East Cameroon’s national dialogue convened by its octogenarian dictator Paul Biya has failed to seriously address the root issues of the conflict in the Southern Cameroons or Ambazonia.
The national dialogue has nonetheless lived up to expectations that it was doomed to be a charade and failure. The rest of the dialogue is expected to be marked by high drama. More Southern Cameroonians at the dialogue are expected to begin withdrawing.
Guest participants from the Southern Cameroons have not been allowed to share their opinions in the commissions that really matter. The agenda has been carefully constrained to ensure it achieves the one-sided objective of the government, decentralization. The prime minister to the dictatorial regime Dion Ngute reminded participants to stick to the government’s agenda.
The key demand by Ambazonian restorationists who seek the restoration of the statehood of the Southern Cameroons has so far been brushed aside. Participants in each commission were preselected by the dictatorial regime. Moderates or federalists have very little chance of influencing the outcome of the dialogue.
All hope that the dialogue could achieve anything is now gone. A push for decentralization by the tyrannical regime is already a non-starter for liberation fighters. The Southern Cameroonian leadership has stated that nothing but independence will be a consideration.
As some had predicted, many delegates to the dialogue have already begun expressing the lack of trust and unfairness of the entire process. They are threatening to boycott the rest of the dialogue if their positions are not addressed.
Prominent Southern Cameroonians like Akere Muna have already stormed out of the East Cameroonian dialogue after making the assessment that it is a failure. They cite serious irregularities and the lack of seriousness to address the root conflict issues of the Southern Cameroons.
The chairman of one of Southern Cameroon’s political parties, the Social Democratic Front, has also stated that he and his delegation will pull out of the dialogue if the serious issues are shoved aside. So far, there will not be any serious debate on the form of the state. A key demand by federalists and moderates attending the dialogue.
What the Failed Dialogue Means to the Southern Cameroon’s Independence Fight
The failed dialogue represents a big win and a boost in momentum for the Southern Cameroonian or Ambazonian revolution.
The dialogue only obliterated the arguments of moderates that the future of the Southern Cameroons lies within East Cameroon. It shows that the regime of Paul Biya should never be trusted. Trusted even with implementing the resolutions of the dialogue the dictatorial regime oversees.
A survey from a group of religious leaders led by the widely respected Cardinal Tumi shows that 99.5% of Southern Cameroonians want to break away and form the new state of Ambazonia or the Southern Cameroons. A state status they had at independence.
With the failed dialogue, the 0.5% who still believed the union of Southern and East Cameroons could be salvaged is now expected to evaporate.
For restorationists who largely boycotted the East Cameroonian national dialogue event, they see the event’s outcome as a mere proposal from the regime to bring to the negotiating table with them.
What the Future Holds for East Cameroon
Activists in East Cameroon are already galvanizing after the failed dialogue. Kah Walla, who snubbed the dialogue has decided to take on the challenging task of organizing East Cameroonians to begin immediate nationwide peaceful protests to purge the dictatorial regime from power.
East Cameroonians are known to waver in the face of fierce military brutality. Their hope is that they can replicate the unwavering will of the Sundanese people. Despite heavy military crackdown, the Sudanese kicked out Omar Bashir from power solely via peaceful protests.
Observers wonder what the next step is for avowed federalists like Christian Cardinal Tumi, Ni John Fru Ndi, Agbor Nkongho and Akere Muna who had insisted that a two state federation and even independence should be discussed at the dialogue. Cardinal Tumi in multiple pre-dialogue interviews had warned that everything must be done at the dialogue to restore peace in the Southern Cameroons.
Christians are looking up to Cardinal Tumi, the Catholic church and other religious groups to join courageous voices like the Kah Wallas to rally their throngs of Christian supporters to the streets and push the regime from power.
Does Cardinal Tumi, the highest ranked Catholic official in the Cameroons, have the courage to mirror the actions of the revered Desmond Tutu of South Africa? Or will he just cower after talks have failed to address the root problem?
Desmond Tutu, the then Anglican ArchBishop of Cape Town rose to worldwide prominence when he marched on the streets of South Africa calling for an end to the country’s white apartheid regime that enslaved black South Africans.
All eyes are now on Cardinal Tumi. At 89, everyone is waiting to see if he too is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to save his Christians and the Cameroons. His group of religious leaders have already done a lot to identify the root issues. He appears to be the last hope for the Cameroons to see that the two sovereign states do not devolve into the apocalypse age.
How Southern Cameroonians View the Southern Cameroon Problem
The problems in the Southern Cameroons which many see through the lens of bilingualism, marginalization, lack of development, the erosion of the Southern Cameroon culture are mere symptoms of the actual problem. The Southern Cameroon is an annexed territory of East Cameroon. The territory and its people are effectively under the colonial rule of East Cameroonian dictator Paul Biya.
Many Southern Cameroonians are yet to realize they have been colonized. They will say there is no problem between Anglophones and Francophones. That the problem is the government of Paul Biya. The cite problems in other regions of the Cameroons. They fail to realize appropriately what an annexed territory is.
In the days of wider colonization, there was never any major issue between the average citizen of the colonizer and the colonized. The colonizers also had their own local problems. Colonized territories were run by appointed officials from the governments of the colonizers. This is what is happening in the Southern Cameroons.
While the strike from lawyers and teachers in early 2016 precipitated the arm struggle in the Cameroons, the strike was only a symptom and not the root cause. Many of those who took part in the peaceful protests are still in jail.
Future of the Southern Cameroons
Even with many of the Ambazonian leaders languishing in jails across East Cameroon, the Ambazonian revolution has only grown stronger with each passing day. This failed dialogue will only help to galvanize people to become active in the revolution and fight for absolute independence. Independence from East Cameroon and independence from France whose colonial tentacles still permeate the economies of the two Cameroons.
Restorationists say, moderates and federalists in the Southern Cameroons now have to contend with and accept the reality that the Southern Cameroons is the newest country in Africa.
On October 1, 2019, Southern Cameroonians defying the regime’s military presence courageously came out en masse to celebrate their independence day. Protected by restorationist forces, the young, the old, and village elders all came out in their numbers to show that the Southern Cameroons or Ambazonia is truly a free country.
Today, Southern Cameroonians say they have risen to fall no more. Their march to complete independence is unstoppable. With or without international recognition, they are already a country of their own, the Southern Cameroons. A country ready to chart its own course in humanity.