For reasons impossible to explain naturally, I chose yesterday, July 31, 2018, to state my stance on AAC III. Just as I began writing the date, distress calls came from St Valentine Centre (Orphanage), Buea.
I gathered on the spot that armed soldiers had come to the centre menacingly because the inmates were playing in front of their dormitory, shouting… As I sat down to write on my return, sad news was broken to us about the death of my only brother-in-law… I do hope the good Lord will allow me to write to the end this time around.
Since my release from captivity, I have published at least two posts on the absolute need for an AAC III to hold. Both received substantial positive endorsement as gleaned from the hundreds of comments. Before my captivity, I had published several articles in the same direction. It was when it received little attention that I went on to propose the English Cameroon Authority. Records show that the proposal received tremendous support!
The overwhelming opposition to AAC III championed by Cardinal Tumi of recent now is a huge embarrassment. I was convinced that it was understood the objective of the English Cameroon Authority was to create a forum for concertation among Anglophones; and to provide a team for prospective dialogue at the time. If the idea has caught up with the cardinal today whereby he craves that Anglophones come together to chart the way forward, one is at a loss as to the raison d’etre of hostilities.
There is no doubt that one may not agree entirely with the cardinal’s plan of action. Only during the AAC III would Anglophones, by unanimity or in their majority, chart the way forward: whether to trust Mr. President this time around to give him another chance., given his disdain for the Anglophones previously. But is it not only democratic for us to meet and make our points or opinions heard? If not, why does anyone believe that their own opinions are infallible and must be accepted by the others?
That’s why I consider the cardinal’s initiative invaluable, and that it comes at a propitious moment and opportune time! As a matter of fact, we, Anglophones, appear to have lost sight of certain indisputable facts. Anglophones are in two groups in location and in circumstance: those in the diaspora and those at home; those at room temperature and those taking the heat of hostilities. The one group cannot do without the other, lest we favour fragility at the expense of durability; dictatorship instead of democracy.
I am of the considered opinion that there can NEVER be unity of purpose until we have met to agree on the common purpose/goals. Such agreement can only stand the test of time if it emanates from reason rather than from emotion. Reason requires proposal, face to face arguments/debates and consensus or the majority vote. I am at a loss how this can come about otherwise than when we meet.
One would have thought that the contention would have been where to meet rather than whether to meet. At the moment, the diaspora has assumed leadership in monopoly for obvious reason. They have incurred the hostilities of the current dispensation. Obviously, their entry and safety cannot be guaranteed until there has been amnesty. Which is to say the Buea venue or any other within Southern Cameroon/Ambazonia is inappropriate. Nor can the diaspora organize a forum that the internal representatives would freely attend. It is in that light that the cardinal has put forward pre-conditions. Our standing united behind the acceptance of those pre-conditions ought to be the reasonable goal instead of bickering…
If the argument is that the term “Anglophones” is nugatory, what can we say we are? Whether independent or not, we remain Anglohones by definition or by description. Independence or no independence, is it not only normal that, as a people, Anglophones reserve the right to meet as a people to review their wellbeing as a people from time to time? To paraphrase William Shakespeare, what is in a name? Methinks, then, that invoking the point to defeat the search for peace seems utterly facetious…
There is no gainsaying that, during war, there are negotiations for truces, cease-fires, cessations of hostilities… And no war has ever ended without parties sitting at the table. How would we seriously contend that, in our case, it has to be otherwise? If, as the cardinal did suggest, there was the release of those in prison/detention; together with the downing of arms (and the necessary end of bloodshed, even just momentarily); would that alone not be a welcome relief? Do we, in the comfort of our homes, contemplate the inhuman living conditions of our people in refugee camps; in the bushes (forests); in dungeons?… We of the Ayah Foundation feel/live it daily, and we do appreciate what our people are going through…
Above all, no initiative aimed at restoring peace and normalcy ought lightly to be dismissed from emotional inner drives. Our guiding principle should be democratic flexibility: the readiness to accept that the other person has a right to a different opinion. We may never forget that democracy is, in fact, the dissenting voice. Lest we defeat the right to argue that we are different and/or want to be different!
To my mind, AAC III is inevitable! Let us lend Cardinal Tumi our support!
AND SO DO WE HEREBY SUBMIT
Ayah Paul Abine is the leader of the Popular Action Party and retired Magistrate.