Fighting Rogue Regimes from the Diaspora or from Home! Which is Better?
By Mbiydzenyuy Dave WANTANGWA
We write this article to analyze the discussion in various forums concerning the intervention of citizens of various countries in Africa from outside their countries. These are often called, those in the diaspora. This simply means, Africans who reside in other countries other than theirs. Several crises in Africa have been triggered by those who reside in other countries especially Europe, Asia and America or rather could we say, in the First world or developed countries? The general reason why these have become so involved in the crises in their countries is because once, out, they have seen at least some measure of respect for human rights, they have seen a high measure of freedom of speech, and above all, they have seen a measure of development that does not exist in their home countries. They then begin to wonder, why their leaders walk the corridors of first world countries and yet never copy even the least of habits of development and advancement for their own countries. They have no other choice than to trigger, participate and actually sponsor the various and varied movements for change in their own home countries. These have become unspeakable nightmares for African leaders especially dictators, who, if they had their way would repatriate them and punish them and repress them. Some have actually succeeded in killings, attacks, repatriations etc. of their citizens who live in foreign countries.
We want to take a case study of the current crisis in the Cameroons. When the lawyers and teachers began the strike action that initiated and has mutated to what has become the quest for the independence of the southern Cameroons, the high-handed reaction of the government of Cameroon led them to quickly deport what is now commonly, called “the struggle” to the diaspora, that is, to the foreign countries. A lot of demonstrations, diplomatic offensives, social media outings, and humanitarian actions have been deployed by those in the diaspora in support of those who are bearing the brunt on the ground, what is now commonly called GZ (Ground Zero). But the question keeps coming, which is better or who is better than the other, the person who intervenes while being in Ground Zero or the person who acts from outside the country and who stands the better chance of effecting the much-needed change in the territory concerned? Who is better placed to incite a lasting solution?
In my opinion, actually ALL are necessary in their own merits. Ground Zero has become uninhabitable for activists, be they social or otherwise. Freedom of speech is a rare commodity in Ground Zero given the presence of death squads deployed by the brutal dictatorship in place in Cameroon which is doing every thing possible to contain the situation in its own terms and thereby depleting the resources of the country towards maintaining its tight repressive grip on the people and keeping them under lock and key. Intellectuals cannot express their opinions freely, particularly if they differ with the regime. Actually, they are summoned in secret and warned to desist from or refrain from participation in what does not support the government action. They have found out that speaking is tantamount to playing a game of chance with their lives. The judicial and educational, executive and economic systems of Cameroon have been politicized. The military has become the handy tool of politicians to settle scores with their opponents, or with opponents of the brutal and repressive system in place. We realize that African leaders do so with the teleguidance and complicity of their western and most often colonial masters who determine what obtains in African countries irrespective of what the citizens of that country want. And so, it becomes clear that African leaders are literally the puppets of western regimes, the stooges of westerners who have no concern for African citizens, but for their resources which the puppet leaders guarantee for them.
But then, given this situation, someone has to speak out. Someone has to shout out foul, someone has to bring the heat to the right quarters and someone has to keep the steam and heat at the backyard of the real oppressors who are the westerners keeping the puppets in Africa. Someone has to maintain the noise at the headquarters of international instruments that have unfortunately become the manipulative tool of the powerful western powers. Reason why those in the diaspora come in handy. They have to exploit the freedom of speech they still enjoy in the backyard of western countries to call attention to the abject repression that is taking place in the various African countries. They have to organize themselves to double up diplomatic offensives in various directions. They have to open up their purses to spearhead and actually ignite various humanitarian initiatives since it is not just political bickering but also intertwined with economic, humanitarian and social perspectives and concerns.
However, it becomes very necessary, that given the extremely delicate and dangerous situation in the Cameroons, only certain actions can be taken by those who either find themselves trapped in-country in the crisis, who cannot leave or who do not want to leave in order to abate the danger that awaits them every moment of their lives while those out there continue to call world attention to the atrocious handling of this crisis by the brutal dictatorship in Cameroon. Those on Ground Zero cannot do what those in the diaspora are doing also because the headquarters from where the real decisions come is out there. The UN is out there, France, Britain, China, Russia etc. the real accomplices to the evil of brutal repression in Cameroon are out there and those in Ground Zero cannot reach them so they need the heat from those in the diaspora. It becomes a chain of collaborative action to be able to call world attention to a lasting solution in the Cameroons.