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Why Did Fons Of Mankon, Bafut, Kom, Others Not Attend National Dialogue? 

By Joe Dinga Pefok

Cameroonian
authorities have been silent on the fact that a number of prominent Fons
(traditional authorities) of the restive Northwest Region, where the
authorities claim things are under control, did not travel to Yaounde either
for the consultation meetings with the Prime Minister or for the national
dialogue proper, that ran from September 30 to October 4, supposedly focused on
the Anglophone Crisis.

Three
of the five First Class Fons of the Northwest Region; Fon Angwafor of Mankon,
Fon Abumbi of Bafut, and the Paramount Fon of Kom, neither took part in the
consultation meetings nor in the dialogue proper. Significantly, Fon Angwafor
of Mankon is as well the 1st Vice National President of the ruling
CPDM, while Fon Abumbi of Bafut is a member of the Central Committee of the
CPDM as well as the a former National President of  the Northwest Fons Union, NOWEFU.

Another
major absence was that of Fon Francis Aneng of Bafmeng in Menchum Division, who
is one of the only two member s of the Political Bureau of the CPDM from the
Northwest Region. He was also the last National President of a united NOWEFU.

When
the Anglophone Crisis started escalating three years ago, quite a number of
Fons in the Northwest Region abandoned their villages and ran to Yaounde, and a
few to Douala, on the pretext that their lives were seriously under threat by Separatist
fighters commonly known as ‘Amba Boys’. However, the only 1st Class
Fon in the Northwest Region who abandoned his village and ran to Yaounde was
Fon Dr. Ganyonga of Bali Nyonga, who is, as well, a member of the Central
Committee of the CPDM as well as a Senator appointed by President Biya .

The
Fon of Nso,  Sehm Mbinglo II, a former
National President of a united NOWEFU, who is one of the two  1st Class Fons of the Northwest
Region, that is currently living out of the region, did not run away from the
Nso land. He defied all the odds allegedly mounted by a cousin of his who was
one of the first people to join ‘Amba Boys’ in Nso, to settle scores with the
Fon. Two of the Fon’s sons were brutally killed following a false accusation
that the Fon sacrificed a young and an unnamed virgin to use witchcraft against
‘Amba’. Seemingly, following the trauma and other effects of the incident on
the Fon’s health, he was taken away from Nso, for medical attention.

National Dialogue Attended Only
‘IDP-Fons’

When
President Biya announced, on September 10, the holding of the national dialogue,
the Prime Minister, Chief Dr. Joseph Dion Ngute, who he designated as National
Coordinator, started holding consultations at his office in Yoaunde. The
delegation of Northwest Fons failed to show up for quite some time. There were
two main reasons: first was that, unlike the Southwest Chiefs Conference, the
Northwest Fons Union has, in the last few years, been in factions, and none of
the factions is active. So, the Northwest Fons currently have no legitimate
leader under the canopy of NOWEFU that can talk on be half of all of them. 

However,The
Post
learnt that one of the former National Presidents of a united
NOWEFU, Fon Chafah XI of Bangolan, who is based in Yaounde, and who is also a
Northwest Senator appointed by President Biya, took the initiative to form a
delegation of Northwest Fons to meet the Prime Minister. He contacted some Fons
who are in the Northwest Region, like Fon Aneng of Bafmeng, and  tried to convince them to come  down to Yoaunde to join those of them who are
now referred to as ‘IDP Fons’ in Yaounde. But none of Fons, living in the
Northwest Region, accepted to travel to Yaounde for the event which ‘Amba Boys’
consider as a CPDM affair. It was clear to all the Fons that, if they made the
‘mistake’ to leave their palaces and travelled to Yaounde, they would not be
able to return to their palaces. So, all the Fons in the Northwest who were
contacted by Fon Chafah, refused to travel to Yaounde. Not even the plea of the
Minister of Territorial Administration, Paul Atanga Nji, who hails from the
Northwest Region, could change anything.

At
the end of the day, Fon Chafah was forced to constitute a delegation comprised
solely of ‘IDP-Fons’, to meet the Prime Minister. Of course, there were
questions as to the legitimacy of the delegation of ‘IDP –Fons’ that met the
Prime Minister on Thursday, September 26, in the name of Northwest Fons and people,
considering that these are Fons that had long abandoned their palaces.

However,
one of the two 1st Class ‘IDP-Fons’, Sehm Mbinglo II of Nso, was not
in the delegation that met the Prime Minister. He reportedly refused for
unknown reasons, to be part of that delegation. Nevertheless, he attended both
the opening and closing ceremonies of the national dialogue. All the Northwest
Fons who attended the national dialogue were all ‘IDP-Fons’.   

Traditional Rulers In Partisan
Politics

A
majority of  Fons in the Northwest Region,
including the three First Class Fons, have, despite the odds including threats,
courageous stayed back in their  Fondoms,
during these three-year long Anglophone Crisis. So far, a few Fons have been
kidnapped by armed men, who later released them after the payment of ransoms. Fortunately,
no Fon has been killed, so far, in connection to the Anglophone Crisis.

The
main bone of contention that traditional rulers, in general, in the Northwest
Region, had with a majority of their subjects or the population, for many years
before the eruption of the Anglophone Crisis, was their involvement in partisan
politics. Almost all Northwest Fons had, under the manipulation of their CPDM
elite, or for their selfish interest, become members of the ruling CPDM, whereas
the demand of the population was that traditional authorities who are supposed
to be fathers of all their subjects, should not be involved in partisan
politics.

When
the Anglophone Crisis erupted, the demand by the population of the different
Fondoms that their Fons should leave the CPDM became stronger. Some of the Fons
rather decided to run away from their villages to Yaounde and Douala, instead of
dialoguing with their people.