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No Trifling Matter: Contributions of an Uncompromising Critic to the Democratic Process in Cameroon

Thursday 1 September 2011, author(s)-editor(s) Godfrey B. Tangwa

No Trifling Matter is a collection of controversial, critical weekly commentary on the reluctance of a monolithic regime to yield to popular aspirations for democracy in Cameroon. In these essays written between 1990 and November 1992, Godfrey Tangwa, alias Rotcod Gobata, doesn’t quibble. He comes across as a man of courage and resolve; one ready to swim upstream in a manner of a desperate midwife eager to prevent a still birth (in this case, of democracy). His column is as daring an embarrassment to Biya’s “démocratie avancée” as the radio programme “Cameroon Report” (later “Cameroon Calling”), was to Presidents Ahidjo and Biya in the hey days of the “parti unique”. Rotcod Gobata believes the time has come for Cameroon to graduate from a country over milked by mediocrity and callous indifference, to the paradise that it was meant to be for the poor and downtrodden. In this regard, he belongs with that rare breed of intellectuals who are genuine in their pursuit of collective betterment, and who in consequence, have opted to distance themselves from the stomach and all its trappings. This position is to be commended and encouraged, especially in a system where explanation is often mistaken for subversion, a system where the stomach is about the only political path-finder - the sole compass in use, a country where the champions of falsehood want all at their beck and call, and where a handful of thirsting palates daily jostle to share with Count Dracula the blood of the common and forgotten. Rotcod Gobata wants the new Cameroon to be rid of the ills and failures of the past five decades that have made it impossible for Cameroonians in their millions to live productive and creative lives.

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ISBN 9789956717477 | 244 pages | 229 x 152 mm | 2011 | Langaa RPCIG, Cameroon | Paperback

2 Book Reviews

  • No Trifling Matter: Contributions of an Uncompromising Critic to the Democratic Process in Cameroon 1 September 2011 20:39, author(s)-editor(s) Francis B. Nyamnjoh

    The new Cameroon envisaged by Godfrey Tangwa in his Rotcod Gobata column is one free of political demagogy, double standards, stoogery and sycophancy. It should be a Cameroon where people are moved by principle and love of country, not propelled or remote-controlled by the whims and caprices of self-serving dictators and schizophrenics, or worse still, by their foreign paymasters and overlords. It should be a Cameroon void of censorship, even the symbolic; a Cameroon where there are no political inquisitions, and where no one is forced underground or into exile because of his or her opinions and beliefs. The new Cameroon should be truly democratic, not on paper but in fact.

    Francis B. Nyamnjoh, Professor of Social Anthropology, University of Cape Town, South Africa

  • This volume swells the rising tide of the new writings in the nineties by Cameroonians on the convolutions in the constitutionally bilingual and multi-ethnic state of Cameroon - a unique political experiment made from colonial expediency. Not since Ako Aya have the trifles of pseudo-statesmanship been so buffeted as in No Triffling Matter, Gobata’s column in the English-speaking weekly Cameroon Post. Here Gobata combines two qualities that any Cameroon columnist is yet to surpass: the narrative art and scientific abstraction. Gobata displays a masterful use of allegory, literary echoes and the practise of the philosophical method which will make the scholar or the reader with a rudimentary literary taste thrill with delight.

    Nalova Lyonga, Professor of African Literature, Deputy Vice Chancellor, University of Buea, Cameroon