By Bouddih Adams
It is not fair to make fun of the dead. But think of the fact that Government business screeched to a halt as every Minister, Director, Governor, SDO, DO and Delegates and even Medical Doctors took off from all the corners and angles of the Cameroons, to Mvomeka. Some even sealed their offices and hit the road. In fact all the roads led to Mvomeka over the weekend.
What is your take, for instance, if a patient dies because the Medical Doctor could not attend to him/her, because the Medic travelled to Mvomeka. Can you compare the life of a commoner with the death of a very important person like the mother of the wife of a life President? Is that not a big joke?
So, hundreds of Very Important Personalities, VIPs, were in Mvomeka to bury the Very Important Corpse, VIC, of the mother-in-law of the President of the Republic.
Most first ladies in Africa are not really the heads of the President’s kitchen cabinet, in the US sense of the word, but can be very influential in appointments made by their husbands.
Imagine the wife of a minister who might have shown disrespect to the First Lady somewhere; you can guess that the husband will be dropped from the next cabinet, especially as a cabinet reshuffle is being awaited since September last year.
The funeral of the first mother-in-law [mother of the First Lady] of the first citizen of the Cameroons is a very, very big event. It is the greatest opportunity for those hoping for one or more things to go and showcase their loyalty to the Presidential family.
Some, who could not make it, must surely be wishing that Chantal Biya had many mothers; so that if another dies, they would be there again to shed commercial tears and pick the spoils of the opportunity provided by the funeral. Some must surely be thinking why President Paul Biya does not have many wives, so that each time any of the mothers-in-law dies, they would attend the funeral and commercialise their tears in exchange for a position, appointment, promotion, Government contract or any other advantage.
Since most of the members of the regime are heartless, better still, have no conscience and, therefore, are not easily given to tears, I suspect that some of them applied ‘small-no-be-sick’ to the eyes which made them running in order to be seen as weeping.
Or, like we did in those our boyhood truancy days, some might have applied spittle on their cheeks to give the false impression that they are weeping. Some of these schemers could be seen mourning more than the bereaved and making sure that President, or Chantal or someone close to the presidential couple sees them.
Many are those who would tip cameramen to capture and immortalise and theretofore document the moment. On most of such occasions, I have seen some of these schemers doing very funny things to catch the eye of the camera or for the eye of the camera to catch them.
You can be sure that these appointment or promotion hopers will be the first to show up at any outing by the First Lady and would very decently inform her that they attended her mother’s funeral; in order to attract sympathy and then ask her for a ‘favour’ to influence her husband to appoint or promote them.
And most of them did not go ‘empty handed’; they carried many and varied gifts to the prince, like cows, goats, swine, the most expensive wines and whiskies... You may think, that is like carrying coal to Newcastle – sorry – carrying water from Nkambe in the extreme Northwest to Victoria on the shores of the Atlantic. You are right, but they are not wrong. You should know that these gifts are accompanied by complimentary cards or some other thing, for reference.
Nevertheless, many of them went there to show their gratitude to the President for appointing or promoting them.
A Good Deed Deserves Another
I think I have once, on this same platform, shared this story my progenitor told me; about a hunter and a carpenter who were very good friends. The hunter always brought back game from his expeditions and shared with his friend, the carpenter.
The carpenter always thought of how to show his appreciation to the hunter as a friend indeed, but there was no way, because, the hunter, from the sale of some of the game, had enough furniture; hence the carpenter never had the opportunity to reciprocate.
One day, the hunter’s son died and, behold! That was the golden opportunity for the carpenter. He made a beautiful and befitting coffin and the hunter’s son was buried in it.
Days after the funeral, the hunter was giving his thanks for sympathy and turned to the carpenter: “My good friend, if not of you, I would have been disgraced. I spent all my savings on the treatment of my son and had nothing left. If not of you who provided that coffin, my son would not have had a befitting burial.”
You know, fulfilment comes with excitement that can get to the head and the tongue gets unreasonably loose.
The carpenter retorted: “No, my friend, instead, I have always looked for the opportunity to reciprocate your kindness. It is just that your sons don’t die so often, if they did, I would gladly provide a coffin each time one of them dies.
Dear reader, would the opportunists we have discussed not want that President Biya be bereaved every other time for them to cash in on the funerals? What would you call the tears they shed; commercial tears, or not.
Are We Together?