Federal Republic of Ambazonia: 2019 End of Year Speech By Vice President Yerima Dabney 0

President Sisiku AyukTabe,

Our leaders and people behind bars,

Elders of the Ambazonian Revolution without exception,

Leaders of all Ambazonian Restoration Forces,

Leaders of all Ambazonian Movements,

Leaders of all Ambazonia Advocacy Groups,

Leaders of all Refugee & IDP Communities,

People of Ambazonia on GZ, G1, G2 & in the diaspora,

Dear friends and allies,

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am here with the Ambazonian Community in South Africa from where I want to welcome all of you tuning in from around the world, especially those who managed to connect from back home in Ambazonia.

And I want to thank the Ambazonian Community in South Africa for being an outstanding host.

To watch France resort to the politics of “Empty Chair” at the UN Security Council this December  in order to avoid the humiliation of not being able to stop a consequential discussion on the crimes of the French neo colonial regime in Cameroon against our people, it could be tempting to look back at our history and assume that our progress was inevitable. That Ambazonia was always destined to be a topic of the UN Security Council, while France dodges the said Council proceedings in disgrace.

But when the Isubu in Bimbia resisted British colonists led by Alfred Saker in 1858, and King Kuva Likenye of Buea fought against German colonists 29 years later, the future looked somber. When Fon Gorgi Dinka coined the name Ambazonia to fight along the students, teachers, farmers, of that era, and 8 peaceful protesters were shot dead at protests organized by Lawyers and teachers of the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium(CACSC) trade unions, the view of our future was anything but certain. And most definitely when the Cameroon military opened fire with helicopter gunships at the match initiated by President Sisiku AyukTabe on October 1, 2017, killing hundreds of peaceful protesters and injuring hundreds more, the notion of a future of our struggle as it is today seemed far-fetched.

 Those times tested the courage of our convictions and our commitments to our basic human rights. And despite all the divisions and disagreements, arguments and fears of these times, we prevailed. We prevailed because we chose to forge ahead as one people.

 Today, we are facing a test unlike any we have seen before as a people. And once more, we must answer the call of history.

Seven months ago, I agreed to take on the role of Vice President amidst rampant accusations of violations of internal rules and procedures, embezzlement and lack of transparency in the management of the affairs of the struggle, and above all, the abandonment of the victims of our struggle. Even our brothers and sisters who were throwing their bodies between our communities and the cowardly French Cameroon military that were burning our elderly alive in their beds, in their own homes, in our villages, and shooting our babies in their sleep. The rate of deaths amongst these heroes jumped, and the movement was hemorrhaging support amongst our people at home and abroad.

 There were calls from all quarters in the movement for immediate action to get critically needed support to our suffering people and save the movement from eminent destruction. Calls came from the embryonic Restoration Council under Kometa, the House of Country and Regional Reps led by Dr.  Daniel and an extensive coalition of Civil Society players led by political prisoners which convened the Ambazonia People’s National Congress (APNC) and others.

 We immediately engaged in emergency fundraising led by an ad hoc coalition of some 250 Ambazonians scattered across the globe who named their forum the Patriotic Amba Citizens (PAC). Within weeks we had resumed sending humanitarian assistance to the sisters and brothers who have taken on protecting our elderly, young, and the sick, as well as everything our people had worked their whole lives—our homes, villages and farms—. We also resumed sending support to our prisoners, refugees and IDPs albeit unable to meet the ever exploding need—as the Cameroon military maliciously continued to target our most vulnerable communities, further aggravating the misery for millions in rural communities which were already living on the edge of starvation under the exploitation, abuse, and neglect of the past 58 years of our most recent colonial occupation at the hands of the French neocolonial despot in nextdoor Cameroon. By the end of our first 100 days in office we had paid out Twelve thousands US dollars for the appeals of our leaders and political prisoners behind bars, those falsely accused yet again by the Cameroon justice for burning down their overcrowded penitentiary. We in that same time raised and distributed seven thousand two hundred dollars to our needy populations back home in Ambazonian and across the border in nextdoor Nigeria as refugees. We were also able to secure 45 beds for comrade prisoners in the Douala Central Prison who had passed close to a year either sleeping on the bare floor or standing throughout the night. All the while forging respectful working relations and collaboration with some of the organizations that had picked up the tab in supporting our people on the ground and in Nigeria as the previous administration retreated then establishing support structures for assistance to brothers and sisters who had taken upon themselves to protect our communities.

 Except, the Cameroon government death squads that used to pass for an army have escalated their attacks against our communities to genocidal proportions with devastating consequences on our people. The following International Organisations finally raised the red flag as far as the extermination war on our people was concerned;

-In March 2019, the UN reported that 4 million out of our over 8 million population had been affected by the war.

-In June 2019 the Norwegian Refugee Council listed the war of extermination they are waging against our communities as the Most Neglected Crisis in the World.

-In October 2019, a report by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the the Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide classified this Cameroon war against our people the 9th emergent mass atrocity conflicts in the world for 2020 and

 Still our people in full defiance and in display of their nerves of steel showed-up in huge numbers across Ambazonia to celebrate our Independence day on October 1, 2019. The second  anniversary Independence Day Celebration by our people on GZ sent shock waves to the occupier, Colonial French Cameroon and the world at large given the mammoth crowds that showed up in pump and flare across our national territory, Ambazonia.

 In these mammoth crowds, were lone survivors of their families who miraculously escaped because they were away when the Cameroon military showed up and killed their wives, children, less abled family members and grandparents. Hundreds more were young men and women who 3 years ago were students, teachers, farmers and petite traders with their limbs intact, but who have since become amputees from losing arms or legs protecting our communities from the ravages of the Cameroon military or who have simply been brutally maimed by Colonial Cameroon terrorists government forces, not only for being Ambazonians, but also as a war strategy derived to instil fear, create shock, horror, awe and to deter sympathisers.

 For these Ambazonians, the end of the war hasn’t come soon enough. Many are very frustrated and some are bitter. They can’t understand that in the middle of all this horror some of us, especially those in the diaspora, spend endless hours on social media insulting one another.

 In the wake of the horror being vested on our people by the Cameroon military, I can see how anything that seems like a strategic mistake can stir strong feelings and controversy.

But the infighting I am talking about is not ideological or based on rooted facts. Here, everything goes, from total fabrications to malicious twisting of facts, to exposing unsuspecting kids protecting our communities in Ambazonia to harm’s way advantageous to the regime’s military by posting their images online. Worst yet these grudges are being pushed to the ground, causing division and strife amongst our people on the ground, and sowing mistrust amongst our heroes. No wonder there is so much disappointment and thousands of our people have taken a back seat in the struggle waiting for sanity to reign so they can return to continue playing their own role towards our liberation. Most would only start contributing their hard earned resources and time again to support the struggle when this madness is conquered by good forces. 

 Each of the groups in these fights is packed full with honorable dedicated individuals, whose sole motivation is to help advance the struggle of our people for their basic rights. Those of us leading these groups can hold our grounds on the assumption that we have an edge in the fights, and thus ignore the consequences these fights are having on our struggle, or, we can find the courage, like our ancestors did, to do what is needed even when there is no guarantee it will bring us any gain, start putting Ambazonia First again.

 Our people deserve leaders that reflect their decency.

Despite the trials, our movement is strong. And at this point, I like to talk on how to give the Ambazonian people that decent leadership that it needs.

 It begins with the protection of Ambazonian people and communities back home. 

 Our most urgent task upon taking office was to provide the young men and women protecting our communities with all the basic resources they need as they put their lives on the line to protect our people and villages. And there is a general consensus across spectrum that this is our premier responsibility in the face of what has been described by several respected voices as a genocidal war against our people. We must show these sisters and brothers that indeed they have our gratitude and our full support.

 Next, we need to factor support for the victims of this assault on our fundamental human rights, not as an afterthought but as a vital piece of our resistance to the attempts by the Cameroon regime and their allies to destroy the fabrics of our society. I am talking about support for our political prisoners, our brothers and sisters seeking refuge in neighboring countries and far flung countries like Panama and Mexico, and our internally displaced persons (IDPs).

Not forgetting the endless sleazy schemes by the regime and it’s enablers to cover up their crimes. Today it has gangs in civilian outfits roaming our territory and causing mayhem in hope of sulling the reputation of our fighters.

As we speak, I just got word hours ago that they are busing hundreds of our refugees to airports in Nigeria to fly them back to Cameroon next door in violation of international law. This time to showcase the refugees as proof that the regime is taking care of our refugees.

The answer to these schemes lies in how much harder the diaspora campaigns for accountability. I am particularly talking of our brothers and sisters in the United States. Just as you got your government to call their Bilingualism Commission a scam, their National Dialogue a joke. You definitely will be able to get your host government to come up with the appropriate adjectives for this crime and reckless endangerment of the lives of our refugees. Again it will have to be the results of a campaign even more harder than the ones you have done before.      

 For, in the end the success of a re-emergent independent Ambazonia that will have to show a path to a 21st century Africa breaking off the chains of French neo-colonialism will be tied to its  values. 

  Now here is our 2020 road map:

 First, we need to restructure our movement from bottom-up.

 While groups in our struggle feed off some of the divisions that are deeply entrenched, most of the fighting has been around groups competing to be viewed as the leader of the movement. A situation compounded by the 2017 decision to name the coordination structure of our struggle for independence, the Interim Government.  We are listening to our people and weighing the options of a Revolutionary Council, the Interim Government and other proposed arrangements. I commit that with all key revolutionary stakeholders in early 2020, we will have a meeting of the people where the most useful solution will be presented, debated, endorsed and implemented by us all. I call for all hostilities to stop. Let us find sustainable solutions and give peace a chance for the sake of all 8 million of our people.

 Positions in this struggle across all movements, organizations and the IG must be for service to our people and nothing else. In the weeks ahead, all our 8 secretaries will give a report of what their departments have achieved so far and what lies ahead in 2020.

 The role of the Secretary of State for Health & Social Services (HSS) is not to write policy papers on how hospitals will be run in the Future free Ambazonia, but rather collect information about the kind of organisations our people in various countries can reach out to for assistance with our refugees and other humanitarian needs, While also coordinating prototype projects to facilitate access to such humanitarian aid.  

The role of our Secretary of Education is not to spend months writing a policy paper on which books will be approved for classes in a future free Ambazonia. But rather compiling list of institutions and groups in foreign countries that can host our refugees or cover their education cost and also looking and supporting alternative ways of learning for our children back at homes in the conflict zone.

 The Secretary of Foreign Affairs can help our communities in different countries write letters to elected officials and interface with their public infrastructure for concrete outcomes. But the Secretary of Foreign Affairs addressing a letter to the officials of a country in which he neither resides nor is a citizen is a waste of everyone’s time. The cold war days of prob-up governments in exile are long over. And we should not make a mockery of ourselves in a world that is only too eager to make a mockery of Africans.    

The job — responsibility of the Secretary for Communication is not to develop policies on communication media in 21st century technology, it is rather to go out there and preach the Ambazonian liberation plight which is not known to the world.   

The same with the Secretary of Finance and Economics; its about raising money, using it judiciously, accountably and responsibly. The same applies to all other departments. Their job is not to define policies for a future free Ambazonia, but rather to figure out what needs to be done in their domain until we get to independence. That we task ourselves as a team to deliver while collaborating with all other structures of our revolution.

 After independence, there will be a constitutional assembly in which all the people of Ambazonia without the threat of oppression looming over our  heads, will participate in contributing  to writing the rules on how our country will be run. There will be enough time for all of that. Now the task is from here to independence. Not one millimeter more. 

 And with that the only real functional structures of the Ambazonian revolution that can function like their fellow organisations of different communities is our community in different places around the world. Our people in different countries, states, counties, and localities, as the local conditions permits, need to re-organise themselves with clear rules of operation and accountability, elections of those to coordinate their affairs and so on. Where a current leadership in any diasporan structure has ran out of steam, the Department of Foreign Affairs will facilitate either the election of a new leadership or coordinating team. The House of Country & Regional Representatives (HCRR) and all its associate structures must go back to its glory days in 2017. I need your full cooperation on this. And the role of the IG is to help these country/regional entities with critical information to help them actively participate in supporting the struggle.

 I am visiting the Ambazonian community in South Africa which just elected a new leadership not long ago. They have from time to time sent money to one project or another in ground zero. The community here are better placed to hold their leadership accountable and mobilize resources as their reality dictates. The IG can and will provide the Ambazonia Community here with critical information on which our vulnerable communities is in the most need, or help them get information on South Africa humanitarian organizations they can work with to get aid for our people.

 On the other hand for people in places where the community is not yet organised, we encourage a new broom of leadership to arise, contact the IG for support; also make regular donations directly to IG’s online infrastructures or invest in #AmbaFreedomBonds. What I am talking about here is shifting powers to the grassroots of the Ambazonian movement by keeping fundraising, international outreach, etc as effective as we have seen in other struggles.

 Our Ambazonian Community in South Africa is working on building relationships with the South Africa Communists Party (SACP) which is one of the 3 organizations that makes up the governing Alliance with the African National Congress ( ANC )  that together  led the fight to end Apartheid and has ruled South Africa since then. Nelson Mandela was a member of the Central Committee of the SACP and other famous South African freedom fighters like the legendary late Comrade Chris Hani and many other struggle icons.

The SACP is also a grassroots based movement. I met with their General Secretary Dr. Blade Nzimande  (Minister) and first Deputy General Secretary Comrade Solly Afrika Mapaila (MP) and these engagements will continue in the days ahead.

 As General Secretary  and first Deputy General Secretary, their offices assembles policy proposals from the different local and regional branches and shares them with the other branches so they come to the national congress  prepared to vote and push the best policies from all the proposals to become the national policy of the SACP. I participated in their 4th Special National Congress and observed the debates and active conversations that led to the adoption of policy which gets published as the declaration of the Congress. And amongst the struggles adopted for International solidarity was the Ambazonian struggle — which is a big deal when one recognises the moral capital of post Apartheid South Africa and the global network of solidarity partners of the SACP.

 Next, I want to comment on the issue of negotiations which is currently being vigorously debated in our community. I think it is a good and healthy thing for us to debate issues of such critical importance to our destiny. Unfortunately the ongoing infighting amongst the different groups in our struggle has left some to turn the discussion around negotiations into an opportunity for the catchy phrase to triumphs over the methodical argument required of such a topic with serious ramifications on the future of the struggle.

 On the question of negotiations in general, the IG has a position born out of strategic consideration. We learned from the experience of Western Sahara, a member of the Africa Union, yet still occupied by Morocco, where skilled negotiators to the exclusion of the jailed leadership, got Morocco to sign a peace agreement with promises of freedom for the political prisoners and a referendum for the people to decide if they want total independence or to stay with Morocco. Morocco broke their promise on agreement later and essentially disappeared the prisoners.

 On the other hand, the Burmese pro-democracy movement by insisting that Aung San Suu Kyi who was in detention not other negotiators like the renowned former democratically elected PM U Ni to make decisions on the negotiations, the military dictatorship was forced to engage in negotiations with and they automatically recognising her as the leader of the people protecting their political prisoners.

 The same could be said of the negotiations between the Apatheid government of South Africa and the jailed Nelson Mandela. Though far more sophisticated strategists like Joe Slovo, Oliver Thambo and Mbeki lived and led the struggle in exile. The ANC made the strategic decision that only Nelson Mandela will lead negotiations with the Apatheid government. Forcing the Apathied government to recognise Mandela as the representative of the people, who later brought in  Joe Slovo and others into their team of negotiators once the negotiation stated. 

 With the above knowledge the IG’s position is that all negotiations should be initiated by our leaders behind bars led by President Sisiku AyukTabe. Not making them part of the request in a negotiations effort by others is strategically flawed and unacceptable to us and not beneficial to the struggle.         

 And specifically on the Swiss initiative,  after we were contacted by the Swiss based non-profit Humanitarian Dialogue (HD), the first thing we did was a deep dive into the history of the organization. Eastern Asian activists particularly from the Philippines and Indonesia provided a detailed report of HD’s roles in efforts to resolve the conflict in their countries, as well as referred us to other publicly available sources. Based on our research we wrote a couple of questions to HD for which we are yet to receive a satisfactory response. 

 Some in our community have asked me what harm could it cost to engage with HD. Others have encouraged us to try it and if it does not work we can abandon it later.

 One of the complaints we heard from the Philippines in particular but also in Indonesia was that the HD helped distract from the efficient engagement of UN mechanisms with the argument that the conflicting parties were already in negotiations and there was no need to get the UN involved. This gave the oppressor time to sap the energy of the oppressed minorities in both cases.

But more especially by repeatedly accepting to take Human rights standards off the table in the negotiations without an end process HD deprived the victims of the one thing they had to call on the conscience of the international community to protect them from the total war being waged by both the Philippines and Indonesia.

 Others have screamed that the “Swiss” initiative is being supported by the US and every major country under the sun hence we are losing an opportunity to force the French backed  neo-colonial Biya regime as an equal on the table of negotiations.

 We do make a difference between HD and Switzerland. We do appreciate the involvement of the Swiss government and HD in particular.  But we are  aware of the delegitimization of our cause for any so-called negotiation/facilitation/partnership in the way its being conducted and skeptical of the intentions of initiators of such.

 Again we call on the international community to call for  an immediate UN-led international Fact Finding mission, put pressure on the Biya regime to immediately call for a ceasefire, release all detained, enter into negotiations that address the root causes of the conflict and bring this senseless war to an end with sustainable solutions that guarantee peace and security for our two peoples co-existing as neighbours peacefully.

 We reiterate that La Republique du Cameroun will no longer hold any fraudulent and illegal elections in Ambazonia going forward. We call on our people to prepare and stay indoors between the 8th to the 11th of February 2020 and advice all humanitarian organisations to ensure that they  only operate on request of our brothers and sisters defending our communities or suspend all activities between these dates.

We acknowledge the Church’s humanitarian efforts in our community and the continuous bringing of messages of hope to our people  and we call on the Church to signal to their international partners and networks that there is great need to support the increasing calls for an international Fact Finding mission and release of all political prisoners, which will be the first steps towards a lasting solution to the war. Although parents in our communities continue to insist it’s not safe to send children to school because of the insecurity we suggest the Church and partners start looking into and supporting alternative learning techniques to keep the education process going while we fight to regain our peoples rights to self determination.

 As I contemplated on my speech this morning , I got a distress call about Buea Prison particularly that our brothers and sisters  sleep on  cement floors and can barely eat well and I promise our people  in Buea Prison  that we shall respond within the next 48hrs and hopefully restore hope. But I make an even bigger commitment to all our brothers and sisters illegally detained across our territory and even those in la republic dungeons including our leaders. It is all for one and one for all.  This 2020 we shall do our best that no one sleeps on the floor or hungry by pulling all aid efforts together, but our main goal is your freedom and nothing less. It’s so much pain that la republique du Cameroun treats political prisoners like animals but it’s our moral responsibility to take care of our own and we will. Please at all times reach out and ensure we know your situation.

 To our brothers and sisters who have fled their burned villages and homes and are now statistics for some of these in humane organizations as refugees and internally displaced people, We have heard and we know your sufferings, especially those in the bushes. I want to assure you that your loss and pain is ours too and going forward, we will be encouraging our communities around the world to mobilize support for every aspect of our revolution and ensure that your basic needs are taken care of.

 In conclusion,

A very special thank you to our Restoration Forces, Ambazonians especially on Ground Zero and in the Diaspora for your endless sacrifices towards the liberation of homeland. It has been three years of lots of pain and sweat, but we have scored a lot of victories too. The world now knows our case, many now stand by us. We need a united front to finish the project of liberating our people. Let’s put all differences aside and deliver love, peace and oneness to our people in 2020. The price for freedom is expensive but worthy. Apathy is no longer an option. We face an enemy that knows neither remorse nor compassion. We have made advances that we can’t afford to relinquish. Our forces need us. The boys and girls have always said ‘we are ready to free homeland, just give us the right tools’. The pain on the ground must stop. Dear people, invest in your freedom and make Ambazonia a reality.

As we prosecute our war of independence, let’s remain law abiding, resolute and focused. To be independent means to be even more responsible. The regaining of our stolen statehood is non-negotiable.

 It Shall Be Total Independence or Resistance Forever.

 Happy New year my dear people.

 Short Live the Struggle

Long Live Ambazonia

God Bless You.