First, we owe it to ourselves to admit that the stable of “elites” in Yaoundé are overwhelmingly an ignominious gang of self-serving short-sighted corrupt opportunistic greed-ridden unprincipled spineless geriatric sycophants whom Yaoundé has chosen to “represent” us. If John. N. Foncha was honorable enough to publicly apologize for his mistakes before his death, these late-comers Anglophone to the macabre high-mass would rather served-up Southern Cameroonians at the alter of FrancAfrique in exchange for Profit, Posts and Patronage.
Everyone was witness to the pathetic sight of Philemon Yang in Bamenda on March 6th 2016 attempting, for the umpteenth time, BUT failing spectacularly, to browbeat citizens into compliance using the hollow authority of his high office. He certainly has no gift for oratory at a time when he needed it most. He tried to be forceful, but that labored drawl of a retiring night-watchman was met with stern suspicion by attendees.
Honorable Fusi Namikong(SDF) carried that day. His latest visit brought into sharp focus the incompetency of the man, and how much the facade of vaunted titles given to apparatchiks in Yaoundé generally serves to mask unspeakable ineptitude of its holders. Exactly what are Philemon Yang’s accomplishments since he entered government in 1975?
His biography is revealing; perfunctory positions which require neither exceptional talent nor leadership skills of any kind. Any warm-blooded hominid could be ambassador to Canada for twenty years. Yes, for two decades, he smiled with foreign dignitaries and shuffled correspondences back to Yaoundé. A glorified courier who pleased his bosses by keeping his mouth shut and advancing his personal career.
No man who takes principled stances on matters of import could emerge without scars attesting to the battles he’s fought. He took advantage of his stay to acquire Canadian citizenship we are told; an insurance policy no doubt. Like the rest of the charlatans in Yaoundé, ever effort is made so that foreign citizenship should bestow some diplomatic immunity if or when State prosecutors come knocking on their door during the next pogrom.
Philemon Yang was 11 years old in 1957; he was almost certainly a beneficiary of the government-funded lunches provided to school-aged children across Southern Cameroons at that time. It speaks to his disconnectedness that he would attempt to give lectures against “manipulation” by activists leading the civil-disobedience campaign and demanding a restoration of the Southern Cameroon government. Sounding like a long-serving Presbyterian pastor, his appeals fell flat, his injunctions nullified by the stubborn commitment of the community which nurtured him as a child.
He will not remain a functionary forever. After Yaoundé is done with him, he’ll have to return to Bui and there will be an accounting of his disservice to his people. Perhaps the people will parade a coffin through the streets of Jikejem-Oku in joyous anticipation of his return. Like Fonka Shang before him, we should pray that his return would be final.
At the height of his career, serving as Prime Minister of La Republique, Philemon Yang remains forever the glorified errand-boy. The regime leaves nothing to chance when appointing Anglophones like him to high office.
Like all others before him, Philemon Yang is afforded little autonomy: omnipresent Vice Prime-Ministers keep Anglophone appointees in check. It is one more debasing practice that has soured the experiment at re-unification: that non-event which began with a scam fifty years ago in Foumban.
Southern Cameroonians have become aware that the emperor, indeed, has no clothes. It would be natural for them to inform Philemon Yang of this fact. But Mr. Yang, the ever faithful minion that he is, lacks the fortitude to transmit such an unflattering message to his master. I doubt if they even ever meet face-to-face at all. Honorable Wirba, a descendant of warriors, embodies everything that Philemon Yang does not.
Philemon Yang does not have the moral fiber to bluntly and forcefully express his disgust on the parliament floor if his niece was similarly raped on a university campus by forces of law and [dis] order. What would it take for this man, Yang, to take a moral stand? If not now, when? The only evidence we have is that his morality must be as perverse as his politics is corrupt.
Philemon Yang is a trained lawyer, a graduate from that most ignoble institution called ENAM. All of his three children are grown adults, they possibly received the best education money can buy, and went to the best schools any parent could wish for. He doesn’t have to suffer the direct consequences of his moral choices in government where expediency always takes a back seat to what is moral and what is “legal”.
Philemon Yang may never have had to confront such choices, or perhaps, he’s avoided them. There will be no apology forthcoming for those parents who lost children to live bullets in the streets of Bamenda or Buea. If it were to carry any credibility, then Philemon Yang, the Head of Government, would be the one to deliver it. Alas, it never came and perhaps he’s been instructed not to do so. Either way, the result is the same.
Judging by the quality of its graduates, one must conclude that Philemon Yang’s career is strewn with lives and careers of many other whom he has side-stepped on his path to Prime Minister. How else must we understand his deafening silence over the hundreds of children killed, raped and abducted since November 2016?
I’ll say it here and I’ll say it loud: Philemon Yang serves a predatory State and no matter what redeeming qualities he may have as a man, he now has the blood of those young university students on his hands. It is in times of crisis that you can take the best measure of any man. In my estimation, Philemon Yang falls short by every measure.
He embodies everything that is corrupt and ignoble about Yaoundé. He is a grotesque caricature of what used to be the best about us, which is why he’s served Yaoundé so “honorably” all these decades. He can be sure he no longer has a home among us when Yaoundé is done with him. That day is fast approaching.