By Peterkins Manyong
In our last analysis, we mentioned Frederick II of Prussia among the dictators who went down in history as an enlightened despot, thanks to the French philosopher, Voltaire, who spent three years at Frederick’s Potsdam palace.
He finally went away because Potsdam, though a spacious citadel, was too small to contain two prima donnas. But Voltaire continued to speak well of the Prussian king ever after. Friday, October 23, 2010, Edith Kahbang Walla, popularly known as Kah Walla, called it quits with the SDF , but maintained that she still had a lot of respect for SDF National Chairman, John Fru Ndi, whom she said she has known for 21 years.
This means that she knew Fru Ndi even before the launching of the SDF. Kah Walla, who headed the SDF Strategic Committee, militated in the party for three years, about the same period Voltaire spent with Frederick. Kah Walla dumped the SDF in the midst of a controversy in which she was being accused of engaging in anti-party activities and unexplained management of party funds. She obviously had a tip-off that NEC was planning to slam the infamous Article 8.2 on her this weekend.
While it may sound logical that a defaulting militant be sanctioned, Kah Walla’s supporters think the argument is spurious. Why, they ask, should the SDF sanction her when the voter registration which she has embarked on is being done under the banner of her association, Cameroun O’Bosso? To them, Fru Ndi, who first acknowledged this fact, acted like an undecided pupil who cancels the right answer he had written and writes the wrong one on the advice of seemingly more intelligent classmates.
The SDF National Chairman had himself been blamed for being too complacent in the face of what Kah Walla’s critics consider her ideological excesses. The point being advanced is that he should have stood his grounds in the face of mounting pressure from those intellectual eunuchs in the SDF to whom Kah Walla’s ideas are repugnant only because, in the words of Cardinal Henry Newman, "they are not already familiar". A single phone call from Fru Ndi to the militants of Douala I Electoral District would have stemmed the torrent.
Such a call would have been sufficient to cow those party patriarchs who are reportedly witch-hunting her. These include Augustine Mbami, SDF Exchequer, Jean Michel Nintcheu, MP and Littoral SDF Chairman, Joshua Osih, SDF 2nd Deputy Chairman, Joseph Mbah Ndam, Assembly Vice President and Cyprian Awudu Mbaya, Questor, as back-up. Another argument which Kah Walla’s admirers also perceive as "the motive seeking of a motiveless malignity" is the accusation that Kah Walla has embezzled party funds.
The seriousness of embezzlement as a crime is confirmed by the Cameroon Penal Code, CPC, which considers it a felony. Embezzlers are also confined in a special circle in Dante’s hell, with maggots falling from their rotten faces, dancing incessantly, just like their office pens while transferring public funds into private bank accounts (See Matthew Takwi’s poem titled "A Pen"). But the question Kah Walla’s supporters are asking is: why is she being called upon to account for funds just after she had expressed her desire to become the party’s presidential candidate for 2011?
Numerous are those who argue that accountability has never been a hallmark of SDF’s policy even after the launching of the N. N. Susungi-crafted National Economic Salvation Program, NESPROG, nearly two decades ago. The reactions of top party officials to questions related to management of funds do not reflect a party that attaches any importance to the virtue of accountability.
For instance, Fru Ndi considers it ridiculous that journalists should expect him to declare his assets when publishers of newspapers collect state subventions and put into their pockets, giving no account to anybody. Beatrice Annembom Monju, SDF Communication Secretary, is said to have chided a journalist who sought to know how the party used the close to FCFA 500 million given them as state subventions. She instead retorted; "why not first confront the ruling CPDM to know how the more than one billion FCFA which they also received, had been utilised".
It is noteworthy here that the SDF has been quite selective in the application of Article 8.2 despite the sloganeering that it is a party of equal opportunities. For instance, how can the SDF justify its failure to expel Simeon Noumba Serge, lone MP for the West who has done everything that merits the application of the dreaded Article 8.2? Noumba began singeing Fru Ndi’s beards with a press conference in which he openly accused the SDF National Chairman of tribalism manifested by the appointment of Elizabeth Tamanjong as Secretary General.
He disobeyed the party’s boycott instructions by rallying militants of the West Region to participate in the May 20, 2009 manifestations. The reason for not expelling him is simple: doing so would mean that the SDF would have only 14 MPs in the National Assembly and therefore the SDF Parliamentary Group would collapse. Mbah Ndam was the Knight in shining armour protecting Noumba because he knew that his expulsion would jeopardise his huge earnings as Assembly Veepee.
Thus, it can be seen that discipline within the SDF has been sacrificed on the altar of economic expediency. Kah Walla has dumped the SDF to those who viewed her as an impediment to their aspiration to attain political superstardom. But they should avoid the mistake of initiating any act of litigation against her for alleged embezzlement. They should not forget what happened when Fru Ndi accused Basil Kamdoum of the same offence.
It may not be out of place to advise the SDF that the party should stop behaving like a sow (female pig) that devours its children when she is hungry. Hounding intellectuals from the party only leaves the party a favourite pastime for party conservatives who are contented with the appellation that it is Cameroon’s frontline opposition party. Jones Tansa, a former MP who also resigned from the SDF, wisely observes that opposition shouldn’t be a profession. It should be a transitional period which every serious party should want to pass through quickly.
In sharp contrast, Kah Walla is purposeful and can tell her persecutors with more confidence than Thomas Kyd, a member of a group that once called themselves the University Wits, that "I have the wings to fly up to heaven which they lack".
Unlike her challengers who have for a long time behaved like a plane floundering in a wild storm, its pilot having lost his bearing, Kah Walla has proven by her activities as a strategist that she not only knows where she is going, but also how she will arrive there. She will soon be leaving for Europe, and not long after for the US. If Diaspora Cameroonians truly want change in Cameroon, they should pick up this priceless gem.
One last comment in acknowledgement of her high acumen as a strategist is that she has trained over 400 groups on management, including SDF militants. She didn’t bang the door definitely on the SDF. Her statement in The Post of Monday, October 25, 2010 says it all.
"In my resignation letter to the SDF I remained very open and I made known my desire to continue to effect change which the party has always hoped for". That is vintage Kah Walla.