Over the last several weeks there has been some deliberative and informative discussion about the choice of political leadership for our Kom kingdom. Compared to two decades ago, or even 10 years ago, it is obvious that Kom is no longer a political monolith where zero sum politics prevailed and dissenting voices were lynched or risked the loss of life and personal property. In today’s political landscape there is even a self-declared “certified independent organization” that is endorsing candidates from both sides of the aisle and making commendations for the “best candidates” that will serve the people of Kom. It attracted my attention that the ghostwriter for KCP3 had some personal vendetta when it came to the candidacy of Prof. Emmanuel Chia – He is the man I proudly call Dad, even when I rightfully disagree with his choices.
You don’t get into politics from the cocoon of your glass house (University Classrooms for Prof. Chia) thinking that rocks will not be thrown at you. Centuries of lies telling and unkept promises by politicians has earned them the ire and skepticism of informed observers and the general electorate. It would be foolhardy if Prof. Chia walked into this ring thinking that his good name and three decades of loyal public service as a University teacher could spare him the scrutiny and scorn. I hope not, for his sake.
In politics you get defined, and most often than not by your foe(s). In recent times we have seen “independent” third parties do the dirty work at the behest and, oftentimes, financial drumbeat of the rival (Swift Boat Veterans that defined and doomed the candidacy of John Kerry in the US Presidential elections). The fact is that your enemy never defines you in rosy terms. Never, ever! They keep the rose petals to themselves and define you as the thorns. The Kom Coffee Party (KCP3) – “certified independent party” embarks on defining Prof. Chia in the following terms:
FOR PARLIAMENT! VOTE …NO TO PROF. CHIA! 1) First of all, Prof. Chia (CPDM) is not a politician. 2) To make his case worse, he has been holding focus group meetings in Kom during the past few weeks and giving to understand that he was like forced to run for parliament in 2013 and considering that he is so broke; he would rather prefer to protect his professional career. He is not sure of himself, politically naïve, not reassuring and KCP3 is not so sure he knows what is expected of him were he to be elected on September 30. 3) Prof. Chia is retired, old and tired. In his present state of mind, he can’t live up to the expectations and challenges MPs face. 4) He is not the best candidate for Kom in 2013 if sourcing for development projects is the priority today.
“1) - First of all, Prof. Chia (CPDM) is not a politician. I agree with KCP3 that Prof. Chia is not a politician. But KCP3 fails to define and qualify who a politician is in Kom. Is there a school for politicians? Who are some of its illustrious Kom graduates? Was our venerated Bobe A.N Jua a graduate of that school? Did Bobe F.C Ngam graduate from that same school? What about his son, E. Ngam Chia? Was the Hon. Waingeh its graduate? How about Hon. Paulinus Jua? What I know is this – Bobe A.N Jua was a Grade One teacher. Hon. Waingeh was a teacher. Ngam Chia was a teacher. I rest my case about the qualification of Prof. Chia.
Beyond the crass rhetoric, a politician is all about deliverables – an uncanny ability to understand what and why of laws and the legislative process that allows legislators to bring about development (bacon) to their respective constituencies and country. But legislating in Parliament requires a basic understanding of legalese - the language in which constitutions are written. This is why lawyers, or candidates with a degree in law, make the bulk of most legislative assemblies. In the current field of candidates for Parliament in Kom, Prof. Chia meets this basic requirement. He has a Bechelor’s degree in Law.
Secondly, he not only understands the Law and has read the Constitution more times than most any rival would have in their lifetime, Prof. Chia understands it in the original language in which the French “framers” wrote it. We critic the Legislative assembly in Cameroon for not writing Laws, but scarcely ask ourselves the level of education of the candidates that ultimately end up in the glass house at Ngoa-Ekele.
“2) To make his case worse:
a) (H)e has been holding focus group meetings in Kom –I do not doubt that the esteemed company at KCP3 understands the purpose of focus groups. Focus groups are for consultation. Candidates who generally want to understand the lay of the land - the needs of the people, what their opponents are offering, what has worked in the past, what has failed and why – generally consult community leaders and others in little groups known as Focus groups. Focus groups are hardly new to Prof. Chia, an accomplished linguist with hundreds of focus of groups under his belt as part of his research work for the development and writing of the Bekom Language – Itanghi-Kom.
The open mockery of focus groups by KCP3 leaves one wondering whether the group is really ready for a new direction for Kom and Komrades. It becomes a difficult issue discerning why KCP3 does not spend time explicating the content of the focus group meetings by Prof Chia. What was said at these meetings and how bad is it for Kom that those ideas were introduced? Or is it the grief of KCP3 that they were not invited to these focus groups? As a new student of politics Prof Chia seems to be running faster than the teachers at KCP3, seemingly introducing methods that are not in their play book.
b) (G)iving to understand that he was like forced to run for parliament in 2013 – If I was advising my father, I would certainly tell him to stop sharing this information with the public. But I can also understand his desire to explain to people, who have known him as a teacher for his entire professional life, how he got to this point and why he is asking for their vote. It is true that the hierarchy in Yaounde – Prime Minister – (from inside sources (yes, not my father)) called Prof Chia and requested that he should consider the opportunity to serve his people.
If you know anything about my Dad, his whole life has been about service. And this is hardly his first time serving Kom. His initiative and leadership created a strong, vibrant Kom community in the South West province in the late 90s. He was its bedrock even at retirement from government some years ago. Ever since his retirement and invitation to lead the Cameroon Christian University in Bali, he has a respected presence within the Kom elite group in the North West. Lest I forget, he was an architect and stalwart advocate of the Belo Area Development Union – BADU.
c) ...(C)onsidering that he is so broke; he would rather prefer to protect his professional career – I would rather my Dad be called broke than a thief. Many career civil servants in Cameroon have confused the public treasury with the personal accounts. This is certainly not what KCP3 is endorsing – for candidates to political office in Kom to steal money and feed the Kings at KCP3.
On a serious note however, KCP3 should just declare that the seat of Parliamentarian is open to the highest bidder of Kom origin. Let Alhadji Ndawara be asked to come and run the business of Kom given his finances. The honest truth is that I do not know my father’s bank account and how much he has in it. What I know is that when my four siblings and I needed money for school, Dad and Mom made sure it was there before we went to school.
What I also know for sure is that we always had a roof over our heads. And so too did the hundreds of Kom students who came to Yaounde for University and had no money for rents. If you had made it to Yaounde and stopped by Prof. Chia’s house, he was not going to kick you out. It was literally the same policy in Buea. In fact, I am better for it because it introduced me to wonderful people that I would not have met otherwise. But it also had a squeeze on the family budget. That was never Prof. Chia’s worry. He wanted you in school.
d) He is not sure of himself - It makes sense, I think, that he is not sure of himself. It is for this reason, I bet, that he has rightfully gone back to those who are supposed to be the ultimate source of his power, those who are really supposed to hold him accountable for his actions and inactions, and is asking them in focus groups what they need and how he can be that true middleman in Yaounde for them.
e) ...(P)olitically naïve, not reassuring and KCP3 is not so sure he knows what is expected of him were he to be elected on September 30 – There is little humility in me when I say that I doubt there is any credible politician at KCP3 who can talk one-on-one politics with the “politically naïve” Prof Chia. The truth of the matter, nevertheless, is that his comfort zone is in the four walls of a classroom. It may also explain why he has taken to focus groups better – because he can listen better to what the people have to say and ask questions and explain his vision.
3) Prof. Chia is retired, old and tired. In his present state of mind, he can’t live up to the expectations and challenges MPs face. – Retired he is, without a doubt. Hopefully, however, I hope that behind the infinite wisdom nourishing the thinkers at KCP3 there is the realization that retirement is not an end, not a death sentence; that retirement is a new opportunity, a new window.
Prof. Chia has certainly had a few of those opening for him at “retirement”. Who did the Cameroon Christian University in Bali go to when they needed a candidate with a proven track record of leadership? The “old and tired” Prof. Chia that I am sure some at KCP3 hailed for any number of reasons.
And who did the Prime Minister and NW/Kom elite pick to represent their party? The tired guy whose “present state of mind…can’t live up to the expectations and challenges MPs face.
In conclusion, KCP3 says: 4) He is not the best candidate for Kom in 2013 if sourcing for development projects is the priority today. I would rather KCP3 had the opportunity to educate the informed reader and myself of any project that a politician ever executed using their own personal funds. Let KCP3 assert that the bridge built by Hon. F.C Ngam - following a lifetime of service as a member of parliament, and even becoming Dean of the Assembly before his death – let KCP3 assert that he used his personal wealth to build the bridge.