Ambazonia Interim Government Calls for School Resumption in Southern Cameroons – With Some Caveats

The issue of school resumption in the English-Speaking parts of Cameroon has been a very contentious one. Over the last week, the debate has been intense with some advocating out-rightly that schools should resume, some out-rightly rejecting the notion and some arguing that for schools to resume, there has to be some promise of security.

In what has been a signficant U-turn, the Interim Government of the self-proclaimed Federal Republic of Ambazonia, through its Communication Secretary Chris Anu, in a broadcast, announced that they were not against school resumption.

In a message that was 1 hour and 16 minutes long, the representative of the Interim government of Ambazonia dealt with a large number of issues. Amidst exhalations to those still fighting for the restoration of their statehood, he used historical references to indicate why there was no need to give up.

At the 43rd minute and 27th second however, he turned his attention to the issue of school resumption. He made it clear that the Interim Government and front-line movements, having held in the past that schools should not resume, are taking a different approach to the issue. Announcing that schools were free to resume and that educational institutions were free to open their doors, the Ambazonia leaders have shown without doubt that they are more concerned about the future of Cameroonians than the current Biya regime.

In my message to the leaders before their Washington DC conference, I had raised the issue of school resumption and argued that it will cast the leaders in a more favourable light as education remains one of the key ways of ensuring a better future for children and for continuity of the quest for freedom.

Justice Ayah Paul Abine also raised the issue, while highlighting the importance of making sure that school resumption was closely linked to the halting of hostilities. It therefore came as no surprise that while making the announcement that schools can resume, the Ambazonian Interim Government, raised the issue of security as a concern. Pointing out to the many instances where the Cameroonian security apparatus has failed to provide safety for citizens, it was made clear that as people resume schooling, they should be aware that the levels of insecurity are still high.

This announcement has effectively increased the pressure on the Biya Regime to ensure that hostilities are halted ahead of the school resumption. In the last two years, the regime in Yaounde has been able to hide under the banner of school boycott policies, to blame all activists fighting for a better Cameroon for anything that went wrong with the educational system. The regime on occasion, blamed activists and Ambazonian fighters for burning schools and attacking pupils and students as way of enforcing school boycott. All of that changes with this announcement.

It is therefore hoped that with this announcement, schools can resume and parents can make the decision to send their kids to school without the fear of disobeying orders from the Ambazonian leadership. It is a tiny step forward, but certainly one in the right direction, especially given the challenges that the school boycott was already presenting to the economy of the Anglophone Regions and to the general health of the struggle for freedom.

 

 

Francophone Activists Turn on the Heat on the Biya Regime & France: Demonstrate in Paris

In times of uncertainty, it has long been argued, the most potent weapon to guarantee victory is building alliances. The seventh suggestion I made to the Anglophone leaders who met in Washington DC last weekend, was the need to form alliances with other oppressed people – especially Francophones.

The logic is simple, we may have different visions of what we want, but we have common enemies. For the Francophone in Cameroon, it is the dysfunctional regime of Dictator Paul Biya, while to those from other countries, it is the imperialism of France.

Whether the Anglophone leaders considered doing anything of this nature is left to be seen. However, the idea has clearly been piloted both by Emmanuel Kemta, who during last Sunday’s attack on Biya, constantly referred to the killing of Anglophones; and today, but Francophones both from Cameroon and other countries such as Gabon and Congo, who demonstrated in front of the Cameroon Embassy in Paris.

The demonstrators where unanimous in the condemnation of the brutal massacre of English-Speaking Cameroonians. They were also very vocal in condemning the other atrocities perpetrated by the Biya regime among women and children in other parts of the country.

Talking to one of the organisers, he confirmed that they are guided by the principle that by working with others, all oppressed people can easily win against oppression than if they were working on their own. He said this was the beginning of a movement that was hoped will spread across all French-Speaking African countries. Their broad objective is not only to condemn the dictatorships that seem to be more rampant in Francophone Africa, but also to ensure the destruction of the Francs CFA.

It should be noted that Fourteen Countries in Africa currently subjected to the use of the French currency. There are four fundamental principles guiding France’s relationship with the CFA countries. These are captured succinctly by Pierre Canac and Rogelio Garcia-Contreras in an article in the Journal of Asian and African Studies (February 2011).

  1. The French Treasury guarantees without limits, the convertibility of the two CFA francs.
  2. The two CFA francs are convertible at a fixed exchange into French francs [now euros],”. So France abandoned the French Francs but we are stuck with the CFA Franc. Also, the fixed exchange rate can change, but only when France approves.
  3. Despite plenty of restrictions, there are no de jure controls on the movements of capital within the [CFA] zone.”
  4. The CFA zone members must “pool together a minimum of 65% of their international reserves, corresponding to 20% of the monetary base of each central bank, into an operations account at the French Treasury”.

There is therefore hope not only for Cameroonians – Anglophones and Francophones alike – but also for the whole of French Africa, should this movement gain momentum, and lead to the true liberation of French-Africa from the clutches of imperialism.

Kemta Attacks Paul Biya, Again – On His Hospital Bed

Every human being has their nemesis. Biya’s nemesis seems to be CODE and its operations man, Emmanuel Kemta. After chasing Biya from his hotel in Switzerland on several occasions, after taking to music to attack and blame Biya for the escalation of the Anglophone crisis, Kemta has decided this time to push it a notch further.

On what promised to be a peaceful Sunday at the Geneva University Hospitals, on a day that a cross-generation of Anglophone leaders converged in Washington DC in a historic match, Kemta decided that Biya will have no rest.

Recounting the killing of women and children by the Cameroon military, the killing of Anglophones and Biya’s dismal 36 years of governance, that has left the country without credible medical facilities. Kemta goes on to ask Biya why he has failed to develop Cameroon’s infrastructure and is currently enjoying those of a foreign country.

Finally, Kemta promised Biya that he will be staying on in Switzerland for at least one month and Biya will be receiving a visit from him every week. Other activists have also promised to join Kemta.

Should other activists join in this quest of chasing Biya out of Switzerland, there might be a chance that he will eventually find it uncomfortable enough to stay in Cameroon and address the issues that require his attention. To begin with, he might call off the war that has been declared on Anglophones, which is claiming the lives of young people on a daily basis.

Biya is also hoping to run for the upcoming elections in Cameroon due to take place on October 7. Should Biya win another 7-year term, that will mean, failing to die in power, he will be over 94 years old when that term ends.

The Paradox of #Anglophone Children Going to Study in French #Cameroon

The last few days have been particularly difficult for me. This is probably because I am very passionate about education and as September approaches, I cannot bear the thought of Anglophone children staying out of school for another academic year.

Importance of Education for Motivation - Jim rohn
Importance of Education for Motivation – Jim Rohn

I was mildly optimistic that the Anglophone leaders meeting in Washington DC over the weekend will make this a priority and pressure the Yaounde regime into some form of capitulation. As this did not happen, I was nursing my disappointment, I came across a Facebook post in which the person jocularly indicated that Anglophones were now going abroad to study in La Republique Du Cameroun.

Making reference to the ultimatum issued by Chris Anu, the Ambazonia Interim Government Communication Secretary, who gave till the end of May  2018, for Francophones to leave and advised Anglophones to come back home, this Facebook post pointed to the irony that the reverse was happening – Anglophones were rather going over to French Cameroon, to ensure the education of their children.

Education leads to Peace
Education leads to Peace

This trend should not in the least be surprising, given the importance placed on education within African societies. Education is seen as the only way out of poverty and the assurance of a better future. For parents, therefore, who have had their kids out of school for two years, this is as much a sacrifice as they can make.

The paradox of the situation, however, is that the Anglophone crisis began in 2016, in part, as a quest to stop the Francophonisation of English schools. By prolonging the school boycott strategy and forcing Anglophone families to send their kids into the French-Speaking zones, the policy is not only depriving the Anglophone region of financial resources, it is achieving the exact thing, the protests in 2016 sought to challenge.

The longer the school boycott strategy is in force, the more Anglophone providers of education suffer; the longer the strategy persists, teachers, especially those employed by the private sector, suffer and the more Anglophone Children find themselves at the heart of a French system of education.

Education is the sure means to a sustainable Future
Education is the sure means to a Sustainable Future

I must state here, however, that this happens to be only the children of well-to-do families. The poorer children, whose parents cannot afford to send them to the French areas to study, will be left uneducated. This, therefore, creates another problem. A class distinction, in which the rich create opportunities for their kids, while the poor suffer the brunt of the school boycott approach. In the not too distant future, the rich will inevitably become richer, while the poor will remain servants thereby broadening the class distinction.

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.

 

 

36 Reasons Why Biya Deserves to be Re-Elected President of #Cameroon

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Actually,  NONE

 

Southern Cameroonians Descend on Washington DC: Demand A Response from the Rest of the World

It was meant to be a weekend during which the frontline leaders of the English-speaking Cameroon Struggle speak as one, in a bid to find a way forward.

The leaders started with closed door meetings, followed by a session during which people across the world called in to voice their opinions.

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The highlight of the weekend however has been the massive crowd that stormed the streets of Washington DC on this Sunday 19 August 2018.

Their message was simple: the world cannot keep quiet while Cameroonians of English extraction were being killed by the Biya Regime.  While this is a compelling message, it does not fully capture the reality of the situation.

While the Biya Regime has been engaged in killings and burning down of villages, the pro-independence fighters, under the banner of self defence have been engage in repprisal attacks on both the military and those tagged as ‘traitors’ or ‘black legs’. What this effectively means is that, as the conflict continues, Cameroonians are killing each other, while the person who has the ability to halt hostilities is tucked away in a Swiss Hotel.

It is true that Cameroonians are dying on a daily basis. It is also true that killings are taking place on both sides. The most true of all is that every one loses except those in positions of power.

As I suggested in one of my posts, the leaders of the Anglophone struggle also have the ability to declare a ceasefire and take some measures that will ease the dire living conditions of those at the heart of the raging conflict.

Until such time when one side decides to put the wellbeing of the masses ahead of their ideology, this will continue to be a lose-lose situation for ordinary Cameroonian within the English-speaking Regions.

Until such time, it is difficult to say what the response of the rest of the world could be, other than a call on both sides to halt the hostilities.

Ambazonia Defence Forces (ADF) killed by Cameroon military

As Cameroon’s Military & Civilians Kill Each Other, Biya Wins

The only time that Cameroon Dictator Paul Biya has directly taken an action to affect the ongoing crisis in the English-speaking Regions, is when at the airport, he declared war against Separatists.

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For over two years, the conflict has metamorphosed from a simply demand by lawyers and teachers to a demand for outright independence by separatist asking for a State of Ambazonia.

As Biya refused to deal with the situation, it inevitably spiralled out of control to the situation that is now clearly a civil war, albeit one fought only in two regions of a country of ten regions.

As Biya prepares himself to go to stand again as a Presidential Candidate in the October 7th 2018 elections, during which he will be seeking another 7 year term in addition to his current 36, one would have thought resolving the current conflict will be top on his list of priorities.

However, when one considers that Paul Biya is one dictator that never holds a cabinet meeting, never gives a press conference, never engages in any form of interaction with the public that would require impromptu responses, then that person begins to realise that Biya is at his comfort zone with a war situation.

With the current war situation, Biya is using one stone to shoot two birds. He is hoping that the military with their superior weapons and training will kill off any form of resistance from the English-speaking agitators. Secondly Biya hopes that the conflict will serve as a distraction should he win the elections on October 7.

The level of agitation among Francophone activists who are also disgruntled with Biya’s barren 36 years in power, is expected to increase over the coming weeks and might explode with a win.

In Biya’s estimation therefore, should the military successfully use force to shut down the resistance in the English-speaking Regions, this will serve as a deterrent for others planning any form of agitation before and after the elections.

So effectively, the more the military kill young people and the more these retaliate, Biya remains the one person who will win in the event that the conflict continues.

From Switzerland to Music: Kemta Haunts Biya, Tells Anglophones Not to Give Up Their Quest for Freedom

As Cameroon’s Dictator Paul Biya, has been reported to have made another trip to Switzerland, I could not help but think of one person, who has in the past, made such trips to lose the coziness that Biya craves from them. This person is Emmanuel Kemta.

Kemta is perhaps best known for chasing Biya away from his hotel in Geneva Switzerland. Sometime in 2017, CODE (Collectif des Organisations Démocratiques et patriotiques des Camerounais de la Diaspora), the organisation of which Kemta is a part, uncovered Biya’s hotel location and gave him an ultimatum to return to Cameroon, which the strongman surprisingly, observed. Despite doing all these, the attractiveness of Switzerland, compared to Biya’s Cameroon, is such that he cannot help but go there as often as possible.

Kemta, has, in addition to physically going after Biya, used music to haunt the Cameroonian octogenarian who has been in power for 36 years. In the style of the legendary Lapiro De Mbanga, Kemta uses a combination of English, French and FrancAnglais (Mboko) in his music.

In his latest release titled Don’t Give Up, Kemta captures the short history of the current phase of the Anglophone crisis. He highlights that although some are asking for Federalism and some Separation, the bottom line is that, everyone wants Biya to go. Also, speaking on behalf of CODE, Kemta in this piece, demands that the Cameroon military stop the genocide it is carrying out in the Anglophone Regions. He further makes the declaration that Biya is wrong to tag Anglophone fighters as ‘terrorists’ given that they are simply engaged in legitimate self-defense.

A Cameroonian of Francophone extraction, Kemta has been among one of the most vocal activists challenging the gradual and systematic extermination of English-Speaking Cameroonians. He has been part of many demonstrations organised in the United Kingdom.

As recently as Friday 27th July 2018, Kemta led a group of other Francophone activists to the Cameroon High Commission, where they denounced the actions of the Cameroon military in the North, North West and South West Regions of the country.

As news has again spread that Biya is currently in Switzerland to receive medical attention, it would not come as a surprise if Kemta were to pay Biya another unwelcome visit. Who would blame him though? If Biya took care of Cameroon’s health infrastructure and other aspects of the country’s development, he would have little incentive to keep going to Switzerland, where it is becoming obvious, there is always an unwanted guest at the party.

 

Cameroon Military Allegedly Capture Base of Separatist Fighters

Images being displayed by the Cameroon military indicate that they have captured one of the bases of operations of the Ambazonian Separatist fighters. According to an update posted on their Facebook Page Honneur et Fidélité – Armée Camerounaise.,  the operation led to the killing of one Ambazonian fighter, one captured, and several wounded in the forest. These claims are difficult to verify, given that the pictures do not show any dead or wounded fighters. There is, however, one young person sitting in mud, who apparently has been captured. However, there is no indication in the picture that he was caught at the scene where other items are reported to have been found.

Captured Ambazonian fighter
Person claimed by Cameroon Military to be a Captured Ambazonian Fighter

Among the other things reported to have been recovered from the fighter’s base, are 03 Ak47 + 06 other firearms; 520 rounds of ammunition, 29 hunting rifles plus 1137 matching rounds of 12 calibre ammunition; 2 defensive grenades, 1 electricity generator, a solar plate, 3 motorcycles, 1 heavy gear battery, 1 ADF T-shirt, 1 Camouflage pants, 1 canal+ antenna, a dozen bags of rice, Kitchen utensils and hundreds of bottles of dry-Gin.

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The Cameroon Military has been in a long drawn out conflict with Separatist fighters, following Biya’s declaration of war against activists. Activists who were hitherto peacefully demanding that the Anglophone problem be resolved either through a Two-State Federation or through a Separation of the Country, feel their actions are justified as they are merely defending themselves from Biya’s brutality. Huge casualties have been recorded on both sides of the warring factions, but the most casualty has been suffered by the ordinary citizen, faced with the challenges of a war situation.