Reports indicate that some 16 Southern Cameroons activists were on July 17, 2016, arrested by security forces in Buea. The arrested activists are said to include a blind man identified as Mokube Alus Ngoe. They are all currently being detained at three different locations. The judicial police, the Buea Central, and the Molyko police stations respectively. The only crime is that these activists who came in from Nkambe,Kumba, Njinikom, Mamfe, Kumbo, Bangem, and Bamenda decided to converge in Buea for a grand meeting.
They are fighting for the restoration of Southern Cameroons. The Cameroon Penal code recently adopted punishes Cameroonians to life imprisonment if convicted of secession. Would these activists be charged of secession? Barrister Shufai Blaise Berinyuy, who is counsel for these activists on July 20, 2016, said he has not been informed of the charges against the activists. “Out of the 16, only 15 of them have been brought to court. They are however high-spirited,” added Barrister Shufai Blaise Berinyuy.
However, BaretaNews notes that, the legitimacy of the restoration of independence of Southern Cameroons cannot be challenged in any court of law. It just so happens that, the powers that be have not been pushed to the wall to consider the claims the Southern Cameroons National Council (SCNC) and other movements are making towards the restoration of Southern Cameroons Independence. Until the dynamics of the forces which stands against the vision and aspiration of the SCNC are threatened, then the status quo is bound to remain the same.
It is evident that independence is never given on a platter of gold. People must work for it. While the community of Nations (UN Members) enjoys diplomatic relationships with La Republique, the Southern Cameroons activists are hoping that the restoration of the statehood would be attained through peaceful means in what they call ” The Force of Argument, Not The Argument of Force”. When we take a critical look across the nations who fought for their independence, they did so with an iron fist stained with the blood of men and women. They did so because they had a large segment of the people they want to lead standing behind them. They had support from friendly nations, they had support from their Diaspora brothers and sisters and most importantly they had support from the people on the home soil. Is this the case with the SCNC? Is this the case with these 16 gentlemen who have been arrested and everything is just normal in the home soil?
However, it should be noted that though the people in South West and North West regions in the Cameroons who constitutes people of former British Southern Cameroons are silent, BaretaNews notes that the movement of Southern Cameroons independence has a considerable large silent support from people who do not want to dare. Most of the open and daily support comes from the Diaspora-from people who can talk freely, move freely and criticize freely and even hold SCNC meetings freely. This by itself is good because the Diaspora have a role to play but this support should be able to be translated to a large movement back home, if not then the purpose of it is defeated. The few who dares like these 16 Southern Cameroons activists have been rounded and illegally arrested without any support from the people that matters.
Do SCNC have this large support back home? BaretaNews position to this question is in two fold.
The SCNC have a silent support, but lacks such physical support from the masses from people who want to dare. Who is ready to dare? Who is ready to sacrifice to challenge the community of nations to speak up. The arrest of SCNC members and subsequent release has been going on for decades now, yet it has not been able to trigger the international community. What then can the SCNC and her sister movement do to get the masses behind them? What message can they sell to win the sympathy of Southern Cameroonians? Is it all about an issue of a few as shown in the arrest of these 16 Southern Cameroonians?
The people of Southern Cameroons cum Anglophones are by themselves afraid to speak up. We have seen marginalization of Anglophones in many forms from poor translation of the public exams to infrastructure, appointments etc. How can Biya be threatened when he knows he owns the chiefs and Fons across Southern Cameroons? How can Biya get into dialogue from the position of strength? The SCNC should be at the position of strength to engage Biya into dialogue especially getting him to respect the Banjul verdict as a starter. Is this the case? Is the SCNC and her sister movements in a position of strength?
While respecting the right to self-determination. The truth remains the truth .What is the truth here ? The truth is that there is no union between both Cameroons. On December 31st, 2009, President Paul Biya confirmed this. Period. Now the solution to this truth might have different options. Some might want to make the Union legal and get into a confederation or loose federation and some might want to just have nothing more to do with La Republique du Cameroun. And these options are based on many factors and ones political decisions. Political decisions change as time moves on. It should be noted that before the SCNC took the zero option of complete independence, originally the option the mother foundation had was returning to the Federation. When they had this option, were they playing games? No, they were not. They only change to zero option when the Biya’s government refuses to listen and so SCNC was born. This is all about going with the options we think could be feasible considering all political factors on the ground. The truth should not be confuse with options.
Angelbert Nde, one of Cameroons youth activists had this to say “We call on all anglophone youths to create an anglophone youth movement that will fight for justice for the anglophones in the current dispensation. It will also educate the entire country on the plight of the anglophones”. BaretaNews added by saying that, such an Anglophone peoples’ movement should be one to fight for the rights of Anglophone in the current political dispensation.A movement that is not for a separate country, but one for national Unity while respecting the Southern Cameroons people and thereby ascribing to the 1961 accord after the Union must have full filled the legal prescriptions of UN charter.
Before we conclude this piece , the proponents of Southern Cameroons independence must begin now making known to the people of Southern Cameroons all the structures the new state shall take. How would the various counties operate? What form of political structures, institutions would be in place? How would elections be conducted? Would there be a rotation policy between the peoples of Southern Cameroons ( North West and South West) into the presidency. What about currency, economy? How would resources be distributed?. These are some of the issues people want to know. People want to see the blueprint of the new state of Southern Cameroons. It is not only about supporting independence, bring these issues to the public because at the end of the day, whether federation or restoration, we all shall need the support and backing of the people. It is not an issue of a few.
Conclusively, looking at the present political dispensations, we of this platform ascribed more to a confederation or call it loose Federation or greater Autonomy of Southern Cameroons. We are aware that, La Republique is anathema to anything federation or independence, therefore both options would still require us to dare. Am I ready to dare? Are you ready to dare? Could the best option be the Anglophone Peoples’ Movement which ascribe more to defending the rights of Anglophones in the present political status? Where is our Moses?
God bless the Southern Cameroons.
God is still saying something.