* Full text of January 3rd Memo of 1993 by Fon Amuhngwafor II
This Memo carries a comprehensive and detail storey line on the history, origin and why not the genesis of the Bambui Bafut PRTC Nfonta Crisis to help guide Administration in quick and rapid decision making or taking on the crisis. At Press time, this Media House was reliably informed that the Bafut People are now digging a road through Bafut to vehemently continue encroaching on Bambui land irrespective of Court verdict ordering them to pack out of Bambui(PRTC). Annoyed about it and the rampant orchestrated attacks for the past two weeks by the Bafuts people the Bambui people are calling on the powers that be to with emergency tackle the problem, release those Bambui subjects kept under custody at the Legion and hand over what belongs to Caesar or else…the below MEMO Tells it all and should serve as a final solution tool to the crisis.
The Senior Divisional Officer, Mezam
The Sub-Divisional Officer, Tubah
North West Province
3rd January, 1993
HRH FON OF BAMBUI
Preamble: With the creation of the Bafut Sub-Division, the government will certainly carve it out from the Tubah Sub-Division. Consequently, I have the honor to submit this
Memorandum for educative purposes in order to avoid carving mistakes or delimitation. The facts submitted are genuine. The administration can always invite me to throw light where doubts exist.
1 HISTORICAL AND GEOGRAPHICAL FACTS
The big stream cattle market, separating Mforya and Njimbi is the natural boundary
Between Bambui and Bafut. This boundary was observed by both villages until the invasion of Bafut by the Germans in 1895 where Fon Abumbi I of Bafut caused a laxation. During the invasion ofBafut in 1985 by the Germans, the then Fon ofBafut by name Abumbi I, took shelter in Bambui. In MarkNiboh’s Appraisal of “German penetration of Cameroon”, it isconfirmed that Bafut was defeated and that the Fon took shelter somewhere and was later exiled to the coast. “The refusal of Bafut to permit German penetration resulted in a punitive expedition sent in 1895 and it burned the Fon’s compound and much of the village, and forced the temporary exile of the Fon (unquote - Cameroon Villages, page 19). Bambui was the place of shelter because it was held hostage for sheltering Fon Abumbi I. He was hidden in a small jungle at mile 10 in Bambui. Whilst in hiding, the Fon learnt that Bambui citizens were tortured and others killed because of him. To stop the killing, he came out and showed himself to the soldiers. He requested them to kill him instead of the Bambui people whom he regarded as brothers. His appearance haulted the killings. He was taken to the station and exiled to Victoria. Whilst at Victoria, one Mama Monica Bih took care until he was released. On his return to Bafut appreciated the favor done to him by the Bambui people. As such, he announced publicly that Bambui and Bafut citizens were brothers. As brothers, they should have no demarcations of boundary. He also pleaded that since corn does not grow in Bafut, the Bafut people should be permitted to grow the maize at Njimbi and Akossia i.e. across the Mbi which was the intervillage boundary. The Bafut people farmed and went back but gradually and peacefully settled on the farm lands. Fon Asogofor II of Bambui raised no objection since they (the Fons) were on good terms. Regrettably, the gesture by Bambui Fon was a generosity without foresight for problems.
MAP OF BAFUT
The map of Bafut in CAMEROONS VILLAGES ( an ethnography of BAFUT by
Robert and PAT Ritzenthaler) in 1962 shows the boundaries of 26 quarters. Mfonta is not
in the map. But now, Mfonta is included in the geography of Bafut and taught in the schools as part of Bafut. We see that as maneuvers perpetuated after the death of Fon Achirimbi II of Bafut in December, 1968.
SIGNING OF R.T.C. MFONTA-BAMBTJI/BAFUT ACCORD
I still remember that in June 1968 prior to the establishment of the R.T.C., Mfonta, Rev. Aaron Su and a Swiss Church builder by name Vogt visited me in my palace and brought
up the matter of Mfonta. They explained their mission and asked for my co-operation in the Mfonta issue. I accepted and promised them peace in the project. In fact, the present
Perpetrators of evil know nothing about what had gone before the acquisition of Mfonta by the Presbyterian Church. They are building on rumors, falsehood, sentiments and illusions. If Mfonta were not in my territory, these august visitors would not have approached me.
On 31st July, 1968, Fon Achirimbi of Bafut and I agreed that the piece of land on which the Presbyterian Mission wanted to build the present Rural Training Centre (R.T.C,) should be called R.T.C. MFONTA, BAMBUI-BAFUT. That the certificate of occupancy
should read the same as above. The following councilors signed for their villages.
Bafut: Paul Tangang, Martin Minang, John Njofor, J.M. Nyamboli and William Nchctu.
Bambui: SimonA. Bijingsi, Amuh, Martin Amuhngwa, SimonNwemo, and Vincent Ngafor.
After the accord, it was agreed that the headed papers and sign boards should read R.T.C., MFONTA, BAMBUI BAFUT. You may ask why Bafut was included. The main reason is that the name BAFUT was a sort pf umbrella covering seven villages in the then South Eastern Federation consisting of NSO, NDOP and BAFUT. Bafut covered an area council consisting of Kedjom Keku, Kedjom Ketingu, Bambili, Manda Nkwe, Nkwen, Bambui and Bafut village. Any N.A. (Native Administration) project established in the Bafut Area Council bore BAFUTe.g. the fuel plantation at Menda Nkwe was called: N.A. Fuel Plantation Menda Nkwe - Bafut, the fish pond at Nkwen was callen N.A. Fish Pond Nkwen-Bafut; the N.A. Health Centre at Kedjom keku bore the name N.A. Health Centre, Kedjom keku • Bafut. So the Fon of Bafut did not sign the accord with the understanding thai Mfonta is part of Bafut. He did so in his capacity as the Paramount Chief of the then Baful Area Council.
SUDDEN CHANGE OF the name R.T.C.
In the days of one Mr. Lukong who was the Principal of R.T.C., the accepted designation was changed to R.T.C. Mfonta. This action was purely clandestine. They did not state whether Mfonta is seated in Bambui or Bafut. The reasons behind them was that one day they will annex Mfonta to Bafut. Now Mfonta is included in the Bafut geography, taught in schools as part of Bafut and presented to those who seek information about that village. Those who know the history of R.T.C. will not accept such lies passed on to children and visitors. To prove them wrong one should open the files, look into the archives of the centre and the Truth will prevail. Furthermore, call for the certificate of occupancy.
MFONTA WAS ORIGINALLY GRAZING LAND
Over 30 cattle Fulanies grazed their cattle at Mfonta before my handing the place to the Presbyterian Mission in 1968. Part was equally given to the Government for research (I.R.A). The Fulanis paid their jangali taxes through me. I kept their nominal rolls. The Lamido of Sabga was the Chief tax collector. He is still alive and can be called to testify.
Herewith the names of some of the grazers:
-Loloi - now at Wum ,Sindiki • now at Kwen (he built on the R.T.C. campus)
Yandi - (now with the farmer grazers in Bamenda), Magaji - now at Kwen, Mamado - now at Kwen, Jabo - now at Kwen, Dabu - now at Metta, Bobo - now at Kwen, Mabamu now at Kwen, Todum - died at Wum, Babay - now at Konene, Korijo - died at Mbingo, Manu Wakari - died at Kwen, Jai - still at Bambui, Isaa Ngoriji - still at Bambui, Karimu - at Mundum
I am prepared to present them to the administration to confirm my statements.
INVASION OF MFONTA BY BAFUT IN 1971
It is worth noting that the very councillors (please see names of those who signed the accord in July 1968) led thousands of Bafut people to plot out the rest of Mfonta for themselves. They portioned out the land and planted American Sunflower at their individual boundaries. In fact, they provoked civil war which could have resulted into blood shed as the recent one between Babanki Tungo and Bambili. My people kept cool and approached the administration instead of the aggressors. The ugly situation was arrested and the ring leaders were also arrested and locked up in Bamenda for trespassing and provoking violence. Although they shamefully retreated, they have been contemplating on how Mfonta would one day be annexed to Bafut. What is going on now is still the continuation of their dream.
After arresting the aggressors, the government requested both villages to pay some Monies into the treasury for investigation. Bambui paid 138.400t frs CFA in two rounds.
Treasury receipt No 236-52900123 of 14th August 1971 for 71.000frs CFA, Treasury receipt No 307 - 52900177 of 24th August 1971 for 67.000 frs CFA. Unfortunately, the government did not look into the matter. The delay caused Bafut to muster courage and to continue their dream of making Mfonta a Bafut territory.
RECEIPT FORFARMLAND AT MFONTA BY BAFUT PEOPLE AND OTHERS
Having evicted the grazers, there was much farmland for people. Rev. Su and Mr. William Moutchia (all natives of Bafut) approached me for farmland3which were granted.
Some of them exceeded the limits and I did not sign their land certificates. Rev. Su’s son/
Caretaker sent a letter to me praying that survey forms should be signed to enable him obtain a land certificate. On 28th May, 1981, Rev Su himself came to my palace for the signing of the forms. He was accompanied by Rev.. Kweti of Tubah Presbyterian Church and Mr. Aloysius Numfor Kubri now of Tubah Administration. These are honest people who admit that Mfonta is in Bambui.
On 22nd August 1981, my Councillors and I signed the survey Report and Map for BASTOS Tobacco Co. at Mfonta following Prefectorial order No. 513/PO/DMZ of 17th January, 1977.
Apart from R.T.C., I.R.A. that I have given parcels of land at Mfonta, I have
allocated parcels of land to Bambui and non Bambui citizens for agricultural purposes. On the whole, many people have benefited from eviction of the Fulani grazers
CHANGING THE NAME OF PRESBYTERIAN SCHOOL
AKOSSIA TO PRESBYTERIAN SCHOOL. MFONTA
Another sinister move was the changing of the name of Presbyterian School Akocssia to Presbyterian School Mfonta. Literally, Akossia means a distant forest and Mfonta a vast plain or flat land. The school was located and seated in Akossia and not Mfonta. Even now, it is there though as a Community School. Akosia cannot overnight become Mfonta. So, a wrong name has been superimposed on a school just because of ulterior motives. The market there is Akossia market and not Mfonta. You pass the market before going to the School. Just move there and see the folly. It-is indeed ridiculous.
BAMBUI PETITION OF 10TH SEPETMBER 1982
In my petition of 10th September, 1982, following some disturbances by Bafut
elements, I reiterated the provocative moves of the Bafut people around Mfonta. That the
Bafut people are taking undue advantage of their majority and seeming powers. I made it
clear that the natural boundary between Bafut and Bambui is still there - the MBI Stream.
That the observation of the boundary was laxed.because of the intimacy between Fon Abvmbi I of Bafut and Asogofor II of Bambui. Today, some irresponsible and land mongers in Bafut are claiming that there is no boundary and as such they claim territories which don’t belong to Bafut. We know the site where libations or sacrifices were offered by both villages. We are prepared to meet the Bafut on the spot to revoke this old tradition. Should the Bafut refuse, then they have something to hide-fearing the consequences of their injustice. Note that the British Government draw maps ofintervillage boundaries where there are squabbles. Since Bafut and Bambui were peaceful, no maps were even drawn. Boundaries existing during German administration were recognized.
TUBAH MUNICIPAL ADMINISTRATORS ADDRESS TO
THE SENIOR DIVISIONAL OFFICER OF MEZAM ON 12/5/93
To crown what I have said. the Tubah Municipal Administrator, Mr. Nyamboli Johe Mfombe, in his address to the Mezam Senior Divisional Officer on the installation of The New Divisional Officer for Tubah Sub-Division on 12/5/93 outlined the quarters or villages which make up the Bafut Fondom. Mfonta was not included. As an experienced Administrator for many years, he knows the limits of the other Fondoms constituting the Tubah Sub-Division and could not plunge himself into a mess following what had gone before.
HRH FON OF BAFUT
I have exhausted the facts which place Mfonta in Bambui inspite ofBafut manoeuvres.
I am 46 years on the throne and conversant with events from colonial days to independence around my Fondom. I had no land problems with Fon Achirimbi II ofBafut. He knew that
Bafut people living and farming onNjimbi, Akossia and Mfonta were benefitting from the
intimacy of his father and my grand-father. Hence there was no trouble. With the creation
of Bafut Sub-Division, by the administration, my territory, should be respected and the
natural boundary observed.
I hope the administration will strike the right direction for Justice and Peace to prevail
in the two Sub-Divisions.
The Governor, North West Province
The Commissioner, Special Branch, Tubah
The Commandant, Gendarmerie - Tubah
The Presidency of the Republic
The Prime Minster, Yaounde
The Minister of Territorial Administration
The National Security - Yaounde
The CENER - Yaounde
The Principal, R.T.C. MFONTA.