4, December 2017
I read on Friday the communique from the SDO of Manyu division asking inhabitants of many villages in his division to ‘relocate to safe neighbourhoods’ with repugnance and fury. When he was informed that his press release could land the despot of Etoudi in The Hague, the communique was withdrawn speedily and fittingly.
As he gave that interview on the Catholic Radio station in Mamfe withdrawing the Press Release, my mind took me back thirty years when I was growing up in Mamfe. I started asking myself about the role of the modern day chief in Manyu. As the seconds ticked by, my mind wondered about greats like Chief Mbeng Besong of Mamfe and Chief Arrey of Ossing just to name this two. I recalled the early days when Chiefs use to go to Etoudi for meetings. I recollected when it was breaking news that the Southwest Chiefs were holding a conference. This was because the Chiefs exerted power. They were esteemed and men who governed with authority and tradition.
Whilst hindsight is a great teacher, one thing I can safely say is that under the auspices of men like Chief Mbeng Besong or Chief Arrey, such an idiotic Press Release wouldn’t have been conversed. How on the face of this earth would a rascal from ENAM with such a pathetic understanding of the people he is administering come out with such absurdity? The SDO in the old days had a duty to meet and establish a great relationship with the Chiefs so the governing of the area was peaceful and lawful.
Traditional chiefs play an important role in rural communities. They are leaders or heads of groups especially of a clan or a tribe. Chiefs are involved in decision making on many aspects in the day to day affairs of villages. This CPDM regime clearly demonstrates scorn and insolence and a blatant disrespect for the norms and rights of the natives.
As if his actions and disdain were not bad enough, the public silence from the Chiefs of these villages have been very loud. This loud silence from the Chiefs leads me to one question- are the Chiefs a dying breed? If not, would they stand and be counted?
Nso John Bessong, Barcelona