The recent declaration by the North West House of Chiefs threatening to invoke curses on those who picked up arms against the invading forces of President Paul Biya has provoked a spiral of laughter and mockery among citizens of the former UN Trust Territory of British Southern Cameroons.
The chiefs, who now claim to have the powers to bless and curse, are accused of saying nothing when whole villages are being burnt down by invading soldiers of the same Cameroonian government they seem to speak for.
Critics say none of these chiefs raised a finger when soldiers accompanied by hired militia killed and roasted children and pregnant women in Ngarbuh. The traditional rulers, most of whom for five years have not set foot in their villages, live in hotels out of the region.
Angry residents in Bamenda say these chiefs should be negotiating their ways back to their palaces, which now stand buried in thickets of tall grass and trees. Only a handful of chiefs are still in their palaces to this day.
Except for Fon Ambumbi, Fon of Bafut and a few others who have refused to abandon their people and still live in their palaces, most of the twenty chiefs who made the now infamous declaration left their palaces to live in hotels in French-speaking Cameroon.
Fon Bahmbi III of Aghem who made the declaration on behalf of the chiefs, insisted their pronouncements were not a joke.
“We will lay curses on those who take up guns against the state of Cameroon. We will curse them, and it will remain a curse,” he said.
Fon Bahmbi also warned against plans to use a cleansing process to deal with the chief’s curses. Along with the promise of curses, the chiefs announced plans to start a cleansing process for willing individuals in the restive regions.
“Woe onto any person or group of persons who will regard this cleansing as a joke. We are going to send our ancestors behind you, and you know the consequences,” Fon Bahmbi warned.
The said traditional ruler and other chiefs from Menchum have not stepped foot in their palaces since 2016 when the Ambazonia liberation struggle sparked off.
While traditional rulers of the grass field brag about their ability to curse and bless at will, the same group has failed to deal with the disappearance of their leader. The disappearance of the President of the House of Chiefs for over nine months has also remained a non-event with some of the chiefs blaming Fon Shometang Kevin of Bambalang for being too ambitious to the point of sticking his neck into matters he could not handle.
In a book published a few years back, Hillary Kebila Forkum, an investigative journalist describes the chiefs as royal beggars always looking for a new ploy to reap from the gullible elite and government of Cameroon.
The chiefs, while promising curses on Ambazonia’s self-defence volunteers called on the elite to cooperate and be part of a project to cleanse willing individuals that might have wronged the government previously.
“The elites of the North West are hereby called upon to respond positively to any Fondom where they are when the cleansing is going on,” Fon Bahmbi pleaded.
The Chief enumerated an uncountable number of goats, bags of salt and drums of palm oil, not excluding jugs of palm wine that the elite must have to bring for the cleansing to happen.