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Anglophone Crisis: When Traditional Rulers Become Targets
Category :- Culture Author :- L J KINGAH 
Posted on November 9, 2020, 1:42 pm
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With the ongoing crisis in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon, the high respect for traditional rulers has evidently been robbed.

Just like in most parts of Africa, in Cameroon, traditional rulers play vital roles in mediating between the people and the state. Besides enhancing national identity, they also resolve minor conflicts while providing an institutional safety-valve for inadequate state structure and regulation.

Fon of Nso

Since the outbreak of the war dependence on traditional rulers have been robbed of their powers. A kingdom could be kidnapped, killed but not a king. Opponents could kill the subjects, children and wives of a ruler but for respect, he would be left out sometimes so that he feels the pains. Generally, in the North West Region of Cameroon, traditional rulers are referred to as Fons, while in the South West region they have various names but often generally as chiefs.

Although traditional rulers do not have formal political power, in many cases they continue to command respect and have considerable influence from their people. It is from the rulers of independent states or communities that existed before the formation of modern Cameroon that they derive their titles from.

Cameroonian history, culture and societal respect have taken a turn. Since the outbreak of the Anglophone crisis, many chiefs have abandoned their palaces for safety. Some of them have even been exiled and have been kidnapped.

Cardinal Tumi

For instance more than a year ago, the people of the Nso tribe “loss” their Fon, His Royal Highness - HRH Nsehm Mbinglo Ito exile. Before being flown out, he was kidnapped and about a day in captivity, he was released. Though the separatist fighters did not claim responsibility for the act, it was said that they were behind the act.

Upon release, he was reportedly flown out of the tribe in a military helicopter for safety to Yaounde, Capital of Cameroon.

Having been out for long, it was time for the Fon to brave odds and return home. In the company of Cardinal Tumi, Wiiy Ntoh (Queen Mother) and other notables, they were reportedly kidnapped on Thursday, November 5th, 2020 in Baba, road leading to Nso. It was reported Friday morning that the Cardinal was released but not the Fon.

Cardinal Tumi Released

Given the enthusiasm at which the Nso people were waiting for their Fon, they were set to walk on foot to the scene of the act in search of their ruler. However, they were stopped as the military took charge. The sons and daughters of the Nso soil were therefore called to not panic but pray that after everything, the Fon should come home alive.

Now, where is that respect for traditional rulers? The controversy now is if they will ever gain back the respect and command they had before the outbreak of the war.

The war that has lasted for over five years has not only inflicted political and economic bondage but also traditional and cultural breakage. It has led to the loss of thousands of lives and thousands of people have been displaced to bushes and neighboring villages, towns, and countries.

Release of Cardinal Tumi

There is fear that the war may still last longer than expected because there is a belief that traditional rulers can be of great influence in peacemaking. This is because, from a community, a tribe can be mobilized and eventually, peace will radiate far and wide.

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