By Colbert Gwain
Muteff may be a little known local village kaleidoscope, but things that happen there are sometimes of far greater significance than the world might have cared to know.
Situated off the jaws of Abuh Valley in Fundong Sub Division, Boyo Division of North West Region, Muteff waged a ferocious war of independence from mainland Abuh in the Mid 70s. Although the immediate cause of the conflict was Abuh community’s adamant refusal to allow Muteff have a junior primary school where children from distant Muteff attend until maturity before they cross over to complete the main school in Abuh, the remote cause was the aged-old quarrel over who goes home with the head of a goat from the ‘nchong’ secret fraternity.
The almost three-year prolonged conflict that saw Muteff children all withdrawn from the lone school in the Valley, CBC Abuh, as a sign of protest and dogged determination by Muteff to stand up to the marginalization and discrimination of Abuh leadership, saw Abuh community claiming and shouting on rooftops how Abuh with Muteff as a quarter, was one and indivisible, and so shall remain.
Muteff did not only forcefully withdraw its membership from the Abuh Union but also forbid any person from Muteff to have anything doing with Abuh community, not even burial ceremonies nor even church attendance.
Despite the deadly threats, certain individuals in Muteff did not believe it was of any earthly use to break away from mainland Abuh. They swore on their honour that Muteff could never be an independent village from Abuh, and continued representing Muteff at the Abuh traditional Council at other institutions. They judged that their withdrawal wouldn’t make much of a difference as Abuh could as well just select people of Muteff origin, already settled in Abuh, and continue to brandish them as representatives of Muteff quarter.
One of them was a certain Yindo Tange. Each time the rebellious Muteff community resolved on a plan of action, he would quickly move over to Laikom, the seat of the Kom palace and Abuh village head’s compound and disclose it to them. After dinning and winning with those considered by Muteff as standing on their way to independence, he would triumphantly return to Muteff by evening and narrate to everyone that cared to listen how he has exposed the evil machinations of Muteff against Abuh unity and how such plans have already been nipped in the bud.
The arrogantly vocal Yindo Tange would even dare Muteff village strategists by searching for where they were drawing their plans, telling them to their faces how they were just wasting their precious time as the Kom Fon and Fundong Administration had reassured Abuh village chief that Muteff would never be independent.
Although many in Muteff thought that Yindo Tange’s provocations were always one too many and that eliminating him could facilitate the independence of Muteff village, the foresighted strategists within Muteff resolved he simply be ignored as the energy that would be wasted in eliminating him could have been used to improve their argument for independence. Their infinite wisdom had informed them that eliminating Yindo Tange could give Abuh, Laikom and Fundong Administration justification to defer their independence struggle.
Satisfied that those for the independence of Muteff were in the majority and those within Muteff that supported the oneness and indivisibility of Abuh village were a negligible minority only aligning with Abuh because of their stomachs, the larger Muteff community decided to ignore the ‘blacklegs’, referred to then in Muteff as ‘Party 1’, with pro-independentists referred to as ‘Party 2’.
By the time Muteff village had surmounted all the challenges by skillfully convincing the Kom traditional Authority and Fundong Administration of the aged-old bad faith of Abuh, and they resolved on Muteff independence from Abuh, Yindo Tange was surprisingly the first person to come to the Muteff market square to reveal the information to a jubilant Muteff community.
He insisted it was thanks to his loyalty to mainstream Abuh leadership and the Kom palace, that Muteff was finally considered ripe for independence. He gave to understanding that since Muteff community was no longer on talking terms with Abuh leadership and Kom palace, the only authentic information about the grievances of Muteff against Abuh village could come only from him. His non-violent approach toward mainland Abuh, he claimed, worked in favour of the independence of Muteff village.
To him, although he was publicly violent against promoters of Muteff independence, he always found time in private to school the Kom palace and Abuh leadership on why Muteff needed to be a stand alone community.
Consider Senator Regina Mundi in the case of former Southern Cameroons’ independence struggle to be Yindo Tange, in the case of Muteff. Although unlike Yindo Tange, mama Regina Mundi, is not recorded to have publicly denounced those fighting for greater autonomy of former West Cameroon from the mainland, there certainly exist tons of verifiable secret correspondences from her to the CPDM Central Committee and the Presidency, on the fact that the current conflict is quickly resolved, with former West Cameroon having greater autonomy.
Unlike Yindo Tange who continued to cling unto Abuh just for his survival, Senator Regina Mundi’s reason to get into the Senate was not only to use it as a platform to privately articulate the concerns of her people but more importantly, to mobilize resources to take care of the downtrodden back home. Like Robert Wood who stole from the rich and give to the poor, Senator Regina Mundi had since entering the senate in 2018, literarily been ‘stealing’ from the rogue Government in Yaounde to give back to the vulnerable pregnant mothers, orphans, widows and other categories of individuals back in her constituency.
During the recent visit to Cameroon’s Heritage Higher Institute for Peace and Development Studies, by former South African Apartheid Chief Negotiator, Roelf Meyer, it was revealed that he was one of Frederick de Klerk’s strategists in growing the Apartheid genocidal regime that imprisoned Nelson Mandela for 27 years. Yet, he was still the one insider who brought reason to bear on the white minority rule, to start negotiations with the black majority leaders that led to Mandela becoming the first South African black President in 1994.
Those keeping Mama Regina Mundi would do the struggle a favour by seeing in her the future Roelf Meyer. Added to her being an accomplished grandmother who has nothing to lose in speaking truth to the Yaounde regime, Regina Mundi, like Roelf Meyer, could be the Yindo Tange to fast-track the Southern Cameroons’ greater autonomy struggle.
By the way, how on earth would someone think the withdrawal or elimination of Mama Regina Mundi, could be a plus to the independence struggle? How could people who have since 2017 be claiming to be winning ‘fatly’ suddenly turn around to give the impression the likes of the Regina Mundis were the obstacles to their independence? Are they not now behaving like the scribes in the book of Mathew 17:11-12, who even though Jesus was already with them, continued to deny he was the Messiah on grounds it was written that Elijah must first come?
Like Jesus who upon hearing the worries of the scribes through the apostles replied: ‘Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, That Elias has already come and they knew him not.’ Could it not be that independence would come, but activists would still not see it because they think it must come in the 2nd Republic, and flesh?
Are those activists and fighters permanently agreeing to disagree not the true blacklegs who are derailing the struggle? If they were united and speaking with one voice rather than fighting to outsmart and outdistance each, would 1000 Mundis be anything to stand on their path?
*Colbert Gwain is a digital rights activist, author, radio host, Commitment Maker at UN Generation Equality Coalition, and content creator @TheColbertFactor