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Opinions of Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Journaliste: cameroon-concord.com

Ntemfac Ofege Interview: Fru Ndi just announced himself as a failure!!!

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Ntemfac Ofege is a long standing Cameroonian journalist. He was a senior Economic reporter with the Cameroon Radio and Television and Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Today newspaper in Yaoundé, Cameroon. He nurtured political ambition and attempted going to the National Assembly via the Social Democratic Front. He is a strong personality with a strong religious background.

In this conversation with Cameroon Concord's Soter Tarh Agbaw-Ebai, the Cameroon media icon tells his side of the story in a submission in which he left out nothing.

Cameroon Concord: Thanks very much for your time. Let me begin by asking you why most of your generation in the media are maintaining a kind of deliberate silence on the happenings in Cameroon.By this I mean, we do not hear from you, Boh Herbert, Lawrence Eyong, Eric Chinje commenting on major issues going on in Yaounde.

Prophet Ntemfac Ofege: You are welcomed, Mr.Agbaw-Ebai. Allow me first of all congratulate you for the persistence and endurance in what you are doing with the Cameroon Concord. I pray you soar to great heights. Persistence and endurance are great qualities. Keep them up. You see, I decided some time ago not to do interviews. Yet, somehow you cajoled me into revisiting my decision. That is something. That said; allow me correct a few errors in your starter. I am a journalist, plain and simple. And, I was a reporter at CRTV, plain and simple. A reporter ought to be talented enough to multi-task. That I did the economic reports for CRTV at the time is just proof of that. I also covered the Presidency, anchored Tam-Tam Weekend, etc. Also, Mr.Agbaw-Ebai, I am not into religion. I am into Christianity. I am a vibrant Christian, or a Christ-ian, if you like. There is a big difference between Christian and Christ-ian. I am a Christ-ian minister or a prophet. For the edification of your readers, a prophet is a mouth piece of God or spiritual pen of a ready writer (psalm 45:1) that God uses to write His perfect will on paper, in the earth, in the atmosphere and in the universe, and through the mouth of the prophet or the life (character) of the prophet, God begins to reveal, to speak, to mould, to structure, to instruct, to inspire, to impregnate (2 Kings 4:16) and to release images in the form of uttered words into the minds of people via a prophet or prophetess.

Prophets speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. We hew and we build up people. We make them strong in the faith because we infuse mountain-moving, walking-on water-faith into people. Hosea 2:10 says: Therefore I have hewn them by the prophets, the word hewn means; to conform, to fashion, to mould, to make or to design, Hosea: 12:10 says: I have also spoken by the prophets, and have multiplied visions; I have given symbols through the witness of the prophets. Of course we foretell and we forth-tell the Word of God. Yes, I am not into religion. You see Christianity has often been misconstrued for a religion. It is not. Christianity is a relationship between the believer and the God of the Bible. There are hundreds of different religions practiced in our world today and hence there are hundreds of gods. The Christian is he, or she, who has a relationship with the God of the Bible and worships the God of the Bible in the truth and the spirit of the Bible. Actually I do not talk of Christians. I talk of Christians.

That said; let me now get down to your question. Of course I am in touch with Boh Herbert, Lawrence Eyong, Eric Chinje and the old gang at Cameroon Television and then the Cameroon Radio and Television Corporation, CRTV. We just lost Anne Nsang. I can tell you that was some loss. It caused some deep pain because it resuscitated old fond memories. Charly is in Buea and I call him up when I want to get his goat. When next you see Mr. Ndichia say this: Yaaaabaaa. You will be stunned at the man’s reaction. Larry, the son of Eyong-Echaw, is okay. He is still a very reliable comrade in arms. Larry is leading the charge for the Southern Cameroons from the very battlefront. He represents Southern Cameroons in some very important events. The young Patrick Sianne has also been on the forefront. His Facebook page, Libertas Veritas Probitas, has been telling Mr. Biya and his gang thewhat about the who. Willy Niba called me some days ago to chit-chat. Eric is okay. He was in Cameroon some years ago and he insisted on seeing me. I was in my town minding my own business and every francophone I met in the streets told me that Eric had announced on CRTV and some other local station that we should meet and greet. Of course I turned up and found my elder brother at Sawa Novotel still struggling to make sense of the Biya regime. You see Eric was behind a lofty venture – convince some African Americans that their roots were actually in the Cameroons that their forebears were shipped out of Cameroun via Bimbia in Southern Cameroons. Apparently that was the easy part. When it came to implementation, members of the Biya regime wondered what Mr. Chinje had in mind. They blocked and almost derailed the venture because they thought Mr. Chinje was back in Cameroun to run for president. Shows you the kind of petty people we have been dealing with. Eric told me his frustration with even that small effort and I laughed at him. Reason why I am not surprised when I read over the Internet that Mr. Chinje declared that, at the going pace, Cameroun will not emerge in 100 years. That is something coming from a former staff of the World Bank. I was not also surprised to see that almost all the francophones ganged up against Mr. Chinje for daring to talk about ‘their thing.” I never fail to marvel at the duplicity, the hypocrisy, the two-timing and the subservience or serfdom of my francophone so-called brothers. They expect you to agree with them when they whine about the system but they will savage you if you appropriately identify the source of the problem and go after that source. Talk about the regime all you want but leave Mr. Biya alone! This is preposterous. The man is the problem! The attitude of our francophone friends can be explained though. You see the francophones grew up in a culture where they fear authority. The chief is always right. Le chef a toujours raison and they worship this chef. It is immaterial if the so-called chef is when they call an illustre cancre or a nincompoop. He is always right. They look up to the chef to lead the way and if that chef is a blind guide or a blind mouth this is a recipe for disaster. The blind leading the blind. Anglophones are not like that. We respect authority. We do not fear authority. Reason why a Ngom Jua can stand up at a meeting and tell Ahidjo to his face that he is acting as if he is tired of being president. I myself can rule, Ngom Jua reportedly said. You know Ahidjo constructed this huge presidential palace, sitting on a hilltop and over-looking as a gimmick to intimidate his countrymen. Mr. Biya’s phone sitsin most offices, lording it over all and sundry, even the innocent, as an intimidation strategy. Supreme Court judges cannot deliver justice because Biya is glaring balefully at them from the clay-footed heights. Can you imagine what it would be if Barack Obama or the late Nelson Mandela insisted on having his picture in all government offices?

You just have to decolonize the mentality of these francophones. It is not their fault though. The tyrannical French overseers would either wear dark glasses or they kept their photos lording it over the francophones and they were led out to forced labour or njong-massi. The French so intimidated and terrorized and massacred the francophones that, to this day, they have the ghost of French colonization hanging over their heads. That the French astutely planted acculturated and indoctrinated local stooges like Ahidjo and Biya to prolong French colonization or neo-colonialism has not helped matters. Not when, like the French colons of yore, both Ahidjo and Biya practice the Jacobin-Napoleonic tyranny of French colonization. You have to decolonize the mentality of France and the French. Maybe then, the local stooges will decolonize their own mentality. The Cameroun government banned Today newspaper. I no longer publish it. I also own Postwatchmagazine. The government seized the last edition of this magazine I published ages ago under the pretext that the title: Gaullist Africa was not in good taste when Jacques Chirac was coming to Cameroun. I would also like to state the facts regarding my involvement with the SDF when I get to your question about that.

Cameroon Concord: Recently you have been discussing the Anglophone problem with some other English speaking Cameroon academics. Our readers would love to know where you belong on this issue. To be accurate, are you for Southern Cameroons or for a united Cameroon?

Prophet Ntemfac Ofege: Friend, I am for Southern Cameroons yesterday. Southern Cameroons today and Southern Cameroons tomorrow. Preferably under a new name. The actualization of the statehood of Southern Cameroons is not only legitimate. It is very legal because it is based on International law and the respect of a fundamental human right – the right to self-determination and self-government. You see, loud-sounding phraseologies like “United Republic, National Integration, One and Indivisible” are nothing but francophone warfarist constructs; war words, deployed by an entrenched neocolonial state, a state is averse to truth, hell-bent on its own colonial expansionism or the francophonization, the assimilation, the subsuming and the subjugation Southern Cameroonians, a people who are not, never were, and will never be nationals of French Cameroun which became independent on January 1, 1960. So much has been written about the whys and the wherefores of Southern Cameroons determinism that I may sound redundant and pedantic to your readers by going over the Southern Cameroons story again but repeat these things I must. The issue is simple really. Both la Republique du Cameroun or East Cameroun or French Cameroun and the British Cameroons were Trust territories of the United Nations Organization. The United Nations Organization created its Trusteeship Council in 1946. UN Resolution 63-111 of 13 December 1946, appointed Britain–France–Belgium–Australia–New Zealand as administering authorities for mandated territories. The mandate territories now renamed UN Trust territories were territories confiscated from Germany after the First World War. Great Britain signed Document A / 152 / REV2 to lead the British Cameroons to “emancipation” or independence while France signed Document A / 155 / REV2 to lead La République du Cameroun to “emancipation” or independence. Separately. After announcing to the UN in 1959 that French Cameroun was ready for independence France granted independence to la Republique du Cameroun on January 1, 1960. La Republique became independent within a defined territory, with its own government and its flag as green-red-yellow. In 1958, Great Britain announced to the UN that Southern Cameroons was ready for independence. But instead of making sure that Southern Cameroons became effectively independent Great Britain contrived some funny gimmick at the United Nations called “independence by joining.”

Arguing falsely that Southern Cameroons was not economically viable and that an independent Southern Cameroons would be a financial burden to Britain, the British forced the British Northern Cameroons to join Nigeria and constrained Southern Cameroons to join La Republique du Cameroon. Today the results of that poorly contrive British decisions are tangible. Boko Haram is fighting to transform the British Northern Cameroons into an Islamic Caliphate while Southern Cameroons nationalists are determined to actualize the independence of Southern Cameroons as the Republique of Ambazonia. Listen, I hate injustice. I hate fraud. I detest lies. I cannot stand subterfuge. Long ago, my father taught me to stand up against injustice and subterfuge with practical details like his leather belt. He knew what he was talking about because he fled French Cameroun and settled in Southern Cameroons because the French killed ten members of his family. I hate colonization and its attendant subjugation, annexation, assimilation and enslavement. Don’t teach me your language. It is not, and will never be my intention to teach you mine. Don’t enslave me because I am born free. I am not your slave and I am not your serf.

Listen the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says colonization is a crime against humanity whereas la Republique du Cameroun is guilty of practicing colonization or a variant of colonization called con-colonization. I contrive con-colonization as the colonization of a colony by a colony. Colonization is violence. So is con-colonization Man’s inhumanity to man. It will take me pages but I could demonstrate to you that La Republique du Cameroun is now engaged in the extreme form of structural violence called con-colonization against the Southern Cameroons. I could demonstrate that La Republique du Cameroun as a con-colonial state has been wielding all the elements of power politics to the extreme against Southern Cameroons since 1961. So much so that La Republique du Cameroun has now annexed and is occupying the Southern Cameroons. The instruments of power politics as used by la Republique du Cameroun are known. Demonization, divide and rule, proconsuls, mistrust, name-calling, economic cleansing, pre-emptive strike, blackmail, the massing of military units (an Army of Occupation) in the Southern Cameroons, the imposition of tariffs or economic sanctions, bait and bleed and bloodletting, hard and soft balancing, buck passing, covert operations, shock and awe, asymmetric warfare, you name them. These have been used to keep Southern Cameroons colonized. Let me paste the exact segment of the more than 200 paragraphs Communications 266/2003 a complaint filed at the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights, ACHPR, against the colonial expansion of the Camerounese state with Southern Cameroons as victim.

“153. For the people of the Southern Cameroons, the francophonity imposed on them and the ubiquity in their territory of the gendarme, sous-préfet, préfet, gouverneur, commandant de légion, brigade de gendarmerie, camp militaire and commissariat de police are living symbols of alien domination and daily reminders of their shameful status as a subjugated people, all the more shameful because the colonizing State is a third rate third world country.

8. Evidence of that domination of the people of the Southern Cameroons includes the armed occupation of the territory for over forty years already; the total control of its economy and resources; the imposition of a foreign administration; the imposition of foreign administrators; the imposition of an alien law and legal system; the imposition of an alien language in the schools and public administration; the abolition of the Southern Cameroons parliament and government; the confiscation of all means of expression from the people; and the imposition of direct rule by the colonizing State.” Paragraph 197 and 198 of Communications 266/2003 read:

7. The Southern Cameroons and Republique du Cameroun have always been two separate countries with firmly established international boundaries. Each has always had a separate State culture (law, language, education, administrative system); a separate colonial history (except for the 20-odd years of a common German colonial experience); a separate Mandate/Trusteeship Agreement; a separate independence day; a separate people with no substantial ethnic connection; a separate people with a separate vision; a separate people with a separate way of life; a separate people with no common or similar cultural heritage; and a separate people with a separate aspiration.

8. The Southern Cameroons is legally not a part of Republique du Cameroun. That country did not attain independence with the Southern Cameroons comprised within its territories. Nor did the two countries become conjoint and then achieve independence as a single State.”

Furthermore, I refer you to the 2009 Ruling of the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights which in its paragraph specifically identifies Southern Cameroonians as a people.

8. The Commission states that after thorough analysis of the arguments and literature, it finds that the people of Southern Cameroon can legitimately claim to be a “people”. Besides the individual rights due to Southern Cameroon [ians], they have a distinct identity which attracts certain collective rights. The UNESCO Group of Experts report referred to hereinabove, states that for a collective of individuals to constitute a “people” they need to manifest some, or all the identified attributes. The Commission agrees with the Respondent State that a “people” may manifest ethno-anthropological attributes. Ethno- anthropological attributes may be added to the characteristics of a “people”. Such attributes are necessary only when determining indigenology of a “people”[quote], but cannot be used as the only determinant factor to accord or deny the enjoyment or protection of peoples’ rights.

Was [sic] it the intention of the State Parties to rely on ethno-anthropological roots only to determine [quote]“peoples’ rights,” they would have said so in the African Charter? As it is, the African Charter guarantees equal protection to people on the continent, including other racial groups whose ethno anthropological roots are not African.

9. Based on that reasoning, the Commission finds that “the people of Southern Cameroon” qualify to be referred to as a “people” because they manifest numerous characteristics and affinities, which include a common history, linguistic tradition, territorial connection and political outlook. More importantly they identify themselves as a people with a separate and distinct identity. Identity is an innate characteristic within a people. It is up to other external people to recognize such existence, but not to deny it.

10. The Respondent State might not recognize such innate characteristics. That shall not resolve the question of self-identification of Southern Cameroonians. It might actually postpone the solution to the problems in Southern Cameroon, including those already highlighted hereinabove. The Respondent State acknowledges that there have been problems created regularly by the secessionist SCNC and SCAPO, in that part of its territory, which calls itself the “Southern Cameroon”.

11. The Commission is aware that post-colonial Africa has witnessed numerous cases of domination of one group of people over others, either on the basis of race, religion, or ethnicity, without such domination constituting colonialism in the classical sense. Civil wars and internal conflicts on the continent are testimony to that fact. It is incumbent on State Parties, therefore, whenever faced with allegations of the nature contained in the present communication, to address them rather than ignore them under the guise of sovereignty and territorial integrity. Mechanisms such as the African Commission were established to resolve disputes in an amicable and peaceful manner. If such mechanisms are utilized in good faith, they can spare the continent valuable human and material resources, otherwise lost due to conflicts fighting against ethnic, religious domination or economic marginalization.

Of course Southern Cameroonians are a people. More than three quarters of this people live in their own territory. They have their own history, their own language, their own culture, their own way of life and a deep desire to manage their own affairs. I am not the one saying this but the Universal Declaration of the Human Rights state clearly that every people have the right to self-determination or the right to self-government. Now the UN, the British and the local leaders at the time thought they would preserve their own government and their own state in the “independence by joining” option imposed upon them by the UN in 1961. Instead they found themselves in the mouth of lions who have this day obliterated their government and political structures, destroyed their culture, wasted their resources, undermined their developed, maintained garrisons of occupation in their territory and is even now annexing, subjugating and colonizing them. This is wrong under International Law.

Cameroon Concord:Your time with CRTV was not that easy judging from the fact that you were told what to do by the regime. The Ofege in the 90s is certainly not the same Ofege in 2014. If you were given another opportunity at CRTV, what will you do differently?

Prophet Ntemfac Ofege: Not interested and your premise is false. If by “The Ofege” you mean the journalist then rest assured that beyond the insurgence of a new medium like the Internet journalism, and the practice thereof, as universally defined by the Sigma Delta Chi Code of Ethics and as taught in most schools worldwide has not changed much. A report is still a report and the professional journalist is he or she who can “cut” a story even out of a banal subject. However I know where you are coming from. You are a victim of the irrationality of umpiring the bag of rice from a few bad grains. From outside looking in you construe that every operative of the government-controlled media must be a town crier and a chorus boy, pandering to the whims and caprices of the regime. And you now sentence, most erroneously, that every journalist who operated in the government-controlled media must be like unto the notorious griots who people that outfit. You are talking to a former deputy editor-in-chief of the English News at CRTV whose job it was to assign reporters or tell them what to do. The Editor-in-chief was Eric Chinje but he trusted our professionalism and he gave us the latitude to decide on the news content. Even when an issue was important to government the service heads got together to discuss it among themselves before assigning the reporters. Nobody from government, I repeat, nobody actually came to the newsroom to write a paper for the journalist. Nobody. The problem was elsewhere.

I strongly recommend that you read Mr. Siebert’s Four Theories of the Press. You would discover therein that the media in Cameroun operates within a context and that context is the centrist Marxist Leninist Totalitarian control of the instruments of communications by the government. The need for uniformity, universality, mono-culturism and a linear thought pattern was so acute that the journalists operating in the government-controlled media were brained-washed to believe that they were ‘Soldiers of Development’ with development being codified as decisions from the Head of State and the Great National Party. Under the fantastic claim that ‘La verité vient d’en haut’ and consequently every development paradigm was what the president and hence the government (as his alter ego) conjectured it was, the government now regimented the flow of ideas and ideals by banning newspapers and inventing a heathen concept of government-controlled media to (1) sing praises (2) control the narrative and (3) diffuse the linear thought and uniformist persuasion. Despite the above context, English-speaking journalists still reported as professionally as they could. Our forebears even invented Cameroon Report which went beyond news analysis or investigative journalism and interpretative reporting to critique government action. This was done in a context where Jean Fochive lorded it at CENER, the 1962 Ordinance against Terrorism was still in force and people were being disappeared by the BMM or Brigades Mobiles Mixtes for calling the president’s name. When the late George Tanni, Boh Herbert and Ntemfac Ofege got together to create Cameroon Calling, Fochive still operated at CENER and the 1962 Ordinance against terrorism was still the law. The newsroom at CRTV still had its informants reporting directly to CENER. But we did it anyway. It was a job that had to be done. Secondly, there was (and still is) the tribal factor in the rendition of some journalists.

Despite the priceless training they had received from great schools like the University of Yaoundé’s School of Journalism, the Beti journalists have always stunned us by their inane ability to assign themselves as the praise singers of the regime in place and its King Kong and this to the embarrassment of the Canadians especially who trained us. That innate tendency to always defend the official narrative in the Beti journalists is motivated by allegiance to tribe rather than country. And, of course, you have the hangers-on and desperadoes from other who join them. Paul Ngounou, for example, is my classmate. I am stunned at what the man has become – the final dingy, singing himself hoarse in defense of the regime rather than in defense of journalism.

Thirdly, between 1975 and 1980, faced with an extra-high unemployment and surfeit of half-baked University of Yaounde graduates clamouring for jobs, the Ahidjo regime hit a brain wave. It recruited first 1500 graduates of the University of Yaounde and then 1700 more graduates. These new recruits were shipped out to most ministries in Cameroun especially the then Ministry of Information and Culture.

During their very brief internship in the ministry, these people were brainwashed into believing that journalism meant singing the praise of the government in place and the head of state in D-Major. The new recruits, who never so much as helped themselves by attempting to learn what journalism is all about, now took up positions in the then National Radio, Cameroon Tribune and eventually CRTV wherein they practiced their trade of perpetually misconstruction praise-singing as journalism. Along the side, the regime recruited and trained some of its new boys and girls to engage in reporting of another kind. They became informants for CENER, the administrative police. Their prime function was to report on the “subversive elements” in the state radio and newspaper i.e. those who sniggered or actually guffawed whenever the government of the day had messed up again. These smart-Alecs were hauled in and either made to face interrogations in the various BMMs or they were transferred to some remote province. In most cases, the “subverts” were kept under and never promoted or appointed within the system.

Because of the perception that they could only progress if the professional journalists in the government-controlled media were out of the way, the Journalist Iscariots invented or participated in the invention of every subterfuge to evict the trained journalists. The sacking or transfer of a professional meant that some praise-singer could always fill shoes that were too large for him, you see. Nothing was too small in the eyes of the non-journalists in their ardent desire to get rid of the trained journalists. CRTV, and before it Radio Cameroon and Cameroon Tribune abound with cases of some non-journalist visiting the neighbourhood sangoma or witch doctor to prepare some ngrimbahagainst the obstacle in his or her path. Small wonder the government-controlled media in Cameroun abound with tales of poisoned microphones, owls in the elevators, charms in offices and office drawers and mysterious deaths of so-called colleagues.

I do know that it was the habit of some francophone journalists to frequent members of government who enticed them to do this or that story but permit me tell you this, that throughout my tenure no member of government dare sneak a story into my news rundown. You know why? The news rundown was decided by the other young men, kids actually who monitored happenings nationwide and suggested news tips for us to follow. Consequently, were I to send you to the CRTV archives to do a content analysis of years and years of reporting by English-speaking journalists your conjecture of systematic griotism concerning English-speaking journalists would be a misrepresentation if not gross ignorance. I am saying that past and present English-speaking journalists at CRTV would always go out of their way to do their jobs professionally and to the best of their ability. Not everybody is a Charles Ngongo or a Paul Ngounou or any of these town criers pervading the government-controlled media, you know.

Cameroon Concord:You attempted parliamentary elections through the SDF many years ago if I am not mistaken!! That attempt met with a stone wall. Can you talk us through that period?

Prophet Ntemfac Ofege: Yes certainly. And your question is most timely because it touches current events. I’ve just read on the Internet that Mr. John Fru Ndi, National Chairman of the Social democratic Front Party has just announced on that the efforts of the SDF to change Cameroon through the National Assembly have failed. Woefully. Here are his exact words: “It was incumbent (on) me to inform the public of the struggles of our MPs in parliament... We have fought so hard to change things in parliament, but failed. I have done my best." It gives me no joy to say: “see, I told you” but I would really wish to call me Fru Ndi and ask him these questions: What did I tell you in 1997? So it took you SEVENTEEN years, seventeen full years, to realize that everything Ntemfac Ofege told you in your home office between 9-10pm was truth and great foresight? So it took you seventeen full years to realize that you goofed again in 1997 when you decided you sent 43 poor devils to a dead end called the National Assembly for one and only one reason – 10% of their salaries is paid to you?. You would have taken the route Ntemfac Ofegerecommended. It does not suffice to announce failure. Are you now going to create a logical political crisis by withdrawing from both the National Assembly and the Senate? This would be suicidal therefore can I have your resignation immediately, Mr. Chairman? And I do mean it. With hind-sight I can now say that unless there is a revolutionary and very radical change these prisoners of hope who still think the SDF is a solution to the so-called Anglophone Problem should forget it. Keep in mind that the SDF was not created to take over power in Yaounde. Those who created the SDF had a hidden agenda to solve the Southern Cameroons Question one way or another. Taking power in Yaounde was a pathway and a strategy. These other prisoners of hope who think the current SDF could be the alternate government, the alternative solution to the current tragedy called Cameroun should also forget it. The current SDF has lost it. It is nothing but a sub-section of the CPDM and it is even more vicious that the CPDM in corrupt practices. I could write a book on that but to your question. I walked out of the SDF the day that reality hit me and I have never looked back.

Let me expound. Look I had a very learning experience and a teachable experience operating within the SDF. I was a mere volunteer yet I was most privileged to be given full access to the National Chairman and the top files of the party. Consequently, I got a direct, hands-on, edification on the workings of politics and a political party. This was1997. The year of the twin elections. Cameroun had both presidential and parliamentary elections in the same year. You see, I am a child of many worlds. Most people associate Ntemfac Ofege with Lebialem. I am not from Lebialem. My father came from Foreke in the Menoua and settled in the Southern Cameroons in the 1930s. He was an operative of the then Public Works Department. They were assigned to build the road from Takum in the then Gongola State of Nigeria through Bissaula to Nkambe. The man came to this Jukun Village where he was entertained by the chief’s family. The long and short of the matter is that my father, bless his soul, came away with one of the chief’s daughters as his wife and I’m here today. I was born in Bamenda and the family home is in Bamenda. My mother’s people brought me up when my father died so the former Mbembe-Misaje Area is my constituency. I owe a lot of giving back to that constituency and I pray God will help me execute the plans I have for my people. For one thing, these are the most marginalized folks in a generally abandoned and marginalized Southern Cameroons. If you look at the map of the current Ako-Misaje area you will discover that Ndaka, the home village of the outcrop of Jukun people who settled in the Cameroons is in Ako Sub-division. But the headquarters is at Gidajukun in Misaje sub-division. I can run for office from either Ako of Misaje any day I decide to.

The SDF understood the complexity of CPDM gerrymandering very well. You see, at the time, the CPDM waited until the SDF had done its primaries to produce a candidate then it appointed a candidate from the neighbouring rival village or sub-division just to give itself a fighting chance at getting a seat in the very hostile North West. I have told you that there were twin elections in 1997. The SDF was not only looking for parliamentary candidates. The party was also looking for candidates who could be members of government in the event of an SDF victory in the presidential elections. And those candidates had to represent all of Donga and Mantung not just the divisions. The SDF had scheduled initial primaries in Dumbu and Ako and then divisional finals in Nkambe where the electorate of the entire division would pronounce on the four candidates and alternates to represent the party. We held primaries in neighbouring Ako, a sort of away-leg for me. I came third. You know how these things are. The vote is not about competence or capacity. It is about tribe.

Moreover my goal was not the parliamentary seat and I had other commitments with the party’s nationwide campaign. I only got to Ako, for the very first time, in the night before the primaries. Even then you could see that all around you was poverty, misery, deprivation and hunger. It was hard enough for me to decide whether to pay 50.000 FCFA registration fee to the party or use the money to feed these starving and desperate people. The long and short of it is that we cancelled the divisional finals in Nkambe for lack of time and then we also cancelled participating in the 1997 presidential elections because an insider told me how exactly Marafa Hamidou Yaya had rigged both the parliamentary and presidential elections. My source even told me that the CPDM government planned to award the SDF 45 seats, period. I passed on these facts to Fru Ndi. Noticed that I say “we” in these major decisions because I was most honoured to put in my views to the SDF Chairman, Mr. Fru Ndi and he listened to me most of the time. So much so that the then Secretary General, Prof Asonganyi accused me of defining policy in the SDF. I am guilty as charged. Of course, a journalist who is also trained in political science and political communications must know a thing or two. Moreover I was operating directly from Mr. Fru Ndi’s private secretariat so I had direct access to the man’s ears. Now, and this is the interesting part.

As told me by my source, and as relayed to Fru Ndi, the SDF ended up with 43 seats as revealed to me by source. The missing seats came from the Nde where there was to be a re-run of the elections. In fact, in the night of the elections, even before the counting Kontchou Kouomegni was on TV announcing that the SDF would have 45 seats. So the party had to decide. Here we were with 43 parliamentary seats. Do we send these people to the National Assembly knowing that it was an exercise in futility? In fact, the night before the NEC decision to go or not to go to parliament we had a feisty conversation in Mr. Fru Ndi’s office. I stood alone in the Not-to-Go camp, a minority, but I had some strong arguments. You see you cannot change Cameroun from the National Assembly. Not with 43-seats.

The country is a Napoleonic Jacobin presidential monarchical dictatorial contraption all of that constitutional. The constitution actually says that the president, or the head of state, defines all politics and policies. The National Assembly is just a rubber stamp for these policies. Elect all the mayors you want. The president will still appoint government delegates, senior divisional officers and municipal magistrates to run them for you. Moreover the system will even corrupt all your parliamentarians to vote vicious laws even against your own party. Proof of that, I send your readers to read this asinine justification of the new Camerounese law on the so-called terrorism as made by one Mbah Ndam, the leader of the SDF Group in Parliament. After, without doubt being enticed, as usual, Mbah Ndam now says a law that circumscribes even the little freedoms and liberties gained by the Camerounee people through blood and sweet and lives is a good law. Money talks and bull-crap walks. That this spirited defense of an outrageous legislation is coming from the SDF is a disgrace. I made a succinct presentation of the Camerounse Napoleonic-Jacobin system to Fru Ndi the night before the SDF took the decision to go to parliament. When it looked like Mr. Fru Ndi has already made up his mind about the issue, I threw in one last card. Let us move that decisive NEC Meeting to Buea. For obvious reasons. We could create panic in the CPDM and then blackmail the CPDM to accept changes in the electoral code.

I remember very well what Fru Ndi told me. I do not want to bring bloodshed to this country, he said. I was not surprised that, without paying royalties, Mr. FruNdi used all of my arguments in the NEC meeting the next day to pretend that he was against sending 43 people to parliament. Fair enough but the SDF is where it is today because of 1997 in addition to 1991. It gives me no pleasure but I was especially saddened when I read somewhere recently that SDF parliamentarians have said emphatically that they recognize that they cannot change Cameroun through the National Assembly. Hence they have failed. Now the National Chairman himself accepts that failure. So what are they still doing in the Camerounese National Assembly and the Senate?Why are they still singing the Lord’s Song in a strange land? A land that has told them in more ways than one that they are not welcomed. The Southern Cameroonians among them should immediately constitute themselves into the Southern Cameroons National Assembly and we take it up from there. I put it to your readers that those who actually created the SDF by having the vision and writing the documents had it the solution of the Southern Cameroons Question behind their mind. This, for us all, remains the beacon, the target, the guiding spirit and any action that legitimizes con-colonization rather than freedom is unacceptable.

Mr. Fru Ndi picked his route in 1997. I did not belong to that route. A few months after that decision, like a blue-blooded Jukun man, I brought out water and washed my hands in front of Fru Ndi. There were other reasons that motivated my action, some of them personal but mostly because we do not share the same vision. The proposition now is simple. Would Mr. Fru Ndi now back-pedal and move to his parliamentarians and mayors to Buea after all? I will applaud him. Better late than never and we are waiting.

Cameroon Concord: I will like you to describe the following persons in just one sentence

1-Ni John Fru Ndi

This paltry businessman has just announced himself as a failure: So much goodwill wasted on a man.

2-President Paul Biya

Responsible for the Corruption Culture in Cameroon.

3-Simon Achidi Achu

A boutiquier or storekeeper:Porotiquena Njangi

4-Peter AgborTabi

Shrewd and very vicious member of a demoniac worldly power-hungry sect.

5-Yang Philemon

Another boutiquier:A good man doing his best which best is not good enough

Cameroon Concord: We gathered intelligence that when you and Boh Herbert met Prof. Mendo Ze to inform him about your plans to resign from CRTV, he pleaded with both of you not to take that road. Is this true?

Prophet Ntemfac Ofege: Kontchou Kouomegni, the then Minister of Communication, was the one who tried cajoling us to return to CRTV. He even called up some Anglophone ministers like the late Francis Isidore Nwainchom Nkwain and John Niba Ngu to reason with us. Kontchou kept trying that sort of thing. Years after living CRTV I attended a training seminar for journalists. Kontchou stood there and asked me in front of a packed house if, as Board Chairman of CRTV, he accepted my resignation. But here is the thing. Only a dog would return to its own vomit. We had moved on and that was that. There were several resignations actually. You see, Boh Herbert was the deputy chief of the political desk at CRTV Radio. I was the deputy chief of the political desk at the TV House. A few hours after being arrested inside CRTV, right before the desk of the Emmanuel Nguiamba Nloutsiri, the then Assistant General manager of CRTV, and then frog-marched to Kondengui, Boh Herbert and yours truly found a quiet corner to discuss cross fire Number One. We decided to resign from our duty post immediately for one main reason. George Tanni, the then Editor-in-Chief of the English news on radio had been fired. We were hugely responsible for his firing. You see Mr. Tanni developed cold feet when we told him that we should do that May 6 Edition of Cameroon Calling with its content as contrived in the home of Wain Paul Ngam. George told us upfront that we would be arrested. We had pushed him to accept that edition and we all “bloodied” our reports as if we knew that the edition would make history.

We handed in our resignations from our duty post to the GM of CRTV on the morning following our release from Kondengui. We were not asking his opinion about the matter when we marched into his office to drop our separate resignation letter. Neither were we seeking the opinion of some of the other colleagues. These things were personal. Mendo Ze suspended us from broadcast for six months and cut our salary for one month. After that period he continued his punishment with the standard administrative transfer. He was shipping me off to Bafoussam and sending Boh to Ebolowa. Most people now know that Boh Herbert and Ntemfac Ofege are twins. I do not need to consult Mr. Boh to know what he is thinking and he does not need to consult me to know what I am thinking. I had gone to good old Bamenda to relax during my suspension from CRTV when Mendo Ze published his decree banishing us to the provinces.

I was in Bamenda writing my resignation from CRTV when Mr. Boh was depositing his resignation from CRTV in Mendo Ze’s office. I got back to Yaounde the day after to discover that he had resigned the day before. No, we did not meet Mendzo Ze to tell him about our resignation from CRTV and to seek his opinion about the matter. We went to his office to inform him of our resignation, period.

Mendo Ze had a different problem. He was left to deal with the loss of two key members of his staff and especially to content with some of the treacherous members of our group – the anglophone group – who had come to him to snitch about the activities of Boh Herbert and Ntemfac Ofege simply because they desperately wanted the duty posts that Messrs.’ Boh Herbert and Ntemfac Ofege had resigned from. The snitches themselves told us this: that Mendo told them to their faces that he would rather have Boh Herbert and Ntemfac Ofege that put them in charge. But we were gone, you see? Gone forever.

Cameroon Concord: You are well informed about the arrest and humiliation of Prof. Mendo Ze. What is your take on the situation?

Prophet Ntemfac Ofege: What goes around comes around. You reap what you sow and even more. Some religions speak of the Law of Karma meaning that you reap what you sow or what goes around comes around. The Bible teaching on this topic is even more revealing. You do not reap only what you sow. If you sow the wind you shall reap a whirlwind or a hurricane or a tornado. Ho 8:7 For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk: the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up. If you sow wickedness you shall reap same. Job 4:8 Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same. Ga 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.I had forgiven Mendo Ze ages ago. In fact, the man ceased to be an issue the day I cleaned out my desk and walked out of CRTV. I do feel sorry for every human being when we get into trouble but often passing through certain stages is necessary to truly heal our sinful souls. I imagine that Mr. Mendo Ze is doing what we call meditating over our sins and crimes behind bars at the moment. It could be very good for him and the many others who have had to mismanage Cameroun with outrageous impunity. I do hope that Mr. Biya could someday get the chance to heal his soul as well.

Cameroon Concord: Are you happy with the state of the media in Cameroon?

Prophet Ntemfac Ofege: Good question. Very good question indeed. I could take pages and years on this but permit me address what, in my opinion, is the greatest threat to the emergence of a professional, economically viable and buoyant media in Cameroun. I want to talk about the activities of this institution called the Camerounese Media Council, CMC, headed, in the interim, by one Peter Essoka. One must marvel at the level of quixotic masochistic cognitive dissonance and downright fascism inherent in both the CMC and Mr. Essoka. Methinks fascist attitudes possessed by Mr. Essoka when we worked with him at CRTV have not left the man over the years whereas one would have thought that with age cometh wisdom unto some.

If you are on e-groups on the Internet you will surely find Mr. Boh and his twin brother either having a feisty conversation on Bible issues or double-teaming to tell Peter Essoka what we have always told him to his face which is. He is not a journalist. He has never been a journalist and he should leave journalists and journalism alone. Go preach these unscriptural gospel called ‘Reflections” on CRTV radio or go conjure up football drama on the old Cameroon radio but journalists and journalism deal with facts. Or attempt to deal with facts for the untrained among them. Peter Essoka always came across to me as a dictator-in-training and I told him so. Several times and in his face. The man once complained that Ntemfac Ofege does not respect me but I can live with that. Respect is earned and age is not a symbol of wisdom.

Now,I am told that a Yaoundé court has reversed the last outrageous decision taken by MrEssoka and those in league with the man but that is not the issue. The court reversed the decision Thursday December 11, bringing to naught, controversial sanctions on two of the journalists who were issued a six-month and three-month suspension. This is very good but the current CMC should be dissolved immediately and the very idea of a Media Council rethought. This is the issue. The media – newspapers, radio and TV stations – are first and foremost economic entities and collective punishment is abject impishness manifested. Every punishment must be proportional to the infraction. Suspending a media organ or a reporter for six months is killing that media or that reporter. Families depend on these enterprises. Media houses are often huge investments. Suspending a media organ is scaring away investors from the media sector. I am in the middle of huge investments in the media. Woe betides the parochial boob who will judge my venture not on its professionalism but on some underground guerrilla motive. Like they say in the village he or she will bear me on their backs and my weight is heavy.

Those suspending newspapers for months are often incompetent narcissistic underachievers who have never created anything in their wasted lives let alone create an economic entity called a newspaper or a radio station. You cannot ban a newspaper for months from being published because of one sentence or one article from one reporter who, maybe, made an error. This is collective punishment proscribed by law. That that “error” is having an opinion about a prominent member of the Biya regime is indicative. That this “error” is publishing pictures of intestines in a documentary is a matter of bad taste which is often subjective and personal. You cannot use your personal opinion or the gossip of one complainant to pass judgment.

This is outrageous. You cannot pander to the whims and caprice of the French government to seek to adjudicate on a television station – Afrique Media – because Afrique Media is not even located in Cameroun and Afrique Media was created to combat French neocolonialism and promote Pan Africanism. That members of CMC are derisively ignorant about most issues they deal with is another tragedy, created by the poor judgment of one Paul Biya, the man who appointed them in the first place.

I do not have any proof about the matter but I am told that Mr. Biya was misguided in this matter by one Peter Agbor Tabi. If this is true then the president ought to fire this Agbor Tabi for this as well as for many other scandals. Only an incompetent fellow would construe that folks like Peter Essoka, etc. who produce plenty of empty sound and fury in the media are journalists. Doctors make mistakes every day. Teachers make mistakes every day. Lawyers swipe clients money every day and magistrates err professionally every day. Why does the government not create lynch mob council of zealots or Sanhedrins, composed of impostors, to go about closing down hospitals, schools and colleges, law firms etc. because of the error of this or that staff of these departments? How would lawyers, for example, take it if a very competent journalist called Ntemfac Ofege would be appointed to scrutinize their work and pass judgment? How would they take it if a known impostor, a man who has been fraudulently passing around for a lawyer, is appointed to adjudicate on their work? The former Chairman of the CMC used the organization to settle his personal scores with former business associates.

I am not saying that the next generation cannot err but you cannot use standards of discipline that are beyond the boundaries set by the Camerounese Public Service Code. First of all you train or educate the users on the standards you intend to set. Then when they falter you query them, then you warn them. If they persist you drag them to the discipline council for sanctions after a series of warnings you drag them. Journalism is a profession governed by the UNESCO approved Sigma-Delta-Chi Code of Ethics. You cannot have folks who have never practiced journalism even for one day in their entire lives passing judgment on the work of journalists. Garbage in and garbage out. You cannot get water out of a rock.

Cameroon Concord: If you were asked to make some recommendations to the CPDM leadership on solving Cameroon's economic problems. What will you say?

Prophet Ntemfac Ofege: Nothing. Just get out of the way. Someone described the CPDM as Corrupt People Demonstrating Malevolence. I agree with that in toto. You see Mr. Biya never had the vision to create a political party and he never created one. He simply assumed the leadership of a political party, the CNU.

Cameroon Concord: Any last word to our readers?

Prophet Ntemfac Ofege: The coming days promise to be very fast-paced and interesting. It would surely be interesting to see how the SDF saves itself from its own noose. It would be interesting to see how Southern Cameroons free itself for con-colonization. It will be interesting to see how the Camerounese people deal with the militarization of justice in Cameroun, the Gestaporization of the judicial apparel and the Judas Iscariotization of the citizenry. It will be most interesting to chronicle what can only be the last days of the Biya regime. May my \God give us all of his life that we may live to see these things unfold. God Bless you and your readers. 2Ch 15:7 Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded. In Jesus Name.

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