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Douala Mourns Dan Muna 

By Joe Dinga Pefok

News of the death of Dr. Daniel Muna in the evening of Sunday, July 12, hit Douala City like a bombshell. Late Dr. Muna had adopted Douala as his home since 1979. It equally hit the news media with screaming headlines like "Daniel Muna: Humilité et sobriété l`ont caracterisé", (roughly translated as Daniel Muna: Humility and Sobriety Were His Characteristics) in the French daily, La Nouvelle Expression, of Tuesday, July 14. Family members said Dr. Muna had been sick for two years.

One of the closest collaborators of late Dr. Muna for many years, Dr. Dopgima Fofung, had made a similar remark about him when contacted by The Post. "Dr. Muna loved mankind so much and was down-to-earth. I think the most remarkable part of his character, was his simplicity", Dr. Fofung, who has been the Deputy General Manager of the Polyclinic Bonanjo (founded by Dr. Muna) for 11 years, noted.

Ntumfor Barrister Nico Halle, who is also known to be one of the closest friends of Dr. Muna and his family in Douala, described his friend’s death as "an irreparable loss not only to the Douala population, or the Northwest community, but to Cameroon as well as the world at large." Ntumfor Halle noted that Muna had some very rare qualities in life; "Ni Dan was so humble, loving, caring, intelligent, spiritual, hardworking, magnanimous, trustful, generous, honest and peace-loving. He had real love for humanity."

Muna’s humble character and independent personality endeared him to the Douala population. He was never known to take partisan stance on political, tribal, or regional issues. He, for example, recruited the staff for his medical centre based on competence or merit, and not on regional or tribal basis. It was this character that made him so trustful to people across the board in Douala and beyond.

Leader Of Northwest Elite

In a city where Northwest elite were for years divided, Dr. Muna had come to be considered as a pillar of Northwest unity because of his high sense of objectivity, humility, rationality and sacrifice.  

Considering that meetings convened in other venues were likely to be boycotted by some Northwest elite for one reason or the other, the conference room of the annex of his Polyclinic became the permanent venue for the meetings of Northwest elite in Douala. He also chaired the meetings, some on very sensitive issues like tribal conflicts, without anybody feeling hurt.

Biodata

Born on May 12, 1938, in Kumbo, Northwest Region, the young Daniel Muna attended BM School Mbengwi from 1944-1951 as well as CPC Bali from 1952-1957. A few years later, he traveled to the US for further studies and obtained a BSc in Geology from the University of Arizona in 1962. From 1963-1967, he studied at the Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, where he obtained a Doctor of Medicine certificate.

He as well did a Diploma Surgical Internship at the Washington Hospital Centre from 1967-1968. After completing the course, the patriotic spirit in Daniel Muna sent him rushing back home the same year, to serve the people especially at a time when there were very few Cameroonian medical doctors. He was later in that 1968 recruited into the Public Service, where he first served as Medical Officer of the Bamenda General Hospital. He was later transferred to Wum General Hospital as Chief Medical Officer.

In 1970, Dr. Muna was back at the Howard University Hospital, Washington D.C for a post-graduate course in medicine. In 1974 he obtained a Diploma, Specialisation in General Surgery and returned to the country. From 1975-1979, he served as a surgeon at the Cancer Surgical Unit at the Yaounde Central Hospital, resigned in 1979 and created the Polyclinic Bonanjo.

Polyclinic Bonanjo would earn several awards at home and abroad. In 1996 for example, Dr. Muna was in Madrid, Spain, on behalf of the clinic to receive the Gold Star Award for Quality, from the internationally recognised Business Initiatives Directors, BID. It should be recalled that less than two months ago, Polyclinic Bonanjo was in the news following the official inauguration of the installment of FCFA-400 million modern and sophisticated equipment at the centre. Little did Muna know that he wouldn’t live to see the equipment in operation. However, Dr. Fofung told The Post that: "Polyclinic Bonanjo is the great achievement of Dr. Muna. This is a wonderful legacy he has left."

Dr. Muna was also medical adviser to the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon, PCC. Also, since 1999 till his death, Dr. Muna was President of the Cameroon National Medical Council. Even while in the United States for studies, he was President of the Cameroon Students Union, from 1963 to 65. In addition, Muna had since 1969 up to the time of his death, been the President of the Bali Old Boys` Association (ex-students of CPC Bali). 

Dr. Muna among other things was the Founding President of the Muna Foundation; President of the Meta Cultural and Development Association, MUCUDA, and had since the year 2000 been the President of the Advisory Committee of Ngyembo Traditional Council. Furthermore, Muna was also in 1990 awarded the title of ‘Nji’ by the late Sultan of Foumban. He had since then been a notable and adviser to the Court of the Sultan of Foumban.

Prayers And Thanksgiving Services

Hundreds of people have since the death of Muna been turning up at his Bonanjo residence to condole with the bereaved family. A communiqué issued by the Muna family in Douala on July 13, informed all sympathizers that prayers and thanksgiving services shall be organised at the residence from Saturday July 18, as from 6 pm to 9 pm daily.

Associations and groups needing special arrangements and rendezvous are expected to call 99 91 41 78. The tentative date for the burial of Dr. Muna in his village, Ngyembo in Momo Division, Northwest Region, is Saturday, August 1, 2009. Dr. Muna was married, with four children.

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