On January 6, 2018, Donga Mantung people paid their last respect to one of its political encyclopedias Hon. Talla Kwalar. Thousands who travelled from far and near to pay homage to the departed hero came because everyone had something to tell about the man. The Ndu municipal stadium was jammed to capacity as everyone wanted to see for his/herself that truly Pa TK (Hon. Talla Kwalar) as he was fondly called was taking a journey to the land of no return(ancestral land).
In fact everyone who matter in Donga Mantung Division was there; from the rich to the poor, the old and the young, Christians to traditionalists. Not the dreaded “Nwarong” could afford to miss to say farewell the the most renowned “Tantoh” of Ndu. Those who didn’t have the opportunity to make speeches poured their farewell in eulogies and others who could afford to write a eulogy did it in songs and dance. Everyone wanted to bid him a befitting farewell.
In a tribute to the departed hero, H.E Shey Jones Yembe (Representing the Central Committee of the CPDM) said the last standing political baobab in the recent history of Ndu has fallen in the name of Hon. Talla Kwalar. “I grew up to see him, to learn about him and to know him. I eventually worked with him, collaborated with him in the grand struggle to improve the quality of lives of our people in these parts”. To Shey Jones, the total gamut of achievements and the title deeds Hon. Talla Kwalar is left are the things that make him a political baobab. “Two qualities stand out clearly in my mind in characterizing the man lying down here humbly before us; Qualities that are admirable and Qualities worthy of emulation.” The two qualities he added are loyalty and generosity. “In considering loyalty, I call to mind loyalty to his friends namely to late Hon. Abel Tawong Ngala; late Hon. Samuel Ngeh Tamfu and late Evaristus Barthson( the renowned trade unionist) together with whom he worked intimately, hand in-glove to bring significant progress to Ndu and Donga Mantung Division”. He continued that Hon. Kwalar remained steadfast in his loyalty to the head of state, to the national institutions and to the CPDM. “Even on his sick bed, he remained firm in his belief and loyalty! He has always possessed a no-nonsense attitude about the respect of national institutions at all times.” According to H.E Shey Jones “this at once earned him both admiration and resentment and antagonism by those who failed to understand him”.
Harping on Hon. Kalwar’s generosity, She Jones Yembe emphasized that Hon. Kwalar was known to be the man of legendary generosity. “Even as children we grew up to know that if you could pluck up courage to go and greet the man, you were sure to receive a gift of something. He was a man who believed that the art of political adulation lay in having a generous hand, impacting lives no matter the level”. He recalled that it was common knowledge that many destitute students would go to Hon. Kwalar for assistance, and that he never got tired of helping within the ambit of his means.”
Talking to journalists after the burial Hon. Awudu Mbaya (Quaestor at the National Assembly) said that he will remember Hon. Talla Kwalar as he remembers Hon. SN Tamfu, Hon. Peter Ngi Nsakwa, Pa A T Ngala,(one of the first MP) and JT Ndzi. “These are people who practiced politics of development, politics of love and politics of nationalism. They had the people at heart and they did not practice politics of bitterness”. Hon. Awudu also revealed that Hon. Talla Kwalar was a cheerful giver and loves sharing without questioning the political leniency of others. “Each time we met at Malehleh where we will eat goat meat, you can never ever imagine that we are of different political parties. I would visit him and he visits me. In fact, every time I met with him we will share ideas because great people discuss ideas and not people. They don’t insult each others. So he is great man”. Hon. Awudu added that he is praying on the Almighty to make him be a great man as well to overcome all these petite politics of hatred. “I pray God to give me the talent to surpass to reach a level in politics, loving everyone and forgiving one another. I have forgiven people long ago all what they did to me and I continue to forgive them.” He said Hon. Talla Kwalar was a servant leader because “wherever he went he took leadership, he never waited for anyone to tell him to do this or that. That is what in some cases I attempt to but maybe due to some of my shortcomings I cannot reach to that but I pray to God to give me that possibility of measuring to that aptitude wherever I find myself”.
Abdou Borno Kamfon described Hon. Talla Kwalar as a politician with a difference. “He was so tolerant. Though he was in the heart of the opposition, he taught us how to be tolerant in politics. He worked so hard and invested his time, energy and means to implant the CPDM here in Ndu”. Abdou Borno emphasized that it is thanks to the dynamism of Hon. Kwalar that there is the CPDM party in Ndu. “Though the opposition is still leading here, during the last elections together with him, we worked so hard and we moved up to 43%. And I think the shoes that he has left for us behind for us are too big. We are still learning and will always go back to the advices he gave us to move with those shoes. To sum it all, Abdou Borno said the history of politics and development in Ndu can never be written without giving Hon. Kwalar the pride of place given that he is leaving an indelible mark of greatness.
Ndansi Elvis Nukam (Yali Fellow) said he will remember Hon. Talla Kwalar as one of the astute politicians in the history of Donga Mantung Division. “When some of us came into limelight in politics at the age of 23, we heard those names and we were so concerned that we have such caliber of personalities that have left a legacy when even he was still alive. He got all the appreciations of all what he did to his people not as eulogy. That is the best thing that can happen to a human being”. Ndansi Elvis described Hon. Kwalar as a generous politician and someone who was people oriented. “He cared much for his people to the point that nothing meant more to him than the development of the area where he came from. I think that is one of the think I emulate from his political life that is you should be people-centered. We heard all what he did in term of education, he also heard about how he lobbied for the tarring of the Ntumbaw-Ntaba road when we couldn’t dreamed of such and I think he will be remembered as one of those who orchestrated for Ndu to become a sub division”. To Ndansi Elvis, Hon. Talla Kwalar’s legacies are a bunch of lessons to the younger generation of politicians of Donga Mantung Division. His examples he added, are worthy of emulation.
On the other hand, Emmanuel Bongnjo Kwalar (son) said his dad was his mentor, a master of public relations, a pacifier and an expert in conflict resolution. “He was a mentor. He has not only planted in me but has done so with all of his children and other people in Wimbum land the spirit of leadership. As his son, I can never fit in his shoes but I will try to walk on his shoe path to make sure that what I do will be a similitude of what he did”.
Hon. Talla Kwalar:
The Father, Politician, Educationist, Pacifier, Servant leader and Development Luminary
Here is the synopsis of a man who thousands have described as fatherly father to everyone. Born in January 1933 in Mbah village, Ndu sub Division into the family of Ta- Kwalar and Mami Ntala (all of blessed memory) Hon. Talla Kwalar began his primary education at the Cameroon Baptist Mission (CBM Belo) in 1945 while living with his elder brother JM Kwalar. In 1946 he moved to CBM Babanki Tongo and in 1947 he moved back to CBM Belo while year later he moved to CBM Ndu and continued until 1953. The quest to know the whiteman ways took him to the Baptist Bible Training Centre (now known as Cameroon Baptist Theological Seminary-CBTS Ndu) where he spent two years (1953-1955). Upon graduation he was recruited as a teacher by CBM and posted to Wowo where he served from 1955-1958. From 1958-1969, he was tax clerk at the Nkambe Divisional council. The end of 1969, he made his debut in politics as he was elected CNU Sub-Section President, a position he held till 1980. Still in 1969, Hon. Kwalar was elected councilor at the Nkambe Divisional Council, a position which he held until 1975. Beside that in 1969, he was also elected President of the Nkambe Area Cooperative Union Limited until 1980. During that period, he also enrolled at the National Cooperative College Bamenda where he later obtained a certificate in cooperative management and was auditor of the Divisonal trade union as well as Chairman of the Mbiyeh Rural Council (the then Tang Clan council).
In the domain of sports, between 1969 and 1980, Hon. Kwalar was also a member of the Central Committee of the Cameroon Football Federation(FECAFOOT).
From 1980-1982, he started climbing the political ladder. It was during that period that he was elected CNU Wimbum Sub Section President and later became 1st Deputy Municipal administration of the then Nkambe rural council from 1982-1988. When the CPDM was created, he was pioneer CPDM Sub Section President, Wimbum Sub Section from 1985-1996 and later Section President for Donga Mantung II Ndu from 1996-2015 when he retired from active politics.
In the education sector, it should be recalled that the early 80s, Hon. Kwalar was the sole proprietor of the biggest private education institution in Donga Mantung known as Ndu Comprehensive College-NCC that offered young men and women the possibility of going to college.
His life as a politician began in 1988 during the famous “green and khaki” list system. Contesting on the same “green list” with Hon. SN Tamfu of Nkambe, Hon. JK Ntoi of Ako and Hon. Buinda of Nwa, they emerged victorious as their list crushed the khaki list made up of Hon. Peter Ngi Nsakwa of Nkambe, Mr. Anderson Voh of Nwa and Mr. Joseph Eika Maah of Misaje. While in parliament, Hon. Kwalar was member of the committee on foreign affairs (1988-1996).
It should be noted that TK would be remembered as the man who brought to cooperative to Mbum land. It was during his time in Parliament that Ndu Sub Division was created, and it was during that same period the Ntumbaw-Ntabah stretch of the road was tarred. it is on record that he also lobbied for the creation of schools, construction of classrooms and health centres. All these services he rendered to the people and the nation also earned him a National Recognition. He was holder of the National Order of Merit.
He would be remembered as the defender of Wimbum tradition. His attachment to heritage earned him several titles including “ the Tantoh of Ndu”, Ta Nformi Mbiplah etc...
Before that Saturday December 2, 2017 when he took his last breath at the Yaounde Central Hospital in the company of his wife and children, Hon. Talla Kwalar died as a devoted Christian of the CBC. He leaves behind his wife, 6 children and 5 grandchildren.
When News Breaks Out, We Break In. (The 2014 Bloggies Finalist)