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Fon Fontem Elected Southwest Chiefs President 

By Walter Wilson Nana — Southwest Chiefs have elected a new executive bureau that will pilot the affairs of the conference for the next two years.

Fon Fontem: New SW SWECC President

Fon Fontem Njifua and Fon Jerry Nkemtaji, both of Lebialem, were elected President and Vice President, respectively, during the General Assembly Meeting of the Southwest Chiefs’ Conference (SWECC) that held in Menji, Lebialem Division, on April 13 and 14. The conference was chaired by Bertha Ndoh, Prime Minister’s special representative. 

The other executive members who were voted by an electoral college during a hotly contested election comprised Secretary General – Chief Fritz Gerald Nasako, Assistant Secretary General – Chief Ekwoge of Kupe Muanenguba, Financial Secretary – Chief David Mokambe, Assistant Financial Secretary – Chief John Orock Mbi, Treasurer – Chief Martin Mafany Njie of Lyongo Village in Buea, Protocol Officer – Chief James Tabetah, Social Secretary – Chief Njombe of Buea, Public Relations Officer – Chief Augustine Etuge, Assistant Public Relations Officer -Chief Robinson Tanyi.

Chief Justice Mathias Epuli and Bailiff Eric Makia were elected Legal Advisers, while Nfor Tabetando was elected Project Manager. The presentation of Fon Nkemtaji as Vice President of SWECC by the Lebialem Fons created hysteria amongst the chiefs.

Chief David Molinge of Upper Muea openly opposed the choice on grounds that Fon Nkemtaji was not well known in their circles. Others like Nfor Tabetando, Chief Dr. Atem Ebako and Chief Esoh Itoh backed the opposition and urged the Lebialem Fons to present another person, but the Fons were determined, insisting that Fon Nkemtaji was their choice and should be respected like it is done in other Divisions.

This led to an impasse which almost disrupted the assembly. However, after serious agitations amongst the chiefs, they decided to accept the choice of the Lebialem Fons for the sake of peace and social cohesion. Earlier on, while welcoming the chiefs to Lebialem, the President of Lebialem Fons’ Conference, Fon Asongtia, made it clear that the population is still amazed concerning the SWECC Secretariat project.

He said some chiefs have occasionally been cited in cases of indiscriminate sale of land, resulting in conflicts within the communities as well as the exaggeration in awarding chieftaincies and nobility titles in exchange for financial and material benefits. Fon Asongtia said, ahead of the 50th Anniversary celebration of the Unification of Cameroon in Buea, it is in the interest of the Southwest Chiefs to see that every Division in the Region feels the impact through concrete and visible projects associated with the event.

“Lebialem people feel frustrated because they were left out in the road network that was announced to be constructed for the remembrance of the Unification of Cameroon, despite their milestone contributions towards this event,” he said. The outgoing SWECC President, Chief Donatus Enone from Kupe Muanenguba, measured their achievements since they took office in April 2010, through the series of meetings they held.

“These series of meetings gave us the clairvoyance in solving most of the thorniest issues and in improving the image of our association. Our activities centred mainly on our struggle to raise funds for the realisation of our secretariat,” Chief Enone said. For her part, Bertha Ndoh told the chiefs that the Prime Minister, Philemon Yang, delegated her to preach the message of peace and unity to the chiefs and the Southwest Region as a whole.

She said: “The peace we enjoy in our country is priceless. Every chief has a vital role to play in social development. You should abandon vices that are counter-productive like gossiping, backstabbing, mudslinging and so on. I urge the chiefs to mobilise the people and sensitise them to give the Unification celebration the grandeur it deserves.”

First published in The Post print edition no. 01336

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