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Biya Gambles on Internet Blackout, Loses Woefully; Southern Cameroons Momentum Picks Steam



The Anglophone Problem: Biya Gambles on Internet Blackout, Loses Woefully; Time for Him to Pay Damages.

April 20, 2017 will go down in history as the day Paul Bathelemy Biya bi-Mvondo suffered his most devastating political humiliation in the more than 40 years he has roamed the halls of power as Prime Minister and President. In the midst of the unprecedented uprising by the oppressed and marginalized Anglophone population in Cameroon and the Diaspora, the Napoleonic tyrant ordered his minions, Minette Libom Li Likeng, Minister of Posts and Telecommunications, Issa Tchiroma, Minister of Communication, and the Director General of Camtel Nkoto Emano to pull the plug on the Internet in the Northwest and Southwest regions. The blackout took effect on January 18, 2017., and lasted 93 days. This was the longest, politically-motivated, punitive, Internet blackout in Africa. Biya wanted to punish the Anglophones collectively. All he succeeded in doing was to fatally weaken the foundations of his Napoleonic state. Cameroon will never be the same again, never!

Like dictators in Egypt, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Burundi and elsewhere, the ailing lion of Mvomeka thought that by cutting off the Internet, and carrying out barbaric human rights abuses against innocent men, women and children in the dark, he would stifle and destroy the Anglophone movement that represents an existential threat to his rotten and tottering dictatorial regime.

The problem is that Biya and his henchmen were so comfortable in their little French colonial bubble they underestimated the resolve and will to freedom of the oppressed Anglophones. They also did not realize that Anglophones are a free people who have no fear of Biya’s murderous regime. They also had not been told that English is the global lingua franca. They have learned the bitter lesson the hard way. Strikes, and continuing ghost towns at home, demonstrations abroad, and informational activism in cyberspace have made the Anglophone problem a global issue. The result is that for the first time in the history of Francophone Africa, a minority has made a blood-thirsty dictator back down.
Now that Biya has suffered a crushing political defeat at the hands of the Anglophones, it is time for him to pay compensation for the millions of dollars his illegal and inhuman act cost. He is a billionaire. He can afford it. The IMF, World Bank and other economic institutions show that the Internet blackout cost millions of dollars per day. Millions of individuals, the Silicon Mountain Internet start-up hub, banks, businesses, schools, universities, and so on, suffered financial loss. It is time for Biya bi Mvondo, Minette Libom Li Likeng, Issa Tchiroma, Nkoto Emano, Camtel, MTN and others to pay the penalty.

When former Egyptian dictator, Hosni Mubarak shut down the Internet in Egypt for six days in 2011 in a futile effort to hang on to power, he failed miserably. After his fall, civil society groups sued Mubarak, the Egyptian government and responsible ministers for this gross human rights violation, and for economic loses. An Egyptian court fined the defendants millions of dollars. Biya and his gang must not get away with murder and go scot-free. In order to teach them a lesson, Anglophone lawyers need to take the fight to them. They need to act as a group and file a class-action suit in Douala and Yaounde. against Biya, La Republique and the other defendants, on behalf of all victims of the Internet shut down. Suits should also be prepared for the Buea and Bamenda High Courts went the lawyers’ strike is over. We know in advance how the cowardly Francophone judges and courts will rule but the media coverage will be priceless. Finally, Anglophone lawyers need to lodge a human rights complaints at the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the United Nations Human Rights Council and other international jurisdictions. Make them pay!

It is said that a fanatic is one who, having lost sight of his objectives, redoubles his efforts. Biya gambled and lost. It is time for him to face the legal consequences of his reckless human rights violations.

I see nothing but loses ahead for Paul Biya. He is in a no-win situation. If he releases the Anglophone leaders, he loses. If he keeps them in jail, he loses. If he changes even a little bit, he loses, if he does not change, he loses. He already faces potential expulsion from the Commonwealth, loss of American military and economic aid due to Anglophone protests, and increasing unrest in la Republique itself. Anglophones have introduced the word “resistance” into the vocabulary of the Francophones. The momentum is clearly on the side of the Anglophones.

By Mola Eko

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