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THE PARADOX OF PARAMOUNTCY IN BAMENDA GRASSLANDS: CASE OF MBUM IN THE NORTH WEST REGION OF CAMEROON

THE PARADOX OF PARAMOUNTCY IN BAMENDA GRASSLANDS: CASE OF MBUM IN THE NORTH WEST REGION OF CAMEROON

Posted on 2021-11-21 07:48:04 / by Stanley Yengong Nforba

Abstract


The Mbum constitute one of the largest Tikar ethnic groups in Bamenda Grasslands but remain separated and divided into autonomous fondoms with comparable socio-political organisation. Most Tikar groups that migrated alongside Mbum maintained their political status-quo and established paramountcy in the different vicinities where they settled. Unlike their Tikar compatriots of Kom, Bum, Bafut and Nso that evolved a centralised system of administration and instituted paramountcy in their regional sub-settings, the Mbum remained disintegrated with independent fondoms ruled by Fons although they were in Kimi under a single political leader. The disintegration of Mbum into political units began as they migrated in different waves to the Nkambe plateau. From the topography of Mbum land and pattern of closed settlement, it is difficult to understand why the Mbum remained in autonomous polities without a centralised traditional authority. The Warr clan leader with a paramount status was unable to institute paramountcy though he had supremacy to subjugate incoming groups in Mbum land as Warr had established settlements in the region before the arrival of the Tang and Ya groups. However, the Ya clan heads, attempted to dominate political rule during the Fulani-Chamba raids in Mbumland, but they were not equally successful. The colonial-era witnessed the creation of administrative units by German and British governments that gave clan heads the privileges to dictate policies in their respective political jurisdictions but they failed on several attempts to institute paramountcy. Through the prism of idealism and the chronological approach, this paper argues that the dogma, which defined the settlement patterns and coexistence in the region, accounted for the failure of paramountcy in Mbum land.


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