It was news many saw coming but very few were brave enough to foretell it will happen, not least at this time of the year.
The news about the life sentencing of Sissikou Ayuk and 9 others arrested in Nigeria some years ago shocked the nation especially at a time when the government is struggling to revive back to school spirit amongst security-conscious parents and war-weary pupils and students.
Arrested in January 2017 at NERA hotel in Nigeria and quickly flown to Cameroon for crimes against the state, rebellion, terrorism, non-possession of national Identity cards amongst other things, the onetime influential leaders of the Amazonian revolution have been the center of the Anglophone crisis for the past three years.
The high profile trial has attracted international attention, divide the country and given birth to the unmemorable amount of ghost towns in their honor.
But after more than two years of the court hearing with multiple adjournments, change of judges, protest by lawyers and parallel lawsuit taking place in Nigeria, the trial of the so-called NERA 10 and their sentencing is one of the most followed and unarguably divisive legal proceedings in the history of this country.
When the decision finally arrived at 5:10 Am on Tuesday, August 20th, 2019 after more than 15 hours of breathtaking hearing which exhausted the night, the news quickly spread like wildfire.
Life sentence for the accused which were found guilty of all crimes and a total of 250 billion frs CFA as damages was the verdict as the separatist leaders sang protest songs as the sentence was handed down in a trademark show of political deja vus.
The severity of the sentence has raised fears that the bloody conflict playing out in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions between separatist rebels and military forces would worsen.
The convicted leaders had warned their peers to negotiate with the government as if they were dead in a leaked letter two months ago.
Instant and overwhelming reactions at home and abroad
As expected, the reactions were overwhelming and instant, with Right groups taking aim at the government for what they call a “trial of shame”.
Many highlights multiple irregularities, human rights abuses and embarrassing lack of due process during the trial.
Politicians at home also fired warning shots, blasting the government for they termed bad fate and say the trial risk plunging the Anglophone regions into further chaos.
The international community also weighed in on the verdict, decrying the move, saying it goes against the spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation preached by the head of state on social media.
Nigeria reported blocked its border with Cameron after the verdict, unconfirmed reports say while the government cautions all to respect the verdict of the court in a press release by the country’s communication minister Emanuel Rene Sadi.
The Anglophone diaspora reactions
Amidst the condemnation and support for a verdict which is as controversial as the trial, many back in the Anglophone regions have been eager to listen to the response from the Anglophone diaspora whose are the masterminds behind the crisis on ground zero
The response, however, has been dreadfully enveloped in fury. Despite the defeating disunity amongst different factions of the so-called Amazonian movement, their mixed and diverse message has a disturbing converging goal which is; make the regions ungovernable for as long as they could.
Mixed messages about lengthy ghost towns spanning 3 to 6 month have been spreading while other groups say the strategy will be rollout next month.
But for a movement which has proven in the past that they have the political will and indeed the ground forces to cause public disruption and pain on government and the people, the latest court hearing of those they consider “leaders” of the revolution spell doom to any peace efforts.
Barely hours after the hearing, massive gunshots rocked had the city of Bamenda as armed Amazonian fighters compete to issue lockdown dates and no back to school messages on social media.
Back to school efforts had intensified across the regions as government, civil society activists and even jailed Amazonian sympathizers had joined their voices in a rare show of unity to preach back to school.
The 5:10 AM verdict at the dawn of yet another shaky academic year might have killed any hopes for effective back to school as children once again risk losing the 4th year of education.
National Dialogue: Biya puts Dion Ngute at the crossroads of Cameroon’s history
Many have dubbed him the country’s “luckiest” prime minister as Chief Dr. Joseph Dion Ngute is tasked with the responsibility to find lasting solutions to the Anglophone crisis-a historical problem which now threatens to return the country to pre-independence border.
Brought in during the latest cabinet shakeup earlier this year, the former minister was considered a surprise pick for the job. The South West born premier has been tasked with arguably the toughest and indeed exciting job in history.
Dion Ngute’s fate certainly rests with the success or failure of the planned dialogue but at the same time provides the seasoned diplomat the unique opportunity to create some of the best chapters in the country’s political history.
Prime Minister Dion Ngute has been busy ever since President Biya undercut his ministers and announced a surprise national dialogue. The move has been welcomed by the International community and different political actors at home
In a race against time, the premier who is tasked with chairing the dialogue has been holding different level consultations with opposition leaders, activists and different stakeholder within the contest of preparing the framework of the much-anticipated dialogue
Dialogue like no other
But Dion Ngute will be chairing a dialogue which centers on the survival of the country he now oversees its operations—at least on paper.
The Anglophone crisis which has gone violent for three years now has been a historical problem of the country ever since independence.
The Anglophones have systematically complained of marginalization and discrimination in the dominant French-speaking union. Independence fathers west of the Mungo have tried and failed in the past.
This is not the first time the country will be converging under the umbrella of the Anglophone problem to chart a common course.
But previous meetings by Fonchas, Munas, and others have failed to resonate within political elites of the country at that time had to prioritize national unity over bi-cultural values of the two people who agreed to reunite in 1961.
But despite the warning shots from independence fighters about the cracks emerging from our unity, the government has failed to implement most of the measures many believed would have gone a long way to avert the crisis.
But a three years crisis which has drawn the attention of the International community killed thousands displaced hundreds of thousands and seen many villages razed has forced the government to reconsider its position as the pressure keeps mounting at home and abroad.
Dion Ngute will be chairing a meeting, many say should be the bedrock of the future of one and unified Cameroon, strengthened by its diversity and people.
Dion Ngute has been given one of the most difficult job description ever handed to any of his predecessors in recent memory, it is left the “nyanga boy” as he is fondly called to decide how he would love to be remembered by history.
Editorial: Biya flashes Amba light…..at last.
In a highly awaited speech announced for September 10th 2019, the President of the republic Paul Biya has shocked many.
In one of his longest speeches as president since he took over office more than 36 years ago, the 86 years old focused on the Anglophone crisis ravaging the North West and South West regions
In his introductory note, the president regrets the killing by armed separatists, kidnaps and torture in the three years crisis.
For the first time since the crisis started, the commander in chief also gave his heart felt condolences to all the families affected during the crisis which he said has forced “thousands of our population to live in other regions and neighboring countries”
The President who has been blamed for the poor handling of the crisis moved to familiar territory, enumerating numerous measures he believes his government has taken to resolve the crisis which began as strike led by teachers and lawyers in 2016
In his long list of measures reminiscent to a campaign speech, he mentioned the discontinuance of judicial proceedings to over 200 persons, his offer for armed groups to lay down arms and the creation of national disarmament and rehabilitation committee among other achievements.
“We will continue to make the necessary efforts to fully materialize these efforts” he adds
But in a speech were many where pregnant with expectations of a big announcement, the president in all honesty failed to deliver once again on the national stage
Opposition leader Maurice kamto and all political prisoners arrested and incarcerated were ignored entirely in the speech
President Biya refutes any claims of marginalization within his government, touting the appointment of prime ministers from Anglophone regions for close to a generation now
Grand dialogue announced
In what could have been a glimmer of hope for the long night, the president announced a massive dialogue which has been describe as panacea to finding lasting solutions to the crisis.
President Biya says all sons and daughters of the republic will be called upon to participate in the dialogue to find lasting solutions in the country. The dialogue according to him will be chaired by the prime minister, rallying lawmakers, business leaders, security forces, armed groups and victims of the crisis among others.
Why the dialogue will be seen as a welcome move by many back in the Anglophone regions who have long clamored for any dialogue of this kind, the terms of the dialogue will certainly fail to please hardliners who say any such dialogue must take place out of the borders of the country and chaired by a third party.
Long speech, nothing new
In all, the president said nothing new in the highly awaited speech, touting regular phrases and achievements many believed was meant for International audience and CPDM supporters.
President Biya also failed to grant the much clamored amnesty to prisoners involved in the crisis, and rather intensifies his advocacy for a one and indivisible Cameroon, a statement critics perceives as a provocation to the separatists
For those who were expecting general amnesty, the President was clear, no one should be deceived that criminal acts would be pardon just to advance dialogue, he said, and made it sufficiently clear that perpetrators of violence abroad will face justice in no time as he slaps the wrong people and embrace the right ones
He however says that after the grand dialogue, a presidential pardon might be rollout to those incarcerated on certain conditions, while insisting that any such dialogue must take place within the constitution of the republic and the country.
Speaking to CRTV after the speech, the revered Catholic cardinal, Christian Cardinal Tumi who has been a vocal critic of the regime says he is positive with the announced dialogue, urging the prime minister to take all measures to ensure it’s a success
The nation holds its breath as Biya announces an unusual address.
Monday, September 9th, 2019. More than 20 million Cameroonians are on the edge as the minister, Director of civil cabinet of the Presidency announced in a press release an unusual address to the nation by the president of the republic.
Very few saw this coming and for a leader who has characteristically confined himself to his traditional addresses of the nation for the past 36 years, the nation cannot wait for the next 24 hours.
“Info Martin” and other French papers had carried botched plans to address the nation on Saturday 7th September 2019 and even though no reason was given for the 11th-hour cancelation, the reverberations for a planned unusual address were felt across the national triangle for those who believed
Many were those who saw the news as fake news, believing that the commander in chief cannot and will never go out of his usual routine to address the nation even as the state of our nation looks very in tatters
For any other country facing a major crisis in 7 out of its ten regions punctuated with the fact that its main opposition leader and more than 200 of his supporters have been arrested and incarcerated for refusing to accept Presidential elections addressing the nation could have been no news.
But the news here is that Cameroon is no another nation, and things happening in Yaoundé remains and happens only in Yaoundé
As news spread on social media about the planned addressed to an expectant nation yearning for a message of any kind from an increasingly distant government, the main question which comes to mind is the content of his address.
We look at five possible declarations in the historic address on Tuesday, September 10th, 2019
Amnesty for all political prisoners
The national triangle is practically in flames with Boko Haram in the Far North and Anglophone crisis in the South West and North West being the most preoccupying. There has been pressure at home and abroad for the government to find long-lasting solution to the multiple crises in the country for the past three years now
But the incarceration of Maurice kamto and his supporters have caused the government more pain than the losses on the battlefield, unleashing a usual army of the disgruntled diaspora who have vowed to make life uncomfortable for the aging leader each time he comes to Europe
The life sentencing of Sissikou Ayuk Tabe and Co. have worsened the situation in the restive Anglophone regions, sparking two weeks of lockdown and plunging the regions into anarchy in the wake of back to school as local authorities scramble to contain the situation with disgraceful measures.
There have been widespread call for the Ambazonian leaders, political leaders and all those arrested to be granted an Amnesty from the President of the republic as a sign of goodwill.
Planed inclusive dialogue
It has been the cry of the people and the hope of the compromised International community as Biya and his government has rubbished calls for meaningful dialogue to resolve the Anglophone crisis and insist on military strategy
The military solution they opted has failed and brought more chaos and disfranchisement amongst the Anglophones and friends of Yaoundé are fast running out of patience with the regime as many continue to die.
It is highly believed that there might be plans for immediate and urgent inclusive dialogue as called for by US, France, UN and other members of the International community to solve the crisis
10 state federation
Many are predicting the imminent announcement of a 10 state federation by the president of the republic, but coming at a time when a ministry of decentralization was recently created and plans to announce regional elections this 2019, many believe this would be one of the least tools in his hugely revered political toolbox meant to be used for tomorrow’s political offensive
Can the president retire from office? There have been reports of some health issues with the country’s commander in chief in the past even though TeboPost cannot independently confirm.
But at 86, he is frail and weak and naturally must have some health complications. Images of the head of state shaking and seemingly confused during the post-national day celebrations party at the Unity Palace on May 20thhad led to speculations that the President was in dire need of rest. But his recent outings have shown a man strong and fit to lead, making this option quite confusing to guess.
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