Repentant separatist, Dr. Nkongho Success has said the armed conflict in the North West and South West Regions of Cameroon will continue to cause more loss of lives if the belligerents do not sit at the dialogue table.
Talking to MMI within the context of October 1 – the Independence Day of the former British Southern Cameroons, he said politicians with ill intentions are responsible for the prolonged armed conflict. To him, the only way out is for both parties to look past their personal interests.
You used to be a separatist and then turned against them and joined the Cameroon government. Where do you stand today with regards to the ongoing conflict?
I stand as a mediator. I try to preach to both parties that guns cannot stop the crisis. We need people to sit and talk. Whether they like it or not, one day they will do that.
What does October 1st mean to you?
My perspective about October 1st is that it is a day Anglo-zonians and Yaounde-zonians use to incite violence, using Ambazonia as a pretext for political purposes.
What would your advice be to both the government and separatists with regards to the upcoming October 1st celebrations?
I will advice government not to try to distort the history of Southern Cameroons. At the same time, I will advise separatists to align themselves with the rules of government and the constitution of Cameroon. If they want to change anything, they should get into politics and get elected. From there, they can change things.
You encouraged fighters to drop their weapons and go to the DDR centers. How has that government initiative been going? Is it yielding fruits?
Yes and no. First of all, the DDR initiative from the head of state is a very good idea. Unfortunately, politicians, I refer to as Ango-zonians and Yaounde-zonians have used DDR for personal interest and that explains why it is a failure. DDR is a failure because politicians hijacked it to bring in their own ideas … On the other hand, the disarmament process is a success because thousands of fighters have been disarmed and deradicalized.
Nambere and Yanick Kawa Kawa were among some of the top fighters who left the Armed struggle and started fighting for peace. Nambere has made public allegations that he is being targeted for assassination by some members of the government and Kawa Kawa was recently arrested for dealing in illicit sale of fuel. Does that mean there is no reintegration for ex-fighters?
Everyone who is advocating for a genuine solution is an enemy to the Yaounde-zonians and Anglo-zonians. They seek to eliminate everyone who wants genuine solutions to this crisis. I am an example, Nambere is an example. We are not accusing the government. We are accusing certain members of the government who we refer to as Yaounde-zonains and anglo-zonains, those who are drawing huge benefits from this crisis. They are the ones that do not want to see some of us alive.
Is president Paul Biya aware these people exist within the system?
Yes. I am sure President Paul Biya has an idea that these people are having a hand. When you give a case for someone to manage and after five years the case escalates, it is enough for you to know that this person lacks competence or is an accomplice to the enemy. With the wisdom that God has given President Paul Biya, he is aware that there are people in his government who are actually the ones fueling this crisis. We know that the man is very slow to action, he takes his time to do his things and he will do it at the right time. He will take the necessary action on those we are accusing of being Yaounde-zonains and anglo-zonains at the right time.
What would you propose that will lead to a long-lasting solution to the conflict?
I propose an immediate ceasefire, amnesty to all the separatist fighters and separatist activists at home and abroad. I also propose strongly, a national reconciliation conference within which there will be genuine dialogue. Guns cannot stop this crisis; men can stop it without the use of guns.
The people have lost faith in both the separatists and the Cameroon government. Do you think both sides can be trusted given that they do not seem to care about the population?
Even among husband and wife sometimes they don’t trust one another. But when they begin to do things that can build back the trust, the trust returns. If the government and separatists begin to do the right thing, the trust will return.
People are always wary of persons who cross carpets. Do you think the government of Cameroon currently trusts you?
Absolutely yes… do you know of some government ministers who were part of the coup d’etat against President Paul Biya who are members of the government today? Does Paul Biya trust them? If yes, then he trusts me too.
The crisis started due to grievances on the part of lawyers and teachers. To date, proponents of the breakaway state of Ambazonia believe that nothing has been done. What do you think about the grievances of the English-speaking population?
The Anglophone crisis is legitimate, Ambazonia is illegitimate. Let us put aside Ambazonia, it is a scam. Talking about the Anglophone crisis, our people have been marginalized. Our system has been francophonised. There is injustice and discrimination. It has to stop. There is supposed to be fairness, justice, and equality.
How can this change be concretely materialized?
The national cake should be divided equally. Some people should not have a bigger share and others should be picking crumbs from the ground. The national cake should be divided equally. Once that is done other things will follow like justice. There should be equality in the judicial system. There should be equality in appointments… Once that is done, you don’t need to preach to people to drop down their guns. For instance, if you revive the Besongabang airport, do you know how many thousands of Manyu sons and daughters will have jobs? Do you need to preach to them to drop down their guns at that point? You don’t need that.
If you revive the Tiko airport, do you know how many people will have jobs? You don’t need to preach to them. Their consciences will preach to them by themselves. There are a lot of things we need to sit on and restore so that everybody will see that they belong to this family called Cameroon. If everybody has that sense of belonging, then nobody would want to divide the country.