Monday, 11 June 2018

No Justice and No Peace: Why Cameroon Is 'Fighting Itself'

Cameroon is on the brink because for the past two years, enough of these young men and women of the former West Cameroon have seen their peers and relatives brutalised, arrested and murdered during peaceful protests, and are now fighting back.

And unlike the gerontocracy at the helm, these young men, driven by the mantra of “no justice no peace” have nothing to lose. These youth are armed with disposable SIM cards, gadgets and guns.

Cameroon is on the brink because those young men and women fighting the central government know that those in power are not the nationalist they claim to be.

They know the only reason those callous old men inherited the nation, which they no longer claim, was due to their willingness to collaborate with the departing French against the Marxist-Nationalists. These youth have chosen death over a life of perpetual misery in Françafrique.
No Justice and No Peace: Why Cameroon Is 'Fighting Itself'
Cameroon is on the brink because the “International Community” of which France is a part of, has shut its eyes and ears to their agony. Unmoved by the theater of international diplomacy, they are taking matters in their own hands and have no faith in the AU or UN.

These youth are angry and cavalier. Cameroon is on the brink because fear is abound. So far the violence meted out by the central government against Anglophone insurgents vying for the separate state of Ambazonia has only fueled more violence.

Armed groups like the Ambazonia Defense Forces, Lebialem Red Dragons, Banso Resistance Army and others are sprouting like wild mushrooms in the rural fringes of the English-speaking regions.

If President Biya wishes that Cameroon, a kaleidoscope of cultures, avoid the fate of Marshall Mobutu’s Zaire who was driven from power by rebel leader Joseph Kabila backed by neighbors Uganda and Rwanda in a war that will precipitate the closest thing to a continent wide war involving regional powers and rival rebel factions vying for the Congo’s resources.

But it could be worse like in the Ivory Coast where Félix Houphouët-Boigny’s ambiguous succession ushered a toxic nativism that spurred a coup d’etat, and later a costly civil war that almost divided the country into two halves, then he must heed listen to the appeals for dialogue.

During a recent public listening session convened by the National Commission on the Promotion of Bilingualism and Multiculturalism—the government’s idea of a solution to the crisis—Paulinus Toh Jua, a former opposition MP of the Social Democratic Front (SDF) and the son of Augustine Ngom Jua.

“The problem is one of recognition; the Anglophone problem is what we have before us. Can you address it as the Anglophone problem?”

The former MP also pointed out that despite the multiple calls for dialogue, which he endorses, he did not think the commission was in a position to address the fundamental issues facing Cameroon because neither parties in attendance at the day’s events were representative of the two parties—the Anglophones and the government of Cameroon.

“The Francophone and the Anglophone do not have any problem,” he said; “if there is a problem, and we want dialogue, are you and those of here capable of talking and bringing about a peaceful solution to this problem? If we cannot bring about bring about a peaceful solution to this problem, we should be honest.”

The former MP then suggested that the mostly Anglophone leadership resign if the commission did not possess the power to find a lasting solution to the crisis.

“We are calling on you to give peace a chance; call that inclusive dialogue that includes all of our brothers and sisters who are in the diaspora with any preconceived ideas of what; if we cannot do this, we are in for a lot of problems,” he cautioned.

Cameroon is on the brink because the crisis has fostered hate like no other time before. Unfortunately for Biya’s gerontocracy, the young men and women of English speaking Cameroonians who constitute the insurgency no longer trust the decrees proclaiming the nation’s unity as sacrosanct being trumpeted from the vaunted hallways of power in faraway Yaoundé.

They do not trust the regime’s empty slogans that assert the country’s cultural diversity when in practice they have seen their parents dream of a truly equitable nation squandered. These young men and women have no reason to trust the same old men who have been in power since their birth, and whose misrule is responsible for their misery.
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