— Former Minister, son of South Sudan’s Liberation Leader … warns nascent Republic will create new oppressors, oppressed people
By Amos Fofung
Captain Mabior Garang de Mabior, eldest son to South Sudan’s rebel/liberation leader, John Garang de Mabior warns that though the people of Southern Cameroon (the English-speaking regions of Cameroon), just like any other people deserve the right to self-determination, the resulting impact maybe the direct opposite of what is planned.
Responding to a question on Southern Cameroons towards the end of an interview with Pan African Visions on the situation in South Sudan, the former Deputy Minister of Interior in the revitalized peace government of South Sudan who witnessed first-hand his country’s liberation struggle and now living the realities of an independent Southern Sudan, warns that the “failure of the First Republic of South Sudan barely two years after attaining independence should be a teachable lesson, not only for the marginalized peoples of the Southern Cameroons but for any individual or organization which may confuse ‘secession’ with self-determination.”
Mabior Garang, currently serving as chairperson of the National Committee for Information and Public Relations of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-in-Opposition and Sudan People’s Liberation Army, SPLM/SPLA (IO) believes the path taken by the people of Southern Cameroon could lead to the same catastrophic consequences as currently faced in South Sudan because of their refusal to learn from other African countries.
“The peoples of South Sudan even had the experience of the old Sudan,” he said referencing Sudan’s two civil war before adding that “if Southern Cameroons became an independent state, new contradictions would emerge…new power relationships between the new regions of the nascent Republic would create new oppressors and oppressed peoples.” This he said is the stack reality of South Sudan’s first republic which after attaining independence some 9 years ago is struggling as a Republic as it continues to be mired in internal conflict, financial hardship, disunity, hunger, and poverty worsen by a frail economy.
“If independence is seen by the elite in the society as an opportunity for them to have their own pie in Buea because they feel cheated in the division of the national pie in Yaoundé, then Cameroon will be divided until each is a Republican in his/her own living room,” he said.
Referencing a research thesis by Prof. Cheikh Anta Diop which focuses on cultural unity of African people and propagate the case for right to Self-Determination within the context of the cultural unity, Cpt Mabior Garang concluded that the ultimate decision rest with the people of Southern Cameroons.
“The independence of South Sudan despite being detrimental to her citizens was the aspiration of our peoples,” he added.
Enjoining states to strive for unity he warned that “if the principle of Self-Determination is not understood within the context of the unity of our peoples through Federalism, then our marginalized peoples across the continent will continue to be bamboozled by the power elite through political tribalism. In the end – like in South Sudan – the principle of Self-Determination was used to undermine Self-Determination itself,”
Contextualizing his statement as he responded to our questions, Mabior Garang de Mabior, a known critic of President Salva Kiir Mayardit said Yaoundé and Buea could agree to an independent Republic of the Southern Cameroons which would still not benefit the marginalized citizens.
“I am not saying this is going to happen, but this is our experience in the First Republic of South Sudan. After our hard-won freedom, we find ourselves embroiled in a second liberation struggle for a second Republic of South Sudan. The revolutionary intellectuals of the Greater Cameroon must be vigilant against the mischief of the power elite whose interests may not be in line with the welfare and prosperity of the civil population but their vested interest”, he warned.