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Politics of Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Source: Cameroon Tribune

'My Husband Wanted a United, Progressive Cameroon'

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Mama Anna Foncha, tells of the political gimmicks her husband, John Ngu Foncha, went through in the Reunification strive.

What do you think pushed your husband, Pa Foncha to unite Southern Cameroons to East Cameroon?

My husband engaged in the fight to reunite Cameroon with all his heart. He travelled all of Cameroon. I can even say that he is the only one who knows all of Cameroon. In west Cameroon it was easy for him because people understood him. But the terrorism in the other side of Cameroon could not allow him travel safely. His vehicle was even shot at in Bafang including his body guard; all these because he was looking for his brothers in east Cameroon. His heart was clean and I don't know whether the heart of our brothers over there was equally clean or they were playing but politics.

Papa Foncha entered politics because he wanted to help his people. He was not only thinking of himself or of his family. He was conscious of the domineering powers of the Ibos over here in Southern Cameroons. The market was in their control and we had no say. In the market, they will force you to buy an item simply because you attempted to ask for the price. Papa saw all these and did not like it. He rather preferred we join our brothers in east Cameroon or we stand on our own. He did history in school and knew that Cameroon was one nation before the UN divided it.

What was his vision of a united Cameroon?

He wanted a united and progressive Cameroon where good things will be taken from both sides to form one nation. All that was English was not bad; in the same way, all that was French was not bad. I am very sure that if things were handled this way, Cameroon could have been one of the best nations in the world.

He went to Mamfe and on coming back had an accident and broke one of his ribs. That is why his hand was always by his side even when he was receiving people like Nkwame Nkruma. There are many other things he did in order to ensure that we become one nation. But the main problem was that we leave Nigeria.

What was the relationship between Pa Foncha and people like Ngom Jua who were working with him?

Well, they disagreed among themselves but that did not mean they were separated. That is the way I saw it; that is disagreeing to agree.

What was your own contribution as his wife in his political struggle?

I received his political maids and other strangers. I cared for him like a housewife, ensured that he was strong, healthy and looked presentable especially when he is in public. Many people including the fons of the north west and chiefs of the south west came to the house to discuss with him and as his wife, I received them. When people like Endeley came, I equally entertained them. In fact, I was just like their mother.

Did you follow your husband to Foumban?

No, I did not go to Foumban.

Were you there when they held the meeting that took place in Bamenda before Foumban?

No. I was in Buea. I was a housewife. I was not a politician. I did my work as housewife and they did theirs as politicians. I was a teacher and had my own interest, particularly in women and children. I was urging women not to sit behind the curtains. They should also sit in the parlour and discuss family things with their husbands. I formed social groups which were all active.

Did you see your husband as someone who had extra interest or he was really committed in the fight for reunification? Some people said his interest in reunification was because he was of Bamelike extraction.

The way I saw reunification was that two brothers decided to come together to be equals. My husband use to remind Ahidjo during their discussion that the Anglophones were of the minority and that had to be taken into consideration so that his people should not become slaves after reunification.

Ahidjo promised to adhere to the suggestion, whether it was a gentleman promise or political promise is another issue. But he told my husband he will not take his majority and crush Foncha's minority with for that will tantamount to hitting a nail down Foncha's head. If all these arrangements and agreements were respected, there couldn't have been any trouble.

Did your husband tell you what happened in Foumban when he came back from the conference?

He said everything went well. He said Ahidjo will table the Foumban resolution in the east Cameroon house of assembly and latter it will be passed in the west Cameroon house of assembly.

Were you aware of the fact that your husband hid the draft constitution from East Cameroon which Ahidjo gave him to come discuss with his people of Southern Cameroons?

I am not aware of that. What I know is that he was very open. He was bearer of the proposals from Southern Cameroons while Ahidjo brought proposals from East Cameroon and with his majority crushed my husband and his people who themselves did not support him. If they had supported him like Ahidjo's people did, the results would have been different.

Do you have the impression he discussed everything with you?

He told me everything when we were on the table. Why would he hide something from me?

What appreciation do you make of reunification 50 years after?

We are still marking time on the same spot. Formerly we could leave Kumba, travel through Mamfe and arrive in Bamenda; but that is not the case today. Any one travelling from Bamenda to Buea today must pass through the Francophone territory.

Some people equally accuse Foncha of not helping his own people arguing that he was in the position as Vice President to ask Ahidjo to build roads in West Cameroon.

I am sure he did tell Ahidjo. Pa fought for us here. He did his best but had little support from his political colleagues. I am sure all this was caused by poverty. Once over there in East Cameroon everybody was only thinking of his own interest.

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