"It's false to say that Southern Cameroonians are happy in the mess in which the former Southern Cameroons is found today"
|Chief A.S Ngwana|
By Chief A.S Ngwana*
To build a Cameroon of our dreams, the term “Re-Unification” must be understood in its proper context.
Re-Unification is the best thing that ever happened to the Cameroon Nation, but the implementation of Re-Unification is the worse thing that has ever happened to Southern Cameroonians, the English Speaking Cameroonians. (The former State of West Cameroon.)
At the Berlin Conference of 1884, the PARTITION OF AFRICA, Cameroon became the property of the Germans. Our consent was not demanded nor was it of any consequence. With the defeat of the Germans in 1916, Cameroon this time became the butt of another balkanization between two new masters – the French and the British. Thus began the departure of “One Nation, One Destiny” for the Cameroonian people.
The French Cameroonians (Francophone Cameroonians) fought the French and achieved their independence in 1960 by violence and bloodshed.
The United Nations conducted on the 11th February 1961, a plebiscite to decide whether we the British Southern Cameroonians wanted to achieve independence by joining the Federal Republic of Nigeria or by joining the Republic of Cameroon (La Repubique du Cameroun) on a Federal basis. The result of the plebiscite of 11th February 1961 was an overwhelming vote in favor of unification with the Republic of Cameroon, against integration with the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
On the basis of the plebiscite result, the United Nations: Invites the Administering Authority, the Government of the Southern Cameroons and the Republic of Cameroon to initiate urgent discussions with a view to finalizing, before 1st October 1961, the arrangements by which they agreed and decided policies of the concerned parties for a union of the Southern Cameroons with the Republic of Cameroon into a Federal United Cameroon Republic will be implemented.”
There were two equal states in the Federal Republic of Cameroon. The former British Southern Cameroons became known as the State of West Cameroon and the Republic of Cameroon (the former French speaking Cameroon) became known as the State of East Cameroon.
Unification was based on Federalism.
Federalism is used to describe a form of government in which power is divided between general government, which in regard to certain matters of common concern is supreme over the whole country; and the state governments, which are supreme in the matters left to them. It is a system of dual government, where central and state governments are co-ordinated with each other, each supreme within its own sphere. The main objective of federalism is to reconcile unity in diversity. One of the features which make federalism an attractive system for any multinational and culturally divers communion is the opportunity for variation in laws, existences, and dispensations. The typical examples of Federal Governments are Australia, Canada, Brazil, F.Republic of Germany, India, Nigeria, and the United States of America.
Cameroon is a multicultural, multiethnic, multi-Lingual and multi-religious country. English and French are official languages, which are why the United Nations gave independence to Southern Cameroons on the basis of federalism.
While the Federation lasted, the State of West Cameroon enjoyed immense economic, social and political developments. Under the Foncha, Jua and Muna Governments, all the roads were maintained and motorable throughout the year. One could drive from Victoria (now Limbe) to Nkambe. One could drive from Victoria via Kumba, Mamfe to Ikok/Mfum Nigeria by road.(which I did in my Mercedez car by road to Lagos.)
One could fly from Tiko to Bamenda (Bali) air port. One could fly from Tiko Air port to Nigeria and beyond. One could import and export goods to Tiko and Victoria (Limbe) sea ports. We had an efficient Civil Service, Police Force and Judiciary where justice was dispensed.
We had an efficient CDC which employed most of the qualified West Cameroonians. We had the West Cameroon Development Agency, (WCDA) which implemented the West Cameroon Government Development Economic Policies, which included the CDC, Cameroon Bank, Power Cam, Marketing Board, Santa Coffee Estate etc.
We must not forget that in 1961, only the people of Southern Cameroons voted in the plebiscite to join the Republic of Cameroon on a Federal basis. The people of the Republic of Cameroon did not vote. Therefore only the people of Southern Cameroons could vote in any referendum whether they wanted the Federation to be abolished or not. But Ahidjo conducted an illegal, unconstitutional referendum, where the people of the State of East Cameroon voted to abolish the Federation of Cameroon. There are 10 provinces(Regions). West Cameroon has only 2 provinces, while East Cameroon has 8 provinces.
In 1972, Ahidjo staged a coup d’etat on Cameroon. He abolished the Cameroon Federation.
He abolished the State of West Cameroon, its Government, its Parliament and its House of Chiefs.
He abolished the State of East Cameroon, its Government, and its Parliament.
He sacked the Vice President Dr, John Ngu Foncha and abolished the post of Vice President and established a Unitary Government with himself as President and Dictator. The Prime Minister and Ministers and Governors, are now mere civil servants who can be sacked at will, since none of them is elected.
President Ahidjo ruled for twenty years and nominated President Paul Biya to succeed him. President Paul Biya has ruled for 30 years with all powers controlled by him. There is no “Separation of Powers” in Cameroon. The President controls the Legislature, the Executive, and the Judiciary and he is Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces. The President can amend the Constitution at will (he has done this several times).
The President is Life President and can not be removed by elections. The electoral process is a mere formality; the President is elected with regular monotony. Parliament is controlled by the President and Parliament can not amend and has never amended any Bill or rejected any Bill sent to it by the President. This is true, whether all the Opposition Parties in Parliament walk out or not. In the case of the Presidential Elections, the President is usually declared winner by the Supreme Court. (Whether their hands are tied or not). The President promised to establish a senate in 1996, more than 17 years ago and has decided to establish one this year.
The Senate will have 100 Senators. The President will appoint 30 of the Senators and 70 voted through the indirect universal suffrage (municipal councilors are the electors here). Since about 40 of these Senators will be elected from the CPDM the Government Party, which controls the councils, the other 30 senators will come from the Opposition Parties. Thus the President will Control the Senate with a 70% majority. The Senate will be another hand-clapping organ of the President.
To build a Cameroon of our Dreams, we must establish a type of government acceptable to all Cameroonians. The Unitary Government (Centralization) is not acceptable to Southern Cameroonians (Anglophones) who believe in Justice, Transparency, Freedom, Democracy and Accountability.
To build a Cameroon of our dreams, we must return to the Federal System of Government which was established at Re-Unification by the United Nations.
Any honest Cameroonian must ask himself why, the majority of Southern Cameroonians want to separate from La Republique du Cameroon.
The truth is that President Paul Biya, seceded La Republique du Cameroun from Southern Cameroons, in 1984 by proclamation No 80-001 of February 1984. He revived the defunct La Republique du Cameroon; he abolished the United Republic of Cameroon, and annexed or colonized Southern Cameroons.
Any real, honest southern Cameroonian, or any human being for that matter, cannot accept to be a second class citizen in his own country. It is propaganda, falsehood and lies to say that Southern Cameroonians are happy in the mess in which the former Southern Cameroons is today.
There are sycophant Southern Cameroonians in the Presidency at Yaounde and in the Prime Minister’s office and in the Ministries in Yaounde who feed the President with lies that all is well in Southern Cameroons. They are traitors, who are corrupt; they survive on falsehood and lies. They spend millions of francs to pay people to send false motions of support to the President.
Since the Federation and the State of West Cameroon were abolished, Southern Cameroonians have lost their identity, they have been betrayed, they have been marginalized; they are “second class citizens”, they have been colonized or annexed by La Republique du Cameroon.
Since the Federation and the State of West Cameroon were abolished, the roads became impassable and the Mamfe People have to carry their corpses, from Kumba through Bafoussam and Bamenda to Mamfe. The Kumba-Mamfe road is impassable most of the year.
Since the Federation and State of West Cameroon were abolished, Tiko air port, Besong Abang, and Bali Air ports were closed.
Since the Federation and the State of West Cameroon were abolished, Tiko, and Victoria (limbe) Sea Ports were closed and Mamfe Cross River port was closed.
Since the Federation and the State of West Cameroon were abolished, Tiko, Victoria and Mamfe towns are now ghost towns compared to what they used to be.
People of Southern Cameroons have suffered a lot since the Federation and the State of West Cameroon were abolished.
Since Re-Unification, no Southern Cameroonian has been President of Cameroon and may NEVER be president of Cameroon unless the Federal System of Government is re-introduced.
No Southern Cameroonian has been Minister of Finance, Minister of Defence, Minister of Justice or Chief Justice of Cameroon, Minister of Territorial Administration, Governor of the Central Bank, etc.
Since SONARA was built, no Southern Cameroonian has been appointed the General Manager; SONARA is in Southern Cameroons and produces more than 75% of Cameroon revenue.
Ninety-five(95%) of Southern Cameroonians if they have a choice today, they will be happy to separate from La Republique du Cameroun and return to a Federal System of Government.
All Southern Cameroonians -whether they are in the AFP, CDP, CPDM, CPP, LDP, PAP, SDF, UDC, UPC etc, should sympathize or support one or the other of the “Liberation Movements”
Each liberation movement has its specific supporters, and is headed by a prominent and eminent Southern Cameroonian. The “liberation movements” are:
1. Southern Cameroons was declared the Republic of Ambasonia in 1985, by Fon Gorgi Dinka who appointed himself President. He is in exile but has many followers in Southern Cameroons. Fon Gorgi Dinka is one of the paramount fons of Southern Cameroons, a political scientist, and a former president of the Cameroon Bar.
2. The “All Anglophone Conference 1” held in Buea in April, 1993 endorsed a return to the Federal System. The Southern Cameroons National Council (SCNC) was declared after the AAC2 Conference in Bamenda held on 29th April to 3rd May 1994. Since its inception the SCNC has been headed by eminent Southern Cameroonians: Barrister Ekontang Elad, Ambassador Epie, Ambassador Fossung, Chief Ayamba/ Nfor Nfor Ngala. It has an active large following, supporters and sympathizers. They believe “in the force of argument but not the argument of force.” The majority of Southern Cameroonians are silent supporters of the SCNC. Its leaders want to transform it to the “Federal Republic of Southern Cameroons”. Many of Its members are arrested and charged to court every 1st October, but they are always released for lack of evidence.
3. The Republic of Southern Cameroons was declared in December 1999, by Jutice Ebong, a Judge of the Cameroon High Court. He declared himself President, and was arrested and detained without trial for two years by the Government of La Republique du Cameroun. He is now in exile abroad.
4. Southern Cameroons Restoration Government was declared by Professor Calson Anangwe. He declared himself President and is now abroad.
5. The Patrotic Coalition Front (PCF) Led by Mola Njoh Litumbe, President of LDP Party. He is the first Chartered Accountant of Southern Cameroons and the most t prominent Bakweri leader. He declares, “In the absence of a “Treaty of Union” between La Republique du Cameroun and Southern Cameroons, required by Article 102 of the UN Charter, the UN should come back to rectify the situation and stop La Republique du Cameroun from colonizing or annexing Southern Cameroons”.
6. The UN State of Cameroons led by Dr. Arnold Youngbang/Pofessor Martin Chia Ateh, two prominent Southern Cameroons’ intellectuals. They believe that the British Cameroons is still under the United Nations Authority, since Independence was not properly concluded.
These eminent Southern Cameroonians, it is understand, are silently supported by more than 95% of Southern Cameroonians, but for fear of reprisals from a callous government, they remain silent.
The General Assembly: “Having heard the Petitioners... appoints a commission of three constitutional and administrative experts to be nominated one each by three Member states designated by the General Assembly to assist in the discussions referred to in paragraph 5 above.”
The above United Nations Resolution was not implemented.
* Chief A.S Ngwana is the National President of Cardinal Democratic party(CDP) with headquarters in Douala-Cameroon.Mr.Ngwana was pioneer Managing Director of Cameroon Bank(now defunct).He is also a pro-lifer and Human Rights crusader