Southern Cameroons Crisis: Addressing the wrong audience 0

The Cameroon government’s comedy has entered a new scene following the dispatching of rejected government officials to Southern Cameroons for them to address a crowd that has declared them unreliable and corrupt.

It should be recalled that those delegation members have kept a tight lip for three years as the Yaounde government mowed down innocent citizens of Southern Cameroons.

The different delegations, which have sneaked into the different cities and towns of Southern Cameroons, have already begun implementing a script imposed on them by the ruling party.

In Mamfe, the vice president of the country’s Senate also known as “an old people’s home”, Senator George Tabetando, addressed a crowd of CPDM loyalists on bended knees, urging them to help bring back the sons and daughters of Manyu Division from the bushes where they have been hiding from the sex-starved, alcohol-inflamed soldiers who have been raping women and gunning down young men for more three years.

He was accompanied in his drama by the mayor of Mamfe, Ayuk Takunchong, who has been feeding fat on the people’s wealth and resources.

Mr. Takunchong, who has been at City Hall for more than five years, has never condemned the irresponsible Yaounde government for the ferocious brutality it unleashed on his people.

Though Mr. Takunchong has been urging the boys and girls who have made the Manyu jungle their place of residence for three years, to come back to town, he has never castigated the corrupt government for unleashing a reign of terror on its own people.

Mr. Tabetando, the main actor of the CPDM unpalatable, low-quality and low-budget soap opera in Manyu Division, is himself wanted dead or alive for his role in the killing of many young men in his native Bachou Ntai where he is no longer regarded as a chief.

His effort to shed tears was considered by the locals as the height of hypocrisy. He is accused of provoking his own people when the government transformed Mamfe into a slaughter house in early 2017 following the killing of four gendarmerie officers in Agborkem German, a small river-side town on the border with Nigeria.

Following an unreasonable declaration of war on the people of Southern Cameroons by the country’s president, Paul Biya, Manyu Division quickly became the epicenter of the senseless fighting and killing of innocent civilians in Southern Cameroons.

Many towns and villages in the Division have been razed by a special killing squad set up by the country’s defense minister, Joseph Beti Assoumo, who had declared in 2017 that he would implement the president’s decision without batting an eyelid.

Despite calls by the international community for the government to negotiate in order to avert a bloodbath, the Yaounde government that is wont to violence, opted for a ferocious military campaign that has resulted in the deaths of 3,000 Southern Cameroonians, the burning of more than 250 villages and the destruction of the region’s once buoyant economy.

Companies such as the CDC, SONARA, PAMOL and Silicon Mountain; a once thriving IT hub, have all gone under, leaving many families and towns in tears and hardship.

Ossing, Kembong, Agborkem German, Dadi, Kwakwa, Muyengue and other once prosperous towns were torched by marauding soldiers who had been sent by the government to teach Southern Cameroonians a bitter lesson.

But after three years, the Yaounde government is gradually figuring out that a military victory is not in the cards. A message underscored last week by the USA undersecretary for African Affairs, Tibor Nagy, who has been calling on the Yaounde government to organize a genuinely inclusive dialogue that should and must include the separatists.

He has also been urging the government to embrace the Canadian-sponsored Swiss initiative that has been endorsed by the international community.

In his view, the hastily organized, government-sponsored Major National Dialogue in Yaounde last month is just a first step towards an inclusive dialogue that will silence the guns and bring about genuine and long-lasting peace that is a prerequisite for the reconstruction of Southern Cameroons’ destroyed infrastructure and economy.

It should be recalled that Ambazonian fighters, who started their self-defense campaign with hunting rifles, have now acquired sophisticated weapons which have enabled them to give the poorly trained and unprofessional soldiers a run for their money.

More than a thousand soldiers have been sent to an early grave in the most frightening way and this has not really shocked a government which sees dialogue as a weakness.

The Yaounde government had underestimated the anger and determination of the people and it failed to factor in the Diaspora in its analysis of the situation.

Years of marginalization have sent more than 4 million Southern Cameroonians out of the country, with many settling in Nigeria, the United States, Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom, South Africa and Australia.

These Southern Cameroonians have been bearing grudges against the government for decades and they had promised to make the government pay for its inhuman treatment of a people who voluntarily opted to join their brothers in East Cameroon.

With such a huge and professional Diaspora, the fragile and cash-strapped government does not really stand a chance, as Southern Cameroonians living abroad still have a stomach for a fight and determined to deliver a nightmare to the Yaounde government on a platter of gold.

Their financial contributions have enabled the fighters to acquire sophisticated weapons and their remittances are helping both the refugees and internally displaced persons to stay alive, albeit in very uncertain conditions.

The current scene of the government’s nauseating drama will surely not douse the fire. Southern Cameroonians are angry and justifiably so. They have lost friends and family in a war that was not necessary.

Rather than seek to address the issues that have triggered this strong overflow of powerful and devilish emotions in Southern Cameroons, the government has chosen to walk its usual path of trickery and manipulation that only leads to death and destruction.

Until the Yaounde government changes its strategy and embraces the truth, its numerous delegations to Southern Cameroons will continue to address the wrong audiences and the outcomes will be the same – no schools for many children, declining economy, unemployment, criminality and bitterness.

By Dr. Joachim Arrey