Reactions To Prof. Daniel Lantum from Roland Ngong

Biggie Wo Bastos, Mes respects!

This forum is like "Mbve" - a market place of ideas. We agree then we disagree then we agree to disagree. Sometimes it looks and sounds like
a madhouse but in the process, we learn to accommodate each other. So let me say, with respect, that I disagree with your submission
specifically on the Fon's involvement -remote or proximate - in partisan politics.

The Fon's collaboration or membership in a political party is not a matter to be taken lightly.The CPDM - to which he is alleged to
belong- may be the ruling party, the governing party or the party in power yet it is just one of the parties in an assemblage of parties
vieing for power in the multiparty democracy that Cameroon claims to be. Further, by its very essence, the CPDM is a partisan political
association. The Fon's collaboration with or membership in any such association (not just the CPDM) is anathema to a majority of his subjects.

It is but stating the obvious that subjects of the Fon find themselves on both sides of the political divide in this country and they surely
do not want their ruler to either be part of or play any role - let alone take sides in the mudslinging and ugly personal attacks that
characterise politics in Cameroon. And they are right in my view.

You make reference to some Fons who are members of the Central Committee and ask why the Fon of Nso should not be part of it. You have mentioned the Sultan of Foumban and the Fon of Balikumbat in your list of "learned"traditional rulers. How "learned" they are is a matter for a separate debate.
Anyway, the Sultan of Foumban has achieved the formidable but unenviable feat of whittling down his status and authority in the eyes
of his subjects. By openly challenging or having his chosen representatives challenge CDU,s Adamou Ndam Njoya in an elective contest - and losing, he has dragged his authority in the mud and provided a recipe for disobedience among his subjects.

The Sultan of course is not the Fon of Nso.We may all be of the same ancestral stock but the way we revere our Fon surely differs from the
way the Bamouns treat their Sultan. They can live with a Sultan who stands for elections. The Wirfons cannot fathom - let alone
countenance- the possibility of their Fon contesting elections or taking sides (as the Sultan does) in an overtly political (and
therefore partisan) contest. His authority and credibility will automatically "evaporate". So much for the Sultan and the Bamouns!

It is unfortunate that the Fon of Balikumbat is included in the list of learned Fons who are members of the CPDM. It is a form of indictment as this is a man with a chequered past, an indicted felon who should be serving time behind bars instead of hobnobbing with the high and mighty of this country. Our Fon would do well to steer clear of this creature.

One must really wonder whether any of these traditional rulers has any influence at all within the CPDM. They surely serve a purpose.
They must be interceding behind the scenes I suppose. My view, however, is that their primary purpose is to provide the much-needed
"faire-valoir" or rubber stamp for other interests. I seriously doubt if that is the sort of company I would want my Fon to be rubbing shoulders with.

There was a time when we had a House of Chiefs. It was effective and influential. It had powers and privileges. As far as anyone can
recall, the Chiefs did not openly profess support for or membership in any political party. They did not join or occupy the top ranks in any political association.Yet they were highly respected! And there was no doubt that their concerns were conveyed to the appropriate quarters in a dignified manner - not with the sort of humiliation we all witness
these days.

One final concern: when change occurs (as it will someday) in this country, what authority or influence will a traditional ruler who has
openly identified with the losing side wield in the new political
dispensation? Will he engage in some political prostitution and seek the favours of the new Lords of the Manor or stick with the Opposition? How will he be viewed by his subjects? For me, the Fon is the glue that binds all of us. He speaks for the
Nso nation. His inability to contest elections is in my view a salutary limitation.

Ngong Roland

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