KNDP vs. KNC vis-à-vis the ripple effects of ‘Anlu’
I read the posting on the Afoakom Forum, “Is this info about the "Anlu" of 1958 true?” with rapt attention and focused most especially on Mr. [camnet forum subscriber id withheld] declaration that:
“As for the SW/NW Divide, there was no such thing until the creation of the provincial system. Prior to that, it was the Coastal/Grassfields Divide, that saw its ultimate political expression in 1958, when Augustine Ngom Jua organized the "anlu" against Premier Dr. E.M.L. Endeley\'s visit to Kom-at the time a stronghold of the KNC in KNDP "country".
The Anglophone Problem originted in the anlu of 1958. It arose out of dissension within the ranks of leading Anglophone politicians, cystallized in the Founbal fiasco of 1961, and has since blossomed to something akin to Anglophone-Francophone Conflict, which is rationalized as Anglophone marginalization in Cameroon.”
Walters Nkwi’s pointer could not have been more apt:
“THE ANLU OF 1958 was really from the beginning not against Endeley and his knc.It was the misunderstanding of the KNC stalwarts to appreciate the traditional farming method of the Kom and to educate the women about the advantages of contour farming.The agicultural law was passed in 1955 at the wum Divisional council.
In 1958 C.K bARTH was convoked to give an explanation at the quarter head compound in njinikom.Failure to give a satisfactory answer saw the beggining of Anlu.It was then that Jua and Echi saw that they could capitalise and derail the KNC which was very strong in kom.True to type their dreams were realised and the kndp won the 1959 elections on a narrow margin.There is no doubt that anlu in a way shaped the political destiny of southern cameroon.But to say that it had something to do with the fumban conference and the anglophene issue is to misplace values.”
Brothers and sisters, permit me share my findings with you, based on investigative conversations I had with some of the “mothers” of ‘Anlu’, and this when I was preparing my little book, Bobe Jua: Spiritual Legacy of a great man, (1997).
Admittedly, the way Bobe Jua’s political career sprouted was anything but timid. As head teacher in Njinikom in 1950, his charisma came out in his commitment to social concerns. He was Secretary General of the Kom Improvement Association, KIA, and member of the Clan Council, representing the Belo Ward. And that is how he became elected to represent the clan in the Wum Divisional Council where he headed many commissions. At that time, he was also a member of the Bamenda Federation Council.
And so Cameroon’s historiography has it that by 1957, when the Central Native Administration Council was created, A.N. Jua was elected to represent his Native Administration and was later elected into the Consultative Council of Native Administration of Enugu in Eastern Nigeria. When Southern Cameroons was separated from Eastern Nigeria, a House of Assembly for the Trust Territory was created and A.N. Jua’s Parliamentary career began. And it is no secret that very early on this political platform, A.N. Jua made quite an uncomfortable number of political rivals and foes.
No doubt, therefore, that even today, close to three decades after his demise, bitter tendencies are still strangely evident from the declarations of Bobe’s political enemies. Most of them still hold firmly that when A.N. Jua and J.N. Foncha abandoned the KNC to form the KNDP, partisan, sectarian and regional witch-hunting were born. Thus, reason for Bobe to be seen, even after a plethora of historical, academic and oral discourse on ‘Anlu’, as the brain behind the 1958 Women’s Riot Movement in Kom. Fat chance!
The origin of this movement, for indeed, ‘Anlu’ was one, dates back to the Kom creation myth; to the settlement period when women checked territorial encroachment in the absence of their men folk who were out in the fields. ‘Anlu’ thus, gradually developed into an instrument of redress, the women protecting women folk and punishing female crime, especially crime that bordered on the immoral.
And so it came to be, that by 1955, when the Cross Contour Act was to be passed by the KNC ruling party, no planning in terms of pre-education had been done, and this, in spite of Jua’s early insistence at the Wum Native Authority meeting on the careful orientation of people’s minds to this new farming technique. Unfortunately, KNC supporters opted for a spur-of-the-moment drive to act, and the outcome of the clash between local farmers and overzealous agriculture technicians is a known, non-misplaced historical fact today.
May be what is being misplaced under the unknown today is that while it was KNDP’s political strategy to fight KNC using popular sentiment, it remains glaringly clear that the KNC faltered in their implementation of a new farming technique by forcing conservative village women to change their farming habits and methods without any pre-educational campaign. Very much like swapping horses at mid-stream, isn’t it?
It is thus, a historical aberration, to intimate or even insinuate that A.N. Jua mobilised village women to spread disenchantment in the grassfields and consequently toppled the KNC in the 1959 elections, thereby introducing the kind of partisan political bitterness evident in the SDF-CPDM polity in the Kom area today, or the kind of Anglophone-Francophone misnomer of national unity, amid dissenting voices of “How sweet is it to go back home.”
No! A.N. Jua did not create the Women’s Riot Movement, ‘Anlu’. He merely used it to enhance his position in the KNDP and in Cameroon. For indeed, if ‘Anlu’ had been his brain child, born to champion the cause wrongly attributed to its guiding principles today, then as Premier, A.N. Jua would not have handled the Bakossi-Bamileke crisis of 1966 without bias, considering the Bakossi people’s support for the KNC and their overwhelming vote against re-unification in 1961, as well as the creation of VIKUMA – a Victoria, Kumba and Mamfe group, the main objective of which was to oppose the ideals of the KNDP.
Maybe we will equally posit tomorrow that Ni John Fru Ndi created the ‘Takembeng’, a replica of the ‘Anlu’, which played a major role in the early days of the SDF. No, he did not! But Fru Ndi has used the influence of these mothers of our collective traditional heritage up-country. Those of us who had the “privilege” to live through the recent Babanki crisis as alert observers, saw what always happened whenever Ni John came down to quell the ire of these angry custodians of the culture of the Babanki people, and needless to emphasise here that this Babanki “war” was fought by their local ‘Takembeng’ for reasons evident to all, reasons similar to those that saw ‘Anlu’ women stay back to defend their land when their men either went out to the fields, were on conquest, or shifted gear by sending women ahead as ‘shield’, for no warrior worthy of the name would shoot down a woman or child.
We equally had a life experience of the overt support of the local SDF ‘Takembeng’ for Fru Ndi right here in Kom when he came for the Provincial Primaries ahead of SDF May 26 2006 Convention, to face their very own son of the soil, Hon. Paulinus Jua, son of the same A.N. Jua who is being wrongly given the negative credit of having created ‘Anlu’. We saw these old women last April 2006 in Fundong, some even older than the front line champions of the 1958 Women’s Riot Movement, adorn Ni John Fru Ndi with our own traditional olive leaves, ‘ülôl’, pushing him on to crush their own son. May be Fru Ndi also created ‘Anlu’.
But most unfortunately, we have heard A.N. Jua’s own kinsmen, and above all else, his son’s own SDF party militants and party officials shamelessly spit it out that “Hon. Paulinus Jua, like his father, wants to take the SDF and go and sell to the CPDM just like his father and Foncha took the KNDP and the Anglophones and sold them to Ahidjo and the Francophones in 1966.” We have even heard utterances as ridiculous as “A.N. Jua embezzled Anlu money and educated his children with it.”
It was the late Professor Emeritus Bernard Fonlon who admonished that:
A wise man, conscious of his limitations and conscious of how hard truth is to come by, knows that he can speak with absolute certainty about few things; and, thus, when he speaks, he speaks sparingly and with caution.
Virgo Portens House,
P.O. Box 2, Njinikom-Boyo,
Republic of Cameroon.
May 22, 2006