Buea (National Times)-Traditional rulers of Cameroon’s restive South West Region have in a reply to a threat for them to march on May 20th during national day celebrations or risk demotion stated that, their values and customs don not allow for such demeaning exercise.
The reply is the content of a release from the office of the president of the South West Chiefs Conference (SWECC) Chief Mafany Njie Martin dated Tuesday April 30th .
According to the Chiefs “our native laws and customs don’t allow us as natural rulers to march pass the grandstand during public ceremonies. We completely dissociate ourselves from such representation and remind the public that, the traditions and customs of the South West people are full of values of respect, tolerance, nobility and unity”.
Chief Mafany on behalf of his peers has summoned the population of the concerned region to remain calm. He writes that the Chiefs look forward to accompany the state in all national events.
The statement from the president of the royal fathers states that, “ we the South West Chiefs categorically condemn the demeaning and threatening manner by which the Governor of the South West reminded us of our usual civic duties , which we have always performed so diligently without being ordered to do so by whosoever”.
Governor Bernard Okalia Bilai stirred controversy after he ordered the royal fathers to moblise to march pass in front of the grandstand come May 20th 2019. While chairing a meeting in preparation for the national day event on Thursday April 25th, the administrator made extensive declarations focused on chiefs.
He declared that “ The 20th May this year, all the Chiefs will march with placards indicating their villages .. with all their population following behind…. If that is not the case, it means those chiefs don’t exist… and if you don’t exist as a body… as a village, you should not be called village.. Counted among the chiefs… I said this some two.. three years ago and the chiefs refused to do it because they were still volunteer chiefs.. but today you know that the volunteerism is finished….tradition is there but you are tied to the state with an obligation…. Ehhh chiefs….you know nohhhh…..I don’t want to disclose it here but we understand each other…. if you fail to do what I have instructed, you will see 30 days after, the consequences of that disobedience.
So …..Lord Mayor prepare placards… let them not say I don’t have money…so prepare it….how many villages do you have… 100 ..…. Every chief will pass…All those who are in Yaounde and Douala, let them stay there… when they will come back, they would see somebody else”. Okalia stated.