By Paul J. Lysinge
Monday, August 26, 2019 was a day of comedy and drama across newspaper stands and some television screens in Cameroon when the population rose up to see that almost all the local newspapers carried identical banner headlines on their front pages with one mission: a smear campaign and the victimisation of the Ambazonian people in their quest for external self-determination by attacking the integrity of the leader of the Ambazonian Revolution, Dr. Cho Ayaba.
It is common in Cameroon, as in many parts of the world particularly in dictatorial regimes where strongmen rule, for media houses to be paid and forced to report a story; but it is extremely rare to have almost all newspapers carry the same story with little or no differences in the titles, writing style, using the same pictures picked up from the internet in most cases, and all publishing on the same day as though they just suddenly got up from slumber and realised, after three years, that Dr. Ayaba has been leading the Ambazonia self-determination cause.
Atanga Paul Nji, the notorious former detainee of the New Bell Prison and very cruel Cameroon’s Minister of Territorial Administration was recently in Douala where he threatened English journals to either publish the attacks on Dr. Ayaba or face state reprisal. On Sunday, August 18, 2019, the Cameroon military surrounded the premises of Equinox TV while the station was broadcasting the program, “Droit de Repose” – The Right to Respond. The intention was to intimidate panelists who are often vocal against atrocities being committed by the Cameroon government and its military against innocent civilians in Ambazonia.
Cameroon government’s intimidation of newspaper publishers and their succumbing to paid publications to secure their lives from a tyrannic regime in Yaounde has drawn considerable ridicule and laughter from Cameroonians and Ambazonians across the world. Many have wondered on social media how a government that considers itself so mighty can reduce itself to cheap and stupid propaganda; how a state with an intelligence agency can be so incapable of hidding the tracks of its buffonery; how a country’s government that claims it wants to negotiate with the Ambazonian people through the Swiss can stoop so low in the propaganda scheme as to attempt blaming the Prime Minister of Norway, the very respectable Erna Solderg for Cameroon’s inability to peacefully resolve what began as a simple streets protests by lawyers and teachers and only morphed into an arm struggle after Cameroon used helicopter gunships to kill peaceful protesters in Bamenda.
Cameroon’s recent childish media outburst in which it is attempting to label Dr. Cho Ayaba a “terrorists” – a thing it has tried for more than three years without success because it will amount to labelling George Washington a “terrorist” for leading an armed revolution in America’s fight for independence from Britain – is a categorical act of weakness.
The American singer, actor and activist, Henry Rollins once wrote that “Weakness is what brings ignorance, cheapness, racism, homophobia, desperation, cruelty, brutality, all these things that will keep a society chained to the ground, one foot nailed to the floor.”
The Republic of Cameroon after three years of living in a delusion cocoon that it could defeat the people of Ambazonia through the brute force of its cruel and brutal military that has killed more than 3,000 armless Ambazonian civilians, razed over 293 Ambazonian towns and villages to the ground, burnt at least forty eight grand mothers alive in their homes, shot dead infants including a four month old baby Martha Neba in Kumba, has suddenly found itself incapable of defeating the Ambazonian people in their pursuit of life, liberty and happiness in an independent and sovereign Ambazonia.
Realising it cannot defeat a determined people through the barrel of the gun, as America’s Under Secretary for African Affairs, Toby Nagy had used America’s debacle and defeat in Vietnam war to tell the Cameroon government the bitter truth that it can never defeat Ambazonia, Cameroon has resorted to media blackmail and propaganda to hide its human rights abuses from the international community. Cameroon is attempting a lost battle of shifting the blame for its barbarism on the Ambazonian people who are victims of its actions by placing the responsibility for its atrocities on the leader of the Ambazonian liberation struggle, Dr. Cho Lucas Ayaba. What it has failed to see is that human rights groups and international media have been documenting Cameroon’s actions with details on dates, place, eye witness accounts, credible technological analysis, etc, for the past three years.
Dr. Cho Ayaba has remained unperturbed by these machinations of Cameroon. Asked why he is unmoved by this media propaganda, he said: “Cameroon has defeated itself in Ambazonia by its own barbaric deeds, looting of our economic resources, maiming of our women and children, destruction of our democratic system, institutionalization of corruption, glorification in injustice, systematic underdevelopment of our territory, and above all – the annexation of Ambazonia in 1961 without a union treaty ratified by the Ambazonian parliament. The Ambazonian people have rejected Cameroon’s rule! They have asserted their right to self-determination in accordance with international law and principles. They looked at the failure of the United Nations to invoke quickly the principle of the responsibility to protect when Cameroon unleashed its military that descended on them like vampires feasting on their blood, and they rose up as one people in self-defense. Ambazonians all over the world are praying, working hard, sacrificing and looking forward to the day they shall be free once and for all.”
“What you see going on,” Dr. Ayaba added, “is the last kick of a dying horse. Let Ambazonians smile when they see this high level of desperation. Cameroon is hoping that by its media blackmail, the
Ambazonian people will loose faith in my leadership. What it has failed to see is that this freedom cause is not about me, but about core convictions for the ideals of liberty, justice, democracy, safety, prosperity and happiness in the depth of the being of 8million people – Ambazonians. This is the Never Again Generation, and Cameroon will have to come to terms with the fact that it can never again subjugate, dominate and oppress the Ambazonian people . Let Cameroon drop its guns, stand for peace, and exit Ambazonia as required under international law!”
Some of the newspapers used for this dirty job by the old and tired regime in Yaounde have been identified as the most financially weak and vulnerable in the country who see this as an opportunity to get cash to keep their news organizations going.
In the face of this Cameroon state sponsored cowardice, while the same government is murdering grand fathers with walking sticks in Ambazonia, burning down schools as it did in Sacred Heart College, Bamenda, invading hospitals, killing patients and setting them on fire as it did in Kumba, the eyes of the Ambazonian people remain focused on the goal of the total freedom of their homeland from Yaounde’s despotism.
As Fominyen Marion said at one of the newspaper stands in Buea today, “All this propaganda of Cameroon is really not a fight against Dr. Ayaba; it is a battle against us, the Ambazonian people! It is Them versus Us. It is Evil versus the Good, and the Good always wins with time. We shall be victorious!!”