Cameroon: Biya’s Regime Accuses Dead Soldier of A Crime Committed One Year After His Death.

The regme of Paul Biya has been known for corruption, winning the Global Gold medal for it twice. The same regime has been known for different strategies of rigging elections among which has been the use of dead persons on electoral registers. Biya has been found on a number of occasions to have appointed dead persons to public positions.

Communique

In the wake of Biya’s regime’s monstrosity being exposed by videos of soldiers carrying out extrajudicial killings, his spokesperson Issa Tchiroma Bakary has been under pressure to show the world that something was being done about the situation. Further videos have since emerged of Cameroon soldiers killing unarmed civilians and burning down their homes.

Despite the initial denials by Tchiroma, credible evidence from Amnesty International indicated that the videos were actually from Cameroon and that the soldiers were of a special unit of the Cameroon military.

Tchiroma has in the characteristic manner of the Biya regime released a dubious Communique indicating that the regime has now arrested some of the perpetrators of the heinous crimes.

This would have been welcome news, but for the fact that it has been uncovered that the very first name on the list of soldiers arrested belongs to a man who died in 2017. Fobassou Ettienne apparently died in 2017 but Tchiroma’s communique dated 10 August 2018 lists him as one of those arrested for crimes committed a few weeks ago.

While there is the possibility that more than one person can have the name Fobassou Ettienne, the Yaounde Regime’s history of making such gaffes in appointments, makes it plausible that they could do the same in such a situation.

 

UNHCR Takes Action to Increase the Misery of Anglophone Refugees in Nigeria: Stops Ayah Foundation

It is not news that the international community has been doing very little to end the bloodshed in Cameroon which has resulted in thousands of Anglophones killed and many more to flee to Nigeria. What seems to be news is that the United Nations High commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Nigeria appears to be actively engaged in making the plight of refugees worse.

When Sisiku Ayuk Tabe and many others were abducted in Nigeria, on January 5 2018, many people went to the UNHCR for some answers. The argument was that those abducted were refugees in Nigeria and  repatriating them to Cameroon was a violation of their Convention Rights. The UNHCR at the time released conflicting information, one of which claimed their representatives were in contact with the abducted persons, whom they claimed were still in Nigeria.

It turned out later that this was false, as the Cameroon minister for Communication confirmed in a Press Conference that those abducted had actually been taken to Cameroon. No official condemnation of the Biya Regime’s actions came from the UNHCR at the time and over 8 months later, there is still no clear indication on what might have happened to all those taken from Nigeria.

To add salt to injury, the UNHCR has today prevented the Ayah Foundation from delivering mich-needed humanitarian assistance to the refugees in Nigeria.

In a statement released by Ayah Ayah Abine, the Director of the Foundation, the UNHCR asked them to seek permission from Abuja.  This came as a surprise given that the said foundation has been one of the very few that has been consistent In their support of  the injured, internally displaced persons and refugees across the border.

The Ayah Foundation confirms that this visit is the 5th in 7 months to Nigeria. They also confirm that the only time in the past when they have faced difficulties had been when the Cameroon government tried to stop them from going in to Nigeria, a situation which they overcame when the regime came under severe criticisms.

The question worth answering is what exactly is the UNHCR afraid of? Could it be that the work of the Ayah Foundation is exposing their weaknesses as an international relief agency? Could it be because the Ayah Foundation has been doing more to document the actual living conditions of the refugees than the UNHCR? Or may be it is because the UNHCR has colluded with the Regime in Yaounde to ensure that Biya’s plans of exterminating Anglophones is successful.

Whatever the case, the UNHCR has once again shown that most international community organs are totally useless in performing the basic functions they were created to realise.

 

 

Agbor Nkongho Accepts Nelson Mandela Memorial Award

When the recent crisis in the English-Speaking Regions of Cameroon began in 2016, Human Rights Barrister, Agbor Nkongho (Balla) was one of those at the forefront. It came as no surprise that he became the first president of the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium, which became the unified civil society organisation championing the demands of teachers, lawyers and trade unions.

When the Biya regime banned the Consortium in January 2017 and arrested Agbor Balla and others, it was assumed the quest for freedom will die. Things have unfortunately spiralled out of control. After several months in Cameroon’s maximum security prison in Yaounde, Balla was released.

He came out to a completely changed struggle for freedom. The Consortium was no more, and in its place, were several groups, all claiming to be fighting for independence, yet not united in purpose, in any shape or form. Balla soon became a victim of the derailled struggle, as he was branded a ‘sellout’ for daring to continue advocating for the same things he had stood for, before going to jail.

Undaunted and unfazed, Balla forged ahead, working in his capacity as a Human Rights Barrister and under the auspices of The Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa, to continue to challenge the gross violations of human rights perpertuated against the people of Anglophone Cameroon by the Biya regime.

It therefore did not come as a surprise that on receiving the prestigious Mandela Memorial award, Balla dedicated it to the Southern Cameroons struggle. Below is his full acceptance speech.

Your Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

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It is a source of great pride to be present at this event and to receive the Nelson Mandela Memorial Award from Nkafu Policy Institute. We are deeply honoured to receive an award which incarnates the values that President Nelson Mandela stood for.

We accept this award at a moment when 8 million Southern Cameroonians are engaged in a struggle to end the long years of marginalisation, oppression, human rights abuses and assimilation. We accept this award on behalf of a movement to establish freedoms, rule of law, good governance and recognition of a people with a unique culture, history and system within the diversity of a bicultural, bilingual and bijural nation.

I am mindful that only yesterday civil disobedience swept over South West and North West, and as of yesterday we have 50,000 Southern Cameroonian refugees in Nigeria, 200,000 internally displaced people living in the rainforests of Meme, Ndian, Momo and other divisions, we have 1500 Southern Cameroonians in maximum security prisons in Yaounde, Buea, Bamenda and Douala. I am mindful that 78 villages have been burnt down, over 50 schools burnt down, dozens of administrative buildings burnt or destroyed, more than 3000 civilians have died, over 150 soldiers have been killed, several chiefs and civilians kidnapped and daily fighting between armed groups and government soldiers.

Therefore, I must ask myself why this prize is awarded to a movement of people who were called terrorists, to a struggle that has not won the freedoms, justice and recognition it is fighting for.

After much reflection, I conclude that this award I receive on behalf of the Southern Cameroons struggle is a sincere recognition that nonviolent resistance is the answer to fight against marginalisation, violence and oppression. I reject the notion that a nation must spiral down towards yearlong armed conflict with human and material casualties before leaders sit down to talk to each other.

Accepting this award is accepting a pledge to continue till we overcome and in the words of Mandela, “We pledge ourselves to liberate all our people from the continuing bondage of poverty, deprivation, suffering, gender and other discrimination.”

I will like to dedicate this award to the people of Southern Cameroons, the girls and women living in refugee camps, shelters and forests, children prevented from pursuing education, the unjustly detained, hundreds in exile hiding from persecution and the amazing lawyers who have dedicated their legal services in defending the rights of those affected.

While we continue resisting oppression, fighting against marginalisation, assimilation and bad governance, the answer doesn’t reside in kidnapping chiefs, civilians or people we disagree with.
The solution is not tribalism or ethnic division. Attacking Anglophone Bamilekes, Bassas, Ewondos or Francophones, goes against the very model of freedoms which we seek. We must end hate speech against North westerners or South westerners for we are one people. To our Francophone brothers, the Southern Cameroons struggle has never been Anglophones versus Francophones, rather it is Southern Cameroonians against the current system of government and institutions which have provided little opportunities for the Anglophones while eroding our culture, system, language and rights. You are not our enemy, you are our ally.

1 Corinthians 16:14 tells us, “Let all that you do be done in love.” Like the grandmother who gave me 2000 FCFA in court while I was facing trial for terrorism at the Yaounde Military Court. Following the example of the young boy who met me in a restaurant, took my phone number and surprisingly sent me 2000 FCFA airtime. That is love without boundaries and if we love each other hate will have no place in our society.

I congratulate my fellow nominees for the work you have done to impact our society and your sense of leadership. May we continue working together for the journey ahead is still long and we will need each other during our various obstacles and successes.

I will like to thank the Fako Lawyers Association for their sacrifices, all Common Law Lawyers for the dedication to defend justice, all Cameroonians from both sides of Mungo including the diaspora who supported the movement and fight against marginalisation and oppression, we recognize your sacrifices and support as we ask you to continue for us to arrive the finish line. To all organisations, supporters and citizens of the world who continue advocating for us, we are very grateful for your voices. Thank you, to my family, friends and to the brilliant staff of Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa, you sacrificed your time, families and lives to advance the work we have done so far. To all with views different from ours, we hear you and we hope to work together on issues of common interest to advance democracy and peaceful coexistence.

The Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa has provided a clear view of the human rights, socio-political and economic implications of the Anglophone crisis during consultations and recommendations to our local, regional and international partners, diplomats, world superpowers and belligerents of the crisis. It is in our best interest to see a quick end to the conflict through meaningful negotiations and for this to happen we need a ceasefire and measures in place for confidence building on both sides. As Mandela said, “Negotiation and discussion are the greatest weapons we have for promoting peace and development.” I think Madiba will know what I mean when I say that in the spirit of humanity, justice and peace, I accept this award. In the spirit of peace emulated by our people who protested with peace plants despite confrontations with armed soldiers, I humbly accept this award. I believe that we shall overcome.

Cameroon: Biya Regime’s Monstrosity Exposed

Social media across the world has been outraged by a video of Cameroon miliary extrajudicially killing women and children in what appears to be the North of the Country.

As activists took to social media to denounce the acts that left some people traumatised, one would have expected that the Cameroon government would, for once, do the right thing. This, unfortunately, was not to be.

Instead of opening an investigation into the killings, Cameroon’s Minister of Communications – Issa Tchiroma Bakary – went on State television to proclaim the video ‘fake news’. There have been subsequent reports that an investigation will be opened. How far this will go is left to conjecture.

A release by Amnesty International, after careful analysis of the video, has presented credible evidence that the act was actually carried in Cameroon and by members of the Cameroon military, who can easily be identified. This is corroborated by A non-governmental organisation, the Network of Defenders of Human Rights in Central Africa, known by its French acronym REDHAC, which released a report stating that they had cross-checked details in the video and could attest to its authenticity.

This would not be the first time that such acts have been carried out in Cameroon. Since the beginning of the current crisis in the English-Speaking Regions, there have been several reports of similar extrajudicial killings and burning of villages by members of the Cameroon army. All such reports were challenged by Tchiroma, in the same manner, as he did with the current video.

Cameroon tethers on the brink of a civil war as Restoration forces of the proclaimed Federal Republic of Ambazonia have been engaged in violent confrontations with Cameroon’s security forces, resulting in heavy casualties on both sides.

In the midst of all these, Cameroon’s president, Paul Biya who has been in power since 1982, has not directly addressed the situation but has rather announced presidential elections slated to take place on October 7th, 2018.

This current situation exposes the monstrosity of the Cameroonian regime which has time and again, shown very little regard for civilian lives and would do anything to maintain its grip on power.

 

Anguish of a Wife and Mother: Mrs Lilian Ayuk Tabe Speaks Out

He has been called many names – ranging from the President of Ambazonia to separatist leader. What many seem to forget is that Sisiku Tabe Ayuk was first and foremost, a father, husband, IT technician and Activist. When he stood up to demand for the freedom of English-Speaking Cameroonians from the enslavement they have been subjected to, Sisiku did not count on putting anyone in harm’s way, not least his own family.

Yet, Sisiku, through his quest for freedom, has sacrificed his job, family, and freedom. Reading from his family, one can only imagine what they are going through. What will Lilian tell their children, when they constantly ask – WHERE IS DADDY?

A vague idea of the anguish she and her family are going through and by extension, the families of all those who were abducted and have disappeared, are captured in this first statement she has issued since the disappearance of her husband.

Statement from the family of Sisiku Julius Ayuk Tabe

I need to start by thanking God for all good things come from Him, even difficult moments too.

With every passing day we are becoming more and more worried about the whereabouts of Sisiku Julius Ayuk Tabe. The last three weeks have been a nightmare, for all his family and friends and the people of former British territory Southern Cameroons (hereafter referred to Federal Republic of Ambazonia), not knowing where he is.

I issue this statement because we have reason to be worried for my husband’s life and safety and we know that the media, public, governments and organizations will pay attention.
Sisiku Julius Ayuk Tabe is a loving, caring, humble, and honest husband and father of my children. A trained and experienced computer engineer, he is calm and always desire to serve others and seek solutions toward improving human prosperity. These are the qualities that earned the confidence of Ambazonians who trusted him to lead legal and diplomatic efforts toward the independence restoration and international recognition of the Federal Republic of Ambazonia as a democratic and sovereign state.

My husband Julius is not a terrorist. He is not a criminal. Julius is an activist fighting for freedom, equality and justice in the land of our birth Ambazonia.

Julius and I last discussed on 5th January 2018, when he flew to Abuja ahead of a scheduled meeting with close members of the Interim Government of the Federal Republic of Ambazonia. The meeting, he told me, was to focus on the rising humanitarian need of Ambazonia refugees in Nigeria and indiscriminate killing, arrest, and destruction of property and businesses of unarmed citizens in our homeland by armed soldiers and paramilitary forces of La Republique du Cameroun and appointed government officials of President Paul Biya regime in Yaounde.

In the evening of 5th January 2018, Julius had not returned home and was unreachable via phone. On the of 6th January 2018, after several inquiries and consultations, we received information that my husband Julius and eleven other leadership members of Ambazonia Interim Government were abducted by Nigerian Security Service during their meeting at Nera Hotel in Abuja. For three weeks, no single person, including Nigerian human rights lawyers Femi Falana and Abdul Oroh and family members of the abducted leaders including myself have neither seen nor heard from one of the abductees.

On 28th January 2018, the two lawyers defending my husband and 11 others issued a statement indicating that the Government of Nigeria extradited the 12 leaders to Cameroon. On 29 January 2018, Cameroon government spokesperson Issa Tchiroma Bakary announced to Cameroun’s public and international community that 47 abductees in Nigeria including my husband Sisiku Julius Ayuk Tabe are in Cameroun’s territory and under custody. Until the announcement, my children and I still had no information of Julius’ whereabouts. Today is 31 January 2018, we have no proof that Julius and the 11 others are alive. And if they are alive, what are the charges against them and why have they not been allowed to talk to their families and to access legal due process under international law?

I did not choose to be born in Southern Cameroons. Sisiku Julius Ayuk Tabe and other 11 leaders did not choose to be born in Southern Cameroons either. Our children and grandchildren did not choose to be descendants of Southern Cameroons. More than 8 million of us within Ambazonia territory and worldwide did not choose to originate from Southern Cameroons. It is our land of birth and our ways of life are shaped by our common culture and values. We will all die Southern Cameroonians.

Hear my cry and that of my children. Hear the cry of thousands of spouses, children and family members of those who have been killed, injured, kidnapped, detained and are missing. We appeal to the international community and governments to urge Mr. Paul Biya to produce video footages of Julius Ayuk Tabe and 11 others, grant access to lawyers and family members to meet them, and free them because they are not criminals. Our appeal equally applies to all other activists illegally detained in prisons and unknown locations across Cameroun territory.

I call on fellow women, Amnesty International, the United Nations, Commonwealth, and African Union to act swiftly and decisively by offering to mediate on finding a political solution to the independence restoration struggle of Southern Cameroons.

Hear our voices. We are not terrorists. We are Ambazonians. We are fighting for freedom, sovereignty, and human dignity for millions of Southern Cameroonians. Our birth rights have been suppressed, our liberties erased, our political, cultural and economic freedoms denied for more than half a century by the Governments of La Republique du Cameroun.

By Mrs Lilian Ayuk Tabe

The Return of Hon Wirba: Changing the Dynamics of the Anglophone Crisis?

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The government of Cameroon has taken a high-handed approach towards English-Speaking Cameroonians. The only response to the ongoing crisis has been the arbitrary arrests and detention of all those challenging the abuse of Anglophones. Things have however been different the time the corrupt regime decided to go after one of the Members of Parliament. The MP from the Jakiri constituency in the Northwest Region was chased around the region while the internet had been shut down and he was eventually reported to have escaped to Nigeria where he spent a few months planning his return. His reappearance at the House of Assembly took everyone by surprise. This was unexpected given that all the others who had fled the country had not dared return for fear of being arrested. Wirba did not only abruptly appeared in parliament; he seized the rostrum and addressed the house in the exact forceful manner he last did before going under months back. A visibly confused House Speaker, Cavaye

Joseph Wirba did not only throw caution to the wind and abruptly make an appearance in parliament; he took the moment to address the house in the exact forceful manner he had done before and was declared a persona non grata. A visibly shaken and confused Speaker of the House of Assembly, Cavaye Yegue Djibril, failed to stop Hon Wirba from putting across his message.  With the same eloquence he has come to be known for, with the same logical arguments for the government to pay serious attention to the plight of West Cameroonians, a determined Wirba made his arguments for justice for Anglophones.

Below are some excerpts:

“Where else should we say these things? If we belong to the National Assembly then Mr Speaker, you must hear me out. Mr Speaker, you will hear me out. With all due respect Mr Speaker, I have been chased through the bushes for the past three months. I cannot come here and you are discussing…
“Our children are out of school, our lawyers in jail and all that is happening in West Cameroon means nothing to you. Where is your standing order to suspend for us to discuss issues that have to do with the people of West Cameroon? You tell me because you don’t seem to have an agenda for us…
“Mr Speaker, I am now telling you that the person who ordered for my arrest… tell him I am here; he can come and take me out of this National Assembly and the people of West Cameroon will know that they don’t belong here…

“The representatives of the people have the power to say it as it is at any time. I mean, we come here and you shut us down… what should we do? I should have waited for them to bring my head to you. That’s what you would have wanted. I simply say NO!
Mr Speaker, can you now on this floor, give us where this National Assembly can discuss the issues that have to do with the people of West Cameroon? Because it is more important than anything you have discussed in this Assembly from independence. Can you tell us? Because if we cannot talk about these things here, where are we supposed to talk about them for God’s sake? “You keep humiliating us like this, every time, it is the same thing. Get to the church leaders, we are humiliated, get to the lawyers, we are humiliated. We come here to represent our people and you tell me that I cannot talk about my people then, you will need to shut my mouth with death.

Can I have the time when we will talk about the problems of our people? If you have no space here for that it means that the country completely excludes us from its programme and I do not want that to be. You are supposed to make sure that we come here and represent the people, talk about their problems so that you understand the problems.
“I am happy that I am coming here when the Minister of Territorial Administration is here and I am wondering because Mr Minister I said here on the 2nd of December that the reign of terror over in West Cameroon is bringing down the country and nobody seems to listen and then I come here and we are told that we cannot talk on behalf of those people? It is the right of the MP to represent his people, Mr Speaker.

“I am not bringing any disorder. If you let us talk about our problems, nobody will be wasting this time because I have a full file here to discuss the problems of my people, so can you give me space to talk about it? If I don’t have it, then you are saying and with the order on my head that I should be arrested for representing my people. You are saying that the last remnants of anything we call democracy has died in this country. If an MP cannot talk, who else? And if an MP for the country is not safe, who else is safe in this country…?”

The question now being asked by all remains: is there something Wirba knows that others do not know? What is the position of his party the Social Democratic Front (SDF) which seems to have abandoned him when he needed them most? Why did the government not go ahead and arrest Wirba?

One scenario is possible. Hon Wirba might be someone who clearly understands how the government of Cameroon operates and knowing that their hands are tied with regards to the prosecution of the other Anglophone leaders, chose the right moment to reappear.

If this is the case, he surely has exposed the government’s weakness and given a new lease on life to the Anglophone crisis. The renewed energy across the country and diaspora is a testament to the fact that Hon. Wirba could not have chosen a better time to return.

Foley-Hoag: Lobbyists, Activists or Lawyers? An Analysis of the SCACUF Dilemma

This analysis is published on Ambasbay Blog. The name of the author is not included, but the analysis is solid. From the introduction, it seems to have been written by Boh Herbert, but that also is not clear.
That notwitstanding, this article analysis the role being played by Foley-Hoag, the firm retained by SCACUF to help advance the legal case of human rights abuses being committed by the Cameroon government against the people of English-Speaking regions.
I am normally not a fan of Boh Herbert, but I must say I do agree, completely, with his assessment of the Foley Hoag interview and much more.

It was interesting that they cited, as an example of their work, the Polisario and the peoples of Western Sahara. That conflict has been going on for more than 30 years now and resulted in Morocco leaving the OAU only to get back a few years ago. That’s an ongoing conflict that is yet to be resolved. Not sure for how long the firm has been involved with it or what they would consider success in this scenario.

I would have thought they would cite their recent work with the Philippines in the case against China about the disputed islands. The legal aspect of that was a resounding success for the Philippines, the political aspect not so much. As usual, there was no enforcing mechanism in the judgment. So the Philippines has ended up in bilateral negotiations with China – something China always wanted and the Philippines never wanted. Not sure what, if any, is Foley Hoag’s role in this crucial part of the problem.

There is nothing inherently wrong with eliciting support from lobbyists. The problem lies with the approach. If I have an issue that needs the US government to intervene from a policy perspective, then a US lobbyist will be a logical approach. Even there, I will seek a firm closer to the current administration. A Clinton era lobbyist or surrogate is unlikely to be very helpful in a Republican, Trump government – note Foley Hoag’s Clinton connections.

Then there is the International aspect of this. How, would a US firm be helpful in lobbying the EU, Russia, Australia or the UN for that matter on our behalf? If we have to go down the expensive route of Lobbyist, should we then have to hire country or institution, specific lobbyists? Normally, these guys are hired by corporate interests for specific policy objectives in specific countries. Issues related to Human rights, minority rights, governance in tertiary countries have typically been dealt with through pro bono services and NGOs. Amnesty International, Transparency International the UN etc. are essentially not for profit organisations and their bureaucracies have little patience for profiteering law firms or lobbyists.

It is no wonder, the legal support teams of the ICC are usually pro bono or paid for by NGOs. The fact that we consider paying a left-leaning lobbyist in the US or any lobbyist for that matter indicates we have been either unable to, or unwilling to take advantage of the pro bono services out there at our disposal.

We have essentially outsourced the converted job of lobbying our case to a third party. In liberation struggles, the key role of leadership is lobbying the international community for support. The most effective way to do so is through individuals from, the country that are the direct victims of that abuse. Paying lobbyist gives the impression our leaders are either too rich or too busy to engage in such mundane tasks. If they see it fit to outsource the leadership of the struggle, should the people on the ground also outsource their support; Or should they look elsewhere to leadership?

I have read and watched videos of SCACUF leadership indicating that only $3k has been spent so far by the law firm as an argument that they have been diligent with finances. A couple of things come to mind.

 

1. Considering that there has been no change in the terms of the contract between Foley Hoag and SCACUF, then $3k, spent over a month working on the case would indicate they really have not been doing anything so far. If, as we know, the billing intervals is 15mins, then the interview alone, with 2 senior Foley Hoag partners already cost SCACUF about $350. Judging by how little information came out of that press conference, I am not
surprised they have not done much work at all.

2. A declaration by Atam Milan, of an item of expense, hardly rises to the realm of accountability; it actually raises more questions than it answers about SCACUF’s accounting practices. The government of Cameroon, unfortunately, has a better track record than that!

 

3. SCACUF was supposed to ensure $75k be in that account 30 days from the day they met the first $35k requirement. We are well past that threshold and have heard nothing in that regards. It is clear in the contract SCACUF provided, that failing to meet that obligation, the law firm reserved the right to walk off the contract. It is curious that nothing has been said more than 30 days after.

 

4. Without that $75k, it is likely the law firm is uninclined to commit any more resources to the struggle and any indication that very little had been spent by the law firm only goes to buttress the point that they are scaling back on committing resources.

5. As noted in point 1 above, our esteemed lobbyist, by their contracted fee structure, have hardly committed up to 2hrs of billable time to the SCACUF file. Shouldn’t SCACUF or the people it represents be worried?

 

As self-appointed, sole representatives of Southern Cameroons, you would expect the third SCACUF conclave to address issues related to where they are in the struggle and the way forward. We’ve heard nothing to that effect; SCACUF spent time and money discussing their internal structural issues and very little if anything about SC they represent. The one thing SCACUF has on its plate as an external activity is the Lobbyist they hired. I believe they can relax and sip some champagne now having outsourced the struggle to a lobbyist.

Occasional 15 mins conference calls with 2 white guys is enough to pacify its followers.

SCACUF leadership, mostly through surrogates, has been bullying people online peddling the notion that there is no need to be critical of SCACUF and no need to ask what they have done so far. Pointing to SCACUF’s, in my opinion highly flawed, internal structure – and of course Foley Hoag, as evidence of success and traction! There is the further troubling notion that any Anglophone or group of people critical of SCACUF’s actions must be traitors!

It is important to clear the air as to where we were prior to SCACUF and where we are today:-

 

1. We were able, through public and mostly, private campaigns able to bring the UN to address the issues in Cameroon and get the UN to send representatives to go visit our leaders in jail. Note the SCACUF only just thought about sending emails to the UN a few weeks ago.

 

2. Get the Canadian government to sympathise with us to the extent of supporting our Federal position. They actually sent their officials to the provinces to interview local leaders and common people to get an informed sense of the situation on the ground prior to taking their position.

 

3. Move a few western governments to and parliaments to look into the issues related to the marginalisation of our peoples as part of a long diplomatic push.

 

4. Got Amnesty International and, through the lawyers’ international esprit de corps, had the Bar associations of many countries take strong positions in support of our detainees and lawyers and Anglophones at large.

 

5. Assemble an international legal team, working pro bono, to defend our leaders and detainees in jail.

 

6. Rally and unify the entire Anglophone community in opposition to the current state of affairs.

 

7. Built support for our course from the larger Francophone leadership and peoples in Cameroon who easily identify with the mostly governance and human rights aspect of the struggle.

 

After SCACUF came into existence what have we achieved?

 

1. Tribalised the Anglophone struggle.

 

2. Lost the support of the Canadians, who now believe a benevolent despot is better than utter chaos. The only support we now have from them is towards the release of our level headed leaders and detainees.

 

3. Lost the support of the US and other nations that were considering supporting us in our quest towards legitimately achievable goals.

 

4. Lost the support on the ground in Cameroon as SCACUFs ambivalent flirtations with uncoordinated violent groups, as a persuasive tool has alienated the very people it seeks to represent.

 

5. Alienated the sympathetic francophones in Cameroon who would have been sympathetic to a fight for good governance and the rights of a minority; ticked off when it was hijacked by hate speech directed towards peoples rather than systems.

 

One thing that’s common to the Anglophones is our sense of critique; our need to accountability and our penchant to question authority. I must say, SCACUF did its best to tap into the anger of the arrests or our leaders, the intimidation of our peoples and the perceived need to unify our voices in opposition to the status quo. Unfortunately, with no vision or plan of action, no accountability, and resorting to violence and blackmail as a means of persuasion; the train, in SCACUF terms, has since moved on with the people leaving them behind.

I could go on and on, but I am better served addressing real issues we have on the ground than any more time with self-serving narcissists who for some reason think they are leaders.

My Opposition To The Foley Hoag Law Firm Retainer By Innocent Chia

 

I have come across several questions regarding the lawsuit being brought by SCACUF against the Cameroon government. I sincerely pray and hope it is a success. However, several questions have been raised about its feasibility and the manner in which the firm was recruited, and the seemingly large fee that has to be paid.

While I have refrained from raising my personal concerns in public, coming across this piece from Innocent Chia has given me reason to think it is good if SCACUF can present a clarification or a rebuttal to this. It does not inspire confidence and the sooner open clarifications are made, the better for this struggle.

Please read with an open mind and make your own conclusions and if you have any rebuttals, feel free to present them.

When the dust settles on the retainer agreement that was signed yesterday – 5/7/14 between the Foley Hoag LLP Law Firm and SCACUF (Southern Cameroons Ambazonia Consortium United Front), represented at the signing in Boston, MA by the Southern Cameroons Public Affairs Committee (SCAPAC), I hope to my God that there is nothing to write home about regarding my misgivings vis-à-vis the agreement and the manner in which it went down. It is important, nonetheless, that I speak my mind as a matter of public record because there is a cautionary tale to what many perceive as a giant landmark in our collective march towards the Restoration of the Independence of Southern Cameroons.

Lawyers For Eritrean Liberation Give Counsel

Sometime between November and December 2016, I started hearing rumors of a Law Firm that was interested in representing Southern Cameroons amidst the heightened, rampant and systematic torture, rape, killings, abductions, disappearances and other dehumanizing acts against our brothers, sisters, children and parents by the paramilitary forces of La Republique du Cameroun. It was not long thereafter that I was fortunate enough to talk with a concerned group that had been researching the option and stumbled upon a couple of the lawyers who represented Eritrea in its protracted fight against annexation by Ethiopia. What these lawyers for Eritrea shared is not only instructive for decisions and choices that have since been made, culminating in the retainer that was signed yesterday but also very instructive of the challenges that we face if we do not detach and rid ourselves of some emotionally charged decision-making processes and those who not only embody but promote the processes and decisions.When asked to take the case for Restoration of the Independence of Southern Cameroons Versus La Republique du Cameroun, the guys who litigated and won a similar case of Eritrea Versus Ethiopia, had responded that although a clearly WINNABLE case, they would not take it because they did not have the political connections in the current white house to go the distance.

Meaning: if you have to sign up with a law firm that will represent you in this matter, make sure they have the goodwill of this Whitehouse to show.
Translation: if Trump and his surrogates don’t have an African policy that favors intervention on the continent, it is a waste of time and your hard earned dollars because you need their backing in whatever court you drag La Republique to. You need their backing to make sure La Republique implement the verdict of whatever court, otherwise it will be another decision, just like that of the AU, that La Republique kicks like a can down the highway.

These same lawyers who won the case for Eritrea against Ethiopia further cautioned that whatever firm eventually offers to take up our case should not do so for the money. We need to be sure that they are doing it because they love the journey, they love and believe in the cause as much as we do and are passionate about the cause. A measure of that love, passion and believe means being willing to do it for free, they said.They then narrated how they had taken the case of Eritrea and worked on it pro bono (without pay) for a very long time. They had been burning with and fueled by the desire to right the injustice that had been perpetrated by Ethiopia on Eritrea. It is after they had done this free work for quite a while that the Eritrean community came together and insisted on compensating them in acknowledgment of all the hard work that the Firm had been doing on behalf of the people of Eritrea.

Meaning: Whoever is taking our WINNABLE case has to do it because of the love of justice, because they share in our affliction, and want to bring an end to our predicament.

As stated at the top, I can reliably state that when the idea of this lawsuit was but a rumor, many people who were in the know expressed varying concerns about it. There was consensus, even in the opposing voices, for those involved to continue looking for other firms or clinics that would provide competing quotes and then a decision be made. We cannot deny that it is in our blood as Ambazonians to look around for or “beat prices” for the best bargain. Is it not? We de beat even price for okrika shoes for market. We de beat price for store even when the price be marked on the item.

Manipulation, lack of Transparency or Due Diligence

So, why did we not talk with other law firms or put out a proposal for bids from other firms? We know that some small law firms, even some big ones, make their names by taking and championing causes like these. In fact, this is exactly what Ben Muna is doing in Cameroon with Agbor Balla, Neba Fontem, Mancho Bibixi and the other Southern Cameroonians who have been abducted, imprisoned and are getting judged in a foreign land by the colonial La Republique du Cameroun. His services, and those of the hundreds of lawyers that are working with him are free of charge. Was there no such firm, clinic, or school in the diaspora that could be interested in taking up what the lawyers that defended Eritrea against Ethiopia have called a “clear case”? I will tell you that those who have been pushing the idea of Foley Hoag as “the” only firm to represent us left no stone unturned in making sure that we had the outcome that materialized yesterday. Under the aegis of a certain Dr. Tata and Barrister George Awazi (one-time campaign manager for Muna to the Presidency of the Bar Association of Cameroon), each time the idea was rejected by one group, they took it with the next group and sold Foley Hoag LLP. Indeed, reliable sources allege that at one point they put in $5,000 of their own money into the SCAPAC account to sustain the effort. An investment?

Lurking around from one group to another, and with intensity in the struggle growing, the retainer fee grew from $20,000.00 to $25,000.00. By the time SCACUF and Wilfred Tassang came on board and endorsed it, the price tag had skyrocketed to a down payment of $35,000.00 and a minimum of $70,000 to be held in the account at any given time. You may recall that even when MoRISC endorsed SCACUF, it expressed reservations on two matters: The first was that it was not consenting in any way, shape or form, to any lawsuit representation by Foley Hoag, until it had been appropriately reviewed and approved by the MoRISC legal team. (The second reservation was that it would not endorse any group that preached or embraced violence as part of the struggle).
Be that as it may, the retainer terms of reference are open ended as to how much time or how many hours Foley Hoag LLP are projecting to bill for and what it will show as achievements along the way.

Retainer Fee or Vulture Fund

Remember, there’s no way of ever verifying how many hours a lawyer has actually spent “working” on your case. It is a very subjective process where they absolutely control every facet of the billing. They only tell you that they are billing for X number of hours. And that is where the rubber really hits the road in this matter as I see it. This is where I consider the 56th African nation-to-be as having been dealt the the short end of the stick in a 419 scam where we are already mortgaging the future of our unborn kids with an unnecessary and avoidable debt. Let us use numbers to examine how much of a raw deal we are into, and then we can determine whether we are into another “Hewitt is too late” situation or whether we can and should sever this umbilical cord before it chokes and kills the child. Here are the hourly rates for the average and above law firms:

Senior Partner – $1,000.00 per hour
Junior Partner – $750.00 per hour
Senior Associate – $500.00 per hour
Midlevel Associate – $400.00 per hour
Junior Associate – $250.00 per hour
Paralegal – $100.00 per hour

Each one of these legal professionals have very distinct roles to play in this process and journey – from research to secretariat functions, to cross checking of facts, to submitting the file where necessary, to making the case against La République du Cameroun. So what would happen if each one of them worked on this case only one (1) hour a week? Here is the math:

$1000 + $750 + $500 + $400 + $250 + $100 × 1hr = $3,000.00

What if they had to each work 3 hrs on the case? Well, we would simply multiply $3,000.00 × 3 hrs = $9,000.00 for each one of these professionals to work on our case for three hours on any given day. So, how long would it take for $35,000.00 to be depleted? Well, based on all six professionals working/billing for three 3 hours of work every day, here is the breakdown:

$1000 + $750 + $500 + $400 + $250 + $100 × 3 hrs × 4 days = $36,000.00

Yes, people, for 18 hours of work, less than half of a US working week, SCACUF / SCAPAC are committing Southern Cameroons to $36,000,000 (18,000,000.00 AMB money?) even before blinking their eyes. And there is no telling that even after a week of work this firm would have anything or be anywhere close to taking the case to any court of law. Yet, someone is on the hook to be replenishing that account so that there is a minimum of $70,000 in it at every given moment!

For the record, can we tell how much time it has taken SCACUF / SCAPAC to raise the $35,000.00 that it signed away yesterday to Foley Hoag? It wasn’t a week. It has taken more than two months to raise the said sum of money. Which begs the next set of questions.

If Southern Cameroonians are able to cough up this money day in and day out, is this the most judicious, the most efficient use of their hard earned money with a certain outcome of victory? Were there less expensive options with the same guaranteed outcome? If so, did we check them out and why did we not go with them? Finally, why are we stuck, or are we indeed stuck, with this particular law firm? It is an open secret that MoRISC opposed this deal all the way. Still, it reached out to SCACUF when it was confirmed that SCACUF was intractable in embracing the Law firm to represent the people’s case against La Republique du Cameroun. Among other things, MoRISC, even as recently as at the second conclave in Nigeria, proposed to have its US based legal team, go and review the retainer agreement before any decision was finally made. This was only after SCAPAC walked back on earlier statements that the agreement had already been signed and all that was left was the disbursement of the money for Foley Hoag to commence the process. When they walked back on that lie, SCAPAC loosely committed to the idea of having a team comprising of Professor Carlson Anyangwe and the renown Barrister Charles Taku review the documents. Almost two weeks after the second conclave, Wilfred Tassang revealed on air in an interview with SCTV that SCACUF was expediting Professor Carlson Anyangwe from South Africa to the United States to review and sign the retainer agreement. The suggestions of the MoRISC legal team, which had been considered only after serious stonewalling, to review the retainer draft agreement were tossed aside.

The team had complained, among other things, about the deliverables and the bottomless pit nature of an account. They had also pointed out the lack of SCACUF oversight of the SCAPAC account, absence of a clear distinction as to which of the two entities was in control. Who would manage the account, issue checks, countersign checks? Were checks to be t jointly signed by SCACUF and SCAPAC? How about the money that Southern Cameroonians were donating for other causes besides the lawsuit? How would they ascertain that the money was indeed being disbursed per the provisions of the retainer agreement? Equally of great interest, are the questions spiraling around Dr. Tata and Barrister George Awazi? Are they getting any kickbacks for pushing this law firm arrangement through as much as they have done? If they are getting kickbacks, how much are they making? Is there anything wrong with them making a quick buck at the expense of the martyrs and people of Southern Cameroons? Remember the $5000 that they allegedly put into the SCAPAC account? Was it to be repaid? How much interest are they making on it? Is it tax deductible?

We may not have time here to delve into matters regarding the jurisdiction where the human rights violations case might be brought against La Republique du Cameroun. But if it is filed in Cameroun, it most certainly will mean that Foley Hoag will be entering into a partnership agreement with a local firm. Given the ties between Barrister George Awazi and the Muna family, there is every indication that the Muna Law Secretariat will be tapped to handle “secretarial duties” given that Barrister Muna is already volunteering his pro bono services to the political prisoners of Southern Cameroons in La Republique du Cameroun. How much will that bill be? I can project that the light bill will be CFA 500,000; the water bill will be CFA 250,000; the salary for the secretary will be CFA 750,000…then miscellaneous will be a whopping CFA 2,000,000M frs. In the meantime, Wilfred Tassang, now enjoying an undisclosed salary in Nigeria as SCACUF Secretary General, is challenging the diaspora to pour money into a bottomless pit, allegedly controlled by his confidante, while his colleagues wallow in misery in Cameroon. The diaspora has to be steadfast and remain very vigilant or the worst of con men, some dressed in cloaks and getting called Prophets, others with PhDs, Professors, Lawyers…all wearing beautiful suits, dresses and handbags dash away into the night with our fight for the Restoration of the Independence of Southern Cameroons.

In Conclusion…

We have come too far to be conned by anyone that is not ready to answer serious questions and be held accountable. At the signing of the retainer yesterday in Boston, oddly on a Sabbath day, one could not escape the rookie mistake of the lady who issued the check – while the numerical value said $35,000.00, she wrote it out for “thirty-five 00/100” dollars. It certainly can be corrected, but it does not bode well for the quality of people that are representing us at SCACUF / SCAPAC. We have been blaming Foncha and Muna for dragging us into the doodoo, but it seems as if we could be regrettably poised for a repeat of the mistakes of the past by investing our emotions and not our brains into this fight.

It is one more reason why we need to fight against any forces that are stonewalling the logical step of an Interim Government in Exile that the roadmap, birthed by MoRISC and adopted by SCACUF, calls for. It is strange that SCACUF has recently pulled down the roadmap page from the website. It may be reasonable to wonder whether it is a clear indication of an intention to derail the restoration agenda. The reasons keep on piling why we need a qualified, visionary leader. We must continue to source for our Moses, possibly one who is voted into office by universal suffrage and with a clear mandate and resources to carry out the task at hand. This fight needs a leader, not charlatans or position fillers with some scars to show, that will understand the fierce urgency not now towards the countdown to the restoration of our independence

The Strike Continues: I WON’T GO TO COURT ON TUESDAY 02.05.2017!!! (By ShuSheey Barrister AKUWIYADZE)

 

The President of the Cameroon Bar Council recently announced that Common Law Lawyers will be returning to court, signalling an end to the strike action that has paralysed the legal, educational and other sub-systems of West Cameroon.

During the period of the strike action, rather than make efforts to grant the demands of the striking civil society, the recalcitrant government of Cameroon resorted to intimidation.

Arbitrary arrests, rape, torture, shutdown or the internet amongs other human rights violations.

With none of the demands of the strikers granted, it is nothing but shocking that the Bar Council President should announce a return to the courts.

Following is a response from one of the Barrister’s and it is fair to say, after listening to other views on Afrique Media today, that his position represents that of the majority.

I won’t go to court on the 02.05.2017.

Lawyers in West Cameroon have lost income for six months and their families are suffering. Were they sacrificing for the usual promises?
No, Mr. President of the Cameroon Bar Council, I won’t go to court on the 02.05.2017.

Consortium Leaders are in jail, some on self-exile, while their families are suffering in Cameroon. Did they ask for promises?
No, Mr. President of Cameroon Bar Council, I won’t go to court on the 02.05.2017.

Over 100 West Cameroonians, arbitrarily arrested and incarcerated in East Cameroon are suffering in jails for months. Is that why they are paying this price?
No, Mr. President of the Cameroon Bar Council, I won’t go to court on the 02.05.2017.

Some of our children have been killed and their families are still in pain. Did they die for promises?
No, Mr. President of the Cameroon Bar Council, I won’t go to court on the 02.05.2017.

Our children have sacrificed a whole academic year; parents have lost school fees paid; teachers in private schools are without salary for 5 months now. Is that what they sacrificed (and are still sacrificing) for?
No, Mr. President of the Cameroon Bar Council, I won’t go to court on the 02.05.2017.

Business people in West Cameroon have lost income from sales by adhering to Ghost Towns. Some have seen their fortune go up in flames! What have they got in return?
No, Mr. President of the Cameroon Bar Council, I won’t go to court on the 02.05.2017.

My colleagues are in jail while others have been forced to go on exile for daring to stand for the TRUTH! Are Lawyers not the watchdogs (whistle-blowers) of society?
No, Mr. President of the Cameroon Bar Council, I won’t go to court on the 02.05.2017.
How can I go to court in a country where a Superscale Magistrate in active Service at the Supreme Court (Ayah Paul Abine) is arrested and incarcerated with impunity ~ without due process?
No, Mr. President of the Cameroon Bar Council, I won’t go to court on the 02.05.2017.

How can I go to court when an Honorable Member of Parliament (Joseph Wirba) who did nothing more than his duty as a true Representative of the people (and not a hand-clapper) has been forced out of his country for telling the TRUTH?
No, Mr. President of the Cameroon Bar Council, I won’t go to court on the 02.05.2017.

West Cameroonians have suffered more than enough in this Triangle since 1961 as their heritage has been completely wiped out!
Where is Cameroon Bank?
Where is NPMB?
Where is WADA?
Where is PWD?
Where is Yoke Power Station?
Where is Santa Coffee Estate?
Where are our much-cherished Institutions? Health? Education? Justice? Law and Order? Etc, etc?
No, Mr. President of the Cameroon Bar Council, you are not an Anglophone and I won’t go to court on the 02.05.2017.

If I should go to court on the 02.05.2017 or thereafter:

1. ALL our brothers and sisters arrested as a result of the strike action that we (Common Law Lawyers) started on the 11.10.2016 must be UNCONDITIONALLY RELEASED (with guarantees that there won’t be any further arbitrary arrests).

2. Internet Connection cut off from West Cameroon on 18.01.2017 must be re-instated.

3. The towns and villages of West Cameroon flooded with soldiers, must be de-militarized.

When the above pre-conditions would have been met, the dialogue will resume so that the problem of marginalization of Anglophones in Cameroon is dealt with once and for all. The time is Now!

Is this a poem?
No, Mr. President of the Cameroon Bar Council, I won’t go to court on the 02.05.2017 or any date thereafter as I’m ready to boycott the courts for two years (renewable) until JUSTICE is done and seen to have been done to us.

ShuSheey AKUWIYADZE,
(Barrister-At-Law)
Kumbo.
West Cameroon

Pope Francis Tells Paul Biya that Suppression of Freedom & Abuse of Human Rights is a ‘Path to Peace’

What would Jesus Do? This is the question that many have asked and keep asking in many different situations.

Yes What would Jesus do if he were to meet with Paul Biya, the Dictator who has clung to power in Cameroon for 35 years?

What would Jesus do if he were to meet with Paul Biya, at a time when millions of English-Speaking Cameroonians have been without the internet for 65 days and counting?

What would Jesus do if he were to have a one-to-one discussion with Paul Biya, after receiving hundreds of tweets from English-Speaking Cameroonians asking for his intervention?

What would Jesus do if presented with the case of millions of English-Speaking Cameroons who have been suppressed by successive Cameroonian governments?

If there is one person in the best position to answer these questions, it would be Pope Francis, the Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church. The Pope received Paul Biya of Cameroon and his Wife Chantal Biya at the Vatican, after an official state visit to Italy.

English-Speaking Cameroonians and well-wishers across the world held their breath as they expected the Pope to use it as an opportunity to preach a life-changing sermon to Biya. To say they were disappointed would be an understatement. Despite receiving hundreds of tweets with gruesome images and videos of the atrocities being committed in Cameroon by Biya’s government, the Pope chose to treat Biya as if he were a Saint, much to the chagrin and disappointment of millions of Catholic faithful who look up to the Pontiff to be the voice of the voiceless.

In a video released by The Rome Reports TV News Agency,  the Pope can be heard telling Biya after receiving a sculpture of an Elderly Cameroonian that “The Memory of elders is the Wisdom of a Country”.  As one tries to grapple with understanding what memory, or which elders or which wisdom, the statement is refering to, the pope goes on to present Biya with a sculpture that sybolises peace and then drops the bombshell “I Wish for Cameroon to Continue Walking on the Path of Peace”

Really? Cameroon where freedoms and personal liberty is suppressed, Cameroon where a 17-year-old University student is raped by the police and nothing is done about it; Cameroon where leaders of the Civil Society have been in prison for over 2 months, facing the death penalty, for peacefully demanding an end to the suppression of English-Speaking Cameroonians; Cameroon where hundreds have been arrested from their homes in the North West and South West Regions (which practices the Common Law system) and taken hundreds of miles to prison in Yaounde (a Civil Law jurisdiction); Cameroon, the country that has been world champion of corruption on two occassions; Cameroon in which any form of dissension against the corrupt and incompetent dictator is punished with a very lengthy prison sentence?

Is the Pope referring to another Cameroon or the same Cameroon where there is a genocide brewing and in which English-Speaking regions are under threat of extermination?

Anyone familiar with the Bible would not be in doubt about what Jesus would do if he met Biya. Jesus would have told him exactly what he told the Pharisees of his day. In Matt 12 33-36 Jesus had this message for the Pharisees

Make a tree sound and its fruit will be sound; make a tree rotten and its fruit will be rotten. For the tree can be told by its fruit   

 You brood of vipers, how can your speech be good when you are evil? For words flow out of what fills the heart.

Good people draw good things from their store of goodness; bad people draw bad things from their store of badness.

So I tell you this, that for every unfounded word people utter they will answer on Judgement Day

This is the type of message anyone would have expected the Pope to tell Mr. Biya. If I understand verse 35 above correctly, there is no way someone like Biya can bring about peace in Cameroon when he is not at peace with himself. A man whose hands are filled with the blood of innocent Cameroonians cannot be the one the Pope is wishing could be the architect of peace. A bad person as Biya is can only bring forth bad things from his store of badness.

The Pope, therefore, encouraged Biya to go on doing the horrible things he has been doing in Cameroon for the last 35 years, by insinuating that Biya was leading Cameroon on a path of peace.

I am sure even Jesus Christ would be disappointed that the Pope did not use this unique opportunity to preach the gospel to one man who needed to hear it the most. One thing though is clear, Cameroon is nowhere near the path of peace and unless Biya is told the truth by those whose responsibility it is to uphold the truth, then the journey to peace will be a very long on for Cameroon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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