Honorable Wirba’s Secret Weapon

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.

 

MoRISC Calls for the Unconditional Release of Political Prisoners

Washington, DC, 18 December 2016 – The Movement for the Restoration of the Independence of Southern Cameroons (MoRISC) on Sunday reiterated its call for the Government of La Republique du Cameroun to order the immediate and unconditional release of over 100 people who have been arrested, transferred to and are being detained without trial and without charge in the towns of Buea, Bamenda, Kumba and Yaounde.

More than two-dozens of those detained (aged between 18 and 30 years) were arrested in early December 2016 and are being held at the Bamenda Central Prison, in the North West Region of the Cameroons.

More than 100 other protesters are believed to be held in secret detention centers in the Cameroonian capital, Yaounde.

MoRISC is especially calling on the Government of La Republique du Cameroun to end the torture of these political prisoners. MoRISC denounces, in the strongest terms, the fact that detainees with injuries have not received any medical attention and that, for all the detainees in Bamenda, that their families were still unaware of their whereabouts as of the night of Sunday, 18 December 2016 – nearly two weeks since they were first arrested.

At least two dozen people – mostly young men – arrested in Bamenda on 6 December 2016 were first detained at the GMI Police Station in Bamenda before being transferred on 8 December 2016 to the Bamenda Central Prison.

Some of those detained are very ill and need medical attention, which their jailers have not provided. Mr. Joseph Asangong, for example, who was shot on the right lap, has still not received any medical care, according to our sources.

The colonial Senior Divisional Officer of Mezam Division, North West Region, signed the detention order, according to information provided by rights advocates.

Those held at the Bamenda Central Prison include the following:

1. Tatae Ncok
2. Roger Gadinga
3. Asangon Joseph
4. Penny Nickson Asobo
5. Che Roger Funwi
6. Mbah Louis
7. Bah Joel
8. Bruno Teneng
9. Valentine Biyenuah
10. Donsong Miafo Herman
11. Ngwa Denis
12. Tikom Charles
13. Niba Oliver
14. Nziki Solomon
15. Nkwenti Sama Emmanuel Penn
16. Mbi Louis
17. Akewo Casen
18. Kenneth Fobah
19. Acha Mbah Valary
20. Atawan Feojus
21. Yembeh Clinton
22. Mudoh Elvis Abong
23. Fongole Lesley
24. Menia Ferdinand
25. Winceslaus Azeh

Most of the parents of those arrested and detained do not even know of their whereabouts.

Roadmap to the Restoration of Independence

Movement for the Restoration of the Independence of Southern Cameroons (MoRISC)

Mission: Enthrone a Government in Southern Cameroons that is based on popular consent, deriving authority and legitimacy from the people; not the decrees or might of a regime that, since 1961, is injurious to citizens’ rights to life, freedom, independence, equality and dignity.

Roadmap to the Restoration of Independence

Sunday, 1 January 2017

  • Launch of a well-coordinated Campaign of Civil Disobedience to De-legitimize Colonialism by boycotting all events organized and/or presided by Governors, Senior Divisional Officers, Divisional Officers, and/or Government Delegates. Campaign declares null and void the powers conferred by decree (not flowing from the people) on these colonial officials.
  • Elected Councilors, Elected Mayors, Elected Members of Parliament, and Elected Senators along with the Elected Leaders of Major Trade Unions (Lawyers, Teachers, Student Leaders, Traders, “Okada” Riders, etc.) to constitute the Lower House of the New Interim Congress of Southern Cameroons. (Officials who decline to serve shall be replaced by their alternates, their assistants, or the next officer in order of protocol).
  • Launch of Campaign to Rehabilitate/Legitimize the Chiefs and Fons ahead of the Revamping of the House of Chiefs and Fons. The House of Chiefs and Fons to serve as the Upper Chamber of the New Interim Congress of Southern Cameroons. (Citizens whose Chiefs and/or Fons decline to serve will have option to designate another traditional authority.)
  • Launch of the “Prayer for the Peaceful Restoration of Independence” to be said on all Sundays and on all Fridays in all churches and mosques across Southern Cameroons. (Prayer to be sent on 30 December 2016).
  • Launch grassroots branches of MoRISC and “Resistance Offices”.
  • Launch of the global eCitizenship campaign for Southern Cameroons.
  • NB: No officials appointed by the Government of La Republique du Cameroun shall be able to serve unless they first resign and are vetted.Go to Calendar Here or Continue for Full Road Map Story

Continue reading “Roadmap to the Restoration of Independence”

Questions & Answers on the Cameroons

What is “The Southern Cameroons Problem”?

It is the annexation of Southern Cameroons (independent on 1 October 1961) by the expansionist government of La Republique du Cameroun (independent on 1 January 1960).

Is this the same as what some have called “The Anglophone Problem”?

No, it is not. The so-called “Anglophone Problem” is the catch-all phrase used to denounce the systemic (official policy) of institutionalized discrimination against citizens of Southern Cameroons by the Government of La Republique du Cameroun on the basis of language (the fact that they are mostly not French-speaking) and hail from the former British Southern Cameroons.

Is there a solution for both “The Southern Cameroons Problem” and “The Anglophone Problem”?

Yes, there is. It begins by recognizing that the Anglophone Problem is one of the symptoms of the Southern Cameroons Problem. The sustainable solution to both problems is the restoration of the independence of Southern Cameroons.

Are Southern Cameroonians seeking the restoration of their independence from the United Nations, the African Union or from La Republique du Cameroun?

Southern Cameroonians are seeking worldwide recognition that the independence of our people and our homeland has been confiscated ever since 1961 and the people of Southern Cameroons have been made second class citizens because of the ongoing occupation of Southern Cameroons and its colonial misrule by the annexationist and expansionist Government of La Republique du Cameroun.

Is the other name for what you are seeking not secession?

We do not seek secession. Southern Cameroonians voted in 1961 for the creation of a “Union of Two Equal States” bringing together La Republique du Cameroun (independent on 1 January 1960) and Southern Cameroons (independent on 1 October 1961). The “Union” that was supposed to have formed was named the Federal Republic of Cameroon. On 20 May 1972, the annexationist Government of La Republique du Cameroun used the overwhelming French-speaking population to topple the government of Southern Cameroons and impose a unitary dictatorship in which Southern Cameroonians have been condemned to second class status. In April 1984, one of the parties to what was supposed to be a “Union” of two equal states, finalized its secession from the “Union” by unilaterally reverting to the name La Republique du Cameroun.

Can the problems of marginalization not be resolved without a break-up?

The marginalization of Southern Cameroonians is very real, but marginalization, as grave as it is, stems directly from and is only a byproduct of the ongoing colonial occupation. The imposition of French (the dominant language) in courts and the use of French-speaking teachers in schools earmarked for English-speaking students are occurrences that would never be there had the people of Southern Cameroons maintained their government, as agreed to in the lead-up to independence in 1961. It will take the withdrawal of French-speaking occupation troops and paramilitary forces like Gendarmes; the calling back of French-speaking colonial administrators posted to Southern Cameroons by La Republique du Cameroun and the restoration of the Government of Southern Cameroons to begin to address marginalization.

Is the situation that bad?

It is worse than anyone can find appropriate words to paint. The intent of La Republique du Cameroun from the very beginning has always been to annex Southern Cameroons. That is why it voted against independence for Southern Cameroons during the April 21, 1961 session of the United National General Assembly which granted the territory international sovereignty. Destroying the Federal Republic of Two Equal States in 1972 was consistent with that plot; as was reversion to the name La Republique du Cameroun. The Justice Minister of La Republique du Cameroun told its parliament in 2015 that “unification” in 1961 was meant to be like “dropping a cube of sugar into a bowl of water”. They wanted Southern Cameroonians to melt into oblivion and become Francophones. The many injustices of the past 55 years have now left Southern Cameroonians with no choice than to call for the restoration of their independence.

Should citizens of the French-speaking part of the Cameroons have a say in what Southern Cameroonians seek?

No, they should not and this is why. The decision to form a “Union of Two Equal States” was made in a Referendum (on 11 February 1961) in which only Southern Cameroonians voted. Putting an end to that experiment only requires those who voted for it to say they want out. Besides, citizens of La Republique du Cameroun have proven to the entire world that they are a different people from the people of Southern Cameroons, whom they mockingly refer to as “ennemis dans la maison” (enemies in the house), Nigerians and/or “Biafrans” (in reference to citizens of the failed Biafra Republic in Nigeria). For example, lawyers, teachers and students across La Republique du Cameroun are totally unconcerned by the injustices that led to the strikes by lawyers, teachers and students in Southern Cameroons because the police brutality and the killings of peaceful protesters have targeted Southern Cameroonians exclusively.

 

At Least Ten Killed or Executed by Security Forces in Bamenda

By Ntumfoyn Herbert Boh (Yindo Toh)*

Washington, 8 December 2016 – Riot police and paramilitary forces shot into crowds of protesters Thursday killing more than ten people in the town of Bamenda, the capital of the English-speaking North West Region of Cameroon and a stronghold of Cameroon’s main opposition political party, the Social Democratic Party (SDF).

Many more people are believed to have been “disappeared”.

As the sun set Thursday, video posted on social media showed troops patrolling the main streets of Bamenda on foot or in the open backs of pickup trucks – firing aimlessly into the air and sometimes towards buildings.

A dozen lorry loads of gendarmes numbering several hundreds of troops drove through the western town of Bafoussam just before darkness headed for Bamenda, according to online reports citing Canal+, a Bafoussam-based private broadcaster.

One audio recording posted on the Cameroon Online WhatsApp eGroup claimed that the troops coming from Bafoussam are trainees, well known for putting down demonstrations by employing only the worst forms of brutality and savagery. The student soldiers are currently in training at the Koutaba Military Camp based in the outskirts of Bafoussam. Their mission, according to citizen journalists online, is to raid Bamenda under the cover of darkness and perpetrate as much killing and violence to completely intimidate the protesters, and to do so at a time of day (darkness) when their acts cannot be recorded and shared via social media.

Photos and video of some of the ten victims killed in Bamenda Thursday and posted on social media suggest that several of them were executed outright or were killed execution style.

One of the horror pictures purports to show one of the victims who was allegedly arrested, stripped, tortured and a bullet fired up either his anus or his genitals, ripping through his manhood. Independent sources were quick to point out that the young man with the torn genitals was apparently involved in a motor bike accident.

Another horror picture showed a young man who was executed by a lone bullet fired into one of his nostrils.

Another picture showed eight young men arrested, stripped of their shirts and made to lie facedown on the road with riot police and gendarme officers patrolling not far away from them. Social media accounts hold that the eight were later executed while lying on the road and their bodies were carted away by their executioners, apparently also instructed to cover up for their crimes by moving the bodies away from the scene of execution.

State television confirmed the fear that the government was carting away and burying people without informing their families when its French language newscast said only two had been killed.

On one video, a group of young men who had converted a piece of plank into a stretcher are seen rushing an injured teenager to a nearby hospital. Voices in the video explain that the teenage victim was standing outside the entrance of their family home when he was shot, point blank, execution style.

Yet another video posted by one of the many citizen journalists struggling Thursday to document the executions (at great risk to themselves) showed a military pickup truck, picking up and carry away the remains of someone that had been killed and had been lying in the street just minutes before.

Cameroonian security forces and the dreaded secret or political police are known to “disappear” protesters and opponents of Mr. Paul Biya, the president of Cameroon for 34 years already. He is more likely than not to seek another eight-year term in presidential elections expected to hold in 2018.

Democracy and human rights activist, Tapang Ivo Tanku, quoted “unconfirmed reports” on social media as alleging that a police station had been burnt down by angry protesters in Bamenda after they stormed it earlier on Thursday to decry the killing of young men in Bamenda.

Video posted online showed young people outside that police station, screaming their grief and calling for justice. Pointing at the remains of another young man, shut dead and still lying in the street outside the police station, the protesters said the victim had been killed by gunfire coming from that police station. One of the protesters raised the lifeless body of the victim, leaned the upper part of the remains from waist up against his legs, and screamed into the phone camera “we want justice”.

Yet more video showed a crowd stumbling on another young man who had been executed or killed execution style. A few voices in the video identify the victim by his first name, apparently, Divine. The remains of Divine showed that his jaws had been slashed from the mouth right up to just before his ears with a knife or some other sharp object. Bullet wounds on his left leg, through the jeans trousers he was wearing and one on his face left little doubt that the victim had died of his gunshot wounds.

Born on the Wrong Side of the River Mungo, Charged with the Crime of Not Being Francophone, and Executed

The worst has happened in Bamenda, screamed a headline on the online news portal, Cameron Journal, published by a Texas-based Cameroonian-American.

Young people are being killed in Bamenda, wrote Innocent Chia, a Cameroonian journalist and blogger now based in Chicago, USA, and author of an online blog, The Chia Report.

“Many watched this morning how… police fired straight at me. God Almighty did another miracle. The bullet was diverted to my feet and only wounded both feet”, wrote Mancho Bibixy on social media.

Mancho Bibixy is the young man who has become the face of the ongoing protests in Cameroon after he brought his own coffin to the first protest march in Bamenda and stood in it to make his speech.

Mancho Bibixy told the crowd at a Bamenda town road junction – Liberty Square, made famous by the killing on that spot in 1990 of six young people who had joined demonstrations calling for the end of one party rule – that he had come to the rally ready to die and had taken the time to buy the coffin for his own funeral.

His feelings are shared by millions of people who have nicknamed the ongoing protests in Cameroon “The Coffin Revolution”.

The “sole crime” of the young people killed, wrote Mr. Chia, “is that they were born on the wrong side of the River Mungo and happen to speak English, not French”. The Mungo River serves as the borderline between English and French-speaking Cameroons.

Cameroonians based in the United States will be appealing the administration of President Barack Obama next Saturday, 10 December 2016. At a grand rally outside the White House, they will also be appealing to the U.S. Congress, the United Nations and the rest of the civilized world to help put an end to the horrors unfolding in Bamenda and across most of English-speaking parts of Cameroon.

The rally (outside the White House, holding from noon to 2pm) was scheduled before the events of Bamenda and was intended to drum up support in the United States for the restoration of the independence of Southern Cameroons.

Birth of MoRISC to Champion the Restoration of Independence

A federation of organizations has been freshly constituted to mobilize international support for the restoration of the independence of Southern Cameroons. Known as the Movement for the Restoration of the Independence of Southern Cameroons (abbreviated MoRISC), it brings together members of leading opposition party, SDF based in the Washington, DC, Metro Area, and leaders of pro-independence, pro-democracy and pro-human rights organizations.

The movement is focused more on independence for Southern Cameroons, but the anger overflows into demands for Cameroon’s long-serving dictator, Paul Biya, to step down.

“It is time for you (Paul Biya) to pack and go”, chanted a group of Cameroonians living in France, who on Thursday staged a protest march down several blocks of streets in the French capital, Paris.

“Tell Paul Biya and his bunch of killers and criminals that they will have to account for all the innocent Southern Cameroonian lives they are destroying”, a Washington-based Cameroonian-American activist, Chrstimas Ebini, wrote Thursday on the Cameroon Online WhatsApp eGroup. “Tell him to get his forces out of Southern Cameroons”, he added.

The feeling that there is a conspiracy by French-speaking Cameroonians to hold their English-speaking citizens in a relations of black-on-black colonial domination has been strengthened by the fact that trade unions of lawyers and teachers in the French-speaking parts of the country have not shown any solidarity with their colleagues, despite the violent attacks they have suffered at the hands of security forces.

Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers and Others Airlifted to Safety

Social media is overloaded with horrific pictures and videos of the tragedy unfolding in Bamenda, where earlier Thursday, the Prime Minister of Cameroon, Philomen Yang, several members of his government and sympathizers of the ruling Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement (CPDM) held a rally in an attempt to show support for the present unitary state of Cameroon and opposition to the growing pro-independence movement.

According to eyewitness reports, the ruling party ferried hundreds of youngsters from neighboring French-speaking regions to attend the rally in Bamenda, after a similar attempt to stage a rally Tuesday in Buea, the former capital of British-administered Southern Cameroons until it gained independence on 1 October 1961, flopped completely. On Monday, the leader of the SDF, Ni John Fru Ndi led a monstrous demonstration in Buea, attended by several thousands to show support for independence and to protest against human rights violations against students of the University of Buea and lawyers from the English-speaking part of Cameroon who, along with teachers have been on strike to protest marginalization.

The two strikes have since shown as much sympathy for independence as do many in the ranks of the opposition SDF. At the Buea rally on Monday, one singer who tried to sing the anthem of Cameroon at the start got shouted down by thousands others: “No anthem. No anthem.”

The United Nations General Assembly voted on 21 April 1961 to grant independence to the English-speaking part of the Cameroons, then known as British Southern Cameroons. The French-speaking part of Cameroon (eight of the current ten regions of the country and accounting for 80% of the population) gained independence from France on 1 January 1960, more than a year and a half before the English-speaking part of the country.

Shortly after troops started firing into crowds of demonstrators and killing people on Thursday in Bamenda, angry mobs took to the streets, chasing after those who had come to town to show their support for Mr. Biya and the unitary state he leads. According to social media accounts, the irate crowds even targeted the Prime Minister and ministers, raising barricades on roads leading from the Ayaba Hotel in downtown Bamenda where the Prime Minister was reportedly forced to hunker down for a couple of hours before being airlifted out of the town in a military helicopter.

One of his cabinet ministers, Paul Atanga Nji, who serves as the special security adviser to President Paul Biya, was reportedly also chased after by angry protesters, some of whom reportedly attacked him physically. On one video posted on social media, showing someone arriving the Bamenda Regional Hospital in the regalia of the ruling party, a footnote claimed that Mr. Atanga Nji was hurt in one of his eyes by the angry mob.

Sources say Mr. Atanga Nji also had to airlifted into safety in a military helicopter from the Bamenda Regional Hospital after mobs reportedly burnt down his car parked outside the hospital. The protesters also lowered the Cameroonian flag on the grounds of the hospital and, in its place, raised the flag of Southern Cameroons. Two days earlier, similar flag lowering and hoisting of the Southern Cameroons flag had been reported in Kumba, in the English-speaking South West Region.

Two weeks ago, Mr. Atanga Nji, a former convict who has currently been charged with embezzling public funds by the government-created anti-corruption court, was the object of strong ridicule on social media after he claimed in an interview on state television that there was no problem of marginalization of Cameroon’s English-speaking minority (20% of the country’s 22 million inhabitants).

As Bamenda settles into an uneasy calm Thursday night, most social media postings from residents in that town repeat a message that rang through most posts in the day. By ordering executions in Bamenda Thursday, Mr. Biya has declared war on Southern Cameroons, citizen journalists kept repeating Thursday on social media.

END

Please, share this report with your representative in Congress, your Member of Parliament or the National Assembly, your Senators, with Media Outlets in your country, with Human Rights Organizations… and add your name to several petitions online to denounce the war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated by the colonialist government of Cameroun against citizens of Southern Cameroons.

The writer is a veteran Cameroonian journalist with years of pro-democracy and human rights activism under his belt who know lives in the United States.