One of the remarkable aspects of the latest crisis in Southern Cameroons is the Ambazonia national unity displayed ever since the removal of Dr Ikome Sako as acting president of the Interim Government. The fighting in Southern Cameroons has forced many traditional rulers to flee!
However, many around the globe have been seeking to know the position of the Southern Cameroons House of Chiefs. A prominent chief who hails from the Manyu County was quoted recently as saying that Biya and his military leaders should understand the chiefs have never consider aligning themselves with the reckless killing of Anglophone Cameroonians by Cameroon government army soldiers.
Without any strong public condemnation from the Southern Cameroons traditional authorities of the genocide in Ambaland, many of the royals have called the war in Southern Cameroons a tactless act of aggression and have kept a deliberate kind of silence indicating their support for the resistance.
But in these expressions of nation-wide solidarity with the detained Ambazonia leaders including President Sisiku Ayuk Tabe, there is one question that has not really been discussed: Where do Chiefs and Fons stand on the Revolution? And also the task ahead for Vice President Dabney Yerima
From the very beginning, some Fons and Chiefs were quick to show loyalty to the Yaounde regime, rather than to the suffering people of Southern Cameroons. But three years into the crisis nearly all North West Fons and South West Chiefs are now of the opinion that the 86 year old French Cameroun President Biya has done a bad job handling the crisis.
The Ambazonia Interim Government has not employed any winning strategy when it comes to its relations with the North West Fons and South West Chiefs. The Interim Government’s success with the local chiefs can be seen from a mere reading of the state of affairs in the Federal Republic of Ambazonia.
When President Sisiku Ayuk called on Ambazonia Restoration Forces to hand over all French Cameroun soldiers arrested in Southern Cameroons to the chiefs and fons, critics accused the Ambazonia leader of weakening the Ambazonia Self Defense Forces. This was definitely not true, as the Ayuk Tabe declaration that was made during a visit to the US gave the Southern Cameroons traditional authorities the Interim Government’s unshakeable commitment when it comes to internal feuds.
It is, in some ways, worrying that the Fons and the Chiefs have not been the Interim Government’s strongest ally during this war period in Southern Cameroons.
President Sisiku Ayuk Tabe and his Vice, Comrade Dabney Yerima have both been steadfast in their support for the Southern Cameroons House of Chiefs, and the two leaders have rhetorically said: “The Southern Cameroons House of Chiefs remains a vital institution in the Federal Republic of Ambazonia.”
We need to remember that Sisiku Julius Ayuk Tabe has been widely described as Southern Cameroons’s first strong president since the first All Anglophone Conference in Buea. This is because previous Ambazonia leaders lacked popular support and were elected as a result of a political settlement. Having a leader who enjoys popular backing among the people of Southern Cameroons both in Ground Zero and in the Diaspora has been an Ambazonian demand since AAC1.
A disturbing factor that has made the Fons and Chiefs more hostile to the Southern Cameroons struggle in the past few months is undoubtedly the rise of criminal gangs created and sponsored by Minister Paul Atanga Nji and the ADF of Cho Ayaba.
While some of the royals naturally sided with the sovereignty of the state doctrine preached by French Cameroun dictator Paul Biya and are supporting the need for Ambazonia Restoration Forces to hand over their weapons, there is a general perception in Ground Zero that the Amba Fighters have played a key role in protecting the people of Southern Cameroons.
President Sisiku Ayuk Tabe and the exiled Ambazonia Interim Government have been two important voices in the struggle. Sisiku Ayuk Tabe and Vice President Yerima currently enjoy high ratings in Ground Zero and are managing to create a viable bloc to push on with the resistance.
Vice President Dabney Yerima now needs to bring the Ambazonia Interim Government back to Ground Zero as there is no more doubt that Comrade Yerima has won the battle for public opinion during the last three weeks. Whether he will be able to keep the momentum going in favour of the IG and the people in Ground Zero will be determined by his ability to secure viable funding for the war.
In fact, Yerima now needs to bring the IG back to Southern Cameroons. In other words, he needs to deliver a viable armed status – one that would satisfy the Restoration Forces. Attacks on President Sisiku Ayuk Tabe by former Interim Government members such as Ikome Sako, Chris Anu and Barrister Fru John Nsoh reflect a growing resentment from those who joined the struggle simply for the cash.
The clouds seem to have settled after a stormy three weeks in the USA. One of the factors that have aided the shameful exit of Sako and Chris Anu is the leaked audio of the so-called Sako’s IG. There is still a myriad of other political, social, religious and economic factors at play in Southern Cameroons. But Vice President Yerima should take the PEOPLE’s IG Back To Ground Zero.
To this I put my name
By Soter Tarh Agbaw-Ebai