Ayah Paul Abine Says ‘Ambazonians are not Different from the Biya Regime’

“On April 4, 2019 as the new ‘Lockdown’ imposed on the people of Fako was just beginning, the impact was being felt across the affected areas, especially by the most vulnerable of the population.

Time and again, many of us have questioned the rationale behind the ‘lockdowns’ or ‘shutdowns’ which basically call for all activities to stop for a period of time, usually 10 days. The last lockdown in February resulted to a hospital being burnt in Kumba and till date, no one has been held to account.

It is therefor not surprising that Justice Ayah Paul Abine took to Facebook to condemn the lockdown, indicating that the actions of those calling for such actions have the exact same effects on the people as the actions of the Regime they claim to be fighting against.

Below is the full text which has generated diverse opinions on Facebook.”

—————————————————————————

WE ARE NOT DIFFERENT by Ayah Paul Abine

Mrs. Ayah returned from CONGELCAM, Buea, yesterday, after two hours of unsuccessful effort to buy fish. The husband visited the scene in the late evening to appraise the situation. WHAT A CHAOTIC SCENE! Some elderly women had been there all day without as much as entering the building. There was no queue. Entry was by the fittest. Even then, those behind the counter decided whose money to take when…

Anglophones abroad at room temperature often do grossly fail to appreciate what patriots in the war zone go through daily. While they have sound sleep with the police pacing up and down, assuring their security, those back home are under constant apprehension of being killed by direct or stray bullets.

While they enjoy good earnings, coupled, at times, with windfalls, the ‘dogs of war’ back home have lost everything: ascendants/descendants, shelter, access to medical facilities, foodstuffs preserved for the rainy day

While their own children are going to school, excellent schools quite often, the children back home suffer educational privation as the price of war.

Their catch clause is ‘WE ARE AT WAR’. So what? What is the difference between us? You run away from the war. Then, from your safe sanctuary, you seek to induce others to volunteer into all kinds of battlefields. How more valuable are your own lives? And are there any relative values in human lives?

WE ARE AT WAR, YES! Why are you at war if there is no difference between your conduct and the conduct of the other party you are at war with: if the end justifies the means either way?

If, for instance, the other party kills directly and you kill slowly, is the latter killing not more painful – dying after suffering? To put it otherwise, if the one party destroys food preserved for future use, and you prevent the planting of crops for future use, what difference does it make?

The wise teach that leadership is constant introspection so as to avoid repeating mistakes. And that is the mainstay of credibility. Empty boasting (bluff) leads to contempt. After the previous lock-down; after the ban on food leaving or entering the land; did credibility not require proper introspection before venturing into another lock-down: all the worse, such a sudden lock-down? What is the intended objective? What if the festival holds after all? Would the privation of movement and food not have been in vain? Even if the festival did not hold, would the price paid by the people be commensurate to the failure of the festival?

Those questions are of immense importance and relevance. Fighting against someone for doing what you too do is self-infliction. There’s little difference between someone killing a patient on board an ambulance and you preventing the desperately sick, including women under labour, from being taken to the hospital in the name of LOCKDOWN. There is little difference between the one who forces people into the bushes/forests to die from want of food/medicines and you preventing people from planting food crops during the planting season like now.

It is absolutely facetious to shout out that people should ‘STOCK FOOD AND WATER’! There are families here hosting as many as 25 refugees (some prefer to call them ‘internally displaced persons’). The minimum wage in Camerouoon is 38.000 francs. Would any intelligent person call on any such family to ‘STOCK FOOD AND WATER’ to last them 10 days? If such a family bought a bag of rice for 25.000 and some trog-canda, would they eat the rice raw? How much water would the family store for, maybe, 30 persons for bathing, laundry, cooking and drinking for 10 days?

LET US BE MORE SERIOUS – MORE HUMANE!!!

We beg to opine that it is self-defeating to fight against the very people one claims to be fighting for. May we add that true leadership is more than copying and pasting – far more than safeguarding one’s own life while pushing others into self-destruction. Whoever advises, let alone, urges unlimited sacrificing should do so by examples: joining us back home, if only OCCASIONALLY!

EXPERIENCE IS THE BEST TEACHER!

WE ARE NOT GUINEA PIGS!

Justice Ayah Paul Contends that School Resumption & Ending Of Hostilities are Mutually Inclusive

As the dust is about to settle on the just-concluded All Ambazonia Consultative Council (AACC) which held over the weekend in Washington DC, some people have been left underwhelmed, not least, Justice Ayah Paul Abine. In a post on his personal Facebook Page, the former Justice in a strongly-worded statement makes the case of why school resumption and cessation of hostilities were absolutely necessary. In my recommendations to the conveners of the conference, I had seven points that they could consider, among which were the declaration of a ceasefire and school resumption.

Justice Ayah Paul Abine
Justice Ayah Paul Abine

In that write-up, I was too optimistic and had treated both the issues of school resumption and cessation of hostilities, as mutually exclusive. I also made an argument that the call for hostilities to end could come from the Anglophone leaders. Ayah Paul has debunked this by arguing that the Cameroon government “cannot declare war and call on the adverse party to lay down their arms unilaterally.” and that the same government “cannot argue the case for a return to normalcy when [they] go killing people indiscriminately, including the most innocent”. After reading these logical arguments, I must admit that I was naive to assume that it was possible for such a solution to have come from the Anglophone leaders. Following therefore on the superior logic of Ayah, I will submit that ending of hostilities remains the responsibility of the Biya Regime.

The issue on which Ayah and I do agree on is the importance of education for the building of a sustainable future. Ayah argues clearly that:

…we owe posterity a collective duty to prepare those growing up to take the relay baton from us. Therefore, I am one with all those who hold that education is too invaluable to be toyed with. None of us would be doing with efficiency what we are doing today without education. It is absolutely self-defeating to prosecute for a better tomorrow and perpetrate simultaneously conduct that mars that very tomorrow.

The importance of education both as a human right and a conditio sine qua non for the sustainability of the Anglophone quest for freedom, having been established, the question remains as to how this can be achieved in an environment of conflict.

First off, we can all agree that school boycott has no impact on Biya, who has not placed any value on quality education in the 36 years he has been in power. If we agree on that, then we can also agree that Biya will never be moved by the declaration over the weekend, from the Anglophone leaders that schools should not resume. On the other hand, should the leaders of the opposing camp take up the challenge and highlight the importance of school resumption, they will automatically heap pressure on the regime, whose duty it is to ensure that children going to school are not put in harm’s way.

While reiterating therefore that the starting point for any calls for school resumption should be the cessation of hostilities, Ayah Paul goes on to declare that the Anglophone leaders have as much a responsibility as the Biya regime in making this happen. He argues that although the responsibility for ending the conflict lies with the regime, it is not a blank cheque for Anglophone leaders

…  at home and/or abroad [to] take refuge under continuing hostilities to stay formally resolute against the reopening of schools. My considered opinion is that we should leave the door open, thereby shifting the blame to those guilty of belligerency.

If the Anglophone leaders truly care about the future of the children at home, if they care about posterity and the sustainability of the quest for freedom, then they will surely be revisiting their resolution that schools should not reopen.

 

 

Justice Ayah Paul Abine Speaks Out: Provides Logical Justification on why AACIII is absolutely Necessary

banner

Anyone with the remotest interest in the wellbeing of Anglophone Cameroonians (West Cameroonians, Southern Cameroonians, English-speaking Cameroonians or Ambazonians), would have been utterly dismayed by the wanton loss of lives and destruction of property that has engulfed the region over the last 24 months.

With Biya’s regime seeming the favour violence over dialogue, it should be obvious that the reason behind this could be because, like many dictators and bullies, they can only win using brute force. The way to defeat Biya’s tyranny therefore is to adopt an approach he is not comfortable with.

When it was announced that a fierce Biya critic, Chrisitan Cardinal Tumi and other Religious leaders were calling for an All Anglophone Conference, one would have expected dismay from the Biya camp and relief from the oppressed camp. Unfortunately, for some unexplained reason, some Anglophone activists have joined Biya’s camp in denouncing the conference.

I personally, was shocked that people will turn down any initiative that might provide a step forward in resolving the ongoing conflict.

It has been with a huge sigh of relief that I have seen many Anglophones of high-Standing expressing their support for the Conference and promising to attend.

Ayah Paul Abine, someone who understands the legal implications of all that is happening, someone who has every reason to be angry at the system; someone who was unjustly deprived of his liberty for many months, for simply speaking the truth; someone who is part of a foundation currently at the heart of humanitarian efforts to mitigate suffering of the people,; YES, someone who has worn the shoes, still wears it, and knows where it pinches, has just written in support of AACIII.

Below is his full statement. As usual, if you ag44 with him or not, feel free to express your views in the comment section below.

“One would have thought that the contention would have been where to meet rather than whether to meet”…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

For reasons impossible to explain naturally, I chose yesterday, July 31, 2018, to state my stance on AAC III. Just as I began writing the date, distress calls came from St Valentine Centre (Orphanage), Buea. I gathered on the spot that armed soldiers had come to the centre menacingly because the inmates were playing in front of their dormitory, shouting… As I sat down to write on my return, sad news was broken to us about the death of my only brother-in-law… I do hope the good Lord will allow me to write to the end this time around.

Since my release from captivity, I have published at least two posts on the absolute need for an AAC III to hold. Both received substantial positive endorsement as gleaned from the hundreds of comments. Before my captivity, I had published several articles in the same direction. It was when it received little attention that I went on to propose the English Cameroon Authority. Records show that the proposal received tremendous support!

The overwhelming opposition to AAC III championed by Cardinal Tumi of recent now is a huge embarrassment. I was convinced that it was understood the objective of the English Cameroon Authority was to create a forum for concertation among Anglophones; and to provide a team for prospective dialogue at the time. If the idea has caught up with the cardinal today whereby he craves that Anglophones come together to chart the way forward, one is at a loss as to the raison d’etre of hostilities.

There is no doubt that one may not agree entirely with the cardinal’s plan of action. Only during the AAC III would Anglophones, by unanimity or in their majority, chart the way forward: whether to trust Mr. President this time around to give him another chance., given his disdain for the Anglophones previously. But is it not only democratic for us to meet and make our points or opinions heard? If not, why does anyone believe that their own opinions are infallible and must be accepted by the others?

That’s why I consider the cardinal’s initiative invaluable, and that it comes at a propitious moment and opportune time! As a matter of fact, we, Anglophones, appear to have lost sight of certain indisputable facts. Anglophones are in two groups in location and in circumstance: those in the diaspora and those at home; those at room temperature and those taking the heat of hostilities. The one group cannot do without the other, lest we favour fragility at the expense of durability; dictatorship instead of democracy.

I am of the considered opinion that there can NEVER be unity of purpose until we have met to agree on the common purpose/goals. Such agreement can only stand the test of time if it emanates from reason rather than from emotion. Reason requires proposal, face to face arguments/debates and consensus or the majority vote. I am at a loss how this can come about otherwise than when we meet.

One would have thought that the contention would have been where to meet rather than whether to meet. At the moment, the diaspora has assumed leadership in monopoly for obvious reason. They have incurred the hostilities of the current dispensation. Obviously, their entry and safety cannot be guaranteed until there has been amnesty. Which is to say the Buea venue or any other within Southern Cameroon/Ambazonia is inappropriate. Nor can the diaspora organize a forum that the internal representatives would freely attend. It is in that light that the cardinal has put forward pre-conditions. Our standing united behind the acceptance of those pre-conditions ought to be the reasonable goal instead of bickering…

If the argument is that the term “Anglophones” is nugatory, what can we say we are? Whether independent or not, we remain Anglohones by definition or by description. Independence or no independence, is it not only normal that, as a people, Anglophones reserve the right to meet as a people to review their wellbeing as a people from time to time? To paraphrase William Shakespeare, what is in a name? Methinks, then, that invoking the point to defeat the search for peace seems utterly facetious…

There is no gainsaying that, during war, there are negotiations for truces, cease-fires, cessations of hostilities… And no war has ever ended without parties sitting at the table. How would we seriously contend that, in our case, it has to be otherwise? If, as the cardinal did suggest, there was the release of those in prison/detention; together with the downing of arms (and the necessary end of bloodshed, even just momentarily); would that alone not be a welcome relief? Do we, in the comfort of our homes, contemplate the inhuman living conditions of our people in refugee camps; in the bushes (forests); in dungeons?… We of the Ayah Foundation feel/live it daily, and we do appreciate what our people are going through…

Above all, no initiative aimed at restoring peace and normalcy ought lightly to be dismissed from emotional inner drives. Our guiding principle should be democratic flexibility: the readiness to accept that the other person has a right to a different opinion. We may never forget that democracy is, in fact, the dissenting voice. Lest we defeat the right to argue that we are different and/or want to be different!

To my mind, AAC III is inevitable! Let us lend Cardinal Tumi our support!

AND SO DO WE HEREBY SUBMIT

By Ayah Paul Abine…

CAMEROON PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS: A KEG OF GUNPOWDER BUT ANY CAUSE FOR ALARM?

CAMEROON: READY FOR CHANGE?

Throughout the time I have been in Cameroon, (about two weeks now) I have not felt for once that a very crucial presidential election is around the corner – only once in Yaounde when I was asked to present my ID card twice within a distance of 200 km did I get the sense that there was some tension in the air. In fact, I get a greater feel that on the 9th of October 2011, Cameroonians will have to go to the polls, is when I am on Facebook.

It should not be in the least surprising for anyone who has been following Cameroonian politics. The first thing to note about the country is that it is one of the countries that are called ‘democratic’ but which has never for once elected its president. It is alleged that the first President Ahmadou Ahidjo was simply a choice of the erstwhile colonial masters who preferred him to André Marie Mbida after killing Ruben Um Nyobe. Ahidjo himself decided to single-handedly appoint Paul Biya his successor, who has clung to power since 1982. When the winds of change of the ’90s brought multi-party politics to Cameroon, it was an opportunity for old goons to learn new tricks.

The most free and fair elections in the Country was held in 1992 which the opposition led by Ni John Fru Ndi allegedly won but which, the incumbent Biya having the knife and the yam, ended up declaring himself the winner. Many today, blame Mr. Fru Ndi for the 1992 lapse. That was the decisive moment, they claim. He simply had to say the word and Cameroonians would have fought to defend their votes. He rather chose the pacifist route by taking up the bible and pointing to Cameroonians that ‘when two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers’. That saved Cameroon the agony of going down the path of many African nations. OR DID IT?

Since then, the incumbent Biya and his party, the CPDM have mastered the art of maintaining power at all costs. The ultimate result has been that the government has concentrated more on trying to maintain power than do anything else. Most terrible in the whole scenario is that Biya has succeeded to build even within his own party a personality cult around himself. Without holding a Party congress since 1996, he has evolved into a ‘natural candidate’ for the party. Two days ago a Congress held after his candidature had already been declared seemed to be an opportunity for him to show all that he was ‘lord’ of the party (Of course, he is. The most popular emblem of the party is now his 1985 face. It is on all party uniforms and official documents). To have selected another candidate would mean the party will have to go through an overhaul of all its intrinsic values. CPDM is synonymous with Paul Biya.

But why all this sycophancy? Why is it that the failures of the Biya regime stare at all in the face yet he keeps receiving ‘motions of support’ even from parts of the country that are so run-down that one wonders if they are part of same Cameroon? All these would have pointed to the fact that the elections are a foregone conclusion had it not been for the recent happenings of the so-called Arab Spring – especially the fall of Hosni Mubarak. This is what makes the Cameroon situation precarious.

A KEG OF GUNPOWDER?

Cameroon did not take a cue from the uprisings in North Africa as many will wrongly assume. In 2008 Cameroonians came out on a nationwide protest and strike against Mr. Biya’s bid to change the constitution, a protest that was effectively crushed by the US-trained Battalion Intervention Rapide (BIR). Since then it was clear that the force could effectively carry-out the mandate for which it was created. However, with the fall of Mubarak, even when he tried some of the tricks Biya used in 2008, (clearly showing that they were reading from the same script), it became clear to the United States that even the BIR may not be able to quell a revolt in Cameroon this time, should one occur. President Obama quickly called on Biya to hand over power as a bid to avoid the same situation whereby power could fall into the hands of someone who was not on the US control-roll. This will have been an easy thing for Biya to do but unfortunately, he has little or no guarantee that leaving power would mean freedom. He had already soiled his hands. There is the lake Nyos disaster of 1986 that still has unanswered questions; there are the massive killings that he carried out from the period of 1990 to 1992; there are the mass imprisonment of people without trial; there is the case of the 9-killed at Bepanda; there is the recent case of 2008 and many crimes against humanity which the ICC has on their lists waiting for him.

Caught in this dilemma, Biya could not declare his candidacy until a few weeks to the elections as trips to China clearly gave him reason to dare the US. While it is clear that China endorsed his bid, given that they were clearly represented at his party’s congress, the real problem is that the leadership and command of the BIR is more American than pro-Biya. Should there be massive protests in Cameroon this time around, the US will be slow in using the BIR to maintain Biya in power. However, unless the US can get a candidate they can back, it will be a difficult situation as their inaction could still lead to what they are trying ab initio to avoid. The worse case scenario, however, will be one in which the US backs another person against Biya using the BIR and Biya manages to get support from the Country’s French forces and military. A clash between the gendermarie and the military on one hand and the BIR on the other, will be inevitable. BUT THIS CAN ONLY HAPPEN IF THE US SEES A POTENTIAL THREAT TO BIYA’S REIGN AND DECIDE TO LEAVE HIM IN THE COLD!

ANY CAUSE FOR ALARM THEN?

There seems to be none as far as Cameroon is concerned. This is because of three reasons:

First is the fact that Cameroonians are generally peaceful people. No people will bear the failures of Biya with such docility. From the time Biya took power in 1982, the country has been on a steady decline in all aspects. The economic crisis officially declared in 1987 was just the beginning of worse things to come. No new infrastructure in the country can be credited to the regime. From the presidency, airports to even football stadia, everything still carries the insignia for Amadou Alhidjo. Despite all these, Cameroonians have watched the country go from bad to worse with a geometric retrogression but maintained stoic silence. This may be because they are very hard-working, such that they have been able to weather the storms and keep sustaining themselves and forging ahead, and hence, lacking some of the basic ingredients of violent revolutions such as widespread hunger and great frustration, which makes the likelihood of a popular revolution slim.

Secondly, Cameroon has a breed of opposition leaders who unlike the Alassane Dramane Ouattaras and Morgan Richard Tsvangiras, are not ready to sacrifice the blood of innocent Cameroonians for the presidency or a piece of power. John Fru Ndi showed this in 1992 and at this stage, even popular leaders like Kah Walla and Ayah Paul Abine have all shunned the way of violence. This, however, can only be sustainable if none of them decides to approach the USA or France with promises of greater concessions against China. As long as they keep hoping to win through the ballot, none will defeat Biya unless they decide to team up with the power brokers – the USA and France. If they should take this root, however, the avenues for violence in Cameroon will be greatly opened.

Thirdly, the ability of the US to maintain the status-quo is crucial. Asking Biya to leave was not because they favoured change in Cameroon but because they fear change that is not within their control. If Biya can play his cards well and retain power, the US will be all too glad to endorse him again. He may not be playing the huge role that Mubarak was playing in the Middle East but at least being as naive as he is, he is effectively the type of person the US needs to maintain a solid base in West and Central Africa. Hence the USA will back another person only when it becomes crystal clear that a popular uprising that could threaten Biya’s hold on power is imminent.

In the final analysis, one should not expect anything to really change with the present elections, unless the opposition can effectively work out a strategy that promises a fair deal to the US and France. Should this happen, then Cameroon could explode at the slightest ignition after the elections.