In The Pursuit of God, A.W. Tozer wrote, “the world is perishing for lack of the knowledge of God, and the Church is famishing for want of His Presence.” It is a demonstrable fact that the lack of knowledge and Presence of God has characterized the leadership of the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon (PCC) since 2014. And this tragedy does not look like ending soon.
The Presbyterian Church in Cameroon has an archaic law that the position of Moderator rotates between the Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon. The genesis of this rule is politics, not spiritual, and this law is illogical and ridiculous. The current Moderator and leader of the Church, Rev Fonki Samuel Forba, despite his name, says he is from Akwaya and presented himself when he campaigned for the role of Moderator of the PCC as a candidate from the Southwest region.
It is pointless to state the obvious now, but Rev Fonki was never a treasured leader when he became Moderator of the PCC. He won the Moderatorship because Rev Abwenzoh W. Membong and Rev Besong Johnson Tabe could not sort themselves out before the election. Also, many in the Church, particularly those from the Southwest caucus, didn’t consider the boring details of scrutinizing the candidates before the election in 2014.
Cameroon Concord News Group has been informed that since his rise to the top, Rev Fonki excises power without responsibility. He commands almost complete loyalty by cramming the top positions in the PCC with unintelligent and spiritually vacuous nobodies. The Synod of the PCC and a majority of the pastors heading presbyteries throughout the national territory are all active and willing arm of the Fonkian enterprise. Most pastors in strategic positions and large congregations in the PCC have been put there by Rev Fonki Samuel Forba as privatized propagandists, apologists, bullies, and infiltrators. These co-criminals see Fonki as one of their own and love him dearly. With undiluted assurance and protection from his subjects, he is free to wreck the PCC, and he is doing so astoundingly.
Rev Fonki has a dark and devilish mindset with CPDM propensities and tends to transfer adversaries or intellectual and spiritual superiors to inaccessible territories. Cameroon Concord News Group can reveal that Rev Besong Johnson Tabe, who was once the Secretary of the Committee of the Ministry, is now languishing in Barombi Kang, a pocket-sized rural community on the fringes of Kumba. Rev Mokoko Mbue, a former Communications Secretary and one of the rising stars of the PCC communion is now in exile precisely in a congregation in Bafousam.
Church outsiders have sometimes questioned the management skills of many a past Moderator. But for the first time, PCC congregants are now openly questioning their Moderator’s spirituality and suitability for office. A member of PC Mamfe Town said, “It is beyond obvious that he has no spiritual bone in his body. We have to pray that 2024 comes soon for him to leave our Church”.
Recent events in PC Kumba Town where the congregants and Chairwoman pushed for the disgraced Pastor Mary Wose to leave their congregation have attracted commentaries and under-the-table talk from around the globe. Still, loud silence is the only response from the Moderator. Why? The Moderator’s take on the matter betrays his determination to force Mary Wose upon the Church in PC Kumba Town. The issue in Kumba is so scandalous that practicing witchcraft professionals have now been consulted by both sides to bring the matter to a speedy close.
Cameroon Concord News Group believes that the PC Kumba Town saga is the most shameful calamity ever to engulf the PCC. Close members of the Moderator’s team told this publication that he is nursing soreness in his leg and other ailments, which is why he has not issued a public statement on the PC Kumba Town saga. We wish him well and look forward to his public statement on the matter as his health improves.
The ways of the Lord are simplicity, honesty and charity, but that is not what Rev Fonki stands for. With several buildings and business projects in Buea, Limbe, Bamenda and many other towns in Cameroon, he has made the amassment of obscene wealth one of his primary goals.
Under Rev Fonki, PCC congregants must now pay 10% of their incomes as tithes. This questionable scheme has been introduced by concocting a section of congregants’ communion cards to show these payments. Cameroon has a high unemployment rate, and salaries and wages are forever infrequent. Presbyterian secondary and primary school teachers have been going without wages for months and sometimes years. If the PCC can’t pay its teachers despite raking in hundreds of millions from grants, gifts, school fees and aid from abroad, how should these people pay the tithes intended to fuel the flashy and ungodly lifestyle of their Moderator?
Rev Fonki is now a celebrity pastor. On his journeys, there is a convoy with his flamboyant motor vehicle. The poor boy from Akwaya/Menchum is now living the dream. The child who only learned about three square meals daily as an academic concept is now a superstar pastor. Lucky boy! But he must know that he is not living according to the word of the Lord, and the Almighty has distinctive ways of punishing spiritual misconduct. Rev Fonki should draw a lesson from the late Bishop Pius Suh Awah, who ended up on a wheelchair because of his spiritual crimes against Father Kumbha Etienne.
Last year, Rev Fonki started putting together a dubious succession plan by choosing his wife, Rev Perpetua Fonki, as the Communications Secretary of the PCC. A member of PC Bafut said, “Mrs. Pepetua Fonki is the one who runs the PCC now, and she is the mastermind of their numerous financial ventures; whatever she tells Samuel Forba to do, he does. She wants to succeed him as Moderator, and because she is from the Northwest, you will see she will win the position at the next election”.
Rev Fonki Samuel is doing what no other Moderator ever succeeded in; building a deep rift between the Southwest and Northwest factions within the PCC. Thanks to him, there is now an active and robust conversation about breaking the PCC into Northwest and Southwest factions. Although Rev Fonki blames the devil, Manyu and the Bakossi people for his troubles, a source close to him has informed Cameroon Concord News Group that the Northwest faction of the Church will rigorously challenge his fantasy succession plan.
In 2019, the people of Ukraine voted for a comedian and ended up with a serious leader. In 2014, the PCC voted for a Moderator and spiritual leader, and they have had to endure a spiritually vacuous, morally bankrupt, and dangerous comedian. He should summon some humility and leave the PCC now.
By Isong Asu
Cameroon Concord News Group Senior Political Researcher
In the next piece in this series, Cameroon Concord News Group explores the Bible’s teachings on the amassment of vulgar wealth by the Church leaders.