya created the National Commission for the Promotion of Bilingualism and Multiculturalism.
As attributes, the new structure was charged with promoting Bilingualism and Multiculturalism in Cameroon with a view to:
– Maintaining peace;
– Consolidation of the country’s unity;
– Strengthening its people’s willingness and day-to-day experience with respect to living together.
Former Prime Minister Peter Mafany Musonge, a native of Buea was appointed to head this commission. Strange enough, Bakweri people have distinguished themselves as the mill that churns out hate speech. And in all of these, the Musonge commission has been silent.
When you see a bird dancing by the roadside, know that there is a drummer in the bush. In this case, Musonge and other well-placed Bakweri sons and daughters, among other south-westerners are playing the drums for the likes of Moja Moja and Frankline Njume. If not, what accounts for their silence?
‘Living together’ & the Constitution
The Constitution of the Republic of Cameroon as in force from 18 January 1996 (including all amendments up to November 2011) begins, “we, the people of Cameroon, Proud of our linguistic and cultural diversity, an enriching feature of our national identity, but profoundly aware of the imperative need to further consolidate our unity.”
Paragraph 4 and 13 of the preamble of the constitution insist that Cameroonians are free to live anywhere in the country and are not to be harassed.
“… Every person shall have the right to settle in any place and to move about freely, subject to the statutory provisions concerning public law and order, security and tranquility … no person shall be harassed on grounds of his origin, religious, philosophical or political opinions or beliefs, subject to respect for public policy.”
Moja Moja is on record to have harassed Cameroonians simply because they hail from the North West Region. Article 2 of the constitution on “the equality of all citizens before the law” has been violated. The courts are silent, the law too.
The government and its related agencies remain mute. Yet, they claim to support President Paul Biya’s ‘living together” creed.
Living together is a social contract between different groups of people in society. The perspective and associated characteristics surrounding the concept and practice of living together are fading away in Cameroon.
The tendency of power balance among different interest groups in society is shaky. It is a reciprocal way of fine-tuning what people want, can acquire, and are willing to follow. The kind of behavior that originates from this social principle (whether hostile actions, violence, or war) is then an expression of this process.
If we inverse the “conflict principle,” we realize that it implies a conflict-free society.
In other words, for people to live together peacefully, it supposes that people must refrain from hostile actions, avoid disrespect for one another, and stay away from violence or war. In reality, if there exists peaceful coexistence between people, the notion of conflict would never be conceived and the practice of living together is going to be certainly achievable.
There is the need for the people of the North West and South West Regions to cooperate to move Cameroon forward, rather than tear themselves apart in order to seek favors from the Biya regime. The principle of cooperation insinuates the building of cooperative ties between people in society. It advocates for equal distribution of power among various parties.
A society full of gaps typifies one that is void of enjoying the benefits of living together. For example, a society/country with established treaties that are yet to be implemented. It is this gap between expectations and power that causes conflict.
We at Mimi Mefo Info are of the informed opinion that peace, cooperation, friendliness, and harmony are some of the inherent factors that must define the concept and practice of living together in Cameroon.
If we want to go by the UN standard, then we should ensure to inculcate the habit of living together in peace, harmony, respect for one another, and fulfillment of the social contract between the state (which is the ‘ultimate end of politics’) and the people.
If we truly exemplify living together with these associated features, our society would be void of conflict, violence, hostility, or war.
(C) Mimi Mefo Info