Tax collection clouts and homage exigencies

    ABSTRACT

    African traditional authorities played important roles in the colonial administration. They acted as tax collectors and such functions assigned to them instead raised problems between chiefs and their subjects appointed to carry out these functions. This was conspicuous in settlements where those appointed by the colonial administration refused to pay homage to their chiefs and struggled to assert their independence. This brought confusion and the colonial authorities found it difficult in establishing durable solutions to the crises. Such crises were carried over to the postcolonial state especially in the Bamenda Western Grasslands of Cameroon where the case of Santa-Akum is/was conspicuous. The study contends that the appointment of Boma as tax collector for Santa was challenged by Fon Ndikum of Akum who claimed authority over the land and its people. It needed the intervention of the colonial and postcolonial administrations for peace to reign as Boma was officially recognised as the quarter head of Akum and obliged to pay homage to Fon Ndikum. However, this decision was not long-lasting since Boma was not answerable to the chief in matters of tax collection. Besides, his territory did not have any common border with Santa making it difficult for Ndikum to assert his authority over Akum. This resulted in constant clashes and skirmishes between Ndikum and Boma and their successors and the situations have remained persistent in these communities. The study concludes that if previous administrative decisions are implemented by the government and people wholeheartedly, the problem will be mitigated.

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