Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Bamali Chieftaincy Crisis: Of Administrative Lickers and Village Gangsterism

Locally fabricated guns seized from the population
Chieftaincy crisis in the North West Region as proven is perhaps a “chop-pot” to some people not only those in the power tussle, but more interestingly the people of the lie (politician) and the administrators. Even though milky, it is at the same time a hot potato in the hands of administrators. Invariably chieftaincy conflicts have been notably fueled by several interrelated casual factors such as bad governance and corruption, and small arms proliferation in villages. Easy access to locally fabricated arms is gradually becoming a very huge problem given that it is a fertile ground to breed village gangsters.  

The more the crisis persists, the more the interest, benefactors and so on and so forth. It is for this reason that there are more than six villages in the North West Region with two fons. Ngoketunjia Division has 13 villages with 14 fons. Bamali village happens to be one of the villages caught in the mess with two traditional rulers (one who lives with the population in the village and another who was dethroned by the population, and lives out of the village but is recognized by the administration).
Last December 30, 2014, the Bamali chieftaincy crisis took a drama twist with the livid outburst of the administrative buffoonery clashing with village gangsters. Blood bath ensued with many sustaining major and minor injuries. The incident exhibited the ugliest side of the North West gun culture as well as the administrative licking lapses. So, it has come to past that so far as guns are allowed in the hands of idle minds, others shall witness very uncomfortable situations and as much as the milky tenets continue to strive, it must end up in an explosion.
The frequent outbreak of inter tribal wars is certainly linked either to the administrative buffoonery of the SDOs and DOs, the self-centeredness of the politicians or the gun culture.
Thousands of commuters and travelers who used the Bamenda Ring Road on December 30, 2014, like the British High Commissioner were caught in the web of road blocks raised by irate villagers turned out to be vivid students of the confrontation; apocalypse and the wrongs of chieftaincy;. It is on record that over 71 persons sustained injuries in the scuffle. The Senior Divisional Officer for Ngoketunjia, Mr. Kuela Valerie was stoned by the same vandals who think they (administrators) licked from sides of the coin. It is even alleged he (Kuela Valerie, SDO for Ngoketunjia) sustained injuries.
The immediate cause of the confrontation that has sent many to hospital beds has recorded varied versions.
A version alleges that information had filtered out that guns were hidden at the Bamali palace. Allegedly, Bamali had the intention of supporting a neighboring village at war and were about to raise funds to send warriors out on that mission.
 Another version of the story holds that the villagers had summoned an end of year fund raising event to raise funds for development projects and that someone masterminded an obnoxious plan to set in confusion for the newly enthroned fon to be kidnapped. So when the forces of law and order invaded the village, they feared the troops had come to kidnap their ruler especially as it was rumoured that they were accompanied by the ousted fon.
More so, the third version holds that troops upon return from the Baligansi/Bamukumbit conflict zone were intercepted by the Divisional Officer for Ndop. He took them to the palace where the village traditional council was holding a meeting. Up on arrival, all phones were seized when the members of the council could resist the fact that their fon was being flocked publicly. Those who attempt to react were flocked and one courageous man who ran out of the palace immediately alerted the villagers that their fons was kidnapped and was being taken away.
 Yet public opinion in the North West is confused as to which of the three versions is true. As days go by, the hidden faces behind the mask may soon come to daylight. However, it is not yet clear whether the guns allegedly hidden in the palace were uncovered or not. But what is evident so far is that some of the guns used by the population to attack law enforcement officials and the administration were taken away. The gun incident in Bamali is thus becoming a myth given that in the North West Region, each family has at least a locally fabricated gun which formerly was used in death celebrations. The issue of guns in the hands of idlers has also been a nightmare given the rampant high way robbers. It has been noticed that graziers on the other hand also own some of them but since they are not officials, once stolen, they stay mute and the next day; headsmen use them to set road blocks and steal from helpless travelers.
Traditional haters have often used this opportunity to stir troubleas was the case in Bamali where allegations abound that seven guns were seized. Five of the seven guns it is alleged were from the palace and two others siezed from a certain Mbele who the villagers claim they do not know him and have never heard of.
The case of Big Babanki where a military officer was killed and the ousted fon burnt to ashes is still fresh in memories in North West. Barbaric indeed!

When News Breaks Out, We Break In. (The 2014 Bloggies Finalist)

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