Cameroon Elections 2018 – The Ambazonia Boycott and Its Implications For the People of Southern Cameroons
I have been trying to find the logic behind the calls for boycott by the Ambazonian leaders. At best, it appears as a knee-jeck reaction to a situation, rather than a well thought out plan that can yield tangible results in determining a better future for the people of Southern Cameroons in particular, and the rest of Cameroon in general.
Coming across this article, I cannot resist the urge to publish it here. Unfortunately, the writer did not include their name, but the logic is sound. I am therefore assuming their pemission to publish this, given that it is already in the public domain. I will be happier though, if the author could identify themselves.
There are 3 major political blunders in the history of Cameroon that have significantly altered the destiny of Cameroon. I mention these just because decisions of great consequence only get fully understood with the passage of time. And within our current context, we need to appropriately situate the consequences of the decision of many to boycott the 2018 election.
My hope is that you will read this message, gain some benefit from it and use it to clarify your thinking in this moment of great confusion and pain for our people. Most of the decisions made today are done by individuals who I can criticize. However, the only active player I will mention is Biya – because he is the one we should be focused on replacing.
Let us go to the beginning…
1. THE UPC BOYCOTT In 1955, the UPC decided to boycott the coalition proposed by Soppo Priso because they wanted France to leave Cameroon and grant immediate independence. Pierre Messmer, the French Governor cut a deal with Ahidjo that created the Mbida-Ahidjo government. This boycott resulted in the North-South alliance that has dominated politics in Cameroon for 57 years.
2. THE SDF BOYCOTT – In March 1992, John Fru Ndi decided to boycott the first multiparty parliamentary election. Despite the boycott, the opposition comprised 51% of the parliament, which weakened the control of the Executive. From 1992 to 1997, many progressive events took place – AAC conferences, calls for a Constitutional Conference, the Tripartite talks and the 1996 constitution. This progressive trend only started failing after the return to parliament in 1997. Since 1997, the SDF has consistently lost seats in parliament and today controls 9% of the 180 seats. The insistence by Fru Ndi to remain opposition leader regardless of the series of successive defeats and the SDF’s inability to adapt into a true coalition remains the central contributor to the long-term impotence of the opposition.
3. THE AMBAZONIAN BOYCOTT – On October 7, 2018, there will be a Presidential election in Cameroon. Paul Biya is at his weakest and the world is watching like never before. For the first time, there are credible opposition candidates and with advances in technology, it is increasingly difficult to rig an election where the opposition decides to compete. While many expect it to be a close election, the only way to get Biya out and contemplate a new political future for Southern Cameroonians is to bring the 800,000+ Southern Cameroonian votes into the coalition. This is the final option to resolve this crisis politically. If we boycott, the only option is a military solution.
With record by numbers of Southern Cameroonians fleeing, even to LRC, it is time for the Southern Cameroonians intellectuals to seriously weigh the options – particularly members of the Diaspora. Today, they cannot pretend that the problem does not exist. Most families have either lost relatives or know of others who are refugees or internally displaced.
There are many legitimate grievances we can lay claim to. However, any objective observer will agree that the amateurism of the people who claim to speak for all Southern Cameroonians has resulted in a loss of every opportunity to defeat Biya internationally and created a culture of violence and reprisals at home. By insisting that all Southern Cameroonians should tow the independence line, they have stifled the most fundamental of all freedoms – the freedom of thought, and have prevented the integration of majority of progressives who can add value to the range of options that must be employed to hold the Biya regime accountable in the court of international public opinion.
The fact that we have been rebranded from a peaceful non-resistance movement to a secessionist (and terrorist to some) organization is a testament to the failure of imagination and leadership of those who claim the right to speak for millions of Southern Cameroonians.
The time has come to put an end to this. It is not enough to think we must be monochromatic in our thinking because we are all Southern Cameroonians. Right is right and wrong is wrong regardless of the fact that we are all Southern Cameroonians. A government that raises 2 million dollars to create a 200 million+ dollars problem that is borne solely by the victims it claims to represent has failed. PERIOD!
We should stop deceiving ourselves that this interim government has the answers. We should stop deceiving ourselves that Biya is a regime propped up by France. The cooperation accords with France expired in 2010 and Biya did not renew them. The oil we keep saying is exploited by France is now owned primarily by the British, Chinese and the Russians. So how does our IG alienate France, ignore the British, Chinese and Russian interests and claim it is doing any work, let alone think? Does the IG realize that this fight has not started and all Biya has been doing is provoking a situation that will suppress opposition votes in the NW and SW, secure a mandate and then accelerate the disintegration of Southern Cameroons? Are the warlords on the internet going to come back to Cameroon to secure territory and fight?
My fellow Southern Cameroonians – we are heading in the wrong direction. And if any leader – whether a Facebook warrior or member of the IG disagrees with what I am saying, they should go online and state so publicly. I insist on them doing so publicly because the record should indicate after October 8th that they took the position. This stupidity by people who are thousands of miles away has got to stop.
The only plan Biya has after October 7 is to use his mandate (derived largely from the Southern Cameroonian boycott) and embark on a pacification program similar to what was done with the UPC in the 1960s. With arms from China, the best we can realistically hope for is an intensification of hostilities and eradication of nationalism from Southern Cameroons.
We can avoid this. War and Peace are choices. Victory and Defeat are choices.
But we all have to realize the clock is ticking fast. And if you care about this, start calling your friends and relatives to tell them things are going to get serious and we need to take action immediately. We lose nothing by voting but everything by refusing to vote.
The time has come to ask the IG to make a u-turn to the ballot box. If not, let the record indicate that we had the opportunity to avoid crashing into an abyss – and our leaders insisted that we should maintain the course, play into Biya’s hands and accelerate the deconstruction of Southern Cameroons.
If we stay silent and do nothing, history judge our decision to boycott not as another act of popular resistance, but as the biggest strategic blunder in the difficult history of Southern Cameroons. It will be a blunder orchestrated at a time when there are Southern Cameroonians around the world in positions of power and privilege, we have access to the corridors of power and technology AND Biya is 85 years old and at his weakest. We will fail not because our cause is unjust, but because we have allowed a team of people bereft of imagination and moral clarity to assume the mantle of leadership.
We have to stop this circus of listening to an IG that does not have a command and control structure on the ground and a growing band of militias who keep saying that they are relying on instructions from the IG. This struggle is now a ship without a captain and we are about to reach a point of no return. We are not seeing the number of victims grow exponentially while the agenda is increasingly controlled by a small team of narcissists who know that true democracy will deprive them of their claims of leadership.
The time has come for the Diaspora to rethink the extent to which it has been manipulated. The time has come for the people on the ground to know that the small group of extreme voices who control the social media narrative are more interested in holding onto power and will never come to Cameroon to fight for them. The progress we have made so far has been in spite of the poor leadership of Biya and the IG. We are on our own and we better start thinking of what is best for us as individuals and for our people. And when we do, we should make sure we give the right advice to our friends and relatives at home who rely on our counsel.
We can beat Biya and secure a Federation in 2019 that meets the aspiration of our people. We can change course on October 7, and let the political process and a new President address our grievances. However, if we say no, the IG better start telling people to start buying coffins, preparing for airstrikes on our towns and villages and the probability of fighting against the Russians and the Chinese.
That may very well be when we will start realizing how stupid we have been all along.
IGNORANCE WILL NOT BE AN EXCUSE AFTER OCTOBER 7, 2018. STOP ALLOWING GHOSTS TO DETERMINE YOUR DESTINY UNLESS YOU WANT TO BECOME A GHOST. THINK FOR YOURSELF. YOUR VOTING CARD IS STRONGER THAN ANY AMBA BULLET.