Traditional rulers from the North West and South West regions have sued for forgiveness and purification of villages as a major step towards attaining lasting peace in communities across the English-Speaking regions.
This was during a one-day brainstorming session which took place Wednesday August 19 in Yaounde. Territorial Administration Minister, Paul Atanga Nji, chaired the deliberations.
The meeting that held in two sessions brought together traditional rulers from the North West and South West Regions.
Most of the Fons and chiefs present at the meeting are internally displaced due to the Anglophone crisis. They have declared their willingness to return to their communities with the help of government.
Since separatist fighters launched attacks against traditional rulers, the President of the Republic has expressed consoling actions to assuage the plight of Fons and Chiefs. Yesterday’s meeting we gathered was held on the instructions of the President of the Republic.
Speaking on behalf of North West Fons, Fon Chafah Isaac XI of Bangolan said the way out must start with forgiveness, “The secret is simple, forgiveness, we must start by forgiveness. The Fons must forgive those who yesterday harassed them. They must forgive those who desecrated their palaces. And in some cases, some purification has to be done.”
Fon Chafah stressed that, “because if we believe in our tradition, it means it a lot of things were done that were not traditional. So for things to come to normal they must be some purification,” adding that: “In my case for instance, they want me back in Bangolan, they want me back in the village but how can I go when the palace has been desecrated. There must be some purification to purify those who did that because some have paid the prize with their lives. And some are still living. Some have mysterious things happening to them. But the few that have the grace of God to survive it, they must be purified.”
According to Chafah, “I will start by thanking the government through the Minister of Territorial Administration for this initiative. It shows the traditional rulers especially those living out of their Fondoms and particularly those here in Yaounde, that they have not been abandoned to themselves.”
Fon Chafah noted, “That the government is preoccupied with our situation, the main objective of this meeting was to look at ways which the Fons can be accompanied by their elite to go back to their Fondoms because whatever we are saying no Fon is happy living away from his palace. You have Fons who have several wives and children and a Fon is here and part of the family is in the palace. It is not good. Secondly, activities of every Fondom, be it political, socio-cultural revolves around the palaces.”
The place of the traditional institution in the North West and South West regions cannot be over emphasized as both parties underscored during Wednesday’s exchanges. “The absence of the Fon in the palace creates a vacuum. And it is a dangerous vacuum. When this revolution started our children told us if you have a problem, don’t take it to the Brigade and the D.O, take it to the palaces. We thought our children had confidence in us. But out of sudden we saw palaces being desecrated and Fons being chased out of their palaces,” Chafah recalled.
He advised that, “everything that goes up, comes down. It is the law of nature. There is never a war without an end. There is never a problem without a solution. We are not happy living out here and seeing our children being decapitated and all sorts of atrocities being committed. It is as if our ancestors have abandoned us. The roots of every individual are in your villages and in your palaces,” noted, declaring further that: “We are pleading with our sons and daughters to create conducive atmosphere for the traditional rulers to regain their palaces. It is difficult to rule by remote control. The security situation of each Fondom is not the same.”
On the way forward, after the crucial meeting, Fon Chafah told reporters that: “Measures will be taken based on the situation of the village. Mine for instance, my situation is peculiar. I will be pleased to announce to you the rebellion that was going on in Bangolan is no more the same story today.”
On his part, Chief Dr. Atem Ebako of Talagaye village in the South West Region underscored that “The issue of forgiveness is a very important principle in a disaster like this. This is a collective disaster. We cannot attribute it specifically to one person; who either beheaded my mother or killed my mother, it is a generalized problem. Therefore, the principle of forgiveness must be the forward for these children.”
Chief Atem added that, “First of all they were not responsible for this. They have been intoxicated. They have been asked to do what they are doing. Therefore, we cannot put them down and say we will crucify them. With respect to the desecration of palaces they have done, this is something an individual Chief like I cannot handle it because the palace is a property of the community. The chieftaincy institution is owned by the community, so they will know what to do to restore all the sanctity and sacredness of the palace.”
cross section of traditional rulers at the meeting
Opening deliberations, Territorial Administration Minister, Paul Atanga Nji, said the aim of the meeting was to see how the state could accompany Fons and Chiefs to go back to their villages.
This concern, he added, has preoccupied the President of the Republic Paul Biya and Prime Minister, Head of Government, Chief Dr. Joseph Dion Ngute.
The government through the Minister of Territorial administration assured traditional rulers of government’s readiness to assist them take full command and control of their villages.
Minister Atanga noted that: “Some of them have come to me and expressed the wish that they want to go back, but they need some support. Some have written to the Presidency and the Prime Minister’s Office stating that they are willing to go back, but they need support. It could be material, financial. As sons and daughters of our regions, we have to examine this situation and see what can be done properly.”
Even though concerns raised of recent point at insecurity amongst others, Minister Atanga said, it is obvious that “we still have security challenges in some divisions and subdivisions, but also in some areas the military has tried as much as possible to bring some calm and serenity. “So the idea of the Head of State, President Paul Biya and Prime Minister, Head of Government is that, those places where we have relative calm, where things have come back to normal, we should encourage the Fons and chiefs to go back,” the Minister noted.
He assured traditional rulers from these two regions that “We will give them the support they need. We have to examine the challenges, short term and long term, then see what can be done immediately.”
Atanga Nji hailed traditional rulers who have stood the test of time amidst challenges in certain villages despite the atrocities committed.
He noted that, the Fons and chiefs have braved the odds, “they have conquered fear and all sought of intimidation, threats and they staying in their villages. We want to encourage the Fons and chiefs who have been out for some time, we all understand, that as things are gradually coming back to normal they should try as much as possible to go back and to work closely with the local population so that at the end of the day they can be masters of their own destiny. At this time, it is difficult for us to sit on the fence because sitting in the fence is counterproductive, it is not advisable,” the minister submitted.
Story, CAMWATCH Team