“I Refuse to Be Silent” – The Tragedy of Ambazonia

By Jude Mortimer Kehla

The decision by Cho Ayaba to start a military rebellion in the village of Dadi was one of the worse decisions in recent memory. It was not informed as his sycophants tell us everyday on facebook by any strategic thinking, preparation or backing. It was grandstanding for one purpose only: a desperate attempt to remain relevant in the struggle in the face of the emergence of a new crop of anglophone leaders led by Sissiku Ayuk Tabe.

This seems to have been a trend throughout the struggle. After fleeing to Nigeria and finding himself isolated and the centre of gravity shifted to the young men Mark Bara and Ivo Tapang, in desperation Tassang joined the southern Cameroon movement in exile in Nigeria not because he was a fervent believer in separation but because he was isolated and alone.

Having been made interim head of the movement, Sissiku Ayuk Tabe declared independence on 1’st October 2017 not because it was the right thing to do and the right time to do it, nor could he pretend to have any kind of control over the territory or democratic legitimacy but because he was goaded into that declaration by the group around Boh Herbert and Morisc who would have gone ahead and declared independence from the U. S before him.

And in other to counteract the emergence of Cho Ayaba as a warlord in Southern Cameroon with influence in the field and fundraising powers abroad, some members of the IG and old activists like Akwanga declared their military presence in Southern Cameroon which finally became a free for all as they realised the power of the gun in mapping out spheres of influence on the ground by holding the people, the institutions both traditional, civil society and business as well as the government agencies to ransom.

As I have said before citing the case of Algeria, the level of violence in a revolution is related to the emergence of factions within the revolutionary bodies and the competition for attention between them. Southern Cameroon groups in the struggle seem to have worked themselves into a dilemma of their own making as they sort to thwart each other’s advance and name recognition by out-staging one another.

The idea that there was a grand strategy behind it all is one of the biggest jokes that has caused the lives of thousands of people in the last 2 years. Unfortunately, nobody is laughing. But I laugh each time Tapang Ivo reminds us that he has come up with more than 200 strategies for a successful revolution. Although he boasts of having presented 200 strategies, you might have noticed that nobody has ever seen them. Each time the revolution enters a new phase he announces that it was number so and so of his 200 strategies.

Ambazonia Defence Force Fighters

Take Tapang’s recent claim that he has a winning strategy for the war in one year. He points out that Cameroon has an army of 15.000 soldiers and that Ambazonia is divided into 13 counties. According to our world-class strategist, it is simple. If you divide 15.000 by 13 and ask every county in so-called Ambazonia to provide 1150 recruits to amba (And he means the ADF of Cho Ayaba) then you can win the war in one year. for such a brilliant strategist, it does not occur to him that Cameroon too can do the same and put four times as many soldiers in the field as Ambazonia. It has not occurred to him that soldiers from Cameroon will be better led as their officers have access to training in the best military schools all over the world while illiterates run amba camps in villages of Southern Cameroon.

It has not occurred to our ‘strategist’ that Cameroon goes into the field with the backing of the entire budget of the country No matter how much of it is embezzled). while amba has to make do with the ransom they get from kidnapping teachers and businessmen and their children.

The tragedy unfolding at present in the NW and SW regions is because 17 to 20-year-old boys who should be in school accept this childish pronouncement as truth and then go out and get themselves killed for nothing. The idea that the militant uprising was meant to prevent the army of Cameroon from killing innocent civilians is the biggest lie that has been told to our people. Amba has not stopped one house from being burnt or one person from being killed. Right now the greatest revolutionary achievements of amba in the NW and the SW region is that they have succeeded through terror to close the schools, to destroy business activities, to mastermind more than 10.000 kidnappings and ransom payments and to usher in a general state of lawlessness.

We are now reaching a stage where people long for the second class citizenship of LRP than the lawlessness of amba and the fancy of kids playing at revolutionaries. But I don’t think so. I think people now hate both especially when they see the incompetence of the government and the behaviour of the army around them.

Silence is a form of collusion.

Cameroon Government Minister ‘Celebrates’ the Holocaust: Compares Biya to Hitler

There is no doubt that the Biya Regime receives a lot of military support and training from Israel and the United States. One would have therefore thought that the Regime will show some appreciation for the support they were receiving from Israel.

That happens not to be the case as the Cameroon Minister of justice, Jean De Dieu Momo, has openly expressed antisemitic views over National Television.

Comparing the Bamileke ethnic group to the Jews and describing them in derogqtory terms, such as “arrogant people”, the minister went on to gloat over how Jews were put in gas chambers by “a certain Hitler”.

The Minister then goes on to warn Professor Kamto to be careful where he is leading his people – the Bamilekes. This could only imply that as the Bamilekes are the Jews of Cameroon, Paul Biya was the Hitler who was likely to ‘gas them in the same manner as Hitler did with the Jews.

This should not be surprising, coming from a Cameroon Minister of Justice, given that for over Two years, English-speaking Cameroonians have been systematically slaughtered by government forces, creating a security situation where vandals and armed thugs now run around killing anyone who makes a wrong move.

The paradox of the situation is that Israel has been providing support to the regime, Training the elite Battalion D’Intenvention Rapide (BIR) which has been involved in most of the extra judicial killing of Cameroonian.

While one ought to condemn the Holocaust and denounce anyone who seeks to downplay that dark period of history, it must be said that Jean Dr Dieu Momo, is effectively an ally of Israel and hence, the memory of the Holocaust can be said to have been insulted by someone form in-house.

The Israeli Embassy in Yaounde has written a letter condemning the utterances, but there are doubts it would go beyond those words. It is therefore a shame thar someone in such a position of authority can make such derogatory remarks about some thing so sinister as the Holocaust and go away free.

Should Israel not come forth with a serious response to such an insult to the memory of its people killed by Hitler, they will effectively be telling the rest of the world that antisemitism is not a problem if it comes from certain people.

Mr. Momo’s remarks are also considered to be in bad taste given that one of the worst genocides in Cameroon history was carried out by the French and the Ahidjo government against the Bamilekes and the UPC party.

Any govrnrment with some sense of decency would have called for the resignation of the Minister, but given that it is the Biya Regime of Cameroon, anyone can expect that even the almighty Israel will not do anything about the situation.

Ambazonia’s ‘General’ Ivo Killed – Who Next?

He has been one of the most valiant faces since the crisis in the English-Speaking Regions of Cameroon turned into violent conflict. He made videos from an office in a school, which was subsequently captured by the Cameroon military.

In some of his earlier videos, he appeared to be the voice of reason, calling on others to unite and avoid attacking other English-Speaking Cameroonians. However, as would be expected in a situation where he received his orders from a Commander who was many thousand miles, his wishes did not always translate into real action. No unity ever arrived. Rather, rumours began emerging of how ‘General’ Ivo was going around kidnapping other soldiers.

 

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The tales were soon reversed and it emerged that Ivo had also been the victim of an attack from other Ambazonian fighters. In one of his most recent videos, he made the case that since his rifle was taken away from him, there has been an increase in the number of casualties on the Ambazonian forces. He was, therefore, implying that if he had his weapons, things would be much different.

With Ivo constantly appearing on live videos, it was only a matter of time, before his location was exposed. Hence, it came as little surprise when the Ambazonia Governing Council Secretary of State announced that Ivo had been killed. In a short message shared on social media, he wrote:

😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡
BREAKING SAD NEWS

This is sad indeed. Unfortunately, our one and strongest ADF General Ivo is no more. He was Killed this morning in KUMBA. I’m short of words to say the least Now and how I feel. He was indeed the greatest soldier Ambazonia ever had.

There’ll be an official statement to this effect soon
May your soul RIP & Rest in Perfect Peace BRAVEHEART

Sec of State

There is as yet, no indication, as to who might have killed Ivo. It could either be the military, or one of the many ‘enemies’ he has made during his short career as a fighter.

Whatever the case, this is just one of many young people who has needlessly lost his life in what is turning to be mayhem for English-speaking Cameroonians. The real architect of the problem and the person with the power to resolve the conflict has been untouched by any of the things happening in the English-Speaking Regions.

85 Year-old Dictator Paul Biya has not engaged with the conflict in any of his official statements. The recent formation of a Commission for Disarmament appears to be as useless as all the other commissions before it. Without a call for dialogue and an effective cease-fire, it is not clear how the disarmament commission can operate.

It should be noted that a number of prisons were attacked and prisoners released in parts of the North West Region of Cameroon when the conflict was still in its infancy. It is, therefore, safe to assume that many of the ex-convicts, joined in the fighting, and became tagged generally as Ambazonian fighters.

As the conflict protracts, kidnappings for ransom have become rampant. Recently it has emerged that some of the ‘leaders’ in the diaspora are colluding with their groups in Cameroon to kidnap people for ransom. Many people who can afford it have either fled the country or gone over to the French-speaking areas of Cameroon.

There appears to be only one solution to the crisis – a political one. And this solution, from every indication, would not come from Paul Biya, who has shown time and again, to have no will to resolve the conflict. It is time all Cameroonians united to demand that the dictator leaves power, to pave the way for a new political dispensation that can resolve the conflict and stop the mindless killings.

 

The One Thing that Scares both Ambazonians and the Biya Regime in Cameroon

The Biya Regime and Ambazonians apparently want completely different things. Their end-games are antithetical to each other, and as such, one would be right to assume that the two camps will rarely find any common ground. Ambazonians have been clear that it is ‘All or Nothing’ in their quest for independence and the Biya regime has been categorical that it is ‘all or nothing’ in their dogmas on ‘one and indivisible’ Cameroon.
Over the two years that I have followed and participated in seeking solutions to the Anglophone crisis in Cameroon, I have been surprised on many occasions to find that the two camps, despite being polar opposites, tend to have a lot of similarities in their approaches.

No To Anglophone Marginalisation

An instance would be the ‘No Circulation’ or ‘No Movement’ Strategy that was instituted by the Ambazonian leadership, with the objective to stop all but essential movement within the two English-Speaking Regions. This strategy was further supported by the Biya Regime administrators in both regions, who also issued communiques, banning all but essential circulation. While the objectives of both camps might have been different, one thing they could have agreed on was that they were imposing a burden on the people of the regions and making an already difficult existence, unbearable.

The second instance was the ban on elections within the two English-Speaking regions. The Ambazonians made their position very clear, issued clear warnings and even went on to attack some persons who dared to disobey the orders. What they might not have known, or refused to acknowledge, was the fact that Biya’s declaration of war within the two regions and his refusal to resolve the crisis was aimed at also preventing people from voting. The two regions have historically been the areas Biya and his CPDM party have always struggled in elections. Given the wide discontent of the population and considering the fact that turnout in elections are always very low in other parts of the country, there was the possibility that a decision by the two regions to go out in full support of any candidate would have made the job of Biya’s rigging machinery a million times harder. That is a chance Biya and his team did not want to take. Hence, allowing the conflict to fester and causing widespread dispersal of persons, they ensured that many people, even if they wanted to, would be unable to vote. It would have been sheer glee within the Biya ranks, therefore, when Ambazonians started echoing the same sentiments. The results of the already widely contested elections is one evidence to show that both camps succeeded in one thing – keep the opposition at bay, while giving Biya and the CPDM victory in regions in which they are most hated.

The above cases are simply about strategy and outcomes, but the one thing that both camps have shown a great fear of over the years is the concept of FEDERALISM. The notion of Federalism as a solution to the Anglophone crisis seems to send cold shivers down the spines of both the Biya regime and the Ambazonians. Historically, the Two-State Federation which existed between 1961 and 1972 have on record the most developmental milestones of the English-Speaking regions. Little wonder, that scared of the fast pace at which West Cameroon was progressing economically, the Ahidjo Regime, in collusion with France, abrogated the Federal Constitution of 1961 and ended the Federal structure.

In 2016, with the resurgence of the Anglophone crisis led by Lawyers and Teachers, the concept of a return to the Two-State Federation gained prominence. Led by Barrister Agbor Felix Nkongho, the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium made it clear that only a return to Federation will guarantee a long-lasting solution to the crisis. Their message was clear, it was simple, it was appealing. It won the hearts of the masses, to the dismay and chagrin of the Biya regime, whose message of a ‘one and indivisible’ Cameroon could only be imposed on the people with the use of brute force. Efforts to bribe and cajole the pro-federalist movement failed woefully, leaving the Biya regime one option, force. The Consortium was banned, the internet was cut and the leaders were arrested and carted off to Yaounde to stand trial for treasonable offences.

The then Secretary-General of the Consortium, Wilfred Tassang, fled to Nigeria where to the surprise of many, changed the narrative to a pro-independence quest. This was surprising for many reasons, he had chosen Interim leaders in the diaspora, one of whom at the time was a known and avowed federalist. Secondly, taking such a stance seemed to provide fodder for the cannon of the Biya regime to crucify the incarcerated consortium leaders. Their lawyers promptly acted, by distancing them from the new movement. Nigeria, therefore, became the renaissance country for the Ambazonia ideology, which hitherto, had been on the fringes of Cameroon Anglophone society. Ambazonia was rebranded and sold to the English-speaking Cameroonians as the most logical progression in the freedom struggle. Statements such as ‘the train has moved’ ‘we have gone past the stage of Federation’ ‘we cannot federate with monsters’ etc.. gained prominence.

The absence of the internet within the Anglophone regions in Cameroon also helped as the people were unaware of the developments taking place in the diaspora. The formation of a body known as SCACUF, brought dinosaurs of the Anglophone struggle into the heart of leadership of the new movement. As there was no vetting process, it was impossible to ascertain who had over the years, been bought over by the Biya regime. The quest to present a united front in the face of continuous disunity meant that questions were left unasked about some of the most important things.

However, as the newly branded pro-independence train grunted and stuttered along, sometimes bereft of passengers, sometimes in the completely wrong direction, the urgent need for a captain arose. Sisiku Ayuk Tabe Julius was chosen as the Messiah. There were a number of reasons for this; he was relatively unknown, meaning there was bound to be little or no skeletons in his cupboard; Ayuk Tabe had a good job within a university and he was soft-spoken, articulate and appeared overall to be unifying figure. This worked and the people rallied behind Ayuk Tabe and his newly-formed Ambazonia Interim Government (IG). Three reasons made this possible: there was no other viable alternative as the consortium leaders were still in jail; he was closely aligned with Tassang Wilfred, which meant people still saw in them the relics of the Consortium they had come to love and finally, Sisiku Ayuk Tabe, in stark contrast to other pro-independence leaders, preached a message that was about hope rather than the doom and gloom that characterised the constant allusion to historical catastrophes that had landed the Anglophone in the current mess.

Realising the power at his disposal, Ayuk Tabe, started steering the train towards what might have led to a resolution of the crisis. Without outrightly echoing the ‘all or nothing’ independence dogma, Sisiku Ayuk Tabe appeared more to be a Federalist than a pro-independence leader. It is, therefore, no surprise that the reason circulating for the ill-fated meeting at Nera Hotel in Nigeria, which led to his and his cabinet’s abduction, has been mainly around the fact that they went there to negotiate on a Federation-outcome which would end the crisis and spare the people further suffering.

What Sisiku and his team failed to realise was that the Biya regime would have left him alone had he been fully pro-independence. Outright independence was a dog with a loud bark, but no bite, with a high potential of biting the wrong people, should it choose to do so. Federalism, however, was something the Biya regime was totally scared of and would do anything to stop it in its tracks. Before the abduction of Sisiku, the Biya regime had done a number of things to ensure that the federalism project would not resurface.

Prior to releasing Agbor Felix and Fontem Neba from jail, they circulated rumours discrediting them in the eyes of the people. When this did not work and upon his release, Barrister Nkongho hit the ground running, they fomented a torrential attack on the concept of federalism, pitching it against independence. This soon gained traction on social media and all attention soon focused on Separatists constantly attacking federalists, despite the fact the latter were practically their closest allies. With this fully in place, when Barrister Nkongho visited London, it was shocking, but not surprising to see the same people who had once chanted his ‘hosannas’, shouting ‘crucify him’. The protest against Nkongho at Chatham House, London, signifies a very low moment for the Anglophone crisis, but one that the Biya regime would forever cherish. The separatists were clearly going to do anything to stop the federalists.

Over the months that followed, many write-ups, Facebook lives and YouTube videos were made, with one focus, attack Federalism. The Biya regime relaxed. As soon as Federalist voices seemed to have been tamed for a while, the regime prodded and taunted the separatists towards the one direction they could easily go – violence. This worked and the whole Anglophone region was thrown into conflict. This, to the regime, was a win-win situation. It gave them legitimacy to wipe out any dissenting voices, while at the same time, ensuring that they (the regime) could easily mask as separatists and attack anything remotely resembling a call for federalism.

Their attack for the Anglophone General Conference initiative of Cardinal Tume and Dr. Simon Munzu amongst others, has been just one of the many ways to ensure the Federalist agenda does not resurface. The attack on Federalists instigated by Boh Herbert’s write-up and subsequent attack at their private meeting in the USA by Eric Tataw, another separatist, who clearly expressed his hatred for the federalists by stating he will not write his name on the same paper as them, even if it meant he will then be able to make his points, further accentuate the level at which they are willing to go to stop the federalists.

As one casts an eye for a sense of progress on the Anglophone, all one can see is the constant attack on Federalists, mainly by Ambazonians and this has been extended to the Francophones, who are easily working with Federalists to heap more pressure on the Biya regime. The hatred for Federalists and by extension, the francophones, has been such that many Ambazonians are openly declaring their support for Biya to stay in power, if only by so doing, they could thwart the efforts of the federalist.

If anything, this is by every indication, a very unusual alliance between the Biya regime and the Ambazonians, whose only point of convergence is their disdain for the Federalist. This, however, is understandable, given that the Federalist stands as the voice of reason within the carnage. The federalist presents the meeting point between two extremes and most importantly, the federalist approach presents the most likely prospect of success in giving autonomy to the Anglophone and bringing a close to the crisis. Why would this be a problem for the Biya regime and the Ambazonian, one may ask? This is simply, the two extremes thrive on power and control, the Biya regime loses its control of the English-speaking regions, unleashing the potential for accountability and growth. The Ambazonian leaders lose their only opportunity of attaining leadership by ascription rather than merit. The Federalist position is one in which the actors have no personal benefits other than a change in the form of the state which will usher in the devolution of power, accountability and a system of fairness where the best and brightest will lead. This, unfortunately, is something that both the Biya regime and most of the current Ambazonia leadership, do not clearly want as it will render them obsolete

How Did Samuel Ikome Sako of Ambazonia End up Representing Another Organisation at the UN?

There is no doubt that the quest for liberation of the people of the former Southern Cameroons has been riddled with many controversies. The most recent has been the claim of the faction who call themselves “Ambazonians”, that they were boycotting elections taking place in Cameroon. One ought to wonder how one gets to boycott an election of which they are not part, that wonder turns into bewilderment when the Acting Interim President of Ambazonia becomes one of the first people to send a congratulatory message to one of the candidates Maurice Kamto before official election results had been published. I for one interpreted this as a form of propaganda to force the Biya regime to capitulate, hand over power to someone else, who will take a softer and more conciliatory approach to the Ambazonia question.

The above would be good propaganda. But when there seems to be propaganda that is aimed at deceiving the people of Ambazonia, then one must of necessity question what the real motivations of Samuel Ikome Sako and his government are.

A few weeks ago, Bareta News reported a huge announcement made by Mr. Sako. He is quoted to have said:

“I would love to make that big announcement. Our nation- Ambazonia has been officially invited by the 4th committee of the united Nations concerned with decolonisation…We will be presenting our case in New York before this committee in a few days time.”

As is to be expected, this announcement brought a lot of excitement among Ambazonians, especially those who pay allegiance to the Interim Government led by Sako. I was also very intrigued and my curiosity was piqued. Could this finally be happening? Could the UN have finally decided to grant Ambazonia an audience and hopefully start a process of reconciliation and righting of past wrongs? Could this be the moment that finally brings an end to the conflict that is claiming the lives of English-Speaking Cameroonians on a daily basis?

These questions made me keep an eye out for the outcome of the Committee’s proceedings. It, therefore, came as a rude shock when I checked and found that there was a publication about the decolonisation Committee, titled “Delegates Urge Administering Powers to Take Necessary Steps for Rapid Self-Determination, as Fourth Committee Begins Decolonization Debate: President of General Assembly Highlights Commitment to Ensuring Full Independence for All Colonial Countries, Peoples” but nowhere in the documents is Ambazonia or Southern Cameroons mentioned.

I was rather surprised to find out that Mr. Sako and another Martin Ayong Ayim had presented themselves as representing interests that had nothing to do with either Ambazonia, Southern Cameroons or even the Republic of Cameroon. They were listed as representatives number 60 and 61 in a document A/C.4/73/7 titled “Question of Western Sahara: Requests for hearing”. On this document, Sako is listed as a representative of African Solidarity of Sahrawi.

According to the UN document, a representative from Cameroon had raised concerns about the presence of two individuals on the list of representatives. It, therefore, goes on to state that “Samuel Ikome Sako of Africa Solidarity for Sahrawi and Martin Ayong Ayim of Living Stories and Memories, are listed in the requests for hearings on Western Sahara.” and that “The Committee will take up those two requests later in the week following the informal consultations,”. This, therefore, raises the question of how Sako and Ayim ended up using strange organisations to represent Western Sahara? Why does the name Ambazonia or Southern Cameroons not feature anywhere in the documents? There is the indication in the documents that Sako and Ayim are representing a country without “complete knowledge of the facts,”.

It is my opinion that Sako and Ayim simply used different organisations, so as to get their names on the UN documents, as a way of providing evidence to their followers that they truly were part of the decolonisation committee. What they had not anticipated was the fact that this information would be published and made available to the public.

It is worth mentioning that Western Sahara, is a is a disputed territory in the Maghreb region of North Africa, partially controlled by the self-proclaimed Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic and partially Moroccan-occupied, bordered by Morocco to the north, Algeria to the Northeast, Mauritania to the East and South, and the Atlantic Ocean to the West.

Western Sahara or the Sahrawi, therefore have nothing in common with either Ambazonia or Southern Cameroons, safe for the fact that they are both territories clamouring for independence.

#Cameroon’s Paul #Biya Goes into Shock as Kamto Declares Victory

Cameroon’s President Paul Biya exhibited a lot of confidence in the build-up to the October 7, 2018, Presidential elections. He did not engage in any campaigning until a week to the elections when he made a single appearance in the Northern Region of the Country. This confidence could be as a result of the fact that Biya has been president for over 36 years and has been within the corridors of power for over 50 years.

 

However, as results from the elections began to filter through, indicating a victory for Maurice Kamto, the presidential candidate for the Cameroon Renaissance Movement (MRC), Biya’s Communication Minister and Minister for Territorial Administration, quickly warned against anyone causing problems by declaring victory.

This warning was not heeded by Maurice Kamto, who braved all odds and declared himself winner during a press conference that took place in Yaounde. This unprecedented declaration has been reported to be creating a lot of tension within Cameroon.

Within the presidency, information reaching us is that Mr. Biya has been in shock over the turn of events and this has worsened following Kamto’s declaration. This is not surprising given that a few weeks ago, Biya was in Geneva Switzerland receiving medical attention. Also taking into consideration that Biya is 85 years old, such news would have been bad for his ailing health.

A source from within Biya’s ruling CPDM party has highlighted that the President has not been able to leave the country for medical attention as this would be considered a concession of defeat and an attempt to abscond. However, it is reported that medical staff from the Geneva University Hospital, who have been taking care of Biya, have been flown into Yaounde, to be on standby as his health is expected to deteriorate. The Geneva University Hospital is renowned its Stem Cells Collection and Cord Blood Banking, among other specialisations.

There is tension within the corridors of power in Yaounde as Biya is said to be highly disappointed with how his henchmen, Minister of Communication, Issa Tchiroma Bakary and Minister for Territorial Administration, Atanga Nji Paul, have handled the situation.

Speaking to some political analysts, we learned that Biya’s decision to declare war on the English-speaking regions and his refusal to resolve the Anglophone crisis, was a tactical one, as he was well aware of the challenges he would face in securing votes in these regions. Hence, by making sure that over 200.000 persons were either internally displaced on in Nigeria as refugees, and ensuring a high military presence, Biya guaranteed that there will be minimal or no voting within those Regions.

It, therefore, has come as a nasty surprise to him and his team, that without the participation of the two English-speaking Regions, the rest of the country was already tired of his 36 years of baren rule. Should Biya overcome this shock and regain his health, it is expected that he will fire Atanga and Tchiroma in his next cabinet reshuffle, for the failures. That is, if he succeeds if getting ELECAM and the Constitutional Council to rig the elections and declare him the winner, instead of Kamto the obvious choice of the people.

Maurice Kamto Declares Himself President-Elect of Cameroon

In an election that will go down in the history of Cameroon as one of the most controversial, it has not been short of excitement and intricacies.

With last minute coalitions that were formed, challenged by the electoral commission (ELECAM) and defended by the parties; with warnings made by the Cameroon Communication and Territorial Administration ministers as soon as polling was over; with several reports streaming in from different areas indicating that there were many irregularities; one would have thought it could not get more interesting.

However, as unofficial results made the way across social media sphere, it became obvious that Maurice Kamto, the leader of the  Cameroon Renaissance Movement (MRC) and leader of the Coalition formed with the NOW Movement, was emerging the clear winner.

Despite the fact that Cameroonian law indicates that official announcement of results can only be made by ELECAM and the Constitutional Council, 15 days after polls, Kamto was not to wait for whatever they will declare. An announcement was therefore made by Kamto’s team about a press conference that was to take place on Monday, October 08 at 10.00am in Yaounde. This finally held a few hours later, because of the huge security presence at the initial venue.

During the press conference, Maurice Kamto declared that he had been given the mandate to kick a penalty, he kicked and a goal has been scored. Amidst large cheers from the crowds, Kamto went on to state:

I have closely followed national and international opinion regarding the elections and I am inviting the outgoing president to organize a peaceful handover! As I am involved, I guarantee him and his family a protection at the level of his status. I launch a virulent appeal to all candidates in this election to remain vigilant

Talking about the ongoing crisis in the English-speaking regions of the Country, which has effectively meant that people from those regions did not participate in the elections, Kamto promised to rebuild the villages that have been burned by the Biya regime and to pay compensations to all victims.

It is the hope of many Cameroonians that 85-year-old dictator Paul Biya, will concede victory peacefully and allow the rebuilding process to begin, especially with regards to the fractured North West and South West Regions. Some people, however, are skeptical as they wonder how the man who has been in power for most of his adult life, will suddenly hand over to someone without a fight.

It is expected, that with the ongoing tensions in the English-speaking regions, should Biya refuse to concede victory, there is a high likelihood of a nationwide crisis as supporters of Maurice Kamto will also not be giving up without a fight.

Southern Cameroonians Defy ‘Movement’ Ban – Come out Massively on October 1st

When the West Cameroon Movement for Change (WCMC) called on demonstrations to mark October 1 and all it signifies, it boldly decided that followers in Yaounde should go out and march. This was met by a naive conclusion by Cameroon’s minister for defence, which led to a published letter calling for the military to target Anglophone neighbourhoods in Yaounde. Assessing the situation, WCMC called for their followers in Yaounde to pause the demonstrations but encouraged others in other cities and countries to go ahead. One thing WCMC did not envisage was the resilience of the people within the embattled North West and South West Regions of Cameroon.

As October 1st unfolded and WCMC together with the Southern Cameroons Community UK and other frontline movements, stormed the streets of London, the fever spread across the English-speaking regions of Cameroon.

Videos and images began emerging as the day wore on, showing that the people had defied the orders of the Ambazonia Governing Council (AGC), the Ambazonia Interim Government (IG) and the Biya Regime’s representatives in the North West and South West Regions, who all placed a ban on public movement within the regions.

The actions of the people on the ground have shown once more, that all those purporting to be leaders are clearly out of touch with the basic realities and aspirations of their people. I already condemned the strategies, asking people not to go out, as being out of touch with the daily realities of those communities.

The outings that were accompanied in most cases by chantings and carrying of peace plants, were taken a notch higher in others, where the people came out with weapons and some hoisted the Ambazonia flag on some prominent government buildings.

As much as I continue to admire the resilience of the people, I still remain of the opinion that the hoisting of flags, the use of force in challenging the brutal military of Biya, will not take the people forward towards freedom. I maintain the opinion that the only way towards any form of freedom for the people of the English-speaking Regions and by extension for all Cameroonians, is for them to unite and oust Biya from power.

It is my hope that over the coming days, there will be some form of mass uprising as the campaign trail brings up pent-up emotions within all parts of Cameroon and the people gradually come to the realisation that unless they come together as one and demand an end to Biya’s 36 years of barren rule, they may have another 7 years added to it.

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.

Happy Reading!!

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.

DECISION POINT
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.

Cameroon Bribes UN Human Rights Centre to Cover its Abuses?

Many people have wondered why many international bodies reporting on human rights abuses, have been conspicuously silent on the case of Cameroon, especially the abuses committed by the Biya Regime.

The UN Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Central Africa has clarified the situation. Some of them are receiving donations from the same corrupt institutions they are meant to be watchdogs over. Proudly announcing a donation of $18K from Cameroon on their Twitter Account, the UN Human Rights was probably unprepared for the reaction they received from some Cameroonian Activists.

With the Biya regime’s record on bribery and corruption, such donations can only be construed to mean one thing. An incentive to the HR body to look the other way, while it continues with its flagrant disregard for human rights.

Many Twitter users stormed the tweet, posting images and videos of the different abuses the Cameroon government has been meting out on its population over the last few months. Some questioned why the Centre for Human Rights will accept donations from a

Thomas-Awah-Junior.jpg
Thomas Awah Junior currently very ill at Kondengui Maximum Prison

country that has refused to grant access to most Rights bodies to examine its detention centres and prisons. Such questions are not surprising, given that videos have been leaked from the Kondengui maximum security prison, indicating horrible living conditions. There is also currently a campaign on social media asking for the release of one Thomas Awah Junior, publisher of the Aghem News Magazine who is critically ill at the Kondengui Maximum Prison in Yaounde.

Judith Nwana, a Cameroonian activist, accused the UN Human Rights Centre for its hypocrisy. She further challenged the regime to use the money in helping refugees and internally displaced persons caused by its highhandedness in dealing with the ongoing crisis in the English-Speaking Regions of the country.

Over the last couple of years, Cameroon has been gradually descending into a state of anarchy. The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, has visited Cameroon at the heart of the conflict, during which, Cameroonians worldwide held their breath as they hoped and prayed that something positive would happen following the visit. The SG rather left with a gift from the Cameroon Dictator Paul Biya, and never made an official statement about the crisis. The hopes of Cameroonians were again crushed, as it was the case when Biya visited the vatican and met with the Pope.

Efforts by the media outlet, Inner City Press to call on the UN to act and halt the violent crackdown in Cameroon, rather resulted in them being harassed and kicked out of the United Nations.

It would, therefore, appear that while Cameroonians are desperately hoping that the UN might intervene in some way to help them out of the precarious situation they find themselves, the different organs of the UN and its leaders are rather making feather beds with the Cameroon dictator and his regime.

This should not in the least be surprising, given that the UN has been known to be silent over the worst conflicts or genocides that have occurred over the last few decades. The Rwanda Genocide is a case in point, where the UN’s inaction has been largely blamed for the high number of deaths that were recorded.

Unless other bodies such as Amnesty Internation and Centre for Human Rights & Democracy in Africa continue to put out reports of the atrocities being committed by the Biya Regime, it is certain that no one will. Most certainly not the UN Centre for Human Rights.