On March 15, 2010, the Cameroonian community in the Diaspora especially America was taken aback to hear that Fon Ericsyrol Anyangwe-the hereditary Fon of Oshie Village has recaptured his throne that was seized from him on February 11, 2009. It is strange to see the many people lauding him now; meanwhile, many castigated him for being an absentee Fon. It shows that success always has brothers and sisters, but failure is an orphan. During the Fon’s absence, he left behind George Anyangwe to act as regent, but the latter too defected leaving a vacant fondom that could easily be seized. Consequently, the Fon was dethroned with the aid of the cultural association in Cameroon which usurped the fondom for Lawrence Anyangwe who himself was not living in the village; nonetheless, he was living in Cameroon. Watch Lawrence Anyangwe enthroned as Fon.
Fon Anyangwe had been living abroad long time before the father passed away for him to be made Fon. Though he had lived abroad, they had hoped that the Fon would come back home to rule his fondom as custom entails because the people need him more and frequently. More so, living at home will enable the people to see if their Fon is still fit to serve as a custodian of the culture. If Fon Ericsyrol Anyangwe was in Cameroon, walking from one beer parlor to another, there would have been a genuine outcry about such wayward Fon. Considering that most of the people in the US are exiles whose stress is watered down by the many bottles of beer they drink in beer parlors, they do not see anything bad with the Fon.
Indeed it is difficult to believe that the Fon would be very efficient, mindful of the fact that the regent does not have the same spiritual powers that he has. If there was an emergency that the regent cannot handle, Oshie will need to postpone the matter until their Fon comes home to visit. If irresponsibility is in various forms, then that is one of them. This is not only for Fon Anyanwe; there are even village chiefs living out of their villages. You either stay at home or abdicate your throne, and you give it to the person who thinks that the village is the better place to live. That way you can continue to enjoy your life in exile.
There is no law that states that Fons, lamibe and chiefs cannot live outside their villages, but that has been the tradition. Most laws in our villages are not written; they are orally transmitted from one generation to another. Considering that Fon Ericsyrol Anyangwe is a traditional ruler and not an administrative ruler, he is governed by the traditional laws that put him there in the first place. It was the same orally transmitted law that made his fondom hereditary, and if he does not want to follow oral tradition then he can now submit the fondom to a written set of laws which is governed by democracy. In that case, due to his long time absence from the fondom, he is not qualified to run for elections; thus, making Lawrence Anyangwe the rightful owner of the throne of Oshie village. However, if Fon Ericsyrol Anyangwe abides by those traditions, then as stipulated that the Fon must live at home then he must drink his last bottles in America and park his things home once and for good.
To show you that tradition is eroding, Fon Ericsyrol Anyangwe has recaptured his throne by the aid of the DO and SDO and not by the will of the Oshie people, for they are tired having an absentee Fon. Who wants an absentee president? Who wants an absentee father? Isn't the Fon the father of the Oshie people? So why must he be kept as the Fon if he is living in Diaspora even as Mukefor cited “Law No 77/245 of 15th July 1977 TO ORGANIZE CHIEFDOMS obliges incumbent traditional rulers to reside in their Chiefdoms”? Where did the Divisional Officer (DO) and the Sub Divisional Officer (SDO) keep their eyes that they did not see this law, or perhaps is it just that the mouth that is full does not speak?
Ab initio, the customary court in Cameroon worked in harmony with the traditional council as it was made of village heads. Administrators like the SDO and Dos were there to coordinate the activities of the sub division and division. They did not determine the governing of a village. The reason why the territorial administration took over and reorganized the fondoms and chiefdoms up to categorizing them was to have a grip of the people because whosoever had the Chiefs, the Fons or Lamibe had his people especially as their subjects were subservient and acquiescent even if it mean entering into a hole.
The meddling of the DO and SDO showed that customary and traditional powers have ceded way to administrative powers. For the DO to send a letter warning that there was no vacancy in the Oshie Fondom was a gross misrepresentation.
The law does not need to specify how long he must reside with his people, but tradition endorses the belief that "to reside" means to live there in the village and not merely trimestrial or quarterly visits. The fact that some fons did not and do not reside in the village does not make it the norm. We all as a people should decry such absenteeism that sets us more backwards than forward.
Some may argue that he is living abroad to create contacts for the village. We may want to ask how many of such contacts he has created when the palace is now inhabited by goats, chickens and pigs. Why does he not delegate those powers to the villagers who reside abroad to do that?
The case of the Oshie Fon: Ericsyrol Anyangwe living abroad and pretending to rule from America is an example of the degradation and downgrade of traditional relics. The myth that laid behind the Fon disappears as many people refuse to get up when they see him enter the beer parlor as they would have normally done in most places in Cameroon because there is no one to enforce those codes.
Until then, Fon Anyangwe should return home.
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).
Idle people write, idler people read, and idlest people read and whine that idle people are taking their time (Hamilton Ayuk).