FREEDOM IS FREE: LIBERATING CAMEROONIANS (AFRICANS) WITH THE TRILOGY OF GOOD GOVERNANCE – MULTICULTURALISM, FEDERALISM, AND FOSSUNGUPALOGY

In 1995, Momany left lectureship at the University of Buea to embark again on post-graduate studies in Canada because of the Quagmaticking circumstances the country was (and still is) going through. He has since moved from one Canadian university to another (McGill-Montreal-Windsor), working in factories and earning degree after degree (LL.M, LL.D., M.A.) – all in the quest for correctly diagnosing and prescribing a remedy to the ailments plaguing son beau pays natal. I think this country should count itself extremely lucky to still have some of its sons and daughters that can sacrifice so much of their own personal aggrandizement or comfort for it. Like an American president once said, don’t ask what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country in order (as I would add Momany’s motto) “to make it a better place for the greatest number of persons possible.”    

The Church teaches that there is a Trinity in Christianity: God, the Father; God, the Son; and God, the Holy Spirit. I am not here to argue about/with that. I am here to simply inform you that Momany thinks it is high time Cameroon (solidly representing Africa) begins implementing its painstakingly erected ‘holy Trinity’ or Trilogy of Good Governance, consisting of Multiculturalism, Federalism, and Fossungupalogy.

Knowledge Is Power and that is the only ‘less-blood-spilling’ way forward for this country and mini-continent.in other words, just let our youths (especially) fully drink from these triplexing springs of knowledge and be sure to simply watch the Etoudi Dictatorship quickly crumbling without much ado. The time for marching toward the Promised Land is at hand. Provided hereunder are brief descriptions of the three ‘Handbooks’ of the Good Governance Trilogy that every change-loving Cameroonian (and particularly university students and officials) must have to peruse and follow just as Christians do to the bible. Cameroon must be freed from Quagmatickism.

  1. Multiculturalism’s Handbook is Understanding Confusion in Africa: The Politics of Multiculturalism and Nation-building in Cameroon (2013). 

Here is the Book’s blurb: Cameroon is often considered to be Africa’s legendary pathfinder. This book argues essentially that Cameroon cannot competently champion African unity and progress until it can correctly pursue its own multicultural nation-building. Cameroon’s success continental-wise would depend on its theory and practice of multiculturalism, as principally reflected in (1) the rejoicing in its historical diversity and the harmonious co-existence of its Systems of Education which must, of necessity, be linked to (2) effective federalization or decentralization of uniquely cultural matters. Critically examining history and education as a component of culture, and therefore, of multiculturalism, the book makes some bold recommendations while demonstrating how nation-building is meaningless without the people’s authentic history. It argues that Cameroon national culture cannot be a national culture without embodying the distinct culture of the English- speaking minority. Anything else is nothing but deliberate confusion of assimilation for multiculturalism, a confusion that is heavily tied to the country’s phony independence. Hinging on education (and its associates of bilingualism and bijuralism), the book demonstrates that Cameroon’s over-sung cultural dualism is a charade, epitomized by the 1998 Education Law. Rather than reaffirm Cameroon’s biculturalism as it superficially avows, Cameroon’s purported cultural dualism is really out to efface any semblance of cultural or educational dualism that may still be resisting assimilation. The continuous and persistent employment of terms such as biculturalism, bilingualism and bijuralism in legal texts in Cameroon is only to confuse the international community, especially from seeing exactly the kind of ‘ethnic cleansing’ which is taking place in the country.

Here is the review of the book from Dr. Piet Konings of African Studies Centre, Leiden, The Netherlands: “The book critically examines the multi-cultural nation-building experience in Africa, with a detailed case-study of Cameroon. While there is already a relatively large body of literature on this subject, this is one of the few studies carried out by a legal specialist, albeit often transcending his own discipline….His suggestions for change are based on an admirably wide comparative perspective. This is a well-argued and readable book.”

  1. Because the sane practice of multiculturalism is an anathema in a highly centralized unitary state (just as is the talk of democracy in a single-party state), there also has to be another handbook on the federal structure of governance. That second book is Democracy and Human Rights in Africa: The Politics of Collective Participation and Governance in Cameroon (2013).

Here is the Book’s blurb: Since the mid-80s, there has been much federalism talk in Cameroon, where federation (said to have been created in Foumban in 1961) had supposedly been ‘overwhelmingly’ rejected in 1972 by Cameroonians. ‘Confusioncracy’ is the one good term that could conveniently explain it. Written with the trilogy of criticism, provocation, and construction in mind, this book aims at reconstructing a new and vigorous society in Cameroon that ensures respect for fundamental human rights and certain basic shared values. Much as the book centres on the Anglophone Problem; it is principally about human rights and their excessive violations – the direct result of the absence of separation of powers and constitutionalism. It largely condemns the Cameroon government for incessantly singing democracy and rule of law at the same time as it is massively torturing and wantonly killing citizens that dare to question the confusion. While sharing the position that a state like Cameroon must be seen to ensure that its laws and other practices accord with its international commitments, the book nonetheless strives to apportion the blame for Cameroon’s human rights catastrophe accordingly; showing how the English-speaking minority itself, generally speaking, contributes to a large extent in propping up the dictatorship that is oppressing not only that minority but Cameroonians at large. The book challenges Cameroon to assume a leadership role in uniting Africans through meaningful federalization rather further splitting them into incapable mini-states on the challenging world stage. 

The review of the book from Dr. Piet Konings of African Studies Centre, Leiden, The Netherlands: "This book is a provocative but masterful study of federalism in Africa. With a detailed case-study of Cameroon, the author convincingly demonstrates the 'confusioncracy' and 'manipulation' existing in this country around the issue of federalism, clearly reflected in the so-called 'Anglophone problem'. I find the author's comparative perspective particularly attractive. The book provides us with many constructive building-stones for the creation of truly federal states in Africa.”

  1. Multiculturalism surely needs federalism to smoothly function. But federalism, like the democracy that it incarnates, cannot be feasible until citizens are capable of calling a spade a spade. That is, being able to stare the truth in the face. This is the most important aspect because, even without the other two formally in place, the existence of this third characteristic can still ‘create’ an informal multicultural federation. The handbook for Fossungupalogy is The HISOFE Dictionary of Midnight Politics: Expibasketical Theories on Afrikentication and African Unity (2015).

The Blurb: Building on Fossungu’s earlier works, and essentially providing Africa with original, critical, and multi-level analyses of the trio of globalization, democracy, and national determination, this book theorizes that African states have to unite in order to have any impact in the global economy. Using the failure of the Cameroon Goodwill Association of Montreal (CGAM) as case study, the book urges Africans to make hard choices and avoid politickerization and midnight politics in favour of fossungupalogy (that is, the science of straightforwardness, necessitating the fearless looking at truth straight in the eye). The questions of the book are many but do all boil down to whether or not Africans fear the truth and do not therefore do politics. It is amazing that Africans in the West [in particular] live in societies where fierce political competitors do embrace each other after one has defeated the other; but they are incapable of looking their so-called friends in the eye and saying, for example: “Man, I think you’ve totally gotten it wrong this time.” Such comportment defines politickerization or negative competition. While attempting some possible responses to the numerous queries it raises, this book basically proffers the science of Four-Eyesism as a discipline that all African schools need to institute and make a compulsory subject: if the vandalized continent would have to be awakened to its realities. This book is rich in Fossungu’s dazzling capacity to invent, define and use a multitude of new terminological constructs informed by African experience.

Freedom Is Free And Begins At Home

Vice-Chancellor Nalova Lyonga’s performance during the Yaoundé Universities Games stand-off with Fame Ndongo, the Higher Education Minister, is admirable. But I am not at all surprised by the way the drama all ended. Like I once said regarding the attitude of ‘Third World’ States in international organizations, you cannot go out there and expect to have democracy working for you when you don’t practice the same at home. I would once more invite Blaise-Pascal Talla who Momany has taken the pleasure of freely citing in his Understanding Confusion in Africa, to put it more admirably to you when he theorizes that “Si nous ne savons pas nous ‘vendre’, au sens le plus noble du terme, les autres n’accepteront pas de nous donner la place que nous méritons réellement sur cette planète. Cela est valable dans tous les domains.” For the benefit of the unilingual Ngoa-lingualists, Talla’s powerful Jeune Afrique Economie editorial (incidentally from a Cameroonian) is saying that if Africans fail to respect themselves, they cannot be respected by others, let alone be given the places that are supposed to be theirs in this world. I am in total agreement, and that perfectly explains why Nalova could not have prevented the football match as her team rightly was to.

The UB administration that Nalova heads is well known for oppressing students and subordinates. It began with her predecessor(s) and I need not be the one to tell anyone that. Were there the spirit of democracy (heavily punctuated with Fossungupalogy) in the running of UB (as an example), that institution’s coach wouldn’t have been able to bully the team into the pitch against their will. Moreover, the players wouldn’t have needed to be told by anyone to get into or get of the field: since they would already be at home with democracy’s calling to know when their rights have been trampled upon and to react accordingly. You see how very easy Nalova’s job would have been? And what do the English-speaking need to do to be respected?

I will answer that by saying that “To be able to correctly do so, we must forget once and for all this myopia called North West-South West Divide. There is no incompatibility between us except the self-centredness of the adventurers. Let me use this opportunity to call on our students or young people to, henceforth think Anglo-Cameroonians before North West and South West. Were we even consulted on what we would have preferred our respective areas to be called? Perhaps an analogy as to how this NW-SW nonsense came about would help you understand why nothing real divides us.” (Peter Ateh-Afac Fossungu, “Revisiting ‘My Second Home’” The Herald Nº 652 of 26-27 August 1998, 10.) But let me also wet your appetite for devouring the Trilogy with this theory from Understanding Confusion in Africa: “Southern Cameroonsians are one of most sizeable but also the most marginalized and forgotten minority in the world; it is hardly surprising, as I explain shortly. It is true that the politics of academic discussions, of its very nature, does not compel agreement from the participants. But I would venture to think that other minorities around the globe have succeeded solely because, when it comes to clear threats to their collective rights (be they cultural, linguistic, religious, ethnic), their academics and statesmen simply call a spade a spade. This community cohesion is graphically wanting in the case of Southern Cameroonsians.”

Coming squarely back to Buea, I just don’t need to multiply or extrapolate the Yaoundé incident to the UB coach’s level for any savvy administrator or anyone for that matter to see that freedom is free. Otherwise, it is not freedom. I know quite well that nosefeans (unlike hisofeans) will find this thesis just as hard to digest as the Advanced Government Algebra would be to democrats. You can see then why it has been stressed time innumerable that HISOFE be instituted as a compulsory discipline in all our schools? You (Recteurs & V-Cs in particular) have already been given the handbook for the discipline and there should not therefore be any useless excuses henceforth.

When we collectively allow the crooked-voice guy there in the Etoudi Palace to single-handedly appoint the V-Cs and Recteurs (to limit just to these here) and then turn around and expect such appointed officials to act as if they have a free hand, then I say we are all nosifeans. People with no schooling in four-eyesism, is what it means. Hisofeans would not be pinning the problems on Nalova and Teresa Akenji (to stay west of the Mungo). They would rather be fighting to have universities in this country run as autonomous bodies by the localities. And that cannot be limited to those academic institutions alone, since a university cannot be autonomously run by an entity that is not itself autonomous. That position would be no different from saying that the current governors of the regions (call them whatever you will) do in fact manage said entities. Lie-lie. Governors must be duly elected by the inhabitants of their various regions for that to effectively happen. How to make all that reality is already outlined in the TRILOGY OF GOVERNANCE Momany has humbly brought forth and is here challenging us all to utilize to bring our people out of the Quagmaticking wilderness and into the Promised Land.      

Chief Dr. Peter Ateh-Afac Fossungu

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