The UN and Ambazonia: The Case of Missing Files or Misfiling?

Many citizens of the self-proclaimed state of Ambazonia would have been taken aback upon reading a short piece purportedly written by Professor Martin Ayim. Ayim in his write-up claims that all documents sent to the United Nations (UN) by Ambazonians since the 1990s have been shredded, without being looked at. Anyim presents this as a discovery that appears to have been a victory achieved by the Ambazonian Interim Government (IG). He therefore quickly goes on to state that the same IG will soon be reaching out to the UN Secretary General.
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As this short write-up made its rounds on social media, I read with fascination as many latched on to the optimistic parts, which provided them with a reason to cling to their hope of having a new nation. The truth is that Prof. Anyim, like many erudite persons from Cameroon, West of the Mungo, have for a long time, excelled in the art of deception. This deception paradoxically has been of their own people.

Let us be clear about something, the UN has no legal obligation to a state called Ambazonia. As far as the UN is concerned, Southern Cameroons voted in 1961 in a plebiscite to join The Republic of Cameroon in a Federation. Resolution 1608 of April 1961 confirmed the results of this plebiscite and in the Foumban Conference, the representatives of both Southern Cameroons and the French-speaking Republic of Cameroon agreed on the form of state they wanted.  On October 1, 1961, Southern Cameroons became West Cameroon.

The contention today, which has some legal basis, is how West Cameroon disappeared in 1972, as the state mutated to the United Republic of Cameroon and what happened to the supposed ‘unity’, when Paul Biya in 1984 changed the country’s name back to The Republic of Cameroon.

Maybe, taking the issues regarding the disappearance of West Cameroon to the UN for discussion might have given them something to talk about. However approaching the UN with the quest for the recognition of a new state, was a nonstarter.

The UN clearly has NO MANDATE to recognise a new state. It makes this clear when it states that:

The recognition of a new State or Government is an act that only other States and Governments may grant or withhold. It generally implies readiness to assume diplomatic relations. The United Nations is neither a State nor a Government, and therefore does not possess any authority to recognize either a State or a Government. As an organization of independent States, it may admit a new State to its membership or accept the credentials of the representatives of a new Government.

The procedure is briefly as follows:

  1. The State submits an application to the Secretary-General and a letter formally stating that it accepts the obligations under the Charter.
  2. The Security Council considers the application. Any recommendation for admission must receive the affirmative votes of 9 of the 15 members of the Council, provided that none of its five permanent members — China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America — have voted against the application.
  3. If the Council recommends admission, the recommendation is presented to the General Assembly for consideration. A two-thirds majority vote is necessary in the Assembly for admission of a new State.
  4. Membership becomes effective the date the resolution for admission is adopted.

So contrary to what Prof. Anyim and many claim, the UN did not grant independence to Southern Cameroons in 1961, it merely recognised the outcome of a public vote. In the same manner, the UN has no mandate to grant independence to Ambazonia.

So instead of sending papers and petitions to the UN asking for the recognition of a new state, Ambazonians might think of courting at least 9 out of the 15 members of the Security Council, while making sure that the Five Permanent members are among these.

This, of course, would be a herculean task given that, with the apparent exception of the Russian Federation, the other permanent members have been instrumental in different ways in propping up the Biya Regime’s 36 years in power.

Ambazonians have also been known to tender petitions to the Commonwealth, of which Cameroon is a member. Under the same rules of engagement that the UN has with its members, the Commonwealth is under no obligation to respond to Ambazonia, as it is not one of her members.

It is my view that the best way for English-Speaking Cameroonians to get any form of freedom or respect within their country, is to challenge the system from within. It is obvious that elections will never guarantee this, as the rigging machinery is effectively controlled by Biya. Making the case for the Restoration of the State of West Cameroon, which has a legal argument starting with the violation of the constitution in 1972, remains the best option.

A return to a Two-State Federation within Cameroon will give Anglophones, the autonomy to build the right institutions that can attract diplomatic relations with other states. Such can be the start of any talk of independence. Within a federal structure, the people of the English-speaking regions can effectively talk with the UN or Commonwealth, as sections of a Country that is their member.

In a nutshell, English-Speaking Cameroonians will need to gain some degree of autonomy before they can think of approaching the UN. As an organisation of independent states, the UN deals with independent entities, not help them gain independence.

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

BOH HERBERT WARNS Tassang Wilfred AND SURROGATES

 

I have not been a fan of Boh Herbert throughout this struggle. But when a man is objective in a particular stance, our personal idiosyncrasies must give way to rational judgement. I literally clapped after reading his response to the ongoing tirage against Balla.

Happy reading

These Political Lynchings Must End

boh-herber

I don’t know for some of you, but I have watched, in horror, more than enough of these revolting videos of flag-waving, political zealots, foaming in the mouth as they advertise their intolerance towards Barrister Agbor Nkongho and anyone else, for that matter, who dares not to be reading from the Holy Book of SCACUF. This nonsense is sickening.

One thing is a constant: Ambazonians must not and shall not all worship at the altar of SCACUF and His Holiness the Pope, crowned at the sighting of white smoke at secret SCACUF conclaves. Nothing will change that. Not threats! Not actual violence! Not acts of arson! Nothing!

Why, may I ask, would anyone bearing the flag of Ambazonia – the boldest symbol and expression of our freedom to be who we are, not what someone else wants us to be – not know that the right to hold and express such political opinion without fear, applies in equal measure to everyone else? Which class in political tolerance or mere decent upbringing did these vulgar political lynch mobs miss?

Surely, Ambazonians seek a nation, better – not worse – than the Egypt from which we flee, right? Surely, Ambazonians know that they cannot reach or inherit such Promised Land unless they defend the liberties and freedoms of ALL – not just some. Surely, Ambazonians know better than to heed calls by a so-called leaders who seek freedom from fear by inviting their followers to throw their political opponents under the bus.

These mob lynchings are ugly and shameful. They paint a picture of a people unworthy of what they claim to deserve after 56 years of annexation. Instead, these lynchings suggest that some of us may have perfected or seek a nation in which we will perfect the wickedness we have suffered at the hands of our colonial master. This is sooooo very, very sad!

If only one could swear that those in these mobs are truly brave!

Speaking of brave, exactly how many of these “brave-in-the-safety of London political gangsters” would speak up boldly and openly in support of independence if they lived in the Cameroons today? How many of them would do anything different from finding the clever wording Barrister Agbor Nkongho uses to express his support for the right to self-determination ostensibly in order to survive the murderous, colonial regime of Yaounde? How many of these brave mobsters would parade the Ambazonia flag and voice open support for independence if they were (as Barrister Agbor Nkongho must) going to be boarding the next flight back to the Cameroons? It’s easy to ask Barrister Agbor Nkongho to put the noose around his neck that even the outspoken, mostly exiled leadership of this independence quest have not yet done.

We need o show more respect for each other and definitely more appreciation for the sacrifices, however small, of each Ambazonian, whether we like them or not. It is their country too, damn it! And they have a right to voice their views about it whether we share those views or not.

By Ntumfoyn Boh Herbert (Yindo Toh)
Spokesperson, MoRISC

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.

Innocent Chia, MoRISC & Southern Cameroons Restoration Struggle – By Agbor Martin Ayuk

Innocent Chia wrote asking questions about the operations of SCACUF and highlighting his disappointment with certain processes. Less than 24 hours later. Agbor Martin Ayuk has presented a rebuttal which answers some of the questions raised.

I am just presenting the different opinions raised but must stress that they do not represent my views.

Enjoy your reading!

Answers

We have all had the opportunity of reading a diatribe unleashed by Chia Innocent of MoRISC on the Southern Cameroons Ambazonai Consortium United Front, (SCACUF). He made very serious allegations about the law firm which has been retained to commence legal action (one of the means freedom fighters are employing) that could in the end take us to Buea. Chia also points out a lot of weaknesses he considers would make SCACUF ineffective in securing our most wished-for restoration of statehood, ranging from untalented and devoted leadership to reluctance to put in place an interim government.

The first observation I would like to make here is that curiously enough, MoRISC is a member organization of SCACUF, an indication that the rantings Chia has brought to the market place would well have been addressed internally and spared us the trouble of public quarreling. To make matters worse, my research revealed that the Spokesman of SCACUF is no other person than the strongman of MoRISC, meaning he had the duty to educate his members on the prevailing situation in the organization. This is a worrisome situation and it simply indicates that the old demons of division, power mongering, division and treachery are back in the house just when the government in Yaounde is getting rattled.

MoRISC as an Opportunistic Organization

The Movement for the Restoration of Southern Cameroons was born out of the current struggle triggered by Common Law Lawyers and Teachers’ Unions in Cameroon in 2016. Prior to this current phase of Southern Cameroons Nationalism, nothing existed as MoRISC. The initiative to create the organization was seen as laudable especially as the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium that brought together the various unions under one umbrella was mainly home-based and was a showcase of unity which is strength. However, ever since the advent of MoRISC there has rather been a lot of controversy than harmony as the outfit has been fighting every other organization involved in the struggle, sabotaging initiatives here and there if those moves were not initiated by it. The Publisher/Editor of the Cameroon Journal has on several occasions presented this divisive and deviant attitude of MoRISC as working to bring down all other organizations by the use of conspiracy theories as a measure of promoting its agenda.

MoRISC from inception was presented as a movement- an umbrella organization meant to bring together all other organizations involved in the restoration of the independence of Southern Cameroons. Today, MoRISC is no longer an umbrella organization and its Spokesman, Boh Herbert says the body is no longer a movement but a facilitator, working to raise resources from Southern Cameroonians to ease the work and activities of other organizations seeking the restoration of our statehood. This means the initial intention of MoRISC has been hijacked to a new role; a role which appears invisible and unclear given that none of the existing structures operating in the field like the SCNC, SCYL, AGC, SCAPO or the Consortium have reported that they ever received any facilitating funds from Boh Herbert and his team. Today, we learn of yet another mutation of MoRISC into a Secretariat to assist in ensuring that the key players attain their objective of taking us home to Buea.

This perspective of things tells us without any doubts, therefore, that MoRISC is not supposed to have an agenda of its own if it is mainly out to play the facilitator. By insisting that it has a roadmap developed and which it is following, a roadmap that must end with the “election” of a Prime Minister and the putting in place of a government means the facilitator is inadvertently supplanting the actors. Isn’t it necessary for MoRISC to put an end to this scam on its members and followers and unveil its personal agenda for all to see? Such a thing can be done without necessarily running down other organizations and trying to discourage people from supporting other initiatives only because they were not put forth by MoRISC, especially the current struggle was initiated and fueled by those structures being insulted when MoRISC was yet to be born. It may be important for Chia to note that the Consortium was and is still a conglomerate of organizations that believed in unity and that is why we are here; if it were not for ulterior motives, it would have made more sense for the initiators of MoRISC to have constituted themselves as an arm of the Consortium, the SCNC, SCAPO, Ambazonia, SCYL or AGC depending on their vision to advance the common cause, reason we are now confronted with the fact that the purpose of the outfit was to come up and form a government to take over a revolution they hardly ignited.

The Case for an Interim Government

One of the issues that have so annoyed Chia is the delay in forming an interim government as enshrined in the roadmap of MoRISC and endorsed by SCACUF for the month of May, 2017. The month is hardly half way gone and trouble has started, whereas everything could jolly well still be possible. But, most importantly, Chia does not tell anyone that at the second Conclave of front line leaders in Nigeria, the idea of picking a Prime Minister and eventually a government was admitted with preconditions; to secure at least certain concessions from some authorities on the diplomatic front before proceeding with the idea, to ensure the new interim government does not suffer the fate of previous ones hurriedly put in place. That means this would not be the first time Southern Cameroons would be putting in place an interim government and it should of course be the last time because we must now go all the way by correcting the errors of the past. So, rather than working hard to meet the preconditions agreed upon mutually in Nigeria (and MoRISC did agree to them), Chia and his friends have resorted to pouring unfounded insults on the SCACUF Secretariat and Mr. Tassang Wilfred who is the Secretary General. This lowly attempt to put a spanner in the wheel of the struggle is reminiscent of others before Chia who always felt it made more sense to create disorder in order to benefit from it.

Landmark Achievement by SCACUF

It is easy to observe that within a short period of time, the United Front has secured some visible gains for the struggle; the advent of SCBC and the signing of Foley Hoag (even if it sounds to some people as a scam) and most importantly the putting in place a robust organizational setup to guarantee renewed in intensity in the resistance on the ground. The month of May is too significant for our struggle as it the month in which stronger stronger chains were bound around our feet and hands. It would be unwise for us not to concentrate on defeating government by ensuring a biting boycott of 20th May and shattering plans to force pupils and students who have not been going to school to take end of year examinations, and rather go fighting over a thing like an interim government that needs to be well planned.

The time to go all the way is now and the only language we should hear from today has got to be constructive criticism, not the kind of criticism that ends with attacking the personalities of people. MoRISC has thousands of dollars collected from Southern Cameroonians in its accounts, it should release that money to facilitate the struggle as Boh Herbert has himself pointed out.

Agbor Martin Ayuk
PhD

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 Consortium Calls for Caution; The UK Gains Momentum

Everything seemed to be set for the Cameroon worldwide peace walk that had been scheduled on the 2nd January 2017. Cameroon president Paul Biya’s speech on 31 December in which he insinuated that protesters were ‘extremists being manipulated’ did more to inflame the already precarious situation.

The President’s speech was a further example of how out-of-touch the man at the top was, about affairs in the Central African Nation of Cameroon. Riddled with a lot of contradictions, one thing that was clear from the end-of-year address was that protesters were clearly being threatened by the president. Hours following the address, this became evident as most of the strategic towns in the West Cameroon region, which were already militarised, got additional troops.

In the light of all these, it was therefore not surprising when the Civil Society Consortium issued their 11th Press release in which they assessed the situation and called off the protests scheduled for 2nd January.

CONSORTIUM PRESS RELEASE NO. 11
CONSORTIUM PRESS RELEASE NO. 11

This action was received with mixed feelings. While some persons were of the opinion that the Consortium had acted responsibly by thinking of the potential loss of lives, there were some persons like Mark Bareta who felt they did not have the mandate to call off the demonstrations. Others like Jet Newton felt that such an action will only embolden the regime in Cameroon.

 

This notwithstanding. the Leader of the West Cameroon Movement for Change, UK, Mike Takie, quickly reassured members that the Consortium had simply called off the demonstrations in Cameroon and not those planned in other places. He was very emphatic that this was rather a clarion call for the diaspora to understand the need to take the struggle abroad.

This call was hearkened by many who turned up at 10 Downing street, despite the freezing January weather. The banners and placards carried a variety of messages, all leading to one conclusion – West Cameroonians were ready for a long struggle and were not going to give up until Biya made some much-needed reforms that will guarantee the restoration of their lost dignity.

After several messages either addressing the protesters, addressing the UK Prime Minister, Theresa May MP, addressing the Biya Regime or simply addressing the general public, the protesters, walked through Whitehall to Trafalgar Square where more speeches and exaltations were made.

pic-of-demo-jan-2

When the London protesters finally gathered in a local pub for some refreshments and deliberations, one thing was certain – they were poised for a long, bitter struggle. None of them was under the illusion that this was going to be an easy walk. Nonetheless, they seemed in agreement on one thing – it was either this walk was taken to its logical conclusion or West Cameroonians would see their gradual extermination by Biya.

An address from Mr. Takie further informed the group of many planned activities including upcoming demonstrations in and around London. The next destination was a revisit to the Commonwealth Secretariat to get a response to the petition handed to them a few weeks ago.

The response from all gathered was unanimous – THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES!