In the invitations sent out for the AACC, the objectives for both days were stated as follows:
First Day August 18th. Will be a global telecast for thousands of Southern Cameroonian/Ambazonian Stakeholders and Friends of Ambazonia worldwide, who cannot travel to the US but are invited to make their voices heard, focusing on The Modalities of Separation of the Federal Republic of Ambazonia from The Republic of Cameroun. Leaders will recommend and vote on a Final Communique based on global inputs.
Second Day August 19th. Will be highly restricted to Leaders of Liberation Groups, Civil Society, Episcopal Communities, and Human Rights Activists. They will talk about Unity and Collaboration, sign a Unity Declaration, and present a Joint Statement concerning our proposed Terms of Separation after the declaration of the restoration of our statehood of the former British Southern Cameroons /Federal Republic of Ambazonia.”
I must admit that I clearly do not understand what the two days will achieve in the light of current events happening on the ground in Cameroon. If I am not mistaken, the first day will simply be a day when people across the world will repeat to each other, the same things that have been said from the beginning of time. I will therefore not be surprised if it turns out to be a day of history lessons of what happened and did not happen in 1961. As for the second day, there is some sort of contradiction. It states that a Unity Declaration will be signed and at the same time presentation of a joint statement about the proposed terms of ‘separation’.
If I understand from the invitation and from the confirmation that Dr. Simon Munzu sent out confirming his participation, this event will be both for Federalists and Separatists. Hence, how can a Unity of purpose be achieved? That said, I am going to propose Five Things that should be achieved at the Conference to make it a success.
1. Declare a Ceasefire:
I know that many people will immediately argue that as Biya is the one who declared war, he is the one who should call for a cease-fire. However, I will want to point out that the only reason Biya declared war over dialogue was that he was certain it will be one avenue in which he might have the upper hand. With superior weapons and training, and with support from the US, the Cameroon military has been using spy technology to locate the camps of Separatist fighters, leading to casualties that can be avoided. Let me just point out though, that calling for a ceasefire is NOT the same as surrendering. It is simply that Ambazonian leaders are taking the high ground to show Biya that they care about the lives of their citizens and will be willing to look for other ways of addressing the situation.
2. Announce School Resumption:
It is common knowledge that Anglophone kids have been going to school in many parts of the North West and South West, especially in the urban areas. However, given that there is no official declaration from the revolutionary leaders that schools should resume, everytime a child goes out, they are at risk.
However, some children, especially those from poorer backgrounds, have lost two years of studies. Children from affluent families have been sent over to cities East of the Mungo or sent abroad, where they are studying in peace. The paradox of this situation is that the kids making the most sacrifice – by not going to school – will be the ones who will have no place in a new dispensation. Be it a Federation or a New State, no one is going to employ kids who never went to school. Hence, those who made the sacrifices will remain slaves to the educated ones who made no sacrifices. This approach runs the risk of replicating the South African situation, whereby Freedom arrived but the critical mass of the population was incapable of taking leadership and control of their country, thereby effectively handing it back to the oppressors.
Also, depriving children of education has no impact on Biya’s Regime, as they do not care about the education of children in the first place. Finally, it is only the Taliban or Boko Haram that use the deprivation of children from schooling as a political tool.
3. Denounce in Strong Terms, the Killing of Civilians by Ambazonian Fighters:
I am sure some will again be quick to argue that Ambazonian fighters have not killed civilians. However, video and photographic evidence exist to prove the contrary. On several social media platforms, manned by Ambazonian activists, justification has been provided that the killing of civilians is usually because they are ‘traitors’. One of the key reasons for this struggle was that Anglophones claimed that they wanted to restore their Anglo-Saxon Heritage.
There is, therefore, no place in Anglo-Saxon culture whereby individuals arrogate to themselves the roles of judge, jury, and executioner. If anyone is truly a traitor, then evidence should be gathered for them to be tried in a competent Ambazonian court, whenever they have their independence. Killing people simply because they disagreed with an opinion or position, is exactly the things Biya did that made people stand up against him.
4. Denounce the Scapegoating of Francophones or Members of Political Parties:
Similar to the above, there have been attacks on Francophones, which were necessitated by the utterances of Tapang Ivo, Eric Tataw, and Chris Anu, who started asking that Francophones should leave. There is no mechanism to ensure that such will happen, and there is no tactical benefit from chasing out people who are also victims of the Biya monarchy of corruption and bad governance. However, such utterances, from people who are seen as leaders, have given room for the abduction of Francophones for ransom and for many to flee their homes in fear. Similarly, audios and posters asking that anyone wearing an SDF or CPDM T-short be shot at sight, have been making their rounds on social media. We know that as a result of poverty, many people wear those things simply as forms of dressing, rather than because they support those parties. Putting a target on them is, therefore, a dangerous move, that could lead to many unfortunate civilian deaths. Furthermore, we may not agree with elections, but we cannot force people to accept our views by killing them.
5. Call for an End to Ghost Towns:
I still struggle to see how forcing our people out of work or business on Mondays, has an impact on Biya’s regime. If anything, it hurts our people, and recently, has become an avenue for power-play. A case in point is that of Buea, whereby a few weeks ago, Ekema Patrick went out with thugs are were puncturing the car tyres of taxis that were not working. If the taxi men went out to work, they would have been attacked for violating ghost towns, however, they stayed at home and became easy targets of the monstrous gangster called Mayor of Buea. This struggle is about helping our people break free from bondage, we cannot continue to impose unnecessary ones on them.
6. Call for a Referendum:
That is the only way the voice of the people can truly be heard. I am not a fan of referendums, given the type of results that the Scottish Referendum and Brexit brought up, but in our situation, it seems the most viable option. Should calls for a referendum, however, lead to a negotiated outcome that does not involve the polls, but one which ends the bloodshed and gives Anglophones autonomy, then it will be applaudable. However, constantly talking of declaration of independence, without having any allies among the Fifteen members of the UN Security Council and perhaps none among the five permanent members with veto powers makes it a non-starter. I wrote a few days ago showing why gunning for independence through the UN was something that we might never achieve. The current trends of violence might only lead to UN involvement, which as we know, might only work in favour of the status-quo.
7. Link Up with Other Oppressed People across the World – Especially in Africa:
I made this suggestion during a march on Downing Street on the 2nd January 2017. We need to know that our strongest allies are other oppressed people across the world. We need to start by looking close to home. Francophones in other countries such around us who are also suffering from the shackles of French imperialism, might not have the same objective as us but will have the same goals, – breaking free. Reaching out and building coalitions with these groups will be a sure way of strengthening our bases.
It is my most fervent wish that some of these issues are considered during these two days so that some sanity might come back to our land.