FROM THE PUBLISHER:
Wednesday, February 8, 2017
Cameroon Journal, Washington DC – If the first summit of MoRISC, (Movement for the Restoration of the Independence of Southern Cameroons), was contentious, that of February 11 slated for Hagerstown in the outskirts of Washington D.C, promises to be even more combative.
The friction is emerging from a number of concerns, amongst which is the fundamental fact that MoRISC’s true nature and mission is still very much shrouded in secrecy. Its leadership would want every Southern Cameroonian to believe that they represent all of them through participation of other Southern Cameroons nationalist movements, but in reality, they do not.
Another problem of legitimacy that MoRISC faces is grounded in the fact that most of its leaders, that is, people in the backroom micro managing it are allegedly from one geographical location – clans men, in spite of the fact that an advisory committee, we gathered, was nominated during the last DC conference to serve as a Secretariat that manages MoRISC in the interim. Besides, its Spokesperson still wields tremendous influence and he’s almost single handedly dictating what the organization does and does not.
Members of the advisory council for instance, who, emerging from DC were given the task of coordinating work on the review of a highly contested draft constitution were recently told by Boh Herbert, the organisation’s Spokesperson, that he does not recognize the committee. He is reported to have dropped a call from one of the members who had called suggesting that time given them to review the draft constitution wasn’t enough, hoping that in his wisdom; Herbert did support a push of deadline. But Herbert didn’t only drop the phone, but came across as arrogant in text messages that ensued between the two after he dropped the call. “…I devoted seven hours of my time explaining whatever you needed to know about MoRISC the Monday following the conference. The time for playing games is over, bro. There is work to do. You and others working with you can continue with the sabotage …” He wrote.
It should be recalled that after the DC conference, the Advisory Committee was supposed to take over management of MoRISC, including reporting on the proceedings from the meeting. The Cameroon Journal gathered, however, that instead of the committee taking the lead in drafting the resolutions from the gathering, Herbert and some few others hastily summoned a meeting right after the conference and drafted the resolutions in the stead of the committee. And that leads to another strife that is confronting MoRISC.
The cult of personality as against principles. Almost everything appears centered around Boh Herbert and majority of the people cooperating with him come from Kom, Ndop, Nkambe, Donga-Mantung axis. And they operate more like a political party than as a pressure group or resistance movement. Innocent Chia collaborated this in a recent phone conversation.
Two weeks ago, The Cameroon Journal published an Editorial in which we questioned why MoRISC’s contested draft constitution was almost single handedly drafted. Innocent Chia who happens to be one of the clans men behind the organization took issues with The Journal’s critique. He called Chris Fobeneh, Editor of the Journal and author of the story to attempt proving the suggestion wrong. When Fobeneh asked him to proof that the draft wasn’t written by one man, Chia named some three lawyers whom he said drafted the constitution. When Fobeneh countered and suggested that the draft was supposed to be a combined work of all the other groups that MoRISC has said it is working with, Chia took Fobeneh through some rhetorical analogy.
“In your Church,” he said, “as the pastor, do you have to consult your church members before you draw the by-laws of the Church?” Chia asked. The inference in Chia’s analogy is that MoRISC is someone’s organization – someone’s property and that the founder didn’t really have to involve members to draft its constitution. As they meet on February 11, we hope that participants will insist on knowing who owns MoRISC as suggested by Innocent Chia.
There isn’t anything wrong though for some individual or individuals to stand up and claim ownership. The point of contention is when they try to sell the message that the organization is all encompassing when it’s just a smoke screen by the “owners.”
But let’s address another angle where MoRISC lacks the weight and pedigree to serve as an umbrella body that takes Southern Cameroons out of La Republique. This cause already has files or petitions at almost every international institution that matters, and the people who pursued or deposited the petitions are all still with us. Talking about Dr. Carlson Ayangwe, Dr. Simon Munzu, Nfor Ngala Nfor, Ambassador Fosung, Dr. Atang, Njoy Litumbe, Gorgi Dinka, etc, etc. They are still very much around and with a bulk of experience to paddle this cause diplomatically to a logical end. Can MoRISC explain the level of outreach they have reached with these patriots? Why does MoRISC want to reinvent the wheels when these personalities already know exactly where they left the case and can simply just resurrect it?
MoRISC preaches as mission, the independence of the Southern Cameroons, come October 2017. Yet, ask them what mechanisms they have on the ground in Cameroon to actualize it, you realize there is nothing. MoRISC ought to be working with people back in Cameroon like Hon. Wirba, Njoy Litumbe, Ayah Paul Abine, Teachers’ unions and Common Law Lawyers, but it does not. In fact, Hon. Wirba is on record as saying he cannot stand the arrogance of MoRISC’s Spokesperson. So how does MoRISC plan on achieving its goals? If right in the USA they’re unable to unite the majority of Southern Cameroonians, how can they convince anybody they can deliver Southern Cameroons’ Independence?
All around the USA, Southern Cameroonians are holding town hall meetings discussing the fate of their country. In all of the meetings, the general cry has been that of unity. MoRISC can do this, however, not in the present form in which it exists. We continue to insist that at this time, what Anglophones need is unity, not new organisations. We already have SCAPO, SCNC, SCYL, AGR, AMBAZONIA groups, among others. If MoRISC wants to be a reckonable uniting factor, all the cards should be placed on the table in Hagerstown on February 11 so that there is free debate as per the direction and makeup of the group.
MoRISC’s members, unable to stand constructive criticism have been in the habit of labeling every critic a detractor, an LRC infiltrator or an LRC bought-over. The cases of Denis Lilman, Johnathan Awasom, your commentator, and many others are very fresh in mind.
Denis Lilman was one of the insiders who made the last DC conference a success. He drove in from out of state and manned the gate collecting gate dues from attendees. When the event was over and he chose to express his opinion on things that went wrong, Boh Herbert was quick to label him as an agent of LRC.
It was a similar story after The Cameroon Journal published an editorial criticizing MoRISC’s constitution among other issues. Innocent Chia, in a defamatory write up that is now pending litigation, suggested that we published the report because Chris Fobeneh, Publisher of The Journal was fired from some committee in MoRISC, whereas Fobeneh has never for once been notified of belonging to any committee in the group. To convince his audience, he added that Fobeneh had in a previous chat, sort his affirmation to kill Tapang Ivo. Chia went as far as suggesting that Fobeneh sent detractors to DC to sabotage the DC conference. When Fobeneh wrote asking Chia to retract the statements and make a public apology, Chia threatened that going to Court will expose Fobeneh to an FBI investigation based on an earlier editorial we had published asking for a sabotage of Timber and Oil transportation from Southern Cameroons to La Republique and the arrest of all La Republique administrators in Southern Cameroons. We did like Mr. Chia to know that the piece is still up on our website and we proudly stand not by it, but on it. We hope he sends a copy to the FBI.
For the record, The Cameroon Journal has been in business for about five years. We have been very clear about our mission. We have made it very clear to Chia and Herbert that we’re not beholden to any interest group. Our loyalty is to the cause. We are about providing all the FACTS to all THE SIDES of every story! We pride ourselves as independent MONITOR OF POWER, holding those entrusted with its exercise accountable. To provide the Cameroonian public with information they need to be free and self-governing in a democratic society. That’s what The Cameroon Journal is all about. We will continue to hold every group and segment of the Cameroonian society accountable without bias for their deeds and or misdeeds. When MoRISC does the right thing, we will be the first to call them out on it, but when they try manipulation, they should expect same from us.