The First National Vice President of the Social Democratic Front (SDF) party has added his voice to other opposition leaders’ in Cameroon, to condemn the Yaoundé Military Tribunal’s decision to sentence Ayuk Tabe and 9 others to life imprisonment.
In a post on SDF’s Facebook page, Hon. Joshua Osih called the trial a total sham.
“Cameroon has ratified international conventions that do not allow a military court to try civilians. This trial – in which the SDF took part through the constant presence of party lawyers committed for the defense of defendants imprisoned in the context of the Anglophone crisis – was to say the least a total sham,” Hon. Osih said.
To Hon Osih, the trial has shown the world what English-speaking Cameroonians have been going through for decades.
“This trial has once again exposed to the face of the national and international community, the discrimination that our English-speaking compatriots have been subjected to for decades in our country,” he highlighted.
“All the explanations of the world cannot justify that a trial whose cornerstone is the Anglophone problem, can take place with a panel of judges, none of whom speaks English. Even the provision of translators required to overcome this serious flaw in a country that is supposed to be bilingual was far below expectations to the point where they had to be constantly changed,” he added.
On the question of secession, Hon Osih reiterated that the SDF does not support separation.
“The SDF holds strongly that this trial constitutes a travesty of justice. The SDF reiterates that it does not support secession which we actually proscribe while also noting that this position cannot justify that the defendants have not been entitled to a proper trial according to the prescribed procedure as enacted in international conventions to which Cameroon is a party.”
Commenting on calm returning to the restive English-speaking regions, Hon. Osih reminded that it was not feasible after shuch a verdict.
“This trial is a farce that is certainly not going to bring back peace in the two English-speaking regions which are already in a catastrophic state. Secessionist movements are most often like hydras. They are not effectively fought by gagging or beheading their leaders.”
“This condemnation is a political fault by Yaoundé in the current context of the anglophone crisis which rather requires as soon as possible, an inclusive national political dialogue. With this condemnation, Yaounde seems to have resolutely chosen the path of extremism which potentially carries in itself the seeds of the opposite effect sought by the vast majority of Cameroonians who hope for a quick return of peace in these two regions.”
Sisiku Ayuk Tabe, Tasang Wilfried, Henry Kimeng, Cornelius Njikimbi Kwanga, Fidelis Che, Nfor Ngala, Che Augustine Awasum, Eyambe Elias, Shufai Blaise Sevidem and Egbe Orock were sentenced to life imprisonment by the Military Tribunal in Yaoundé on Tuesday, August 19.
They were equally ordered to pay a fine of 250bn CFA francs to the government for civil damages and 12bn CFA francs for court costs.
The Military Tribunal convicted them of terrorism and secession over unrest that has claimed hundreds of lives, condoning and financing terrorism, insurrection and hostility against the motherland, recruitment of persons to participate in acts of terrorism, undermining state security, spreading fake news and lack of identification papers.