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Kondengui: The New Deal Valley Of Death 

By Peterkins Manyong

Kondengui. At no time has this name ever failed to evoke the feeling of fear, no matter the attempts by its authorities to give it the picture of a tolerable habitat. So dreadful is this name that at its mention, all New Deal political knees bow and not only cowards, but brave men also die before their physical deaths.

Graduates from this school of torture like Herbert Boh, Ntemfag Ofege, Anembom Monju, who spent only one day there, are prouder of this hellish alma mater than they are of the academic bowers under which they sucked in the rudiments of academic education. Charly Ndi Chia (who suffered under Forchive Pilate) can better commend the virtues of liberty, having suffered for a longer time the pains of losing it.

The above people are lucky that they graduated and returned to the land of the living. Other inmates, who were less fortunate, graduated and passed into the world beyond. The latest V.I.P graduate of Kondengui is Shadrack Nsahlai, junior brother of Christopher Nsahlai, a former diplomat and Minister of Transport who died under equally cloudy circumstances.

Shadrack Nsahlai is a former Director of Technical Education in the Ministry of Secondary Education. He was on retirement when the Sparrow Hawk descended on him in the precincts of the Northwest Delegation of Secondary Education and took him to the Golgotha of many a suspect, among them journalists and corruption suspects.

Shadrack Nsahlai met his demise in the course of a keep-fit exercise. That is the official version. But skeptics think differently, not because the allegation casts aspersions on keep-fit exercises, but because they consider the New Deal Regime capable of every form of villainy. Whatever explanations, true or doctored, may be given, the fact that Shadrack Nsahlai died at Kondengui makes the difference.

As in the case of Che Ngwa Gandhi, a MIDENO Accountant, tortured to death at Bamenda’s BMM, the journalist, Bibi Ngota and the suspects of the alleged 1997 SCNC terrorist attacks, the very fact that Nsahlai met his death at Cameroon’s most notorious dungeon makes him a hero. There is also a school of thought which holds that Nsahlai, like Zacheus Forjindam, is the victim of ethnic balance.

They are convinced that because Boto’o a Ngon, a Francophone embezzlement suspect met his end at Kondengui, it was essential that an Anglophone with similar charges should perish there also. Press reports say that the Soul Taker, as Lucky Dube calls Death, is also hovering over Haman Adama, former Minister of Basic Education, Harris Mintya Meka, publisher of Le Devoir Newspaper, Catherine Abena, former Secretary of State for Secondary Education and Jerome Medouga, former Cameroon Ambassador to the US.

Haman Adama is of Northern origin and her death would also strike a balance if the others who are predominantly Beti, also pass on around the same time. Little or no effort has been made to prevent such an occurrence because their demise would save the Regime the embarrassment of coping with 264 witnesses at a trial, the nightmare Polycarpe Abah Abah is giving Yaounde authorities.

It is perhaps for the same reason that the regime would be more at ease if Forjindam also perished, proof being the inhuman nature of his detention. It is worth mentioning here that most of the arrests that have been made so far with the pretext of fighting corruption were actually intended to create a sense of drama and divert public attention from the country’s bad governance record.

Unfortunately, for the organisers of the spectacular arrests, the excitement they engendered died down faster than they thought, yielding place to sympathy for the victims and even scorn for the executors who are today seen in the light of persecutors rather than prosecutors. The greatest problem with the arrests was that they didn’t follow the due process of law, but were dictated by the Head of State based on criteria which only he and his immediate collaborators know.

Suspicion is the outcome when assembled facts lack coherence. Until she left, Janet Garvey, out-gone US Ambassador to Cameroon, was not convinced that the so-called Operation Sparrow Hawk was anything besides a score-settling exercise. Like Garvey, observers with a deep sense of penetration, perceive the arrests and threats of arrest as a strategy to cow the Regime’s opponents.

Otherwise, how does Amadou Ali, Vice Prime Minister in charge of Justice, explain the fact that he announced during a conference that he  had the file of 50 more suspects and till date, none has been arrested?. Last week, Le Soir, a French language Newspaper, with a diminished credibility, published a list containing the names of corruption suspects. The list contains the names of persons hitherto considered untouchable.

The acquisition of such a list is anything but an accident. The names were surely released to the Newspaper publisher by Regime insiders with the singular intention to let these suspects know that they would since have been arrested, but for the compassion and   consideration of the Most High Head of State, the Guarantor of all liberties and freedoms.

As a measure of appreciation, these suspects are bound to become more enthusiastic and sycophantic than ever, sentiments demonstrated by flowery motions of support and pleas that the "indispensable" Paul Biya should not only take another term, but rule till the end of time.

The death of an embezzlement suspect at Kondengui emphasises the "goodness" of the President because by not arresting them and therefore sparing them the pain of death in detention,  Biya has demonstrated that he is as compassionate as the Almighty God that gave them life. Those who walk in the New Deal Valley of the Shadow of Death can’t say, like true worshipers of God, that they fear no death.

They live in perpetual fear because they have substituted God in their subconscious with an earthly deity, Paul Biya, the Lion-Man, who can effect their physical or political nemesis by a simple nod of his presidential head.

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