The Colbert Factor:
United Kingdom’s Queen Elizabeth Gone, not Anglophone conflict Britain rooted and African kingdoms destroyed
When Fon Yuh II, paramount ruler of the united kingdom of great Kom passed away on November 22, 2017, life in the whole of the Kom nation literally came to a halt. Until the new one, Fon Ndzi was enstooled, virtually every bona fide kom son or daughter paid tribute to the lost one by showing up at Liakom-seat of kom traditional authority-half-clothed. The same was expected of non-kom mourners, but for civil administrators and uniform officers who were there on official state duties. Other surrounding kingdoms either found separate days to come pay their tributes or came the same day the new fon was enthroned. Fondoms from across the grassfields and beyond that could not attend, sent official telegrams containing their condolence messages. This is not the same treatment the late Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain 🇬🇧 would be receiving from Africans, especially as Her Majesty’s government took part in destroying the once vibrant African Kingdom nations.
More than Queen Elizabeth II, who passed away last September 8, 2022, at the age of 96, Fon Yuh II, before missing, had established traditional diplomatic relations with many fondoms spanning the grassfields and beyond. Being a bold and forward-looking leader, he reformed most of the obnoxious kom traditional practices; including forbidding successors from maltreating widows, dispossing of inherited land without consulting with widows and orphans, and reducing mourning duration of loved ones.
Fon Yuh II was named after Fon Yuh I, who lived from 1865-1912. Like Queen Elizabeth II, Fon Yuh I was an extremely powerful king who expanded the Kom territory to its present boundaries, without depriving any of the subdued surrounding communities of their tradition and artefacts.
Unlike Queen Elizabeth II who headed a monarchy that plundered, pilfered and destroyed conquered African Kingdoms, Fon Yuh I is credited to have carved the Afoakom himself. The emblematic artefact was later to be carted away by white colonialists to museums in Europe and America. What with Fon Yuh’s woodsmanship a demonstration in triumphant detail that Africa was more technologically advanced than Europe. Reason why they had to cart away those fine arts.
A certain frontline enchindo-Kom, bobe Chiatoh Collins narrates how he took a certain British film maker to Laikom in 2014, and once the guy was done with his documentary film, Foyn Yuh II instructed that he takes a solemn message of friendship and diplomatic relations to Queen Elizabeth. And that on his next trip to Kom, he should bear any symbol from the Queen, after which the Fon Will indicate his next move. Taken rather aback, the British gentleman confessed that Britain was quite a big nation of over 50million inhabitants, and that it was quite difficult to meet the Queen. The Fon cautioned that it was not easy either to meet with a kom reigning monarch, and that Kom was so big that even he the Fon did not master both it’s physical and non-physical boundaries.
Queen Elizabeth II’s United Kingdom, whose UN Trusteeship over Southern Cameroons was meant to mature it for independence, not only fail in their duty but more dangerously, denied Southern Cameroons a third option of becoming independent by being independent indeed. The situation had disturbed my late friend, Peterkins Manyong, who wondered why Britain would allow a people to become independent by joining another country. To come to a point of closure with himself, he created his newspaper and named it ‘The Independent Observer’.
Her Majesty’s government did not only fail to act on numerous expert reports that Southern Cameroons could survive on its own in terms of its inherent human and material resources but also failed to provide the Southern Cameroons side with the technical expertise francophone politicians were getting from their french side in the build up to independence and reunification. The bloodbath we have been witnessing since 2016 is due largely to the unfinished business in the Southern Cameroons by Her Majesty’s government. Her Majesty’s government’s policy of ‘divide and rule’ continues to account for the deep divide among Anglophone Cameroon politicians today.
As Africans reflect on the role Her Majesty’s government played in the colonization and subsequent undevelopment of the continent (recall Walter Rodney’s book: ‘How Europe underdeveloped Africa’), it’s critical we ask ourselves how Britain maintained and fortified its monarchy but joined other European colonialists to destroy the once independent and progressive African Kingdom nations.
Imagine that the fighting in the two English-speaking regions of Cameroon, that has claimed thousands of lives and displaced thousands more, internally and externally, (in a bid to restore the European-imposed artificial boundary of British former Southern Cameroons or maintain that of an equally ‘one and indivisible’ Cameroon), would have been to restore the once independent kingdom states of the Nsos, the Koms, the Nkambes, the Bafuts, the ngembas, the Mankons, the Bangwas, the Banghangis, the Ejaghams, the Balongs, the Bafaws, the Bakweris, the Bulus, the Sawas, the Soas, the Fulanis, the Bamilekes, the Bamouns, etc, etc.
A famous Ghanian author, Emmanuel Twum Mensah, has strongly opined that ‘Africa would have reached its own higher level of development naturally had the Europeans not intervened in the affairs of the continent’. Writing in GRIN verlag, a Munich-based research center, on the topic ‘The Partition of Africa and the Effects on the Continent’, Mensah posits that : ‘the Europeans at the time of colonisation had no interest in developing the colonies but continued to exploit the people’s natural resources to serve as raw materials for European industries whilst the people had little or no benefits from their own natural resources’.
To better manage the newly conquerred territories, the seven European nations that met in Berlin under auspices of Otto Von Bismark, (then German Chancellor), decided to lump otherwise independent African kingdom states (with no relation with each other), into present-day artificial nations. That’s how one came to find, for instance, once independent kingdom states in Central Africa lumped into new spheres of influence and referred to as ‘Cameroon’, ‘Chad’, ‘Gabon’, ‘Central African Republic’, ‘Equitorial Guinea’, etc. With colonies seen as assets in the balance of power, the larger the lumping of kingdom states into nation states, the better for the invading euoropean nations.
This write-up is a re-contextualization of the essence of the partition of Africa and its ramifications on the continent. More importantly, it posits that rather than fighting and killing each other to maintain artificial boundaries (of say British former West Cameroon or French former East Cameroun), it would have made much more sense in fighting to restore the once vibrant independent kingdom states.
Just like each African empire that was colonized ‘legally’ became the colony of that European country, any society fighting to recreate or preserve the colonial boundaries is defending european or colonial interests.
Aside crying the destruction of our beloved African kingdom nations, the more useful fight today, would have been the fight to protect and promote the human rights of all, especially those of the minority in society, rather than fighting to maintain artificial European-imposed boundaries. In that case, we would be sending the right condolence message to Her Majesty’s government.
*Colbert Gwain is digital rights advocate, author, radio host and content creator @TheColbertFactor
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