Subverting the sovereign will

There is a popular aphorism that decomposition in a fish begins from its head. What this means is that the head is always responsible for every evil or good that befalls us, be they self afflicted or of external provenance. Also, the brain with which humans engage the thought process is in the head. Although some are inclined to posit that the brain only executes what is in the mind, truth is that it has the ability to sift in such a manner as to separate grain from chaff.
To that end, the human brain is to the head what leaders are to nations. The reason for this myopic approach to governance is criminal derogation of the rules of social contract. In this regard, when the commonwealth is persistently tossed in preference to callous individualism and, by extension nepotism and opacity as governance credo, the upshot is unrelenting irritability in the majority that inexorably, feels dispossessed of a common heritage.
The unwary might begin to wonder if this is a treatise on philosophy. Oh no! It is a very suave manner of pondering the current misrule in Cameroon. Since Government is now dictating the process and content of commentaries on issues of national importance, it has become relevant for patriotic citizens who see it as their bounden duty to edify public opinion to persist in their assignments without being amenable to the susceptibilities of unscrupulous administrators who have taken advantage of the simmering Anglophone crisis to settle scores with perceived enemies of a “united and indivisible Cameroon.” In other climes, discussions on the form of state receive very high premium on account of their being the very essence binding different communities that have surrendered their individual rights to independence to sovereign wills.
Unfortunately, this is not the case with our beloved Cameroon. Over the years, a few people whose only interest is the wellbeing of their families and their erstwhile colonial prompters have snatched the fate of the nation. By some twist of fate, this cabal is constituted mostly by either ex-seminarians or men owing obeisance to the Roman Catholic Church.
In the event, it becomes mindboggling that people from such sacred backgrounds would be the ones propagating all the ills that have institutionalized misrule in Cameroon. From the head of state down to majority of his ministers, there is pronounced proclivity to care very little or not at all about the plight of their compatriots. Their perception of less fortunate Cameroonians is that of creatures undeserving of humanity- dogs and rats as some derisively refer to them. Little wonder that they are being haunted and persecuted like a cursed race.
Indeed, this absence of concern for fellow compatriots has engendered a pristine penchant for freebooting that has taken the country hostage in the last quarter of a century. This, in any case, is not surprising in a country governed by an individual who has over the years displayed crass insensitivity to the plight of his compatriots. A head of state who at 85 derives much pleasure from being nattily dressed and spending time malingering in Europe only to turn around and put the blame of a crumbling system of governance on his copycat ministers. Maybe Mr. President, ought to have been reminded that governing a state is akin to managing an enterprise or a project. By this token, close supervision is of the essence even as this should not translate into micromanagement of supposedly trusted appointees. However, their odious admiration for profligacy supported by state coffers, inexorably, infuses the tendency for such to be replicated by his entourage that sees no difference between what accrues to them naturally as public servants and what ought to be used in serving the public.
In the event, excessive centralization reflective of medieval monarchies becomes the overriding attraction as mode of governance. All the resources generated in the country are channeled to a central pool in Yaounde, where the Manor Lord decides how to allocate them to the various Regions supposedly inhabited by serfs. The process of allocation knows no laid down criteria as the divisor’s whims are brought in to play at each moment to the extent that a sparsely populated Region like the South, gets more funds than the aggregate for Northwest and Southwest. This explains why there can be no persuasion of the current regime into conceding the superiority of federalism to the current amorphous system whose only strongpoint is that its promoters are current tenants of the corridors of power.
Not surprisingly, we have now advertently regressed into a failed state. Law and order has broken down to the point where Government and rebels loyal to separatists are barefacedly announcing the numbers of those whose lives have succumbed to gunshots on either side as if they were referring to inanimate things. Oh yes! That is what we have become-promoters of hate just so that we may maintain the status quo. Our being part of the same country whose independence and sovereignty we swore to guarantee means nothing to most of us as lives of easy virtue that go with unearned surplus income and access to free landed property in choice towns and neighbourhoods have converted us to leeches that prey on our compatriots. Instead of sitting down and discussing with our aggrieved brothers, our minds are sharply focused on the possibility of missing uncontrolled access to oil from Bakassi, cocoa from Meme, Kupe-Muanenguba, Manyu and Fako and food crops that nourish neighbouring countries like Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
We have now forced our brothers to renounce affinity with the current configuration of the country but, instead of trying to see how appeasement can be brought forth, we have resorted to the barrel of the gun since in our warped minds and jaundiced thinking, might is right. We are prepared to fight our brothers, even as Boko Haram is wreaking havoc in the northern part of the country. Our current circumstance leads us to begin wondering if those at the helm of authority in Cameroon are not suffering from some demonic affliction that bars them from seeing the drudgery they are deliberately imposing on their compatriots. When this war of attrition would have raged for the next five years, maybe the impact will infuse empathy on those who now feel insulated from the ravages of a senseless internecine squabble.
Ngoko Monyadowa

Proposal paper on the short and long term peace strategies: “Anglophone” crisis (IV)

By Maxwell N. Achu, Diplomat,
(Peace Advocate, Conflict Transformation Researcher,
Academia, MA. International Relations) 2

Take the case of Ethiopia, where the anticipated unrest was pre-empted, and policy makers announced the release of detainees accused of violent disruptions during the 2015 and 2016 protest in the Oromia Region, which left 900 dead. Although the protest persisted, however, it was a worthy strategy feasible for Cameroon. This is especially owing to the fact that tensions are not too heightened in Cameroon, at least not yet. Given the adherence of the rule of law, these detainees can only be pardoned.
Furthermore, this presidential pardon can involve even Francophone detainees for other minor crimes committed; this will build a national consensus and widen the democratic space, given the election year. It will foster national reconciliation, a move that the international community will welcome, as the GoC will be trusted to be in the right direction, given the case of Ethiopia. More so, on July 2012, the President of the Republic enacted a law to amend the existing Penal Code, providing alternatives to detention, including community service and reparative sentences to reduce prison overcrowding. This can be a fine opportunity to implement in accordance to the law, such excellent and thoughtful alternatives.
4) The Government of Cameroon, as a stakeholder should enforce the creation of a national peace institute, for example the International Positive Peace Center, IPPC, to professionalize peace education and enhance a nationalistic peace culture. Its vision will see to implant a ‘peace culture’ and thereby, enhance national peacefulness predominantly through Education (Formal and Informal), as well as provide globally recognized capacity for international and national actors on Positive Peace building through education, training and research to ensure sustainable peace and security in Cameroon. Peace education will have landmark prints in IRIC, ENAM and other institutions of higher learning. To enhance post-conflict (Anglophone crisis) peace building efficiency, the GoC should predominantly focus on the soft side of state building. Peace Education is the pivot on which a peace culture rotates.
5) As a short-term proposal, the GoC should create a committee, charged with the responsibilities to bringing back the internally displaced persons. Refugees must be brought back by all means. These are fellow Cameroonians, if at all the GoC practises what it preaches, then, this is the time to practise state consolidation as well as national unity.
6) Last but not the least, when Gordon Brown said, “I am Malala”, UNESCO was encouraged to launch “stand up for Malala.” The Malala wave brought tremendous benefits to the Girl Abuse struggle. For inclusiveness purposes, the President or related top-francophone officials who are socially sensitive on the “Anglophone” struggle should boldly say, “I am Anglophone.” This will give the feeling of acceptance to the “Anglophone” community, as it will help ease tensions between the people. The GoC should sponsor related programs to build national unity and consolidate oneness.

• Conditions for dialogue

By conditions for dialogue, this paper refers to those drivers that incentivize the people to commit. One of the principal conditions is the restoring of confidence. The citizens of Cameroon’s expectations are presently too low given the circumstances, so that no Government promises are believed, making cooperative actions impossible; it is a truism that transitional moments cannot be fast-tracked, but the GoC MUST build confidence by carrying out these enumerated short-term engagements. Since creating institutions that can prevent repeated violence takes time such as in Ghana and Haiti, it is important Cameroon starts now.
Given these complexities, first, is the need to restore confidence in collective action before embarking on wider institutional transformation. Confidence building is a concept that must be used in Cameroon’s political mediation and in other development circles within the national territory. In the Cameroon context, low trust means those who are to contribute technically to the crisis will not collaborate until they believe that a positive outcome is possible.10
However, confidence building is just an event; not an end to itself. It must be inclusive enough to birth early results highlighted above. In this regard, there must be inclusive-coalitions, like in Indonesia in addressing violence in Timor Leste in its recovery after the renewed violence in 2006. Talking about inclusive coalitions: coalitions are ‘inclusive enough’ when they include the actors necessary for implementing the initial stages of confidence-building and institutional transformation – in this case the “Anglophones”. Civil society especially women’s organizations11 like “synergie africaine” in Cameroon often play important roles in restoring confidence.12 Therefore, persuading “Anglophones” to work collaboratively requires signals of a real break with past implementation failures to end economic and social exclusions and injustices of the marginalized group, corruption, or human right abuses. A typical example of confidence building was seen in South Africa, wherein there was unconditional release of Nelson Mandela (in this case the “Anglophones” behind bars) on the one hand, and the absolute secession of armed struggle of the ANC (in this case the violent “Anglophone” activist) on the other hand.
The GoC MUST respond to this confidence building with early results needed to build “Anglophones” confidence and hence, create momentum for longer-term institutional transformation. On the other hand, activists should not let perfection be the enemy of progress – they should embrace pragmatic options to address immediate changes. (To be continued)

Too little too late

Paul Atanga Nji, President Biya’s perceived antidote to Anglophone recrimination against crass marginalization was in the Northwest and Southwest Regions last week, presumably, to feel the actual pulse of the rebellion that has taken hold of this part of the country in the last 17 months. As Minister of Territorial Administration, it was quite fitting for him to have undertaken such a daring venture, given that his predecessor Emmanuel Rene Sadi, had spurned the need to be preoccupied with what his coterie of “one and indivisible Cameroon” advocates and himself see as unbridled impertinence not worthy of national attention.
In the Northwest, he, understandably, reached out to the people of Batibo in Momo Division, where a spate of kidnappings had introduced a new dimension to the orgy of bloodletting that has gripped regular soldiers and irate youths with obeisance to Ambazonia Defence Forces, as well as a select group of traditional rulers. By this token, one would have expected him to, also, extend the same goodwill to Menji and Alou in the Southwest Region, where not only kidnapping, but savage killings that almost snuffed life out of Zachary Ungitoh, Senior Divisional Officer, SDO, for Lebialem have become customary. However, he chose Buea and Kumba as stopping points, for reasons best known to him.
Atanga’s visit, coming in the immediate aftermath of the March 25 senatorial election that he said went on hitch-free, one would imagine, ought to have been opportunity for him to prepare the way for eventual mollification of Anglophones such that the current savagery unleashed on them would have begun assuming the character of being amenable to termination.
No! By his reckoning as Biya’s trusted courier, he was bearer of a message of encouragement to the forces of law and order and the administration from the Head of State who, like him, sees nothing wrong in the looting, burning and maiming being perpetrated on innocent, hapless villagers. As if to cap the regime’s insensitivity and lack of tact, he went about holding meetings with the same youths who constitute a bulk of commercial motorcycle riders to the point of asking them to denounce those with separatist inclination. Mr. Minister! Even an infant would have known that there was a no-deal situation from the day you unilaterally placed a blanket ban on movement of motorcycles in Ndian, Meme and parts of Fako Divisions.
If you really cared about the welfare of these squalid youths, groaning from the pangs of rabid unemployment, your demeanour would have been completely different. You would have at least pretended to publicly acknowledge with sympathy, the death of innocent citizens since the beginning of this almost inflexible showdown between Government and Anglophones.
Granted that those who have elected to take up arms do not have mandate from the majority population in the affected Regions, the fact that out of frustration Government forces have on several occasions succumbed to the bestial options of looting, burning of whole villages, maiming and raping makes an open apology from the Government categorical. The impression Atanga has left in the wake of his outpourings is that as long as the Government machinery has a semblance of functionality, all is well. Indeed, if as he claims, he actually had come with a message from President Biya, then they (the two Pauls) must be likened to the pre-repentance Saul in the Bible who transmuted after persecuting Christians and became Paul.
Such insensitivity and obsequiousness, readily brings to mind the impression harboured by many wary Cameroonians that the right information and/or advice in respect to immediate solution to the Anglophone crisis has hardly reached Biya. Forget that he is supposed to reason on his own, given that such was supposed to have been put into consideration each time mutilated elections have returned him as head of State. This thesis is grounded on the recent attack on CPDM adherents and sympathizers who were going to thank Mr. Biya for appointing Paul Tasong, one of theirs, as Minister Delegate in the Ministry of Economy, Planning and Regional Development. That such a venture could have been contemplated at the time it was about materializing, leading to the snatching and eventual release of Professor Ivo Leke Tambo, is ample proof that either Yaounde is underestimating the magnitude of the rebellion or local administrators are being manipulated to give false impressions that run contrary to reality on the ground.
Otherwise, how could Atanga Nji be announcing to the hearing of the whole world that senatorial elections went on hitch free, nationwide, when voting had to be exceptionally closed at 3pm instead of statutory 6pm in Menji, headquarters of Lebialem Division? Even the few 27 out of 92 voters who turned up for the voting had to be ferried by helicopter. Hitch-free is not when voters are scared off by the presence of separatist forces in Bangem, causing actual voting to end by 11 am. Mr. Minister, your percentage abstention that was read over CRTV reflects the absolute value. Conventional wisdom requires that because the current crisis in the country affects mostly the Northwest and Southwest Regions, those who did not vote on account of fear or actual physical presence of threats ought to have been aggregated based on the total number of electors in these two afflicted Regions. This is the only way to determine the exact impact of the rebellion on voter turnout.
Furthermore, how could Atanga Nji have been congratulating the forces of Law and order and the administration when the SDO of Lebialem is lying critically ill in Douala Reference Hospital from a gunshot wound on his head after being attacked a few days subsequent to the kidnap and release of Tambo? Just before this incident, the Gendarmerie post in Bechati was sacked and all the weapons carted away, only for the Rapid Intervention Battalion, BIR, to be brought in for the ensuing havoc wreaked on the population? How do you congratulate people who have been unable to locate and free the abducted DO of Batibo and the Regional Delegate of Social Affairs for the Northwest Region? How do you pat people on the back when they have constantly been overstretched by ragtag assemblages of irate youths who pass off for “Ambazonnia Defence Forces?”
Mr. Minister, if you guided instead by concern for your Anglophone kinsmen, you would have told the Head of State the truth; which is that the situation in Anglophone Cameroon is intractable and, only a well thought out and executed rapprochement, underpinned by sincere dialogue, would do the trick. Disabuse your mind of any illusion of reliance on force as is currently the case if at all you really love Cameroon. The world is watching. Would you allow President Biya to go down in history as the man who inherited great wealth but, squandered everything to the point of leaving his country insolvent in the midst of plenty? Certainly no!
By Ngoko Monyadowa

Proposal paper on the short and long term peace strategies: “Anglophone” crisis (II)

By Maxwell N. Achu, Diplomat,
(Peace Advocate, Conflict Transformation Researcher,
Academia, MA. International Relations) 2
This paper calls for inclusive peace strategies to enable the implementation of proper measures for the effective avoidance of the “conflict trap” as well as the consequences that come with violence and conflicts.
THE PROBLEM
For purposes of brevity, this paper will not narrate the historical roots of the conflict, as it does not seek to feed on the conflict formation process. Rather it will analyze the status quo to paint the picture as it is, as well as propose solutions to redressing and amending these impairments to peace.
Like in Mali where the Tuaregs decry marginalization from the central Government against the northern part of the country, so too are the “Anglophones” claiming the same infringements on their participation in the state of affairs in Cameroon. The “Anglophones” decry extensive social exclusion, social and economic injustice and a structurally divided society which underpin discrimination. According to the “Anglophones”, the abandonment and outright neglect of some parts of the country, pushes disgruntled and frustrated citizens to dominate the local context without proper regulations, which leads to violence. This could be substantiated in the peripheral Regions of Colombia before the turn of the 21st century4 or the present day Democratic Republic of Congo.
However, this paper follows a crosscutting and holistic research to understand and report the technical problem, by going deeper in the deep rooted structural and cultural violence within the Cameroon society. It does not limit to the physical or direct violence exacerbated by the recent “Anglophone” uprising.
Technical problems?
1) Absence of peace culture:

Cameroon lacks the entrenched culture of peace to strengthen its resilience to such civil shocks. The society is making no efforts in bringing subconsciously, peace cultures to the forefront. A society, which is wired adequately with a peace culture, like in Botswana and Ghana, will ensure that equality must be the preferred mode of interaction, as opposed to the Cameroon “Francophone” mainstream dominance. One of the major instruments of implanting a peace culture is through “massive peace education”. Cameroon cannot boast of any form of intensive peace education in the context of peace building to promote a peace culture. Education is the most efficient medium to uproot the subconscious violent-culture and implant the necessary peace culture. The United Nations with several resolutions has buttressed the vitality of this medium to enhance peace-building skills through peace learning. The UN supports this claim in various resolutions:
UN General Assembly: In its resolution 53/243 of 13 September 1999 adopted by the UN General Assembly on the Declaration of a Culture of Peace, Solemnly proclaims the present Declaration on a Culture of Peace to the end that Governments, international organizations, and civil society may be guided in their activity by its provision to promote and strengthen a culture of peace…6
• As per Art 1(a) of this Declaration, the UN defined ‘a Culture of Peace (as) a set of values, attitudes, traditions and modes of behaviors and ways of life based on: respect for Life, Ending violence and promotion of practice of non-violence through EDUCATION…
• The Art 1(e) stresses Efforts to meet the developmental and environmental needs of present and future generations (Cameroon students and peace-workers).
• As per Art 4, EDUCATION is one of the principal means to build a culture of peace, and Art 7 highlights the educative and informative role, which contributes to the promotion of a culture of peace. Art 8 mentions the key role in the promotion of a culture of peace belonging to teachers, intellectuals’, health and humanitarian workers as well as non-governmental organizations.
• Urges member states to support, as appropriate, quality EDUCATION FOR PEACE that equips youth with the ability to engage constructively in civic structures and inclusive political processes,
• Encourages investments in building young people’s capabilities and skills to meet demands through EDUCATION opportunities designed in a manner, which promotes a culture of peace.

In the same context, resolution 60/3 on the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence for the Children of the world commends the relevance for the promotion of peace culture through EDUCATION and encourage activities related to specific areas identified in the Programme of Action on a Culture of peace.
Security Council, SC,: One of the most vital resolutions on the enhancement of peace culture is the Security Council resolution 2250 adopted at its 7573rd meeting, on 9 December 2015. The resolution: 7 Furthermore, recalling the UNESCO’s constitution that states that ‘since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed’. Any attempt to disrupt youth’s access to education to peace-building skills and abilities has a dramatic and tremendous impact on durable peace and reconciliation.
In fact, the environment in Cameroon does not reflect a relax conviviality for peace by peaceful means.
2) The presence of deep-rooted structural violence

Violent deep structures are situations where the forms of relations between the segments/divisions of society are dysfunctional – between the old and the young, men and women, between races and ethnicities, between powerful and powerless, along every social cleavage. Cameroon deep violent structure is characterized by asymmetry, irregularity and lopsidedness of power between the different segments of her society. This automatically leads to violations of the basic needs of others.
Cameroon does not have a well-outlined infrastructure, which promotes equity and reciprocity across the social cleavage that could facilitate the transformation of the “Anglophone” crisis, and prevent civilian killings. This discourages peaceful approach as widespread means of conflict resolution. This is accounted as failure of the political responsibility, to have mobilized the knowledge of nonviolence. The “Anglophones” claim that in such in-egalitarian structure, the time for parity has come. This leads us to one of the reasons why NGOs in Cameroon are fragmented because NGO representatives can better negotiate in egalitarian setting as opposed to diplomats from an in-egalitarian state system.
Cameroon structural violent scenario can be analyzed from two dimensions; Development and Freedom. Concerning the dimension of Development, structural violence in Cameroon is epitomized in loss of citizens’ lives from hunger, preventable diseases and other related sufferings caused by unjust structures of the society coupled with weak economic power. Effects of such structurally violent societies often seek humanitarian aid, food aid, alleviation of poverty and other related misery programmes. Meanwhile, concerning Freedom, the structural violence in the Cameroon environment or context, legitimizes itself through excessive deprivation from freedom of choice, and from participation in decisions, that affect people – in this case – Cameroonian lives. This dimension of violence brings other effects such as oppression, occupation or some form of dictatorship, prevalent in mostly authoritarian and hybrid Government types.
It is our objective that this peace plan will set the stage for complete eradication of structural violence, as well as build life-sustaining economy at the local and national level in Cameroon while ensuring that everyone’s basic needs are met. The long-term prospects of this peace agenda will further spur good governance; encourage effective citizenry participation and self-determination in decisions affecting their own lives. It is for this reason that the long-term peace project seeks to create institutions that promote cooperation, reconciliation, openness, equality and the culture of peaceful actions in collective situations. This will strengthen democratic institutions to be consensual, inclusive, transparent as well as accountable.
(To be continued)

Proposal paper on the short and long term peace strategies: “Anglophone” crisis (1)

By Maxwell N. Achu, Diplomat,
(Peace Advocate, Conflict Transformation Researcher,
Academia, MA. International Relations) 2

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Maxwell N. ACHU is a Cameroonian Diplomat and Civil Society Activist. He is a Conflict Transformation Researcher and an expert in Positive Peace building across the African continent, and beyond. He presently resides in Accra, Ghana where he is the Country Director for Humanitarian Group Action International, a nongovernmental nonprofit and apolitical organization.
The organization has as objectives to provide humanitarian and social services to “underprivileged” groups of persons. Most importantly, it also seeks to inspire and embolden youth involvement in nation and state building activities within the context of societal reconstruction through peace learning. The following paper is a partial reflection on a holistic and rigorous research conducted by the author on “Positive Peace for Africa”, a peace building project with objectives to implant a peace culture through education on the variables of the sustainable developments agenda 2030.

INTRODUCTION
Conflict-risk Assessment and Predictability in Cameroon

THE PROBLEM
• Technical problems
• The absence of a peace culture
• The presence of deep-rooted structural violence
• Lack of shared and mutual interest
• Traumas of past wounds (marginalization and discrimination) fuels the unrest

THE PEACE STRATEGY:
A) INCLUSIVE, CONSENSUS-ORIENTED, RECONCILIATORY AND COOPERATIVE DIALOGUE PROCESS (SHORT-TERM PEACE PROPOSALS)
• Conditions for dialogue
• What are the drivers to ensure effective accomplishment of these short-term peace proposals?
• Dialogue procedure
• Dialogue participants
• Pre-dialogue arrangements
• The dialogue
The First phase: This MUST involve understanding the “Anglophone crisis” and the whole conflict formation
– Step 1: entails understanding the GoC and the “Anglophones”, both behaviours and their relations in the context of the “Anglophone problem” (this analyses the present state of affairs):
– Step 2: entails understanding the assumptions; how they relate to “Anglophones” behaviours and how these behaviours interact with the “Anglophone problem” as well as the goals of the struggle. (Therapy of the Past)
The Second phase: Differentiating between legitimate (participation, solidarity, inclusivity and integration) and illegitimate (marginalization, segmentation, fragmentation) goals
The Third phase: involves the integration of “Anglophone” legitimate struggle goals with an overarching formula
– the construction of new integration, solidarity and participation goals (Therapy of the way forward)
– creating an action plan for the present (Therapy of the Present)

RECOMMENDATIONS
B) INSTITUTIONAL CAPACITY TRANSFORMATION THROUGH RIGOROUS AND HOLISTIC POSITIVE PEACEBUILDING (LONG-TERM PEACE PLANS)
INTRODUCTION
Just like in Ethiopia, the unrest in the Republic of Cameroon is rooted in the country’s history, which dates back to many years. This paper seeks to analyze the institutional and attitudinal elements on the way forward for the restoration to normalcy of the state of affairs within the national territory. It is not a recipe for apportioning blame but of principles and options to a pacific settlement of disputes within the national territory.
Conflicts and violence are core impediments to peace and development. Despite the international community‘s efforts to curb the uprising of conflicts and violence within the international level, persistent violence-prone policies still exist within national territories, which spurs discontentment and grievances and hence proliferates violence. In the case of Cameroon, these conflicts feed on gender violence and leave refugees and broken infrastructures in their wake. Violent territories have become breeding grounds for far-reaching networks of violent radicals even as far as organized crimes.
Already plagued with low incomes, poverty, rapid urbanization, unemployment, income shocks and inequality between groups, violence will only exacerbate dysfunctionality of the “weak” socioeconomic institutions in Cameroon, just like in other Sub-Saharan African countries. “Strong” institutional legitimacy is therefore key to stability. Confronting these challenges, with the current uprising inclusive, effectively means that institutions need to change. It is in this light that, this peace proposal suggests some specific actions and ways of implementation as well as measuring results. However, it will require a layered approach, meaning some problems must be addressed at the Regional as well as the national level.
The stakes are truly high notwithstanding. This paper calls to mind that civil conflicts have a toll on the GDP of Cameroon however. It cost the average developing country roughly 30 years of GDP growth and countries in protracted crisis can fall over 20 percentage points behind in overcoming poverty. 1 To this effect, we must have strong incentives on clear peace roadmaps, which is what this proposal seek to offer.
This peace initiative advocates for a political community with shared identity, interest and mutual obligations. Without this, the Government of Cameroon (GoC) may be seen by the “Anglophones” to lack legitimacy, reason why some activists advocate for separation.2
This peace proposal paper aims to consolidate political stability (given the election year), while creating an enabling business environment for enhanced and accelerated growth. It advocates for nonviolence in the resolution of social unrest, especially as violence breeds only violence and attacks persons, not policies. Dialogue, according to this paper is the weapon of the strong.
Conflict, risk assessment and predictability in Cameroon

This paper will not overemphasize the economic benefits from improvements in peace in Cameroon, but will highlight the impact of this uprising to the nation’s economic stability, which grossly hampers political performance as well as institutions’ credibility to deliver. The Economic Value of Peace, a framework by the Institute of Economics and Peace covers 163 countries and independent territories – representing 99.5% of the global economy and population.
No conflict from the onset can determine the ramifications it will bring. Statistically, the smallest start-up of social unrest always almost brings disproportionate consequences. The primary example of this is the case of Syria where the civil war, which started simply by graffiti on the wall, has devastated the country and economy, with violence and conflict costing an equivalent of 54.1% of GDP as at 2015.
Conversely, pre-empting the outbreak of violence can achieve peace and reap significant economic gains. The economic impact of violence in Sri Lanka has decreased 66% since 2009 due to conflict risk assessment and pre-emption, resulting in a peace dividend of $48 billion PPP, which is equivalent to 20% of the country’s 2015 GDP.
In the case of Cameroon, it will be instructive to understand the economic losses caused by the “Anglophone” crisis. It will also be important to identify which types of other related violence have the greatest effect on Peace indicators, as the GoC and related-policymakers can better understand how a lack of peace is affecting not only economic growth but also poverty levels, social mobility, education, the control of corruption or life expectancy. This highlights that by identifying the appropriate violence containment strategies, policymakers may be able to lower economic costs of violence by nurturing the tangible drivers of peacefulness.
Due to the difficulty in forecasting the onset of large-scale violence, it is important to better understand and conceptualize new approaches to measuring the risk of it. While some risks can be foreseen and planned for, profoundly destabilizing events such as Anglophone civil unrest, conflict onset and the collapse of entire countries have, all too often, caught the world by surprise.
The collective failure of the people of Cameroon to have predicted the onset of such man-made events, like the Syrian civil war, has substantial impacts on human wellbeing, economic development and geopolitical stability of Cameroon. It is thus not surprising that a key question for Cameroon policymakers, business and civil society today is, how can the likelihood of big risks such as conflict onset be better understood, and what can be done to mitigate the risk of these events occurring.
The 30 most-at-risk countries, according to the Positive Peace Deficit model in 2008, 22 countries experienced significant declines in peace; with Cameroon inclusive. The country that experienced the largest deterioration in peace was Syria, which ranked 99th out of 163 countries in the 2008 GPI, 3 and fell to last in 2016. This was a noteworthy prediction. Many in the international community considered it a relatively stable country. Consequently, few other forecasts placed it significantly at risk of conflict.
Following the positive predictive value of the Positive Peace Deficit model, Cameroon is at high risk of further violent escalation. If a potential conflict risk country like Cameroon can be identified up to (7) seven years in advance, then meaningful interventions can potentially be staged. Given the high costs of conflict compared to prevention, the potential of acting upon these models with this level of positive predictive accuracy has the potential to guide resource allocation and lead to better and more cost effective decision-making.
This conflict risk assessment indicates that Cameroon lacks the attitudes, institutions and structures to maintain their current levels of negative peacefulness and Cameroon is particularly vulnerable to internal or external shocks. Research by the Department for International Development, DFID, Institute of Economics and Peace, IEP, and United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, all suggest conflict prevention and peace building interventions can be highly cost-effective when successful.
This is because, in the case of Cameroon, the economic impact of the “Anglophone” uprising, instability and structural and cultural violence in general is large when compared to the size of the investments to prevent such impediments. IEP’s research on the cost of violence and conflict to the global economy finds that the economic losses from violence were 12.6 per cent of world GDP in 2016, or approximately $2,000 for each person on the planet. IEP analysis shows the cost-savings ratio of peace building or the actions that lead to conflict prevention is 1:16 on average.
Applying IEP’s global cost of violence model to the risk predictions underlines this point.
The global cost of conflict (homicide) in 2015 was US$742 billion, a very large sum. In a utopian world, if all peace building interventions were 100 per cent effective, and guided by a 100 per cent accurate risk model, then the cost savings would be the cost of the peace building interventions themselves, subtracted from the US$742 billion cost of conflict.
(To be continued)

Wrong diagnosis equals wrong treatment

One of the elementary lessons learned from second-year physics by those lucky enough to have gone to school when secondary education had not been reduced to banality or ‘ashwabi,’ is inertia. The teacher, in our case, was an old English lady whose hair exuded a very repellent odour as we excitedly crowded around her for experiments in the physics laboratory. The odour originated from an avowed disdain for early morning shower. Of course, the temperature in Buea at the time kind of vindicated her decision, given that facilities like water heater and indoor heating customary in her native England were luxuries the Catholic Mission could hardly afford.
Back to our physics lesson, we were taught that Work is equal to force multiplied by distance. It is also in the course of this lesson that the notion of inertia was introduced to us. She imparted to us that there are two types of inertia; Inertia that causes a stationary body to remain immobile and inertia that prods a body in motion to persist in mobility.
Surprisingly, in spite of this rudimentary lesson, our Head of State, Paul Biya has, over the last decade been amplifying the erroneous notion that inertia is responsible for the non performance of Government machinery without specifying the type. Why he has chosen to dwell on the inertia of stationary body is best left to him to answer. Be that as it may, such unqualified statement coming from a person of his stature flies in the face of conventional wisdom. He is certainly mistaking the current generation of Cameroonians for those he met in the immediate aftermath of his return to Cameroon in 1962. Inertia of a body in motion would have put us in permanent movement, particularly, towards achieving economic buoyancy.
This has, however, not been the case, as intervening variables including corruption, greed, chronic nepotism and cronyism- all signs of incompetent coordination by Mr. Biya, have conspired to be permanent features of our statecraft. We have, in consequence, been reduced to a pariah state in the midst of plenty. This sad reality stares us in the face, despite the fact that barring the Republic of South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo, there are very few countries in Africa that would outclass Cameroon in terms of endowment with minerals, whether it is viewed from the angle of quantity or variety.
It is ironical that the same person who is supposed to incarnate the spirit of change for a brighter future in Cameroon is the one promoting impunity and profligacy in the conduct of Government business while brandishing inertia as scape goat. To the extent that laid down regulations are thwarted with sneering disregard, it can be posited that the lip service paid to the fight against corruption is, indubitably, a concealment of scores-settling against those with perceived political ambition, especially, if such is directed towards the presidency of the country. ‘And the beat goes on,’ as one of the popular American funk groups of the early 80s “The Whispers” titled one of their hit songs.
Oh yes, it is only in a country where change is anathema that a Head of State would persistently award failed marks to members of Government and, in the same breadth, continue to have them adorn the corridors of power. When a country’s foundation rests on individuals instead of institutions, the tendency is for the privileged few who are called upon to be part of the national assemblage of spoilers to owe allegiance to the one who brought them into the fray rather than those who are supposed to be the real beneficiaries of their services. Given that human greed knows no bounds, a situation arises wherein personality cult and deification of ordinary mortals becomes a national past time. For this ego pampering to entrench itself, individuals are singled out from communities and made emissaries to the bloodsuckers’ national team.
In the event, the same people are recycled like worsted metals in assembly plants without any qualms. Without calling names, a perfunctory look at the persons that have been making the rounds in the political sphere in Cameroon can be very telling. There are those appointed in 1975- the same time our current Head of State was elevated to Prime Minister. They are still lurking around either as Prime Minister or members of one money guzzling Para-public corporation created more for their comfort than the good of Cameroonians or the other. These are the people who have never imagined that there is need for the country to move ahead to a higher pedestal commensurate with the dictates of android age. Their dizzying slogan is that it is better to move slowly and avoid the cataclysmic experiences of some African countries.
These same people harbour the illusory view that brute force is the sole antidote to recrimination against their misrule instead of improved governance. Yes, when people complain that they are not feeling the impact of being part of the geographical expression called Cameroon owing to abject neglect triggered by over-centralization their answer is cosmetic attention via creation of a Ministry in charge of Decentralization.
Mr. President, what the people are interested in is the content and not the container that can be discarded at any time. What the people want is for the money produced in a given locality to be felt in such vicinities. Let a determined fraction of proceeds from Meme cocoa be used to develop Meme, while Ndian oil is used for Ndian and so on. Let Governors be elected such that the local people can have control over their actions to induce them espouse transparent and accountable governance as credo of their tenures.
It is daft for someone of our Head of State’s standing in terms of education and experience to be of the illusion that he is bamboozling morons each time he comes up with his inanity of inertia slowing down Government machinery. Mr. President, if you are still in the typewriter era, most of your compatriots had since moved to the android age as you rightly mentioned in one of your addresses to the youths. The exigencies of the android age require some one made of sterner stuff in relation to capacity to adapt to, and, adopt change to think out of the box. This far, you have unfortunately exhibited in 35-yearsof misrule that you do not deserve any other chance. Do not mind the prodding of sycophants and hangers-on whose sole enterprise is to ensure they hang on to the fringe benefits that being around you offers.
Mr. President, for the sake of Cameroonians who still believe that this country is not beyond redemption, could you please leave us alone and carry along your coterie of leeches to a deserved retirement so that fresh blood that believes in inertia of a body in motion can take over the captaincy of Cameroon’s ship of state? At least you owe your fatherland this feat of much needed patriotism as legacy to those who will be around to witness the materialization of your much touted vision 2035.

By Ngoko Monyadoa

Inside the dark heart of personality cult

Penultimate Friday, the country was awash with news of a magic wand cabinet reshuffle, at least, from the perspective of CPDM cronies and official media. This is intriguing for an issue that had evoked no novelty in regard to its content or form although unlike in previous times, an element of surprise inhered in the fact that he had kept Cameroonians waiting and guessing until they lost interest and transferred their attention to more pertinent national issues like the simmering Anglophone crisis.
For the benefit of doubt, we can say that he avoided the customary embarrassment stemming from the fact that his ensuing cabinet in terms of persons and portfolios would have in normal times already been public knowledge before official announcement. To that extent, his deification by hangers-on and official media can therefore be understood within the context of a man whose proneness to megalomania has attained astronomical heights that warrant such revelry. Moreover, as Head of State, his actions are worthy of attention, no matter how impertinent they might appear, given that all previous efforts to consign him to the dustbins of history have failed, woefully, owing to our natural predilection for toadying.
The above notwithstanding, whatever status Cameroonians choose to ascribe to their Head of State, what is certain is that the heightening infusion of the persona of the First Lady, Chantal Biya into the national psyche is becoming very worrisome. It is worrisome for two reasons. The first has to do with the fact that our statecraft hinges on a very fragile foundation that gives room for even frivolities like personal aggrandizement instead of the rule of law to come into play.
Secondly, the rate at which sycophants and pseudo-patriots are wishing the first couple immortality makes it possible for us to get up one morning and discover that a presidential decree has transformed Chantal Biya to heir apparent to her husband’s throne. This assertion is in no way casting aspersions on the humanitarian proclivity of our First Lady. Far from it! Who can gainsay her involvement in uplifting the drudgery imperiling the lives of underprivileged Cameroonians? Who has not been taken aback by the stunning feats midwifed by her humanitarian stables that include CERAC and Chantal Biya Foundation?
Nevertheless, the recent hullaballoo occasioned by her participation during last week’s International Day of the Woman conjures the possibility of her elevation to a constitutionally recognized figure in the country. To buttress this assertion, we need to just throw our minds back to the overdrive the Civil Cabinet of the Presidency and the Ministry of Communication went into, just to ensure that her presence during festivities commemorating the event reflected reverence for a goddess. Not only were journalists supposed to subject themselves to official accreditation, but more importantly, her presence during the quasi-official event was made to assume the status of a presidential outing.
We should not forget what happened in Zimbabwe where ousted Robert Mugabe had contemplated handing over power to his wife. Moreover, the insipid conference to drum support for a constitutional provision to make the First Lady position a national emblem under the tutelage of no other than Fame Ndongo, University Professor, CPDM ideologue and Higher Education Minister is still fresh in our memories.
This warning is being sounded here on account of what the excesses of a 48-year old woman can do to an 85 year-old man. In terms of natural charm, Biya is said to have turned down all dissuasions from his supposed cronies against marrying Chantal. This, on its own, bespeaks the visceral grip she has on a husband not known to exert manly control over his wives.
This means that she can invoke any stunt to ensure that she is the prime source of inspiration to all her husband’s actions, be they official or private. As a matter of fact, the grapevine even has it that such influences have sometimes extended to determining who gets appointed or fired as Minister. But to be fair to Chantal, she is only taking advantage of the weaknesses of a system prodded by individuals instead of institutions.
This daughter of a timber merchant was certainly born with a golden spoon in her mouth. For her mother to have been chosen among the many women in the heart of the equatorial rainforest is not an issue to be dumped at the feet of providence. Mr. Vigoroux, her father, ordinarily would have seen many more beautiful and even better educated women, but he opted for Chantal’s mother just like Biya has opted for her. That is the work of God. It is also, gratifying to know that her charitable works have earned international acclaim, thereby bringing honour to Cameroon. However, it is nevertheless, no guarantee that her excesses, even if extolled by her somehow doting husband ought to be tolerated. Furthermore, is there any endowment fund from which she taps the resources that she uses to engrave her persona on the minds of Cameroonians and the international community?
More so, in a country where no distinction is made between the public till and the Head of State’s personal accretions from investments, the exploits of CERAC and the Chantal Biya Foundation may have been smokescreens to pamper the ego of a woman who has taken advantage of porous governance to establish herself as Cameroon’s Mother Theresa. For all we know, the cronyism and opacity that characterize her husband’s governance is highly present in both organizations.
Have we, at any time, stopped and reflected on the management of these institutions? Who are their auditors? Well, these might just be opportunities for sophisticated money laundering. The type that one of his current enfant cheri ministers had indulged in before coming into combined prominence and notoriety.
While extending kudos to the First Lady for at least putting smiles on the faces of many needy Cameroonians, the fear is that her undue intrusion into public space may be sending the wrong message, if at all it has not already done so. We are in a country in which unemployment is galloping. Citizens are increasingly finding it difficult to provide basic necessities like water, light, food and shelter for themselves and their families. It is therefore, unfathomable that each time she leaves the country, her retinue whose sole purpose is to massage her ego costs the country a fortune.
Mama Chantal, you can help Cameroonians by telling your husband that he is overdue his stay at the helm of state and, by that token, must take an honourable bow from the stage for the emergence of a new and rejuvenated Cameroon. Can Cameroonians count on you to foster their liberation from their current Catch-22?
By Ngoko Monyadowa

UN can’t package and deliver ‘Ambazonia’ independence

By conviction or political deftness, he has consistently displayed faith in the eventuality of a broad based national dialogue on the Anglophone problem.
The erudite and politically savvy Dr. Simon Munzu’s interest in a constitutional solution to the headache dates back to the 1990s when, as part of the triumvirate of Elad, Anyangwe and Munzu, he played a very active role in convening the All Anglophone Conference, AAC, and thereafter charted a road map for Anglophone emancipation.
Today, the troika has succumbed to dissuasive subterfuge of the Biya regime with Barrister Ekontang Elad vacillating between support for the Anglophone cause and neutrality. Prof. Carlson Anyangwe, on his part, has thrown his weight behind Ambazonia separatists, leaving Munzu as sole purveyor of a return to a two-state federation via dialogue.
Munzu, in his characteristic candour, has advocated frank, inclusive and comprehensive dialogue as the only viable solution to the Anglophone conundrum.
Going by his consignment of counselling to Cameroonians and the powers that be, nobody should be left out, including those who are now advocating separation.
He has, also, warned Anglophones not to be carried away by the illusion of United Nations, UN, support for a separate Southern Cameroons as is being bandied by some compatriots instead of heightening pressure on the Biya regime to see reason in advocacy for a return to Federalism as obtained in the immediate aftermath of the Foumban Conference.
The alluring prose and endearing witticism, coupled with strengthening conviction for a project that defies solution, makes The Rambler’s interview with one of Cameroon’s finest legal scholars, a cocktail to be savoured with relish.
(See page…)

You have consistently advocated a national dialogue since the current Anglophone crisis gathered steam in October 2016. Why the sing-song on dialogue when it looks like President Paul Biya is working on an alternative to the much parroted dialogue?
It is generally recognised that a frank, inclusive and comprehensive dialogue is the best pathway to a lasting solution to the Anglophone problem and to the current Anglophone crisis. The dialogue must be frank. This means that the parties to it have to be sincere to each other and that neither should set out to fool, trap or cheat the other. It must be inclusive, meaning that all stakeholders, regardless of the outcome that they are seeking, including independence for Southern Cameroons, should be invited to the dialogue and allowed freely to state their position. The dialogue must also be comprehensive. By this we mean that it must touch on all aspects of the domination, marginalisation, assimilation and takeover of the territory and people of Southern Cameroons (the Northwest and Southwest Regions) that Anglophones have experienced in the last 56 years and which they are complaining about today. The dialogue cannot be limited to just education and administration of justice, the two sectors that sparked off the current crisis in October and November 2016. A comprehensive dialogue would have to cover all areas of governance in our country – political, administrative, economic, judicial, social, cultural, etc. in which Anglophones experience domination, marginalization, assimilation and takeover, so that the grievances felt by Anglophones in all these domains can be addressed once and for all.
Since everyone recognises dialogue as the best way to sort out the mess in which our country is right now, many voices at home and abroad have repeatedly and insistently called for it. Prominent among them is President Paul Biya, notably in his New Year messages to the Nation of 31 December 2016 and 31 December 2017. It is disturbing to note, however, that even though the President recommends dialogue, he has, as you point out in your question, done nothing to initiate meaningful dialogue. He considers as dialogue the negotiations between the Government and the teachers and between the Government and lawyers that took place in December 2016 and January 2017 within the framework of the two Ad Hoc Committees that were set up by the Prime Minister. We all remember that those negotiations ended in the arrest and imprisonment for eight to nine months of some teachers’ and lawyers’ leaders, while others were forced into exile. That was not a dialogue. It did not lead the parties to a mutually agreed end to the crisis. President Biya also considers as dialogue the delegations of members of Government, political and traditional leaders and senior office holders that were despatched to the Southwest and Northwest Regions in October 2017 to ‘dialogue’ with the population of these two Regions. We all know that, in view of the manner in which those delegations conducted their mission, no meaningful dialogue took place on those occasions. These forms of ‘dialogue’ have not ended the Anglophone crisis. They could not have done so because they were not frank, inclusive and comprehensive. We still need to have a meaningful national dialogue on the Anglophone problem in Cameroon.

Can violence and dialogue go together in the search for a solution to the same problem?
Obviously, dialogue and violence cannot be applied at the same time to resolve the same problem. All conflicts can be resolved through dialogue. Therefore, every effort should be made to resolve all conflicts peacefully through dialogue. Those who resort to violence to resolve a conflict always find that, after a long or short period of loss of lives and livelihoods for many citizens, often the innocent, they still have to dialogue in order to arrive at a final resolution of the conflict. If, after using violence and causing so much loss of life, destruction of property and massive violations of human rights, the protagonists still end up engaging in dialogue, why not engage in dialogue at the outset and thus avoid all those negative consequences of violence, many of which affect innocent citizens? No, violence and dialogue cannot go together in the search for a solution to the same problem. In all situations, dialogue, not violence, should be used to resolve the conflict.

Is the belief that the ‘international community’, the UN and some big Western nations are going to step in and ‘grant independence’ to Southern Cameroons just a dream? Is such a belief justified, plausible?
Such a belief is unjustified. It is just a dream that may never come true. Some Anglophone Cameroonians are clamouring for the ‘restoration’ of the ‘independence’ of British Southern Cameroons. They rely on a distortion of the history of decolonization of the British Southern Cameroons and claim that the 1961 union between the Anglophone territory of British Southern Cameroons and the Francophone territory of Republic of Cameroon has no legal basis. They blame the international community, especially, the United Nations, the United Kingdom and France, for the fate that has befallen the territory and people of British Southern Cameroons since October 1, 1961. Paradoxically, these are the same persons who deceive our people that the international community will come in and grant independence to the Southwest and Northwest Regions of Cameroon. This is just an illusion and a deliberate lie. For the international community, the people of British Southern Cameroons voted in a valid plebiscite on February 11, 1961, to achieve independence by joining Republic of Cameroon. On the same day, the people of British Northern Cameroons voted in a separate and valid plebiscite to achieve independence by joining the Federation of Nigeria. Northern Cameroons joined the Federation of Nigeria on June 1, 1961 and thereby achieved independence. Southern Cameroons joined Republic of Cameroon on October 1, 1961 and thereby also achieved independence. On that same day, both Southern Cameroons and Republic of Cameroon gave up their respective independence in order to form a new independent and sovereign state, the Federal Republic of Cameroon, within which they both became two federated states of equal status, the federated state of West Cameroon and the federated state of East Cameroon, respectively. The international community considers everything that has happened thereafter in the territory of the Federal Republic of Cameroon, including the change of name of the territory and all modifications in its constitutional and administrative arrangements, as an internal matter for Cameroonians. Southern Cameroons gave up the independence that it achieved on October 1, 1961 when on that same day it opted to become the Federated state of West Cameroon within the Federal Republic of Cameroon. The international community is not going to come in, nearly 60 years later, to ‘restore’ that independence. Those who want to ‘restore’ the independence of Southern Cameroons know that they can only achieve their objective by waging a war of secession from the union that came into being on October 1, 1961. The international community is not in a position to grant independence to the former British Southern Cameroons for a second time.

In a recent message that you addressed to the people of Cameroon, especially, those of the Northwest and Southwest Regions, you harped on the need to save the union and to work towards a federation rather than complete break-up of the union. Are you, as far as the ‘Ambazonians’ are concerned, not just crying in the rain?
The persons you call ‘Ambazonians’ stand for the break-up of the 1961 union of Anglophone British Southern Cameroons and Francophone Republic of Cameroon and the ‘restoration’, as they call it, of the ‘independence’ of the territory of the former British Southern Cameroons that they have renamed ‘Ambazonia’. Considering that the two territories of the former British Southern Cameroons and the former Republic of Cameroon have lived together for nearly 60 years since they united on 1 October 1961, we need not go to the extreme of breaking up the union. We should insist upon a return to the original intent of administering the union as a federation in which the two founding territories have equal status. If we succeed to obtain this, we will end the domination, marginalization, assimilation and impending takeover of the territory and people of the former British Southern Cameroons. We will do this without having to break up the union. I am convinced that if you ask the people of the Southwest and Northwest Regions to choose between a peaceful return to the federal system through dialogue and negotiation and obtaining independence through years and even decades of war, they would choose a peaceful return to federation. To die-hard ‘Ambazonians’, anything short of breaking up the 1961 union may sound like just crying in the rain, as you put it. But to the overwhelming majority of our people, it sounds differently.

Very recently, President Biya reshuffled his cabinet, appointing Anglophones to full minister positions in two key ministries – territorial administration and secondary education. Does this measure address the grievances of the Anglophones?
These appointments are a clear indication that the governing elites in Yaounde are feeling the effect of the relentless peaceful resistance that the people of the Northwest and Southwest Regions have put up for 17 months now and which they are prepared to continue until the ‘Anglophone problem’ is addressed through a genuine and meaningful national dialogue. Prominent among the grievances of Anglophones is the phenomenon of ‘marginalization’, which involves keeping Anglophones away from decision-making centres at all levels – national, Regional, Divisional, local. One of the manifestations of marginalization lies in the fact that, in 56 years since the union of 1 October 1961, no Anglophone has ever been appointed as a full minister at the head of any of the strategic ministries, whose importance is depicted by the French expression of ‘ministeres de souverainete’, in charge of domains such as defence, territorial administration, finance, external relations, economy and plan, etc. On Friday, March 2, for the first time since 1 October 1961, an Anglophone was appointed to head a ‘ministere de souverainete’, namely, the Ministry of Territorial Administration. This appointment was undoubtedly prompted by the pressure exerted by Anglophones through the protracted peaceful resistance that they have pursued without interruption since October 2016. Does it address the grievances of the Anglophones? No, it does not, for at least two reasons. First, there is the controversial character of the person who has been appointed to that post. As is well known, the flames of this crisis were stoked from the very beginning by the provocative and dismissive rhetoric of Mr Paul Atanga Nji, who vehemently denied, and continues to deny, the existence of the ‘Anglophone problem’. No one who denies the existence of a problem can be relied upon to solve it. Secondly, as I said in reply to one of your earlier questions, the grievances of the Anglophones relate to domination, marginalization, assimilation and takeover in an array of domains of our country’s governance. Therefore, an isolated act such as the appointment of one or two Anglophones to head key ministries is far from sufficient to address the grievances of the Anglophones.

Put in Mr Biya’s position, what would you do to address the current Anglophone crisis?
In the position of the President of the Republic and Head of State, I would be guided in my approach to the current Anglophone crisis by the paramount necessity to hold the nation together while effectively addressing the genuine grievances of the Anglophones. First, I would have to deduce from the long, peaceful resistance by the people of the Northwest and Southwest Regions that there does, indeed, exist an ‘Anglophone problem.’ To get an understanding of the full measure of Anglophone grievances, I would convene a national dialogue on the Anglophone problem in which I would personally participate. I would ensure that the dialogue is frank, inclusive and comprehensive as I explained earlier, and that it is conducted in such a manner that Cameroonians come to fully understand the ‘Anglophone problem’ in all its dimensions. From a full understanding of the problem I would direct that a solution be proposed that would bring about the cessation of the domination, marginalization, assimilation and takeover of the territory and people of the Southwest and Northwest Regions in all spheres of public life and institutional governance. Recognizing that this would entail a return to the federal system of Government in our country, I would engage and quickly complete the process for such return.

Is President Biya constitutionally empowered, or by any means right when he unilaterally declares that the present structure of the nation is not negotiable?
The form the state is governed by the Constitution, not by the President of the Republic. The Constitution that is in force today provides in Article 1 (2) that “The Republic of Cameroon shall be a decentralized Unitary State.” Like all other articles of the constitution, article 1 (2) can be modified at any time to provide for any form of the State that the Cameroonian people choose to have. For example, it can be amended to provide that Cameroon shall be an empire or a monarchy or a federation or a Centralized Unitary State, if the Cameroonian people so choose. Let’s not forget that, following Reunification in 1961 Cameroon became constitutionally a Federation. In 1972, the constitution was amended to make Cameroon a centralized Unitary State. If the Cameroonian people so desire, they can alter Article 1 (2) of the constitution in 2018 to make Cameroon a Federal Republic again.
In a democratic republic, any constitutional reform that affects the form of the state is preceded by a general public debate among citizens. Cameroon is a democratic republic as stipulated by Article 1 (2) of our constitution.
Furthermore, the constitution guarantees Cameroonian citizens freedom of expression. They are exercising this freedom when they publicly discuss the form of the State. Under our law, the President of the Republic, who is neither a monarch nor an emperor, is under, not above, the constitution. He must act within, not outside it. Neither the constitution nor any other law of the land gives the President of the Republic power to deprive Cameroonians of their constitutional right to discuss the form of the state with a view to amending Article 1 (2) of the constitution that is subject to amendment like any other article of our country’s constitution.
Interviewed by Charlie Ndi Chia

A crisis of sovereignty in Southern Cameroons and the United Kingdom

(An in-depth comparative analysis of the perennial struggle by the people of Southern Cameroons to wrestle their sovereignty after 158 years and the malign erosion of Britain’s sovereignty during her brief stay of 43 years in Europe.)

By Ojong Clement Akem

Minor infringements on British sovereignty provoked outrage and triggered BREXIT, whereas they have refused to repair the damage inflicted on the people of Southern Cameroons by selling them into slavery to La Republique.

This research endeavour is an attempt to draw parallels with what had happened in the United Kingdom on June 23, 2016, and ask why the people of Britain have failed to notice the injustice their Government had imposed on our people (by refusing them independence). This exercise is intended to educate our people, the British public and our neighbours. It will be presented in two parts.

PART I

  1. INTRODUCTION

“A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance” (Jawaharal Nehru – at midnight on August 14th 1948, on the eve of Indian Independence).

That moment should have come for Southern Cameroons on October 1st, 1961, but a conspiracy of three exogenous forces (the creation of the Unification Movement by the East Cameroon Workers Union in Kumba in alliance with the U.P.C. & R.D.A, the fear of communism (U.P.C & R.D.A were allied to the Soviet communist party) and perhaps of more significance, the non respect by Britain of Her obligations under Article 76 of the Trusteeship Council Agreement), all combined to derail the prospects for our independence. We are sure the sovereignty of Southern Cameroons will soon be installed.

One of the things we humans have in common is a reluctance to discard the past, and a willingness to look back for whatever may still fit in our lives (Mary Catherine Beteson 1990). Our generation yearns to prove itself – and, in proving itself, to accomplish great things for our people. Researching, composing and publishing this narrative involves a continual reimaging of the future of our territory, her people, and the reinterpretation of our past so as to give meaning to our quest for a bright future – the coming of the sovereignty of Southern Cameroons.

The territory and homeland of our people has been occupied for 158 years (1858–2016), by European intruders and by an illegal neighbour to the East. However, BREXIT has shattered the myth. It has demonstrated, that “PEOPLE POWER”, can, and should reverse any treaty agreements that erode (or in the case of Southern Cameroons), takes away your sovereignty.

We lay emphasis on the fact that memory is crucial in shaping our identity, and can motivate us in the face of the challenges we have faced over the years, the driving force behind this researched article is to educate our people about the reality of the nation of Southern Cameroons which has sometimes been questioned by usurpers.

We have been inspired by three historic events which have rekindled our hope, the hope that has never been extinguished as far as regaining our sovereignty is concerned. The 2009 recognition by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ rights that “the people of Southern Cameroons,” qualify to be referred to as a “PEOPLE” (cf 45th Ordinary Session Banjul Gambia, 13-27 May 2009).

The Green Tree Accord signed by the Presidents of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Olusegun Obasanjo and the Republic of Cameroon Paul Biya witnessed by Mr. KOFI Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations, UN. The signatories of this accord accepted the clause which demanded “that each country will respect its boundaries as they stood at independence” (October 1st, 1961 for Nigeria, and January 1st 1960, for the Republic of Cameroon).  The boundary treaties exist.

Then on 23 June 2016, in a referendum, the people of Britain voted to leave the European Union. BREXIT was a defiance of international treaty obligations, a defining moment which demonstrated, that anything that infringes upon the SOVEREIGNTY of a nation can, and should be nullified by a vote of “the people.

The February 11, 1961, plebiscite vote to create a Union with our neighbour produced a stillbirth, so we adopted the motto, “the force of argument, not the argument of force” to educate our neighbour about the wisdom to part ways. Now that BREXIT has cleared the way, what is our option?

This researched article is devoted to, and dedicated to the 13 selfless, fearless nationalists from Southern Cameroons who risked everything by walking out in block of the Eastern Regional House of Assembly in Enugu. Their action created a political crisis and forced the British Government to grant self Government to Southern Cameroons in 1953. Their statues will be erected at the Independence Square to immortalize them.

  1. Historical Background: Timeline

This timeline chronicles in summary form, the events that have marked the 158 years of occupation of our territory, together with the ascendant loss of power, freedom and sovereignty and our determination to end this state of affairs once and for all, by achieving our sovereignty. This is perhaps the longest occupation of an African country by Europeans, and an illegal neighbour:

2.1. The year 1858 marked the beginning of the intrusion by foreigners into our territory under our village chiefs or kings. This land gained international status in 1922 when it became the League of Nations Mandated territory – Southern Cameroons.

2.2. The first British Occupation lasted from 1858 to 1887.

This was confined to coastal villages which included Douala, Bimbia and Victoria. Their main goal was trade.

2.3. German occupation 1884 – 1914

The expedition was led by the warship Möwe under Dr. Nightingale and arrived the coast of our territory on 12 July, 1884 and by July 14, 1884, the Germans signed a treaty with chiefs Bell, Akwa and Deido granting rights of sovereignty, legislation and management over their respective countries (note that the word countries referred to the territories that were under the rule of the above chiefs. However, the Germans eventually extended their dominance over the entire country which became known as German Kamerun. They fought wars where they met resistance, like with the Bakweri people for the capture of Buea, the Bali people fought against Zintgraf, while Fontem fought against Gustaf Conrad. These battles took enormous tolls on our people and the Germans (witness the graves and tombstones in these chiefdoms).

By 1907 there were 800 Germans, 6 Austrians, 16 Swiss, 3 Dutch, 58 English, 2 Norwegians, 43 Americans, 3 Spanish, 8 Portuguese, 3 Russians, 1 Belgian, 3 French, 4 Swedes and 1 Japanese, giving a total of 1010 foreigners of different nationalities (cf appendix 1 W033/448). These foreigners and the population were guarded by German troops distributed across the country (cf distribution of troops in April 1907 p87 and 88 W033/448).

2.3.1. In 1905 – 1906 a joint Anglo-German Commission matriculated the boundary between Southern Nigeria and the Cameroons. It runs from the mouth of the Akwayafe River for about 85 miles. The agreement between the United Kingdom and Germany respecting the boundary between the British and German territories from Yola to Lake Chad was signed in London on March 19, 1906. This boundary goes through the so-called “Yola arc”, which has been fixed by the arrangement concluded in August 1903, was, with but slight modifications, allowed to hold good (cf W033/448 p6).

2.3.2. On 28 July, 1919 Britain, France and Germany signed the Versailles Peace Treaty at Le Palais De Galeries in Versailles France. This brought to an end German occupation of Kamerun after their defeat in World War 1.

  1. 1916 TO 1946 BRITISH ADMINISTRATION UNDER THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS. THE INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION OF SOUTHERN CAMEROONS.

We must emphasize that Southern Cameroons was being administered as a mandated territory of the League of Nations NOT A COLONY. In 1922, Southern Cameroons gained International Status as a Mandated Territory of the League of Nations and was placed under the tutelage of the British Government.

The other Mandated Territories were; French East Cameroon, Tanganyika, Zanzibar, Papua New Guinea, British Togoland, French Togo, Rwanda, Burundi and South West Africa. The question may be asked, why all other mandated territories gained their independence, while Britain sent Southern Cameroons into slavery?? There is a latin axiom “Nemo dat quod non habet” (you cannot give what you do not have), Her Majesty’s Government defied logic by transferring Southern Cameroons to the Republic of Cameroun (It was not her colony). This monumental error of judgement MUST be urgently rectified and Southern Cameroons returned to its legal owners “THE PEOPLE”.

  • In December 1933, the Nigerian surveys, Lagos drew and reproduced the orographical map of Nigeria and Southern Cameroons under British Administration in the scale of 1:3000 000 or 1 inch to 47,35 miles showing the International boundaries of Southern Cameroons and Nigeria (perhaps it was this map that proved to the International Court of Justice at the Heague that Bakasi Peninsular belongs to Southern Cameroons, not Nigeria or La Republique).
  • On the May 18, 1940, Protocol No. 11 was drawn up in Victoria between Monsieur George Verges Administrateur en chef des colonies and Mr. J.G.C. Allen, District officer, Nigerian Administrative service, commissioner appointed for the delimitation of the Anglo-French Cameroons boundary. The protocol was signed on behalf of the French Government by the French commissioner and for the British by the British commissioner (cf FO37/32066 page 11). This protocol closed the loop on the question of boundaries and proves that Southern Cameroons has identified boundary demarcation that separates her territory from Nigeria in the West and East Cameroon to the East. It is a nation state period (not part of another country).
  • 1946 – 1953 British Administration of the United Nations Trusteeship Council Territory (NOT A COLONY OF BRITAIN)

In 1946, Britain signed Article 76 of the charter of the United Nations designating her as the Administering Authority for Southern Cameroons. This article set out the obligations of the British Government.

  • The British Consul General on January 24, 1952 in a confidential letter addressed to the foreign office, (cf paragraph 18 ref. F037/10/390) clarified as follows: Our obligations under article 76 of the charter of the United Nations are: “To promote the political, economic, social, and educational advancement of the inhabitants of the Trust territories, and their progressive development towards SELF-GOVERNMENT OR INDEPENDENCE as may be appropriate to the particular circumstance of each territory and its people and the FREELY EXPRESSED WISHES OF THE PEOPLES CONCERNED, and as may be provided by the terms of each trusteeship agreement”.

Unfortunately, despite the precision, logical and unambiguous manner in which the mandate was drafted, the British Government still found a way to circumvent article 76 (read paragraph 18 p7 of the letter referred to), and what follows below.

“The British view is that in the particular circumstance of the British Cameroons the progressive development of their inhabitants towards self-government or independence may most appropriate be promoted in association with the socially advanced protectorate of Nigeria. The British Delegation has impressed this view with consistent firmness and frankness upon the Trusteeship council, and the council has been obliged to accept it, grudgingly”.

This attempt to derail the determination of the people of Southern Cameroons to achieve self government was emphasized in paragraph 8, page 3. “The failure of the British Cameroons people in the course of the review of the constitution to achieve Regional Status, in spite of the guarantees they have received for representation in the central, as well as the Eastern Regional legislature, automatically inclines the politically conscious elements in Southern Cameroons to turn towards the prospect of union with French Cameroons. In fact, “we have deliberately accepted the possibility of embarrassment from a unification movement as part of the price to be paid for our success, during the review of the constitution, in restraining Cameroons nationalist demands in the interest of the over-riding policy of consolidating three strong regions in Nigeria’, but Southern Cameroons was not a British Colony. The British Government was redefining the terms of reference of Article 76 which they had already signed. How dishonest was this?

Enters the East Cameroonians to destabilize Southern Cameroons

THE UNIFICATION MOVEMENT A DANGER

In summary form, the Unification Movement was conceived, designed by the French East Cameroonians, hatched in East Cameroon, and transported to Kumba were it was born under the midwifery of the French Cameroons Welfare Union of the Cameroons Development Cooperation C.D.C.

The President of the Movement was Mr. R.J. DIBONGE (President of the French Cameroons Workers Union, Vice President Chief Joseph FORMIYEN, and Secretary Mr. N.N. MBILE. The movement was sponsored by the representatives of the Rassemblement Democratique Africaine R.D.A, and Union of Population of Cameroon U.P.C (cf paragraphs 14,15 and 16 of the confidential letter no 5 referenced 5/10/52 no 24/173 of the British Consulate General Brazzaville French Equatorial Africa addressed to the foreign office F0371/10/390.

Without receiving any mandate from the people of Southern Cameroons the unification movement addressed secret petitions to the Trusteeship Council on the possible unification of Southern Cameroons with East Cameroon (attempts to divert our independence).

Unfortunately, the R.D.A and the UPC were known allies of the Soviet Communist Party (communism was enemy No.1 in the Western World). To counter this movement, the British intensified their deliberate attempts to annex Southern Cameroons to Eastern Nigeria in gross violation of their treaty obligations under article 76 of the UN charter (witness item 8… “the British view…)”.

The people of Southern Cameroons now had two forces to battle against. Those whom we had accepted as refugees fleeing oppression from their dictatorial masters, had prepared a political vendetta against the innocent people of Southern Cameroons because they were refused voting in the C.D.C Workers’ Unions (refugees have no voting rights in the host country). We emphasize that by 1937, there were 4343 East Cameroonian in the labour force in Victoria Division alone (cf C.O.582/228/2 p137).

Our people had accepted these refugees, without knowing, that, they were Trojan horses that had been smuggled into our territory to sow the seeds of our future annexation to their country of East Cameroon. The British colonial forces were the others we had to confront (the British began to deliberately forget that Southern Cameroons was a UN Trusteeship Territory not their colony).

  • This British refusal to abide by the terns of Article 76 of the UN charter provoked a political crisis in the Eastern Regional House of Assembly in Enugu. In 1953, all the 13 representatives of the Southern Cameroons in the House walked out as a block. This idea had immense impact on the struggle four our independence. All the cunningly woven arguments which the British were advancing for our annexation to Nigeria were brushed aside.

The names of these confident, self esteemed and patriotic leaders who represented all constituencies in Southern Cameroons shall be engraved in gold, under their statues, that shall be erected upon our liberation at our independence squares. We therefore cite them here for posterity because they forced the British Government to reluctantly grant Southern Cameroons self government. Here then are the heroes: Hon. Emmanuel M.L. Endeley of Buea, Hon. Martin N. Foju of Bangwa, Hon. John Ngu Foncha of Bamenda, Hon. Sampson A. George of Mamfe, Hon. S.T. Muna of Mbengwi/Ngembu, Hon. Rev. J.C. Kangsen of Mbem, Hon. V.T. Lainjo of Kumbo, Hon. A.T. Ngalla of Ndu, Hon. R.N. Charley of Tombel/Bakossi, Prince Sama C. Ndi of Kom, Hon. J.T. Ndze of Tabenken, Hon. N.N. Mbile of Ngolo-Batanga and Hon. Motomby Woleta of Victoria.

These leaders, upon returning to Southern Cameroons mobilized all the influential traditional rulers, opinion leaders and the elites to attend the historic Mamfe conference, which took place May 22 – 24, 1953. They brainstormed on the intrigues, deceit and flattery which our people have been subjected to and ruled out all options except independence that must be granted to our people.

That conference will be remembered for the prophetic, and wisdom packed words of advice from the natural traditional ruler of Bafut Abumbi I. He expressed dismay about any suggestion, or proposal that may delay our independence. Here is what he said; “Joining Nigeria was like jumping into the ocean, but joining East Cameroon was like running into a blazing fire”. We were forced against our own deep convictions and free wills to accept the option of joining la Republique and, we have been burning ever since.

The Mamfe conference produced a compelling letter based on irrefutable statements of facts, addressed to the Secretary of State for colonies, demanding the creation of a separate and autonomous legislation for the Trusteeship Territory of Southern Cameroons, as stated in the mandate.

On May 28, 1953, Dr. E.M.L. Endeley left Lagos, Nigeria for London with the petition which he delivered to the Secretary of State for colonies.

Now, if we admit, as historians do, that great men lead humanity to the attainment of their ends, then, the 13 Southern Cameroonians who risked their lives and triggered the process which resulted in the granting of self-government, were indeed great men.

  1. 1954 TO 1961 THE GOLDEN AGE SELF-GOVERNMENT

The two essentials for “representative” democracy are the freedom of the individual, and the regular opportunity for him to join with his fellows in replacing, or reinstating the government of his country by means of the ballot-box and without recourse to assassinations or uprisings.

In 1954, following the granting of self-government to Southern Cameroons, a general election was organized. The Kamerun National Congress K.N.C of Dr. Endeley won the election. Legal Institutions of Government were established, the Assembly, House of chiefs and the Government Ministries. Dr Endeley became the first Prime Minister of Southern Cameroons.

However, following the 1957 constitution of the London Conference, membership of the House of Assembly was increased from 14 to 26 seats. The Assembly was dissolved and a new general election was convened for January 24, 1959.

The Kamerun National Democratic Party K.N.D.P led by Mr. John Ngu Foncha won the election. Dr Endeley conceded defeat, congratulated Mr Foncha who became the second Prime Minister of Southern Cameroons. They say, ‘’power is the combined wills of the masses transferred by their expressed or tacit consent to the rulers by the masses in a democracy”. These transfers took place in 1954 and 1959.

Leo Tolstoy wrote, “The subject of history is the life of peoples and humanity”. African history, must therefore record the two transfers of powers from one Prime Minister to the other which took place in Southern Cameroons between 1954 and 1959 as the VICTORY OF TRUE DEMOCRACY in AFRICA. The seeds of representative democracy were firmly planted in Southern Cameroons. This was quickly followed by the consolidation of economic and financial institutions, the Cameroon Bank, the Southern Cameroons Marketing Board (constituted by Farmers’ Co-operatives), the Cameroon Development Cooperation C.D.C – an inherited statutory corporation, the Southern Cameroons Power Company – POWERCAM and many others. It must be mentioned here that the hydro electric power station in Yoke was conceived, designed and built by a Southern Cameroon Electrical Engineering – Mr. Mbiwan.

  1. THE PLEBICSITE. The Decline and slow death of Southern Cameroons

This was a poisonous gift imposed on the people of Southern Cameroons, in violation of the principles and objectives that motivated the creation of the League of Nations. One of these principles was made public by the American President Woodrow Wilson while addressing the joint session of the two Houses of the American Congress on January 8, 1918. He said, and we quote, “A general association of nations should be formed on the basis of covenants designed to create MUTUAL GUARANTEE of political independence and, territorial integrity of states, large and small equally”. This was the corner stone for the creation of the League of Nations on January 10, 1920, and subsequently the United Nations.

The non respect of this secret pact has plunged the world into chaos and interminable wars. The two questions which were imposed on the people of Southern Cameroons were motivated by British greed and the French Cameroons Workers Union – the vampires who had descended into Southern Cameroons as refugees turned into Trojan horses to derail our quest for independence. These refugees had high jacked our political process through the unification movement and their association with the communist further complicated our quest for independence.

It was these three exogenous forces acting from different directions that combined to condemn Southern Cameroonians to vote on how they wished to be executed, by drowning in the sea, or by burning in an eternal fire – we chose the latter, from the prophetic declaration that has since been vindicated.

  1. THE FOUMBAN CONSTITUIONAL CONFERENCE WAS DESIGNED TO FAIL

On 17 July 1961 Ahmadu Babatura Ahidjo – President of the Republic of Cameroun opened the constitutional conference in Foumban, without a representative of the UN that should have chaired the talks or that of Britain, the Administering authority of Southern Cameroons (still a Trusteeship Territory of the UN).

This ran against the grain, because the “law of natural justice forbids any man from being the Judge in his own case”. President Ahidjo was therefore “NOT qualified” to preside over the constitutional negotiations between his country La Republique and the self-governing Trust Territory of Southern Cameroons.

However, the Southern Cameroons delegation was led by Prime Minister John Ngu Foncha, accompanied by Dr Emmanuel Endeley, leader of the opposition and their entourage.

Ahidjo tabled the draft constitution and announced that the negotiation would last just two days. Immediately, the Southern Cameroons delegation smelt the rat. Their request that the talks should last three weeks based on their rich experiences gained during the constitutional conferences in London and Lagos (Richards, 1946, Macpherson, 1951, Littleton, 1954 – cf Fonkem Achankeng 2014), was rejected out of hand.

One of the issues that Ahidjo rejected outright was the demand from the Southern Cameroons delegation to maintain their Police Force and have their own army, within the Federation.

Records have it documented, that the Southern Cameroons delegation put forward the following amendments to the draft; (a) the flag, (b) National Anthem (c) Motto (d) Federal Capital to be in Douala (e) Electoral maturity at 21 years, (f) Secret ballot (g) powers and attributions of the Federal President (h) Presidential Mandate Limited to two terms (i) a Federal Assembly made up of a National Assembly and a Senate (j) double nationality (k) Primary and Higher Education System and (l) cancellation of the word INDIVISIBLE from the constitution.

What is important is that the constitutional conference did not adopt a constitution, and the Southern Cameroons House of Assembly and the House of Chiefs did not rectify any constitution, because the Foumban conference had not produced any.

It must be restated that the Foumban Constitutional Conference was convened in violation of the London Conference agreement of October 10 – 13 1960, UN Doc T/1556 p40, UN resolution A/C.4/l685 of April 18, 1961 the Landmark UN resolution on the concept of independence by joining 1514 (XV) of 14 December 1960 updated 15/12/1960 by UN resolution 1541 (XV). Given the above violations can the resultant constitution drawn by Ahidjo be considered binding on Southern Cameroon?

The Southern Cameroonian delegation went to Foumban with open hearts, in anticipation that by blending together, both nations would one day form the foundation stone of African Unity. It was not to be-Ahidjo’s delegation came with a hidden agenda to lure the Southern Cameroonians into total submission of their identities. They failed because the constitutional talks were reduced to a stalemate. There is no written agreement as required by Article 102 of the UN chartter at the UN Secretariat to prove that Southern Cameroons and La Republique joined.

  1. 1961 – 2016 THE ILLEGAL OCCUPATION OF SOUTHERN CAMEROONS BY HER NEIGHBOUR

On the 30 September, 1961, at the invitation of Her Majesty’s Government, in violation of their obligations clearly laid out in Article 76 of the Trusteeship Agreement, Ahidjo moved in military forces and illegally occupied a United Nations Trust Territory of Southern Cameroons. Jeffrey Hughes has repeatedly asked; ʺWhy did the British Government abandon the people of Southern Cameroons in such great haste, failing to ensure an appropriate negotiating body in the post Plebiscite period in 1961 and continue to be negative to the Southern Cameroonian subsequent request for sponsorship to the United Nations for their independence, in accordance with the United Nations charter 76b and the United Nations charter 1514 (XV)ʺ (cf Jeffrey Hughes 1999 p 158).

ʺBREXITʺ has given us the answer, that when a people find out, that their sovereignty has been USURPED, they can vote to repel the obstacle. Britain did not seek authorization from the other member states of EU or the UN before launching their referendum.

The illegal occupation of Southern Cameroons has lasted more than half a century. It is time to vote and take back our sovereignty too. The occupation MUST END.

  1. THE OCCUPATION STRANGLED OUR DEVELOPMENT

They say knowledge is power. Unfortunately, ignorance has a way of robbing people of their rights, privileges and duties. It enslaves rather than liberates the mind. It brings about stagnation, and this explains why dictators are allergic to true intellectuals. Ignorance has delayed our liberation.

Ahidjo’s first administrative edict was the abolition of all the Teachers’ Training Colleges, followed up by the change of name from Southern Cameroons which has international boundaries to, West Cameroon, an anonymous state. He was laying the groundwork for the complete annexation of our territory, by blind fooling us with names.

He then suspended the production of electric energy from the Yoke hydro-electric power generation station, to force our people import electricity from Edea (located about 160km from Yoke). They destroyed our community Development System which together with the Swiss Technical Assistance ensured the installation of pipe born water in our villages. Transferred the headquarters of Cameroon Bank from Victoria to Yaounde, Southern Cameroons Marketing Board to Douala and emptied the cash savings of our farmers estimated at about 78 billion CFA, at the time. Our farmers have been reduced to beggars.

They destroyed our road network infrastructure too. Evidence exists to show that in 1961 there were 272km of paved roads in Southern Cameroons and 473km in East Cameroons. Our major streets were also paved in Victoria, Tiko, Buea, Kumba, Mamfe, Bamenda, Wum and Banso – Kumbo. The Public Works Department P.W.D stationed maintenance teams along the roads to guarantee all seasonal passage. Most of these roads and streets lie bare today from neglect. (To be continued)

Youth is the Moon

Youth!

You’re not darkness but the moon that shines

When laughter’s gone and wailing abounds.

You’re the moon that shines when smiles are gone

and only frowns,  clowns and coos abound.

Youth!

You’re the moon that shines when love and peace are gone

and only hatred, hunger and anger abound.

You’re the moon that shines when hope’s gone

and only desperation and frustration abound.

Youth!

You’re the moon that shines when courage’s gone

and only intrigues, threats and fear abound.

Believe in no one, unless you believe in yourselves.

Shun tricky sailing and risky trifles ‘cause your country’s ailing

and be that moon that shines when all else is failing.

Oke Akombi