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Irate Villagers Frustrate Chief’s Installation 

BY Maxcel Fokwen

irate wone villagers block roadSome angry villagers of Wone Bakundu, Konye Sub Division, Southwest Region, Friday, August 19, blocked the Kumba-Mamfe road in protest of the installation of a new chief.

Martin Njasomo Njemo, homologated through prefectorial order No. 72/2016 of March 3 was set to publicly ascend to the disputed Wone Bakundu throne but protesting villagers frustrated the occasion.

The Post gathered that while some villagers used tree trunks to block the road, Njasomo’s supporters struggled in vain to clear the road for the occasion to commence.

Vehicles traveling to Mamfe, Nigeria and Kumba were forced to park for hours waiting for traffic to resume.

In the face of the controversy, the Meme administration reportedly asked a delegation comprising the Second Assistant Prefect for Meme, Nelson Yongkhuma Gamsi, and other senior staff at the SDO’s office, who were denied access into the village, to return home.

It was reported that some visiting MPs were smeared with mud. Even traditional rulers who showed up for the event ended up running for safety.

Before Friday’s protest, unconfirmed reports had emerged of lingering mysterious actions including charms already buried in the ground prior to the installation exercise.

Shortly after the death of Peter Mukwelle Odine on February 12, 2011, WoneBakundu slumped into a crisis.

The race to succeed the former Chief pitted his son,Sone Nelson Odine, and Martin NjasomoNjemo.

The dispute split along the lines of whether the throne was hereditary or subject to elections.

The Divisional Officer, DO, for Konye,Hotison Babila auditioned three consultative talks on November22, 2012, March 30, 2013 and October 25,2014 but the results were contested.

Babila’s report is said to have favoured the son of the late chief on the grounds that the throne was hereditary.
Two years later, on February 24, 2016, the Senior Divisional Officer, SDO, for Meme, David Koulbout Aman,called another meeting at his cabinet.

Present at the meeting were the DO, seven kingmakers and the two aspirants to the throne. A few weeks after the meeting, a prefectorial order was issued to Martin Njasomo as Chief of Wone Bakundu.

This administrative ruling polarised the village. Those who supported the son of the late chief petitioned the Southwest Governor, the Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralisation and the Prime Minister over the decision.

Different families have manned the Wone throne: The first was Chief Lazarus Mindako (gazetted) in 1963; he hailed from the Bombessi family. The second was Chief Yonne Bernard Lobe through a prefectorial order from 1990-2000. He was a member of the Bianja family.

The third was Chief Simon Odine Obase, who ruled from 2000-2006.Obase was a member of the Bondongo family.And the fourth was Chief Peter Odine Mukwelle from 2008-2011 also from Bondongo family.

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