If Mandela were a Southern Cameroonian
No one who desires the liberation of the British Southern Cameroons after its many and hoary bondages can have any other feeling but joy, at finding from the recent national and international protests, that our people are resolved to the teeth to see their independence restored. For a freedom movement so badly scorched by the heartlessness of its oppressor and the silence of its so called elites still licking the flesh pots of LRC, the Southern Cameroons liberation movement have some cause for optimism as the gather at New York and all over our Southern Cameroonian national territory disproved the naysayers who thought our enthusiasm was waning. The sense of belonging our people have mustered, the sense of courage our leaders have garnered in homeland and abroad has given all and sundry renewed sense of purpose and encouraged a surge in members, taking our numbers to many millions. What is going on in Cameroon today is beyond the grasp of the human mind. There is yet no evidence to me what the young country called Ambazonia came to such colossal global identification so speedily. However, its ascendancy to this height strikes me as indicative of the state of the Southern Cameroonian in the current dispensation. It goes to say that the Southern Cameroonian, both those at home and the Diaspora, have lost complete confidence in blood-sucking political structure that has never had an elected president. And therefore our euphoria and celebration is justified, the euphoria and celebration of our independence.
An African proverb holds that a fly with no one to advise it follows the corpse to the grave. If no one advised our brothers who came out from prison, let they who are nearer them do well to counsel them on the level the struggle has now assumed.
The way to make self-determination workable in our pale is for us all to first come down from our high moral tools – from those self-seeking tools where we can attract attention. It is I call moral grandstanding. It is a phenomenon where each person has this resolute feeling that they are exquisitely correct while others are incurably mistaken. For most of us there are most horrible cases only in other groups. We are pure and therefore the world is centered around us.
In fact, if the definition of a freedom fighter, as one who affects the mind of his generation, is true, Mancho Bibixy is candidly the greatest freedom fighter the Southern Cameroons has had in recent years. Arousing awareness and stimulating admiration appears to be what has enabled his civil right activism and aboriginal capacity rival such great men as Nelson Mandela and Gandhi. Yet Madiba Mancho Bibixy is to us more than just quantifiable greatness; he is to the Southern Cameroons a genuine symbol of the miracle the sons and daughters of this embattled nation aspire to achieve – complete restoration of their sovereignty. And what is that miracle? Mancho was incarcerated many months ago, but he had taken good care in just very few three months before his imprisonment to ensure we will never forget him.
Agbor Balla lost a great occasion for a Mandela to emerge in him, when he fell into the trap set for him by Ben Muna and his legal surrogates. During court sessions, the heyday of his incarceration and the D-Day that conditionally ended this incarceration of his moments in prison, the euphoria expressed in support of him in the Southern Cameroons defied region, religion and tribe. Southern Cameroonians were thirsting for a Mandela in Agbor Balla and Neba, but reactionary forces didn’t allowed that opportunity. In the short aftermath of their liberation from Kondengui, their actions and silences have spoken volumes. Sharing a cup of drink together among companions some few days ago, someone cracked the ribs of his onlookers with loud laughter that our leaders from Yaoundé prison cells have been ‘la republiqued’ or – to use the famous Bole Butake lexis – ‘lapiroed’. I felt during that gathering among friends that we should not jump to hasty conclusions yet. They have, out of the prison, shown both the good the bad and the ugly in them, but we must not judge that we be not judged.
Perhaps, if Mandela were a Southern Cameroonian he won’t be recognized like we recognize him…he would have died in prison! And that is why we must recognize Mancho Bibixy for what he is, and tell the LRC kangaroo jurists and politicians that if anything happens to our Mandela Mancho and his associates in your prison cells, the anger of the gods of Mount Fako and the ancient spirits in the Menchum Falls would react and the wrath of the God I serve would not allow his life to go in vain. The response from Ambas Bay would shock them.
And this thing is simple. If we get a man who is selfless, a leader who assures Southern Cameroonians he would die for them, a leader who doesn’t allow blood money to soil his hands, a leader who doesn’t allow empty promises from colonial Yaoundé to thwart judgment, Southern Cameroonians will follow him. Sisiku Ayuk Tabe has, in a matter of just months proven to be that Oliver Tambo we badly needed at this hour. His faithfulness to the cause of the restoration of our independence is unbending. His characteristic sangfroid, his dialoging ad cohesive spirit, his boundless courage in standing upright against the tyrant, his humility in governance has given us a leader that homeland has believed in and acknowledged as their leader in a unanimity hard to describe.
Mandela, Freedom Fighter
My hope is – and it is only a hope – that this spirit continues in the right direction and that we give him our support and encouragement. The SCACUF Governing Council under the muscular leadership of Tabe, Tassang and Atam has galvanized the people and given focus, has encouraged unity among disparate factions of our struggle and electrified the people to stand up as one man at a time when LRC’s maneuverings have struggled in vain to spirit away the spirit of self-determination from our peoples’ breast. They have disappointed and fluffed LRC’s expectations since the struggle reignited. We thank Ayaba Chuo, Boh Herbert, Dr. Akwanga – can never be forgotten in their concerted effort to unite and make things happen for our Ambazonian nation.
It behooves the present Southern Cameroon leadership to see the huge presence of faceless fraudsters around our struggle as signals that the battle to snatch Southern Cameroon from the jaws of LRC is still a long and winding war. So long as Southern Cameroonians find ground to solidarize with compromised characters, so long will they remain caught up in deep muddle and grave moral crisis. Our leadership impelled by the lofty sagacity of his Excellency Sisiku Ayuk Tabe is rising to the occasion and has refused to take refuge in myopic tribal politics. They have distanced themselves from the federated empty-talk that for 30 years now has helped to feed confusion among our people.
What is more, Mancho Bibixy has shaken the very foundations of La Republique du Cameroun’s Pharoah-like resistance and the Yaoundé Apartheid colonial system has confirmed that there is no one like Mancho with Mandela qualities in the Southern Cameroons. That is why they have kept him in prison. I wish I had known Madiba Mancho Bibixy more, much more. I wish he had been around a little longer to give us more inspiration to get to know the struggle a little more. I had the once in a lifetime opportunity to experience him spiritually during the Joe Wirba Kumbo rally. In his slightly feminine but powerful voice he could not hide his enthusiasm and his determination. It felt like KUMBO was the moment he had been waiting for the last 56 years. What a born freedom fighter!
By Father Gerald Jumbam
Kumbo Diocesan Priest