By Tikum Mbah Azonga
This paper is an adaptation of an earlier one I delivered on the Cameroon National Radio Station on the 18th of February 2005, following her appointment as Secretary of State for Commerce. One factor that drew attention to Ama Tutu Muna`s appointment was the fact that at the time of her appointment, she was an outsider, having come into government from the private sector, unlike most of the other appointees who were civil servants. The paper was one of the daily political commentaries I delivered on the 6.30 a.m. prime time national and world news on Cameroon Radio Television (CRTV), Yaoundé, between 2002 and 2005.
Whatever way one looks at it Ama Tutu Muna, was always going to be one of the most closely watched cabinet members here in Cameroon. She is one of the relatively few females in government, just as she is one of the very few cabinet ministers born in the 1960s, most others having been born in the 1950s. The major reason for the raised eye brows about her though, is that she is a Muna. From that point of view, it all looks like history repeating itself because her father, the late Solomon Tandeng Muna was a leading long time cabinet member of the country.
Be it as it may, fundamentally, the Muna now touring Momo Division, her administrative unit of origin, is different from her father and even her swashbuckling brother, Ben Muna a high profile barrister who was once President of the Cameroon Bar Association. Ben has, of course, also dabbled in politics, having been Campaign Manager of the Social Democratic Front (SDF), Cameroon`s leading opposition party, before he and the party parted ways. Unlike her father who ended up by breaking ranks with Yaounde, by tendering his resignation to President Paul Biya, Ama Tutu Muna has worked quietly but stoutly for the regime in place.
Although some observers believe Ben is the person who would have emerged minister from that family, had he been conciliatory towards the CPDM, the truth may never really be known, for in her own right, Ama Tutu Muna won many hearts and minds prior to her being appointed Secretary of State. She was a successful building contractor with one of the jewels of her making being the new court building at up station, Bamenda. It is not surprising therefore that as she left Yaounde for her Momo constituency, even members of the opposition in Momo were planning to receive her.
If Ama Tutu Muna who was a few years ago given the traditional title of Mafor, does not unite Momo, then perhaps no one else will. So far, Momo Division has lacked that single political force that could cut across party lines.
While Ama Tutu Muna may have succeeded as a contractor and is succeeding as a social being, the third challenge lies in her very job as Commerce Secretary of State. As things stand, she has what it takes to make it, for apart from holding qualifications in English and translation, Ama Tutu Muna has traveled widely.
Interestingly, Ama Tutu Muna’s boss, Commerce Minister, Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana has an even richer background in commerce, having done higher studies in that domain and worked in Cameroon and Europe. Together, both can make the sky the limit for the Commerce Ministry. But more importantly, for Ama Tutu Muna, the people of Momo would be proud to say in future: ‘Here is a ministry that delivered the goods because our daughter was one of its key architects”.