I can remember vividly the day I first saw a corpse. I was about 8 or 9 years old at the time, and heard that someone had died. I left, ran with my friends and went in to see. It was a police officer and he was dressed in his official uniform. When we got back, we were told to wash our faces with water to avoid seeing the corpse in our dreams. It was a rare occurence to learn that someone had died, but over the years all that has changed drastically.
Watching the above video, I was shocked at how casually, the young persons therein, were carrying corpses, some of which were their friends. This video is a clear depiction of how far Cameroon has degenerated during the reign of 86 year-old Dictator Paul Biya.
Over the last couple of years, English-Speaking Cameroon has seem so much death, that it is no surprise that kids now carry corpses around in the back of a pick-up truck as if they were some sort of fancy toys.
My heart bleeds for my country. My heart bleeds for the country that was once known as “Africa in Miniature” because of its amazing riches. My heart bleeds as I watch helplessly and see my country slump into the morass of conflict that has engulfed most of Africa.
Death has been normalised in Cameroon, in the same way corruption, nepotism and lack of governance and development. I fear for the future of these children, I fear for the future of Cameroon.
The Cameroon High Commission has announced it is shutting down for three days, beginning with Monday 28 January 2019 to Wednesday 30 January 2019 inclusive. This forceful observation of what is known in Cameroon as ‘Ghost towns’, – a mandatory situation where businesses and government institutions shut down as a non-violent response to the degenerating crisis in the North West and South West Regions.
In a communique signed by the High Commissioner and posted on the doors of the High Commission, they acknowledge that their closure is in response to “acts of aggression and malicious damage to property”. This aptly describes what the Regime has been doing in the North West and South West Regions of Cameroon over the last two years, and recently in other parts of the country. It is therefore a great think that the High Commision of Cameroon in London has shut down its building to show solidarity.
It is however, to be noted that the said building situated in the prestigious Holland Park Road in London, but there is nothing prestigious about it. The Cameroon High Commission in London happens to be not only the dirtiest and most dilapidated building on the street, it is one that houses people who support criminals of all sorts – rapists, murderers, arsonists etc.
As activists from CODE, Brigade Anti-Sardinard, West Cameroon Movement for Change and the Southern Cameroons Community UK gathered on Saturday 26 January, 2019, there to protest in answer to the call for a worldwide demonstration by President-Elect of Cameroon, Professor Maurice Kamto, they were certain that a message had to be passed on to the High Commission.
Tempers were already frayed by the news arriving that protesters had been shot in Cameroon. A week ago, Combattant Emmanuel Kemta had told the Biya Regime that there will be a reaction from activists across the world, should they attack protesters in Cameroon.
It, therefore, came as no surprise that after rousing speeches from many of the person’s present, including from a 9-year-old girl, the protesters unanimously agreed that it was necessary to leave a message for the Biya Regime Via its High Commission.
On cue, protesters began plastering the walls of the High Commission with eggs, tomatoes and other substances such as ketchup. The Met Police who have made it a duty to constantly protect the building while protests are going on there, looked helplessly as the building was given a ‘face-lift’. A call for back-up saw the arrival of many other officers dressed in black. The new arrivals were unable to stop the havoc until the anger of the protesters subsided.
Cameroonians in the UK made it clear that the ‘gentle stride of a tiger is not a symbol of cowardice’ and that the Biya regime should either leave power peacefully or expect to be forced out.
Talking to Brice Nintcheu, the leader of BAS, UK, he confirmed that the general idea was to force the High Commission to shut its doors. He, however, expressed pleasant surprise at the wording of the High Commissioner, which aptly describes the actions of the Regime in Cameroon. It is therefore fair to conclude that the High Commission closed its doors, not only because activists threw eggs at its dirty building, but also in solidarity with all those in Cameroon who are suffering from ‘acts of aggression and malicious damage to property’ at the hands of the Biya Regime.
The adage that a dog doomed to die loses the sense of smell, finds its best expression with the Biya Regime of Cameroon. The embattled regime seems unable to learn from its mistakes as it continues to carry out actions that can only lead to one outcome – its collapse.
It was a situation of Deja Vu when the news started pouring from Cameroon that peaceful protesters where being shot at in what was meant to be a day of international action against Electoral Hold Up and the Ongoing Conflict in the North West and South West Regions of the Country. Tempers flared across Cameroon and its diaspora when it emerged that Barrister Michelle Ndoki and activist Celestine Djamen were among those who had been shot.
If the regime had any iota of discernment, they would have known that Ndoki was the wrong person to have targeted. She won the hearts of the entire nation during her outing at the Constitutional Council following the botched elections on October 7th, 2018.
Barrister Ndoki, after being shot, went on to show just why she was the people’s ‘sweetheart’. In what must have been a difficult moment, and in pains, Ndoki encouraged people to shun fear and come out in their numbers. She asked that people should understand what they are trying to do, which according to her, they are merely trying to save their lives.
Commenting on the incident on Twitter and Facebook, Barrister Agbor Balla Nkongho stated that he had just spoken to Michelle Ndoki who confirmed that she was specifically targetted by the police officer who shot her.
I just spoke to Michele Ndoki who confirmed that she was shot 4 times by a police officer in Douala. She states further that, the police officer was clearly targeting her as he ran a long distant just to shoot her. She is Currently undergoing treatment at a hospital in Douala pic.twitter.com/mZ5BuUoyzD
It should be recalled that when English-speaking lawyers began peaceful protests in 2016, the Biya regime reacted by attacking them, shooting at peaceful protesters, confiscating the gowns and wigs of the lawyers. Three years on, the situation has turned into a full-blown conflict, with heavy civilian casualties, and hundreds of thousands of refugees and internally displaced persons.
One would have thought that the regime would understand that violence against protesters was never going to be a solution. The shooting of Ndoki and other protesters merely served in escalating the ire of protesters across the world. Members of the Brigade Anti-Sardinard expressed their anger by plastering the walls of the Cameroon High Commission in the UK with eggs and tomatoes, while those in Paris took over the embassy and burned the effigy of Dictator Paul Biya.
More actions are planned in the days ahead, and it is worrying times for Cameroon as nothing short of Biya’s resignation will satisfy the protesters whose only demand is that he leaves power and end the conflict in the North West and South West Regions.
It was a day meant for peaceful protests both in Cameroon and in the diaspora. The protests were called by Professor Maurice Kamto, the winner of the October 7th Presidential elections in Cameroon, which was rigged by the incumbent, Dictator Paul Biya. The objectives of the protests were two fold: To Say NO to Electoral Hold UP and to ask for an End to the Violence in the NW and SW Regions of Cameroon.
As the people in Cameroon started their peaceful protests, it was met with the usual violent response from the Cameroon police. As the news spread across the diaspora that Barrister Michelle Ndoki and the Activist Celestine Djamen had been shot with live bullets, the anger of the activists of the Brigade Anti-Sardinard became palpable.
From the United Kingdom, to Germany, USA, France and other places where the BAS has its units, the firm decision was taken that it will not be a day of action like others. There was bound to be a response to show the Regime in Yaounde that shooting at peaceful protesters was never going to stop the winds of change sweeping across Cameroon.
It came therefore as no surprise that by the evening of January 26 2019, the BAS took over the Cameroon Embassy in Paris. The activists took down the effigy of Biya, set it on fire, while passing on the message that he was no longer the President of Cameroon. Reports indicate that efforts are also being made to take over the Consulate in Marseilles.
This is a developing story, as it is expected that the BAS has got more actions planned, that are aimed at stopping Cameroon’s diplomatic engagements with the rest of the world, with the sole objective of forcing the Biya Regime to hearken to the voice of the people and leave power.
Biya has been in power for over 36 years with little to show for it in terms of development and security of persons. About three years ago, the English Speaking Regions of Cameroon started protesting peacefully, demanding for change in living conditions. This was met with the same high-handedness, and it has escalated to a full blown civil war.
If the Biya regime thought that their violence against the English-Speaking population will quell the thirst for change, they were grossly mistaken, as the baton has just been passed and Cameroons across the language divide are all uniting with one voice to say – ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! & BIYA MUST GO!
When the West Cameroon Movement for Change (WCMC) called on demonstrations to mark October 1 and all it signifies, it boldly decided that followers in Yaounde should go out and march. This was met by a naive conclusion by Cameroon’s minister for defence, which led to a published letter calling for the military to target Anglophone neighbourhoods in Yaounde. Assessing the situation, WCMC called for their followers in Yaounde to pause the demonstrations but encouraged others in other cities and countries to go ahead. One thing WCMC did not envisage was the resilience of the people within the embattled North West and South West Regions of Cameroon.
Videos and images began emerging as the day wore on, showing that the people had defied the orders of the Ambazonia Governing Council (AGC), the Ambazonia Interim Government (IG) and the Biya Regime’s representatives in the North West and South West Regions, who all placed a ban on public movement within the regions.
The actions of the people on the ground have shown once more, that all those purporting to be leaders are clearly out of touch with the basic realities and aspirations of their people. I already condemned the strategies, asking people not to go out, as being out of touch with the daily realities of those communities.
The outings that were accompanied in most cases by chantings and carrying of peace plants, were taken a notch higher in others, where the people came out with weapons and some hoisted the Ambazonia flag on some prominent government buildings.
As much as I continue to admire the resilience of the people, I still remain of the opinion that the hoisting of flags, the use of force in challenging the brutal military of Biya, will not take the people forward towards freedom. I maintain the opinion that the only way towards any form of freedom for the people of the English-speaking Regions and by extension for all Cameroonians, is for them to unite and oust Biya from power.
It is my hope that over the coming days, there will be some form of mass uprising as the campaign trail brings up pent-up emotions within all parts of Cameroon and the people gradually come to the realisation that unless they come together as one and demand an end to Biya’s 36 years of barren rule, they may have another 7 years added to it.
October 1 means different things to every Cameroonian. To the Federalist, it is the day the Two-State Federation came into existence, therefore, marking the birth of the State of West Cameroon. To the Separatist or Ambazonian, it is the day on which their Interim President, Sisiku Ayuk Tabe, declared the restoration of their independence on October 1st, 2017. To other Cameroonians, it is the day on which President Paul Biya ordered the indiscriminate massacre of many unarmed civilians in 2017, thereby plunging the country deeper into crisis. For many families in Cameroon, West of the Mungo – also known as – Southern Cameroons, West Cameroon, Ambazonia or simply Anglophone (English-Speaking) Cameroon, it is the day they will never forget as their loved ones were brutally taken away from them and their lives torn apart forever.
These issues are the core of the message delivered by the Chairman of the West Cameroon Movement for Change (WCMC), Michael Takie, on his first-ever live broadcast on their Facebook page. Mr. Takie highlighted that while the federalist is looking for the restoration of the lost dignity of the people of West Cameroon and calling for a return to the Two-State Federation; the separatist is calling for the restoration of the dignity of the people of Southern Cameroons through a clean and complete break with the Republic of Cameroon and the Ambazonian is commemorating their day of independence, one thing stands in the way of all these people – DICTATOR PAUL BIYA AND HIS REGIME.
To this end, therefore, Mr. Takie highlighted the need for all to unify and challenge the monster preventing the people from reaching their different aspirations. He argued that irrespective of what differences people have with regards to their destination, it is obvious that their journey goes along the same road, and hence, they ought to use the same vehicle and keep each other company.
Rallying together to ask that Biya leaves power and should not stand for the 7th October 2018 elections, is, according to Mr. Takie, something that serves a triple purpose. First, it liberates the whole of Cameroon from 36 years of baren rule. Secondly, it is the beginning of justice for the people who have lost their lives at the hands of Biya and thirdly, it is a step in the right direction for everyone fighting for change in Cameroon.
A demonstration across major cities and countries in the world was therefore announced. Those currently confirmed are:
YAOUNDE – LONDON – NEW YORK – PARIS – WASHINGTON DC – BELGIUM – SOUTH AFRICA
Confirmations for other demonstrations scheduled to take place at Cameroon’s Embassies and foreign missions in other Countries in Asia, Africa, and the Americas are still awaited.
While it has been established that the different countries will decide on the location for their demonstrations, the WCMC leader proposed that the targets on that day should largely be the disruption of business for all Cameroon’s foreign Missions. This is with the exception of Yaounde, where the location for the demonstration is a highlight guarded secret, which will be released shortly before the day of the demonstration.
Drawing inspiration from the people of Burkina Faso, who stood together as one and demanded the departure of Blaise Compaore, this demonstration is a call to every Cameroonian, who wants things to change, irrespective of their linguistic background or political affiliation, to come out en masse and demand an end to Biya’s monstrosity.
The WCMC has together with other frontline organisations in the UK, been at the forefront of organising demonstrations and starting petitions. It has organised demonstrations multiple times at the Cameroon High Commission in London, at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London, French Embassy, Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey. This is the first time it is working with leaders of groups beyond the UK to organise a worldwide shutdown. WCMC believes that the main strategy to stop a dictator like Biya, remains non-violent peaceful resistance.