It is going to three weeks since Ambazonians who went to Canada to dialogue with Cameroon returned home and all the hope and hype they returned with seems to have died a natural death. Last week, Cho Ayaba, John Mbah Akuro, and Yerima promised a Saturday press conference that will finally disclose what they agreed upon in Canada, with La Republique, but suddenly called off the press conference for another day in the future.
Up until the botched press conference, they were always quick to tell anyone who cares that Canada was a blessing, that the Cameroon regime finally agreed to sit down to negotiations, and a deep one in that matter that looks into the root cause of the six years old war in the Southern Cameroons. But as ABS reports, they have neither presented anyone with any recording from Canada, nor any piece of document that spells out exactly what they agreed in Canada.
All of this responsibility, they, shifted exclusively to the Canadians. But as the third-week approaches, Canada has not put out a single paper as per what they agreed, that is, if there was actually anything.
ABS has gathered authoritatively that the regime in Yaoundé was supposed to approve the letter of the statement from Canada before any formal statement could go out. But Yaoundé reneged, they have left the Canadians very frustrated and disappointed to the extent that they now appear to be more worried for their reputation than those whose fate was on the table.
Canada was expecting Cameroon will commit to the Canadian document before Paul Biya goes out for his New Year’s address. Biya was expected according to filters from Canada, to release political prisoners, call for a cessation of hostilities and endorse the Canadian route map. That never happened. In fact, Biya didn’t even make any reference to anything happening in Canada. He expressed no remorse for the killings and the war, instead, he referred to Ambazonian fighters and leaders as terrorists he must root out of existence. Something that met with irritation and resentment from the camp of those who were in Canada.
Writing on social media for example, AGOVC members scolded Biya and accused him of betraying the Canadian spirit for not making any reference to it in his speech. It appears like this is what prompted the hastily announced press conference of last Saturday that was never to be.
It is alleged that the Press conference was postponed because Biya was scheduled to address members of the diplomatic corps in Yaoundé, and would use the forum to talk about the Canadian peace meetings. And yes, Biya actually met with the Diplomatic corps last Friday, January 6th, but no, Canada still was never mentioned directly or indirectly by him.
Speaking to the diplomats and members of his cabinet, all Biya did was acknowledge in a veiled manner that war “affects innocent people” and leaves a negative impact on the economy. He did not say directly that he is negotiating or is about negotiating an end to the war, but rather only veiledly and ambiguously referenced negotiations.
“…it is incumbent upon every State to take the necessary and useful measures to maintain peace within its borders or with its neighbors,” Biya said. Maintaining peace within it’s borders? – yes that’s what Biya said. Does he sound like a person who is ready to sit down and negotiate a peaceful settlement to the conflict? Peace within its borders is a veiled reference to their one and indivisible Cameroon of which Ambazonia is part. The problem here isn’t with Biya though. It is with these Ambazonians like Cho Ayaba, John Mbah Akuro, Yerima, and others who were in Canada who cannot rightly read between the lines of Mr. Biya’s statements. Some of them still living in denial that the Canadian meetings were a manipulation, continue to think that Yaoundé is coming out tomorrow to confirm that indeed they reached an agreement in Canada. They have even jumped at Biya’s mention of “I would like to reiterate here that Cameroon remains committed to the peaceful resolution of conflicts through dialogue and negotiation.” to mean that Biya was making reference to Canada. Of course, Biya wasn’t making reference to Canada. He was speaking in general terms, and that’s the reason Canada remains mad and feels used.
If these Ambazonian stakeholders went to Canada in good fate, the right thing they should do is step out and tell Ambazonians what went wrong. Was there any agreement between them and the Cameroon side? If there was any, what stopped them from publishing it the day the meetings were over? Why has Canada remained very silent when as the facilitator it was being awaited to publish a document to the effect of the agreement?
All that we see are attempts at making believe and grandstanding for a Canada something that no one has seen and may not see. It is time that those who went there stop pushing Cameroon’s agenda, and tell the world and Ambazonians in particular, that as in the past, they scaled the odds and took the Canadian invitation in good fate, but that once again, Cameroon came with manipulations.
This approach is necessary for a quick and clean closure to the Canadian initiative. Continuing to hang on it pretending that something is coming out of it when it doesn’t exist is like trying to get water out of the rock. This Canadian adventure should be assessed, mistakes corrected, and we move on.