April 15, 2017
Cameroon Journal, Washing tong D.C – A little over a week ago convening in Nigeria, a number of Southern Cameroons nationalist groups under the canopy of SCACUF, issued a statement to the effect that they have formed a united front for the Southern Cameroon struggle. Henceforth, the statement suggested, all the groups are poised to working together.
While from the surface, the statement sounds like we finally got the united platform we have been yearning for, there really isn’t anything that practically binds the groups together. The whole arrangement still leaves much to be desired. It has no characteristics features of a union such as working articles that spell out the role each group should play or be playing. All we see is a Secretariat and some names that should be manning it. To call what came out of Nigeria as a united front, the kind that Southern Cameroonians have been insisting for ever since the beginning of the struggle is sarcasm at its best.
We’re not being unnecessarily pessimistic and critical here about the initiative. There are basically only two groups in this front – those that want to achieve independence through the diplomatic route, and those who think that arm struggle is the way to go. Now, let’s consider what in the mind of most people is the kind of united front they want. A united front in the mind of most Southern Cameroonians is one in which each group acknowledges and embraces the agenda or mission of other groups and see themselves as complimenting, not opponents, as it is turning out to be.
In other words, we are saying that a united front would have been attained only if SCACUF began by acknowledging the strengths and vision of each other, and agree not necessarily to compromise, but to synergizing all despite the differences in direction. There is a popular adage that many roads lead to Rome and that applies to this struggle. No one group can boost that its way is the only way that should take us to Buea. Coming out of Nigeria, we still have the situation where some of the groups do not believe that diplomacy will take us anywhere, while others, continue to preach the doctrine that self defence, call it arm struggle has no place in their agenda. That is the mess we are still in right now. For example, the SCNC, the Consortium and MoRISC, continue to preach nonviolence.
They are trying to convince the people that lobbying and diplomacy is the best strategy that should get us to the Prime Minister’s Lodge in Buea. They certainly are not in support of the groups advocating for alternatives such as self defence or arm struggle. With this line of division still drawn, putting a wedge between the consortium, SCNC and MoRISC on the one hand, and AGC and the SCYL on the other, how can we say with our heads lifted up that we have a united front?
Cho Ayaba and Ebenezar Akwanga of the AGC and SCYL respectively, should be laughing at the proponents of lobby and diplomacy to scorn; wondering where in Africa diplomacy has brought independence or statehood to any nation. It is of course, the same picture happening on the other side where people like Boh Herbert who are hanging on the diplomatic strings are laughing at the self defence group, wondering where they did get the money to finance their mission. This is the elephant in the room that SCACUF in its unity strive, failed to address. You don’t talk of unity when each faction is still very much focused on independently pursuing its agenda.
If a meeting of all the groups is not reconvened, SCACUF will die or maybe, just come across as a press release issuing authourity. For there to be a genuine united front, SCACUF should amalgamate not just names of groups, but more importantly, acknowledge and synergize what each group brings to the table and sort ways for all to function under the umbrella in diversity. Right now, that is yet to be seen.
The second point, self-evident enough that there is yet to be a united front is the fact that nothing was mentioned about how each of the groups contributes financially to the Secretariat they created. All these groups are out there raising money. Some are raising more than others. If they have actually bought into the idea of a united front, doesn’t common sense suggest that they put the money or some percentage of it in the coffers of SCACUF?
A united front should entail that all the groups direct all or some of their funds to the centre secretariat and the secretariat in collaboration with the advisory Council resolve on how to deploy the funds. Right now, we still have a situation where MoRISC has to keep all the funds they have raised, as well as the SCYL, SCNC, AGC, Ambazonia etc., etc.
At the Cameroon Journal, it is our opinion that you do not talk about unity, not until all the parties are willing to relinquish some dominion over their finances or at least part of it to the secretariat. If this is not done, you can bet that the secretariat will be powerless and left with no funds to execute the mission of the movement.
If SCACUF wants to be true to itself, it should be calling for another meeting in which issues like these are put on table. All the groups should come together again, and barriers such as the inability and intransigence of each group to recognize the role and mission and strength of others resolved first. This is very important because if proponents of self defence know that if they surrender their finances and are not supported when time comes for them to pursue their mission, there is nothing that is going to motivate them to put their finances on the table. And this argument can be made for any other group.
SCACUF was a good idea. But for it to work the way it was envisioned, there is need for another forum involving all the groups for issues raised here to be discussed.
We should point out some reoccurring contradictions also. MoRISC continues to insist that it was formed as an umbrella facilitating organization. If they continue to claim that role, then what is the difference between them and SCACUF? This issue has to be resolved – MoRISC cannot be fronting itself as an umbrella group and SCACUF claiming the same role. MoRISC can transform itself into an independent group like the AGC, SCYL or the SCNC. SCACUF and moRISC, both cannot claim to be umbrella groups while MoRISC claims IT’S coming under SCACUF.
This is very important because at the weekend in Atlanta, Boh Herbert stated that SCACUF endorsed their plan of action at the Nigeria meeting. It left many people confused. What is MoRISC? An umbrella organization or just another group? Why should they be having a plan of action that is not endorsed by others? If SCACUF is the umbrella group, why not have it be the one to draw the plan of action?
And this brings us to this idea of an interim gov’t. For SCACUF to have endorsed the idea of electing some interim gov’t in May was very premature. There is just no rational behind forming some gov’t now. MoRISC has advanced the idea that such an interim gov’t will facilitate the endorsement of the struggle by some foreign gov’ts. Assuming that is true, so what will happen when the struggle is endorsed by these foreign gov’ts? As far as we know, the Palestinians have been endorsed by almost every nation member of the United nation, but has that given the Palestinians their statehood? Not that we know.
This struggle is still at the kindergarten level characterized by ghost towns, protest marches and civil disobedience. You do not form an interim gov’t thinking that the world will listen to you when all they see are ghost town, protest marches and civil disobedience. Strikes, street protests and civil disobedience are not Sine qua non to the Southern Cameroons. In the contrarily, if SCACUF had a united front where those for self defence are encourage to launch ahead and strike LRC, at that point an interim gov’t becomes very necessary because , it can go before foreign gov’ts to broker deals based on the action on the ground and contingent on the victory of the efforts of self defence.
This Interim gov’t thing will only enforce the idea that some people are so tasty for power and position in a struggle whose end remains so uncertain. And by the way, didn’t we have an interim gov’t before that was headed by Prof. Ayangwe? What did that arrangement add or bring to the struggle? It brought nothing. This is time for action, not time for an interim gov’t. Let’s set up a TV station that keeps our people informed and educated as per the direction of the struggle. Let’s give them alternative Internet. Let’s support those in prisons, above all, lets activate self defence. At the Cameroon Journal, we believe that t his is what will rekindle zeal and hope for this revolution.