Thursday, April 5, 2012

Mayhem in Bafut over Destruction of 600 Years old Shrine by Self-Proclaimed Prophet

Traditionalists in Bafut fondom, one of the citadels of culture and tradition in the Northwest Region of Cameroon have been taken aback by the destruction of a 600 years old shrine. The incident that continues to provoke public debate transpired last weekend when a certain Prophet Afanwi Frank stormed Bafut to carry out a crusade. Sources say Prophet Frank left Douala with his followers with ten (70 seater) buses for an outdoor crusade to his village of origin Bafut. While in Bafut, we gathered that he got an authorization from the Divisional officer. It is aired that on the last day, he said that the LORD had revealed to him that he should destroy the 600 years old shrine (tree). Eyewitnesses say he suddenly took his followers to fall down the tree. There was serious confrontation between the traditionalists and his followers. The fon of Bafut, the custodian of the Bafut tradition said the self-proclaimed prophet followers used tear-gas on helpless population. It is alleged that during the confrontation, more than 20 villagers were wounded and are hospitalized. The fon of Bafut, HRH Majesty Fon Abuhnbi described the incident as unfortunate and added that he would not accept a terrorist religious group that wants to impose it own region on others. Sources the prophet claims that the 600 years old tree was a bondage on the Bafut people and should be destroyed. On the other hand, traditionalists are of the opinion that the act was well-masterminded ahead of time, if not where did the prophet and followers got axes, matchets and others to fall down the tree. Another school of thought holds that the woman who founded the present Bafut Palace site and is said to have been buried where the tree was planted was a member of his family and he had the opportunity to revenge to the royal family for burying the aunty alive. A woman whose life is signified by the 600 years old tree planted on her tomb. Other versions, talk of a rainbow and a shining key appearing round the tree when it was fell. Expressionists are of the opinion that the fact that the tree was fallen indicates that something must have gone wrong somewhere. Impressionists on the other side say, Prophet Frank is the only one who has succeeded where other men of God ventured and failed.
The prophet according to what we gathered was picked up by police and was yesterday granted bail in Court. The matter according to sources will reappear in Mezam Court of FIRST Instance on the April 26, 2012. Youths stormed the court premises in support  the prophet due to the fact they have become vulnerable to some traditional practices.  
Of tradition and Human Rights Abuses of Youths
Of late a pathetic case in point is that of Edwin Che who rejected his right of succession. According to what we gathered, Edwin Che’s father, and member of a secret society (Ngumba/Kwifon) earmarked Che as the successor. He (Edwin Che) was to be enthroned as one of the kingpins in the secret society, but being a Christian, and a young man who saw the future in going to school, he declined taking over the seat of his father even though he was initiated while still very young. His refusal resulted to witch-hunting and threats from the members of the Mankon Kwifon. Following his refusal to assume the position of his father, a close aid to the Mankon Fon’s palace hinted that it is considered a sacrilege for someone to challenge the authority of the Ngumba.
According to the hint such an individual is either banished from the land or handed to the kwifon which is the supreme authority of the land for his dismissal to be committed giving that the young is also suspected of being a homosexual. In the African tradition being a homosexual is a taboo that tradition and the law forbid. Being a homosexual is not only considered as a sacrilege by tradition, it is also punishable by law. Cases are bound that many young boys and girls have been harassed, tortured and some are even alleged to have disappeared under mysterious circumstance. Che’s case has become complicated giving that in Cameroon, Section 347 of the Penal Code states: "whoever has sexual relationships with a person of the same sex shall be punished with imprisonment from six months to five years and a fine from 20.000 FCFA to 200.000 FCFA". More so, it is a common phenomenon to hear that somebody has been harassed and more to that suspended from moving with anybody or banished from the village because he is gay person. 
In November 2011, two young men were sentenced to five years simply for being gay in Cameroon. Human Rights activist Me Alice Nkom, is quoted to have said that "violence against gay people in Cameroon has skyrocketed to unprecedented level". The situation she added is quickly becoming a crisis. Many young Cameroonians have been killed for been homosexual. Suspicion however reigns supreme we gathered over Edwin Che’s fate for being accused of being a homosexual and at the same time refusing to take up the seat in a secret society.  It is alleged he is wanted by the police for initiating youths into homosexuality. Members of the kwifon see this as an opportunity to settle scores with him for challenging their supreme authority. A church pastor names withheld hinted that some members of the cult even threatened to destroy the church. “They threatened me that I intoxicated this young man”, he lamented. More so, Che’s family is under serious threat to produce him as it is alleged he absconded from the village to an unknown destination. Allegations are rife at that the young man’s mother is under strict surveillance and some sources also hinted that she has been interrogated by palace aides five times to reveal the where about of the son.
 Investigations have been underway, The Eye has been told under the alleged involvement of his family in helping Edwin Che to escape from the village. 
It is for this reason that civil society activists and Human Rights defenders in the North West Region have been trying to empower traditional rulers to whip off the bad sides of some practices because they hinder development and also deprive people of their rights. Yet traditionalists continue to stir hatred in villages over these practices. Many young men and women have suffered in silence, and many more continue to undergo moral torture like is the case with Edwin Che. In Cameroon, the situation is becoming alarming and youths are bent on curbing it. Even lawyers who have tried to defend some youths have not had it easy, with some receiving death threats. This has been so because traditional rulers do promote them. The issue at a glance appears obvious. However, it has ramifications that are beyond the comprehension of many, including those who call themselves traditionalists. If this issue of clashes between the youths, church and tradition is coming up frequently, it is due to the ugly happenings that have occurred recently putting the obnoxious sides of tradition against youths, church and traditional practices.
After the Ndu incident where Christianity clashed with the kwifon and another secret society, Bafut has taken over. The question is whether it is not time for the administration to step in order to salvage this calamity that is almost getting out of hand.

When News Breaks Out, We Break In. Minute by Minute Report on Cameroon and Africa


Anonymous said...

The prophet should be punished first for cutting down the tree

Elvis Paul said...

Just another brainwashed African seeking cheap popularity to capture undecided victims. Such people should be locked up for ever, they are enemies of Africa. The So called Prophet has forgotten that they ( African Prophets) a worshoping but another person's shrine. A shrine that the very people who brought no longer believe in. its a shame, Africa will never rise.

Che Sunday said...

These are illiterates who still can not differentiate between what is Caesar's and what for the king. When the present fon came to the throne, he made a very concerted effort to locate relatives of this woman in order to atone for the treatment she got from the royal family. No one was willing to show up. Now a mad zealot shows up under the banner of Christianity to create chaos in a peaceful community. I would have hoped he would be buried alive alongside his aunty.

Che Sunday said...

He should have been buried alive along side his auntie, if he is really his auntie.

Anonymous said...

Edwin you re a disgrace to our tradition....

Anonymous said...

I love my village, this man is a disgrace, education people, l love my grandfather the fon for taking care of bafut.