Opinion: Letter To Francophones
I am indeed very pleased that you guys did not take to the streets today after the contested election results were released by a controversial Constitutional Council.
I was indeed scared that in the event of any violence, many of you who are all barks, and no bites, would simply pack up your stuff and head to the southwest as many of your Bassa, Bamileke, Ewondo and Batanga people did when Ahidjo and the French unleashed a reign of terror on you guys in the 1950s and 1960s when a few of your people thought they could fight for independence.
We, in Southern Cameroons, never had our independence through any bloodshed. We had a culture of parliamentary democracy wherein freedom of speech was key and elections were just an exercise in which the people sincerely chose who had to lead them.
We never used any brutality to address differences and we ensured that people were punished for the crimes they committed and not for the opinions they held. We were a safe sanctuary for many people who were unsafe in their country.
That is why there are many of your folks in the Southwest, a territory whose sub-soil is very rich, and some of them were foolish enough to betray Southern Cameroonians when we made up our minds to challenge the corrupt Yaounde government that had marginalized us for decades.
These folks whom I consider as Southern Cameroonians will continue to live with us, but I must be prompt to add that those who do not share our pain and aspiration should learn to be neutral. They must understand that the people’s pain is real and it could lead to violent reactions.
I would like to clearly point out that some of the most engaging of our supporters have been descendants of those refugees who fled to our land and I truly appreciate their contribution to our effort to make our problem known across the globe.
When we felt we had been pushed to the wall, we decided that it was time for the world to be aware of our pain and suffering. Our battle was also a fight against corruption, injustice and disrespect.
You simply did not understand us, and you were adamant despite our attempts to explain why we were reacting they way we reacted. Your all knowing attitude never allows you to humble yourselves. True wisdow, you should know, comes with humility.
Instead of joining us to help get things on the right path, many of you opted to side with the government. You called us names. You told the world we were arrogant and that we had little or no respect for your Republican institutions. While we were angry, we knew your time would come. It was just a matter of time.
Some of us understand that the noise you make is simply designed to hide your cowardice and ignorance. You are a people who can easily be intimidated and you are corruptible. It is therefore no surprise to us that your leaders always use bread and sardine to corrupt your minds during elections like the one that has just ended or when you are angry.
The past presidential election has simply proven that you lack the right mentality to challenge your tormentors. It has proven that we, Southern Cameroonians are not arrogant, but principled and determined to ensure errors of the past get corrected and this must happen sooner rather than later.
It now seems like there is a lull in the chaos in Southern Cameroons, but there cannot be any respite when there is no justice. Do not be mistaken. We still have unfinished business and we still have a stomach for a fight. As long as your government continues to run the show like a personal estate, we will continue to find creative ways to erode its authority.
While you continue to eat your bread and sardine, we will use all the means available to us to achieve the goals we have set for ourselves.
The blood of those who have been slaughtered by your troops will not go in vain. We believe in the philosophy of one for all and all for one, and we will continue to work as a team to get the government to the negotiating table where we will find the ultimate solutions to our issues.
Your cowardice did not start today. Your government knows your weaknesses. You are all noise and no action. We, the minority, gave you freedom of expression. Today, speak as if you were born with it.
In the process, we lost many of our brothers and sisters. We also gave you multiparty politics. In the process thousands were slaughtered in our part of the world while you spent your time drowning yourselves in alcohol. The physical scars are still there in cities like Bamenda and Kumba.
All you know is to gossip and seek to break down courageous men and women who really want to engineer genuine change within the country. You use your fake intellectualism to distort debates and bamboozle your own people. Your unreliable ways make it hard to work with you.
The mere sight of a police officer sends you into fear even when you have not committed any crime. Your leaders understand this and they are using it to their advantage. That is why prior to the proclamation of today’s election results, all your major cities were on lockdown.
I would not like to make this letter long, but will promptly advise that you are the architects of your own hardship and disappointment. You do not know how to work together. Every single one of you is more intelligent than the other.
You have to throw away your coat of self-importance if you must jettison the invisible shackles of slavery that have been put on you by your own people. Learn from us and you will deliver happiness to future generations.
Do not be scared of death, after all, the Bible you read clearly points out that for you to go to Heaven, you must die. We, Southern Cameroonians, are prepared to lay down our lives to ensure our children do not experience the marginalization we have gone through.
You must muster courage if you must defend your victory. Prof. Kamto is your president. He won the election. Running away from soldiers stationed by the government will not take Prof. Kamto to the United Palace. If you need change, you must do the right thing. It never comes on a platter of gold.