DEACON TASSANG WILFRED WRITES
THE AMBAZONIAN STRUGGLE: WHEN EGO AND PASSION BLUR VISION
To the Ambazonian Diaspora,
Genevites and anti-Genevites
I once more find myself in the difficult situation of having to write to you from prison. Be it as it may, that I have to do this is absolute, seeing what is happening in the struggle. I have learned with a heavy heart that many of our people in the diaspora have with “good” reason resigned to the struggle and that many more are contemplating the same. Dear diasporans, I share your frustrations and pain. How I wish things were different! Today though, I come to you in the name of God and on behalf of our suffering people with a message I hope will touch your hearts and make you feel our people’s frustrations and pain once more.
On January 17, 2017, the Consortium took a momentous decision and exported the voice of the resistance to the diaspora. My brothers Bara and Tapang were asked to hold the fort, which assignment they carried with brilliance until we were free to take over. And when we did, we had also joined the colony of exiles of Ambazonians. This was according to God’s design.
Many have agreed with me that this phase of the struggle was specifically ordained by and commanded of God. From the unset, the Lord knew that this time would come and that the wickedness of Yaoundé would be such that none would be able to raise their voice on the territory. The terror from Yaoundé is so terrifying that even the Church is intimidated in the homeland. It was exactly on account of this knowledge that the decision was taken to export the Consortium. The Lord God in His infinite wisdom had also placed each one of you where you are for a time like this.
Esther 4:13-14 … Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king’s house, more than all the Jews.
For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?
Indeed, God turned what was supposed to be our curse into Ambazonia’s blessing. Your exodus was expected to keep the homeland down forever, but see what God has turned it into? Imagine for one moment what would have happened to the struggle if you were not out there to both speak and foot the bills. Would you now disobey God and abandon your people for any reason whatsoever?
When the children of Israel left Egypt, Pharaoh didn’t want to let them go. It is not different with Ambazonia. This much is obvious to all of us. What is not obvious is the tactics of Ambazonia’s Pharaoh. To understand these tactics, we have to first and foremost recall to mind why we are running away. Yes, we are running away from annexation and all its ills; discriminations of all sorts, corruption, and embezzlement of the public till, oppression and “political suppression”, to quote Rev. Father Andrew Ambiezeh of SOCALIM.
58years in these vices have certainly left their mark negatively on our people. As you all can bear witness, these vices are pursuing us on our way out. For the Israelites, their challenges were fear, hunger, and thirst. Ambazonia’s challenges are perhaps much more but we shall overcome them all if we all stand firm.
On Corruption and Embezzlement
This is Yaounde’s trump card. They’re masters of this art. Yaoundé doesn’t only corrupt people, she lies about it when they fail in their attempt. It was by God’s special grace that the struggle didn’t miscarry whilst teachers and lawyers were on strike. Yaounde churned out lie after lie concerning how many hundreds of millions we had “collected” from the government. Remember also how the very advocates of the struggle relayed these falsehoods and almost caused the people to turn their backs on us. Am I saying that some of my colleagues didn’t get compromised? No. What I am saying here is that Yaounde’s tactics have not changed. I can state with certainty that the cacophony going on about embezzlement is presently working against the struggle, and in the interest of the oppressor. Am I saying that leaders have not misappropriated? Again, NO. How can I hold such a position when this evil started under my own very stewardship? In the event where these new allegations were true, the question you all in the diaspora must answer is this; “Are embezzlement and misappropriation of struggle funds good enough reasons for anybody to turn their backs on our people? Help me, someone. If this were so, then we actually don’t know why we are running away. The same ills from which we are running will follow us into Ambazonia. It will be several years after homeland restoration and after hard labour and determination that these same vices shall be rooted off. For now dear people, I implore you to both bear and endure while being watchful.
You cannot for any reason, resign. To do so, I am sure you all know, is tantamount to conceding defeat. Can we surrender after coming this far? That is exactly what Yaoundé wants. And many of you are playing into Yaounde’s hands; many others are actually working for Yaoundé without knowing. Yes, I can say it again. I have seen it happen over and over from prison.
On Geneva: to Talk or Not to Talk
I am sure that Ambazonians know that all wars end on the table of negotiations. The current genocidal war going on in the homeland will not be different. It shall end on the table.
At this point where both sides of the talk divide are at each other’s throat, exposing the very secrets of the struggle and making nonsense of the people’s efforts, I feel that I shouldn’t be quiet in spite of the fact that I , am only a common teacher, and not a legal luminary. I am not even a student of international relations, talk less of being a diplomat/expert in whatever domain. However, I learned a few things during the few months I spent at the helm of the struggle.
*Secrecy and Discretion: Pillars of Revolutions and Diplomacy
Ours is not the first revolution and quest for statehood restoration. Before ours was the South Sudanese, Eritrean and East Timorese revolutions. On paper, they all are the same but the situational realities are not. The former didn’t take place during this social media boom. This is perhaps where the difference lies. But social media or not, do we all need to be practicing communicators and politicians to know the damage that information or the lack thereof can cost an endeavour like ours?
I am not a journalist but I have practiced as one and can say with authority that the information craze that is driving this struggle has done a lot of damage and has certainly caused huge delays. That was why in the Summer of 2017, Foley Hoag, the law firm the struggle had hired put an embargo on information sharing without their prior approval because, said they, we have to choose between satisfying the thirst of our people to know what efforts and strides we were making and letting Yaoundé into every door we were knocking. Of course, we all know that Yaoundé has sabotaged many of our efforts because we made noise. Most, if not the entire leadership of the struggle today know that the noise they make is causing more harm than good. Some have taken advantage of the confidential nature of certain transactions to accuse their “rivals” knowing that they cannot come out to explain without making themselves vulnerable to some clauses in international law. This is wickedness.
On the Swiss talks, both the Genevites and anti-Genevites did well at the beginning. Proponents of the talks have done well in that they have let the whole world know that the struggle is ready to talk. Those who didn’t go also did well in that they let the world know that the resistance will not be precipitated into just any kind of arrangement in the name of talks. At the unset, to talk and not to talk were both correct. However, what is happening now is absolute madness in the name of defending positions. I hear more of ego than good sense. Ego and passion have blurred their vision. One would have thought that it made sense for the two sides to sit at the table and compare notes. Why are we opposed to this project? Why do we have confidence in this project? What is it that we were told and have seen whilst there that have increased our trust in the Swiss? All these are not issues that should be seen in social media. What kind of revolution is it that does not have classified information? We throw out everything including making very fallacious statements that debunk our claims to expertise. How many Ambazonians out there have taken part in such conflict resolutions prior to this? Does someone become a poet by reading poems or is a poet one who has written and published poems?
You all may be “diplomats and or legal luminaries”, mastering tenets and principles, but how many revolutions have been run by laid down principles? And where are these laid down by the way? If it were as simple as it is written, Foncha and Muna would have secured restoration in 1995. International law testifies to the fact that the Ambazonian case is cut out. The UN statutes and relating treaties are therefore all in our favour yet we still have to put up a fight for it. How then can anyone claim that this revolution is run according to “as it is written”? Revolutions are generally characterized by disorder and non-respect of established orders each one (revolution) being unique, their similarities notwithstanding. Running a revolution during this social media age has turned out to be more tasking than in 1789.
In the midst of all this confusion, I will not join the cacophony by pointing out in this same medium where I think each side is wanting, but will rather have you bear me witness that I have appealed and here again appeal that both the Genevites and anti-Genevites should sit down and reason together. This cannot be done in zoom conferences. There are compatriots out there who are willing to host this project in all aspects. Can you all avail yourselves? If there will be talks, we all must go together or all stay back if we convince ourselves that it is a trap. Anything short of a united front will mean 1961 all over. Yet, I am convinced that this is the generation that God has chosen to right the wrongs of history.
Before I end on this, let me state categorically that it is not a revolutionary sin for the struggle to go all out and lobby for a mediator. In fact, it is the proper thing to do (It would be a sin if we did not). It is our people dying after all. It is our communities being burned and our kids staying at home. It is therefore in our best interest that mediation should happen soonest. However, we must not throw caution to the wind when doing so. The struggle must be suspicious of all offers to mediate even if it came from the Americans. It is only when we do this that we shall be alert and watchful. In this regard, I should indicate here that the SCNC had several years ago lobbied for mediation even when there was no war, and that under my brief tenure, we also lobbied for a nation to do that. The latter nation is on standby to come in even as an observer in the Swiss process. The reason these efforts were never made known I have made clear above: discretion and confidentiality.
In the same breath, to refuse to give heed to critical objections and to call those who don’t trust the Swiss, federalist, is also not in the interest of the struggle. No, it isn’t.
I put my reputation on the line to say that I trust both the proponents and opponents of the Swiss project. It is evident that both sides are determined to give our people the best. But it is also evident that both sides continue to work against the struggle in refusing to sit together.
I suggest strongly dear compatriots, that there be a meeting, and if need be, the two sides should secure the services of an internal mediator. This is right and proper to do at this juncture. Once we are reconciled, we should also do a mock negotiation to mimic what we expect to meet wherever.
Ambazonia! I have spoken. Mount pressure on these to get together before these squabbles discourage Ground Zero as it has done to many in the diaspora.
Once, more dear diasporans, the assignment is yours to both talks for ground zero and to put together all that it takes to prosecute this struggle to the end. And for those who feel discouraged, remember that many have sacrificed with their lives; remember that thousands yet languish in jail and are not giving up. I know how much you love your people, I know how much you love us in jail. If you can’t control the “Central Treasury”, you can at least take control at the micro-level, LGA by LGA, County by County.
I came to you in the name of the Lord and depart in His name.
From Prison Principale, Kondengui Yaoundé have I this 19th Day of October 2019, with my own handwritten and signed,
Deacon TASSANG Wilfred