By Innocent Chia
Chicago, 18 December 2016 – The first Southern Cameroons politician whose ordained leadership has come riding on the back of a viral video in which he most succinctly persecutes the case of the “Anglophone Problem” of marginalization and apartheidification by La Republique du Cameroon, the Hon. Wirba Joseph has reportedly become a target for possible assassination by the ruling regime. In the meantime, credible sources who were present at the National Assembly during the famous speech confirm a fact that has been quiet until now. After Hon. Wirba finished his unprecedented and defiant speech, his fellow parliamentarians of the opposition SDF party stood up, sang the national anthem, and walked out of the National Assembly for the rest of day.
A bold step in its own right, it may have been watered down by the fact that the SDF has staged a walk outs from the National Assembly in past. Same members have, unfortunately, returned a day or two later to the same recycled promises and trickery of the ruling CPDM party of President Biya. *No bold and decisive action by this crop yet, has come close to that of their forebears, who, led by the late Hon. Endeley in 1953, walked permanently out of the Eastern Nigerian Assembly and formed the West Cameroon Assembly. *
Hon. Wirba’s rise, however, has come against some tall odds, nonetheless including from a dubious party hierarchy and lackluster opposition colleagues. This readily explains why not a single one of his SDF party colleagues in parliament was aware that Hon. Wirba would drop his bombshell on the floor of House during the budget session. Yet, unlikely as it sounds, not even the party chairman, Ni John Fru Ndi, was given a heads up.
Our sources, colleagues of Hon. Wirba, have since confirmed that they were completely taken by surprise and just as stunned. While a few were clapping during his delivery, there was also palpable apprehension in some, one source said. They were fearful what might happen to him even as the fire in him intensified with every passing second. And so one of the first question I needed an answer to was why did Hon. Wirba keep this secret to himself?
The history of the fate of those who have challenged party hierarchy and status quo within the SDF is well documented and arguably the best starting point for any keen observer searching for answers. Party scribes have come and gone, either victims of intransigence or ambition. No one we talked to would argue that party chairman, Ni John Fru Ndi, whose wheels long became greased by the ruling CPDM, would probably have stopped the Hon. Wirba from lashing out at the deniers of an “Anglophone Problem” and his assertion of the right to self determination by Southern Cameroons. Hon. Wirba certainly had to keep his cards close to his vest.
His colleagues also confirm that apart from his colleagues of the opposition, parliamentarians of the ruling party were quick to meet and congratulate the Hon. Wirba in private. It is reported that the Hon. Wirba, while humbly accepting the kudos, said it is of no use to the country if they praise his courage in private yet do nothing publicly to change the current trajectory. The CPDM has historically not shown any mercy to any of its parliamentarians that exhibit any signs of independence. It is always about towing the party line and rubber stamping any bills tabled to it by President Biya.
And speaking of President Paul Biya, the deaths of over several young Southern Cameroonian under his captive government, the mass arrests and torture of others, the loss of property, the boiling of tensions, and civil angst have not risen to a point worth his personal time. In typical manner, he dispatched his PM into a war zone knowing full well that the PM was not vested with the powers to provide any political solutions to the social problems that are deeply anchored in a fraudulent, flawed, and cracked political foundation.
Last week, we broke news of the meeting between the Consortium of Lawyers, teachers and civil society and Alhadji Baba of Ndawara. We recall Alhadji Baba is a Biya protégé who probably stands the most to lose as an individual upon the independence of Southern Cameroons because he has robbed entire large populations of their lands and means of living using a crooked judiciary. It was reported that the report from that meeting was hand delivered at the Presidency for translation and for action by the head of State. It has been a week since then.
Observers expect for the President to drag this out till December 31st, when he delivers his scheduled, stale, and recycled annual end of year speech. He will probably mention the social unrest in a paragraph or two and make hollow promises about profound measures his administration will undertake to tackle the problems. He will deny that a Federation as requested by some is the answer. He may even call them merchants of illusions and promise to crack down on them. Look for him to refer to those seeking the Restoration of the Independent State of Southern Cameroons as traitors who will be dealt severely with for threatening the territorial integrity of the nation of Cameroon. Look for an attack on Cameroonians in the diaspora as sponsors of terrorism while they live out their lives and send young people to certain brutality or death on the streets. Look for him to praise the police, gendarmes and paramilitary forces that have been deployed. Expect a refrain about how united and indivisible Cameroon is and how nothing to threaten that harmony will happen to it under his watch.
What you will not hear is a rebuttal by or from the SDF. They are not prepared for it and have no next steps planned to sustain the revolution that Hon. Wirba singlehandedly ignited in the House. Rather, our source maintained that “we are waiting to hear what the Head of State says”. The SDF is certainly not coordinating with the Lawyers, the Teachers, and the OKADA drivers or other civil society organizations. There is no planning of what to do should the Head of State handle this the way he has handled every other crisis and let the country to rot.
Why would they? They are paid salaries that many of them could only dream of. They have service cars and chauffeurs. But it is not too late. It is not too late for every parliamentarian from the Southern Cameroons, be they CPDM or SDF, to build a new future for their children and grandchildren. Let them return to the credible institutions of government in the Southern Cameroons capital city of Buea. The population, at home and abroad, will not mind extra taxes to guarantee their incomes. But they must be ready to sacrifice as much as Hon. Joseph Wirba has done in memory of those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.