The revolution in British Southern Cameroons that broke out five years ago was part of a wider wave of anti French Cameroun sentiments that spread across the whole of English speaking Cameroon territory. The Cameroon Anglophone diaspora supported the revolution without reservations in spite of its shortcomings and ever since the arrest of the Ambazonia leader President Sisiku Ayuk Tabe and his top aides in Abuja, Nigeria, revolutionary leadership became a very scarce commodity and what was a genuine expression of the Southern Cameroons masses in both Ground Zero and in the West, was now hijacked by reactionary elements that had a very different agenda.
Although clearly prompted by the actions of the failed CPDM leadership in Yaoundé, the seeds of the Ambazonia uprising were to be found in the social and economic conditions that existed in Southern Cameroons itself. What allowed the Biya French Cameroun regime to maintain its presence in Anglophone Cameroon in spite of the rampant political marginalization and growing economic difficulties was the fact that it had a sizeable military presence in the territory. The atrocities committed on a regular basis by Francophone gendarmes, army soldiers and the police led to a growing social polarization, which is at the very heart of the revolutionary upheavals.
Initially there was a genuine revolution that was evident in the early days of the uprising against La Republique du Cameroun. And it was the duty of all Southern Cameroonians to support that movement. However, once the revolutionary content of that movement ebbed and Yaoundé and Abuja helped passed the Ambazonia initiative to various reactionary elements in the USA, there was an impasse in the situation and the patriotic Ambazonia revolutionary elements were overwhelmed by all kinds of opportunist and counter-revolutionary elements that came to the fore seeking to promote their own reactionary interests. We of the Cameroon Concord News Group think that this is a tragedy which has come about because of the lack of a revolutionary leadership with roots among the masses in either Ground Zero or Ground 1.
Faced with the initial revolutionary upsurge before the Abuja incident, attempts were made by the Biya Francophone regime to divide the Southern Cameroons population along the North West and South West lines. The ill-prepared Dr. Samuel Ikome Sako, Cho Ayaba Lucas, Boh Herbert and one John Mbah Akuro also fomented such divisions when they realized that they could not mobilize the Ambazonian diaspora in the way Sisiku Ayuk Tabe had done. The actions of these so-called Southern Cameroons front line leaders successfully cut across the genuine revolution that had begun and provoke conflict between the different groups that make up Southern Cameroons.
This was done in the classic manner of pinpointing particular persons and tribes and carrying out brutal indiscriminate social media attacks against them. On the other side of the Ambazonia divide, reactionary fundamentalist groups such as the AGovC/ADF saw the divisions as a means of promoting their own agenda. And that is what has led to the present impasse. In this process the voice of the genuine revolutionaries in the Southern Cameroons Interim Government led by Dabney Yerima has been drowned out by the forces of reaction.
This factor explains also why the French Cameroun regime under Biya abandoned the peace talks it initiated with the Southern Cameroons jailed leaders in Yaoundé. Had the Maryland cabal read from the same script with the NERA 10 in Kondengui, the story would have been completely different. Unfortunately, Elvis Kumeta, Sako Ikome, Chris Anu and Irene Ngwa failed to look at the bigger picture and it opened up more space for Biya and his Southern Cameroons CPDM political elites. The main message expressed by the Maryland cabal via its spokesman Chris Anu was for the downfall of President Sisiku Ayuk Tabe and more financial donations to keep ABC TV on air. But their message has not been sufficient to mobilize the people of Southern Cameroons. It must be combined with an answer to why Ambazonia university dons had to be arrested in Nigeria and handed over to Yaoundé.
Apart from the Maryland cabal, very dubious and reactionary fundamentalist elements such as Cho Ayaba Lucas entered the struggle and are working tirelessly to divert it down a different road, giving the Biya French Cameroun regime precisely the resources it required for the purchase of international sympathy. The idea Yaoundé has built up among pro federalism Southern Cameroonians is that the Ambazonia revolution is merely made up of separatists who want to drag the Southern Cameroons society backwards and not forward. This has undoubtedly had an effect in at least neutralizing some layers of the Southern Cameroons population, who cling on to the Yaoundé regime, not because they support Biya or love the union with La Republique du Cameroun, but for fear that something worse could take its place like in South Sudan.
There is another factor that explains the stalling and derailing of the Ambazonia struggle. The reading culture! Southern Cameroonians do not read and many rely on social media postings that only tells them what they want to hear—we are winning!! There too, although the revolution saw the mass participation of teachers and lawyers, once the NERA 10 were arrested, unfortunately, Southern Cameroonians were pushed away from the Interim Government to rally behind smaller groups. A vacuum appeared and it was filled with what was available name them: AGovC/ADF, Sako-IG, Morisc,Ikata, SCNC, Restoration Council and an untrained motor mechanic, Capo Daniel became one of the most important spokesperson of the revolution.
The recent situation deep within the so-called Sako IG and the kidnappings being staged by the AGovC/ADF militiamen in Ground Zero have further added to the confusion. Sako Ikome’s IG has eventually collapsed and he and Chris Anu are no longer an item. But what has replaced the Maryland cabal cannot be very attractive to many ordinary Ambazonians who earlier bought the false notion that Sisiku Ayuk Tabe was trying to govern from prison. The departure of Mr. Chris Anu, the breaking up of the ABC TV, the constant attacks on Sisiku Ayuk Tabe coming from AGovC/ADF is not a very attractive happening. But this again explains why La Republique du Cameroun, in spite of its brutality, has been able to hold on in the Ambazonia homeland.
Having said all this, it is clear that every Southern Cameroonian will sooner or later stand behind the Vice President of the Ambazonia Interim Government, Dabney Yerima. For over five years now, the sea of front line leaders have left Southern Cameroonians with nothing than empty slogans. Sako, Chris Anu, Irene Ngwa, Elvis Kumeta, Cho Ayaba have no revolutionary tendencies, rooted within the Southern Cameroons masses and therefore, they cannot win the ear of the masses and lead them in a class struggle.
By Soter Tarh Agbaw-Ebai