Field Marshall and the changing revolutionary dynamics
The coronation of Field Marshall, Commander of the Red Dragons of Lebialem as a traditional ruler highlights a significant shift in the dynamics of the Ambazonia War of independence.
During the colonial era, traditionally rulers provided the channel throughout authority was exercised on the people. Traditional rulers in the southern Cameroons constituted a significant authority and were represented in governance and legislature in what was known as the house of chiefs. In the post-referendum era and the periods under LRC occupation, traditional rulers were classified by a decree from Yaoundé creating first, second and third class chiefs with decreasing influence and authority. They were referred to as auxiliaries of the administration. There was also the introduction of a state allowance, which enabled traditional rulers to have money from the government of Yaoundé but also to is influenced and manipulated.
As the power and authority of the chiefs weakened and was usurped by appointees from Yaoundé, the occupational authority proceeded to appoint new chiefs by decree by carving out villages as favours to political cronies. Traditional folklore and the history of most Ambazonian kingdoms (as with most African kingdoms) trace their origins to a warrior king/fon/chief that conquered lands or defeat others in order to wars to establish their kingdom. The coronation of Field Marshall in Lebialem, therefore, is not a departure from history. Rather it is a continuation of the history, only at a time when kingship by war and blood is no longer en vogue. What, however, makes his coronation all the more revolutionary is the fact that it happened at a time when existing chiefs and fons of the region had abdicated and negated their duties for personal economic expediencies. They created a customary, traditional and leadership vacuum that needed to filled by someone with the inner strength and fortitude to rally the people, some who offered the people hope and something to believe in. what his detractors have failed to appreciate is the social and economic decadence that the people of that region live in. they also fail to appreciate the psychological impact that this decadence has on the people, the emotional and mental toll, the hopelessness.
At the start of this conflict, there were videos of many villages marching to the palaces of their fons and chiefs, whom they saw as their representatives and also people they thought the government would listen to, to submit petitions asking these chiefs to speak on their behalf to the government. What has transpired though has been the co-option and corruption of these chiefs, their politicization of the traditional institutions they were entrusted to hold for and on behalf of their behalf. They have been co-opted into the central and political bureau of the oppressor’s machinery; appointed senators, ministers, technical advisers, etc. Their voices are no longer those of their people as they a cowered by their fear of losing privileges. They have betrayed their people.
The coronation of Field Marshall, therefore, makes a significant shift in the dynamics of the Ambazonian war of independence. It does so in two simple ways. The first is that it takes out the most advanced and entrenched outer post of the central colonial administrative systems. As stated earlier traditional rulers are considered auxiliaries of the Yaoundé administrative system. By repudiating existing chieftains in Lebialem, Field Marshall has severed the umbilical cord that links the villages and people under his military command area to the Yaoundé government.
Secondly, Field Marshall is sending a strong signal to all chiefs and fons who have decided to side with Yaoundé against the aspirations of their people that their time is up. In a recent interview, the Fon of Mankon stated that he was an architect of reunification and would labour to protect the one and indivisibility of Cameroon. He outrightly ignored the call of his subjects who have unreservedly declared their allegiance to Ambazonia and renounced the occupation of their homeland by LRC. He is also talking to those Ambazonian chiefs and fons who have been co-opted into LRC senate and parliament to enable and legitimize the genocide of their people that as they side with the oppressor they are abdicating and negating their custodial duties to protect their people. Any chief who abandons his people at the time of war loses their legitimacy and their right to be their chief or fon.
Field Marshall has changed the dynamics of the Ambazonian war of independence in the battlefront and the reconstruction of the administrative set at the local level. He is doing away with the old system of entitled and hereditary chiefs. He has revived the old days when chiefs earned their stripes in battle, where respect, power, and authority are earned and not inherited by virtue of being born into it.
The message also is for the commanders in the Northern Zone, especially those in Bali, Mankon, and Bafut. He’s telling you that the time is now to tell your chiefs, especially those who are senators and members of parliament that the time is now for them to stand with their people. If they are not able to stand with and for their people, they will be replaced by someone with the grit and fortitude to incarnate and do justice to the aspirations of the Ambazonian people.