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No Laughing Matter 

By Bouddih Adams

In a reaction to the argument by lawyers that Anglophone leaders being tried in Yaoundé had to be tried in the Regions that they allegedly committed offences in the ongoing Anglophone Crisis – Government Spokesperson, Issa Tchiroma Bakary, asserted that the Military Tribunal in Yaoundé has national jurisdiction and is, therefore, competent to try the Anglophone leaders.

But, imagine a situation where a young man was arrested during the ongoing crisis by a gendarme. The young man had grown up without learning French, except the maxim that the fear of the gendarme is the beginning of wisdom. All he knew, like a majority of Anglophone young people, was that uniformed officers are respectfully referred to as ‘Chef’ which they pronounce as ‘Shep’. The young man once heard a word in relation to a uniform man “Sans galong” and felt that it was synonymous to Shep.

So, when he was arrested by a “one-vee” gendarme during a ‘Kale-Kale’, he complained: “Weh!, Sangalong, what have I done that you are arresting…”

Before he could finish, the gendarme landed three serious thrashes of the truncheon on his back.

He wailed and pleaded: “I beg nooh, Sangalong!”

“Qui Sangalong?” the gendarme asked and kicked him, sweeping his feet off the ground and he landed on his back.

“Aiee Aiee aiee! Stop beating me nooh, Sangalong…!”

“Poop!” the gendarme kicked him in the ribs.

“Wehhh! I dong die-ohhh! Sangalong don kill me ohhh.”

The gendarme raised his truncheon several times and it descended a corresponding number of times. The lashing and kicking continued until some of the youths who, at that juncture, had been rounded up to be put in the gendarmerie truck and ferried into detention, shouted at the young man to stop calling the gendarme ‘Sangalong’.  “Wetti I dong do for you, Shep?” The snake beating stopped.

From this situation, one can imagine what most of those Anglophones being tried in Yaoundé will go through as many do not understand French. Even the translator or interpreter brought in the other day was the kind that can only be hired for a kangaroo court bent on condemning someone, since what the accused or the interpreter says, would be of no consequence.

Besides, when the matter came up on February 13, the prosecution had not finished his investigation and had not rallied his witnesses. He confessed so.

Under Common Law logic, it would require that the accuser or prosecution puts his evidence together before proceeding with arrest. When Dr. Wan Mbulai heard of this excuse by the prosecution, he exclaimed: “What!? Even in a Customary Court in my remote village where some of members are illiterate, logic prevails and evidence is gathered before arrest and then trial can then begin. So, they were arrested before evidence is being looked for to pin on them,” the teacher of Literature in English wondered aloud.

In the present circumstances, is it not likely that the accuser, in a similar and desperate situation, can even plant evidence?

I stand corrected that, as far as I know, one of the leaders got close to what can be used as a weapon – a cutlass – while he was in Sasse where they used to clear grass. Besides that, the closest thing to a weapon he can use is his kitchen knife, which he would naturally use at least once a day. So, being tried in a Military Tribunal, hmmm…

Since they were arrested and court hearing opened, schools have not reopened. Why? We have said it severally and differently, but it seems no one is listening. Maybe we should say it again, this time, a fortiori: Parents are the ones keeping their children at home! Why? They say the ball is in Government’s court.

When some parents heard that the administration has started arresting students for not going to school: they charged: “We have decided that our children are not going to school. It is our problem. How is that a pain to administrators?”

Another asked: “Does the Governor love my children more than I love them?”

Yet another: “So, they love Cameroon more than who? Who is more Cameroonian than I am? People should stop behaving as if they slept with their wives and gave birth to Cameroon.”

The Governors of the Northwest and Southwest Regions allegedly have their daughters in Our Lady of Lourdes, Bamenda, and Presbyterian High School, Buea, respectively, and know what they liked in the Anglophone educational system that made them to enrol their daughters for it. That very thing is what parents claim they are protecting from near erosion and have kept their children at home hence promoting the ongoing strike until that and other Anglo-Saxon values are restored. The fact, and nothing but the fact, is that, that is what parents and the people want. The claim of being afraid of insecurity for their children is just a shield that parents are using.

Even a colossal bait of FCFA 10 million that was supposedly put up for grabs by the ACMAR Partners CEO, Boney Dashako, in collaboration with the Buea Council, for students and pupils to march, was ignored. The Buea population, unprecedentedly, looked the other way and kept their children at home.

So, the onus is on the two Governors to tell hierarchy the truth so that a solution can be sought and schools reopen. These senior administrators should have realised that, due to this resolve of the parents and their children, the gimmicks, internet shutdown in the two Regions, deployment of troops, arrests and detention and trials, have not solved the problem. If they cannot see, that coercion and falsehood have failed to resolve the crisis and report so to hierarchy, then, their judgment is defective, making them a liability rather than an asset to Government.

The solution to the crisis is the competence of the highest authority of this geopolitical circumscription. He can summon the same authority he assumed in 1984 and sign life, peace and justice back into the nation.

He should ignore those we hear are surrounding and misinforming him. He should get it from down here, from the common people. Like he did during the reception at the Unity Palace offered the Indomitable Lions, when he said the Lions put their opponents “… dans la sauce.” Even though he did not give credit to the author of the song, it gave her credit that the President somehow gets to know even the mundane things happening down here [with the wretched of the earth that you and I are].

In the same vein, the people are telling him to break the current impasse and also quoting the artist: “When soup dong finish massa fufu no di pass!





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