What about insulting Justice Ayah Abine’s person and integrity: Unfree Freedom in Ambazonia
I watched a video of Boh Herbert, Chris Anu, John Nsoh, and John Egwayang in which Boh Herbert throws contemptuous invectives at the venerable Justice Ayah Paul Abine. The above-cited individuals consider themselves frontline leaders of the Ambazonian movement and are each on record for throwing contemptuous invectives at Ambazonians who disagree with them. This attitude begets the question of freedom of thought, liberty, expression, life, speech, right to a fair trial, etc. in Ambazonia. Dictatorships stifle freedoms, curtail democratic space, and attack individuals for what they think, believe in, and for simply having a different opinion. Isn’t this one of the causes of the Ambazonian liberation struggle?
If Ambazonians predicate their struggle on the violation of their rights starting with their right to self-determination, shouldn’t onlookers expect Ambazonians to uphold, defend, protect, and promote freedoms and rights? Though still trying to establish a case and win international sympathy, Ambazonians are already on record for violating the most fundamental and inalienable human rights. In Boh Herbert’s diatribe against Justice Ayah, Boh lambasts Ayah for pretending that Cameroon tortured him while in jail, feared to attend meetings with the Center for Humanitarian Dialogue in Switzerland, that Ayah’s legal expertise is according to the CPDM, that Ayah lamented his wife couldn’t drive to buy fish, and Ayah turned down his election as Chairperson of the Southern Cameroons National Council (SCNC). Let me comment on these accusations.
Ayah pretends Cameroon tortured him while in detention
Boh Herbert follows a precedent he set regarding people who disagree with him. Once you disagree with Boh Herbert, you immediately become a Cameroon spy and he uses statements by Cameroonian authorities to defend his position. Interesting to note Boh Herbert has never trusted any statement by Cameroon unless it supports his view. Down memory lane! On July 6, relying on Rene Sadi’s (Cameroon government’s spokesman) statement that Cameroon is not negotiating with Sisiku, Boh Herbert tweeted that Ambazonian leaders to apologize to some Ambazonians who had claimed there was no meeting between Sisiku and Cameroon’s government. Without going into the substance of the facts, the point here is, Boh Herbert relies on Cameroon’s statements when it suits his agenda but castigates those who use the same statements against his agenda.
Back to the accusations against Ayah, though Boh did not name his source, he claimed Ayah’s prison guard has been Ayah’s schoolmate and friend and would not treat Ayah poorly. Maybe Boh Herbert is taking the leaf from his in-laws who are francophones and citizens of Cameroon. I trust Justice Ayah and following the circumstances surrounding his kidnap and subsequent illegal detention at SED, dishonesty will advise me to the contrary. In 2017, Justice Ayah was deputy prosecutor at the Supreme Court of Cameroon when Cameroon’s military deployed junior staff to force him out of his office to the SED. Based on Cameroon’s Criminal Procedure Code, Ayah refused to honor the illegal invitation and a few days later, Cameroon’s military kidnapped him manu militari, threw him in their poorly ventilated and illuminated jails, and abandoned him to his fate. Considering these surrounding circumstances, bigotry will direct me to believe that Cameroon’s military tortured Ayah to this extent only to prepare some paradise for him in his prison cell. Ayah spent 8 months in this gruesome detention facility under terrible conditions and some person who presumably escaped from Cameroon because of such torture accuses Ayah of pretending that Cameroon tortured him! Unfortunately, Boh Herbert disagrees with André Luther Meka, a CPDM communicator, who says Boh and all those attending the Swiss meetings asked Cameroon to give them money in Switzerland. Why should Boh trust Cameroon’s communication about Ayah’s detention but disagree with Cameroon’s communication about their one million dollar requests to Cameroon to end the Ambazonian liberation struggle?
Ayah feared to attend meetings in Switzerland
Since the Swiss announced on June 27, 2019, that a “second meeting with various Cameroonian opposition groups took place in Switzerland between 25 and 27 June 2019 … [and] the meeting aimed to prepare the future peace negotiations between the Cameroonian government and the political opposition,” relationships between Ambazonian movements suffered a major divide. On either side of the divide are those who attend the Swiss meetings and those who do not. Over the last year, Boh Herbert has emerged as the main defender and protector of the Swiss meetings. Though Boh Herbert describes the series of meetings in Switzerland as a “mediation process,” neither Cameroon nor Switzerland has confirmed there’s a mediation of any sort.
Positing that based on Ayah’s legal knowledge, they invited him to the Swiss meetings, Boh thinks Justice Ayah refused the invite because presumably, Ayah feared Cameroon’s retaliation. The question therefore is, why would Justice Ayah fear to attend the Swiss meetings? I cannot pretend to read Justice Ayah’s mind but will quickly take a lesson out of Boh Herbert’s statement. Why would Justice Ayah fear to attend the meeting in Switzerland if Cameroon is committed to the Swiss meetings? If Cameroon is not a party to the Swiss meetings then, what is happening in Switzerland? I have interviewed at least five people attending the Swiss meetings. Whenever I ask them what is happening in Switzerland their response is “pre-talks” but on the substance of the “pre-talks”, they have not described or defined proceedings in Switzerland.
Another important feature of my interviews about the Swiss meetings hinges on the quality and expertise of Ambazonians meeting with the Swiss Center for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD). Staff or consultants hired by the HD are experts and I believe their communication with Ambazonians should be with Ambazonian experts. Expertise should counter expert knowledge. Unfortunately, the individuals cited above are spokespersons and “experts” representing Ambazonians in meetings with Swiss experts. Had Switzerland offered their good offices to facilitate any negotiation for peace between Ambazonians and Cameroon, HD should play the role of a referee, that is, neutral and not capacity building sessions to empower Ambazonians – assuming that is what they are doing. On these grounds and clear lack of clarity around the Swiss meetings, I won’t doubt Justice Ayah expressed reserves about the process. It would, therefore, be good to hear from Justice Ayah.
I have equally interviewed Ambazonian movements that are not attending the Swiss meetings and they are clear – they need more clarity about the Swiss meetings, written evidence of Cameroon’s commitment to engage negotiations, the Swiss should obtain a UN resolution, and a negotiation process should be multilateral with other countries sending in witnesses and experts.
Ayah’s legal knowledge is according to the CPDM
Boh Claims Justice Ayah’s legal knowledge is “law according to the CPDM.” Boh’s accusations have no legal basis, neither do they accurately reflect Justice Ayah’s history. While Justice Ayah raised the Ambazonian question through different media, his 2000 judgment in Akiangan Fombin Sebastian v. Foto Joseph & Others, amongst many others demonstrates Justice Ayah’s legal knowledge is solidly grounded on the law, conscience, and void of political entanglement. In this case, Justice Ayah ruled that OHADA violates Southern Cameroonians’ rights. In 2008, though a CPDM member of Parliament, Ayah openly criticized Biya for amending the constitution and refused to vote in support of the amendment. All other CPDM MPs voted in support of Biya. At that time, Boh enjoyed social media fame from the comfort of his home in the USA. Ayah fights, defends, upholds, and protects human rights and justice from the lion’s den.
In that same video clip, Boh says Cameroon cannot try Ayuk Tabe because Ayuk Tabe renounced the Cameroonian nationality. Here’s Boh, the law professor? Boh says Cameroon cannot hold any law against Sisiku because Sisiku is not a Cameroonian citizen. By implication, Boh says countries can only try and punish their citizens. If this is the expertise representing Ambazonians during the Swiss meetings then, Ambazonia is back to Foumban where Foncha led a delegation of politicians to discuss and seal deals bothering on international and constitutional law.
Ayah lamented his wife could not buy fish
While it is irrelevant to comment on this, suffice it to remind readers that I commented on Boh Herbert’s diatribe when Ayah Paul made that statement in April 2019. Boh’s friends who attend the Swiss meetings together called a lockdown in April 2019 and Justice Ayah found this lockdown unreasonable, callous, and stated it only increased the anguish Southern Cameroonians at home suffered. To demonstrate how the pain is widely felt in Buea, Justice Ayah narrated his wife visited a fish store to buy fish and to her dismay, the number of people in the store overpowered the fish supply. Concluding that is a natural law of demand and supply that prices increase when demand outpowers supply, Ayah cried in the wilderness on behalf of the voiceless Southern Cameroonian. In all this, Boh could only see Ayah lamenting his wife could not buy fish. While Southern Cameroonians lament Cameroon is violating their rights, a leader should have listened to this cry by a voice of the voiceless and seek solutions to help improve the lives of Southern Cameroonians. Alas! Like Fame Ndongo, Laurent Esso, Atanga Nji, etc. who kidnapped Fontem, Ayah, Balla, Boh Herbert seeks to silence Ayah. What would Boh Herbert and his co-panelists do to Southern Cameroonians who disagree with them if they had the police, gendarmes, and BIR?
Ayah turned down the leadership of the SCNC
It is on record that Ayah has never been elected Chairman of the Southern Cameroons National Council. If Boh doubts this claim, he should seek counsel from Kometa, Chairman of the SCNC in the USA.
A movement for the liberation of an oppressed people must demonstrate signs of freedom, tolerance, accommodation, understanding, respect for human rights, and democracy. Eroding these values during the liberation struggle but claiming to represent an oppressed people imposes fear in the minds of the oppressed people and potential friends. In the words of David Makongo, Boh Herbert and his co-panelists use their TV channel to spread hate and division amongst Ambazonians. Reacting to David Makongo, Boh Herbert says David is a conman. In a democracy, someone would say he suspects an individual has committed ABC or D crime until a court of law declares a person guilty of such a crime.