In the book of Deuteronomy, chapter 31 vs 29, Moses, the servant of the Lord, said, “I know that after my death, you will become utterly corrupt and will turn from the way I have commanded you to follow. In the days to come, disaster will come down on you, for you will do what is evil in the Lord’s sight, making him very angry with your actions.” And it has come to pass that the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon (PCC) is living up to this prophecy.
Recent embarrassing protests by its congregants at the churches in Kumba Town and Nsimeyong, Yaoundé, prompted Cameroon Concord News Group to investigate the PCC’s activities. Over the last few weeks, we interviewed clerics, congregants and members of various committees in churches across the PCC communion.
Our detailed inquiry found that the Moderator (spiritual leader of the PCC), Rt Rev Forki Samuel Forba, is responsible for the PCC’s current chaos. We found a damning indictment of Rev Fonki’s character and leadership style. It is hard to find a reputable man or woman in the PCC who holds their Moderator with regard. We uncovered that his name conjures up worry and disgust, not adoration and holiness.
To begin, Rev Fonki Samuel Forba was an irrational choice as the PCC Moderator. During his campaign to lead the church and subsequent re-election in 2019, he ran a crusade of bribery, corruption and intimidation. Upon re-election, he organized parties where he celebrated lavishly with CPDM tendencies and danced like a seasoned Congolese band member.
Many who knew him after he was ordained as the PCC Moderator almost eight years ago muttered that he was a disaster waiting to happen, and he has confirmed those fears. A church member in Ekona opined that “I have known him for over 30 years, and many who have worked with him knew from the moment he was elected as the PCC moderator that his tenure would be a disaster, and we can all see it”. Many within the PCC say Rev Fonki is pompous, spiritually empty, possesses no integrity and doesn’t command the respect of the majority in the PCC he claims to lead.
Cameroon Concord News Group now understands that the shocking protests captured on video in PC Kumba Town are a consequence of Rev Fonki’s dubious direct actions. The pastor of PC Kumba Town is a certain Rev Mary Wose Nduma, who is notorious for being devoid of honesty and transcendence. PC Kumba Town congregants confided to this publication that the Chairwoman of their church had repeatedly impeded Rev Mary Wose’s attempts to loot church funds. This had led to both being on each others’ throats for months until things boiled over some weeks ago when church members carried out a mass demonstration calling for Rev Mary Wose to leave their church.
Speaking about Rev Mary Wose, one of her congregants said, “Everyone here knows that she has a less than holy relationship with the Moderator. It is shameful that they are involved in shady financial dealings. The Moderator brought her here because we are a big church, so she can abuse our funds, but that will not work. She has to go now.”
The situation in PC Kumba Town is now thorny. Members of this Church want Pastor Mary Wose gone, but she and her Moderator are not heeding the people’s requests and anger. Last week, the church members led a protest during a live sermon by Pastor Mary Wose. A pastor with godliness, ability and stature might have shrugged the protest off, but Rev Mary Wose is not that pastor. Her stubbornness and sense of entitlement have led her to this place of shame. She believes that her personal but unholy relationship with the Moderator will ultimately triumph, but she is about to discover that PC Kumba Town members mean business.
The incidents in Kumba Town seem to be playing out in PC Nsimeyong, Yaoundé also, where Rev Fonki has appointed a fellow sinful offender, Rev Emmanuel Masok. Rev Masok’s congregants say he is vulgar, violent, and a channel for fraudulent and unholy activities. Rev Masok’s case is a holy emergency that must be dealt with without delay as his congregants have prayed and fasted with no noticeable results. A member of PC Nsimeyong noted that “Rev Masok is an embarrassment. To say Masok is a pastor is an insult to that noble profession, and he is a shameless crook and womaniser.”
Talking to many within the PCC, the game is simple. Rev Fonki Samuel Forba appoints key allies to big churches, so he gets financial kickbacks from them. This is shameful and distasteful. Rev Fonki is a man ruled by the quest for primitive material consumption, and he owns many properties acquired from his proceeds of theft of Church funds. For a man of God, this is dishonorable, sinful and criminal.
Rev Fonki has appointed countless mediocrities to many top positions in the church. His appointees, like him, have no fear of God in them and thrive on deception and theft of Church money. The Presbyterian Church in Cameroon is now at the mercy of Rev Fonki’s reckless quest for indulgence.
The many mediocrities that Rev Fonki has airlifted to senior positions in the Presbyterian Synod and several presbyteries are not there for their creative talents and godly powers but for their talent to aid and abet his criminal and satanic endeavours. These co-criminals will not tell him to go or persuade him to discontinue his disgraceful proclivities because they only have their positions for as long as he hangs on to his.
The primary reason his continued stay in office as Moderator is because of corrupt, lazy and intellectually questionable PCC Synod. Rev Fonki has installed his close lieutenants in the Synod; they are nothing more than hand clappers and are too cowardly to move against a disgraced and outrageous Moderator.
Time is the most precious commodity if the Presbyterian Church is to survive in its current format and structure. Members of the Presbyterian Communion can mobilize supporters, sympathizers and genuine Christians that may end Rev Fonki’s reign of terror, theft, and criminality. But they need to be bold.
Everyday Rev Fonki remains in power; a long, sharp, sturdy nail is driven into the coffin of the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon. He has presided over eight turbulent years, during which the number of active Christians in the PCC is declining alarmingly. And this doesn’t seem to bother him.
PCC members must know that Rev Fonki has no interest in spirituality, honesty and the growth of their church, and he is only interested in growing his wealth and that of his friends within the church. And protests should be a new norm in all churches to force him and his co-criminals out of their church.
By Isong Asu
Cameroon Concord News Group Senior Political Researcher
In part 2 of this series, Cameroon Concord will look at Rev Fonki’s choice of PCC Communication Secretary and his plans to ensure his legacy of harm and criminality continues after he leaves office in 2024.