© Peuples Noirs Peuples Africains no. 55/56/57/58 (1987) 149-173


[PAGE 150]

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Manfred S. NGU

I – Introduction

For the past twenty-five years, Kamerunians have been suffering under the dictatorship of Ahidjo, and Biya's policies of repeated procrastination. The worst has been the forced assimilation of anglophones via their deadly and sinister policies carefully planned in Paris, and executed by « Presidents » Ahidjo and Biya in Yaounde.

When Biya assumed the Kamerun[1] presidency in November 1982, Kamerunians had many hopes, one of them being that Mr. Biya would eventually distance himself from the unpopular era of Ahidjo. Even the active though banned opposition had entertained encouraging and drastic changes, for no less a personality as the President himself made this very clear to Kamerunians and the world, whereby he earned the sobriquet of « Apostle of Rigour ». But what became of Mr. Paul Biya's promises ? Today, everyone knows that he was only bluffing and never took the Kamerunian people seriously like his predecessor Ahidjo never did.

We now realise that his so-called promises were nothing else as a publicity stunt and a psychological manœuvre meant to win over the gullible Kamerun masses – the oppressed and dispossessed people of Kamerun ! Fed up and discouraged, and feeling betrayed, the Kamerunian people are groping for a way out of the mess. Especially hard hit are [PAGE 151] the West Kamerunian or Anglophones, the popular scapegoats of the heartless and neo-colonial Biya-Ahidjo policies.

It thus appears indispensable to summarise some of the major Kamerunian historical events which have seriously been building up bomb-shells in the Kamerunian population, and in particular, in the English speaking part of this nation, before making any propositions.

II – A historical summary of the political events leading to an annexation of West Kamerun

1. Before the end of the Second World War

Historical records written by the friends (western imperialists) of the Ahidio-Biya-Muna regime, reveal that in :

    1884 : A German consul, Nachtigal, took in possession the Kamerunian territory after signing a treaty with the chiefs of the sea-coast. Thus, he preceded the British who had similar intentions.

    1914 The first world war broke out in Europe.

    1916 The allied forces occupied Kamerun, with the Douala and Bamileke territories, all under British occupation.

    1919 : The League of Nations handed over Kamerun to the British and the French. Following an agreement (Milner-Sinum declaration) between these two imperialist powers, the British accepted to retain only two trust territories; the "Northern Kameruns" and the "Southern Kameruns" in addition to Nigeria. Douala and Dschang (headquarters of the Douala and Bamileke territories) were thus handed over to the French.

    1945 : After the creation of the U.N.O. (United Nations Organisation), the situation remained the same, with the territory east of the Mungo remained under the French, while that west Mungo remained under the British.

2. French Kamerun

    1948 : The Union des populations du Cameroun[2] (U.P.C.), in English, Cameroon Peoples' Union, was founded.

    1955 : July. After numerous attempts, the French imperialists finally succeeded declaring the U.P.C. illegal[3].

    1956 : Defferre's outline law (named after the socialist minister and [PAGE 152] mayor of Marseille in France) accorded more responsibilities (dubious or not ?) to French colonial territories. For Kamerun, 70 posts of members of Parliament were shared out for four regional groups : the 30 deputies of the North formed the "Union Camerounaise" group; the 9 deputies of the south-west, the group of "Paysans indépendants"; the 8 deputies of the coast. "L'Action Nationale"; and the 20 deputies of the Central region (the Yaounde region) formed the group of "Démocrates Camerounais" and their leader, André-Marie Mbida, became the Prime Minister of the French Kamerun.

    1958 : Ahmadou Ahidjo became the Prime of Minister, replacing André-Marie Mbida.

    1959 : The French Kamerun obtained its total internal autonomy "finger-guided" from Paris.

    1960 : The French Kamerun became independent (what independence even ?). A Presidential regime was installed and Ahidjo became the President of the Republic.

3. British Kamerun

    1949 : The first problems concerning the East and Western Kamerun borders were raised up in the Kumba Conference. Anglophone "notables" demanded the status of a federated state in the Nigerian federation. This ended up in the creation of political parties – the Kamerun National Federation of Dr. E.M.L. Endeley and the Kamerun United National Congress (K.U.N.C.) of M. Mbile, which had links with the U.P.C.

    1953 : Crisis broke out in the regional government of Eastern Nigeria. Kamerun anglophones found themselves involved in problems which never directly concerned them. The Kamerunian deputies thus decided to form the Kamerun National Convention (K.N.C.) in order to protect their interests.

    1954 : The British Kamerun obtained the status of an "almost federated state". K.N.C. (led by Dr. Endeley) expressed satisfaction and revived her political life in Nigeria.

    1955 : J.N. Foncha disagreed with the K.N.C. policies and decided to quit and create the Kamerun National Democratic Party (K.N.D.P.), with its prime objective of the reunification of the two Kameruns.

    1957 : March, K.N.D.P. obtained 5 seats out of 13. Dr. Endeley retained power. Muna S.T., the vice-president of K.N.C., quit and joined K.N.D.P.

    1958 : Great Britain announced "independence" for Nigeria for 1960 and that she no longer had any desire of retaining its tutelage on West Kamerun after that.

    1959 : K.N.D.P. came to power in West Kamerun. [PAGE 153]

    1961 : Feb., The Northern Kameruns "voted" to join the Nigerian federation, which was already "independent". The Southern Kameruns voted (97 741 votes against 233 571 in favour) to join the French Kamerun which was also already "independent".

    1961 : June, The Bermuda Conference, in which all the leaders of the then existing political parties in West Kamerun met to discuss the constitution of the Federal Republic. As usual, they never agreed on it.

    1961 : July, The constitutional conference of Foumban, in which representatives from the two Kameruns met to agree on the constitution[4].

    1961 : Oct., The birth of our famous "Federal Republic of Cameroon".

    1963 : At the 9th congress of the K.N.D.P. the delegates chose Mr. Jua as the first vice-President of the party instead of M. Muna, by a vote of 175 against 73.

    1965 : As stated by the constitution, Foncha had to choose between the posts of Vice-President of the Republic and Prime Minister of West Kamerun. He chose that of the Vice-Presidency and was elected. According to the constitution, Ahidjo chose Mr. Jua to be the Prime Minister of West Kamerun – a painful decision he could not avoid due to the pressure exerted on him during the several hours of consultations he made.

    1965 : Sept., Muna S.T., with the heavy inferiority complex now inflicted on him, decided to quit the K.N.D.P., and with the help of the other puppet, Egbe E.T., formed the so-called Cameroon United Congress (C.U.C.).

    1966 : With the help of the two puppets (Muna S.T. and Egbe E.T.) and that of his French friends, Ahidjo successfully amalgamated the four then existing political parties (K.N.D.P., C.P.N.C., C.U.C. and U.C.)[5] into a certain party called C.N.U. Cameroon National Union, but which really means Cameroon Neo-colonial Union, a party which has retarded Kamerun's development for at least 50 years.

    1968 : Ahidjo then applied the sinister article 39 of the constitution of the Federal Republic to replace Mr. Jua by Mr. Muna (the anglophone' greatest traitor, a competent neo-colonialist). [PAGE 154]

    1969 : Oct., Article 39 was rendered more sinister in such a manner that Ahidjo succeeded in kicking off Foncha from the government in 1970, and thus paying the way for Muna to accumulate the posts of the Federal vice-president and Prime Minister of West Kamerun. This very year, the number of federal ministries increased from 17 to 20, but cynically, the number of anglophones in the governement remained 3. Good. this was the beginning of the end of the anglophone voices in Kamerun.

    1972 : May, West Kamerun finally became annexed after a rapidly and maliciously organised referendum.

    1975 : M. Ahidjo manipulated the constitution in such a way that the second highest political figure in the country was not to be an anglophone, by creating the post of premier-ship of the United Republic. This was the greatest shock even the traitor, Muna, found difficult to absorb from his great friend Ahidjo.

    1984 : Biya Paul re-intensified this annexation of West Kamerun by renaming our famous bilingual country as "Republic of Cameroon".

Dear compatriots, this historical summary shall not be complete if we forget mentioning to you of articles 4, 5 and 6 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Kamerun. These articles affected articles 12, 24, 29 and 48 directly (see appendices). They were, compatriots, the most sinister. By 1964, just 3 years after the birth of the Federal Republic, article 6 was fully applied and the position of the Anglophones was seriously weakened. As regards to article 5, the most interesting thing to be mentioned here is that the chief traitor's son, Wali Muna, was himself a victim of it; when on his way to Kamerun for holidays from the United States of America in July 1969, he decided to pass through Britain to spend a few days with his brother. Kamerunians, it is difficult to believe but it is true; he was refused entry (lack of a visa) into Britain and was forced into detention for 24 hours at the airport, where his brother had to come and see him before he continued his journey. Kamerunians should draw their personal conclusions.

III – Educational and economical frustration of anglophone Kamerunians

Now that we have a clear idea of the historical background surrounding the annexation of West Kamerun (English-speaking Kamerun), why not analyse some particular problems which we have had and are still having in certain domains ?

1. Education

We shall talk only of Higher Education (University studies). Let us now see how the malicious French-Ahidjo-Biya-Muna deals have affected [PAGE 155] anglophones in the domain of higher education. This analysis may be well followed up if we glance through Dr. Fonlon's article : "To construct or to destroy", of Abbia no 5, March 1964, p.p. 49 in which he says :

    « In this federation, these two cultures must be placed on equal footing because, it is the cultural difference, let us not forget, which justifies the existence of these two separated states ( .. ). But, even after independence in the former French colonies, one always notices the very determination to maintain French hegemony. For that which concerns the bilingual University of Cameroon, one could be assured it shall simply be a French university if the Cameroon authorities do not get a good control over this institution... Consequently, I do not expect the French to be motivated with a cultural integration in Cameroon. They shall instead consider the English and the Cameroon anglophones as intruders... »

Kamerunians, this point of view of Dr. Fonlon is of course true; but we should ask him just one question. What was his position when Ahidjo was seriously campaigning for the amalgamation of the four Political Parties in Kamerun in 1966 ? If he answers this question, he shall then be able to convince some of us the anglophones, in the nearest future, that he Fonlon, was really fighting for our interest.

While awaiting Dr. Fonlon's answer, let us face the facts : Anglophones have really been, and are, intruders in higher institutions of education in Kamerun, which are of course, 100 % of the French system. In order not to bore the reader, let us take a look only at recent examples reaffirming the fact that anglophones are intruders and unwelcome in the higher institutions of Kamerun :

    a) The Director of the University Centre in Ngaoundere cold-bloodedly organised the entrance examination into his institution in the school year 1983/84, when the anglophone students were still writing their G.C.E. examinations. Should this be the behaviour of an authority in charge of a state enterprise meant for the training of all those termed to be of Kamerunian nationality ?
    b) This same academic year, 1983/84, the francophone students in the faculty of Law and Economics in our famous and unique bilingual university in the world, walked out of Dr. Besong's lecture chiefly because it was delivered in English.
    The fun is that (if not mistaken), it was the only lecture these fellows received in this language. Most annoying about it, is the fact that the Chancellor went as far as replacing the lecturer by a francophone. Where then, humble Kamerunians, is the bilingualism we loud mouthly sing of to the breaking point of peoples' eardrums every night and day in our country ? A little bit of good will Kamerunians ! !
    c) One of the most mighty intellectual ministers in Biya's government, a certain Ze Nguele Rene, the most bilingual (if not mistaken), shamelessly modified the G.C.E. syllabus to suit the francophone system [PAGE 156] of the baccalaureate. Is this the harmonisation of the two colonial cultures that the Ahidjo-Biya-Muna regime was trumpeting and boasting of in 1972 ? Were these modifications followed by equivalent measures on the Baccalaureate ?

Dear compatriots, Anglophones are not against a system of education wherein everyone and each student, whatever his or her province of origin, should have the same syllabi and examinations; but are the methods applied by Mr. Ze Nguele in accordance with the harmonisation policy ? At best, we can call them a disharmonisation policy ! Every one of us knows that Kamerun is the only country in the world, even among the bilingual countries, having a University in which a professor can jive in the lecture hall any time and deliver his lecture in either French or English. For heaven's sake sincere Kamerunians, what miraculous brains has a student who has just got his G.C.E. Advanced Level or Baccalaureate, to understand and take down notes in French or English ! The truth is that, more than 4/5 of the lectures in University of Yaounde are given in French; so in the final analysis, the Anglophones are those to bear the yoke. Why is it that these young fellows have to shed tears during sleepless nights translating notes which cannot, surely, be complete and of the right sense ? Do the Cameroonian authorities want to claim ignorance of how academic education is conducted in other bilingual countries in the world ? This really shows the less importance attached to the quality of education in the so-called famous bilingual university of Cameroon, by our "able" leaders. Do our leaders really want to make us understand that Kamerun is unable to run at least two universities of the same academic schemes but where lectures are delivered in two different languages ? How can some of these Cameroonian Neo-colonialists justify the argument that, only this type of unique system of instruction can guarantee national unity ? Why is it that Kamerun is able to construct an anti-atomic bunker presidential palace for more than CFA 300 billion francs, and has the only economy in black Africa which has been booming since independence according to Radio France International (a similar manœuvre used by the West yesterday to cripple Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Gabon, and of course Zaire whose economy has been lying " for the past 10 years), but cannot ease the burden of young Anglophone students wishing to obtain university education even in their own country ? Kamerunians should not forget that this so-called booming economy draws its life from the petrol in West Kamerun.

Why do our "competent" leaders prefer pushing these poor fellows to go out in search of foreign certificates, which they again claim on their return, are not of the French standards ? Is it not just a mockery of our famous bilingual country ? In any case, what has Kamerun to do at all with French culture and values ? Are we not capable of evolving and refining aspects of our own culture and use it as a yardstick for competence ? [PAGE 157]

IV – Economy

As already mentioned above, the constitution of the Federal Republic was crafted in such a form that the task of the West Kamerun government was rendered even more cumbersome; the greatest share of the states revenues had to go directly into the federal treasury (see article 5). The federal government thus had the right of taking over the running of many economic projects. No need commenting that much, the results are there : West Kamerun is dwindling every year. It is now a ghost region !

One of the decisions which adversely and seriously perpetuated our economy was the presidential decree of 17th January, 1962, which suddenly ordered for the replacement of the pound Sterling by the CFA. franc. Well, this was in itself logical, since our economy became one. But the question is, did Ahidjo really create the conditions necessary to permit a gradual change some three months after the federal republic was born ? Since West Kamerun was no longer in the Sterling zone, it was equally logical it could not comfortably export or trade with the countries concerned, with her new CFA franc, even with Great Britain which used to absorb 60 % of our total exports. For example, inconveniences were caused in our banana and coffee exports, which represented 50 % and 15 % of our total exports respectively.

France, the great leader and naughty boy of the franc zone, now had to benefit and control our economy. Things were not the least easy for us the Anglophones. This even forced the Cameroon Development Corporation (C.D.C.) to announce in 1968 that it was to stop the cultivation of bananas because of the limited French quota[6] allocation for it. France even went as far as refusing to respect this limited quota it had offered[7].

Each and every one of us fully appreciates the fact that an economy lacking infrastructure is not worth existing. It is thus necessary to explain how this situation has been evolving since 1961.

The federal government invested in the construction of a railway from Douala to Kumba. The question which was posed by many West Kamerunians was this : If this project was actually meant to enhance West Kamerun's prosperity, why did the railway have to end in Kumba ? Why did it avoid Victoria and Tiko which were already very strong economic sites, and also are ports, the former being even the best natural port the country has ? Is the construction of a railway between Limbe – having a deep sea port as "Pa" Muna promised us in 1972 – and Kumba, not cheaper than one between Douala and Kumba ? The reasons behind this mysterious merry-go-round railway construction were [PAGE 158] to enhance France's re-colonization of West Kamerun through their machete men Ahidjo-Biya-Muna.

Concerning the question of roads, we prefer not to say anything here, because every true and sincere Kamerunian knows that, if there are any petroleum producing countries in this world having bad roads, Kamerun should top the list. The situation in the whole country remains a complete mess and the worst evidence indicting the criminal the Ahidjo-Biya-Muna bandwagon of black French mercenaries !

To end up this economic review, we should not forget of the assimilation of Powercam into Sonel, a move which has left our Yoké hydroelectric plant rusting. All electricity has to come from Edea. Why ? Ahidjo was more cunning, complex and "intelligent" than even Muna may have thought. West Kamerunians now understand better, why some of our Francophone compatriots call our West Kamerun representatives "anglofools".

V – Analysis and possible perspectives

1. General Analysis

Now that all of us have followed the trend through which the Anglophones arrived in the present mess, it appears necessary that we try to analyse situations critically and look for solutions.

We do agree that the problems that are confronted by the Anglophones in Kamerun are real and existing. They are peculiar, it is true, due to the existence of two imperialists cultures, one of which has to be imposed on the other, as always, without our consultations.

It is more than an insult that, after decades of British colonisation, Anglophones have to suffer from the imposition of French neo-colonialism, this time, via our Francophone brothers and sisters. That an atmosphere of distrust has been built up between the Francophones and Anglophones in Kamerun, is no doubt. Many of us are thus no longer optimistic of a bright future for national unity.

But fellow Kamerunians, let us ask ourselves the following question : what is the difference between a Bamenda man and a Bamileke man, a Fontem man and a Dschang man, a Bakweri man and a Douala man, a Bakossi man and a Mboh man ?

From the Kamerunian point of view, the answer to this question is that there is no difference. We therefore believe (just like any other objective Kamerunian), that these imperialist cultures and influences, have profoundly caused a hell of problem for us, and that, to reestablish our brother and sisterhood relationship, void of distrust we has to completely eradicate the French and British cultures from our beloved country.

Ladies and Gentlemen, believe us that this type of a change cannot and shall never be initiated by the Cameroon Neo-colonial Union (C.N.U.) even renamed C.P.D.M. But since 1948, the U.P.C. (Cameroon Peoples' Union), the party of Um Nyobe Ruben, the only genuine [PAGE 159] party which has always presented and protected the real aspirations of the Kamerunian masses, has spearheaded this move.

You will agree with us, dear Anglophone compatriots, that our suffering have become more cruel due to the Neo-colonial bourgeoisie system (a typical product of western capitalism and hegemony), that the former dictator and now Biya Paul, had practised and is practising respectively.

We do pray you, brothers and sisters, to see with us that the idea of One Kamerun (O.K.) is a good one, but the way Ahidjo and Biya went and are going about it, is what is bad. There is no need crying for a United Africa while at the same time advocating for a divided Kamerun.

Fellow Kamerunians, do you not agree with us that apart from these imperialist French and English languages which have created some of the present differences between us, the common Kamerunian Francophone and Anglophone have fundamentally the same problems ?

We support the urgent view that, there is a need for drastic concessions by the "Cameroonian authorities" who are mostly Francophone. Because, Anglophone representation even in Biya's government is negligible, the few who are there play no part in policy making; at best they play the role of puppets and are manipulated whenever there is need.

But then, there is one thing we all now understand. That is, that since Biya is still practising the same politics as Ahidjo did in the whole country, a united front of Anglophones and Franoophones is needed to force this regime to make the real change we need. We are therefore convinced that every sincere Kamerunian Anglophone or Francophone does agree and concurs with us that :

    1. We do not whish to continue life under a government which practises discrimination in governmental posts due to tribal differences and the bilingual nature of our country. We believe that the cultural diversities of our country even offer a rich source of human talents, which should be intelligently exploited to benefit the whole nation.
    2. We do not wish to continue living under a government which encourages the existence of a university, whose library is no better than that of a secondary school and has virtually no bookshop for the past 22 years (since 1962); wherein a professor jives in the lecture hall and lectures in French just to quit and make way for the next lecture in English (the only one in the world-academic mimicry); where examination questions are leaked out before the beginning of every session; which pours out hundreds of jobless graduates each year.
    3. We do not wish to continue gnashing our teeth under a regime which permitted our country to be the world's 9th French champagne consumer of the first semester of 1984 (308 915 bottles), whereas millions of the Kamerunians never had and still do not have clean [PAGE 160] water to drink. We are conscious of the fact that many civil servants hardly buy champagne for their homes, and that millions of Kamerunians (peasants, workers and the youth in general) do not even know what a champagne bottle looks like. This enormous quantity of champagne must therefore have been consumed during C.N.U./C.P.D.M. feasts and by certain top businessmen of the country. This group of persons does not even constitute 1 % of the country's population. Revolutionary Kamerunians regard this irresponsible act of our leaders as an insult not only to Kamerunians, but also to Africa as a whole.
    4. We do not whish to continue life under a regime which has permitted even Garri, a foodstuff which is hardly of any nutritious value, to become more expensive than rice. How can we explain the fact that, in 1970, 1979, 1983, in Mamfe (one of West Kamerunians chief centres of Garri production) the number of cups per 100 F CFA have dropped correspondingly from 33 to 13 and 3 ? How then will Kamerunians survive in the nearest future if C.N.U./C.P.D.M. prices for basic food commodities continue to increase at this rate ? Is that day not going to be catastrophic ? This is why Revolutionary Kamerunians believe that a political, social and economic system which will guarantee price stability not only for basic food commodities, but also for all commodities needed for a normal life, is indispensable for the country as soon as possible, in order to put an immediate halt to this natural catastrophe in preparation by C.N.U./C.P.D.M.
    5. How can we explain the fact that house-rents in some French (Kamerun's breast feeder) towns like Marseille, Lyon, Strasbourg etc., are cheaper than in Douala, Yaounde, Nkongsamba etc., for equivalent types of Apartments ? Is this not a shameful situation created for Kamerunians by the C.N.U./C.P.D.M. ? We call on the Kamerunian masses to chase out of our political, social and economic life, those who are responsible for it.
    6. How can we explain the fact that Anglophones have to watch films in french without any corresponding translated texts in English projected on the screens ? The most aching thing about it, is the fact that some of these films are originally shot in English, but since they first of all have to pass through greedy France for censorship and translation before going to Kamerun, all Kamerunians are obliged to see them in French. This does not concern the "Cameroonian authorities", so long as their capitalist foreign friends have their money without any disturbances. In fact, our neo-colonial Ahidjo-Biya-Muna governments probably authorize this practice. Sincere and Revolutionary Kamerunians denounce this inhuman French recolonisation of Kamerunian Anglophones via the C.N.U./C.P.D.M.
    7. How can we explain the fact that Kamerun, considered to be one of the richest countries in Africa, has deprived its citizens of roads; [PAGE 161] that even the roads existing have at least 10 potholes for every square meter ? A good example is the Mamfe-Kumba road which was inaugurated by the former dictator in 1974. This road is impassable during the rains and sometimes the travellers have to sleep on the way for 3 days before arriving at their destinations. This is a road of not more than 160 km. Are we sure that our "able" leaders can explain to us and the African people why our country is one of the few retarding and blocking the construction of the Trans-Africa motorway ? What reasons can we give for permitting the survival of a government which has ignored the death toll in areas such as Ngolo-Batanga, Mamfe-Overside, Mundani, Obang, just to name a few ? Is it not simply because the sick cannot be transported to clinics because of lack of roads ? Where then go the riches of "the only country having a healthy economy in Africa" according to Radio France International ? Is this irresponsible act of the C.N.U./C.P.D.M. and other Neo-colonial bourgeois not a slap on the faces of our dying compatriots and peasants who are tax-payers in the bush ? What have these poor people done to Ahidjo, Biya and Muna that they have to suffer under these conditions ? Are we sure slavery is actually finished ? Why does the "Cameroon Government" in Yaounde condemn apartheid ? Are those blacks in South Africa more miserable than those millions of Kamerunians living in the bush without roads, electricity, education, hospitals etc. ? Is Botha's palace in Pretoria as sophisticated as the Ahidjo-Biya anti-atomic bunker presidential palace of Yaounde ?
    8. What explanation can we Kamerunians give for keeping in place a regime which has deprived regions like Ngolo-Batanga, Mamfe-Overside, Mundani, Obang etc., of hospitals ? Do we find it normal to live in a country where the so-called existing hospitals lack drugs, and even alcohol at very critical moments, where patients are obliged to lie on the floor because of lack of beds ? How can we explain the fact that for more than 24 years now, the Ahidj-Biya-Muna C.N.U./C.P.D.M. have completely failed building a pharmaceutical industry in the country ? Are these men really Kamerunians ? Revolutionary Kamerunians, just like any and other sincere Kamerunians, consider the balance sheet of C.N.U.'s policies on public health, seriously negative.
    9. Do Kamerunians find it normal to continue life under a regime which has decided to hand-over our economy to the French as our trade deficits for 1981 and 1982[8] with this country do show 366 000 000 and 378 000 000 Dollars respectively ? Are some of the goods we buy from France, champagne for example, indispensable for life in Kamerun ? Must we buy from France alone ? Kamerunians should not forget that on the 15th of November 1984, Paul [PAGE 162] Biya said, « We expect above all from these "journées" that, French investors continue to be interested as in the past, and even more, in the Cameroonian economy, and should invest in it ».
    10, In short, do Kamerunians find it normal to live with a regime which is auto-paralysed, anti-progressive, anti-constitutional and made of individuals of a dangerously polarised and highly limited political field of view ? Revolutionary Kamerunians believe that our country needs leaders who are capable of proposing to us human solutions after a critical and intelligent analysis of our problems. We no longer want cloudy and empty solutions. The only solution is therefore to do away with this Neo-colonial western brain-washed Ahidjo-Biya regime, if we really need a change.

2. Corruption

It is quite obvious that many of us still do not try to find out the root causes of corruption and its consequences. That is why it is necessary this topic be treated a little bit more in detail before presenting to readers a summary of salutary economic and social programme.

It is a street and bar song in Kamerun today that, the C.N.U./C.P.D.M. and the Biya regime are dangerously corrupt, or rotten to the core; they are stealing our money etc. This is of course very true. But why is it so ? Are these corrupt leaders not human beings; just as some of us who call them thieves ? The answer is obviously Yes. So, Kamerunians should retreat a bit and re-question themselves; "but why are our rulers deadly corrupt ?".

We believe that the main reason for this high level corruption in our country today, is due to the type of system installed there – this socalled "Planified Liberalism" or "National Liberalism" (a synonym of Neo-colonial bourgeoisie or Capitalism) or so-called "Community Liberalism".

Once a person is surrounded by conditions which can render him corrupt, he easily becomes corrupt. Let us take just two examples :

a) So long as the state contrives permitting the existence of private companies, which are in most cases, completely vested in the hands of foreigners (who are always capitalists – western bourgeois), the free market economics – chase money and make the possible maximum profit you can – will continue to persist. What happens next ? The foreign imperialists go out in search of Kamerun Neo-colonialists to guarantee them an easy way through their malicious processes of exploiting the country. Who are these Neo-colonialists ? They are surely C.N.U./C.P.D.M. barons. These people therefore easily become corrupt, not exactly they were earmarked right from birth to be so, but because the conditions surrounding them permit them to become corrupt. Since they have many millions of francs (acquired through corruption), the state permits them to use these millions to construct private "buildings" for renting, to create private companies, to import [PAGE 163] as many sophisticated cars as they wish from the west, to construct hotels, to buy land, to house concubines in hotels etc.

These are the things which constitute the liberty of man – the life of "Enjoyment" – as the west and certain other "enlightened" Africans try to put it to the common African man. The struggle to be the richest man in the country becomes the next problem, among those termed to be millionaires, while millions and millions of others are dying of misery.

Thus, the abolition of heavy private enterprising, or precisely the eradication of all the conditions pushing man towards corruption, seems to us, to be the best solution for curbing this retrogressive factor of development.

b) Another example for the root causes of corruption is favouritism. This is practically natural. Imagine a Minister confronted with a situation wherein there are two candidates who have the same mark in a competitive examination for a scholarship. Let us suppose (and it frequently happens) that one of the candidates is the son or daughter of the Minister's friend, and that only one scholarship is available. Every person should put himself into the Minister's situation. What will you do ? It is just as natural as the wind that, he gives the scholarship to his friend's son or daughter. There are many similar situations. Today in Yaounde University, 65 % of the students are scholarship holders. What of the other 35 % ! Are they not Kamerunians ? They should be given their scholarships.

This is again a good example to demonstrate how corruption begins and persists. We do not need a computer to calculate and tell us what to do. The solution is this; if the C.N.U./C.P.D.M. barons and all the so-called "big men" of the country, stop blocking our money in their names in the banks; all the students in University of Yaounde will have scholarships; the Minister will give scholarships to the two candidates who had the same mark in the competitive examination; favouritism shall stop, and hence corruption.

Prevention is better than cure. Trying to stop a Minister, or a Top businessman, or a C.N.U./C.P.D.M. baron from being corrupt in the Present autocratic neo-colonial bourgeoisie system, is just like trying to stop a mouse or a rat surrounded by heaps of groundnuts, from eating them. Besides this, we should not have illusions on the fad that one day, these people shall be tried for corruption, in this present system. Because, before one "Top businessman" becomes corrupt, at least one or two Ministers are always involved, and we end up noticing scores and scores of C.N.U./C.P.D.M. barons following suit. Thus, since they cannot be tried by Magistrates and judges, a good number who are themselves corrupt, the situation remains intact, and the riches of the country continue circulating in the hands of "Cameroonian leaders", highly placed businessman and foreigners; while millions and millions of Kamerunians continue gnashing their teeth in misery. We should not be contented with short-term solutions to delicate problems as these Kamerunians ! [PAGE 164]

We never just got up one bright morning, rubbed our eyes, and said, « let's adopt a socialist system for our country ». We seriously pondered over it for many years. That is why we believe that, drawn up after a thorough and sincere study of the hardship experienced by Kamerunians since the installation of a neo-colonial dictatorship in our country, our programme, which is actually a sort of "zero option" project for the society, is most probably the best poison to corruption. It is a "zero option" project for the society in the sense that, while it shall strive to fight against illegal and unnecessary amassing of wealth by our greedy neo-colonial bourgeois, it shall help to elevate the living standards of the poor and then balance up living conditions for all our citizens. In short, there should no longer be any conflicts between certain people who believe they were born lucky to be millionaires and thus become lords, and those who have been suffering under exploitation of man by man for decades over decades.

Corruption is a Typical Product of Western Capitalism. Let us get rid of it in the best possible Manner, Kamerunians !

3. The auto danger of Neo-colonial Bourgeoisie

One important thing our neo-colonial bourgeois refuse to understand is this : the earlier they pave the way for implementation of a socialist programme, the more assured shall he their security and that of their families. Because, there are many proves to show that the present capitalist initiated decadence of the society, characterised by prostitution, armed robbery and burglary, juvenile delinquency, vagrancy, begging, tribalism, favouritism, daily increase of prices of basic commodities and unemployment, seriously threatens in the final analysis, the neo-colonial bourgeois himself, than the common man.

Take for example the after effect of unemployment. The more there are jobless university graduates (just one group of the unemployed) in the streets, the easier they become mobilized towards the search for the root causes of their being unemployed. And once they become really conscious of the fact that there are Cameroon neo-colonial bourgeois who are responsible for their hardship and imposed idleness; a serious and violent campaign against them may be launched. In addition to this, the neo-colonial bourgeois should not deceive themselves that the army shall always be there to protect them. Because, the real truth is that the soldiers are also dangerously being cheated by the regime. Only the Top officers swim in luxury. Thus, almost the whole army, poor as the other millions of civilians, may one day go down into the streets without necessarily having guns in their hands, to join the civilians to chase out these few neo-colonised nuisances of the society. This is a hypothesis which cannot be ignored in the present context of the western controlled economical and political system of life.

The West has been able to sustain this system of bourgeoisie simply because the source of their riches is mainly external, and not internal. [PAGE 165] But now that the "Third world countries" (African and South American countries etc.) are fast becoming incapable of providing for a "Third world and a Western bourgeoisie, an explosive situation shall be unavoidable, except an immediate halt to bourgeoisie is imposed.

And in order to protect not only our poor peasants and all those living in misery, but also even this monstrous neo-colonial bourgeoisie class, against this Western stimulated disaster, we propose to you the economical and social programme which follows. The quicker the Kamerunians accept it, the earlier all the social classes of the country will be secured.

*  *

Possible perspectives

1. Summary of the Economic and Social Programme

A) General Principles

We project socialism for the society : a socialism which is not inspired from any given model (not Russian, not Chinese, not Cuban, neither Albanian nor some other one), created however, on the basis of marxist thesis, but by Kamerunians themselves without the help of "experts", planted in the silt of the traditions and genus of our people, a socialism which is not – as it often happens – the camouflage of a civilian or military dictatorship which exploits the popular masses, avoiding indefinitely the task of edifying a national independent economy, frustrating civilian liberties and allowing corruption to prosper.

The goal of the socialist project for the society, is to render our country the real master of its own destiny, to make our people the real proprietor of their riches and the fruit of their labour. The fundamental measures which will lead our country in the transition towards the mastering of its destiny and its economic social development are the following :

    a) The nationalisation of all the main means of production (heavy industries, mines, energy, vast agro-industrial exploitations).
    b) The prohibition of possessing land as a private property[9] without hindering its free usage by peasants or forcefully integrating the cultivators and independent peasants in state-owned farms or cooperatives.
    c) The nationalisation of Banks credit and external commerce; and the creation of a national monetary unit independent of foreign monetary units. [PAGE 166]
    d) The nationalisation and development of communication and transport
    e) The preservation of a private economical sector, be it national or foreign, and the cooperation between this sector and that of the state (dominant), in all domains wherein this private sector proves useful to the economic progress of the nation and flight of production forces.
    f) Finally, a democratic and planified management of the national economy.

B) Economic Policies

1. Premises

Considering the prevailing conditions, a new economic policy for an independent economy and development shall begin with :

    a) The lifting of mortgages which are weighing heavily on the economy of the country – in particular; the negotiation of those international accords which have major negative economical incidences, and the elaboration of a new code of investments.
    b) The setting up of an efficient statistical apparatus to systematically take census of the riches of the soil, the underground and others; in order to know and follow up the national demography and various economic indexes both at the local and the national levels.
    c) The organisation of a thorough management of nationalised enterprises (industrial, agricultural and others) such that they could become real social properties, dynamic and socially profitable, implying :

      – the initiation and sensibilisation of workers for the struggle against exploitation, and the development of the consciousness of their class;
      – the training of workers for a democratic management of their enterprise and for a responsible participation in a democratic planification; the education of the productive forces of the towns and the fields for a new working discipline and a new ethic for production.

2. Agriculture

    a) To rapidly develop at the beginning, the agricultural production of food-stuffs in order to permit the Kamerunian people to eat to their satisfaction. In order to accomplish this, the main communication axes will be improved on, and isolated regions will be desenclaved with the help of, if there be need, military engineers; and to develop food industries, (cold, conservation and processing).
    b) For the entire agriculture, animal breeding and fishing, to aid and cater for peasantry production, [PAGE 167]

      - to encourage and aid in regrouping independent cooperative production units,
      – but above all, to develop state cooperatives (nationalised lands to be given to peasants for free use), estates and agro-industrial complexes,
      – to protect, reforest and rationally exploit the forest,
      – to aid cattle breeding and fishing cooperatives, to develop fish-culture and organise the fishing industry by abolishing neocolonial fishing enterprise.

3. Industry

    a) Priority shall be given to industries producing goods which substitute frequent importations, and to industries which encourage agricultural development (mechanisation and fertilisers in particular).
    b) Put in a great effort in investment in heavy industry and even the production of nuclear energy permitting in short term, the fabrication of the means of production, by planifying this effort according to the level of their sophistication in relation to the economic pace concerned, be it local, national or inter-regional. The aim being to provide for the country, an industrial impulse worth its title, in the perspective of unifying with other socialist Republics of Africa, and mutual economic exchange with other countries.

4. Commerce and Artistry

    a) Setting up as from the go, a state sector for distribution.
    b) Nationalisation of the old colonial warehouses.
    c) Total Africanisation and regularisation of small business in a coherent
    d) Organisation of an implacable right against smuggling and fraud, with penalties as severe as the offenders are rich (highly placed).
    e) To help the small and average artisans (material aid, training and buying of their products).

C) Social Policies

1. Work, Revenues and Taxes

    a) To assure the right and obligation to a job and to an initial and continuous professional training.
    b) To limit the working week at forty hours.
    c) Reduce right from the go, salary scales from 1 to 5.
    d) To assure allowances for the old, the sick, the handicapped, pregnant women and children.
    e) To organise a social rehabilitation of delinquents and prostitutes.
    f) To get rid of the after-effects of the degenerating capitalist society pandering, banditry, drug taking... to re-educate the victims.
    g) Lift all taxes on low salaries.

2. Health

    a) Total free medical care. [PAGE 168]
    b) Nationalisation of all infrastructures and medical, paramedical, pharmaceutical and related professions.
    c) Continuous increase of investments in the construction, equipping of hospitals and dispensaries, and the getting up of a pharmaceutical industry.
    d) Intensive training of health personnel of all calibre.
    c) Development of medical and pharmaceutical research – traditional medicine and pharmaceutical, and up to date domains inclusive.

3. Education

    a) Education shall be free (provisions inclusive) and obligatory for all 4 to 16 years old children at least.
    b) Education shall be secular, national, totally in the hands and the care of the state.
    c) Illiteracy shall be eradicated as quickly as possible by means of a national campaign of mobilisation of pupils, students, teachers, and other literates.
    d) A serious educational reform shall be carried out with respect to our cultural and historical medium, production, and the needs of our development.
    e) Education at all levels – University inclusive – shall be opened to workers. The teaching system shall be organised in such a way as to guarantee this right and possibility.
    f) Important investments shall be consented for the construction of schooling establishments at all levels, boarding schools, university hostels, and to produce books and furniture.
    g) An intensive training for teachers of all calibre shall be organised as well as periodic recycling.

4. Women and Family Care

    a) All brutalities and corporal ill-treatment of women and children shall be banned.
    b) A strive shall be organised to bridge the gap existing between women and men in the economic and social life and also for equality in education, work (according to the rule of equal work equal salary), and in marriage, before the law.
    c) Widows shall be protected against retrogressive practices (exploitation and humiliation by the family of the deceased husband).
    d) Dowry in whatsoever form it may be, shall be prohibited[10].
    e) Polygamy shall be abolished[11].
    f) A family code shall be elaborated. [PAGE 169]
    g) The state shall formulate a policy of child-birth and child protection, and of the youth which assures the dynamism of the nation.

5. Housing and Transport, Leisure and Sports

    a) The speculation for lands to construct on, and for buildings shall be forbidden.
    b) A vast programme for constructing decent social lodgings in towns and the country-side shall be launched throughout the whole country.
    c) The renting of lodgings by speculative tenants shall be rigorously prohibited.
    d) Means of collective transport shall be developed in priority.
    c) Mass leisure shall be organised at all levels, and private exploitation of leisure shall be regularised; all games of gambling shall equally be prohibited.
    f) Cinema and film industries shall be nationalised and endowed by adequate means without prejudice against the liberty of creativity for the artists' blossoming.
    g) A great sporting policy shall be elaborated without fanaticism, throughout the country.

Such is, very briefly summarized, the economic and social programme for the transition to socialism (12).

Our country disposes all the riches and all the material and human potentialities which will permit us to realise this economic and social programme.

Unfortunately, these riches and potentialities are wasted, hushed up, pillaged by the new bourgeoisie set up since independence and which enriches itself in corruption, and by big imperialist powers.

2. Multi-Party System : The Only Possible Solution Remaining

There is no need enumerating in this paragraph, the number of times President Paul Biya has thanked the Kamerunian people for their political maturity (particularly during his crisis with Ahidjo).

We should not however forget that, on the 15th of November 1984, during a press conference animated by "Radio France International" journalists, President Paul Biya explicitly came out against democracy and a multi-party system. In answering to a question concerning the April 1984 abortive coup d'Etat, he said « ... there were soldiers, officers of all the regions and all the religions. There are muslims who fought against the putschits, ... Thus, it was not a problem of regions of religions, but a question of option (National security, (the author)) ». This again portrays Biya's recognition of Kamerunians as a very mature people, even at very critical moments regionalism ends up in violence. [PAGE 170] In this very press conference, just some six months after this bloody coup d'Etat wherein Kamerunians demonstrated their political maturity, the President, defying article 3 of the constitution he promised Kamerunians to respect on the 6th of November 1982, added that, « our country counts more than 200 ethnic groups, several official languages (how many ? the author) and several religions. Authorising a multi-party system today shall be automatically authorising hundreds of parties». If the President is well understood, it means that Kamerun shall never have a multi-party system, since those 200 and above ethnic groups, several official languages and several religions of our country shall never disappear. How can Mr. Biya justify all these bizarre contradictions in his policies ? How then is he going to accomplish his famous programme of democracy ? Is it not just out of bad will that he is ruling the country with the same dirty policies of Ahidjo ?

For how long and how many times has one proposed to Biya to have a bill cabled and adopted by the National Assembly, prohibiting the creation of tribal or regional parties ? Why is Biya trying to escape the truth ?

We the Anglophones should throw back our minds in the postindependence era between 1960 and 1966, when our political parties were still existing. We really had some freedom of speech. But after September 1966, 6 years never elapsed, we found ourselves in a dangerous bloody dictatorship just as our Francophone brothers and sisters. This is why we wish to remind our anglophone compatriots that, so long as everyone of us sits in his or her small corner and criticises the regime individually without getting into an organised political group, we are all bound to continue gnashing our teeth in the rotten system. On the contrary, if we succeeded in our struggle for a multi-party system today, the conditions are going to change; we shall choose the party which best represents not only our interests but also those of the whole country. In other words, a party which on the one hand offers the best solution to the general aspirations of the masses as a whole, and on the other hand, offers the best solution to the need of a peaceful co-existence of two large groups of people of different cultures, in a bilingual state.

If there was a multi-party system in our country today, the press would once again become free and every person will be able to voice out his views on the political situation of the country. President Biya will even benefit from this opportunity to know exactly what the population feels and shall then govern the country in this respect, and for his own personal fame. He shall no longer entertain fears for clandestine political parties.

In addition to this, Anglophones have to be very vigilant the day a multi- party system shall be reinstalled (hoping that Kamerunians fight for it). Because, we must not ignore the fact that, when that day comes, a certain group of Kamerunians might emerge with a similar label as that of Biya – social democrat. Anglophones should not be deceived that day by these people. Biya, as a socio-democrat (Cameroon [PAGE 171] Tribune, English edition, Angust 31, 1983. no 480, p. 1) has already failed. So, there is no miracle some other socio-democrats will show to Kamerunians when that time comes. The best solution is that all socio-democrats should form their own party.

For us the Anglophones, only the programme above presented, shall be able to take us out of this mess. There is nothing we shall ever benefit from in a neo-colonial bourgeoisie system as that which exists now, or any form of social democracy.

3. The National Union Current for a Democratic Change (N.U.C.D.C.)

It is now very clear to every Kamerunian that Paul Biya and his dangerously corrupt C.N.U. are completely against democracy. But we Kamerunians want nothing short of a genuine democracy in our country now. It is very possible.

All Kamerunians irrespective of their political ideologies, and who also actually believe that we need a genuine democracy in Kamerun today, are called upon to get themselves mobilised, in a great current. Once the current becomes well implanted in the country, the N.U.C.D.C. shall ask the President to permit the safe return to the country, of all political exiles, and then form a provisional government in which all parties shall be represented. Once formed, this government shall then undertake the following minimal demands which we believe no sincere Kamerunian is against.

    – The liberation and social rehabilitation of all political prisoners and declaration of a general, unconditional amnesty.
    – Legalisation of the U.P.C. and the installation of a multi-party system.
    – Respect of human rights and democratic liberties.

The President shall then dissolve the C.N.U. National Assembly and general legislative elections held. Even the C.N.U. deputies who are known by the masses for their sincere whishes for a democratic change, could be voted. Thus, the N.U.C.D.C. is neither a threat to President Paul Biya, nor shall it be a threat to sincere C.N.U. deputies.

The following diagram (14) briefly explains the possibilities now existing to solve this political impasse we Kamerunians are experiencing since 1960 :

C.N.U. Barons
and Neo-Colonial
Bourgeois who are fiercely
hostile to a Political Change

and other
socio-democrats [PAGE 172]




Democracy and the
installation of a Multi-Party

Non Political Militants
aspiring for a Genuine
Democratic Change

General Elections

Genuine Development
for the Country

This forecast of what the N.U.C.D.C. should be is a very realistic one. Since Biya still talks of Democracy, let us include him in the current, with the hope that he cooperates with Kamerunians that day.

*  *

VI – Conclusion

It is rather unfortunate that Ahidjo has been piling up bomb-shells in our beloved country (some of which exploded on April 6 and 7 1984) and instead of Biya clearing off these explosives, he has decided to break an African record or Political mimicry during a short period of 24 months – the politics of a blind politician.

Dear compatriots, you know for yourselves that, to construct a true Kamerunian nation, projecting our real identity and aspirations to the outside world, we need to be very organised and determined. You agree equally that the destiny of Kamerun lies in our hands (Biya inclusive). We therefore have a great task to accomplish, a task which needs to be handled with maturity. Blood-shed is to be avoided. For these reasons, the intelligence and individual contribution of every Kamerunian is needed to realise the democracy needed for the country. There should not be lies telling that, the army does not have to interfere with politics. There are so many complications in the country now. The army, the U.P.C. and all other free thinking Kamerunians, should be invited by President Paul Biya and the C.N.U., so that the genuine change Kamerunians need be discussed in a round table conference. If Biya and the C.N.U. continue to refuse this peaceful proposals that even individual citizens as René Philombe made to the President, then we shall need to go through the process of N.U.C.D.C. as explained above. [PAGE 173]

We the anglophones should not forget that our Anglophone politicians (Muna and Foncha in particular) have really perturbated for the worst, not only the policital trend of West Kamerun, but that of the whole country. We should not, however, be discouraged and refuse cooperating. Let us now fight for a Kamerun which shall be democratic, with U.P.C. legalised. There is ample proof to believe that, a new Kamerun free of segregation, hatred, corruption, poverty, misery, exploitation of man by man in whatever form it may be etc... is quite possible in the nearest future. But this genuine change shall neither fall from heaven nor be given to you freely by Biya and his dangerously rotten C.N.U. It has to he scrapped out of their hands by you and no other person else. Don't expect miracles, Kamerunians – ahead with the N.U.C.D.C.

Manfred S. NGU

[*] Les opinions particulières exprimées ici ne sauraient engager la revue Peuples noirs-Peuples africains.

[1] Kamerun : « This orthography which dates as far back as German colonisation has a profound political significance. It signified U.P.C.'s claim for "Reunification not independence" at the epoque of the two colonial trusteeship of the French and British in Kamerun as from 1918 to 1960. The 1972 constitution instituted "The United Republic of Cameroon", which is nothing other than a judicial translation of the annexation of « West Cameroon », rich in petroleum, by French capitalism strongly implanted in "East Cameroon". The orthography Kamerun used by the U.P.C. thus signifies the claim for Real Unity for the country on the basis of geographical unity and of self-determination of all the populations of the west and of the east of the country » (Woungly Massaga in « Où va le Kamerun ? ). The day U.P.C. will have to deal directly and publicly with the Kamerun masses, the latter could raise the question of an indigenous name for the country and resolve it according to their aspirations.

[2] Um Nyobe Ruben, the father of the Kamerunian nation, registered his party in 1948 under French colonisation. It is logical the French colonialists could not have accepted the registration of the U.P.C with the orthography "Kamerun". The reader should therefore not confuse the French orthography Cameroun of the U.P.C. with Kamerun – which has already been explained in note 1.

[3] At least 5 000 Kamerunians were massacred in May, 1955 by the French colonial army.

[4] There was nothing fast thinking West Kamerunians could expect from this conference. Just a single party existed in the former French Kamerun, while in West Kamerun, we had many parties which never agreed on what they wanted the constitution to look like. In addition, the French played a great role in drafting the constitution for Ahidjo, who no longer had opponents from the French Kamerun during the negotiations.

[5] Notice that after the formation of the so-called Federal Republic, the orthography Kamerun changed for Endeley's party which became Cameroon People National Convention (C.P.N.C.), while that of Foncha remained unchanged. Anglophone should note in addition that, we have always insisted on the K-type of Kamerun than our francophone compatriots.

[6] Cameroon Express no 70, 28 November 1968.

[7] C.D.C. Annual report and Accounts for the year ended 31st December 1966, Victoria; C.D.C. 1967 p. 11; and Europe – France – Outre-Mer, no 474-475, July-August 1969, pp. 30-31.

[8] Africa Confidential Vol. 24 no 16, 3 August 1993.

[9] Once land becomes a commodity just like any other one, it becomes the more and more monopolized (and thus vary scarce) by thoses who have money. This means that « land as a private property » becomes the more and more that of « capitalists and the bourgeoisie ». Ahidjo's 1974 law of the land had actually wanted to accelerate this process.

[10] Before the arrival in Africa of trade civilisation, what we now call dowry, has as primary objective, to guarantee a future couple the "means of installation". Property was brought by husband and wife into common stock. It was often common that the property brought by the bride outweighed that of the bridegroom. Dowry is a colonial and later neo-colonial perversion from the positive tradition of our ancestors, a perversion which has today rendered the Kamerunian woman a commodity.

[11] In many regions of the country (in particular, highly muslim and/or feudal regions consolidated by colonialism and then by C.N.U.'s neo-colonial dictatorship) young men at the desirable age of getting married can not get female counterparts because the great feudal "notable" of the C.N.U. have accumulated, for some, up to hundreds of wives.