By Yerima Kini Nsom
It sounded ridiculously absurd that a mere appointee, Governor Okalia Bilai, threatened to fire Members of Parliament, MPs and Mayors of Ndian Division if they did not return to their constituency in 30 days. Like a colonial master, the Governor went into vicious wraths on claims that the elected officials were not in Mundemba to receive him during the installation of the new Senior Divisional Officer, SDO of Ndian, Gilbert Guibai Baldena, recently.
The tone of his ultimatum was unsparingly crude and hitlerish. It carried the potency of the scorn and disdain with which power-drunk administrators treat elected officials in the country. Hear him: “I give you 30 days, I mean 30 days….If they do not return…”.
That ultimatum from a haughty administrator is deeper than meets the eye in the circumstances. By such dictatorial utterances, the administrator is telling the whole world that he does not have any regard to the Special Status for the two English Regions that the Prime Minister, Chief Dr. Dion Ngute, has been brandishing as a way of soothing the nerves of the Anglophone belligerents. Otherwise, why would the Governor, a mere appointee, threaten to “disrobe” elected officials who have been pushed out of their constituencies by the deadly Anglophone Crisis?
Despite the fact that he sneaked into Ndian under very heavy military protection, he was particularly angry that the Mayor of Mudemba, Samuel Osang, and his deputies as well as the three Ndian MPs, were not there to receive him. It is sad that, while the Prime Minister is struggling to calm tempers as a way of ending the crisis, the administrator and people of his ilk are instead pushing unprotected elected officials and vulnerable civil servants to face the fierce militia which the Ambazonians constitute.
It is worth recalling that the Ndian Divisional Delegate of Economic Planning and Regional Development, Johnson Mania, was murdered while on duty. Okalia Bilia and those he represents have remained mute on the issue. Five other Divisional Delegates who were kidnapped with late Mania, are still in captivity. Yet, the Governor who moves with a phalanx of heavily armed military guards, is threatening vulnerable poor officials with the sack.
It is this kind of haughty behaviour from the likes of Okalia Bilai that lends credence to observers’ claims that the Yaounde regime is totalitarian and has no intention of ending the bloodletting. Is he pretending that he does not know the hell that the civilian population is going through? Even in Buea where Okalia lives, death, through violent means, of denizens is almost a daily occurrence. The Governor is the one person who often avers to anyone who cares to listen that Cameroon is a State of law. Yet, he has said nothing of the pregnant woman and her kids that were kidnapped by a pro-establishment military gangster. The woman has given birth in detention.
What a way to bloody Cameroon’s human rights records in the eyes of the international community? Is this the regime’s way of appeasing a marginalised people and stopping this useless war? How will bullying, insulting and threatening victims of the war help to end the crisis? From his iron-fist attitude and utterances, the Governor is gradually emerging as an unfeeling, unrepentant hireling of the extremists in the regime who care only about staging their well-crafted and choreographed war script.
Would the Governor have been happy if he heard that the Separatists had kidnapped Hon. Mary Meboka, Hon. Peter Njume, Hon. Daniel Ngalle, Mayor Samuel Osang and deputies, as they struggled to come to receive him? Instead of devising strategies to end the crisis, some administrators are scheming to victimise people who are victims of the war. Not long ago, the Governor of the Northwest Region, Lele l’Afrique, announced in triumph that he had suspended the salaries of some 100 civil servants. The civil servants, who had been scared off by the violence of the Anglophone Crisis, were accused of abandoning their jobs. This is incomprehensible because the Governor knows so well that those civil servants are running away with their lives. How logical is it that people are sanctioned for a situation in which they are helpless victims? Did this people use to stay away from their office before the Anglophone Crisis took a belligerent kink in 2016?
The Senior Divisional Officers of Boyo and Ngoketunjia have taken the relay by suspending the salaries of many teachers in those divisions. It is reported that, in connivance with some people at the Ministry of Finance, the authorities bypass due process in the suspension of salaries. They do so without as much as the consent of the Ministries of Basic Education and Secondary Education. By so doing, many families in the war-stricken Northwest and Southwest Regions have been destroyed. Destroying families is the surest way of destroying a nation. By victimising civil servants who are running away from insecurity, the administrators are sowing animosity and more opposition against the Government. Given the death threats by Separatist fighters against civil servants, especially teachers, these administrators should rather look for effective ways of protecting the teachers instead of victimising them.
Once these teachers are kidnapped or killed, the administrators maintain straight faces and remain mute. They are not talking about the five Ndian Divisional Delegates who are still in the Separatist fighters’ captivity. One Minister who boasted that traditional rulers would be well protected by the administration once they got back to their palaces in the two crisis-hit Regions, remained mute when three chiefs were killed in their palaces in Lebialem Division of the Southwest Region. As far as the current Anglophone Crisis is concerned, the Government should have only one enemy. The Separatist fighters should be the unique enemy of the Government. But some overzealous administrators are busy, by way of their dictatorial tendencies and sadism, creating more enemies against Government. If it is not Government policy to further victimise victims of the war, then, the authorities should call to order the administrators who are victimising civil servants and threatening elected officials. Such arrogance and highhandedness of appointees against elected officials does not augur well for a country that claims to respect the separation of powers between the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary. Otherwise, even errand boys of the executive will think that they can toy with officials elected by the people with impunity.