Bate Bisong, Hilarious Ambe and Kwassen Gwangwa’a
On the night of March 7th 2007, there was applause in the University of Buea as writer, critic, playwright and university lecturer Bate Bisong launched what later turned out to be his last publication “DISGRACE”. The next day March 8 2007, he was dead in a ghastly head-on collision with a truck coming in the opposite direction. Fellow Buea university lecturer Hilarious Ambe, CRTV producer Kwassen Gwanga’a and their driver died in the same accident.
It pains to recall this accident because it was entirely avoidable. If Mr Paul Biya and his band of hopeless handpicked minsters had thought it necessary, the Douala-Yaounde road network should be a dual carriageway. Head-on collisions don’t happen on dual carriageways. Bate Bisong and Co will be alive today. Since their deaths, hundreds of other Cameroonians have died in similar typically avoidable road accidents in the country’s astonishingly bad road networks.
Another glaring example of the failure of leadership in Africa. It is time we start calling these leaders to account. If they can’t do what they are “elected” to do, (most just steal elections anyway) we should start kicking them out.
On the occasion of the 6th anniversary of Bate Bisong’s untimely death, we learn friendships don’t die, even in death; they live on. One of Bate Bisongs’ close friends wrote this tribute to the fallen “obasanjo warrior”.
Chief Charles Taku
As yet another anniversary approaches, I continue to be nervous confronting the date head on. This admission may surprise many who know me and the legendary determined courage of a “Bangwa Warrior” that informs my actions. As a direct descendant of Asonganyi, the King and warrior who kept the German imperialist at bay for nine years, and instilled in some of his descendants the spirit of revulsion against colonialism and similar crimes against humanity, I should in no occasion be seen to be nervous. But March 8, I am nervous about. And for my dear friend Bate Besong, I must confess, I have struggled with that nervousity (sic) ever since you left on that dreadful date. This admission challenges that courage of an Asonganyi’s descendant for the first time ever. Not so?
A critical canon of international criminal law practice demands that an astute international criminal lawyer like a good General must seize control of the court proceedings and dictate its conduct in order to prevail. But to do so, he/she must know the facts of the matter and the law so well.
I must confess, BB that in the case which I tentatively framed ” Bate Besong Vs March 8 and others yet to be identified” I have so far not initiated the compelling processes which will provide me with the facts and the law to exercise the courage of my ancestors in unravelling the mystery that snatched the peoples’ general from us in the most devastating manner. However, BB, you know that I am a tireless and fearless combatant. There will come a time, when critical questions will be asked and answers provided before we can accept closure and approach March 8 as an ordinary date in the calendar of the universe. If any one doubts, please mark my words, and ask those who are familiar with our fight against colonialism and neo-colonial onslaughts in Kenya, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and elsewhere.
For now, March 8 butchers on the express graveway will be celebrating while our nervousity (sic) endures. They have done so ever since Professor Obenson and thousands of others perished on that grave way. In such circumstances, thousands wail and lament but beneficiaries of the carnage cheer on. That is the price we have and must pay for the ” great ambitions” ” good governance” and which other slogans? that some on a daily basis celebrate with motions of support, dance, alcohol, corruption and the occult too. That notwithstanding, my dear BB, by the time we the people you inspired will take up the file of your case against March 8 and others, all and sundry will find to their pleasure that your lifelong struggle was not in vain.
May the living God you loved and served bless your soul. Amen.
Your dear friend.
: Chief Charles A. Taku,
UNICTR, International Tribunal, Arusha Tanzania,
Special International Tribunal for Sierra Leone
ICC. Hague, Netherlands