The Post (Buea)

21 February 2008

Cameroon: I Championed Peace Process Between Bali & Bawock - Educationist

interview

Buea — Isaac Nubed Nkweched, a native of Bawock village in Bali Subdivision, was appointed Principal of Government High School, GHS Bali, two months before the Bali/Bawockhostilities erupted. In an interview with The Post in Bamenda, he said it was thanks to him that peace now reigns between the Balis and Bawocks: Excerpts...

Sir, you are a native of Bawock village, but you are the Principal of GHS Bali. How did this come about?

My appointment was just a coincidence. Before then I had been in Njikwa and Nwa, two extremes.

As a Bawock indigene, and holder of an influential office at the time of the Bali/Bawock conflict, you certainly could not be indifferent.

You are right. I could not be indifferent. In fact, I was the chairman of the coordinating committee of the Bawock people. I coordinated the reception, feeding, public relations and finance committees.

Many of our people enjoyed the lives of refugees and the fact that they could eat bread and drink tea in the morning, a break from their traditional diet. But I thought this was not good for our image and the image of our country. I was most instrumental in persuading them to return home

How did you do that, given the tension that reigned?

I instilled confidence and discipline in the hearts of the Bawock people, by sleeping on the floor with them most of the time.

You are the 2nd Deputy Mayor of Bali council. How did you get to that position?

I carried out the reorganisation of the CPDM in Upper Bawock and Lower Bawock Subsections. I also led fellow Bawock militants to the first-ever CPDM reorganisation meeting in the Bali Community Hall.

I fought for Bawock to have five seats in the council instead of two. The four other Bawock councillors who joined the CPDM council in Bali did so thanks to me. I also masterminded the rejection of the SDF list for the Bali council.

With all the work done, you should have been the First and not Second Deputy Mayor?

The Central Committee of my party, the CPDM, actually gave instructions that I should be made the First Deputy Mayor, but this was rejected by the majority Balis who pushed me to the position of Second Deputy Mayor.

How is your relationship with the Balis?

I am the Principal of GHS Bali where the majority of children come from. My relationship with the teachers, children and parents of Bali origin is very cordial. I treat teachers in the school as equals. I don't distinguish between Bali and Bawock children. None of them feels favoured or marginalised. As a politician, I hold a position of responsibility; I am the treasurer of Mezam III (Bali) CPDM Section. You know this post is given to somebody who is very trustworthy.

What about the Fon of Bali; how do you two relate?

Perfectly well, I visited him in the heat of the Bali-Bawock crisis against the wishes of fellow Bawocks who warned that I could be killed. The Fon received me very well and said he was pleased with my courage and wisdom.

He was pleased that far from considering him a killer, as some detractors had misrepresented him, I had faith in him. I told him that I regarded him as the paramount Fon of Bali and Bawock. As such, he should see Bawock people as his children. He told me the Bali palace was open to me and also to other Bawock people who could come visiting at any time.

I hear you attended the Lela, the Bali Annual Festival?

I did not only attend the Lela festival, but also masterminded the reign of peace in Bawock during the Lela by organizing 10 notables of Bawock to line up along the road to the shrine with peace plants in their hands.

The Fon of Bali not only invited me, he also gave me invitation cards to hand to my Fon and Mayor. We discussed on strategies for peace to reign in Bali Subdivision. I had several contacts with Ntumfor Nico Halle who encouraged me and advised me on what to do to bring peace between Bali and Bawock.

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