When ministers lack compassion for slain civil servants.


Since the macabre conflict erupted in the North West and South West Regions, the kidnapping of six Divisional Delegates in Ndian Division posed a number of unanswered questions.

Senior Divisional Officers, SDOs assigned to the administrative unit had on a number of occasions, compelled civil servants within their jurisdiction to return to their offices or be sacked.

Heeding such ultimatum, the Delegates of Housing and Urban Development; State Property, Surveys and Land Tenure; Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, Social Economy and Handicrafts; Water and Energy and the Economy, Planning and Regional Development and the Divisional Chief of Service of Surveys, returned to their desk in Ndian Division.

On a joint official assignment on June 15, 2021, they were kidnapped, one was killed almost immediately while the whereabouts of the five others were unknown until July 7, when one of the surrendered hooligans divulged they were killed. 

Security operatives where led to a mass grave where they were buried in Ndian Division. A public funeral ceremony was held for the exhumed victims whose bones were supposedly identified by forensic experts. 

Questions without answers were raised among them; why was the funeral in Limbe, Fako Division, instead of Mundemba in Ndian? Why did the ministers who the deceased represented in the Division, not answer present at the funeral, where the Prime Minister, Head of Government, was represented by his Director of Cabinet?  

Even the Chief Mourner, the South West Governor, Bernard Okalia Bilai, had no answers. “…as it stands, even at this moment of grieve, when we struggle to contain our grief and emotions...nobody can provide answers to the numerous questions tormenting our minds, since the past two years," Okalia Bilai said. 

The answers, however, are in the insecurity that has been reigning in the two Anglophone Regions. But Governor Okalia Bilai, as usual, since the conflict started six years ago, reassured the population that in spite of "these isolated barbaric incidents, the security situation of the Region is under control”. 

He then invited the population to intensify calls for those carrying arms to drop them. "...Parents should take their responsibility, as was done by the parents of Tamaya Clinton, who encouraged their son, not only to lay down his weapons, but also to denounce the atrocities he witnessed. Parents should bring back their misled children, who are still carrying weapons and hiding in the bushes, so they can join their fellow compatriots in the development of a peaceful and prosperous Cameroon,” he urged. He also challenged civil servants to be vigilant. 

Senator Mbella Moki, who has never raised the issue in the senate to debate for the way to lasting peace, frowned at the constant kidnappings and killings in the South West Region, saying it is time “we rise up against such act of violence”.

It was not an occasion for politics of protests that has not solved any problem but a compassionate ecumenical service, basically to show compassion for the deceased and their bereaved families.

It wasn't to look for solutions to the political problem that should come from the executive and legislative realms of state.

President Biya at least sent a message of condolence through the South West Governor, which read in part: “To the families of these slain delegates, I wish to convey the chief compassion and solidarity of the Head of State and entire government of Cameroon, as well as my personal condolences”.

"I bring to you this message of solidarity from the Head of State and the government of our country. I note that life is full of examples to show us that no matter how long persons who deliberately assassinate and shed fellow human blood and hide, they cannot hide from God Almighty...Their acts of wickedness, for which they will answer before God and before us, will always be revealed,” he said.

While the nation mourns these civil servants, the over 6,000 other innocent civilian compatriots who have been killed in the conflict, according to credible rights organisation reports, some of whose remains have never been seen by family members, should also be remembered for losing their lives in a senseless war.

The case of Ndian delegates might be tricky because they were given the assurance of safety to return, which never was. The least their ministers would have done was to be present in Limbe, to bid them farewell.

That ministerial insensitivity to dead collaborators does not justify civil service collaboration and administrative fiat for civil servants who have abandoned their jobs to return.

We hope the ministers concerned have learnt their lesson to know that their staff are not only important when alive but should be given the last respect in death.


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