By Martin Jumbam
Let me start by owning up. I have never been a card-carrying member of the SDF, nor of any political party, for that matter, even though I’ve always voted for the SDF in elections they decide not to boycott. But since the SDF is a political party of vacillators, it has never always been clear when it is in or when it is out. Like Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the Chairman and his party are always wondering whether to be or not to be; whether to vote or not to vote. That’s exactly what’s happening at the moment; they don’t know whether to register and vote or to register and boycott or not to register on the voter’s list at all. There was even a time they were wondering whether to be in parliament or out. But when it comes to parliament, their parliamentarians have their eyes glued on the brown envelopes dropping from Cavaye Djibril’s overflowing gandoura. Money has them on a leash tied around Djibril’s waist. No indecency intended.
But that is not what made me lose respect, or what little of it I still had, for the Chairman’s party. My loss of respect for the SDF came at a very tragic moment for the Chairman; his beloved spouse, Ma Rose, had gone ahead of him, marked with a sign of faith, as we Catholics say when our Maker calls a beloved one to Himself. May Ma Rose find eternal rest in the Lord! Amen.
SDF abandons Chairman
Let me, however, hasten to add that I didn't lose respect for the Chairman's party because of the demise of his beloved wife, although my dwindling respect for that vacillating party did finally fizzle out because of Ma Rose. After her death, her husband’s party literally abandoned the poor man to his own devices, and he was forced to go, hat in hand, before his arch political rival of always, Popol, for help to repatriate her mortal remains. What a lamentable betrayal of a party leader by his party! I find it simply unbelievable that a party like the SDF, with parliamentarians and other well-off militants, was unable to help their Chairman bring home his beloved wife for a decent burial.
There have been some mind-numbing events in this dear Triangle of ours over the past fifty years, but this act of abandonment of the SDF Chairman by his own party, when he needed it most, has to rank among the weirdest of them all. Even when Peter denied his Master when the latter needed him most, Peter did recognize his error and wept himself into our Lord’s fount of mercy and forgiveness. I wonder if the SDF party did ever apologize to Ni John Fru Ndi for abandoning his wife’s corpse in his hands, thereby forcing him, of all people, to go bareheaded and knock-kneed before Popol, at that particularly painful moment in his life.
In case you think I’m just picking a quarrel with the Chairman -- as if he doesn’t already have enough quarrels with some members of the inner core of his party, who seem to be fleeing in every direction -- let me call for rescue from another SDF fugitive, a certain Brice Nintcheu. In a recent interview with the daily tabloid Le Messager, he says – and I have no reason to doubt his sincerity -- that he was present in Switzerland when the Chairman came to collect his wife’s mortal remains. He expresses shock that the Cameroonian embassy security service could so literally high-jack and monopolize the Chairman that not even an SDF member was allowed anywhere within a hundred yards of the Chairman’s limousine, which was being driven by the embassy chauffeur. Habah! Kefereh! Walahi!!
Popol humiliates the Chairman
What happened the day Fru Ndi went to ask Popol for monetary assistance to help him bring Ma Rose back home? When I stare into my political crystal ball, I see Ni Fru Ndi being ushered into Popol’s royal presence, a hat in hand, tears streaming down his eyes, in memory of his beloved Rose. Popol, the smart political fox that he is, quickly sees an unexpected political opportunity offered him, like John the Baptiser’s head, on a platter of gold. How he had always dreamt of a moment so fraught with a politically-juicy opportunity to humiliate the Chairman! Was that really his political rival of always, literally on his knees before him? “I’ve cornered him,” Popol shouts in jubilation, turning with a broad smile to Ma Chantoux, who is busy adding more hair of varying colours to her head at one corner of their sumptuous palace.
That was when Popol roped the Chairman, binding him hand and feet and dropping him into his Bamenda raffia bag, the one the fons of the Northwest gave him when they enstooled him ‘the Fon of Fons’. On that momentous occasion, Popol had been so moved by that honour that he had sworn, his right hand on the Bible and his left hand on his chest, that he would be coming back to Bamenda to personally supervise the tarring of the now legendary Ring Road. So many years later, motions of support from every corner of the region notwithstanding, the Ring Road remains tarless! But hope is not lost yet. Where there’s life, there’s hope. Amen.
The Chairman vows loyalty to Popol
Let’s come back to our dear Chairman. When Popol bound him hands and feet and dropped him head first, into his Bamenda raffia-made kwa, that famous gift from the Northwest fons, he was heard shouting out aloud: "At last, that stingy graffi man has fallen into my trap. Who says patience does not pay? Hurrah! Hurrah!"
He then called out to Mr. Chairman, who was struggling like a trapped cat in the bag, "What brings you here, Mr. Chairman?"
"Mr Excellency, give me money to bring home my precious sweetheart", came the answer, tears choking the respondent's voice.
"Of course, my dear Mr. Chairman. How much do you want? Just name it, and it's yours. But, first things first, as your graffi brother, Achidi Achu, so wisely says, ‘politics na njangi-oooh. You scratch my back, I scratch your back’.
“What part of your back do you want me to scratch for you, Mr. Excellency? The lower part, which always feels so ‘sweet’ when scratched, or the upper part? Just name it and it’s done.”
“Not so fast, Mr. Chairman. I’ll repatriate the mortal remains of your dear wife, and then I’ll expose my back to your skilful fingers. There’s a time for everything on earth; a time to insult me and a time to beg me; a time to laugh and a time to cry, Mr. Chairman. Who's laughing now; and who’s crying, I wonder?"
“Just lefam soooh, Excellency. Sofa never finish-ooh! Man go do how?”, the Chairman's tear-filled voice could be heard coming out of the bag.
And so it came to pass that a joyful Popol gave a mournful SDF Chairman money, tied to strong strings, to bring home his dear wife for a decent burial, which was done. But now, what was the deal?
Which strings are we talking about?
Lend me your ears, fellow country men and women! Popol knows how much Cameroonians hate the structures he has been putting in place to supervise elections. Previously, it was the Ministry of Territorial Administration (MINAT), which gave birth to a monstrosity called the National Elections Observatory (NEO) which, in turn, has just engendered another dragon called Elections Cameroon (ELECAM).
Each time one of these monsters gives birth to another one, Cameroonians scatter in every direction like cockroaches. But that’s precisely what Popol wants and prays for. The more they flee and refuse to register for elections, the more Popol prolongs his stay in power. How? He needs only a handful of his cronies to register and vote for him while the majority of Cameroonians stand idly by and watch. Then CRTV – his Master’s Voice -- tells the world that Popol has again made history with a 98.98% score and taken the oath of office in English with his “I So Do Swear!"
So, you can see that Fru Ndi's position on the voter’s registration is a well-oiled manoeuvre he and Popol have come up with to force Cameroonians to boycott the upcoming presidential elections in 2011. Such a boycott would suit Popol well. The call for electoral register boycott is Mr. Chairman's way of massaging Popol’s back. Popol has shown up for his pound of flesh, Shylock-style, and Mr. Chairman is handing it over to him on another platter of gold. This mutual fondling between the Chairman and Popol is a scandal of enormous proportions, that is even taking the dimensions of indecency. Fru Ndi is playing a dubious game by asking Cameroonians to boycott the voter's register. The Chairman and Popol are birds of a feather, flocking together to the detriment of the Cameroonian people. Popol knows that if Cameroonians were to go out in massive numbers to register and vote, his end would come sooner than anyone – even he himself -- expects.
Here comes Kah, the one and only!
So, what is the solution? Fellow countrymen and women, are you listening to me? I hope you are. Salvation will flow from a new, strident and fluent voice that has just come onto the political scene; a female voice, that of the upcoming occupant of Etoudi Palace, the soon-to-be Her Excellency Edith Kahbang Wallah!!! I have never ever carried a card of any political party in this country, but this time around, I will. Kah holds my card in her hand whenever she decides to create her party. There are exciting days ahead for this country. The likes of Popol and the Chairman will soon become political relics forgotten in the archives of history.
Oh, how beautiful over the Adamawa highlands, how swift and light over the Manenguba hills, how bright over the Majestic Fako, erect and splendidly proud, as always, oh how light, I say, are the feet of her who is bringing good tidings of glorious days for this nation! Yes! Now, indeed, is the Time!!!