… and what if Fru Ndi is right?
By Bernard Ngalim,
On July 25, 2020, some Southern Cameroonian leaders invited John Fru Ndi, Cameroon’s long time opposition leader to give his opinion about the Ambazonian struggle for independence. Fru Ndi’s opinion has remained firm and his desire to see a federated Cameroon seems unbending. This caused the SDF to lose almost all the council and parliamentary sits in the Southern Cameroons at the February 2020 elections. 98% of Ambazonian supporters are arguably former SDF diehards who believed the SDF will redeem the Southern Cameroonians’ right to self-determination. The SDF’s dismal failure in the two most recent elections and Fru Ndi’s abdication from contesting the 2018 presidential elections might have inspired Southern Cameroonians to invite him to an open conversation.
Presumably, Sothern Cameroonian organizers thought the SDF’s woes might have forced Fru Ndi to change his heart. Hell no! The unapologetic Fru Ndi maintained his federalist stance but the substance of this speech revolves around some points, call them political lessons, Fru Ndi offered Southern Cameroonians. Hate him or love him. Southern Cameroonians must reflect and give meaning to these points.
Ambazonians are all about money
It’s an open secret that Ambazonians have accused fellow freedom fighters of embezzlement and corruption. For the sake of clarity and transparency, I’ll cite a few examples and testimonies made by people close to certain situations.
Nambere, a Sako recruit, testified on video that in several instances, Sako promised to send community raised money to prosecute the liberation struggle. In some video testimonies, Nambere regretted that Sako did not as much as arm the fighters under his jurisdiction despite raising huge amounts of money in the diaspora.
Eric Tataw, a one-time close Sako ally has multiplied information about Sako’s misappropriation of liberation funds. Note that Eric Tataw jointly raised part of the money for Sako’s group. Boh Herbert is on record saying that they raised $50.000 and the money disappeared. No one has justified or explained where the money disappeared to.
Last Sunday, July 26, 2020, Mark Bareta published a list of about 11 Ambazonians who have received money from Cameroon’s government. Without authenticating the claims but linking up with Fru Ndi’s statement the previous, I will challenge Ambazonians to think twice, revisit the fundamentals of the liberation quest, and chart a better future.
In the heat of these revelations, someone leaked Professor Ayim’s request that money currently being raised be used to pay Sako’s rent and buy Sako a “presidential car”. While they project the raised funds will be used to support the liberation struggle, they are quietly using the money for personal purposes.
I interviewed John Mbah Akuroh last Sunday and he revealed some Ambazonians attending meetings with the Swiss HD return home with huge per diems. In Mark’s revelations, he claimed one of Cameroon’s ministers paying some money to Ambazonians said Ambazonians have no integrity and are all about money.
Can Ambazonians claim Fru Ndi’s statement about money was born of hate and malice? These examples only represent the tip of an iceberg about money scandals in the Ambazonian liberation struggle. Are these freedom fighters?
Ambazonians must think about “unity of purpose”
As much as Ambazonians represent a social construct and there’s bound to be differences in opinion, they all profess unity in purpose: the liberation of the Southern Cameroons. The unity in purpose is, however, corrupted by intra-Ambazonian attacks, infighting, mudslinging, sabotage, public attacks, etc.
Consider these examples.
Chris Anu used an Ambazonian TV to ban the AGovC and the ADF. The AGovC in an official statement (based on their intelligence) designated Chris Anu an infiltrator.
Bui and Batibo have been bedrocks of intra-Ambazonian fighting. The Bui Warriors under Sako’s leadership acknowledged they attacked ADF’s General Effang and killed about 30 other Ambazonian fighters and later told Ambazonians to ask Cameroon to produce the bodies of these fighters.
When Sisiku tweeted that he held meetings with Cameroon’s officials, social media broke into a frenzy and those participating in meetings with Switzerland challenged Sisiku’s authority to meet with any authority to talk about a ceasefire. Expanding on their claims, they even said Sisiku was negotiating a peace deal and ceasefire. If all Ambazonians are working to liberate Ambazonia, why won’t they canalize their efforts, talk with Sisiku, and advise when need be?
Ambazonians in the diaspora must factor home-based
Diasporan Ambazonians consistently make statements ignoring the plight of Southern Cameroonians based at home. The incessant and irrelevant lockdowns, orders to pay taxes, and instructions to kidnap Southern Cameroonians at home is alarming.
When Cardinal Tumi proposed to host an All Anglophone Conference, his detractors weren’t only Biya. Ambazonians in the diaspora ferociously opposed the idea but won’t organize a conference abroad and invite home-based Southern Cameroonians. Even if they didn’t/don’t agree with Cardinal Tumi, it is important to talk, listen, and share ideas.
Ambazonians must think about children and their education
The substance of education remains one of the fundamental pillars of discord between Ambazonians and Cameroon. Ambazonians have declared “no schools” in Ambazonia since 2016. Four years down the line, there’s no hope that schools will resume in Ambazonia. Despite this, Ambazonian children abroad continue going to school unabated. Worse still, they publish pictures when their children graduate or achieve an academic milestone.
In as much as one agrees that Cameroon’s curriculum in Ambazonia is faulty and needs redress and the environment is not safe for education, Ambazonians in the diaspora must empathize and avoid provoking Ambazonians children on the home front.
The sacrifice is already enormous enough and adding salt to injury by always flashing their children in the most fashionable position is unnecessary and vexing. While some Ambazonian groups have started community schools, it’s difficult to evaluate their effectiveness and compliance with international norms.
Claims of a righteous generation
Fru Ndi reminded Ambazonians that their claims of being a righteous generation is a catalyst for the dismal performance and possibly justifies the quagmire Ambazonians find themselves in. How can one generation claim to know everything about winning a liberation war? Acknowledging the liberation struggle has a long history and stakeholders at other points in time took some steps to remedy the pain, today’s Ambazonians must acknowledge these steps, learn from the mistakes, capitalize on their gains to inform the ambitions of this generation. Make no mistake, history plays an important role in political projects. Ambazonians cannot ignore history, those who made the history and think they will succeed. Always starting from the starting block is a sign of failure.
The man in the mirror looks at the mirror and sees himself. Ambazonians must look at the mirror and carefully examine their consciences. Chastising Fru Ndi in the face of these four points won’t liberate Ambazonia. It will only deepen the Ambazonian grave. I acknowledge, however, that things might have been different had Fru Ndi put more pressure on Cameroon and the international community. Ambazonians trusted him and hoped he would put his weight behind the movement to take Cameroon’s knee off their neck. While calling Ambazonians to order, Fru Ndi must also look into the mirror, acknowledge his shortcomings, and take proactive steps to take Cameroon’s knee off Ambazonian necks.