By Njodzeka Danhatu
On Friday, June 3, news broke out that the incarcerated leaders of the Ambazonia Interim Government have met the Cameroon government to negotiate for a ceasefire in the war-torn Anglophone Regions.
The news has brought almost all factions in the Anglophone quest for independence issuing out statements here are there. Cho Ayaba, Dr Samuel Sako and Daphne Yerima, have sent out different statements leaving many to wonder who is in control. Many think these guys abroad are just creating unnecessary distraction to prevent a peace process that can end the war in the Northwest and Southwest Regions.
The question we are asking is who can represent Ambazonia if actually negotiations are ongoing?
While some say Sisiku is the right man for the job because he is on ground zero, some think that Cho Ayaba should be the one instead.
Well, we could still be deliberating of which the whole thing about the said negotiation is propaganda especially as no official statement has been issued from the government side.
No matter who claims to be the leader, the fighters on the ground seem to be doing things their own way. Today we have IG, SOCADEF, ADF and you name the rest. Some of those fighting are acting based on instructions from their various “generals” on the ground and not from those sitting in comfortable chair abroad.
The Anglophone crisis started in 2016 and escalated into an armed conflict in 2017. By 2018, Sisiku Ayuk Tabe was arrested alongside nine others in Nigeria and extradited to Cameroon.
Since then a lot has happened. Sisiku before his arrest never called for the killing of people in the name of independence but believed in legal and diplomatic means to resolve the crisis.
This strategy of Sisiku has made many to believe that he is the right man for the job.
If talks are coming now as per the information circulating, can it be trustworthy?
Here Is My Take
Over three thousand people have died in this Anglophone war of independence. Casualties have been recorded on both side of the divide.
It is not today that the international community has been calling for a sincere and frank dialogue to end the war. If the government has decided to talk with the people concern unlike in the national dialogue, then, it is worth lauding.
If the government is serious, then it should start an everlasting peace process and not a charade to deceive the international community.
The President of the Republic, Paul Biya, should grand general amnesty to those arrested within the context of the Anglophone crisis. When this is done, then the leaders in jail can now sit on a negotiation table.
Now, there are worries that if a cease-fire is called and troops withdrawn, the restoration fighters may pop up and conquer more grounds which will be very difficult to recapture.
In this case, the government should allow Sisiku and Co to talk to Ambazonian fighters loyal to him to drop their weapons while the soldiers are also taken to the barracks.
The two parties can handle the situation without any mediation if they are willing. If one of the parties is not comfortable with the talks here in Cameroon, they can go outside the national borders and talk maybe in Switzerland.
If this is done, and the outcome is fruitful, then, those restoration fighters that may continue to fight will be doing so in bad faith. And that can give the UN the leverage to step in fully.
I strongly believe that Sisiku can better represent the Ambazonia plight than those sitting abroad and spreading propaganda messages because they have the communication gadgets.
Many people have suffered and enough property destroyed. It is time we gave peace a chance and stop riding on a high horse of arrogance because we feel that our authority might be challenged.