By Innocent Chia
April 24 2017
Why have the parliamentarians from Southern Cameroons not yet resigned from the glass house at NgoaEkele? Better yet, are the parliamentarians and Senators from Southern Cameroons going to resign?
A plethora of social media analysts, pundits, and even some academics have been saying that the resignation of these legislators from the National Assembly and Senate of La Republique du Cameroun would all but seal the coffin to the fictional union that has subjugated Southern Cameroons for the past 56 years. They opine that the faithful attendance of these parliamentarians and Senators constitutes proof of an indisputable umbilical chord knotting La Republique du Cameroun and Southern Cameroons in the eyes of the International community, including the United Nations. Proponents argue that should these MPs and Senators resign from Yaounde and return to Buea, whatever claim of Union would be over – concubines, come-make-we-stay, njumba, real marriage, or partnership.
Precedence of this actually exists. In 1953 Hon Dr Endeley led the Southern Cameroons legislators out of the Eastern Nigerian House. Their action effectively terminated the relationship with Nigeria, although it would, arguably, ultimately take Southern Cameroons from frying pan (hotplate) into hell fire with La Republique du Cameroun. But the fact of the matter is that there is precedence, strengthened by UN Resolution 1608 of April 21st 1961, and the immobile Article 47 of the 1961 Constitution that made sacred the two-state Federal character of supposed Union.
Why then can the current crop of Southern Cameroons Parliamentarians and Senators not replicate what Hon Dr Endeley and his group did in Nigeria in 1953? And what is stopping them? Buckle up for an honest answer. It is the only answer. There is no other answer. The answer is one word. MONEY! MONEY! MONEY! MONEY! MONEY! If you prefer another word for it I have one: GREED! GREED! GREED! GREED! GREED! But let us go with MONEY!
Cuba Gooding Jr is a famous American actor whose epic performance in the sports movie ‘Jerry McGuire’, is remembered for the line “show me the money, baby!” In politics, pundits and investigative journalists say “follow the money”. So, let us follow the money to understand why our parliamentarians and Senators will absolutely not resign, unless we force them.
Take any parliamentarian. Take the parliamentarian from your village. How about I take a Parliamentarian from Kom, my village. Kom has two of them. Do you know how much they earn? Do you know what their salary is? You think CFA 300,000 frs? No. How about
CFA 500,000 frs? No. How about CFA 750,000 frs? No. Try CFA 1,000,000.00. Yes! That is the base, the minimum, at which our hand-clapping parliamentarians get paid. We are talking about the same guys and gals that we occasionally see sleeping on TV and at rallies in our villages. Yes, they are the same parliamentarians that have never successfully crafted and passed a single bill in their own National Assembly – the people’s house. They get paid for approving any bills that senile President Biya sends to them to maintain or tighten the grip on power for the remainder of his life.
But do not forget that the CFA 1,000,000.00 frs is before the brand new car, a Prado, worth CFA 60,000,000.00frs (60 million CFA frs). It does not include the car maintenance allowance. It does not include the gas coupons. It does not include their lodging allowances. Add it all together, including their benefits package that includes health insurance and paid vacation tickets to Europe and the US, and you begin to have a glimpse at the big picture.
Remember I asked that you think about who your local parliamentarian is? What was he or she doing before they became a parliamentarian? Was he or she earning one million CFA frs for doing nothing? Did he or she own a brand new Prado SUV worth CFA 60 million frs? When was the last time they just spent a weekend at the hotel much less months in Hotel Le Depute, drinking and socializing in the chicken parlors and other beers houses around Obili? Now, would you easily give that up for an uncertain or competitive future in a Southern Cameroons that you are not sure will happen because you are undermining its independence by staying in the unholy union with La Republique du Cameroun?
Do you now understand why Hon Mbah Ndam, the SDF opposition leader in the Parliament, has been digging heels and defending the position that the very effective Calling Squad from the Diaspora should begin by calling on Philemon Yang, the spineless colonial Prime Minister of La Republique du Cameroun to resign? Why is he doing that? Why is he asking that the Prime Minister, who is not an elected official from Southern Cameroons, resign before Mbah Ndam and crew resign? It is an easy answer.
They want to buy time. Yes, Mbah Ndam and his colleagues know that PM Yang serves at the behest of President Biya, who can actually hire even a Frenchman to do the same job and no one will cough about it openly. Did Biya not hire a team of French men to advise him at the outset of the ongoing crisis? Does a former French Ambassador not serve as his Adviser? So, yes, Mbah Ndam and co are buying time and milking the cow. They are cashing their millions. And Hon Mbah Ndam, by dint of his seniority and position, is making at least two times as much as his peers of the opposition bench. You think Hon Mbah Ndam was earning as much at his law firm before he got into parliament? Now, look into his eyes and the eyes of your local parliamentarian. Do you see what I see? $$$$$$$$$! You know who else sees the money and loves the money? Ni John Fru Ndi.
Ni John Fru Ndi. Fact: In an agreement between the Government and the opposition that was brokered by the French, Ni John Fru Ndi is entitled to an undisclosed salary. It is by the terms of this very agreement that Ni John Fru Ndi affords the guarded mansion in Yaounde, a security detail and other benefits befitting his title of main opposition leader. He is also a Franchisor (owner of the SDF Master Franchise) and SDF parliamentarians and Senators are Franchisees. To this extent, every Parliamentarian and Senator pays a royalty to the party boss, although they say it is used to run the party Secretariat! That amount is anywhere between 15% to 20% of CFA one million Frs income. So, multiply a conservative figure of CFA 150,000 frs by the number of SDF Senators and Parliamentarians. Add to this, the fact that Ni John Fru Ndi has a right to some high profile State Contracts…$$$$$$$$$$$
In fact, Ni John has grown so accustomed to the perks that there is a sense of entitlement. For instance, at the burial of President Paul Biya’s mother in law (mother of current wife, Chantal Biya), Fru Ndi came back from Mvo Meka with a brand new car. Curious eyes started asking where the car came from? The chairman reportedly informed that his car broke down on his way to the burial and President Biya loaned him a car. More than a year later, Fru Ndi is yet to return that loaner and will most likely not return it. What does it say about the character of the man? Very polite persons see the behavior of an individual who is more than happy to partake in the spoils of the country, same behaviour like the Former Director of Budget, Antoine Samba, who would build his own mansion of over $40 million. Fru Ndi is not the charismatic charging leader he sold the nation in the 90s.
The new Fru Ndi has proven himself more of an egomaniac that thinks less in terms of the strategic constituency that sacrificed limb and life in Bamenda on May 26th, 1990 for the launching of the SDF some 27 years ago. Now he thinks in terms of the blocks that finance his operations – Biya block, the Bamileke block, and then the rest. This readily explains why in the memorable audio in which a young man from Britain called in to find out the position of the Chairman and the SDF regarding the ongoing Southern Cameroons crisis, he questioned whether the caller was a card $$$ carrying member of the SDF. It also explains why he appointed the Bamileke gentleman the SG of the party and claimed that it was for strategic reasons. But those with intimate knowledge of Fru Ndi question that he has any strategic political acumen other than primitive survivalist instincts.
There is nothing that he does that is ultra vires to conserving and consolidating absolute power…including the press conference of April 10th, 2017 in which he decided to throw Hon. Wirba under the bus. I would bet that in a moment of lucidity he immediately regretted his excoriation of Hon. Wirba, clearly a standout figure who legitimized the “coffin revolution” of Mancho Bibixi by taking it from the streets of Bamenda and Buea to the glass palace of the rubber-stamping legislators in Ngia Ekele, Yaounde, and into the world wide web (www).
There is no doubt, upon examining how much money parliamentarians and Senators in Cameroon are making, Hon Wirba has risked everything that he had, all his political capital and his life, for the cause of his primary constituency of Southern Cameroons. He has been siding with the least of us. He has also been betting against the thieftocracy and dictatorship of Yaounde, a regime that has abused, by several fold, and disregarded its Federal entente with the other half of the Union that did not gain independence on January 1st 1960, and has so far been treated with less than subhuman status. Hon Wirba decided to forfeit all the financial gain that his colleagues, as well as party boss Ni John Fru Ndi, are guaranteed. Given the chance, Hon Wirba chose his soul and people over crumbs, damnation and the eternal servitude of Southern Cameroons. He chose his conscience and the freedom of his people, and dangerous as the road ahead may be. That is leadership.
By contrast, Ni John Fru Ndi’s public rant of April 10th, 2017 was unmistakably a warning to anyone who may be thinking of repeating the stomp on his parade. “This is my party” Fru Ndi literally said at his press conference in response to Hon Wirba’s letter that had been leaked to the press. “Forget the line about POWER TO THE PEOPLE. I am the people and the people are me”. Teaspoons of water eventually fill a bucket, and the 10th of April may go down in infamy as the tipping point when Ni John Fru Ndi lost what little respect Southern Cameroonians yearning for independence had for him. And if you doubt how much respect he has lost over the years in Bamenda, how do you explain that his last son, the Benjamin of the family, bribed all the other local council candidates to stand down before he won unchallenged in Ntarinkun.
The entry of the son of Fru Ndi into the political fray, albeit at the minimal council level, is not insignificant. It sets up successor battles that have been brewing within the party for a very long time. It also readily explains why the SDF party is postponing the NEC meeting to an undetermined date – because of prominent resurgence of questions of if/when does Fru Ndi hand the relay baton to whom? But those are internal party squabbles that only interest us at this point to the extent that Southern Cameroonian parliamentarians (SDF and CPDM alike) are serving as umbilical cords and holding Southern Cameroons in bondage.
Unlike Hon Wirba, by dint of the emptiness that a cross majority of them bring to the table and to their constituencies, these fellows will not quit from the National Assembly or Senate on their own volition. We have to make them. Yes, voters have to make them quit. If you have not already been disenfranchised by the voting registers of La Republique du Cameroun, you have the power to stay at home during the next elections. Do not go out to support any candidates in Southern Cameroons. We can declare, you and I and all those who believe in the reality of an Independent Southern Cameroons, that there are no political parties in our territory, which means no voting. It puts the CPDM and the SDF out of commission.
No one is naive to not factor how smart Paul Biya is. The government will most likely decide to extend the term of the parliamentarians indefinitely. They have done it in the past at the Council level. Nothing happened. And they can decide to try their hand at it again. But things are very different now than they were back then. The world is unto La Republique du Cameroun and following what is happening in Southern Cameroons. By virtue of the Internet apartheid that Southern Cameroons endured for close to 100 days, a world record shut down by a government to deprive people of free speech, it has been established beyond the reasonable doubt that all that matters to La Republique du Cameroun are the resources (oil, timber, cocoa, etc). Southern Cameroonians do not matter. Our culture does not matter. Our education does not matter. Our identity does not matter. Our legal system does not matter. Nothing but our collective extinction matters to La Republique du Cameroun. Is that right?
No! Nothing could be further from the truth!
And the last 95 days without internet has taught them how resilient we are as a people. The last 95 days have made crystal clear to them what the Hon. Wirba meant by two cubes of sugar denying to dissolve in a bowl of water. To the last one of us, we will more than resist any annihilation of our values, culture, traditions or identity to La Republique du Cameroun. Through the 95 days without internet, we have also come to the realization that our Parliamentarians and Senators are no better than the imbecile police and paramilitary officers that vampire Biya and his looting cabal sent to our University Campuses and streets to rape our sisters, daughters and mothers. They are similar in that they know they are not qualified for their jobs and very few would honestly win in a fair and transparent election in Southern Cameroons. They are, like the police and paramilitary officers, abysmally qualified for anything and are paralyzed with fear about what the future would hold for them in a true democratic Southern Cameroons.
It is for this reason that the Southern Cameroons Ambazonia Consortium United Front (SCACUF) must not tarry on the subject of organizing the election of an Interim Government in Exile as stipulated in the roadmap yielded to it by the Movement for the Restoration of the Independence of Southern Cameroons (MoRISC). That Roadmap, endorsed a few back at its conclave of leaders in Nigeria, calls for the election of an Interim Government in Exile in May, 2017. And there is much fervor for such a government in exile within the community, especially so in light of what the government will be able to do that SCACUF, or MoRISC, or any of the other standalone organizations could not do on their own. A Government in Exile, once acknowledged by a host country, and therefore agreeing to provide it with protection and cover, would be able to enter into treaties with other governments; defend the national territory by whatever means deemed necessary by a recognized government, including self defense through an army; impose a tax on us like the Eritrean government in exile did for several years leading to their independence; negotiate for our seat at ECOWAS with other regional governments that have already expressed their support of our candidacy; negotiate our seat at the AU, and the UN. Right now, SCACUF, no matter what any one says to the contrary, cannot do any of that for us. That is why we need a Government in Exile like yesterday! It has to be the raison d’etre of SCACUF, or it would be that SCACUF is trying silently to become that government. That would be an imposition and a travesty of trust that could lead to the eternal damnation of our cause!
I pray it is not what is secretly brewing in the belly of the beast. SCACUF can show us that they mean serious business by keeping to their own promises. The promise is still fresh on our minds that as the Umbrella Organization, SCACUF has now charged itself with the execution of the roadmap and are going to be organizing elections for a Southern Cameroons Government in Exile in May. We are less than a week from May. We need to be seeing movement in this direction. A lot of movement. We need to have a specific date. We need to know about likely candidates… Failure is not acceptable and Pa Wilfred Tassang and Barrister Eyambe know it all too well. Postponement is not an option either. We have postponed this moment for 56 years and cannot afford to do it one more day. Not one more week. Not one more month.
There are more than qualified Southern Cameroonian candidates who have shown commitment, grit, savvy, compassion, wit, and charisma. Hon Wirba, for instance, has proven leadership and name recognition at the national and international levels. Random polls on popular sites and shows (like on SCTV by Dexter Brains or Ambomu Live) show Hon Wirba leading by a mile, even though he has been missing in action (MIA) recently visited. Whatever the case, there are other well qualified candidates and experienced Southern Cameroonians that will best protect the interests of the 56th African nation!