A row has erupted between Justice Barrister Paul Abine Ayah and Ntumfoyn Herbert Boh of the Movement for the Restoration of the Independence of Southern Cameroons, MoRISC, over the recent lockdown decreed by Southern Cameroons Separatists.
Paul Ayah criticised the lockdown as bringing untold suffering on the common people on the homeland.
According to Ayah, Anglophones in the Diaspora often “fail to appreciate what patriots in the war zone go through daily.”
Ayah maintains that; “While they [the Diasporans] have sound sleep with the police pacing up and down, assuring their security, those back home are under constant apprehension of being killed by direct or stray bullets.”
In his write up, Justice Ayah further contrasts Anglophones in the Diaspora and their compatriots on Ground Zero, saying that, while those in the Diaspora “enjoy good earnings, coupled, at times, with windfalls, the ‘dogs of war’ back home have lost everything: ascendants/descendants, shelter, access to medical facilities, foodstuffs preserved for the rainy day.”
Another aspect that irks Barrister Ayah about Anglophones in the Diaspora is that; “While their own children are going to school, excellent schools quite often, the children back home suffer educational privation as the price of war.”
Ayah debunks the catch phrase “We Are at War” used to justify all these discrepancies. Hence, he questions: “You run away from the war. Then, from your safe sanctuary, you seek to induce others to volunteer into all kinds of battlefields. How more valuable are your own lives?”
Ostensibly referring to himself and others on Ground Zero, Ayah spits out, in conclusion, at the Anglophone Diaspora: “We are not Guinea Pigs!”
Ayah further castigates the Diaspora for instituting another lockdown without thoroughly evaluating the first one in February.
Thus, he wonders: “After the previous lockdown; after the ban on food leaving or entering the land; did credibility not require proper introspection before venturing into another lockdown: all the worse, such a sudden lockdown?”
The reason advanced for the 10-day shutdown was to prevent the Limbe Cultural Festival from holding. Ayah is sceptical about that intended objective. He questions: “What if the festival holds after all? Would the privation of movement and food not have been in vain? Even if the festival did not hold, would the price paid by the people be commensurate to the failure of the festival?”
To Ayah, the questions he has raised “are of immense importance and relevance.” Why? Because, Ayah argues; “Fighting against someone for doing what you, too, do is self-infliction. There’s little difference between someone killing a patient on board an ambulance and you preventing the desperately sick, including women under labour, from being taken to the hospital in the name of LOCKDOWN. There is little difference between the one who forces people into the bushes/forests to die from want of food/medicines and you preventing people from planting food crops during the planting season like now.”
Furthermore, Ayah believes that; “It is absolutely facetious to shout out that people should ‘STOCK FOOD AND WATER’! There are families here (in Cameroon) hosting as many as 25 refugees (some prefer to call them ‘internally displaced persons’). The minimum wage in Camerouoon [how Ayah spells current Cameroon] is 38.000 francs. Would any intelligent person call on any such family to ‘STOCK FOOD AND WATER’ to last 10 days? If such a family bought a bag of rice for 25.000 and some trong-canda, would they eat the rice raw? How much water would the family store for, maybe, 30 persons for bathing, laundry, cooking and drinking for 10 days?”
Barrister Ayah considers that the population on Ground Zero is placed under enormous pressure by the Diaspora leadership. Thus, he invites the Diaspora to occasionally join the ground forces and test the brunt of the suffering they go through.
Ayah, a onetime Presidential candidate, indicates unambiguously why he is against the strategy of lockdowns as a tool for waging the Southern Cameroons war of liberation.
“We beg to opine,” Ayah writes, “that it is self-defeating to fight against the very people one claims to be fighting for. May we add that true leadership is more than copying and pasting – far more than safeguarding one’s own life while pushing others into self-destruction?” He, then, warns protagonists of programmes like the lockdown in these words: “Whoever advises, let alone, urges unlimited sacrificing should do so by examples: joining us back home, if only OCCASIONALLY!”
Hammering his unequivocal disagreement with the Diaspora, Ayah states that it is time for those involved in the Struggle for the liberation of Southern Cameroons to be more serious and to particularly remember that those on Ground Zero are not guinea pigs.
Boh Lashes Back At Ayah, With Fury
In his reply titled “Look in the Mirror! Behold Thineself!” Ntumfoyn Boh Herbert chastised Ayah, saying that Ayah took an easy option of criticising the Anglophone Diaspora.
Taking aim at the Ayah family, Boh asked: “Does the Ayah family realise that both before now and even in the midst of this war, their family lives better than nearly every other Ambazonian family at home? Do they know that they live better than even most Ambazonians in the Diaspora?
“Everyone on Ground Zero is not as equal as everyone is equal in the Diaspora. Surely, the Ayahs need no reminder to know that Mrs. Ayah is unlike other Ambazonian women. Mrs. Ayah has the money to do groceries, for starters. She was probably chauffeur-driven to CONGELCAM to buy the fish. She can afford not only the car, but also the fuel, the salary for a chauffeur and house help, and more… plus the funds needed to buy fish. Millions of Ambazonians on Ground Zero don’t have the kind of deep pockets the Ayahs have and have had for decades, and that includes most Ambazonians in the Diaspora,” Boh wrote.
In another jab thrown at the Ayahs, Boh said they were part of the machinery that supported and emboldened the Biya regime, and the CPDM, to its dominant role all over the country.
“Have the Ayahs forgotten so soon that only a few short years ago, they rubbished even the Federalism that the SCNC was seeking? Have they forgotten that Ayah went to the extent of rejecting to lead the SCNC? Have the Ayahs forgotten that their focus, only a few short years ago, was to get to the highest echelon and earn the highest possible salary the monster regime can pay?” Boh asked.
On the Ayah foundation, Boh asked whether the Ayah’s have forgotten that most of their funding comes from the Diaspora he is condemning.
Boh further asked: “What do the Ayahs think is easier for those in the Diaspora to do? Is it easier for the Diaspora to look the other way; just stand by and watch; stay safe and preserve the right to visit home without being targeted by the regime while our brothers and sisters are massacred or is it easier to express our indignation as loudly as possible going to the point of exposing ourselves to trouble in our host countries?”
He asked whether it will be it will be the people in the conflict zone, or Biya who will win, “if the Diaspora stayed quiet and admitted that they cannot do anything because they are not on Ground Zero.”
“Is it only killing our people slowly when the Diaspora gets involved from a distance or was it killing our people slowly too by the Ayahs promoting and belonging to the elite of the monster regime that has now declared war on our people? Shall we regret that the Ayahs were not around to call on anyone to resist Hitler to just let Hitler have a field day? Where were the Ayahs when mankind might have needed them to prevent insurrection against slavery given how many were killed trying to abolish slavery? Where were the Ayahs when the world encouraged South Africa’s blacks to fight apartheid whereas they should have just accepted racial segregation to avoid any killings?” Boh further questioned.
Making allusion to the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, Boh said, if the Ayahs knew then what they know now, the world might have read an article from them then inviting the world to stop treating black South Africans as guinea pigs.
He concluded his reply to Ayah, by saying: “Before the Ayahs nail the Diaspora to the cross, may I humbly suggest that they first take a look in the mirror?”
Last February, when the notion of lockdown was first introduced, Boh stridently criticised it, saying it was ill-conceived. This time around, Boh supported the lockdown decision.