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Monday, September 3, 2012

Bamenda on Time Bomb, Fon Angwafo III Fires at Mezam Administration

 
HRH Fon Angwafo III of Mankon has launched an unguided missile at what he described as scandalous and provocative issues that will disrupt public peace in Bamenda. Full text of the letter below
Considering the peace that exits in Bamenda City Council Metropolis and being the option of all Mankon people, I the Paramount Fon of Mankon, Bamenda and National Vice President if the CPDM, have the honour to present to you a number of burning issues that will sooner or later disrupt the tranquility in the Bamenda City Metropolis. This letter is a follow up to substantiate our first letter of the 16th July 2012 on the same subject matter (copy attached).
A)    Creation of an illegal boundary between Mankon and Bamendakwe villages.
The recent proposal for the creation of a new administrative as recommended by the technical sub committee created by the SDO of Mezam is illegal and baseless, for the following reasons:
1) The administration had demarcated and surveyed the official boundary between Mankon and Bamendakwe villages since 1938 under the British administration headed by D.O Schofeild. This 1938 boundary was confirmed by the 1967 administration following a land dispute between Mankon and Mendakwe (certified copy of the official surveyed map attached) Cairns were planted on this boundary numbering MM/67/1-MM/67/6. This administrative demarcation was done in the presence and common agreement of the fons and the people of Mankon and Mendakwe (certified copies joint agreement attached).
2) Article 1 of Decree no. 2007/115 of April 23, 2007 creating Bamenda I, II and III Sub Divisions, defined the administrative boundaries of these sub divisions. For Bamenda I the Decree states “ le resort territorial dudit Arrondissement s’entend sur celui de la chefferie de Bamendakwe” and for Bamenda II “le resort territorial dudit Arrondissement s’entend sur celui de la chefferies de Mankon, Chomba, Mbatu et Nsongwa”. (Certified copy decree attached). Consequently the new administrative boundary proposed by the SDO’s committee between Mankon and Bamendakwe is in total violation of the Presidential Decree and the authentic administrative boundary of 1967.
3) By the recommendation of the Technical sub Committee of the SDO, a large part of Mankon land, people and property are being attempted to be transferred to Bamendakwe village.
4) Mendakwe, now Bamendakwe, before before becoming part of the then Bamenda Urban Council in 1977 was part of Tubah Council having no boundary dispute with neigbouring Mankon in the then Mankon area council. They had very clear official boundaries that were respected till date. Unfortunately the current SDO of Mezam is attempting to change the same official boundary which has all through been respected by his predecessors.
B) Creation of New Administrative Boundary between Mank and Nsongwa by Present SDO
It will be recalled that a Mankon confederation existed which Mbatu, Alatening, Chomba, Nsongwa, Santa Njong and Akum belonged. With time the confederation collapsed and Nsongwa like others moved away and developed into independent chiefdoms. Nsongwa moved and settled at their current location, adjacent to Mankon.
The official boundary between Mankon and Nsongwa villages was confirmed in 1938 by the British administration, DO Schofeild. The Mankn and Nsongwa people respected this boundary until 1983 when the Nsongwa people trespassed into Mankon land and invaded Nkura quarter. They destroyed crops and property belonging to the Mankon Fondom. Officials evaluation of the crops damaged was done by the divisional delegation of agriculture, Mezam amounting to over 25.000.000 FCFA. (Copy evaluation report attached).
Following the destruction, the Honourable Minister of Territorial Administration ordered the administration of Bamenda to retrace the 1983 boundary. This was traced; demarcated, surveyed and 13 beacons planted numbering MN/83/1 to MN/83/13. (See certified copy of the administrative demarcation attached). The Honourable Minister later confirmed his instructions through a radio message (See message porte) dated February 9, 1984.
In 2009, the fon of Mankon noticed that Nsongwa people had encroached again into the said portion of Mankon land partitioning and selling. They equally removed and destroyed the boundary beacons except beacon No MN/83/10. The fon of Mankon reported the matter to the administration by letter dated July 31, 2010. (Copy attached). Long silence provoked the fon of Mankon two (2) years later, to make a follow up complain to the Governor that resulted to the setting up of an Ad hoc commission headed by the SDO of Mezam. This commission visited the site and witnessed that all the beacons except No. MN/83/10 (photograph attached) were removed.   
It was and is still embarrassing that the SDO did not open an investigation to sanction the Nsongwa people for removing and destroying official inter-village beacons. Instead the SDO and his technical sub committee are attempting to create an illegal boundary by which large part of Mankn land, people and property are being transferred to Nsongwa village (copy of the proposed illegal map attached).
Scandalous Decision and Provocative Issues that will Disrupt Peace:
1)      The case of Mankon-Bamendakwe Boundary
The SDO’s committee report records various “conflicting boundary claims” amongst the villages in the three sub divisions in Bamenda, but completely failed to create a forum for the authorities of these villages to sort out the differences, but went ahead to make recommendations in which large portions of land, people and property belonging to Mankon and Nkwen are being attempted to be transferred to Bamendakwe.
* For the committee to make a report without reference to the names of the persons they consulted who guided them to collect their facts in a significant mark of lack of transparency and accountability. Apart from the appellations of fons and notables, no name featured in their report. The credible report should at least have the names of some of those consulted or a complete list in an annex. Given that boundary issues are sensitive, those who provide information should be in a position to take responsibility og their statements.
* The member of the SDO’s committee acted like people who are trying to create history where no official information existed before. They decided to conduct their findings as strangers working in a context without official documentations. This is indicated by the total lack of reference on their party to facts and evidence to documents available in their offices which they have unlimited access to as the most senior officials in the Division. This demonstration is very shameful to have come from a constituted administrative unit without 110 years of well documented history dating back from the colonial period. This lack of reference to previous authentic official decisions is a clear demonstration that the motive of the committee was to cheat on Mankon and Nkwen land in favour Of Bamendakwe under the hidden agenda of the fon and the elite of Bamendakwe.
2) The Case of Mankon-Nsongwa Boundary
 * This decision is regarded as biased and baseless as the boundary issue between Mankon and Nsongwa had long been settled as far back as 1983 as modified by the 1985 map by which part of Mankon land was ceded to Nsongwa which they have since sold and are now being aided by the SDO’s administration to encroach and grab more land from Mankon.
* The SDO’s commission failed to address the criminal issue related to the removal and destruction of official boundary cairns.
* The SDO’s current decision is attempted to annul the 1985 decision taken by his predecessors in 1983 as amended in 1985 and accepted by both parties. This indicates that the present SDO is not seeking to solve problems based on facts and the evidence at his disposal. It is rather a demonstration that he is out create and fan inter-village boundary conflicts, given that he is acting in total violation of the principle that administration I s continuous.
* There is no evidence of occupancy and investment by Nsongwa people on this portion of Mankon land which the SDO is trying to cede to Nsongwa. On the contrary, Mankon people have enjoyed long settlement in this area for generations with investments, such as houses, raffia bushes, fuci plantations, farmlands and even title land. The proposed map does not indicate these investments by Mankon people.
* Some members of the technical sub committee, eg Mr. Formefret Victor (Secretary General of the Bamenda City Council) Mr. Koloko Jean Pierre (DO of Bamenda II) and even the fon of Guzang appointed to mediate in the issue have been given Mankon land by the Nsongwa people as motivated to support the ploy of seizing Mankon land. These people are currently constructing on the land.
* It should be recalled that the Divisional delegate of the state property, land tenure and surveys, for Mezam (Mr. Enow Simon) a member of the committee, was the brain of another ploy to sell land at Ntamulung/Mulang granted to the state by the Mankon people. This act was opposed by the Mankon people and in the face of a protest the SDO referred to the fon of Mankon as “ a certain fon in the Mezam Division…” Having in the community with vested interest in Nsongwa, biases and grudges against Mankon is clear indication of up wantom attempts to grab Mankon land.
* Given the bridges of peace begins with inciting utterances and acts such as these, those who are instigating such moves should be put under surveillance and or brought to book by the administration.
* Why should the administration change official boundaries? Is it because money changed hands? The fon of Nsongwa has confirmed in his own words, “ we have paid a lot of money to the land commission. They have been payments of 150.000 fcfa, 300.000 fcfa and 500.000 fcfa….. in fact we are really drained because this matter has been a financial burden to us”. Copy of The Sun newspaper of 21/05/2012 attached”.
   In conclusion:
The present action is a calculated plan to deform the history, identity and dignity of the Mankon people and as well, erode its image from the center of the city of Bamenda and the National Map. This is evident by the silence of the SDO Mezam on the following issues:
  • The change of name of the Mankon Main Market by the present Government delegate to read Bamenda City Main Market without the required deliberation and resolution by the city council as required by law.
  • The appellation “Bafut Air Port” at the wake of the 50th Anniversary of the Presidential Decree that created the airport (copy decree attached)
  • The ongoing argument on the location of the Bamenda University with a divisional committee recommending Bambili, that has separated the well demarcated boundary from Bamenda. (copy decree attached)
  • Wrongful pronouncement made by the present Government Delegate and Mayor of Bamenda I Council with regards to Bamenda-Nkwe boundary extending to Mankon.
  • Refusal of the government delegate to sign document that carry the appellation Mankon-Bamenda, but singing those that carry Bamenda-Bamenda and others.
  • The Mankon people still feel the pains of the lose of their land to Bali people under the conspiracy of Dr. Zintgraff during the colonial era. They still remember the lose of their land, property and people to the Nkwen people under the biased circumstances by Foncha and Jua administration. Every evidence of history indicates that Mankon is not an expansionist fondom, rather it has been striving to seek every peaceful means with the administration to protect and defend its boundaries. In this generation, Mankon is not prepared to see any piece of its land and property ceded to any village. Let alone see its people subjected to a different culture and custom.
  • The Mankon people reject this report and will never allow such injustices to prevail over justice. Those working for the administration of Cameroon in Mezam should be promoting peace and creating an enabling environment for development and unity amongst people. The Mankon people are aware and are tired of confusion that some persons in the administration are causing for their selfish interest. We strongly condemn such ill practices and plead that this should stop.
  • That the SDO of Mezam should issue a counter annulling the creation of the Technical Sub Committee and its illegal and biased report
  • Open an investigation on the removal and destruction of official boundaries cairns between Mankon and Nsongwa and ensure the replanting of the cairns
  • Order the government delegate to put back the original name of the Mankon Main Market to reflect its history and identity.
  • Order the DO of Bamenda II and the government delegate to replant the sign post indicating the official name of the Airport as “Ntambeng Airport Mankon Bamenda”
  • Order the Nsongwa people to stop any transaction in the portion of Mankon land to which they are forcefully trying to claim and order those who have been given land (The Secretary General of the Bamenda City Council, DO of Bamenda II and the fon of Guzang etc…) to stop construction until they get clearance from the Mankon fondom.

Your Excellency, while waiting to get firm instructions from your high office to lay this matter to rest, we remain at your disposal.

Fo Angwafo III S.A.N
Paramount Fon of Mankon
National Vice President CPDM

Copies:
H.E the Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralization, Yaounde
H.E the Minister of State Property, Land Tenure and Surveys, Yaounde
Divisional Officer Bamenda II Sub Division Mezam




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