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Analysis: CPDM AT 25 – 1992 Victims Still Crying In The Rain 

By Peterkins Manyong

Richard Ndulah Munteh, former private secretary of SDF Chairman, John Fru Ndi, is anything but a role model. His uproarious behaviour after resigning from his position at Ntarinkon does not entitle him to such an appellation. But Ndulah is creditable for a statement he made while addressing a CPDM Conference in Ndop. He told his newfound political comrades that he quit the SDF because while there he was "crying in the rain" and nobody saw his tears and so decided to go where the sun was shining so that his tears could be seen.

The CPDM will be celebrating its Silver Jubilee on Wednesday, March 23. But interestingly there is a group of militants who have been "crying in the rain" for the past eighteen years, who will not be shouting "CPDM Oye!" with the same enthusiasm as the others. They are the victims of the 1992 post-election violence in the Northwest. In fact, they deserve to be termed canting hypocrites (pardon the tautology) if they appear enthusiastic about the celebration, considering what they have gone through.

Even their constant assertion that in voting for the CPDM they were exercising their human rights and performing their civic duties, has apparently had no impact on their critics like Bochong Francis Nkwain, ironically also a victim. Nkwain once likened fellow victims to highwaymen for taking the government of Cameroon to the African Court in Banjul for failing to compensate them.

Other equally taunting CPDM barons even argue that the 1992 Presidential Election was a war between the CPDM and the opposition with the latter determined to wrench power from the hands of the former. Like in all wars, there have to be casualties. And that the loss of their property was the price they had to pay to keep their darling President Biya in power.

The victims also complain that all regime barons have frustrated attempts by them to meet President Biya to lay bare to him their plight. Before Ngafor died, the victims had just contemplated a protest trek from Bamenda to Yaounde, but were discouraged by these same barons who claimed they would convey their grievances to the Head of State.

The fact that since then there has been no feedback is enough evidence they didn’t do so. Some of the Victims even suspect that the money for compensation has been paid and in the usual Cameroonian style has vamoosed into the bottomless pit of individual bank accounts. An attempt to get the matter addressed by the highest court in the land failed, reducing them to the necessity of seeking redress in a foreign court with the following argument.

Government was aware of plans to destroy the property of the Victims, but made no effort to pre-empt the mischief; proof being that former PM Achidi Achu  and former Government Spokesman Augustine Kontchou, announced that they were aware of such a plan before its implementation. Kontchou even went as far as stating that the SDF had a cache of arms comprising more than three hundred pistols which it had imported to launch an attack on the CPDM government and its supporters.

Security officials, they recall, stood at akimbo and watched houses and hotels set ablaze. For instance, a gendarme officer stood by while the Fon Street palace of Fon Angwafor III of Mankon, CPDM Vice National Chairman, was being burnt. They did same during the burning of Hotel Resort 84 owned by central Committee member, Joseph Adu Ncho. A security helicopter hovered above the Ngomgham residence of a Biya supporter, Alhadji Tita Fomukong, leader of the Cameroon National Party CNP, before he was burnt to death. Why was a state of emergency declared over the Northwest only after the burning had stopped? They further questioned.

The fact that the government knew all this, but took no action means there was a secret desire to sacrifice them on the alter of political expediency. Government’s bad faith, they say, is also evident from the fact that it knows those who carried out the arson, but has so far not punished them. This makes the government an accomplice to the fact. A murderer is not only he or she who commits the act of killing but also the one who was present or had foreknowledge of the act, but deliberately decided not to prevent it.

The victims also argue that since the destruction of their property in 1992, victims of elephant destruction in the North and those of the Nsam Fire Disaster of 1998 have been compensated. The case of the Nsam victims is particularly provocative because these were people who went to steal spilled petrol from a petrol tanker. Their act was a reminder of that inclination to the pillage of public wealth government functionaries have perfected into an art.

Finally, the victims argue that the failure of the Supreme Court to entertain their matter is a clear confirmation of government’s hostility to them, reason why they took the matter to a foreign arbitration court. The psychological torture suffered by the victims is also shared by their families. A.C. Ngafor’s wife said, following  her husband’s death, that "he was killed in 1992 and  buried in 2006"meaning that he was in the metaphorical sense, a mobile corpse after the burning of NACHO College, his brainchild, till his death.

At the funeral of A.K Ndikum, one of his daughters remembered asking him the following questions before he died: "Did the CPDM pay you the compensation for your hotel that was burnt after the 1992 elections? I remember you told me they gave you, late Ngafor and other victims   a few sheets of zinc. Did they complete it as promised? This family needs that compensation either in kind or cash to settle your medical bills and keep body and soul together…I told you I cannot join politics, why did you leave your CPDM clothes with me?"

There can be no true union in marriage if it is only a union of hands. The ruling CPDM needs a union of hearts in political marriage before she proceeds to celebrate its silver Jubilee. This can be done by compensating those who sacrificed enormously to make her the great national party she professes to be.

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