Posted by: Dr. Y. | April 26, 2012

Abel Kingué, Short but rising Tall for the Independence of Cameroon

UPC Leaders (L. to R.) front row: Castor Osende Afana, Abel Kingué, Ruben Um Nyobé, Felix Moumié, and Ernest Ouandié

UPC Leaders (L. to R.) front row: Castor Osende Afana, Abel Kingué, Ruben Um Nyobé, Felix Moumié, and Ernest Ouandié

Today, I will be talking about an almost forgotten leader of the UPC (Union des Populations du Cameroun), its vice president, Abel Kingué.  Who was Abel Kingué?

Well, Abel Kingué was born Abel Kegne, in Fokoue near Bamendou (in the Menoua department) in 1924, into a polygamous household.  Soon, he would live his home and move to the city of Dschang where he worked as a tennis ball boy for a while before getting spotted and given a chance to attend school.  After school in Dschang, Bafang, and Nkongsamba, he went on to attend the Nursing school of Ayos.  In 1947, he moved to Douala, and work in a big commercial center.

In April of 1950, Abel entered the direction of the UPC directly after its first congress in Dschang.  He entered the spotlight when, despite his short height, he publicly denounced the political embezzlement of prince Ndoumbe Douala Manga Bell.  Not only was Abel Kingué a great orator, but he also showed great firmness, great organization skills, great work ethics, and kindness.

Flag of the UPC

Flag of the UPC

He was re-elected vice president of the UPC during its 2nd congress in Eséka, in September 1952.  He was also chief editor of the ‘Voix du Kamerun‘ (Voice of Kamerun), UPC’s main organ of expression.  In december 1953, he went to the United Nations, to represent the JDC (Jeunesse Démocratique Camerounaise – Cameroonian Democratic Youth) of which he was a founding member.  On his return, while touring the country to share his report with others, he was attacked in Mbouroukou, near Melong, and was seriously injured and left for dead.

The crackdown on the UPC movement intensified dramatically in 1954 with the arrival of the new French High Commissioner, Roland Pré. Roland Pré said in one of his interviews about his crackdown on the UPC that he implemented techniques he had learnt in nazi concentration camps to crush UPC’s leaders in Cameroon… One just shivers while imagining the brutality and atrocity that our courageous independence fighters had to face.  On April 14th 1954, Kingué ran for elections into the ATCAM (Assemblée territoriale du Cameroun – Territorial Assembly of Cameroon), and despite his huge popularity, will be declared a loser by the colonial administration. Click here to

Map of Cameroon from 1919 to 1960, including both Cameroons (French in Blue, and British in red)

Map of Cameroon from 1919 to 1960, including both Cameroons (French in Blue, and British in red)

On April 18th 1955, Kingué’s home was looted and burnt, just like the homes of fellow UPC members Um Nyobé and Ngom Jacques.  He will be victim of another assassination attempt on his life at Song Mbenge in the Sanaga-Maritime (22 – 30 May), in the midst of campaigning.  This new attempt was orchestrated by the high commissioner Roland Pré.  Two UPC members present at the moment of the attack lost their lives there: Mahop ma Sende and Bias bi Ngimbous.  Abel Kingué survived thanks to people’s vigilance who managed to disguise him as a woman which thus allowed him to escape all the police controls.  He then took refuge in British Cameroon, with Moumié, Ouandié, and other leaders and activists chased by the French colonial administration.  In July of 1955, the French colonial administration officially banned the UPC.

On November 8 – 9, 1956, Kingué presided over an important meeting of the JDC in Kumba (British Cameroons).  He was hit, and left for dead by the Delauney commandos during the attack.  This was an attempt to assassinate all the UPC leaders in Bamenda (British Cameroons).  Soon after, they will become persona non grata in British Cameroon as the British feared that they could awaken the local populations, who could in turn rise against the British rule.  They were thus jailed in Lagos, Nigeria, and in 1957, Kingué, Moumié, Ouandié, and 12 other leaders of the UPC were deported to Khartoum in Sudan.  Suffering from severe hypertension, Abel’s life in exile will be quite slow.

Ernest Ouandié, Marthe Moumié, and Abel Kingue in Geneva after Felix Moumié's death

Ernest Ouandié, Marthe Moumié, and Abel Kingue in Geneva after Felix Moumié's death

After the assassinations of the first UPC leader Ruben Um Nyobé in 1958, and his successor Felix Moumié in 1960, Abel Kingué had to step up into their shoes.  On september 13th, 1962, Kingué was elected vice-president of the revolutionary committee by the first popular assembly held under the maquis.  From September 1962 to July 1963, Abel will spend several months incarcerated in Accra, Ghana, due to some assassination attempts on president Kwame Nkrumah (who was a strong supporter of the UPC) and dissensions among the UPC.

Between the end of 1963, and the beginning of 1964, his physical state deteriorates due to his sickness.  On a mission in Algiers, his state brutally deteriorates, and he is transported to Cairo, Egypt, in the personal plane of Algeria‘s president Ahmed Ben Bella. On April 16th, 1964, he passed away and was buried in Cairo.

Check out the article Remember Abel Kingue which is a biographical account of Abel Kingué’s life, provided by the Fondation Moumié.  Today very little is known about him… One thing that is sure is that although Abel Kingué was short in height, he rose tall in his fight for the independence and love of Cameroon.


Responses

  1. […] completed his studies in Paris in September 1962 and traveled to Accra to join Ndeh Ntumazah and Abel Kingue.  His PhD thesis is titled ‘L’Economie de l’Ouest africain : Perspectives de […]

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  2. […] I have the obligation, no the duty, to think of my elders: Ruben Um Nyobe, Felix Moumié, Abel Kingué, Osendé Afana (who was Cameroon’s first PhD in economics), Ernest Ouandié, and countless […]

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