The Other Dimensions of the Kom Renaissance Project

On December 31, 2013, bobe Herbert Boh published a project titled “The Kom Renaissance Project”. The aim of the project according to him is to build a war chest for the launch of a series of investments, particularly at Laikom”. The project is highly ambitious with funding pegged on ordinary shareholding alongside loaning from various financial institutions. Each shareholder is given 15 months beginning from February 2014 to effectively complete the stated share which stands at $2,000 (1,000,000 Fcfa). It is expected that by mid 2015, a sum of 500,000,000 Fcfa could be raised if at least 500 persons adhere to this project.

From some indications, the Paramount Fon of Kom was duly informed about this project by the initiator (Herbert Boh) through an electronic mail. The Fon reacted almost instantly as follows:

My dear son, Receive Royal and ancestral Blessings from Laikom and transmit same to your family, to all Kom sons and daughters in the United States of America and the diaspora, and to all who are in the same mindset as yourself.

Since our celebration of 3-5 January 2014, I have been gradually settling down firstly to thank each and every one of you, my children, my friends and all other authorities who joined us in this very important event in our History. I am making it known to you that this event was inspired by our ancestors. It finally happened because you all put hands on deck. That is the spirit required for us to succeed, and for Kom to keep moving forward.

My dear son, I saw your email and I loved it. I loved it because now, I am convinced I have set the pace and you are picking it up. This pace is the new spirit and new approach to our development. I am very aware that the fire has been, and lives within each and every one of you who dreams this dream. It only needed to be rekindled. You shall not only have to dream, but you shall have to live this dream, and to share your great experience with the rest of the world, because the rest of the world still has a lot to learn from us KOM.

Yes, we have a great history which is far beyond an ordinary story. We have a great heritage, and most especially we have great people living in all corners of the world. And ‘YES WE CAN’ Re-brand Kom; Put the ‘BeKom Campaign’ on the action table, Make Kom an enviable tourist’s destination…

My duty is to show you the way by setting the pace. Our priorities are already clearly defined; our access road to the palace, the rehabilitation of the Kom Palace and a befitting museum, rest houses, other infrastructures and initiatives. Yes, education is the way! And I will tell you again that the way towards realizing this vision lies in:

Identifying and working with all the stakeholders, Good governance practices…participation, accountability and transparency.

I have shown you the way! NOW, YOU HAVE MY BLESSINGS TO MOVE ALL THESE IDEAS FORWARD! YOU HAVE ALL THE RESOURCES AND ALL THE CAPABILITIES! Again, for those who are not yet on board, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR…. The time to act and to move forward is now!. This is my prayer.

If we go by the Fon’s reply, then we are saying that (The Kom Rennaissance Project) has received the endorsement of the Fon. We must understand what this means and what it implies. It means that the Fon has identified the priorities of the fondom and is waiting on us to look for ways and means to realizing them.

It implies that all the sons and daughters of Kom where ever they may be in the globe are called upon to participate in one way or the other for the realization of this magnificent dream. Basically, we are saying that every kom person wherever found should be given the possibility to contribute to the realization of these projects. This is what the FON said:

My duty is to show you the way by setting the pace. Our priorities are already clearly defined; our access road to the palace, the rehabilitation of the Kom Palace and a befitting museum, rest houses, other infrastructures and initiatives. And I will tell you again that the way towards realizing this vision lies in identifying and working with all the stakeholders, Good governance practices…participation, accountability and transparency.

  1. A)Identifying Other Stakeholders of the Project
  2. 1)Villages within the kom Fondom
  3. Villages in the Kom diaspora
  4. 3)Socio-Cultural and Socio-Economic Groups
  5. 4)Kom Entrepreneurs and Individuals
  6. B)Management Committee
  7. C)The Priority Projects
  8. D)Revival of Kom Annual Dance

The initial conception of the Kom renaissance project targeted funding mainly from ordinary shareholding. This shareholding dimension of the project will certainly concern some category of Komrades. The focus of this article is to identify all the other stakeholders of the project (villages, socio-cultural groups, business persons, individuals…) who should together with the constituted shareholders produce the needed momentum for this great vision.

The kom fondom is divided into three valleys: Abasakom, Njinikom and Ngvin-kejem. This division probably dates back to the early days of settlement. Each valley today has a number of villages, which form compact territorial units under the leadership of a village head or Bonteh. It is through these villages that the Fon administers the Kom fondom. The kom palace as we see it today has been constructed through the contributions of the villages. These villages are still there today for that purpose.

Each of these villages could be asked to produce a minimum amount, say 200,000 francs each year beginning from 2014 for the realisation of these projects. This can easily be done by most villages through the development associations. The Population Census File 2005, identified 69 villages in kom (villages with councils) with Abassakom having 26 villages, Njinikom 16 villages and Ngvin-kejem 27 villages. Expected annual income from these villages = 69 x 200,000 = 13,800,000. This list of villages could be updated by Laikom to reflect the situation today. See annex for the villages.

The Kom fondom has extended its wings to all parts of the world. Thus the kom diaspora operates villages which possess some qualities of the Kom villages. Such villages (Bamenda, Douala, Ebolowa, Buea, Yaoundé, USA ...) are headed by ghi-bonteh appointed by the Fon of Kom. All such villages should be identified and documented by the Fon. Each of them should produce a minimum annual amount, say 500,000 francs. More of such villages could be created in the course of time.

Socio-cultural groups such as (chisindo, wointoh, njong, chong…) operate all over the national territory and beyond. The Fon should census such groups, and each should be taxed an annual levy of say, 100,000 francs. Socio-economic groups, youth groups, and others could equally fall into this category.

All kom business persons in Cameroon and abroad shall be called upon to support this initiative in any form appropriate to them. They could support in cash or in kind, and in either case, they shall determine the magnitude and nature of the support. This same approach shall apply to all individual persons wanting to give support to the initiative.

For all the activities to go well and in order, the Fon shall create a management committee charged with Managing the activities and Resources of the project. This committee, which could be composed of 9 persons (3 from each valley) should have at least 3 females. The constituted committee shall meet and create an executive bureau composed of – Chairperson, Secretary, Treasurer and Financial Secretary.

The committee, alongside kwifoyn kom shall have the main task of informing and sensitizing the kom population at home and abroad of their various responsibilities towards the project. All the available methods of communication shall be put in place to attain these objectives. The profile of the members of this committee shall greatly evolve in favour of those individuals who are known to be among the development agents of these valleys. The status of the committee may be determined in due course.

As indicated by the Fon, the essential projects are: Fundong-Laikom Road, Museum, Rest House, Rehabilitation of Kom Palace and Revival of kom Annual dance.

The cost of these projects will greatly depend on the material used as well as other considerations. As a touristic site, our palace must have special building material as well as special designs. The use of local material (stones, bricks, bamboos, wood, fiber…) must be maximized. Special local designers must be our architects for the construction of museum, rest house and other structures. In this way our structures will create a perfect and durable touristic environment at relatively very low cost. With this approach, a museum as well as a rest house worth the standard should not cost us more than 20,000,000 francs cfa i.e. cost of buildings . We must not loose sight of maintenance costs which some so called modern structures may impose.

The greatest havoc exists with the road construction to Laikom. But with the concern and apparent commitment of the Lord Mayor of the Fundong Rural Council, we are certain that the Fundong-Laikom Road Project shall find its way through. The Lord Mayor shall be our master planner for this very important project. During the 20th anniversary celebration of Fon Yuh Vincent’s reign at the kom palace in December 2013, the Fundong Council Mayor, Bobe Denis Awoh Ndang decried the neglect of the kom palace by the kom people. Ndang regretted that the kom people only remember the palace when they are faced with succession problems. It was his fervent wish that the opportunity which the celebration had offered should serve as a springboard to revive the rich culture that kom has to show the world.

The kom people today see their culture somehow greatly diminished with respect to the major cultures in the North West Region (Nso, Bali, Bafut, Mankon) due to the fact that the annual dance which used to vitalize the kom culture died several decades ago. So much noise has been made about this cultural lapse, but the unfortunate situation persists. However, during the 20th anniversary celebration of Fon Yuh Vincent’s reign at the kom palace in December 2013, the Fon of Kom in his welcome address revealed as follows:

Once every year, the kom people used to gather in their palace to celebrate the past years and welcome the New Year with hope. The njongsi kom from within and without have tried to revive this noble practice, and it is my hope that from today, all kom people wherever they are will look forward to this annual event during which we display our culture and help to pass on the good aspects of our culture to the young.

The kom annual dance was indeed an annual come together which was attended by people and dances from all parts of kom. It was an occasion for the kom people to present New Year wishes to their Fon. It took place at Laikom in the month of January (Njoŋìbɨyn). In this occasion, all the dances displayed in front of the Fon. Individuals as well as groups were expected to greet the Fon (su ntoh) with some New Year presents. The Fon on the other hand was expected to decorate some prominent sons and daughters of Kom. The significance of this annual dance was to acknowledge the changeover of seasons from wet to dry, as well as foresee the nature and strength of events of the New Year. The famous Afo-a-kom in those days was brought out to the public once a year, and only in this occasion.

Since the “revival of kom annual dance” is one of the projects of the “kom renaissance project”, it is expected that the management committee of this project shall do everything possible for this event to resurface in the kom calendar as from January 2015 as indicated by the Fon.

Conclusion

It has been a long time since we have been complaining about the deplorable state of the Fundong-Laikom road. It has been a long time since we have been complaining about the deteriorating nature of the Kom Palace. It has been a long time since we have been longing for the restoration of the Kom Annual Dance. The Kom Renaissance Project; the born again project, has been put in place today. Through this project we can realize all these ambitious dreams and certainly more in the horizon. Are we all ready for this great adventure? If the answer is YES, then, Get Set, Ready, GO. And we are on the point of emergence by 2020, long before Cameroon in 2035.  

Bobe Nsom Joseph

Senior Economist Statistician

MINEPAT/BUCREP Yaoundé

Annex: Kom Villages and their households in 2005

No.

BELO

FUNDONG

NJINIKOM

VILLAGE

H/h

VILLAGE

H/h

VILLAGE

H/h

1

Aboh

215

Aboh

78

Atenilah

62

2

Achah

295

Abuh

492

Atuilah

257

3

Afua

130

Achain

284

Atukoni

102

4

Anjang

138

Aduk

242

Balikumato

192

5

Anjin

333

Ajung

225

Bobong

195

6

Anyajua

378

Akeh

332

Bochain

200

7

Baicham

96

Alim

205

Fuanantui

841

8

Baingo

617

Atoni

141

Isailah

171

9

Belo

484

Baiso

46

Kikfuini

348

10

Chuaku

179

Bojui

107

Mbueni

143

11

Dawara

353

Bolem

144

Mughef

118

12

Djichami

429

Fujua

203

Mungoh-Ngoh

43

13

Elemighong

341

Fundong village

121

Tsinifoinbi

196

14

Fuli

307

Ilung

183

Wombong - ikui

99

15

Fungom

58

Juaffef

1421

Wombong - itsin

108

16

Jinfuin

458

Laikom

151

Yang

259

17

Juabum

164

Mbam

260

-

-

18

Kitchu

169

Mbengkas

122

-

-

19

Mbessa

923

Mbissi

227

-

-

20

Mbingo

399

Mboh

86

-

-

21

Mejang

122

Mbongkisu

82

-

-

22

Mejung

94

Meli

47

-

-

23

Ngemsibo

116

Mentang

221

-

-

24

Njinikejem

666

Ngvinabum-Achangne

80

-

-

25

Sho

227

Ngwah

578

-

-

26

Sowi

180

Ngwainkuma

68

-

-

27

Tumuku

319

-

-

-

-

Source: Cameroon Population Census 2005                    H/h=Households

Add comment


Security code
Refresh