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Welcome To Abakwa, Mr. President 

By Clovis Atatah In Vienna, Austria

News reports suggest that President Paul Biya, Fon of Fons of the Northwest Region, will be in Bamenda on December 7 for his long-awaited visit, initially slated for November 29 but later surreptitiously postponed. Considering the quicksilver stability of Presidential rendezvous in Cameroon, one won’t be surprised if the President fails to turn up in Abakwa on December 7. But I’d rather be positive, and hope that the Fon of Fons will be in "Abakwa" this week. Hence the following open letter for the attention of his royal eyes:

Your Royal Highness, Mr. President, after holding the date of your visit very close to your chest for months, and thereby keeping the people of Abakwa interminably on tenterhooks, it is my hope that you finally sooth nerves by keeping your word. Although you are not famous for keeping promises, I also believe that your "grands ambitions" for the Presidential Election next year will prevent you from letting this golden charm opportunity pass. If, as I suspect, you follow your primal survival instincts and make the trip to Abakwa, then I can only congratulate you for stepping into your "second home" after nearly two decades.

Home, as they say, is home. You know how it feels whenever you are in the immense ranch at Mvomeka’a, complete with a magnificent palace, a dream golf course and a landing strip. By saying "the ranch", I’m not suggesting that you don’t own it. Far from it! Nobody is taking claims by the talkative Tchiroma and the likes of Rene Sadi that your only asset is one building in Yaounde seriously. Mvomeka’a is your home and nobody can take that away from you, even if these "allogènes" who labour in your plantation (again don’t mind the Tchiromas and Sadis), tend to vote the bookseller from Bamenda during elections.

If one is always at ease in his first home, surely one will also be at home in his second home? So, I can only imagine your immeasurable joy when you get into your second home after such a long, long time. Unfortunately, Your Royal Highness, I don’t think the joy will last. Reason: You have not tended your second home for nearly two decades. If a house is not occupied for a couple of weeks, it will surely be invaded by spiders, mice, roaches and other ugly creatures. Imagine, therefore, what one would find in an abandoned house after 18 years.

It is true that you made available a little money some months ago to ensure that the house is cleaned ahead of your arrival. But after 18 years of sheer neglect, the house has become an Aegean stable and it requires the wits of Hercules to clean it up. I must, however, admit that such wit is sorely lacking within your venal entourage.

Although bygones, as they say, are bygones, one must look at the past, to chart a course for the future. I am therefore curious to know why you abandoned your second home for so long. "Abandon" is actually a euphemism. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.

In our culture, which you have always claimed to have a strong attachment to, a man – I mean a real Man – does not abandon the home and the family. Even when he must go far afield in search of greener pasture, he is always sending provisions back home to ensure the well-being of the family in his absence.

In your case, you have not bothered to send any provisions to your people for two decades. Instead, whenever they have cried out loud about their abandonment, hunger and deprivation, you have despatched sadistic goons who have done unspeakable things to them. What type of father have you been?

Which true father will give his child a venomous snake when he asks for an egg? Or rather, which Fon worth his name would send the enemy to torture, maim and kill his people, rape their daughters and despoil their land while His Royal Highness enjoys the comforts of a luxury hotel in far-away Switzerland? Your Royal Highness, although this may sound irreverent, I must ask you to publicly answer the question: Have you been such a father and such a Fon?

I think the answer is a resounding yes and therefore write to you with a heavy heart. You have failed your subjects woefully. You have been driving the car of their destiny in reverse gear.
Fortunately, your subjects, the people of Abakwa, are patient and forgiving. If you "unreverse" the gear now – and you should know what I’m talking about – they will take it for an apology that they would readily accept. But if you continue to treat them with sardonic superciliousness, be sure to see them react in a most unpleasant manner.

You don’t want to be reminded about the late Fon of Kedjom Keku. Just as I’m pleading with you now to "unreverse" the gear, so did his subjects go down on their knees begging him to change his diabolic ways. Unfortunately, the Fon was obdurate and was eventually lynched. And ordinary mortals spat on his battered remains! Your Royal Highness, I here rest my case, while wishing you a wonderful stay in your second home.

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