Specks on Law & Africa

Specks on Law & Africa

So I was about to go about my day and not publish anything today. But after several threats from Ennie and Steph, I couldn’t risk walking the hallways on campus next week without dropping this note.

For those of you still reading, thank you. And if you know anyone who stopped reading, please tell him or her I will agree to go out on a date with him or her, so long as they cover the tab. Think I am feeling myself? #AllowMeToFeelMyself.

I will be giving my specks on a law and Africa. As most of you know, I am a comedian by day and a law student at night. This is to say, my reasoning may be flawed, but they wholeheartedly mine.

The lawlessness in the African continent is appalling, but such is not because we do not have written laws in place. The laws on paper are not a reflection of our culture, history and its struggle.

Where am I getting with this? Africa, post colonialism was not ready for democracy. Post colonialism, Africa was fragile—the people were accustomed to two types of leadership, the western bureaucracy and the monarchic leadership. The French and Belgian colonies were ruled directly by the westerners, and the colonial masters were physically present in those regions. The British on the other hand ruled indirectly, from Britain and considered their colonies as an extended part of the country—thus less physical presence. Could this be why most former British colonies like Nigeria, Ghana are ahead democratically thus economically? Most likely, yes. They figured out how to run their states with little influence from the West—they learned to be lead the “western way”. Is it also fair to infer that democracy and economic growth have a positive correlation? Yes (please note that that’s the only thing I retained from my Statistics class). Looking at former French and Belgian colonies, Cameroon, Congo, Ivory Coast, ring any bells and we can really ask did the French really leave? Connecting the dots?

Pardon the economical growth and democracy relation digression; I will address that at a later date. Democracy, even though seemingly a useful tool was not one Africa was ready for. The tribal wars disguised as civil wars post colonialism evidently proves my point. A perfect understanding of the tribal disparities and an incorporation of the monarchical structures in governance would have saved lives.

How? I urge you upcoming leaders to think it through too. I firmly believe that the successful future of the African governance lies in the fusion of ethnic representation, monarchical involvement and bureaucratic systems.

Back to my point, Africa’s laws are hardly a reflection of the culture, history, and its struggles. If the laws were a reflection of the history and struggle, Africa would have laws in place mandating high standards of scrutiny when it comes to African governments entering business contracts with the West. This may seem regressive, but I am trying to make a point pertaining to the historical lag that is not mirrored in African laws. Most colonies engaged into bloody battles to gain independence, but approximately forty-fifty years post independence, why are the laws in place most favorable to doing deals with the West? Try to alienate the foreign aid aspect that may be a catalyst in itself.

To show how U.S. laws are a reflection of their history for instance, looking back at the mindset of Revolutionary Era Americans, a standing army was the devil incarnate. Before and during the War for Independence in the U.S., the King of England’s Army had oppressed the nation’s inhabitants. The new rules had to prevent that from ever happening again, thus the Second Amendment, rights to bear arms. A law that has seen many generations and will come to see many. This is how history factors into law.

I mean, as African history dictates, the inception of slavery was an unfair contractual agreement, gun powder for our fellow brothers and sisters (pardon my over simplification), African business laws should be a reflection of such history. Instead, the West gets the best part of the cake.

A progressive African legal system very generally will incorporate the following:

Tribal leaders will consist of a majority of interstate and interprovincial leadership.

Remorse will be a critical element in the criminal law codes.

Trade by barter will be a form of compensation for legal settlements.

Tax codes will be relaxed on locals and higher for foreign investors.

Contract and Securities law will be stricter and require more disclosure for foreign investors.

Ethnic representation will be an essential part of government—countries are slowly adopting this.

Democratic terms will be longer—even after effective control methods are put in place, there is a monarchical hierarchy that is a norm.

My outmost wish is that, human rights laws should be replicated in African legal dicta; it is worldwide obligation to respect and preserve human dignity.

The aforementioned are doable and some nations have adapted these in some shape or form. However I have a wish list, which, in itself is non-exhaustive. My list in summary is that, when it comes to an enforceable legal system, Africa cannot afford to copy and paste from the West. Some disciplines like engineering and health care may enjoy such privileges with some adaptation, not the law. Law is an art that must be crafted with care to fit and solve the current and foreseeable problems of a nation or state.

With some research help from www.idiotsguide.com


My Weird Specks on the U. S of A/ Les States

I am sitting in that class again. Please don’t ask me which because everybody knows I do not snitch. Now that we have established that I may use class time to blog, take off the judgmental hats and read away.

I wanted to make this a part II to the “My Weird Specks on my Country- Le Kmer”, but I was inspired to share specks on my American experience. Wondering where I got the inspiration? Do you watch the news? We are covered in snow… Genius—so much for inspiration, it wasn’t that hard. (Spoiler alert, I have part II of the K-mer specks)

Now that you know that I am originally from Cameroon, may I proceed to talk on my specks on an African’s life in America? Ooh boy, I am about to burst the bubble for those back home loving the mbengists aka bush fallers. You know what? Never mind, you’ve heard the stories and if you haven’t please call some ‘real’ peeps and ask them.

On that note… I shall proceed.

America oh America.

Les States – I promise to stop the poetic issh right here. I lack rhythmic skills.

Okay, America can be the land of land of milk and honey only if you put in the work. Forget about the politicians screaming on TV as they talk about the downward spiral of the US. I know conservatives stopped reading per the last sentence. END of my political ishhh. (My political rants are To Be Continued)

For most of us Africans this is still where you work and get paid. Americans are probably thinking is there a place in the world where you don’t get paid after clocking in? YES, ask an African whose parents’ work for the government.

BUT, a real big time BUT. What did I see when I set foot in the U.S?

That some streets look like streets back home;

That there are also homeless people here

That some people can’t read or write

That the sun rises and sets here too, I know, I burst some dreams.

I’ll be of no use to you if I can’t tell you the truth as I see it (emphasis on “I”). If you don’t believe me on the sunset fact, ask somebody. You probably skipped Geography classes—I did my research on you guys.

You are probably stressed out now and you’re thinking when are the juicy facts about life in America. Well, while in America, you come to realize that:

Eating out is the norm here, but when you are a Johnny Just Come (J.J.C), the restaurant had better have picture menu. We African’s really hate this, especially my dear friend Mah.

You spend more time at the grocery store than the average American because you can’t decide which tomato to pick. Okay now dear America, why do you have ten types of tomatoes? ehhh America. Tomato na tomato. Mschew!!!

(Laura and Fuen will be glad someone finally spelled “mschew” correctly)

As an African, you wonder why they call fried-potatoes french fries. I intentionally placed and order for ‘fried potatoes’ in Cincinnati, and I got fried cassava. Dear Africans you see, potatoes na cassava.

You wonder why people call a film, a movie. I mean, I am still not used to this. I will say no more on this matter.

You sang the Micheal Jackson song,  “beat it, beat it” as “mbinde mbinde”. This was shocking to me when I heard the lyrics. I still don’t get why these Americans don’t get it. MJ came to Cameroon and got the lyrics from Dedi Eyango. (google it)

But as time goes by, you adapt.

You come to realize that…

You are just an African trying to survive

You are just trying to provide for the family you left back home

You are just trying to be understood, in as much as you have to repeat yourself for over two years

You work so hard to “get it”

You even try this thing called “rap”

Side note on “RAP”:

Dear Americans, it’s that lingua transformation Africans overcome to sound like you.

When we succeed in sounding like you, we say: “We say we don land/reach/arrive.” (Nigerians, take note—you guys like to use such terminologies).

But when you call us out saying: “ Oh my, you are African but you don’t have an accent.”

We don’t react in front of you but instead go and nag about it amongst ourselves. Deep down, we like it. It is a relief because, at least now you understand us. We don’t have to say the same thing over and over. And we can focus on why we “abandoned” our families to begin with—hustle hard and better our lives.

As much as an Africa tries to assimilate, we stay true to core values: family, hardwork, gossip, fufu, noise, drama, and SWAG (#Something We Africans’ Got).

At the end of the day, you are just an African in America.

My weird Specks on my African Country- Le Kmer

As I sat in class (please don’t ask me what class), I couldn’t help but think of the first great way Kumla Dumor—RIP, told his African story.

May I share my African story? Matter of fact, I shall just go ahead and share. If you are still reading, I am left to infer that you have granted me the permission to.

I haven’t been back in over six years. Please don’t judge me, the hustle is real. I talk to my family everyday. I will live to tell why I haven’t returned home in a while—just know I have never had about $3000 chilling in my account, if anything, I have helped peeps here and there with any amount of money close to that… (I will stop erring my broke history here)

Now, to my African story. As someone who talks to my family almost every week, I have stayed in touch with the events. My quest for statistics and my ever-gluey nature to the news, has kept me current.  (Enough of the brag about staying current)

Allow me to speak for Cameroon. Cameroon is in West Africa or Central Africa—depending on your geographical specks or your economic classification need (Paul Biya and your ECOWAS classification, take note).

We happen to have two national languages, English & French. We are proud to be ahead on the U.S on this. See we have national languages, but the U.S doesn’t. If you think I am kidding, go ask a 5th grader. We are even threatening to nationalize this “Franc-Anglais”’ slang we speak. This na only hearsay, please don’t quote me on this, but if need arises, we know Stanley Enow and Jovi Le Monstre got the dictionary and the tenses on deck.

We are proud to have “over” 150 ethnic groups, I promise, I can’t count them all. The advantage of these many ethnic groups is, we can gossip about people we know can’t understand nada (yes I said “nada”) about what we are saying. Hold on, until the day you sit in a cab and insult the heck out of this cab driver in your dialect, but as you step out of the car, he says “Beriwo” i.e. thank you in “my” dialect. He heard us loud and clear.

As a Cameroonian, you identify yourself with being an Anglophone or a Francophone. LOL guess what, some of us don’t fit in any camp. When your parents are primarily Anglophones but you were born and raised in the French “zone” (with emphasis on “zone”, these are not war zones for those of you hoping that that’s what I meant). Guess what? Since you don’t belong anywhere, you end up re-identifying with your trib, again. Could this be a reason why Cameroonians haven’t fought an ethnic war since “independence” (I will explore the scope of  ‘independence’ on a later date)? You can speculate all you want, but I think so. We are Cameroonians before anything.

Our constitution, to the extent that it is not being changed by Popol as we speak, does not have to enunciate freedom of religion. We just get it. On Ramadan day our Muslim brothers and sisters share their feast (the lamb is the best part of the day) with us, and we Christians observe the holiday. On Christmas day, we share our chicken and rice with them too. We drink and get drunk and find our loved ones who spent the nights in the gutters, the day after all major festivities, and over the weekends. Basically, every weekend is a feast!

We Drink aka we too like mimbo/on n’aime jong. My fellow Americans go find out what these mean; there’ll be a quiz in a few weeks . I will let you speculate on what we actually consume.

I know I bragged on how informed and current my knowledge on African events and this post seems to  focus sorely on my past vision on Cameroon.  Worry thee not and stay tuned. I still reserve the right to brag away…

Feel freel to drop your fun/cool/absurd facts and views on your countries below!!!

I moved sites to accommodate your awesome comments…