Monday, June 26, 2017
Cameroon Journal, Washington D.C – If you were found sinking in a ditch, and the only person braved enough to snatch you from that limbo is your enemy, what will you do, – accept his help or prefer to die? If your house is on fire, and the only person courageous enough to dash into the fire to quench it, is that person you just don’t like, what will you do? Stop him because you just don’t like the idea of him being the one rescuing your house or thank him for coming to your rescue?
What if a precious piece of property of yours was being forcefully taken from you by a more powerful person, and in spite of the presence of family members, the only person to stand up for you is a neighbor, will you denial his help because, he isn’t a member of your family?
These queries may sound rhetorical and hypothetical, but they paint the exact scenario, the picture of things and the problem we encounter at this moment in the struggle for the freedom of the Southern Cameroons. For weeks running, we have continued to hear voices popping up here and there questioning why only some people, and from some tribes are at the forefront or leadership of this or that group. When a house is on fire, does it really matter who puts out the fire?
A week ago for example, Southern Cameroonians in South Africa held a SCACUF congress, at the end of which they conducted an election for a new executive. Of course, there was the element of surprise there because, until then, nobody knew anything existed as SCACUF South Africa. However, the following day, social media was amok with disparaging annotations, suggesting that the new executive was almost entirely from one region. We have also heard same reproachful comments made against SCACUF, and even digital flyers disseminated, portraying SCACUF as a Momo people’s thing, a Momo mafia – they say. MoRISC was perhaps the first to come under the scrutiny, it has since been described as a Kom people’s thing. Of course, some of these concerns are very legitimate and some are just not. It is the latter that we want to address here.
SCACUF and its affiliates appear to have bought into the inherent intent in the idea. SCACUF has adopted the all-inclusive language, especially as plans towards forming an Interim gov’t escalate. So we hear words like regional balance, equality, equal representation, referring to all the positions that must be filled in the Interim gov’t. The ultimate end is that Northerners must not get any more representation than Southerners or vice versa. The same line of thought supposes that we must also have a certain number of women representations. SCACUF is essentially trying to use affirmative action in deciding who participates in the leadership of a revolution? Who says that in a revolution leaders are elected? In revolutions, leaders emerge, they are not elected or made.
At the Cameroon Journal, we are totally opposed to attempts at applying such an approach founded on political correctness to sort out results and solutions in a revolution. The consequences can turn out to be calamitous. This can sow seeds of disaster for this struggle. Political correctness embedded in the very idea of an election of an Interim gov’t will bring an end to this struggle. We cannot make the fatal mistake of introducing politics this early in this revolution. The introduction of an election this early is a covert politicization of the revolution. People who careless that we are in a revolution are forming up small groups here and there and lining up behind this or that person and trying to push an agenda other than the complete independence of The Southern Cameroons.
Some have premeditated that should they line up support behind those in jail, that when they are eventually released, they will be their favorites. Others think that should they support those at the helm of SCACUF, and other groups, they have chances of getting positions – maybe. But this is all wrong. It’s a self-centered mentality which is already taking the struggle in a wrong direction. Lots of selfish posturing among those who feel like they or their tribe or region should be counted or is being left out! Does it really matter now who takes us to Buea and set a level playing field so long as such a person remains uncompromised and selfless?
This takes us back to this SCACUF election road map. We at the Cameroon Journal are vehemently opposed to it, not because the road map is not good enough, and not because the election is a bad idea, but because of the very nature of the struggle being a revolution and the timing for such an election. We are not in a political movement, we are in a revolution and for SCACUF to want to fall under the pressure of calling some election at the infancy of the struggle tantamount to literally handing over the revolution to opportunists.
Hell is about to be let loose, people with money are about to start jostling left and right looking for candidates they will sponsor, candidates they can remote control once he/she wins the election. And do not be surprised that a La Republique du Cameroun candidate gets featured in, and wins the election. Is this the risk we really want to take?
History reminds us of revolutions in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Southern Sudan, Eritrea, Mozambique, and Uganda among others. These people understood that theirs were revolutions, as opposed to democracy movements. They kept their leadership for as long as it remained steadfast and uncorrupted. In South Africa for example, once Mandela emerged as leader of the revolution, he was allowed to lead, even from prison, for as long as he did not compromise.
What about the story of Zimbabwe with Robert Mugabe. In Mozambique, Sam Nujoma emerged and was maintained leader till after Mozambique got its independence. In Uganda, Museveni led it till victory was achieved. The case of John Gerang in the Sudan is still very fresh in mind. We do well to also remember the case of Jonas Savimbi in Angola. And what about the case of Biafra right in our own backyard? Of course, Biafra didn’t win against Nigeria, but the fact remains that the Ikemba of Nnewi, in the person of Chief Ojukwu Emeka Odumugwe, remained the leader of the Biafrian revolution till his death. We can go on quoting examples upon examples. All we are trying to say is that you never conduct elections in a revolution. You don’t choose revolution leaders, they emerge. This is a fatal error that SCACUF is about to make which could very well end this struggle.
People who got involved in this struggle only yesterday, people who have had no price or sacrifice to pay and barely have a name recognition on the ground, people who have lived the greater part of their lives in the diaspora, they are about to hijack the revolution. Some have already made it public that they are not ready to be led by a mere teacher or by anybody who hasn’t lived in the US or Western Europe. You elect such people to manage the struggle, you’re giving them the passport to push their agenda and not necessarily to further the struggle. This is the reason why we strongly oppose the idea of electing a gov’t, because once that is done, everything else becomes politicized when it should not.
This struggle has had three gov’ts in the past which were well recognized though they didn’t go anywhere, understandably because the momentum we see today wasn’t there then. Those gov’ts were headed by Fon Gorji Dinka, Prof. Carlson Ayangwe and Magistrate Ebong. At each point, we all accepted them, yet none was elected, it was all by nomination. Why can’t we do same today to save this revolution from opportunists?
Up to this moment in the struggle, we have accepted our leaders without voting for any of them. Is there a reason why we should not accept the prime minister if he were chosen for us by a council of our elder statesmen?
We should all remember that this revolution like the ones we mentioned above has its natural leaders and we all know them. They are Barrister Agbor Balla, Tassang Wilfred, Dr. Fontem Neba, Ayah Paul, Eyambe Elias, Mancho Bibixcy, Hon. Wirba Joseph, Barrister Harmony Bobga, etc, etc. Once more, we are reminded that in revolutions, you don’t elect leaders, leaders emerge and we have them already.
Should SCACUF ignore this call and go ahead for some election, you can imagine a situation where those in jail come out and choose a different path or direction thereby splintering the struggle. And by the way, how can you go ahead to conduct an election when about 90% of the leaders of the struggle are still in jail? When you create a gov’t and they eventually get out of jail, what role are they going to play? Won’t they have been automatically ejected from any form of involvement in leadership?
SCACUF’s election setup as portrayed in the draft road map appears to have every semblance of transparency. But what that basically infers is that people who have been at the forefront and refusing to be compromised like the leaders mentioned above may not even stand the chance of winning. Let’s temper our emotions and sentiments with reason and have current leadership -maybe with some revision, serve for interim gov’t until such a time when it is very obvious we need an election. After all, whatever we need to achieve in such a gov’t will still just well be achievable with this kind of arrangement.
In the place of an election, we are suggesting a sort of revolutionary Council as opposed to a political structure that should emerge from within SCACUF and be called a gov’t. We are appealing to every Southern Cameroonian to speak sense to SCACUF to avoid killing this revolution by organizing an unnecessary election.
Imagine the time they have to waste between now and September planning for such election. LRC will within the same time be strategizing and campaigning to get schools to reopen and we will be strategizing how to organize and get some people elected? Let’s spare ourselves the trouble.