Atemnkeng S. Franklin
Ambanews24, Texas, USA

Amidst the ongoing genocide in Ambazonia, the U.S Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Tibor Nagy in response to a question at the Wilson Center early this week told the audience: “One of my deeply heart felt pains – that is Cameroun. I keep thinking about what more could we be doing in Cameroun because I know that everyday the situation grows worst and worst. And in my own discussion with Camerounians, I point out to the fact that look at the United States of America. We won every single battle in Vietnam and we lost the war. And everyday that the pain and the suffering goes on, unfortunately, more and more of the people who live in western Cameroun are starting to think seriously about favoring independence.”

“That – again – the United States view is a unified Cameroun. We support a unified Cameroun because the last thing Africa needs is another ministate that will be full of poverty and suffering, and needing billions of dollars of foreign assistance to make it; and then what happens if you split off part of Cameroun? What happens in parts of Nigeria? So that is not what Africa needs at all,” Nagy added

Amb. Nagy then turned his attention to the Cameroun government and said, “But the Camerounian government needs to get serious about a genuine peace process, genuine decentralization, genuine power to the local level.”

What We Should Know and Do

  1. Tibor Nagy did Not Say Ambazonia Shall Never Become Independent and Sovereign

To the “One Cameroun” agenda pundits, Nagy has driven a nail into the coffin of the Ambazonian quest for total liberation from tyranny under Cameroun’s rule, for independence and sovereignty. However, the pundits cannot point one phrase in the words of Nagy quoted verbatim above in which he says or even claims or insinuates that Ambazonia shall never become independent and sovereign.

Rather, he warns the Biya government that it is committing the same blunder that the U.S government committed in Vietnam. Simply put: you can win the battles today; you can slaughter 15 in Babanki and massacre women and children in Ngarbuh, but you will not win the war – you will not defeat the Ambazonian people in the long run.

At the end, Cameroun will have to pull out its troops from the streets of Ambazonia as America had to pull its own soldiers out of Vietnam. The Cameroun government, irrespective of every battle it fights today, will have to sit on the table and negotiate its presence or exit from Ambazonia – whatever will be the choice the Ambazonian people will make! And it is better for the Yaoundé regime to cut the battles now and get to the negotiation table because as every day passes, “the situation grows worst and worst”, and the consequence of this does not favor Cameroun. Rather, more and more Ambazonians are joining the ranks of the liberators, the freedom fighters, the Ambazonian independentists. In all independence movements’ guerilla warfare, the counter-actions and barbarism of the adversary are rather counterproductive because they rather help swell the ranks of the guerilla fighters and the push many to join the liberation movement.

The Ambazonian people should internalize this confession from Tibor Nagy and focus on increasing their mass involvement in the liberation struggle, on arming their fighters more and more, and on strategically and tactically targeting and taking out Cameroun’s military and interest in Ambazonia in view of the ultimate day when Cameroun will realise it has won a few battles, but has lost the war. That is when Cameroun will surrender to negotiations and exit Ambazonia as America had to exit from Vietnam.

  • America Supports a Unified Cameroun – just for NOW

For the spin doctors, Nagy’s assertion of a “unified Cameroun” logically implies acceptance that there are two Camerouns because – by their philosophical reasoning – one can only unite two or more separate things. In their attempt to spin Nagy’s words to imply implicit acceptance that Ambazonia and Cameroun are separate territories, the spin doctors fail to see that “unity” is a metaphysical attribute of being – in order words, everything that is, is united in itself as Aristotle and Aquinas postulate in The Metaphysics and De Ente et Essentia respectively.  To put it differently, Cameroun is one in itself as Cameroun; and Ambazonia is one in itself as Ambazonia.

Yes, months ago, Nagy told the U.S Congress that “there are two Camerouns that came together.” The spin doctors would have us end at “two Camerouns” and not proceed to the implication of “that came together” when in fact there has been no coming together of the Southern Cameroons (Ambazonia) and the Republic of Cameroun in accordance with international law and principles. There is no union treaty or agreed upon terms and policies as was required by UN Resolution 1608 (XV) Operative Paragraph 5 to make any “coming together” possible and justified.

Revolutionaries should have the habit of facing issues head on that try stand on the way of their cause, and not sweep them under the table with a gymnastic of words and mind games. It is naïve for revolutionaries to try to exonerate Nagy by importing philosophical justifications for Nagy’s words that are expressed in a specific political context. Nagy sees Ambazonia’s territory as an intrinsic part of Cameroun.  Unless we accept this truth that he erroneously thinks – and has so influenced the U.S government to believe – that Ambazonia and Cameroun are one, we shall not take appropriate action to combat and correct this falsehood in a way that should ultimately lead to a change in America’s current policy on the Ambazonia independence struggle. The Ambazonian leadership must get to work to making this change become a reality.

And yes, this is only a matter of America’s current policy. America is like moving water – always changing position when the time comes. As U.S. National Security Archives reveal, when the East Timorese began fighting for their independence from Indonesia, the USA supported Indonesia, beginning with “a policy of silence” to allow Indonesia invade East Timor. When it became inevitable that the Indonesian Suharto regime’s efforts had failed, the same USA changed and today recognizes the independence and sovereignty of East Timor.

When Eritreans took up arms against Ethiopia, Michael Cohen who held the same position Tibor Nagy holds today forged an American policy of “One Ethiopia with possible return to federation.” Decades later, on the same day the Eritreans took over the capital city of Asmara, the same USA was the first country in the world to send a recognition letter to Isaias Afewrki’s Eritrean People Liberation Front (EPLF) recognizing the independence of Eritrea.

The same can be said of said of South Sudan. The USA opposed the independence and sovereignty of South Sudan, letting the war prolong for over two decades. When Al Qaeda attacked the USA on Sept. 11, 2001, the Bush administration was quick to label Sudan as harboring Islamic terrorist, and moved to support South Sudan in an effort to weaken the Sudan’s state sponsor of terrorism government. Today, South Sudan is sovereign and recognized as such by the USA.

It is all about timing, the state of affairs on the ground, and the stakes on America’s interest! These three things have changed America’s foreign policy in all liberation struggles.

  • Nagy has Leaked America’s Concerns, Now the Challenge is on Ambazonians

One of the biggest task of a diplomat in every mission is to discern what the man sitting across the table thinks, and why he thinks so. It often takes lobbying firms multiple back and forth meetings to know the exact position of a government on an issue, and why the government holds that position. Such knowledge is diplomatic intelligence. It takes such knowledge to bring about change in the policy of governments. One cannot address what one does not know!

At the Wilson Center, Tibor Nagy volunteered this intelligence to the Ambazonian people at no cost. He gave them what America’s current position is, and why it holds that position. The USA has two fears: (1) Ambazonia may become another failed state in Africa, plagued by poverty and suffering, and relying on billions on western aid to survive; (2) an independent Ambazonia may inspire the Biafrans in Nigeria to rise up and fight for their own independence, thereby destabilizing the entire Gulf of Guinea more and more for decades.

We should say in truth these two fears are not unfounded, irrespective of the rights of the Ambazonian people to self-determination and the difference in the status of Ambazonia and Biafra under international law.

The fears are based on history. Too many African states are beggar nations. They live on aids and loans from the west. In their corruption and poor governance, they have failed to raise a strong middle class that lifts their nations out of poverty. South Sudan has degenerated into an aid-dependent nation incapable of holding itself together because it focused all its efforts on fighting Sudan – and infighting – and never thought about

The burden is not on the USA but on Ambazonian leadership to demonstrate that Ambazonia shall not be a failed, poverty stricken nation and that it shall be a force for peace, security and stability in the Gulf of Guinea.

Assuaging the two fears of the USA has to begin with the Ambazonian leadership adopting an Ambazonia Independence Manifesto (AIM) that outlines clearly what kind of state Ambazonia is going to be in matters of the form of the state, the rule of law, human rights, the administration of justice, economic policies, health and the environment, education, foreign relations, regional and global peace and security, etc. Good enough – the Ambazonia Governing Council has done significant work in this regard. Now is the time to make it public, put it before the Ambazonian people for public input, then bring the Ambazonian leadership together adopt it.

Then based on that Manifesto, serious Ambazonian professionals and intellectuals should get into serious working sessions and produce a ten years transition, stabilization and stimulus National Social and Economic Strategy Program (e.g that of Rwanda), which the USA or any government in the world can pick up and see that Ambazonians are thinkers, are ready for self-rule and Ambazonia shall not be a liability to the rest of the world. 

Lastly, Ambazonians must intensify their lobbying efforts. Fighting on the ground is not enough. The triad approach of Self-Defense, Targeted Diplomacy and Mobilization adopted by the Ambazonia Governing Council as the pillars to freedom must all be valued and intensified. Governments do not easily change their positions in the face of too many variables and unknowns. They prefer to deal with the devil they know than they angel they do not know. To brake this tendency, liberation movements must do a lot of lobbying.

In today’s world, most sovereign countries are unable to lobby big governments themselves, despite having embassies and diplomatic accreditations in those countries. What more of liberation or independence movements?  Everyone is using dedicated lobby firms that have access to centers of power, to key individuals, to friends in high places, and whose words can turn the axis of the governments in their favor. It will take such lobby firms to cause the USA and other key players to change their current positions and begin supporting an independent and sovereign Ambazonia.

Most reputable and serious law and diplomacy lobby firms are not cheap! Ambazonians have to pay the price with their pockets now to achieve sovereignty and international recognition in the shortest possible future.  

Positioning oneself in the shoes of power or one’s organization in whatever name is not enough. Wasting time on infighting and posturing is useless. There is work to be done, and the Ambazonian leadership should focus on doing it and not be trapped in distractions from throes created by Cameroun and positioned on social media.