Two important edifices exist in Cameroon which define, to a great extent, the whole sociological architecture of the country – the cathedral and the presidency. The first is found at the center and like the force of gravity pulls all other things around it as a God and keeper of the nation. While the second, found about three miles away, constitutes the concentration of all the political forces that supposedly hold the nation together. But there are not two centers of gravity. In reality, despite the fact that the two operate in theory as separate entities, they constitute a continuum of harmonized inter-dependency linked together by a slippery tangent called control – or in its popular usage, power.

Head of the Black Church

The cathedral, epicenter of the Catholic Church in Cameroon under the Archbishop on Yaounde, sets the tone for religious policy with regards to its relation to the State as well as the population. The presidency, on the other hand, is the heart of politics, residence of the president where he dictates the political climate. By understanding how both structures function, it is possible to know how the country operates. When Yaounde is breathing, Cameroon is alive remains a popular expression demonstrating the paramount role of the nation’s capital.

However, despite the fact that these are important institutions, it should be mentioned that the most important part is what lies between the presidency and the cathedral – the people. Their fate remains suspended and trapped in a system where rules have been displaced from the traditional settings in favor of dubious practices.   So, by illustrating the constitutive nature of power in these structures 1.) It shall be possible to elaborate on how they enhance the exclusion of the people and 2.) It shall be possible to elaborate on how they thereby produce a strange outcome of exchange of competences to the detriment of the public.

  1. Mutually exclusive poles in a mutually constitutive power anatomy

In the preamble of the Constitution of Cameroon 2008, it is specified that “the State shall be circular. The neutrality of the State in respect to all religions shall be guaranteed.” This proviso has become a characteristic of most modern States since their origin of 16th Century divorce from medieval monolithic religious societies, kingdoms and monarchies. With the exception of a few States which are defined essentially by religion [Vatican, Saudi Arabia and to some extent Israel], most modern States, in order to fulfil this post medieval ideal usually define themselves as secular, even when in practice things may not be as simple.

Islam and Christianity are the main monotheistic religions of Cameroon. Nominally, approximately 70% of Cameroonians are Christians, of which about 38% are Catholics, while about 20% are Muslims. Because the Catholic Church is the main centralized religious body in Cameroon, semantically and technically, it is the main body that appears to have some direct and continuous ties with government authorities, at all levels. It should be added that the president, Paul Barthelemy Biya Bi Mvondo, who has been in power for 33 years, is also a catholic. He had been in the Catholic seminary before being dismissed in the early years, of his studies. His father, Etienne Mvondo Assam, was a catechist by profession for the same institution.

Given that the president is a Catholic, it is easy for him to maintain close ties with the main centralized religious organ in Cameroon which would serve him both politically and religiously

But why talk about the religion of the president? Eric Mathias Owona describes the presidential regime as pontifical and in some cases as a principality. In a presidential republic and pontificate State, where the president rules ad vitam, his personal choices resonates a vertical influence over his government as well as a collegial complicity with leaders of the religion of his choice.

The collegial complicity with leaders of religion enables him to exert institutional control over the people through indirect religious hypnosis thereby consolidating the authoritarian democracy. Or, should this be called an authoritarian dictatorship? In principle, the success of assembling, in a deconstructive way, judicial-legislative resources to conform to executive wishes may give the understanding that it is an authoritarian democracy. In practice, however, by taking into consideration that the president governs by decree and exerts tremendous control over all governmental institutions, the regime is more of an authoritarian dictatorship perhaps of a modern style.

As a result, we end up with just the belief that State and religion are separate as stipulated by the constitution. But in practice, they constitute a simple continuum of influence over the population where triggers can be generated either at political or religious levels to produce the same effect.

Divide and rule is a common strategy of control but in an authoritarian system unifying power structures can  be just as effective. But the worst part is when these structures don’t benefit the population they are constitutionally bound to serve.


  1. Dynamics of concerted exclusion of a frustrated populace

Three miles separate from the cathedral is the presidency in the metropolitan city of Yaounde. The cathedral where the archbishop presides his religious ceremonies is technically open but semantically closed. That is, it has just a few physical barriers to deter wanderers but everyone is welcome to enter and pray. One door of the cathedral is usually open, and in most hours of the morning and evening most of the doors are open for other religious services and those who wish to pray to their God: “let the children come to me, for unto these belong the kingdom of heaven” (Mat 19:14).

With a poverty level of almost 40% (2007), most of those who come to Church are around the poverty line. The Church welcomes them with phrases like “blessed are the poor…” and “it is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35). In practice, those who go to Church always hope to please God while thinking that their temporal situation will be made better here on earth. And rightfully so, they pray, offer tithes, and pay dues – which in the archdiocese of Yaoundé was recently increased in order to meet charges that were not properly defined.

Regrettably, a considerable amount of monetary contributions that are made to the Church do not serve the purpose for which it has given. In July 2013, amidst the greatest corruption scandal in recent Cameroon Church history, the Archbishop was forced by the Vatican to resign in the hope of restoring the hope of the people in its failing hierarchy.

In such a complex situation where Christians do not feel that the Church is advancing their welfare, most turn to the State for comfort. It should be mentioned that most of those who come to church have already been discouraged by the strong presidential regime and weak government.  Again, with another disappointment from the Church, they turn to the State and one of the closest structures is the presidency of the Republic.

However, access to the presidency is virtually impossible. Despite its closeness, it is heavily guarded by the GP (Guard Presidentielle) including a big fence. In this case, it is technically closed but semantically open. That is, in theory, the public is made to believe that the authorities of the nation are there for the public, to listen to them and to address their difficulties. But this is far from reality. The president is almost absent from all national life, with only sporadic appearances on national Television to read a speech to a public he doesn’t know. There is a real disconnection between the people and its authorities.

As a result, the little distance which separates the presidency and the Cathedral appears, evidently, to be the nature of what separates the Cameroonian populace from the power structures which need to promote their welfare. Consequently, like rebounds of a non-reward psychological mechanism, the people turn back unto themselves, frustrated, without trust in themselves, nor in the church or in the government. This is evident by the life of duplicity in which most people become attuned: going to church without any intention to be a better person or living in a nation without a desire to serve it honestly. Corruption, as an endemic crisis in Cameroon can be deduced from the mechanism of suspended misery: neither in “God” [Church] nor in the government do they find solace [position 136 on 174 countries, with a score of 27 on 100]. This gets even deeper – citizens grow to lose trust in one another thereby threatening social cohesion and growth. All these are visible in the lane separating the cathedral from the presidency. Despite the fact that both poles concentrate wealth and comfort, this lane is full of jobless people who wander along the streets; others standing on the road side with their tools while hoping to get hired by someone to do a temporary job or those illegally subcontracting government services to citizens who duly deserve them. It is also a lane of insecurity, vulnerability and despair – just the symbol of the country as a whole.

The perpetual rule of the centralized government of Cameroon which is the cause of this social disequilibrium has created another system which has not been sufficiently explored. It is the fact that political power governs with religious authority while religious power rules with political power. It is a strange power structure not before seen in many countries and where the citizens end up – as always – in suspended misery.

  • Sociopolitical exchange of roles: the intercourse between religious and political power

At the heart of social despair is an economic problem rooted in misappropriation of roles both in the religious milieu as well as in the political sector. The classical roles generally attributed to the State do not necessarily hold true for the State of Cameroon nor  for the Church. Below is a table which summarizes how the State governs with religious principles while the Church has been ruling using political strategy.

Religion [epicenter –  cathedral] Politics [epicenter – the presidency]
1. Theology of the present [joy and happiness are hear] 1. Politics of the future [perpetual wait for change in the future]
2. Power is politically charged, elected 2. Power is religious and mystical: “Power comes from above”
3. Faults, errors are sanctioned 3. Corruptions, crimes are pardoned
4. The divine becomes man incarnate 4. Man becomes the divine [perpetual rule]
5. Power decentralized [independent management of dioceses] 5. Power centralized [authoritarian dictatorship]
6. Uses reason, rationality 6. Applies more and more faith, belief and blind truth
7. Motion of disagreement [encourage the good ones to stay and the bad ones to go] 7. Motion of support [support the perpetual ruler to rule even longer]
8. People play the role of citizens, and practice boycott 8. People play the role of ‘faithful’ and in most cases forbidden to strike
9. People learn to claim their rights 9. Political practice is ruled by rites
10. God more and more absent 10. God more and more present
11. Money more and more present 11. Money more and more absent
12. Policy analysts and strategists consulted 12. Prophets, kings and mystiques involved
13. Defined mandates well respected 13. Perpetual mandate
14. Governs by dogma (just belief) 14. Governs by decree (just listen and apply)
15. Leaders forced to resign 15. Leaders made to stay in power ad vitam [gerontocracy]


As illustrated in the above, the population has been made to accept inadmissible political practices where the executive leader is vested with an unlimited mandate for the presidency. Like a pontiff, he rules unilaterally over all other institutions which he has crafted to conform to his personal standards. This happens in a context where the archbishop resigned due to accusations of mismanagement of funds or the case of Pope Benedict XVI who resigned from an office which is supposedly made to be held for life. It is not uncommon to find corrupt leaders who get promoted and get rewarded with better appointments in the Biya regime.

Can this scenario explain the social and economic inertia of the country? Certainly, to a great extent. When political mobility is uncertain and religious credibility overthrown, it follows that the economic fluidity experienced by the public under the State of law would be jeopardized and at worst remain in misery.

Unlocking the infinite potentials of a nation cannot be done in a locked governmental system. A system that knows no variability. Neither can it grow in a religious context that has learned to survive with ruse, using political strategies while relegating religious protocols strictly to altar services. If change is the essence of society, then the government is criminal while the Church is complicit in its practice as they exploit a population that is ignorant of its own misery.

Welcome to Earth Colony.Net: CONTINENT X, by Dr. Steven Nur Ahmed


The ‘Afrocentric’ paradigm laid down by Dr. Molefi Asante is ideologically illusory.[1] There is no ‘circle’ which bounds the place he identifies. And thus there is no center. It is a thesis intentionally and negligently supported by numerous false premises.  All of those premises have been and are now proffered as facts, but such are in fact false.


For those reasons the implication in the basic assumption of ‘Afro-Centrism’, i.e., that descendants of slaves in the America can find, experience, and express a higher ethnic unity by means of his ideology is impossible. It therefore must be rejected as a logically defective ideology. 


Such fallacious arguments have been and are promoted by scholars such as Dr. Molefi Asante of Temple University, Philadelphia. He does not live on the continent of his ancient ancestors but rather he lives here in the United States. 



His central thesis is that ‘Africa exists’. He does not address that in his definition of Afrocentricity.[2] But the truth is that ‘Africa’ as a concept does not correspond to anything which exists objectively.  The term ‘Africa’ has no existential import. That is because the continent designated ‘Africa’ was named by Europeans after a Roman military general named ‘Scipio–Africanuus’ (236-183 BCE). Therefore, we cannot affirmatively quantify the concept of ‘Africa’. We can only qualify it by saying that ‘Africa is not’. The Continent has a slave name. It is Continent X.


Thus, their adoption of the moniker ‘Afro-Centric’ and then making the argument that ‘African’ names adopted by descendents of slaves in the Americas are a sign of being a member of a universal culture is wrong. In truth, scholars such as Dr. Molefi Asante are instead using Afro-Centrism as a wedge to further divide and confuse the descendents of ex-slaves in the Americas. 


Dr. Asante’s effort to propagandize the ideology of Afrocentrism also indirectly collaborates with European culture. Dr. Asante cannot support an ‘African’ unity because the subject of his ideology does not exist. However, what Dr. Asante does do indirectly is to celebrate a Roman invader of an ancient Canaanite (Black) nation and thus celebrate western dominance over the people of the continent he purports to love.  


The designation of the continent as ‘Africa’ and the categorization of all persons living within its geographical borders or who are living in the Americas and descended from people living within its borders  as ‘African’ is based upon the false premise that people living on the continent have  a universal identity. 


On the contrary, people living on the continent do not have a universal set of socio-economic interests, values, and perspectives above that of the necessities of life. The truth is that there is no evidence to support the claim of a universal identity on the continent.


Family and tribal sentiment are the historical basis for individuals’ self concept and cultural identity on the continent. Family and tribal sentiment is generally the basis of cultural identity on the continent today. Descendents of slaves in the United States do not share any of the myriad sentimental attachments to values, interests, and perspective of the people living on the continent.


Furthermore, the geopolitical fact is that all of the 55 nation states  on the continent are based  upon European colonial political structures and thus do not even rationally reflect in their codified law and higher educational institutions the local cultural sentiments of the people. The continent is fractured into uncountable pieces with very few strings of attachment.


That fact is most evidenced by the many different indigenous languages spoken within the borders of the many so-called nation states on the continent. If the continent were divided along linguistic lines instead of those boundaries superimposed by colonial powers from the 15th to 20th centuries there would be over 2000 independent nations.


The truth is that those colonial ghost states are now ruled by dominant tribes and the elite families within those tribes and finally by European and United States military and economic interests. Those same dominant tribes have adopted French, English, Italian, Portuguese, or Arabic (except for the Eritreans and Abyssinians) as their national languages because there has been no universal language ever adopted by Black people on the main continent. White supremacist ideology dominates the whole continent because indigenous leaders can do nothing significant for their people without the approval or support of a Western power.


The same argument can be made regarding traditional religious practices on the continent. Dr. Asante’s claim that: “All people create their religions out of their histories.” is false. Again he violates the logical rule of existential import. It is only true that some people create their religions out of their histories. Some other religions claim their creation outside of human history. The two differing claims are essential to understanding why parochial religious beliefs and practices are diminishing in the face of both Christianity and Islam. It is because both Christianity and Islam are universal in scope and yet are elastic enough to be adapted to any culture. But let us look at it another way.


If the continent were divided along traditional religious lines there would be as many nations as there are clans.  That would make a universal identity on the continent impossible because the uncounted local religions do not have the potential for universality. 


The Kingdom of Aksum is a case in point. There the religion of Christianity was established by decree of the Negus Ezana of Aksum beginning in 330 A.D. From that date Aksum, later called Abyssinia, maintained a stronger cultural unity because of the popular sentiment for the universalism of Christianity. That country remained more unified than any other culture on the continent and was not colonized by a European power until the 20th century. In short, divide and conquer didn’t work against them because of their greater cultural unity.


Tribal religions on the continent, though they are ancient, have always been and are parochial or clannish in nature. Furthermore, they have no written religious texts and thus have linguistic and geographical limitations which make them lack the potential for a universal scope of appeal.


Some may argue that ancient Kemet did have universal concepts which embraced all those who lived on the continent and even humanity.  However, that is a false premise, too.  There is no evidence that the people of ancient Kemet invited other people living on the continent and outside their culture to the east, south, and west of them to share with them as members of their culture.


One possible religious exception may be argued. The Pharaoh Akhenaton did establish a monotheistic religion not created by his peoples’ history but rather born out of a non-historical visionary experience. But he was murdered by the parochial priestly class. The priests wanted to maintain their status, power, and privilege within their parochial religious practices. That historical fact simply proves the point that parochial traditional religious practices on the continent lack the elasticity to provide a universal identity for the people on the continent. 





This leads us to yet another argument made by Dr. Asante. He argues that Arabs and thus Islam enslaved Black people on the continent because of some defect in the religion of Islam and hatred toward Blacks. There are several logical inconsistencies to his argument. Let’s look at some facts one at a time.


First,  Blacks conquered Arabs and enslaved them prior to the advent of Islam. For example, Abyssinia extended to the whole of the Hejaz and the Yemen on the day of the Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) birth.


Secondly, dominant Black tribes made war with and took prisoner Black people from weaker Black tribes and then sold Black people to Arabs. That occurred before the advent of Islam as well as after the advent of Islam. It is a myth that the different tribes on the continent lived in peace for over 60,000 years. The different cultures did not live in peace for thousands of years before there were Semitic people.[3]


Thirdly, Dr. Asante denies that Arabia is a peninsula of Africa. That it is a peninsula is a geographical fact. That means that Arabia is a part of the continent. Furthermore, it is a fact that the people living on that peninsula are either Black people or descendents of Black people who migrated out of Africa over 50,000 years BCE. That migration hypothesis is supported by DNA evidence. Thus it is proof that Black people made war with each other long before the advent of and during the rise of Islam in the 7th century A.D.


Fourthly, Dr. Asante does not accentuate the role played by dominant chiefs who bartered with both Arabs and Europeans for the sale of Black people as slaves. But it is a historical fact that the interior of Africa was generally impenetrable by both Arabs and Europeans and that but for the assistance of dominant Black tribes on the continent who saw profit to be made by helping slave traders most Black people would not be in the Americas today. Before white supremacy had been internalized by indigenous people, tribal chiefs opened the doors to white supremacy without a fight.  


The fact those dominant tribes had no indigenous religious texts rationalizing slavery for profit does not negate the behavior which evidenced the practice of enslaving Black people as an acceptable value in tribal business affairs.


It was Black people who lead the slave traders through the interior to capture Black people on both the east and west coasts of the continent. It was Black people who lead David Livingstone to H.M. Stanley on the Zambezi expedition and to the source of the Nile River.  


Today it is Black people who are allowing the resources of the continent to be hauled away outside the continent by pirate nations. It is Black people right here in the United States who work to thwart the progress of their own ethnic members for monetary reward. House Negroes all as Malcolm X would say!


The fundamental assumption underlying Dr. Molefi Asante’s Afrocentric ideology is like a glass marble which when held up to the eye can be seen to have a crack running dead through the middle of it. It is defective and can only lead to a chain of defective inferences.  It therefore follows necessarily that his whole ideology is inconsistent with the rules which govern sound and cogent thinking and should be rejected by anyone who aspires for truth and justice.

[1] Afrocentricity: The Theory of Social Change (Revised and Expanded), by Molefi Asante, pub. African American Images, Chicago, Illinois, 2003

[2] Afrocentricity: The Theory of Social Change (Revised and Expanded), by Molefi Asante, pub. African American Images, Chicago, Illinois, 2003,

[3] See the Pluvial Period of the continent


Malcolm X


Bimbi operated a machine that stamped a different identification number onto each license plate that rolled down the conveyer belt in the prison factory. Each number was unique even though it was stamped upon the same kind of state plate. Eventually, each number would come to be identified with the characteristics of a car and its owner.

Day after day, as he worked on the conveyer belt line Malcolm would listen to Bimbi. He would wonder to himself about the strange man speaking on “odd subjects.” He was awed by what he described as Bimbi’s mastery of words and the total respect his intelligence commanded from everyone.

The conveyer belt would stop sometimes. Then inmates and even guards would gather around Bimbi’s dimly lighted station. Each would listen intently to Bimbi to discern the words and statements he expressed to them.

Malcolm would listen attentively, too. He watched as others put focused attention upon Bimbi. But while watching he came to understand that each man perceived Bimbi’s speech differently. Though each word Bimbi uttered made identical percussions upon their ears, those same discrete sounds when strung together into statements and then set down side by side to each other became step planks, or were like fine tones fleeing the constraints of their bars and notes. One after the other they would spiral upward to a dizzying height and took each listener on a different trip far away from prison.  Was this simply music he heard? Or was it what thought is?

But Malcolm wondered how could this be? How could Bimbi speak to all and yet at the same time to each man each of whom spoke a different dialect? It was like seeing a bright beam of light refracted through a prism into countless colors. Each color suited to the particular mind it penetrated. Bimbi then turned and looked at Malcolm face to face and spoke to him. He spoke to Malcolm the atheist. Bug-eyed, Malcolm listened.

Bimbi was free in his speech. This was so even though his free speech flowed forth and out of a sequestered body. But there, in prison, it was a true paradox for this man to be so free in his speech yet bound and gagged by society.  Yet, it was not an incomprehensible paradox for it was because Bimbi’s mind was free. Thus what gave his words freedom of flight were the fine unfettered logical threads which wove them together in a mind undaunted by incarceration.  His was a mind in negation. Malcolm must have pondered whether negation was that mysterious power in the mind which like some kind of dark energy levitates consciousness beyond its natural context? A mind in negation is what makes a person free.

There was such clarity of meaning and graphic imagery incased in each sound.  But Bimbi was not religious. He was not a Pagan, a Christian, a Muslim, a Jew, a Buddhist, a Hindu, or an animist. But neither is God religious. God does not pray; God does not seek himself in the confines of a building; God does not do ritual; in fact God is unlisted. But given all that God is not, God is freedom and so too was Bimbi free.  And in that unspoken relation of negation and freedom there was an odd relation to that which Bimbi had.

Malcolm wanted to be free too and if there was a way out of the box he wanted out. He understood that it would have to be by negation not affirmation. He thought then and there that it had to be the way to freedom expounded upon by Bimbi. Malcolm knew that if he could be free there in prison then he could be truly free everywhere and at all times.

Every person is inherently rational and perceives through the agency of their mind and by the exercise of some degree of reason what reality is not.  The problem of knowledge is to eliminate perception and in so doing disappear false assumptions and the shallow frivolous thoughts out of which our perceptions are born. We can see reality as it is in itself by negation so that we can be propelled into the depths of our mind to affirm our true self. That is difficult to do for many reasons. For example, within the context of our human life, we perceive God as a problem to be solved. But what if God is not contextual?  If that be so, then it is not God that is the problem; so, the problem is us.