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Bafaw Tribe Faced with Existential Threat, Risk Extinction From Kumba?

By Njingang Godwin 

Kumba,Cameroon

The Bafaws, a tribe whose indigents are said to be the founders of Kumba according to the German and British assessment report given that they were their colonial masters, are now known to be considered as strangers in their own land and may seized to exist if something is not done as fast the this reporter learnt.

Going by some notable with the tribe who spoke to this reporter on condition of strict anonymity for fear of victimization, said the tribe of late has come under serious attacked from its neighbors and ‘strangers.’

Faced with this situation, the paramount ruler of the Bafaws and chief of Kumba Senator Nfon V E Mukete has summon some top Elites of the tribe and traditional rulers of the well over ten Bafaw villages in meme division to brainstorm on the recent happening and chart a new way forward.

Though no fixed date for the meeting was announced our source said the meeting will take place at the behest of the Nfon anytime soon.

According to them Bafaws are not  loosing juicy position to their neighbors and stranger who appear ‘Kumba people’ by day and manifest their real interest at night, our source decry the fact that the quest for land by certain egoistic individuals and political position has cause the tribe their place as landlords in Kumba.

Bafaw elders also recount to us a pathetic story of a Bafaw divisional delegate who went to collect his identification card at the central police station to his greatest surprise the tribe was not among the register tribe that have been gazette in Cameroon and was propose a neighboring Balong tribe for the delegate to be identified there.

The Bafaw people have decried such a move saying it is a well calculated attempt to wipe out the tribe from total existence in Cameroon.

They reminded locals of the role played by the district head of Kumba at the time Abel Mukete in informing all occupant around Kumba at the time till date for their rents, copied of which was furnished to us written to Mr Ndope headman of Barombi dated October 6th, 1952 which states inter alia,’’ I am directed to remind you and your people living behind the lake that you must keep your taxes ready when the collecting agents reach you.

The Kumba town landlords will be there at Barombi Mbu on 18th November, 1952 at 8; 45am prompt.’’

A similar letter address to Mr Maurice Tafac of Dschang Quarters Kumba dated October 10th,  1951 which states that ‘I am keen to remind you on the need to renew the certificate of occupancy that I issue to you people of Bamileke area living in my tribal area of Kumba and put under me’’.

 

Origins of problem

The problem dates as far back in the colonial days when there used to be just one post office and everybody within the Kumba division at the time will have to travel to Kumba to send or receive mails from the post office so even after independence some of this people still claim within the corridors of power in Yaoundé of being proud sons and daughters of Kumba. The fact that Kumba was an economic hub at the time controlling neighboring towns like, Ekondo Titi, Mundemba, Tombel among others heading by the chief Abel Mukete father of the current paramount ruler, business people from these area use to converge on Kumba as a meeting point in the region at the time to do their businesses. But if the Dundas report is anything to go by, then the Bafaws were the first people whom the Germans met in Kumba and worked with them before their departure. It should be noted that Dundas was the last German officer to leave Cameroon. There is no gain saying that all these archive are available in the Buea and the Enugu.

The problems raised by the Bafaws seem to be a general issue especially in most cosmopolitan towns in Cameroon. For years now, the Bakwerians have been crying foul on how their lands were being indiscriminately seized and sold to “foreigners” who are gradually taking over Land lordship.

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