Interview: NAGCAM Has Never had Peaceful Change of Power – Former President

"Actors are creative minds and creative minds are very controversial"

For over two months and counting, the National Actors Guild of Cameroon has been on a standstill. The institution, NAGCAM, came to a halt on November 26, 2022 when its Elective general Assembly ended in controversy.

Emmanuel Kecha Ngang Ambe who goes by the moniker, Kesha Kena is former president of the guild, and believes the current stalemate is just another process that was bound to happen. Speaking to Giyo Ndzi, he sheds light into the distance covered, the origin of the stalemate, and a possible way out:

Q: NAGCAM in your time and now, what has changed?

During my time at the helm, we were focused on mobilisation, structuring, and confidence building.

Prior to my reign as NAGCAM president, there were no financial records, No Bank account, no previous records, no accountability or previous meeting minutes. NAGCAM was worse than a ‘Njangi’ group. Immediately we took over, thanks to the formidable and committed exco we had, we created a bank account with First Trust Bank Buea, created NAGCAM branches especially in Buea, Bamenda, Limbe Mamfe, and the USA.

We had a very good relationship with our NAGCAM members in the USA and benefited a lot from their generosity during difficult moments. All Guild registrations was done directly to First Trust bank and badges were given to all registered members. For the first time since NAGCAM was founded, we can now boast of reasonable some of money in NAGCAM coffers. All these was done to bring back confidence to a people whom since the creation of NAGCAM in 2006 had never seen any form of accountability.

Q: Are you proud of what we have now? And why?

I will like to mention here that I was barely one-rear old as president when I fled to Nigeria due to the crisis in the North West and South West regions. I was a target.  The crisis and my absence slowed the activities of NAGCAM. There were virtually very few meetings no access to the guilds accounts since two out of three signatories were out of the country. I would not like to put the blame on anyone. If I was present things should have been much better.

Q: The current stalemate plaguing the association only doubles the burden actors already have. What do you think is the primary problem and how can it be addressed?

Actors are creative minds and creative minds are very controversial. There has never been a time whereby a change in power has ever been smooth within NAGCAM. It is Normal. There will soon be calm as always. What is happening today between Fred and Staphanie is not a surprise.

Stephanie is one of our finest actress. Her beauty is second to none but I see her as the next leader of NAGCAM. I thank Fred for his humility to work as my vice, I have learned a lot from him. The best leaders have once been servants.  I was leader of NAGCAM Bamenda then Vice president of NAGCAM then I became president. It’s a learning process. I also understand that there are smarter persons with bigger ambitions who may just want to start at the top but also the guild has a constitution.

Q: There’s a deadlock and Miss Tum referred to the Cameroon Film Industry (CFI) for solution which is not forthcoming. Do you think she took the challenge to the wrong party?

CFI may play a mediation role where necessary. We are an autonomous syndicate and we only meet at CFI to discuss matters of collective interest with the other autonomous guilds.

Q: If the conflicting parties are to submit to your counsel to fix their disagreement, what would you have them do?

If you ask my honest advice, I will ask Stephanie to be part of Fred’s executive. She is Very Charismatic, has a lot to offer and will make a good leader in the near future.  I pray she takes my advice.

Q: There are speculations that disagreements like these are also a part of reason why you dusted your feet off NAGCAM affairs. How true are these?

I have never dusted my feet off NAGCAM. I am a refugee in Ghana due to the conflict as I stated before. There must be always be squabbles especially when dealing with creative minds but we have to always find a way to manage situations.

Q: Is there any perspective you think the stakeholders or even the general public is missing out on?

We have a lot more to do. The task is becoming heavier. There are many more rising actors springing up every day. More awareness and structuring needs to me. One of my greatest struggles was to have a good memorandum with the Actors guild of Nigeria. We came very close to getting there but did not due to lack of resources.

Q: Anything else?

I will like to end by appreciating my wonderful, respectful team of executives who worked with me and offered their all.  I learned a lot from you. Thank You Mr Takum Fred for your love and support that made us achieve a milestone. God bless you.  NAGCAM USA has been super supportive. I can’t thank you enough. To all the great actors and actresses. Thank you for your maximum support and for the confidence you gave me. I did not fail you. I promise you there are better days ahead.

GIYO, 2023 ©

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