Tag Archives: culture

What is the Fate of the SDF chairman John Fru Ndi

There is not doubt that SDF maintains as the main leading opposition party in Cameroon with its party leader as the only opposition leader who has stood the test of time as far back as the early 90s. Today, the popularity of this charismatic leaders has experienced a drastic decline. Is he on his way down to ruins?  what could be the causes for the popularity loss of the party chairman.

When one looks at the iamge above, one will agree with this write that, no even, no political leader/event has ever pulled a crowd with one goal as the SDF did in the 90s with its party chair. When they won the elections in 1992 and refused to get to the parliament, many asserted this was the first major blunder of the chairman as they gradually gave the majority and influence to the ruling CPDM.

The chairman continued in his struggle and quest for leadership both as party chair and declaring his candidature for the position of the head of state up till date. His challengers especially in the pary have been either replaced or excommunicated from the vice presidents and group presidents/secretaries. This aspect exhibited by the chair earned him the title of a dictator not different from President Paul Biya.

During the 50th Anniversary of Independence and the celebration with the military in Bamenda when Fru Ndi came face to face with the President, things took a U-turn. Many concluded that the chairman was bought as he constantly visited the Unity palace, discussed with the president and skillfully stood against many demonstrations that planned in the name of peace. The Unity palace surely rewarded him handsomely.

The on going Anglophone crisis has been a big challenge for the SDF chairman, he has been unable to directly state where he belongs. Is he an Anglophone fighting for the Anglophones’ plight or a Cameroonian fighting for social Justice. Is he an opposition leader who wants to take over the command baton from Paul Biya or someone playing a double edge sword role to stand stand victorious on whoever wins. While the Anglophones are asking for a two state federation, he is asking for a four state. Where really does he belong?

The fact that SDF in the midst of the Anglophone crisis went ahead to admit  Sen Jean Tsomelou as the Secretary General of the party brought a lot of discontent amongst many Anglophones who easily tagged the chairman as a traitor. Although he defended that SDF stands for Federalism and not secession. Ewi Elvis on the 14th of January in the “We Love You Bamenda” forum tried as much as possible to explain the position of the chairman and SDF stating that people may often not understand the choices of the party, and that except that we want to conclude that SDF is an All Anglophone party, one should look at the position of Jean Tsomelou in the first place. He adds that Tsomelou as a senator defends the truth more than any in the party and that his role would be a boast to the Marginalization fight. Tsomelou stands as one who always advocate for a walk out when CPDM stands on useless reforms. He defended the demonstrations at the parliament and stood behind the SDF match in Buea. This explanation bought the sympathy of many like princess Nene who added that she was not an SDF member but reiterated that an opposition party could not be an Anglophone party. “The Chairman happens to be an anglophone and it is more advantageous for us to use him for the struggle, he should explain things better to the people, ” Princess Nene added.

It is true the chairman has been unable to state clearly where he belongs. When the struggle started, one could conclude that as an anglophone, he stood for the anglophones. He went to Governor many times and to the cells to get many of those arrested freed. He joined the match in Buea but the new year has brought the chairman under fire.

After the planned NEC meeting to excommunicate Hon. Wirba Joseph for his bravery on the National Assembly, Fru Ndi later lashed on his actions which expressed some acts of “jealousy” for a patriotic MP.  The letter Wirba later exposed which he wrote to his chairman addressing him as a father made many lose confidence in SDF chairman. His refusal to protect his son and went to the media to question him was a big blunder on the part of the chairman.

Today and sad enough, the one who stands to defend the SDF MP Hon. Wirba is paradoxically an MP from the south a CPDM militant Martin Oyono, one who has nothing to do with the Anglophone crisis but stands as an upright MP who wants to see true change in Cameroon. Right now as we write, he is being interviewed on CRTV as questioned why? He states clearly that someone has to do it and that those of them who represent the minds of the people and refuse to vote for the CPDM bad reforms are referred to as Radicals. He has taken the role that should have been played by the SDF chairman and his MPs to state clearly that he “Will Resist Attempts to Lift Immunity of Wirba Joseph”  said Hon. Martin Oyono

The clarion and challenge call by Oyono Martin has pierced a painful hole in the hearts of the SDF MP to obliged them take the opposite side against their chairman Fru Ndi. This solidarity if practiced all through might be the one that can put an end to the close to 30 years rule of Ni John Fru Ndi. The SDF MPs did not only in their 3rd position statement this time addressed to the Speaker of national Assembly, asked the speaker to provide and protect the immunity of Hon. Wirba to permit him return to the country and perform his duties as an MP.

According to a Press Conference held yesterday in Yaoundé Tuesday April 11, 2017, “Hon Jospeh Mbah Ndam, Vice President of SDF Parliamentary group urged House Speaker Cavaye Yege to ensure that Parliamentary Immunity of Hon.Wirba is not tampered with. He also read out that the House Speaker should protect the escapee and make sure that he returns home without being arrested.” CIN

The question is, If Hon. Wirba spoke the minds of the people and is being lashed by the SDF chairman, then on whose mind is the SDF representing now?

“Hon. Mbah Ndam flanked by other MPs including SDF National Vice President, Hon. Joshua Osih, reiterated their support for Wirba saying that he spoke their mind on the fateful day last November when he spoke on Anglophone marginalization.” CIN

With the SDF MPs asking for the return of Hon. Wirba to his position, does it mean that the call by the Anglophones for the SDF MPs to resign has fallen on deaf ears? Are they willing to fight for the people they represent? Is the interest of being an MP more important to that of liberating the people? If Hon. Wirba were to return home today, after asking the MPs to resign and leave the Glass house for the people, who will he return home as? MP? Freedom fighter? West Cameroon president?

With the SDF chairman asking of what use should the SDF hold elections when the anglophones are on strike, is giving the impression that he is either using the struggle to stay in power or is not willing to handover as the SDF chairperson. If the Anglophone crisis is so important to him, then why is he not able to heed to the call by the Anglophones by boycotting the events organized by the Regime in power. The chairman was spotted during the funeral in the West region of Chantal Biya’s mother, an event that was boycotted by the Presidential couple. How can one mourns more than the bereaved?

During the tour with the CAF cup, the same chairman despite all calls for boycott by the Anglophone leaders, Fru Ndi was again spotted at the podium, a repeat of his trip to the unity palace when the Lions were being received by the head of states. These actions and more have pushed many to conclude that Fru Ndi works as a CPDM agent in the anglophone zones. Is it time for him to go?

Only time will tell.

 

Titles and Cult Membership in Nso (Final :Part 10)

If you missed part 1 to 3 you can get them part 1 here , part 2 here, part 3 here , part 4 here , part 5 here , part 6 here , part 7 here , part 8 here and part 9 here: This part ends with the references/bibliography of the whole paper.

VI-4. MANDATORY CULT MEMBERSHIP TRAINING
In the days of old it took many years for a newly inducted member to learn the rules and regulations of the cult. The training on the handling of the cult medicines and fetishes took decades. It took serious training to rise from one rank to the next within the cult house. It took decades before one could become a “samba wir”. This training and tutelage should be re-instated in all cults. If a cult member is unwilling to go through the training they should not be allowed to rise in rank or come out as an escort for the cult masquerade (their financial wherewithal not withstanding). How can such a member who has not learned to manipulate the cult’s occultist spirits and medicines, stroke the totem in the cult masquerade in any public arena?
If the new members were to go through the mandatory training they may also come to realize that if they advance to certain ranks in some cults their diet may be restricted at certain times during some rituals. For examples some cults may restrict their members to weeks of only eating “vikuou, mbaar, shinyaa and ntee – cocoyams, cocoyam leaf soup, eggplant soup and groundnut soup”, no meat products or any starchy foods. Any member who is ready to endure this for the rest of their lives may then want to advance to the ranks of “samba wir”.
When some of these potential senior cult members learn through their training that if they rise to given ranks or assume certain totem stroking functions in either the Yeŋwéròŋ or Yeŋgírì cults for example, they may be forbidden from being buried in a coffin (even a bamboo one) because their spirits could no longer be allowed to be imprisoned (in a coffin), they will consult their families and their other gods before seeking senior ranks in either Yeŋwéròŋ or Yeŋgírì cults.
What is happening today is tantamount to someone coming to a University, registering for classes, paying all their tuition and fees, and refusing to attend classes, but insisting that they should be given the Masters Degree or PhD anyway because they just do not have the time to study and/or attend classes and that by-the-way they have already paid all their tuition. Any University worthy of their name will throw such a person out.
The University model should be adopted at the level of the cults. Anyone who is unwilling to go throw the mandatory training should be thrown out of the cult. This will make sure that new comers will take the time to learn to become worthy members as was the case in the old days. With such a requirement, if the Fòn proposes a title to a visitor who is unwilling or unable to spend the time to learn the roots of Nso’ culture, that visitor can refuse the title and the Fòn will be sympathetic to their decision.
VI-5. MANDATORY CULT MEMBERSHIP OBLIGATIONS FOR LIFE
In the old days cult membership and titles came with lifetime obligations. In 1970 a Sheèy wo Ngang Ŋwéròŋ or Sheèy wo Ngang Ŋgírì contributed an average of 200 FCFA (Two Hundred Francs CFA) on a monthly basis for the upkeep of the cults and other Palace institutions when all their donations throughout the year were averaged. If this amount is compounded as above, it comes to about 2,150 FCFA (Two Thousands One Hundred and Fifty Francs CFA) today. If the system required a Sheèy to contribute 2,000FCFA, every Faáy to contribute 3,000FCFA and every Shúufaáy to contribute 5,000FCFA on a monthly basis, enough would be generated for the upkeep of all cults, all Palace institutions and all lineage, clan and sub-clan compounds.
Again all heriditary Title Holders who need the help would be assisted by their families to meet this obligation, especially given that their compound would also be helped by this contribution.
Many would think deeply when a Titled cult membership is proposed to them and examine whether they can meet this monthly lifetime obligation before accepting. Those who can not keep this obligation will not accept the Titled cult membership.
We also posit that if current Title Holders were given the choice of keeping their titles and meeting up to the monthly obligations or giving up the titles, some will give up their Titles and allow themselves to be “washed” voluntarily. Those who choose to keep the titles and refuse to keep up with the monthly obligtions should be involuntarily “washed”.
VI-6. CREATION OF AN EX-OFFICIO PALACE ADVISORY BOARD
We have proposed the re-introduction of various streams of income that used to get to the Palace in cash and in kind from various Men of Title. To manage these funds we propose the creation of an Ex-Officio Palace Advisory Board whose only role shall be financial oversight and related financial management. This Board will be responsible for setting up a Palace Office with a salaried Manager, Assistants and Secretaries to manage the streams of income enumerated herein and insure that they are disbursed and used efficiently.
The second role of the Advisory Board shall be to work with the Fòn, Vibay, Atárnto’, Ŋwéròŋ and Ŋgírì, to set up permanent income generating streams to make sure that for the next 500 years, the Nso’ Palace institutions are as autonomous as those of successful Kingdoms like those of the United Kingdom and other European Kingdoms.
Such an Advisory Board should be elected from among current and committed Titled cult members (ladies included) and should be given a mandate to complete their task within a specified period of time.

VII. CONCLUSION
It is our hope that this detailed analysis has provided a good insight into the inner working of the Nso’ Paramount Kingdom Palace and its institutions, the most important of which are male-dominated cults.
Hopefully our suggestions for the future will be followed so Nso’ culture can be modernized responsibly in a way that will ensure its survival for the next 500 years.
As time marches on, Nso’ culture will evolve. We pray that the Nso’ people should remain conservative and glued to their traditional norms as they advance and modernize their culture to suit the evolving times as their forefathers did for 600 years under circumstances that were more trying and more turbulent than the present.

VIII. REFERENCES

VIII-1. “An introduction to Nso’ Culture”, Vol. I, by Faáy Woo Lii Wong (Joseph Lafon), 2001 VIII-2.”Introduction to Nso’ History”, by William Banboye, 2001
VIII-3. “The Ndzәәndzәv Dispute: From its beginning to its ending”, by Faáy Woo Lii Wong (Joseph Lafon), 1999
VIII-4. “Nso’ Historical Timeline: An Illustrated and Annotated History of the Paramount Tikar Kingdom (Fòndom) of Bui in Northwestern Cameroons”, by Sheèy Shiyghan Stephen Shemlon, PhD, (to be published).
VIII-5. “The Core Culture of Nso’”, by Paul N. Mzeka, 1980.
VIII-6. “Sov! Sov! Our Glorious Heritage”, by Rev. Fondzefee Charles Tangwa, 2008.
VIII-7. “Dr. Bernard Nsokika Fonlon: An Intellectual In Politics”, by Prof. Daniel Noni Lantum, 1992.
VIII-8. “Fon Nso’ Sehm Ataar (1947 – 1972): Father of Nso’ Development”, by Prof. Daniel Noni Lantum, 2000.
VIII-9. “Royal Succession In The African Kingdom Of Nso’: A Study In Oral Historiography”, by Bongfen Chem-Langhëë and Verkijika G. Fanso, 2008.
VIII-10. “A History Of The Church In Kumbo Diocese (1912-1988)”, by Joseph Lafon (Faáy Lii Wong), 1988. VIII-11. ” Ŋgonnso’ Cultural Festival 2010 Magazine”, by NSODA, 2010.

Titles and Cult Membership in Nso (Part 9)

If you missed part 1 to 3 you can get them part 1 here , part 2 here, part 3 here , part 4 here , part 5 here , part 6 here , part 7 here and part 8 here :

VI. NSO’ CULTURAL MODERNIZATION AND THE FUTURE
There has been a lot of talk lately about the rapid degradation and modernization of Nso’ culture. Some have postulated that this has been caused by the cheapening of the cults and the admission of foreigners to master our occultist secrets and thereby gain too much power and influence in the Nso’ Kingdom both within and outside the Palace Court. Some have pinpointed to specific examples of individual influences of these recent immigrants (still considered foreigners) in our Palaces and cult groups, and claimed it as the root cause of this degradation.
Looking back at Nso’ history we can note that immigration and the structured absorption of immigrants has been the greatest strength of Nso’ culture over the last 600 years. The reaction from those who consider themselves authentic Nso’ has as expected always been resistive to the integration and empowering of new comers. This is what happened when newbees like Ndzәәndzәv and Taaŋkùm were catapulted to the number two and three spots in the land while old Mntaár Lords like those of the original Mbiiŋgiy lineage were relegated to Tárnto’ status. It was even new comers like Tsenla’, Do’ Ruun and Do’ Ŋgvәn that became recognized as Mntaár Lords while some original Mntaár Lords could only be promoted to Faáy Won Jemer ve Fòn with their moribund Taa-Mbàn cult.

Such rapid promotion of the newcomers often led to serious resentment that at times resulted in assassinations like that of Faáy Sov (Foinso’) in the 1840s.
In this debate some have even questioned whether someone of Berber origin (Mbororo or Fulani) could be a senior ranking member of a Nso’ cult or even the Paramount Fòn of Nso’. When we look back at history we realize it may already have happened given the Nso’ Kingdom’s very efficient policy of assimilation and acculturation by at times forced intermarriage. It is very possible that a Mntaár Lord could have married a Berber woman whose daughter, grand-daughter or great-grand-daughter became the Fòn’s wife (wiyntoh) and produced the next King, afterall the only requirement was that the future King’s mother should be from the Mntaár lineage. Recent Fòns’ matrilineal lineages have been traced to Kitukela-Ndzeng, Dzekwa, Meluf, Nturkui-Kikaikelaki and Sangfir-Mbam. Given the integrated nature of the families in these communities with the Fulanis and Mbororos in the last few centuries, can we be so certain that none of these Fòns have Berber blood through their matrilineal lineages?
Pushing the argument further, we have many vibrant Mntaár sons in the diasporas like Wo Ngomrin and his siblings. If one of these young men marries someone of European or Asian descent who later produces a daughter or grand-daughter who becomes a wiyntoh, isn’t it conceivable that we could have a kimbang (white) Fòn? As Africans, thanks to Kenya we are proud to have an Obama in the American White House, so may be we should accept the possibility that decades from today a Cherokee (American Indian) King could proudly say: “My son ‘Ŋkarjume Thasungke Witko Nso’bani (Ŋkarjume Crazy Horse Nso’bani) is the Paramount King of the Powerful Tikar Kingdom of Nso’ in the African Savannah grass fields”.
VI-1. ROOT CAUSES OF NSO’ CULTURAL DEGRADATION
From the analysis we just made in this essay we posit that these apparent degradations cited above are just symptoms of a deeper desease that is eating into Nso’culture in this modern era, a disease that must be cured if the culture is to survive. In this last section we examine this disease and propose some remedies for it, in a bid to save Nso’ culture from eventual collapse.
The problems affecting Nso’culture are four-fold:
 The collapse of the system that maintained our traditional institutions (from the Palace through the cults to our individual lineages) structurally, morally and financially.
 The relative ease of induction into the cults which has led to an avalanche of unworthy Men of Title being admitted into the inner fold, with full powers and influence in the Palace Court.
 The collapse of the required mandatory period of training and apprenticeship for cult members as well as members of the inner Palace Court.
 The collapse of the system of checks and balances that has led to corruption within the Ŋwéròŋ and Ŋgírì cults as well as the inner Palace Court.
All these problems can be corrected if we can just go back to what used to obtain in the old days and modernize it appropriately as we propose below.
VI-2. REMEDY FOR THE MNTAÁR LINEAGES
Some of the skirmishes that have been encountered lately with the Mntaár Lords and their associated lineages which recently exploded in the Do’ Ŋgvәn Crisis of 2010 can be remedied by allowing the Mntaár lineages to belong to the Ŋwéròŋ cult, since most of them are free commoners. If this is accepted we can then allow the leading Three Aboriginal Mntaár Lords to belong to both Ŋwéròŋ and Ŋgírì cults as is the case with the other Seven Lords of the Court (Vibay ve Samba).
VI-3. CULT MEMBERSHIP INDUCTION UPGRADE
We propose that the conditions for admission into the Ŋwéròŋ and Ŋgírì cults should be severely revalued upwards. In 1970 it used to cost (in goats, fowls, palm wine, salt, oil, firewood, constuction and roofing materials, etc.) about 150,000FCFA (One Hundred and Fifty Thousand Francs CFA) to become a Sheèy wo Ngang Ŋwéròŋ or Sheèy wo Ngang Ŋgírì. If we compound this amount at an average 3.0% – 5.0% annual inflation rate (conservative estimate here) and add the 50% devaluation of the FCFA this amount is about 1,650,000FCFA (One Million Six Hundred and Fifty Thousand Francs CFA) today. If we tell any Tukov Kimbinin who wants to become a Sheèy wo Ngang today that it would cost him 1.5 Million FCFA to do it, he would think twice before accepting that tan, kibam or bar that he is trying to buy from a Sheèy or Taafu in the dark corners for 10,000FCFA. Tukov Kimbinin will even say NO if the Fòn calls him and tries to give him a title. It would also stop the Sheèy and Taafu from distributing titles indiscriminately.
Titles are a prerogative of the Fòn (even aSheèy who are kishers of lineages must be approved by the Fòn), so the traditional institutions must make sure that only the Fòn can award a title.
Such an amount will be very helpful in that it would provide enough for the other cult members to feast on and enough would be left over to distribute to Kibam ke Fòn, Kibam ke Vikiyntoh and Kibam ke Ŋwéròŋ and/or Kibam ke Ŋgírì. It will also be enough to provide for the upkeep and upgrade of all Palace institutions.
In addition, the cults will be ridden of unworthy candidates if they apply the same upgrades to their initiation and rank promotion fees.
The amount will be upgraded commensurately for aFaáy and aShúufaáy. For the inherited titles, the new Title Holders will use the opportunity to bring their families together to contribute for the enstoolment. Part of these family contributions will also go to the upgrade and upkeep of the new Title Holder’s compound, thus preserving a vital part of the Nso’ culture that is also falling apart (the lineage, clan and sub-clan compounds).

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Shey Tatah Sevidzem

“Chanctou Challange” as the Presidential couple met the pope

It was the second time as the presidential couple, Paul and Chantal Biya met with the Pope today in Rome. The Pope granted President Paul Biya a 30 minutes audience. The Two leaders discussed the role the Church plays for the development of the country, especially in the fields of education and healthcare.

We learn from a statement released by the Holy See Press Office, that the discussions were cordial, and highlighted the good existing relations between the Holy See and Cameroon.

The Zenith reports that they spoke about the importance of favoring national cohesion, whilst giving precedence to the richness of various historical and cultural traditions of the country, in respect for human rights and the rights of minorities.  The President later met with the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher.

Our First lady Chantal Biya was seen performing the Bidoung Pkatt “Challenge” or call it “Chantou Challenge”  when she bowed as deep as she could to kiss the hands of the Holy Father. A gesture that shows her humbleness and uniqueness. A natural woman who never forgets her background even as seen from her steps as she is always being ushered and easy to miss them.

This visit to the pope by the head of state has been interpreted by some analyst as a ploy to get Pope Francis to visit Cameroon as his predecessors St Pope John Paul II twice and Pope Benedict xvi.

Shey Tatah Sevidzem

Is the PM succeeding in the NWR?

The PM has the last day in the NWR and has visited so far 5 out 7 Divisions with Donga-Mantung and Bui divisions as his last catch. His messsage has been one; That of Education- “Let the children go to school”. Has he succeeded in his mission? or Is he going to succeed?

PM Yang’s second tour in 2 months in the same region has “sparked” fire not only in the social media as iften the case but this time also in the mainstream media. In the CRTV he was challenged during the Press Hour last sunday why only the NWR and if he is the PM for the Republic or just the NWR.

Despite these critics, the field has been very slippery for the man who was looked upon as very sincere and diplomatic in his first trip 2 months back. The second trip has earned him very contradictory adjectives as opposed to former.

His intervention in Mezam did not seem to be that of a mediator/negotiator bbut as that of a speech making trip. His trip seems to defend the decisions of the Government rather than finding a common ground for a win-win. The conditions and demands of the people have been seen as non issues and this has made things very challenging the more as comments and reports from the Divisions have been that of dissatisfaction, yet the tour continues.

In mezam he was challenged by the Bafut MP, with three tasks to exhibit good faith. All these three he rejected but went ahead to defend why. While this was debate, the Catholic parents stood grounds on the same conditions outlined by the Bafut MP.

His visit to Menchum/wum according to reports and comments was even more challenging as the people went back and down to memory lane 1986 during the Lake Nyos disaster. They sought to know what happened for such calamity at the time the PM’s brother Fai Yengo Francis was SDO for Menchum 31 years back. They requested the know how of the 19 youths abducted from the Division.

The case in Boyo Division has been that of outright insult to the local people. The PM was served with the usual three requests and the most undiplomatic response the people expected the least was that of asking if the Kom people had any use for the internet. This provocation spread like wild fire and the Kom people could only serve him with the same response. No school without the Anglophone problem solved.

While we will update you on the Momo Division full report, Mr Willie Berinyuy reports on the Ngoketunjia Division’s trip stating that “The PM Yang Philemon acknowledges the restoration of the independence of West Cameroon but argues that it is wishful thinking….The PM was speaking in Ndop during part of his North West safari tour to beg parents to send their children to schools claiming the United Nations is far from dividing Cameroon as if Lawyers are begging for the Statehood of West Cameroon.”

How shall the outcome be in Donga-Mantung and Bui Division? Although rumor has it that ghost town is promised Him in Bui his own town, this reporter believes that Bui people are warriors, they will go listen to him and share their view points openly to him.

Before you go ahead to response if the PM is succeeding or not, Is the strike only about the education/kids back to school? Why will politicians hide behind education and avoid the whole issue? Why is the Government not worried about no court cases?  Is the Diaspora responsible for this and misleading the people as PM asserted?

The Chairman of the SDF Ni John fru Ndi has called on the PM’s trip in CIN as the most ridiculous one. What about you? Please do have your say.

Shey Tatah Sevidzem