By Innocent Chia
Cameroonians and all who get to be familiar with Cameroon generally agree that there is no smoke without fire. This is corroborated by another country-specific proverb – rumor begins from the top and goes down (la rumeur commence en haut). So I was talking to this “en haut” or top guy who was giving all this salivating back-of-the-scenes information.
He too was amused by the umbrella-sized-head tie of Cameroon’s first lady, Chantal Biya. But there was more outrage that made me cry with laughter, and then laugh in tears as it all soaked in. Much like Pope John Paul II is said to have been invited in 1985 by Biya to rid the Unity Palace of the ghost of the former President Ahidjo, this visit had one such bizarre twists…
Pesident Biya invited the Holy Father to come and cleanse his country from all the sorcerers that were surrounding him! Yes, the sorcerer-in-Chief, the same one who went on the national airwaves referring to national opposition leaders last February 2008 as “apprentice-sorcerer” called on the Pope to cleanse his land. What Holy Water shall suffice, Mr. President? I would paraphrase Shakespeare’s lady Macbeth – “Even the waters of the Atlantic Ocean will not wash your land clean, Mr. President”.
Yet, if this request was true and the Pope was answering to it, I would suppose that 17 million questions must have been running through his mind. Pope Benedict XVI, upon acquainting himself with the file known as “Cameroon” would ask the following question to President Biya – “My son, where shall I start cleansing and where should I stop? The whole land needs cleansing. Should I begin with you and all those in the Rosicrucian Order who now display their pins as though they were badges of honor? Should I call on the Lord to pass the judgment that he passed on Sodom and Gomorrah?”
I see through these faces that lined up to greet me, the Pope continues, and they all smell of kid or teen urine…Your land has been consumed by pedophiles. Did all the abusive priests that we ousted and are rattling out of the Catholic Church converge in Cameroon? What is wrong with your Ministers? Why have they come to believe that anal sex with young innocent boys will bring them salvation?”
To which President Biya interrupts and offers an explanation…. “Holy Father, it is not salvation they seek. It is all about securing their seats in government. Those who want to eternalize themselves in power like I have done; those who are visiting the witch doctors and other marabou houses to get a piece of the action; and those who were once in and are trying to get back. I am really confused and this has kept me from making new Ministerial appointments that I had to make in December. It is a war out there like you have never seen!”
You understand that the fictional conversation is all my creation! I enjoyed using it to capture some of the atmosphere upon the arrival of the Pope on March 17 at the Nsimalen Airport in Yaoundé and throughout his 4-day stay in Yaoundé. If ever you doubted the veracity of this narrative, explain why Yang Philemon reportedly collapsed after receiving blessings from the Pope. Motherland is beyond fascinating. It needs prayers. Lots of it…