February 2, 2017
Open Letter to Peter Mafany Musonge
Dear Mr. Musonge,
I have been monitoring the events playing out in West Cameroon and I do appreciate your efforts to encourage parents to send their children to school. As we all know, education, indeed quality education, is the key to a bright future and any child who does not have access to such education will unfortunately spend the rest of their life in perpetual darkness. This message has always been reiterated by the government of our country. Unfortunately, each time the children acquire their certificates which are supposed to be the right keys to that bright future, the government changes the lock, making their education worthless. Is it not strange to give these children life and then withhold the ingredients that make life beautiful? Most of these graduates remain unemployed for long periods of time, with many returning to their villages to become desperate farmers because of poor policies and incredible corruption.
I would, however, encourage you to continue your crusade, but will be prompt to advise that you deal with the issues that are keeping our children out of school rather than pushing them to the same schools that are not worth their weight in gold. Isn’t it wise to strike the roots of the problem, rather than spend time trying to break the branches of the problem?
Your effort to reunite the southwest region is laudable, but you must understand that the centres of power and decision-making have changed. Those of us in the Diaspora have been financing the studies of our family members as if there is no government to take care of them. Indeed, we have been responsible for their lives, making sure they go to the hospital when they are sick, sending money for their survival and paying those exorbitant bills that you and your government have imposed on them. Today, you must understand that he who pays the piper calls the tune. You should have understood this a long time ago as the people no longer listen to you. Your masters should have understood this and should have cut you and your folks out of the corridors of power.
Similarly, those of you who have erroneously been thinking that you represent all of us from the southwest region have been rejected by the people because of the arrogance with which you have been bearing yourself in public. If you represent anybody today, it is clearly your family which has reaped the benefits of your association with a government that has not made many of us to develop a sense of belonging to that country.
I would like to remind you that the Southwest Diaspora constitutes a huge and meaningful factor in our region’s economic and political g g. You and your likes should understand this and you must work hard to bring the Diaspora on board in whatever venture or project you are designing for the Southwest region. The old days are behind us and if you still want to be relevant in today’s Cameroon, then you must reach out to the Diaspora that has borne the brunt of the mismanagement and corruption that have become our country’s hallmarks.
Allow me to also draw your attention to something that is very important to many Anglophones today. Anglophones across the country have come together to make their fate better. A few of you have benefitted from the system through flagrant manipulation and dishonesty. In many cases, in order for you to continue feathering yours nest, you fan the embers of division between the North-West and South-west. While those differences may exist, the people from Mamfe to Jakiri, Tiko to Kumbo and Mankon to Buea have decided to work together to achieve what you politicians have failed to achieve in 55 years. Anglophones have experienced a lot of marginalization in that country, but because of self-interest, you and your so-called politicians have never bothered to draw the government’s attention to their sorry plight. The people have decided to take the bull by the horn this time around and they will not be passing through anybody to get that message across. The ghost towns and school closures constitute eloquent proof of their determination to make their voices heard.
The writing on the wall is very clear. Your time is over. The southwest region needs a new political elite; an elite that will place the people’s interest at the centre of every action and policy. Old ways have only dumped the people in grinding poverty. They have been robbed of their happiness for decades. They have decided to try something different and new. They can no longer listen to the politicians who have robbed them of their dignity and denied their children the opportunity to have a taste of good life.
Mr. Musonge, this letter is not intended to disrespect you and all those attending the hastily organized meeting in Buea. It is designed to enable you see the writing on the wall. No money, no beer, no rice and no promises will convince the people of the Southwest that you are genuinely representing them. The issues on the table must be dealt with for the smart people of the Southwest region to listen to anybody. Times have changed, so too must the political elite. If you and your folks do not come out of the self-imposed cocoon of miserable importance, you might never understand why all your strategies are failing. South-westerners have moved on and they will surely achieve their goals without you and your folks.
The Diaspora is willing to work with you to make the lives of our people better. But if you stick with your old ways and mentality, then you are clearly advising that you are irrelevant in the new and modern Cameroon.
I look forward to a change of mentality and strategy so that our country can make giant strides towards meaningful and sustainable development.
About the Author: The author of this letter has served as a translator, technical writer, journalist and editor for several international organizations and corporations across the globe. He studied communication at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom and technical writing in George Brown College in Toronto, Canada. He is also a trained translator and holds a Ph.D.