Mission to Kodengui

Sunday, 19th May 2019, the Yaounde caucus of ‘Hut 2’ paid a visit to the Kondengui Principal Prison to visit the incarcerated members of the Southern Cameroons’ (Ambazonia’s) leadership. On arriving there, well before mid-day, we learned that we had undertaken an impossible mission because, since the previous week, there had been strict instructions from the Presidency that no one be allowed to visit the detainees. The strict instructions had been issued following the visit of Eric Chinje to the prison. The ‘Presidency’ is said to have been highly embarrassed by a video Eric promptly released in the world media following his visit to Kondengui.

However, since “le Cameroun c’est le Cameroun” we did not immediately give up our mission and return home. One of us knew very well some of the warders who advised that we should buy something like pallets of bottled water and, on getting there, say that we had come to see Reverend Father Andrew. Father Andrew is one of the Ambazonians who had already been sentenced (to eleven years with hard labour, I think). As a prisoner, as distinguished from a detainee, he has a right to receive visitors.  The little conspiratorial plan was that, once we were let in on account of the priest, we would then use the opportunity to see Sisiku and co. We proceeded accordingly, little knowing that our little secret was known to all the warders along the whole path. The one at the first gate, who took and registered our ID cards insisted that it was not Father Andrew we were going to see, that he knew who we were going to see and we should tell him. Whereupon I said that I wanted to see Father Andrew whom I had not seen since he was imprisoned and also a family member of ours, Shufai  Berinyuy, whom I had visited before. In fact, Shufai’s younger sister was with us and had narrated what difficulties she had encountered in recent times coming to see him.

In LRC all procedural problems with government regulations can be solved by putting your hand in the pocket; a veritable racket as everyone concerned gets to get his/her due share of the booty. So we were able to get in to the second waiting room. There was absolutely no going beyond this point but our co-conspirators had gone in to fulfill their part of the bargain and informed Sisiku and Shufai, who at the time were at some religious service, that we were there to see them. They shortly emerged, looking healthy, fit and in good spirits.

We had to discuss there in the waiting space in the presence of all the warders and other waiting visitors within the very short discretional time allowed, scarcely 10 minutes, all told. We rapidly told them about Hut 2 and our main mission, emphasizing the fact that one of our admission criteria insists that members must have no direct ambitions of a political or economic nature in the emergent Ambaland, so as to enhance objectivity and fair-mindedness.  That the group had sent us to sound them regarding the recent releases of the President on the IG. That the said releases had shaken the grassroots on GZ and, on balance, from the point of view of perception, had been generally highly unfavourably received. That the Hut wanted to contribute towards managing the situation. That they at Kondengui are certainly the face of the Revolution and that nearly everyone conceded that but, could the President, please, stay calm and keep a low profile while the challenges elicited by his releases are handled, in view of the fact that the Revolution  seems to be inexorably approaching the finishing line?

Our President, Sisiku Ayuk Tabe, responded more or less as follows. He is very happy that we come. That the recent actions he has taken were long overdue, but there is no time to tell us the whole story. That in prison, they are very well informed, more informed than most people outside and, with scarcely any distractions, they are focused on the revolution full time. They have been communicating constantly with many people including the diplomatic community some of whom have come several times to commune with them in prison. That they had a lot to do with the recent moves and actions of the European Union, USA and the UK. That the Revolution had come dangerously close to total collapse owing to the incompetence and corruption of the IG. That it is highly impossible for them to betray the revolution; that in fact each of them is so committed to our getting to Buea that, if an offer were made to kill one of them so that we get to Buea, there would be a scramble among them for who should bear that supreme sacrifice. He understands what we are saying about perception but that, because he is so sure of the rightness of his actions on behalf of the Revolution, he is holding on to them even in the face of receiving 90 percent blame or condemnation. That appearance is very different from reality and when we do get to Buea and lay the facts before everyone, some of us will thankfully fall at the feet of some of the people who are roundly being condemned today and look askance at some of those receiving high praise. That the Hut should please just give him the benefit of the 10 percent margin of doubt that remains in our mind.

Many questions remained to be asked but we had to go. Shufai, however, took our telephone contacts and it appears they are able to make calls from in there.  

Gobata (for the Yaounde Hut 2 Caucus)

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