By Yerima Kini Nsom
One thing we must learn is that things are not obliged to work out the way we want all the time. Once we do not understand this, we are bound to have a feeling of frustration, dejection and intolerance. What we do not understand is that there is a soul of goodness in the evil of failure. In other words, there is a silver lining in every dark cloud. Our disabling malady has been the inability to treat fellow human beings fairly and tactfully manage our mutuality of opposites.
Human beings are only better than animals when they predicate their thoughts and actions on the set of values that bind them together, thereby, minimising the differences and idiosyncrasies that put them asunder. All the fulmination and the hollering in the world today are because we project our differences instead of highlighting the common set of values that put us together.
Like President Barack Obama avers in his book, The Audacity Of Hope: “We have a stake in one another and what binds us is greater than what drives us apart”. If we hearken to this piece of aphorism in practice, there will be no lethal divide between the rich and the poor, whites and blacks.
If we had allowed this ideal situation to reign in Cameroon, we would not have slipped into the messy situation in which we find ourselves today. In that case, our love affair with medieval barbarism against fellow citizens would not have arisen at all. I cry the beloved country, a country that was known for its tolerance and peaceful co-existence. This giant country is now known for its bestialities highlighted in our daily desecration of human dignity and the sinister abuse of human rights.
Our country now has the penchant for making negative headlines on a regular basis. And some people in this unhappy country seem to be determined to ensure that we become the world’s capital of cruelty. Otherwise, every right thinking person would have being braying at those who arrested and jailed a heavily pregnant woman, Antoinette Kongnso in Buea last week on whimsical allegations that she once dated the dreaded the Separatist fighter known as “No Pity”. How can anyone in his right senses arrest a pregnant lady on claims that she once dated No Pity and even had a child with him? When that lady was dating the man, he was not yet a separatist fighter. So how do those who arrested and shoved her into pre-trial detention expect her to cancel that past? Or is the fellow who tortured her, and the gendarmes who arrested her, punishing her for not possessing the mystical powers that would have enabled her to foresee that her former boyfriend was going to become a Separatist fighter one day? Did they have evidence that, even though she is living with another man, she is still dealing with No Pity? If yes, is such a scandalous arrest predicated on any substance to the effect that that woman is the one providing No Pity with sophisticated weapons and arming him with more strategies to attack soldiers?
The brutal arrest of that woman, two weeks ago, at her Sandpit residence in Buea is a human rights scandal of the most barbaric proportion. The principle of the presumption of innocence, as provided for in our procedure code, was violated.
For, those who arrested this pregnant woman got her well beaten in front her children and other onlookers. As the beatings went on, one gendarme was filming her with an android phone. It would appear the forces were determined to give a dog a bad name so as to hang it. Reports that the lady was forced to sign, under duress, a report written in French, a language she neither speaks nor understands – this, too, is a judicial scandal in the making. Those who wrote the fictional report to feed their whims and caprices want the world to believe that, even though the lady is married and even pregnant for another man, she is still dealing with No Pity.
It is extreme wickedness for any normal human being to torture a woman who is grappling with an eight-month pregnancy, readying to give birth. No Pity’s former girlfriend is not him. The person who is committing the atrocities is No Pity, not the girl he once dated. Beating that woman humiliatingly during her arrest is a tell-tale that she will never have a fair trial on such trumped-up charges. We cannot fight the crisis by victimising victims who have no responsibility over our current predicament.
The best way is to strategise to arrest No Pity himself and not to pretend as if the arrest of his former girlfriend is the beginning of the be-all and the end-all of the crisis. I wonder how someone could be arrested for a crime committed by another person.
Does it make sense at all? Many people have been arrested and even killed because their relatives are Separatist fighters. Such cruelty is leaving deep of scars in families and stoking the fires of anti-government sentiments. It is sowing the seeds of war in families that have been victimised unduly. People who carry out these acts of supreme violence against the people pretend that they love government more than anyone else. They create more problems for the state anytime they arrest civilians on false allegations. One of Cameroon’s celebrated political scientists, Prof Tatah Mentan, says the military should not portray itself in the current crisis as if it were just a mere component of what he calls “The National Stealing League”. To him, a republican army should never behave as if they were just a militia for certain individuals in high places.
What is even more peculiar about the arrest of that woman is the fact that it was led by one of the generals of hate speech in Cameroon. Thus, it is easy for one to understand that the whole idea was conceived and implemented on the predicate of prejudice and a burning desire to victimise.
Or was someone vicious enough to look for promotion by being that helpless lady’s nightmare? The whole issue has become a big time scandal and rights organisations are bracing up for an onslaught against such abuses. For heaven’s sake, let stop this penchant of grabbing negative headlines in the world news! Let us, for once, strive to be a citizen-oriented country and eschew the medieval top-bottom commandism that has been the bane of our progress since independence.