The Cameroon national anthem’s refrain depicts Cameroon as a land of Promise, Land of Glory, our Life, our Joy and our only Store, to whom we owe Honour, Devotion and Deep endearment, for evermore.
The great lyrics of the Cameroon national anthem used to be the pride of the nation as, over the years, the nation has been seen by the international community as the most peaceful country in West and Central Africa blessed with abundant human and natural resources and even considered as Africa in miniature.
From the hills of Mount Cameroon to the grasslands of the North West region, to the low land of the Adamawa Plateau, extending to the land of the great in Mvomeka and in all the major towns and cities, great and small villages in all the 10 regions of Cameroon, the joy of singing the anthem used to be a none-negotiable affair as it is considered as an act of patriotism, love and loyalty to the Fatherland.
From the hinterlands of Ebolowa passing through Kolofata in the North and extending to the shallow waters of Tiko and moving to the Water Falls of the Menchum Division, the pride of standing at attention when a flag is being hoisted in Cameroon used to be seen as a sense of responsibility as even little children who had very little knowledge about patriotism still innocently respected the flag by standing still when the flag was being hoisted.
When the anthem is being sung, the faces of Cameroonians used to beam with joy ,love, pride and enthusiasm and in their beautiful and melodious voices, you could hear the sound of unity and national integration flowing through their blood as they sung “O Cameroon thou cradle of our father”.
One can still remember the good old days when the whole nation used to gather in various joints as one single family with the sole aim and objective to watch and support the Indomitable Lions during local and international football matches while chanting songs of love and victory.
Once upon a time, Cameroonians from all the 10 regions came under one canopy to say no to terrorism in the northern part of the nation by giving moral, financial and physical support to the forces of law and order to combat the Boko Haram insurgency.
Mothers, fathers and youths from Kwakwa, Mbalangi, Belo, Dadi, Munyengi, Mamfe, Banga, Ekona, Bakundu, Bombe, Batibo, Lebialem, Wum and many others all supported the military in fighting against corruption and Boko Haram through their substantial donations. But today, the story is quite different especially in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon.
Today, those who used to sing the anthem with joy and unity, those who contributed to the fight against terrorism, those who donated their last grain of maize to feed the military in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon have now become targets of military brutality, burnings, arrests, intimidation and targeted killings by the same people whom they used to collaborate with. And to add salt to injury, the latter have tagged and labeled the former as ‘terrorists’.
The same villages in the South West Region that used to congratulate the military for their acts of bravery against the Nigerian army and the Niger Delta guys during the Bakassi crisis as they returned from the battle in Bakassi have now become enemies to the same military with hundreds of houses set ablaze by the same people who ought to pay back their dues to those villages. By so doing, they have bitten the finger that fed them.
For two consecutive years, scores of people have been killed as a result of the ongoing crisis. People who used to love and defend the the CPDM Party even during their moments of trial seem to have been abandoned by some Elites who had received support from the people.
Lawyers were brutalized; University students rough-handled in Buea and rubbed in sewage, others were arrested, asphyxiated with tear-gas by Cameroon forces of law and order, schools burnt down by unknown men and hundreds arrested in the Anglophone regions yet Elites did not move a muscle and neither did they utter a word about all these obnoxious happenings.
One begins to wonder why these elites are now canvasing for elections as if the people are living in luxury, the so called Elites will stay quiet for over two consecutive years seeing children not going school in some parts of the nation, seeing mothers and fathers in Kwakwa, Banlangi, Ekona, and other villages being burnt alive in their own homes right inside their villages. Yet they kept silent seeing young men and women on September 22nd 2017 and 1st October being killed, seeing military men being killed defending their fatherland, they heard how scores of youths in Pinyin were brutally murdered, they heard about destruction of villages in the North and South West Regions by the Military and armed groups and yet stayed quiet.
Potential voters in Ekona, Ikiliwindi, Bangem, Fundong, Belo, Wum, Batibo, Dadi, Kwakwa, Nake, Bole etc that used to support the CPDM Party due to their patriotic nature and who are believers of a one and indivisible Cameroon are being killed yet these Elites turned cold shoulders on all these misdeeds. What will these Elites who are preparing to campaign for president Paul Biya tell the sons and daughters of people whose parents were burnt alive, whose homes were set ablaze, whose innocent sons and daughters were forced to bribe their way out of unlawful detention? What will these Elites tell the students who have been home for two years without going school due to the ongoing unending crisis, yet they brandishes themselves as the voice of the people? What will they tell the hundreds living in Bushes who ran away from military brutality and vandalism? Isn’t this the height of sheer irony?
Will they tell them that the soldiers have repented of their atrocious acts and should leave the villages and come and vote for President Paul Biya? or will they tell them that they should lay their trust on the Cameroonian army and their “Natural” President Paul Biya? Why have they not visit the thousands of refugees in Nigeria or is that they do not know what they will tell them? Ok if they were to visit Nigeria what will they tell the thousands of refugees who are in Nigeria whose homes have all being burnt down; will they tell them that they will build the houses?
The birth of the Anglophone crisis in the North West and South West Region has made many English-speaking Cameroonians to question the international community, international bodies and above all Cameroonian ancestors. Where did they (Anglophones) go wrong?
Today, what started as the Anglophone crisis has taken a U-turn. So many people (both military and civilians) have been killed by either Anglophone Separatists (“terrorist”) or Military forces. Several villages have been burnt down in the South West Region by alleged military official’s villages such as Kwakwa, Kenbong, Boki, Banlangi, Banga Bakundu, just to name but a few, allegations which the Cameroon government has debunked as being fake and unfounded depiet evidences from Amnesty International and other Rights groups and have stood on the grounds that the Cameroon military is acting professionally. Professionally Indeed!
From the look of things within Cameroon, it seems as if the anthem is no longer patriotic to some people who used to idolize it. Could it be that the singer of the anthem has changed the lyrics of the anthem?
Cameroon forces of law and order used to command a lot of respect in society. Families who had children in the military used to be considered as an all-powerful family but today in the North West and South West Region of Cameroon the story seems to be different. The question hovering in the air is where did they go wrong?
A day will hardly pass by without stories of killing of unarmed civilians, forces of law and order, freedom fighters in a land which used to be the citadel of peace, love and unity all in the quest for nationalism in what others will call “Ambazonians” or the quest for Egoism which has been termed “Living together”
Munyege, Mbalangi, kwakwa the story of abandoned Villages
Munyenge is a village located in Muyuka Subdivision, Fako Division South West Region of Cameroon. Here, faming is the major economic activity and the locality prides itself as being the highest cocoa producer in the Fako Division.
“On that fateful Sunday, I was cooking in the kitchen and suddenly I started hearing gunshots, and I asked myself what was amiss. Instantly I decided to go to my room to hide myself and as I stood in the room I heard voices in French. Since I could not understand the language, I decided to peep through the window and I saw soldiers moving helter-skelter in the neighborhoods.
Later I started hearing gunshots again and this time around, they were more intense, so I lay on the floor. Not long from that, the gunshots ceased and soldiers started breaking into homes and arresting, brutalizing people and it was at this juncture that I decided to run away with my children because they were arresting both men and women.
I then decided to leave the house and as we tried leaving the house, we saw how young men and women removed from their homes were being beating and molested by the soldiers.
We finally succeed to leave the house and ran into the bushes. When we reached the bush, we met with villagers who had equally escaped when they heard the gunshots. While in the bushes we could see smoke emanating from the village and some few persons managed to escape and joined us in the forest and we asked them what was going on in the village. They told us that the military did not just end at breaking into houses but started burning houses.
We stayed in the bush for three days with no food, water nor shelter and my family and I finally resorted to trekking for hours before reaching Ekona and later found ourselves in Muea with my children.
We abandoned everything and we are presently suffering here in Muea with no food”
Miss Mbong Melvis an internally displaced narrated her story to TNN
“I had just returned back from the farm when I heard that a soldier was allegedly killed by an “Ambazonian” guy around the Mbalangi field. As we were talking about what was going on, we saw how the military drove in and started shooting indiscriminately while breaking and burning down houses. We were now compelled to escape to the bushes as the soldiers continued shooting sporadically” Bokwe Ngoe talked to TNN.
Kwakwa is a town located in Mbonge Subdivision, Meme Division in the South West Region of Cameroon
“We were seating at home when and we heard gunshots. I asked my wife and children to lay on the floor because the gunshots were intense and after a while the gunshots stopped. I then carefully opened my window to look outside I saw only soldiers parading the street and within five minutes they (the Military) were attacked again and they responded by opening fire indiscriminately.
Shortly after that, the military started burning down houses and in the course of that they burnt an old grandmother who could not run away because of her age and they started killing young men and women indiscriminately. As a result of their action I was obliged to leave Kwakwa with my family.
How we got to Kumba was a whole story on its own. We slept in a cocoa farm for two days hearing gun battle in the town between the military and gun men. The next day we decided to leave the bushes since the gun battle had reduced.
We decided to move back to kwakwa town so as to look for a way to get to Kumba and when we entered the town, we couldn’t help but notice how deserted the town had become and we saw houses which had been burnt down including our home, and dead bodies of youths littered the town. And from my observation, none of them were armed.
Just when we were looking for a way to get to Kumba, the military truck drove in and started arresting the few people present in the town and equally started shooting and we ran back to the bushes with my wife and decided to use the bush roads to get to Kumba.
We trekked for hours and arrived at Kombone Mission and we did not have enough money to hire a bike since we had escaped in a hurry as we heard gunshots. So we were forced to trek and later on took a bike that dropped us at Kumba.
What struck me was the burning of houses by the military, which proves that if my wife and I had not fled our house, we would have been burnt alive. We left Kwakwa with nothing except for the clothes we were putting on. And when we got to Kumba we pleaded with a bus driver who understood our situation and decided to take us to Buea were we are leaving now with our families” Nji Roland told TNN.
Lives are being wasted as well as properties, yet nobody seems to care.
Humans who yesterday had their abodes are today hosted by hostile reptiles in bushes. Women have resorted to rags for their monthly sanitary towels. Isn’t this enough?