BY THE DEPUTY NATIONAL CHAIRMAN OF SCAPO MR AUGUSTINE F. NDANGAM
ON THE OCCASION OF LAYING DR. GUMNE TO REST
Tabeken, Donga Mantung Division, November 21st, 2015.
Political and Opinion Leaders,
The Southern Cameroons People’s Organization (SCAPO) wishes first of all, to convey their condolences to the family of Dr. Francis Kevin Ngwang Gumne on this sad and unexpected event of their National Chairman’s departure home. Dr. Gumne was the National Chairman of The Southern Cameroons People’s Organization (SCAPO) and those who knew him well know that when by the Grace of God he drew his last breath on Saturday 3rd November 2015, Dr. Gumne did so right in the trenches as a national leader and as a general commanding at the war-front. SCAPO believes that when both the battle and war which Dr. Gumne died fighting in are over, his name will have a well-deserved place on the annals of his country whose freedom and right of self-determination he worked with every ounce of his energy to bring about and did so to the last seconds of this transient life here on earth.
When we describe Dr Gumne as a “General” commanding at the war front and dying in the trenches let no cynic try to misrepresent either Dr. Gumne or SCAPO; and let us be clear: In the war we have been engaged in, we have fired not from the barrel, but from the lips and SCAPO’s battle-field has been the Law courts, both domestic and international. Apart from cynics, there are those who either do not know (or understand) what the Southern Cameroon struggle is all about. There are those who fear because they have been told that it is secession and no one has helped them to know that it is not secession. Some, even among Southern Cameroonians themselves have characterized it as marginalization and discrimination, watering down a problem of mountain proportion to mole-hills. Dr Gumne has left us but the struggle continues and it will do so along the peaceful and along the lawful approaches which he charted. His death in the trenches with sweat and dust on his face is indeed a source of inspiration and encouragement for us to continue the struggle until the Statehood of Southern Cameroons is restored and freedom for our country is achieved.
On this somber occasion of laying Dr Gumne to rest our reflections turn naturally, not only on Dr. Gumne and his untimely departure from this world, but also on life itself:
- What is life all about?
- Why is it so short?
- Is there another life beyond the grave?
The reason we ask these and a similar question is because the one thing which all of us are absolutely certain about life here on earth, is that we must leave it one day. Death is inevitable. A striking tomb stone in a cemetery in Indiana carries this Epitaph:
“Pause Stranger, when you pass me by,
As you are now, so once was I.
As I am now, so you will be,
So prepare for death and follow me,”
An unknown passer-by read those words and underneath scratched the following two lines:
“To follow you I’m not content
Until I know which way you went.”
The words of this passer-by remind us Christians of the words of Thomas to our Lord Jesus Christ in John 14: 5: “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” and the reply of Jesus to Thomas was, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” Dr. Gumne was a committed Christian and Christian faith is anchored on these words by Jesus and though Dr. Gumne has left us we know that he is right now somewhere where Jesus is.
From his deep faith and commitment to God we also know that Dr Gumne would say the same words of faith as those attributed to an ancient and aged astronomer:
“Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light;
I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.”
I worked closely with Dr. Gumne here at home both in the Social Democratic Front (SDF) Party and in the de-annexation struggle of our country the Southern Cameroons. He and I worked closely in the group led by Dr Foncha that founded the Bamenda University of Science and Technology (BUST). He and I travelled together in foreign lands: in Nigeria in the United Kingdom and in the United States of America. The second thing I can say about Dr. Gumne from my closeness to him is that he was a courageous leader and a peaceful man. The peaceful approach which SCAPO has taken in the Southern Cameroons struggle draws from this natural disposition of Dr. Gumne which underscored his good leadership.
On this sad occasion, members of the Southern Cameroons People’s Organization (SCAPO) have asked that I convey to you: Mrs. Roswita Gumne, and the entire Gumne family the fact that they share in your grief and they mourn with you. Henry Longfellow says in one of his memorable poems:
“There is no flock, however watched and tended,
But one dead lamb is there!
There is no fireside, howso’er defended,
But has one vacant chair! …
We see but dimly through the mists and vapours;
Amid these earthly damps,
What seems to us but sad, funeral tappers
May be heaven’s distant lamps.”
While we separate physically with Dr. Gumne, we also recall the words of Rabindranath Tagore: “Death is not extinguishing the light; it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.” May God send out a band of angels to welcome home Dr. Francis Kevin Ngwang Gumne.
When News Breaks Out, We Break In. (The 2014 Bloggies Finalist)