Monday, October 5, 2015

The Rise and Fall of Ama Tutu Muna

Mafor Yaah Yefon Ama Tutu Muna

Born on July 17, 1960 in Limbe, in the Southwest Province, she was the only English speaking female cabinet minister of the North west in the predominantly male cabinet. A linguist by training, Ama's curriculum vitae indicates that she is a holder of a Certificate in Translation obtained from the University Of Montreal, Canada, in 1983.
Ama Tutu Muna became the new person in Momo politics in the late 90s when she revamped the Mbengwi Abi Fall Sub Section of the CPDM. Her successes led to the putting in place of the Mbengwi Women Cooperative that became her spring board in politics. Ama Tutu Muna suddenly became the most influential CPDM political figure in Momo when she staged the most successful sub section conference that witnessed the presence key personalities like Ismael Bidoung Mkpat and late Ateba Ayene.
Ama has had the passion of becoming a successful woman entrepreneur with the FEMI Construction and especially when she constructed the Bamenda High Court. She was able to connect with poverty sickened people as champion and founder of FEMI Construction. Ama Tutu Muna also enjoyed a list of accomplishments to her accolades. She crowned Yaah Yefon by the Fon of Nso and Mafor by Meta Fons.
As it is not enough, President Biya appointed Ama on December 8, 2004 to work under Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana, the then Minister of Commerce as the Secretary of State in charge of Commerce. After her appointment, she made successful strides and revamped the CPDM in Momo Division. She also created the North West Women Forum-NOWEFF. She also received several national awards. Ama entered into records as the first female minister from the North West Region. Her homecoming in Mbengwi was a come and see.
In 2007, Ama was appointed as Minister of Arts and Culture. Apparently Ama’s love for the 'Kaba Ngondo' fashion and love of culture expect her to go beyond what can be deduced from her manner of dressing. But with all these knacks, where did she go wrong?  There is a matrix of factors that led to her downfall. They range from her myopic decisions to the voracious people whom she was surrounded with. Most of the people she entrusted sensitive activities on them were just there to satisfy their ego of self-enrichment.
Her choice of collaborators and direct involvement in the management of authors’ rights was a goof. She also preferred political allies who could not bring innovative ideas and musicians were aghast.
Ama Tutu Muna was not visionary. She had no sense of direction as to where she wanted to take the artists and musicians to. She concentrated all her efforts in fighting musicians who criticized her. And her policies were short-lived given that there was division amongst artists and musicians. This created animosity among the artists especially those who did not benefit anything. Despite all these problems, Ama was often found in places distributing support to musicians who adhere to her dictates and above all, created structures that died overnight. It is not yet clear whether before her appointment as Minister of Culture; she had already learned to cope with the cultural demands of such positions. The hard work and efficiency that have continued to be the qualities that defined her in her former post disappeared.
The Transfer of NW artifacts
On the instruction of Ama Muna, artifacts of 300 to 400 years old previously at the North West Regional museum were transferred to the National Meseum in Yaounde on drummed up claims that they were not secured in Bamenda. The transfer angered Northwest fons to the point that they were threatening to stage a protest march to the nation capital. North West Fons Union expressed disgust over the decision by Arts and Culture minister. “Yet, on June 8, 2014 Mafor Yefon Ama Tutu Muna told CRTV Cameroon Calling that she ordered for the artifacts to be transferred to Yaounde as a solution given that these artifacts were not well taken care of. She claimed that the artifacts shall be brought back in the nearest future but could not say when. In the desperate attempt to clear the air, Arts and Culture minister said “what happened was that the artifacts were removed from the regional museum and stocked somewhere in the delegation. They are objects of 300 to 400 years”. She said the artifacts were not properly kept and that there are about 4000 to 6000 objects. “Who says they are not safe here? Have they come to inspect where the museum is? Before you begin to say something is not safe, have you come to the ministry to verify?”.
The brouhaha between Arts and Culture Minister Ama Tutu Muna, and ace Cameroonian born musician Ndedi Eyango is seemingly a partial antidote to her failure. Purportedly, Ndedi Eyango had also vowed that the matter was yet from over. It should be recalled that Ndedi Eyango was voted Board chair of SOCAM in November but on December 23, 2013, Ama Muna signed a decision in which she declared Ndedi Eyango was not a Cameroonian. Yet, Ndedi Eyango hammered that Ama Tutu Muna did not have the loco standi on his nationality. Minister Ama Muna went ahead to set up a normalization Committee headed by San Fan Thomas. This act resulted to a split among musicians. It should be recalled that CMC had taken Ama to court as well on what observers say may have contributed for a sacking. The crisis started on May 2008 when the Cameroon Music Corporation (CMC) board of copyright was stripped of its accreditation. It should be recalled that CMC orchestrated a legal battle that ended with a decision by the Supreme Court restoring its rights. Minister Ama Muna refused to submit to the decision of the Supreme Court and created Socam. SOCAM was dissolved in December 2013 following a series of injunctions. Later, the Prime Minister created an Ad Hoc Committee to bring order in the music sector.
The altercation and identity crisis between Prime Minister, Head of Government Yang Philemon and Minister of Arts and Culture, Ama Tutu Muna over the creation of a new author’s rights structure is said to be the final nail that dismissed Ama from government. On May 22, 2015 the Prime Ministry signed a communiqué giving Ama Muna 48 hrs to dissolve the newly created structure, SOCACIM. That decision also rendered null and void the license issued by Arts and Culture minister, Ama Tutu Muna.  Ama Muna was accused of violating the dispositions of Article 75 of Law No 2000/11 of December 2000 on authors and neigbours’ rights as well as Article 20 of Decree No 2001/956/PM of November 1, 2001. More so, Minister Ama Muna is also said to have disrespected the dispositions on general instructions as well as Code No 002 of 1st October 2002, on the organization of government work.
The issue exploded on April 28, 2015 when Ama Tutu Muna took some artists to her Mbengwi constituency where she imposed the creation of SOCACIM. It is even alleged that she used all the means available to hoodwink musicians to adopt her idea.  She had spent hundreds of millions of taxpayers money and when the PM stepped in and ordered that she should wait for the report of the Commission, Ama Muna went ahead to announce over the airwaves of the national station that SOCACIM was granted the license to operate. Classified sources say Ama Muna may appear in front of the Special Criminal Court in relation to copyrights management from December 2007 up to December 2014. She will have it hot for not respecting first the Supreme Court ruling on CMC, before a review is done on her running of SOCAM saga. She may not be directly implicated but yet could have to waste her time appearing before the courts for giving trust to collaborators who were egoistic and wanted only to enrich themselves….  
Besides, the idea of Ama bouncing back like Agbor Tabi is not completely ruled out. (a suivre)

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

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