Cameroon: Anglophone Elites Raise Funds to Prop Up Biya

In the heart of the worst massacre of English-Speaking Cameroonians by the Biya regime; in a period which will go down in history as the bloodiest and saddest moments for all Anglophone Cameroonians, one would expect that their elites would stand up to the regime and ask some questions.

Unfortunately, this is not to be. Starting with Atanga Nji Paul, an ex-convict who believes that everything he does or says must have been inspired by Paul Biya, to Philemon Yang,  a Prime Minister whose role is a good as that of a statue in an unpopular museum, the Anglophone elites have completely let their people down.

As war rages across the North West and South West Regions of Cameroon, as Biyas soldiers kill, rape, maim civilians and burn their villages, and restoration forces, under the banner of self-defense carry out counter-attacks both on the military and anyone whom they class as a ‘traitor’ or ‘blackleg’, the ordinary person is left at the mercy of the warring factions. The collapse of government and failure of the security apparatus spells doom for the country once known as ‘Africa in Miniature‘.

As if operating in a vacuum, Biya has gone ahead to announce presidential elections for which he is a candidate, seeking another 7 years in addition to the wasted 36 years during which the country has known nothing but misery.

As young Cameroonian activists from across the Francophone and Anglophone spectrum denounce either the holding of elections or Biya’s candidature during this time of chaos, the elites have again decided to add salt to the already festering wound.

As one of them was being taken out of a Church and killed on Sunday 12 August, others, particularly from the North West Region were gathering in Yaounde to fundraise for Biya’s campaign. Led by Philemon Yang, the North West Permanent delegate for the CPDM central committee, is purported to have raised a total of FCFA 154.589.000 million. Baba Danpullo, who is renowned for stating, at the start of the crisis that there was no way the regime will heed to the demands of civil society (which at the time, were very basic) came out on top as the highest donor, giving FCFA 30 million.

Praising the success of the fundraiser, Yang is quoted to have said that the North West elite are extraordinary people who are known for doing ordinary things in extraordinary ways.

Philemon Yang - Cameroon Prime Minister

Philemon Yang – Cameroon Prime Minister

Unbeknownst to Yang, he was spot on. Only extraordinary people will be silent while their people are being killed daily. Only extraordinary people will be supporting an 86 year old man to be president when available evidence indicates that he has neither the political will nor ability to govern. Only an extraordinary people, will continue to support a regime that has done nothing to ensure that kids go back to school despite being out for two years.

Such extraordinary persons, such as the Anglophone elites, will do ordinary things such as the need for standing up for their people, in an extraordinary way – supporting the very machinery that is oppressing their people.

As they go ahead to plan for their campaigns, the question worth asking is whether these elections are going to take place only within the Eight Regions of Cameroon where there is no conflict. It is worth asking whether should elections actually take place, anyone with a conscience will be able to acknowledge that Biya has the mandate of the Anglophones living in the forests, afraid for their lives, or those living as refugees in Nigeria, begging for crumbs to survive.

When the dust settles on this era of Cameroon’s history, some names will not be worth writing on sand. The names of the current Anglophone elites will be best forgotten. These will be the names that will be used as curse words, in remembrance of a time, when people, meant to look out for their own, decided to support a dictator, whose only quest, is the extermination of those people.

Killed in Church by A Struggle Ordained by God: The End of Chief Itoh Stephen Esoh

Under the auspices of Deacon Tasang Wilfred, the Anglophone struggle gained a lot of popularity among the naturally religious masses of English-Speaking Cameroon, when it was tagged as a ‘God-ordained struggle’. Over the first few months of the struggle, it might have actually seemed that the struggle was indeed ordained by God, as Biya’s Regime was making a lot of blunders, that all but pointed to its imminent collapse.

Over the last few months, however, since the struggle turned violent, the lines between God and occultism, seem to have been blurred. The same God-ordained Struggle became one in which fighters were increasingly relying on the use of charms and amulets (odeishi) believed to prevent bullets from touching them. Evidence from the gory images coming from Cameroon indicates just how useless these have been in providing the much-needed protection.

To crown it all, on Sunday, August 12, 2018, Chief Itoh Stephen Esoh Paramount chief of the Balondos, chief of Ekondo Titi, Ndian Division, South West Region of Cameroon, was pulled out of the church and shot dead by armed men purported to be Ambazonian fighters. Eyewitness accounts indicate that young boys stormed the church premises while Church service was in progress, forced the chief outside at gunpoint and asked him to accompany them on a motorbike. When the Chief refused and attempts to force him on the bike were frustrated, he was shot twice at point-blank range. There was no chance of survival.

This bold but dastardly act, committed within a Church environment, supposedly by people relying on God to help them overcome Biya’s monstrosity, further points to the paradox of Christianity within African communities.

Talking with sources in the locality, it was confirmed that the dead Chief has been a strong opponent of the Ambazonian fighters (Amba Boys). It is even alleged he had formed a counter armed unit to curb the actions of the Amba Boys. When attempts to abduct the Chief proved abortive, the Amba boys, therefore, decided that the one place he will be most vulnerable will be the one place he goes to ask for protection from his God. Hence the church became an easy target.

This is the second Chief to have lost their lives in a few weeks, both from the South West Region of Cameroon. Another Chief died a few weeks ago, while in custody of the Amba Boys. This led to rising tensions in Buea, which soon fizzled out. Opinions indicate that Chief Itoh’s death might wreak more havoc within the community as he was not only a paramount Chief but also a person of high standing. Among the many positions he held, Chief Itoh was a school head teacher, a Mayor, a member of the CPDM (ruling party) central committee, Former President of the South West Chiefs’ Conference & former Board Chairperson of Pamol.

Despite the Chief’s political affiliations, it is said he was a soft-spoken and pragmatic man, much loved within his family and the community of Ekondo-Titi. It is therefore feared that the repercussions of his murder might be far-reaching.

Sadly enough, should this murder create a rift within the community, the only person who will benefit from it is Biya and his regime. Hence, by going into the ‘house of God’ taking out a Chief and killing him, the ‘God-ordained struggle’ might have just shot itself in the foot.