A staunch CPDM militant, the eldest member of the Senate died on Saturday April 10, 2021 in Yaoundé.
He drew his last breath at about 1 am, at the Yaoundé General Hospital, aged 103, family sources said. The Paramount Chief of the Bafaws Nfon Victor Esemisongo Mukete III led a fulfilled life and died in active politics. The King of the Bafaws in Kumba, Meme Division of the South West Region led the provisional bureau of the Senate during the just ended March Session. He was last seen in public on March 18, 2021. Late Nfon Mukete was serving a second mandate. He was among the 30 President Paul Biya appointed into the Senate in 2013 – pioneer members of Cameroon’s second house of parliament. Before his demise, he left an occupant on the throne of Kumba [that he sat on in 1982]. Nfon V. E Mukete abdicated the throne in August 2020 and officially picked his youngest of five sons, Ekoko Mukete, as successor.
Defender of Reunification
Born on November 15, 2018, Nfon Mukete III believed in one and indivisible Cameroon. He fought for the reunification of the portioned Cameroon. A reunion, wherein the Francophone majority must never swallow the English-speaking (Anglophones). Rather allowed to blossom and relish Cameroon’s diversity. A Grand Officer of the Cameroon Order of Valour, Nfon Mukete captured these facts in his My Odyssey: History of the reunification of Cameroon.
Father to Anglophones
In the later part of life, he kept fighting for the rights of his minority Anglophone community. He once confronted the former Secretary General of the CPDM Rene Sadi over what he called negligence of English; one of the country’s official languages in the Party’s weekly. He never allowed successive Ministers of Communication and the Publishers of the state-owned Cameroon Tribune to breathe as to why calls for tender, for example, were only published in the French Language. Causing Anglophone business owners to miss opportunities. It took a lot convincing Nfon Mukete to attend the launch of Cameroon Insider. A bi-weekly state-owned newspaper in English. He wanted such a publication to have an equal weight with the 36 page daily bilingual Cameroon Tribune.
He did not only protest in private or restrained meetings. He once openly confronted South West Governor, Bernard Okalia Bilai, over the use of French during a ceremony in Kumba with a typically English-speaking community. Throughout his stay at the Senate, he was outspoken and President Biya seemed to listen to him. On April 5, 2019, Nfon Mukete said: “The reunification of this country places the two official languages on an equal scale but some people because of money want to kill the English language. I am talking with tears. I am over a hundred years old. I love this country and I fought for the reunification of this country. Let us demonstrate honesty, integrity and justice for the good of this country”, he articulated in his legendry baritone. He was good at the art of suggestive criticism. He loved people. Nfon Mukete downplayed his 100 birthday in 2018 and never had a lavish celebration because of the ongoing crisis in the two Anglophone regions.