EDITORIAL: Will SCACUF Bring us Hope or Despair as They Meet This Weekend?

Tassang Wilfred, SCACUF Secretary General
Tassang Wilfred, SCACUF Secretary General

Friday, July 7, 2017

Cameroon Journal, Washington D.C – Beginning today July 7, members of SCACUF, will be in conference for a summit that will either make or mar the unity we have built in the struggle to free our territory  from the grip of LRC. At the center of the summit’s agenda will be the issue of an interim Gov’t, – how to go about it, that is, by election or by nomination!

Of course, the conclave isn’t expected to arise on Sunday evening with a statement to the effect that it has formed an interim gov’t. However, everyone will be interested to know what they agree upon as per forming and getting the interim gov’t eventually in place.

At the Cameroon Journal, we have in the past few months been making the argument that in a revolution as young as ours, you do not go about conducting elections for leadership. You let the caucuses or the groups nominate such leaders, to the end that partisanship and politicization of the struggle is avoided. We are aware that some in SCACUF have been making consultations in this direction. However, it has also become very evident that there are others in the conference who will be arguing that nothing short of an election will legitimize any leadership that emerges eventually. So we have a situation here where going into the conference, some are prepared to unleash fire and brimstone to make sure that their point of view is the idea that prevails.

How the whole process of debate and necessary tolerance for each other’s ideas are handled at the conclave, will determine whether the delegates come out in one piece or in pieces. And you can guess that, that too, is going to constitute the determining factor of the direction that the struggle takes henceforth. We have right before us, a very dicey moment in this struggle and it supposed to be the least thing we should be talking about. We supposed to be talking tactics, policy and diplomacy. And that is exactly what our opponents in LRC are busy doing at this moment. They have their priorities in order and they are strategizing behind our backs how they will get schools to resume in August, but here we are maneuvering how to elect a gov’t in September? There is no doubt that SCACUF will in the aftermath of this weekend’s meeting, be busy stage-managing how to conduct the election in a way that keeps some opportunists away from hijacking the leadership of the struggle. But this, at the expense of intensifying action on the ground, action that should cripple revenue for LRC and keep schools shutdown in August. Ours is a real case of misplaced priorities.

Let it be known that SCACUF cannot choose to go the way of election without a level playing field. We will be the first to call for popular resistance against any gov’t that is formed through manipulated elections. When you choose to nominate leadership/gov’t in a revolution, people turn to understand because the idea is to preserve pedigree and incorruptible leadership. But when you choose to conduct an election, there is the risk that even enemies can be elected, after all, what it all takes is money.

Elections call for a level playing field. Which is why if SCACUF must go that route, then they owe it to everyone to provide a level playing field to avoid situations of fraud and rigging, or a situation where the credibility of the results are contested at the end of the exercise. The only problem here though, is that, it still doesn’t help because in this case you can’t stop black legs or agents of LRC from infiltrating and participating in the process.

Some have suggested that should it go down to an election, the list system should be adopted so that each group that makes up SCACUF forms a list, and that each list be made up of a leader and a vice from the two regions. The list that is elected forms the Interim Gov’t. It sounds like a good idea, but still, the problem remains that there hasn’t been any proven or credible way of conducting such an election both on the ground in Southern Cameroons and in the diaspora or Internet.

Which is one of the very reasons why we at the Cameroon Journal have continued to argue against any immediate election. There is just absolutely no way you can conduct on the ground election in Southern Cameroons now understanding the hostility and the sabotage that LRC will rain in. And there is equally no evidence that elections can be conducted by way of the Internet that is corruption free because only a select few would have been privy to the monitoring and collation of results.

Elections aside, since creation, SCACUF hasn’t really demonstrated that anything binds the various groups together. And the Advisory Council doesn’t really appear to function or exist. If it does, we really are not aware of what they do. A situation like the debate over elections calls for input from the Council, but nobody knows what their wisdom is. And it lends credence to the point that their existence may just as well be a window dressing.

MoRISC was apparently enticed to join the group with the promise of executing its route map to the letter. But once SCACUF reneged on that premise, MoRISC pulled out, proving that there was nothing that bound the groups together other than the idea that you scratch my back and I scratch your own.

SCACUF should set up articles that bind member groups together with consequences as to what happens to a member that decides to pull out.  The AGC and the SCYL of Cho Ayaba and Ebenezar Akwanka respectively, have never really felt like they belong to SCACUF, or that their presence really matter. They have been heard complaining that many decisions are taken before they are consulted. We have learned also that on some occasions, Tassang Wilfred has threatened to pull out the Consortium from SCACUF, where he didn’t have his way on certain issues. These differences are however, not unusual, especially when it has to do with a revolution in which everyone has his own idea on how to get things done. But we hope that the meeting this weekend initiates a greater form of union and cooperation by closing some of these lope holes within SCACUF.

SCACUF cannot afford to come out of this week’s conference in fractures. The stakes are very high. There is a lot that need to be done on the ground to keep the momentum going. Every member of the conclave and leader of each group must go in there ready to work with others to arrive at common solutions that push the struggle to the next level. Ego and grandstanding must be put in the back burner.

As you sit behind that table at the conclave, may you see the toils of the suffering masses of Southern Cameroonians and those who have paid the ultimate price and those who through no fault of theirs have been rushed to prisons and exiles. This meeting will go down in the history of this struggle as either the one that propelled the revolution to success or the one that propelled it to failure. And remember that when the story is written, it shall be written also that you were one of those at the meeting and you shall be judged by what form of contribution you made.

Among other things that the conclave should look at, is a reexamination of the effectiveness of weekly ghost towns. Weekly Ghost towns were good for as long as momentum was at its apex. Weekly Ghost towns were good when our people – especially the teachers and lawyers still had their savings and other means of survival. If weekly Ghost towns are maintained and our people cannot effectively engage in petit businesses to feed their families, people will lose enthusiasm for it and for the cause. Our suggestion here is that ghost towns be made to hold only in anticipation of any event or move that LRC may want to initiate in our territory. And besides ghost towns, we should consider monthly mass protest rallies across all of the southern Cameroons in support of our detained leaders and to keep their case in the limelight. Such rallies will indeed give our cause more publicity in the media than disappearing ghost towns. And thank God, we have our own TV station to beam those protest rallies all over the world. SCACUF leaders can discuss this in conference, working out strategy on how to nominate protest leaders in every city, town and county of the Southern Cameroons. We look forward to waking up on Monday with such good news.

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