So long Proud Warrior: Jean Paul Yitamben and the Microcosm of Africa’s Fragmentation

A great light

A great light has joined the stars. His Majesty, Jean Paul Yitamben, Chief of Batcheu Village, in Cameroon, has changed dimensions, and now graduated to be an ancestor to guide our paths. A great Economist, Teacher, Historian, Father, Brother, Husband, Friend, has moved on. Like Behanzin, before and many other kings, he devoted his life to the service of his community and his people. The fight has changed! Local kings are no longer deported, but kingdoms and cultures are still fragmented, crushed under the load of ‘fake’ modernism assisted by “administrations” (excrescence of colonialism) which are at the service of foreign forces to continue the work of the annihilation and/or spoliation of the African identity.  

Descendant of great kings before him, Jean Paul Yitamben was an avid historian and a perfectionist who tirelessly sought perfection in everything he did. Meticulous to a letter, he did not tolerate half-done work. With his wife, world-renowned social entrepreneur, Gisele Yitamben, he worked tirelessly to empower women in micro-finance, less-privileged youth to find jobs in our tough local economies, and more importantly he affected the lives of countless others outside of his own village, community, city, and beyond. The aborted Kugwe village Palm oil and indigenous development project in the North West Region of Cameroon is a clear example.

Le soleil / The sun

Yitamben was very methodical. He had so many great projects! He worked to bring solar power to his village, sent local village women to be trained in India on how to become solar engineers at a time when it was not yet common. He sent others to Australia and Denmark, and was the first in the area to organize the ‘quinzaine’: two weeks of sports competitions to encourage local pride, and distribute prizes to the winners, encouraging children to strive in education; awarding scholarships to youths, and prizes to mothers and grandmothers. He was ahead of his time, in sub-Saharan Africa where millions of people have low access to electricity, firewood and charcoal are the main source of energy for cooking meals, representing three quarters of total energy demand; Yitamben brought in improved households (foyers améliorés) which are more efficient and better for environmental protection. He brought in international collaborators because he sought a great place for his village and his people. Let us build on Yitamben’s strength!

Libya, the Prey of the West
Libya, the Prey of the West

His biggest fight was that of his village. See, colonization did not stop in 1884, or in 1960 with the advent of pseudo-independences, it is well and alive and waxing on even stronger than before. The fight is not open, but like in Libya in 2011 or Mali today, the goal is still to fragment, to divide and conquer; to break into thousand pieces and loot local wealth while crushing the spirits of the indigenous populations. The overall objective is still the destruction of local initiatives to take the land and resources; it has not changed.

The fight at the level of Chief Yitamben’s village is an ample microcosm of what happens at the national or continental level in Africa: when a land is rich, or when the enemy covets the area, he promotes in-fighting among brothers (Ethiopia – Eritrea, Sudan – South Sudan), division over boundaries (Cameroon – Nigeria over Bakassi, Tanzania – Malawi over Lake Nyasa/Malawi), and division over resources (DRC – Rwanda).

Behanzin, king of Dahomey
Behanzin, king of Dahomey

Remember that in the time of Behanzin, after his deportation, the tactic used was to install Agoli-Agbo as a puppet King; one who was not chosen by the traditions of the land, but by Europeans to help in weakening and eradicating traditions, and promoting divisions (Côte d’Ivoire where Alassane Ouattara was installed by French war tanks in 2011).

Flash news…

The fights that occurred over 100 years ago in Dahomey kingdom, or other parts of Africa, are still ongoing, albeit on a smaller scale (and big scale as well). Villages are divided, fragmented, and local institutions weakened. The governments which, in most African countries do not serve the locals but foreign forces, are complicit in the destruction of African traditions and institutions. Yitamben believed that it was possible to change the tides of time, by at least awakening his own people against division. He fought tirelessly for unity, and against division; adamantly refusing the fragmentation orchestrated by some of his people helped by a complicit administration with colonial instincts. He could not understand how his people could let themselves be used to destroy their very own land. He was a force to reckon with. He had a titanic strength; but it is a difficult fight.

Proud warrior, you have placed the bricks on its foundation, and the task will be completed. You tirelessly gave yourself for it. The fight continues. O great warrior! Your legacy lives on!

When we have lost a leader, we need to look forward, and build for future generations. Yitamben had a strong presence, was so confident, and so generous in sharing his time, resources, and knowledge. 

So long brother, father, husband, friend, … May your seeds bear lots of fruits. I will remember your laughter, your big smile, your intelligence, your fight for perfection, and above all your teachings. I feel so privileged to have had you in my life, and received your teachings. You showed us the way. Now we have to carry on your light.

May the Ancestors receive and cherish you.

Mali Rescinds France Defense Agreements

Map of Mali with its capital Bamako

On Monday May 2, 2022, Mali rescinded the defense treaties linking it to France. Remember that, as part of the colonial tax forced upon the Malian people by France (and all other 14 past French colonies in Africa), there is one rule which links Mali to France via defense agreements where France is supposed to help Mali in case of external attacks. As we have seen, France has not held its part of the bargain, instead funding and letting jihadists proliferate on the Malian territory and committing abuses against the local populations. Thus, the government of Mali decided to break off from its defense accords with former colonial ruler France, condemning “flagrant violations” of its national sovereignty by the French troops there. “For some time now, the government of the Republic of Mali notes with regret a profound deterioration in military cooperation with France,” spokesman Colonel Abdoulaye Maiga said in a televised statement.

The tata of Sikasso, illustration by Édouard Riou published in Du Niger au golfe de Guinée, Hachette, 1892, by L.G Binger, p. 95

What might have further exacerbated the already tense relationship might have been the finding, about two weeks ago, of a mass grave near an army base which had been occupied by French forces. Although France has denounced these accusations, given the history of France abuses in Mali, and the region, it is hard not to believe. We all remember the French capture of the Tata of Sikasso on May 1, 1898 with Colonel Audéoud‘s troops and the destruction and desecration that followed. Even though it has been over a century, French abuses in Africa are numerous, from the genocide in Cameroon, Algeria, Madagascar, and countless other places.

Flag of Mali
Flag of Mali

The decision to rescind the French defense agreements is an awesome decision, and it is about time! The remaining 14 countries still held under the rule of France via the colonial tax should rise up to say NO!… stand up as one man to say NO MORE!… ENOUGH is ENOUGH! … and stand alongside Mali.

The 11 Components of the French Colonial Tax in Africa – Component at the heart of the tension today:

#6. Right for France to pre-deploy troops and  intervene military in the country to defend its interests

Under something called “Defense Agreements” attached to the Colonial Pact, France had the legal right to intervene militarily in the African countries, and also to station troops permanently in bases and military facilities in those countries, run entirely by the French….

France confirms it will withdraw from Mali … moving to neighboring countries and beyond

Map of Mali with its capital Bamako

France just confirmed that it will withdraw its troops from Mali, 10 years after starting the fight against insurgency in the region. They will most likely go park their troops in neighboring countries like Niger, Burkina Faso, Mauritania? Who knows?… but we know that France has not spoken its last word… it is impossible for them to let go of the gold (after all, they are the world’s 4th producer of gold), uranium, diamonds, bauxite, of Mali just like that. Below are excerpts from an article from RFI.

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French flag

France and its allies in its anti-jihadist operations in Mali have announced announced they will begin withdrawing troops after nearly a decade fighting a jihadist insurgency in the country.

The political, operational and legal conditions are no longer met to effectively continue their current military engagement in the fight against terrorism in Mali,” [maybe France and its allies can no longer loot in peace] said a joint statement signed by France and European and African allies, announcing a “coordinated withdrawal” of French, European and Canadian forces. The decision applies to both the Barkhane counter-terrorism force in the Sahel and the 14-member European Takuba force that France had been trying to get off the ground.

France deployed troops against jihadists in Mali in 2013, but the insurgency was never fully put down [because the insurgents were funded by none other than…]. Some 2,400 French soldiers are currently in the country as part of the Barkhane and Takuba operations. Relations between France and Mali have deteriorated after the military junta went back on an agreement to organize elections in February, and instead proposed holding on to power until 2025 [Let the Malian people decide their own destiny].

Flag of Mali
Flag of Mali

France and other countries have also accused Mali of using the services of the Wagner Russian mercenary group, which they say is incompatible with their mission [This is against rule #10 of the colonial tax France is imposing African countries, which state that no African country should have other military partners other than France unless authorized by France – The French Colonial Tax at the Heart of Mali-France Tensions].

… The countries [the allied forces] will continue “joint action against terrorism in the Sahel region, including in Niger and in the Gulf of Guinea” [oh, oh, Africa is in trouble!].

French President Emmanuel Macron said that Niger had agreed to host European forces fighting Islamist militants in the Sahel [does Niger really have a choice?… remember The 11 Components of the French Colonial Tax in Africa? plus the Niger president is a French puppet].

He also said the remaining forces would provide further assistance for countries in the Gulf of Guinea [let’s invent new troubles everywhere so we can loot in peace, and not pay a dime to the local populations]. “These states are increasingly exposed to efforts by terrorist groups to implant themselves in their territory,” Macron told a press conference in Paris Thursday, shortly before traveling to Brussels for a two-day EU-Africa summit.

Le partage de l'Afrique a la Conference de Berlin de 1884
Le partage de l’Afrique a la Conference de Berlin de 1884

There are a total of 25,000 foreign troops currently deployed in the Sahel region, including the UN peacekeeping mission MINUSMA established in 2013 and an EU military training mission, the EUTM Mali, along with the Barkhane operation and the Takuba forces [Despite all these forces deployed, insurgencies still manage to flourish?… I wonder why? maybe because the insurgent is paid by … the ‘savior’?]. …

 

The French Colonial Tax at the Heart of Mali-France Tensions

Flag of Mali
Flag of Mali

Below is the colonial tax which is at the heart of Mali-France tensions today. It is part of The 11 Components of the French Colonial Tax in Africa which denies Africans the right to other military or economic partners without France’s approval. As stated before, France is angry that Mali has turned to Russia for help in regaining sovereignty over its territory to help fight against the jihadists whose presence have proliferated under the help of France and its buddies, the international community. The old colonial master wants to be the only one to decide the destiny of Malians in Mali… that era is over… Malians have the right to dignity! Malians, and Africans, have the right to choose the partners that can help them in their visions, a vision which seeks the well-being of their communities. Do you realize that France is now number 4 producer of gold in the world, when France does not have mines of gold on its soil? Mali produces upwards of 40 tons every year, and yet it is one of the world’s poorest countries on the globe! Mali’s production increased by 7%, with 65 tons produced, in 2019.  Gold is worth much more than oil! So as you ponder why the prize of gold keeps going up, and people tell you about the economy… maybe it is simply because of tensions in Mali, and maybe you should also root for Mali’s independence from the colonial yoke.

Mali - Conflict map_2
Mali conflict map

The 11 Components of the French Colonial Tax in Africa – Component at the heart of the tension

#10. Renunciation to enter into military alliance with any other country unless authorized by France

… In the case of France’s ex-colonies, France forbid them to seek other military alliance except the one it offered them.

Francafrique: Raison d’Etat

After the joke of elections held in Egypt this past month, and with all the turmoil in Libya, Mali, and Côte d’Ivoire, I thought it will be best to watch this great documentary by Patrick Benquet which stirred thoughts across French Africa since December 16, 2010, date of its official diffusion.  It tells you all about the tricks, and machiavelism of France (Africa’s policeman) in Africa, and of course the effect of the cold war on African leaders and countries. Enjoy the first part titled the Francafrique Reason of State (Raison d’Etat) and share with others! It is important to know!