Sunday, July 12, 2009

Are West Cameroonians Inclusive?

I just remembered an incident that happened to me in 1997. The government was to carry a survey: “The Economic and Social Indicators of The South West Province” The contract was awarded to a Non Governmental Organization that in turn will recruit supervisors in charge of the surveys. It became cheaper to use the Division heads at the ministry of Town Planning in the province because they knew the places but there was a slot that could go to anyone out of the province. I was hired by the NGO in Yaoundé called CRETES thanks to a Bamileke brother in Christ: Dr Claude Tchamda. I went to Buea as the youngest supervisor but the least experienced.

But again collecting data did not need much experience. Secondly, how was I going to get the experience if I did not start as a novice? So I signed my contract and left for Buea. But the then Governor: a Bayang (my own tribe) surprisingly refused to sign my papers authorizing me to assume the position because he wanted a real “South Westerner” and I was not one. In our introductory conversation I told him I was born by Banyang parents in Ntenako but grew up in Douala and Yaoundé. Little did I know that that information was my demise. More so, I did not have oil because though a graduate did not have a job other than the preaching I was doing which was ‘the work of God” that was free. Worst still, I had gone back to the seminary in Mbalmayo and was now on holidays.

We then went back to Yaoundé and saw the minister of Agriculture: Augustine Kodock aka “qui mirmir lā” who was the one giving out the contract. The secretary took 25.000 CFA saying the ministry needed ink to issue a degree appointing me for that position. I took it and the same night traveled back to Buea to present to my country man. Back in Buea, a Bayang guy and a Bakweri guy told me: “wuna francophone, why wuna no fit wait we for wuna own side”. I tried to calm them down by saying “massa, deh born me here”. They quickly retorted: “deh born you here weti. Wuna frogs them wuna want cam take everything”. That was more than tribalism. I felt so dejected.

Ladies and gentlemen, go back and check those surveys, I finished first and with the best results though I had under my supervision Ekona, Tole, Buea Town, Muyuka, and six other places. Remember: I did not have experience.

It does not mean that simply because someone was living in the South West they would have done a better job than me. No matter where I go and who I serve, I do it as unto God with all my heart, soul and body.

The next year because of the brilliant work I did, I was sent out again for a survey on Rural Financial Institutions called Copecs, Credit Unions and local commercial banks. During this survey I indicated that SSL (managed by my own Bayang people) with other Banks were not good banks and that people would soon loose their money if the government did not intervene. As usual, their myrmidons slandered me as not being a true Bayang as such did not encourage efforts from Bayang people. The managers bribed their way through and the government did nothing with the results. We saw how those banks I recommended closure ended up “chopping people’s monies.” Who was the better Bayang? Hahahahahahahaha.

If we are crying against what the East Cameroonians are doing to the Southern Cameroonians; the Southern Cameroonians have to act differently to accommodate everybody. Tribalism and nepotism are evil practices and should be discouraged no matter the source. Integrating others should not bear any outcry knowing that we have been accommodated in professional schools in East Cameroon too.

Sometimes I fear we are not that inclusive as we pretend to be. Why are we holding innocent kids responsible for the sins of their parents? Why are we still differentiating between Francophones and Anglophones? Most of us grew up with both groups and have family in both sides. My late direct cousin was married to a Yabassi guy and the daughter has followed suite. Listen: life is too short to be carrying this hatred of Frogs and Anglos. A frog could end up being your savior one day while your Anglo brothers try to skin you alive and vice versa.

Until then, please be open-minded!

Prince & PA Hamilton Ayuk

“Bonyfish beware because the same net that caught the jawless fish, caught the cartilaginous fish” (Hamilton Ayuk).
Beware earthly paradise seekers because there is a serpent in every paradise"(Hamilton Ayuk).

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