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Momo Administration to Begin Negotiations With “Amba” Boys

Divisional Officers at the meeting

“Our mission here today is to plan on how to welcome back home these prodigal children. Our mission is not only to wait for them to come back but to go to them and ask them to come back.” These were the opening words of the Senior Divisional Officer of Momo Division, Absalom Monono Woloa as he chaired a special meeting in the conference hall of the Divisional Delegation of Labour and Social Security, Momo, last Friday December 21st 2018. Attended by Divisional Officers,  Mayors, and Service Heads within the division, the meeting was aimed at facilitating the decision of the Head of State through Decree N° 2018/719 of 30 November 2018 to establish the National Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Committee.

Monono schooled his collaborators on the appropriate message they have to pass across to the population. He made allusions to the biblical parable of the prodigal son and contextualized it to the present sociopolitical unrests rocking the two English speaking regions of Cameroon where despite perpetuating killings, kidnappings, burnings, destruction of state/private property and crumbling of the economy as a means of venting their anger, the Head of State has still decided to pardon the separatist fighters commonly called “Amba Boys.”

 He also assured them, his collaborators that contrary to the past where victims of kidnap were scared to report to hierarchy or security forces for fear of repercussions and tagging as sponsor of the struggle after paying ransoms to secure their freedom, the situation now is different. To him, the state is rather in dire need of information about the fighters not to arrest and lock them up or kill them but to offer them an olive branch. “They are your children and you know them. If you are afraid, give us their contacts especially those of their leaders so that we can talk to them and assure them that what awaits them is better than what they have in the bush.” were his words. He added that measures have been put in place to engage the returnees in training and or employment in any sector of their choice after checking their health situation.

A circular letter from the North West Regional Governor addressed to all S.D.Os and dated 23rd November 2018 with subject, implementation of the Head of State’s program to disarm, demobilise and reintegrate repentant fighters was then read to the hearing of all. According to the letter, fighters who have manifested their intentions to repent or have already done so are in their numbers. It further compelled all administrators within the region to organise at their levels in relation to sectoral concerns, meeting sessions with concerned stakeholders on how to chart a way out of the crisis through the effective implementation of the president’s decision.

Having gotten these clarifications, room was then given for the members to propose ideas on how to implement the program. Monono insisted that the proposals must be geared towards actions at the local level (Mbengwi, Momo Division) not those that will have to be channeled to hierarchy. The mayor of Mbengwi Council, Tebe Beatrice proposed that for any committee that shall be formed to be effective, it must involve local religious leaders, traditional authorities, civil society activists and middlemen within communities where the fighters reside. The mayor of Batibo council, Frederick Tanjoh on his part proposed that a hotline should be established and circulated for members of the public to use in giving their suggestions if possible on anonymous basis and for repentant fighters to also contact it so they can be reached and taken back into society. To mayor Tanjong, for the process to be successful, a lot of secrecy must be involved purposely for the security of the informants so that people are not termed “betrators” (as used by fighters and sympathisers of the struggle in his municipality) and eliminated especially as the recent trend is that of enemies npw hiding behind the crisis to settle old disputes over land, marital issues, political interest and personal grievances.

Here the S.D.O intervened and said “The truth about it is that most of these youths want to come back but their only challenge is fear of their leaders, members and doubts if the state means her words.” He said they call even him and appreciate his administration after which they’ll then ask for support but the answer he always gives them is same, “My job is not good when you are in the bushes. Come and meet me let me give you a permanent source of income.” With this, they will always laugh over the phone and ask him, “You want kill me?” To conquer fear, Monono told the D.Os, mayors, heads of services and military units that “The truth is we will all die and death is everywhere. It will be good that if you have to die, die while doing good.” This however doesn’t imply that you shouldn’t take security measures to preserve your life, he added.

Other proposals came in from the Divisional Delegate of Youth Affairs and Civic Education, Jaidzeka Irene and that of Agriculture and Rural Development, Nkwawir Martha. The former proposed a mindset change and moral rearmament of the fighters through media campaigns that they won’t be stigmatised upon throwing in the towel while the later regretted the cutting off of the few available earth roads by the fighters, a strategy that is rather impoverishing and inflicting further hardship on the locals. The last proposal from one of the attendees was for tracks bearing messages of disarmament to be printed and circulated in the concerned areas especially those without network, electricity and other social amenities.

Committees were then created that shall be liaising with those at the regional and sub divisional levels. In his closing statement, the meeting chair, Absalom Monono reminded all present to keep hammering the right message till it gets stuck in the ears of the concerned, that Rome was never built in one day, that not all solutions to all problems can be gotten and executed in one day. “Tell them that we should learn to accept what has been done while asking for more for it’s not a taboo to do so”, he said. “But when doing so, be gentlemanly to accept that the person who has to give is limited for even God has not finished giving to us”, he added. “There’s no reason to be killing ourselves and destroying the property that we have because we want a better Cameroon. We have all received the prodigal message of the Head of State and we can only implement it by trying.” These were the last words of the S.D.O as he ended and dismissed the session.

One Response to Momo Administration to Begin Negotiations With “Amba” Boys

  1. Cho Francis December 26, 2018 at 10:23 am

    The post of Prime Minister in the new constitution (1975-1982)
    In the new post-referendum constitution, the post of Prime Minister was created in 1975 and its occupant became the second personality and sucessor to the president. If the tradition of alternation had to be respected as was dictated in the federal constitution, the post of PM had to go to the Anglophones once the president is Francophone. But it was handed to another Francophone, Paul Biya. This was the fourh capital sin of Francophones. The two former vice-president, Fonch and Muna saw themselves given respectively the powerless positions of vice-president of the party and president of the national assembly. Anglophones were thus distanced from the leadership of a country that they had joined with love.

    Paul Biya unilaterally creates the republic of Cameroon (1982-1984)
    After five years as prime minister, Paul Biya had become sufficiently groomed in the tactics of politics and politicking. Ahidjo now peacefully hands the command baton to him. Without passing through a referendum, Paul Biya in 1984 unilaterally modified the constitution and deleted the word united from the name of the country and thus created present day republic of Cameroon. By this singular act, Biya commits the fifth capital sin against Anglophones, the fifth deception, barely two years of taking over power, as if he was handed power only for this reason. That was how Francophones were able to falsify the history of the two Cameroons and eroded the Anglo-saxon heritage of the Anglophones.

    For six years running, John Ngu Foncha tried without success to get Biya to call a franc dialogue between Francophones and Anglophones. Frustrated, he resigned his post as Vice President of the CPDM party and allowed Biya to fully assume responsibility for the new developments in the country. In his resignation letter Foncha wrote: “All through my 40 years of political career, I led the campaigns for the unification of the two Cameroons; I moved from village to village in East Cameroon, at the risk of my life, to calm down the terrorism that was rocking the country….

    During this period i won the confidence of many Cameroonians, and when the first elections were to be organized many requested me to stand against Ahidjo. But I decided to keep the post of vice-president just to avoid unnecessary conflicts and possible bloodshed…. (Today), in my rather exalted capacity as vice-president of our national party, i find it difficult to use my position to influence any political decision of the party and the nation, and this is because my multiple requests to meet the president in audience to talk with him on important issues affecting the state have been systematically frustrated. All memos I wrote and sent to him on important questions of national interest were simply ignored…..i have therefore decided to tender my resignation with effect from today, 9 June 1990.”

    Biya’s bad governance (1982-1990)
    Despite the frustrations born of the constitutional modification of 1984, Biya still does nothing to appease Anglophones. He discourages the development of the Anglophone regions and allows the Anglo-saxon heritage and infrastructures to fall into decrepitude. In his resignation letter of 9 June 1990, J. N. Foncha painted described the bad governance between 1982 and 1990 in very pathetic words. He wrote:«All the projects that i initiated in the former West Cameroon have been poorly managed or abandoned to ruin, for example Cameroon Bank, West Cameroon Marketing Board, West Cameroon Cooperative, etc. Even though as spent my whole life fighting to get a deep seaport created in Limbe (Victoria), the project has been abandoned…. All the roads in West Cameroon that my government built and/or maintained have been destroyed, rendering travel through Mamfe-Kumba, Mamfe-Bamenda, Bamenda-Wum, Kumbo-Wum, Kumbo-Bamenda impossible by road.

    All these projects have been put on hold even as petrol from Limbe is generating enough money to build the roads and the Limbe deep seaport. What’s worse, all employment projects and laws sanctioning appointments in the government and its allied services have been revised or modified at the detriment of Anglophones. The people that I brought into the union with French Cameroon have been ridiculed and called “Biafrans” or “enemies in the house”.

    The rights and constitutional provisions that protected the rights of the Anglophone minority have been suppressed, their voices have been submerged, while the rule of armed force has replaced the dialogue that Anglophones so cherish. The national media has been used by the government through some persons who never fought for unification, to misinform Anglophones. Lies have been told in the media to discredit and isolate Anglophones who voted for unification. They have been treated with hatred and scorned by other Cameroonians.

    Embezzlement of state funds and illicit money transfers out of the country by the ruling class has become the rule. The constitution that is supposed to be the supreme law has been flouted and manipulated with impunity.

    Under Biya, the unitary status of the republic of Cameroon has destroyed everything that was constructed by the federated state of West Cameroon, and this explains the disappointment of Anglophones around 1990. Since 1990 Anglophone have been reciting Foncha’s name in their hearts, but because they are pacifists, they decided to try another opening for dialogue with the creation of a political party, the SDF.

    Enter SDF and the theft of Fru Ndi’s victory (1990-1997)
    In a very intelligent manner, the Anglophones launched the SDF party in 1990 and forced Paul Biya to yield to calls for multi-partism. SDF attracts massive crowds in both the Anglophone as well as the Francophone regions. In the first multi-party elections in 1992, SDF leader, Fru Ndi, defeats Paul Biya but the victory is stolen by Biya, who supported by the army bigwigs, puts Fru Ndi under house arrest. This was the 7th capital sin of the Francophhones, and perhaps the drop of water that fills the basin. The next will make it to overflow.

    The metaphor of two cubes of sugar in a basin of water (2016-2018)
    The metaphor of two cubes of sugar in a basin of water is that drop of water that caused the basin to overflow. SDF MP, Hon. Joseph Wirba, presented it in parliament succinctly as, saying a Francophone government minister said in the national assembly thus : “The situation of Anglophones in Cameroon is like putting two cubes of sugar in a basin full of water.”

    Overwhelmed by this metaphor, the MP Wirba went to the Francophone minister of Higher Education and told him what his colleague had said. He also drew his attention to the military brutality that Anglophones are subjected to and warned him that there is violence on the horizon. In response Fame Ndongo tells him: “Hon Wirba, your people chose to join us. So what will you do?” In an outing in the national assembly in december 2016, hon. Wirba said: «We have made all efforts necessary. Our ancestors and grandparents had confidence in you. They thought two peoples who consider themselves as brothers, could decide to come together and live together as one. A minister said in this house that what happened to Cameroon is like dropping two cubes of sugar in a basin of water. Who is the water and who is the sugar? If this is what you are telling us after 55 years then those who are advocating division of the country are right. The people of Southern Cameroons will never be your slaves, and you cannot conquer them even through war. When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes a duty. We will resist your oppression!

    Police and Military Brutality (2016-2018)
    Anglophone lawyers angered by Francophone magistrates using French and French law to try cases in Anglophone courts, decided to march in protest, and to call for the restoration of Common Law in Anglophone Cameroon. For their part, Anglophone teachers challenging the fact that Francophone teachers are sent to teach Anglophone students in French, also took to the streets in protest. Both protest marches met wih brutality from police and gendarmes. Anglophone civil societies come together and create the ‘Consortium’ to continue with non-violent protests. But their leaders are arrested and thrown in jail. They are charged with terrorism. The populations are terrorized by the army. The police and military violence is proof of government’s refusal of the dialogue proposed by Anglophones. This was the ninth sin of the Francophones against Anglophones. And it created the dramatic violence that we are witnessing today. The radicalism takes root from the brutality visited on civilians by the military.

    The will for independence thus becomes stronger than that for dialogue or the return to federalism or even the application of the Common Law. On 1st October 2017, Anglophones take to the streets to march and proclaim their independence. The army pounces on them, shooting at them with life bullets. More than 1000 are killed and over 500 are arrested. Left with no option, Anglophones take up arms, and the situation is what we are experiencing today.

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