Solomon Amabo, Cameroonian journalist living in South Africa has started the publication of a series intended to enlighten citizens on the personalities of detained Anglophones currently facing trial at the military tribunal in Yaounde. Mancho Bibixy is his first pick among key leaders of the on-going protests against a perceived marginalisation of minority English-speaking Cameroonians. Read on:
Profiling S. Cameroonians in Y’dé Prisons : Detainee 0001, MANCHO BIBIXY, the ‘Coffin’ Revolutionary
Mancho : The Coffin Revolutionary
Born on 18 August 1984 in Mankon, Bamenda Cameroon, Mancho Bibixy popularly known as BBC, attended PCHS Mankon where he obtained his Ordinary and Advanced Level Certificates.
He later enrolled into the University of Buea where he studied journalism and mass communication. Before his University studies Mancho did part time radio work for Abakwa FM Radio in Bamenda and the National Broadcaster, CRTV.
Thereafter, he studied Cisco Certified Networking and completed in 2012 as a CCNA Administrator. He also studied Petroleum Engineering at the Gulf Field Institute, in Limbe although his studies were cut short following his father’s death in October 2013. “He had to come back home and be the family head,” one of his close friends said.From 2014 to 2016 he continued working with Abakwa FM and simultaneously as assistant History teacher in some private institutions, in Bamenda.
Charges against Mancho
The Cameroon government is accusing Mancho Bibixy of tampering with the integrity of the nation by “demanding the partition of Cameroon through the creation of the State of Ambazonia.”
He is also charged with trying to use violence to demand a return to Federation and for not being in possession of his Identity card. Alongside Barrister Agbor Balla and Dr. Fontem Neba, they are accused of spreading false information through the social media. Mancho is being detained at the Kondengui Prison in Yaounde since his arrest in Bamenda on January 19 2017. The detention of Mancho for thinking about a federal state and at the same time independence of the Southern Cameroons is an indication that he is a prisoner of conscience. “He was abducted and bundled to Yaounde, without being given time to take anything along. It is surprising that he is being accused for not having an identity card,” one of Mancho’s friends explained in anger. Our investigations did not link Mancho to any crime.
Mancho is said to have had the desire to understand how Cameroon’s crude oil is managed and did some investigations on drilling rigs in the Atlantic Ocean. As a radio host, he reportedly conducted several interviews with petroleum barons and many who matter in the petroleum industry and tried to know about the functioning of the National Hydrocarbons SNH, Chantier Naval, and the National Petroleum Depot, SCDP etc during which he reportedly met with several expatriates. It is reported that he nursed some frustrations when he discovered that Koreans were not allowed to construct the sea port of Limbe.
He is also said to have feared that there was a clearly worked out plan to completely wipe out Southern Cameroons through discriminative tendencies. “I vowed it will not happen in my lifetime,” Mancho is quoted as saying, before the socio-political upheavals in the Southern Cameroons and his eventual arrest.
Described as very courageous, ‘liberation spirit’ is said to have also made him to have close contacts with other Southern Cameroons liberation activists worldwide. “It was so until 21 Nov 2016 when God commanded me to take the struggle to another level,” Mancho is quoted as saying.
Like every freedom fighter Mancho recommended sacrifices. “I expect Southern Cameroonians to hold on to this struggle as if that’s the only thing they have remaining in this world.
They must believe strongly in victory against injustice and must also be ready to make huge sacrifices. I expect them to know it will not be easy but it is possible. Very very possible,” he is quoted as saying.
Unity , Coffin Revolution
Mancho is one of the Southern Cameroons detainees who appear in court very confident as if to say he is quite conscious he is simply a prisoner of conscience. In the wake of attempts by some hidden faces, spreading divisions between the North West and the South West Regions, Mancho responded by appearing at the military tribunal with the traditional regalia of both regions, and openly chanting freedom songs. “Our people must remain united. The idea of the coffin revolution came from my thinking. I thought of several symbols that will speak. I started eliminating them and ended with a coffin because Southern Cameroonians seem to have died before their real death. No need to be afraid to speak truth to power,” Mancho is quoted as confiding.
He remains the father and brain behind the ‘Coffin Revolution,’ described by many of his followers, as a peaceful move to bring change in the Southern Cameroons. “Southern Cameroonians are already dead in the hands of the tyranny of La Republic Du Cameroon. There is no need to be afraid anymore. Even of death. That is the reason why I think many of us support the Coffin Revolution. It is a matter of do or die,” narrated a Bamenda based activist who attempts to justify the name given to the revolution.
Mancho, the Family Man
A devout Christian of the Presbyterian Chrurch in Cameroon, he was one of the Elders of the Azire Congregation. Mancho as a typical African has a huge family under his care: a fiancé and a son with several dependents to take care of. “My late father upon his death left behind a huge family under my care. I am the sole bread winner but they are learning to sacrifice as I do. They also eat once a day as I do, use rain water instead of tap water, use charcoal instead of electric iron, stop use of refrigerator and microwave just to reduce cost of living and keep up the struggle,” Mancho is quoted as narrating.
Mancho to Court
When the peaceful protests started in Bamenda on November 21, 2016,(the day Mancho appeared inside a coffin,) he told the crowd how frustrated he was to see the city with bad roads no social facilities and dilapidated infrastructure.
He also pointed fingers at the Bamenda City Council of failing to clear waste that was all over the town. About a month after the arrest of Mancho, the City Council brought in the Hygiene a Sanitation company which began clearing the waste that was pilled at almost every junction in the main city.
Courage in Humiliation
Close friends to Mancho observed him as someone with his own convictions and who does not hesitate to question what he believes is morally wrong.Attempts at Mancho’s Life
Mancho was months later handcuffed like a common criminal and brought barefooted to the Military court. The image made him a symbol of the resistance. Mancho, to many analysts remained peaceful and responsible in his approach to demand for equity and justice for Southern Cameroonians. Those who joined him in the peaceful protests that turned violent when forces use water canons on demonstrators in Bamenda shared his views. He remained very courageous, had a chance to escape but never did so. He reported attempts at his life when security forces clashed with demonstrators in Bamenda and said God kept him alive for a purpose. Mancho’s case alongside Barrister Balla, Dr Fontem and 25 others comes up again on July 29 2017