Cameroon: South West Elites Expose Their Ignorance: Challenged By Women Calling for Peace

A few weeks ago, elites of the North West Region of Cameroon got together and raised funds to support Biya’s bid for another term as president, ignoring the fact that Biya had ordered the military to kill and maim young people in their Region.

If one thought they had seen the height of  stupidity, they were yet to see the actions of Elites from the other Region of English-speaking Cameroon. A few days ago the elites of the South West Region met in Buea, and instead of condemning the massacre of their citizens, they, among other things demanded that Biya increase the number of troops in the region.

In addition to calling for more troop deployment, the South West Forum rejected the peace conference initiative of Christian Cardinal Tumi and denounced a Two-State Federation. Paradoxically, they resolved to call for inclusive dialogue.

Either they clearly do not understand what the words “inclusive” and “dialogue” means, or they are the most deluded people ever to sit in one room. By rejecting Tumi’s Peace Conference and rejecting a Two-State Federation, while calling for increased troop deployment, they have in more ways than one, indicated that they did not want a resolution to the current crisis. It is therefore, a mere façade when they claim to love their people.

As if in confirmation of how out of touch the South West Forum and it’s elites are, women of the Region have today gathered in Buea to protest against the ongoing war and indiscriminate violence against the most vulnerable.

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Holding placards and peace plants, the message and call for Peace could not have been clearer. One placard read : WAR IS COSTLY, BUT PEACE IS PRICELESS” This summarises how the women feel about the continuation of hostilities.

The match today clearly highlights that the elites do not know what their people want, and are not even ready to understand what is required.  It is hoped that the peace match by the women of the South West Region can be copied across the English-speaking Regions and be the rallying action for Peace.

Since Biya refused to hearken to the peaceful demands of civil society and resorted to violence, it is estimated that over 6000 people have been killed, over 40.000 refugees in Nigeria, 160.000 internally displaced and over a 100 villages have been burned. The economic cost of the violence is yet to be fathomed.

Cameroon: Anglophone Elites Raise Funds to Prop Up Biya

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Philemon Yang - Cameroon Prime Minister

Philemon Yang – Cameroon Prime Minister

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

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

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

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