Friday, September 27, 2013

Cameroon: "Voting for the status quo is to prolong the agony of Cameroonians"

-Mola Njoh Litumbe, Senior Citizen, politician and minority rights advocate.

Mola Njoh Litumbe
The LDA of Mola Njoh Litumbe, 86, is one of over200 political parties in Cameroon that have not bothered to field candidates for the September 30 twin elections. The Recorder Editor Christopher Ambe approached him to find out his reasons. Following is the conversation, which brings out his political and election lamentations:

Mola, as Chairman of the legalized political party known as the Liberal Democratic Alliance (LDA), we have not seen your team on the electoral playing field in recent years.  Can you tell us what your problem is, especially now that the State supports political parties financially to participate in elections?

    To have meaningful elections, there has to be a level playing field for all players, and my party’s assessment of the political situation in Cameroun is that the playing field is strewn with rocks that make playing good political football almost impossible.  Politics is a contest between individuals and parties, and for there to be fair play, the services of an independent umpire are indispensable.  You know yourself that we are only right now seeing the beginnings of an Independent Electoral Commission which is still trying to find its feet on the ground.  Besides, there are always differences of opinion between contesting parties in all elections, needing the intervention of an impartial Judiciary.
    In Cameroon, the Higher Judicial Council which not only recruits magistrates and judges,  and which also disciplines and promotes them, is presided over by the President of the Republic, and in his absence the Minister of Justice, both of whom are politicians of the same ruling party.  It would have been foolhardy for me to contest Presidential elections in the hope of winning, in which the President of the Republic is also a candidate for, in the end, one of his judges would have to deliver the un-appealable verdict.  In this regard a willing judge will always be found to return the favour of his position and declare the President the winner!
     Furthermore, my position has always been that there is no Treaty of Union between Southern Cameroons and La Republique du Cameroun, as required under international law, so I could not see myself, as a citizen of Southern Cameroons, seeking to be President of a foreign country, La Republique du Cameroun that we never legally joined to constitute one state.  After many years of stating this fact, for which I have been handsomely rewarded with three illegal house arrests, I was delighted that on 05 April 2013, a high-powered conference debate with some 800 participants took place in Yaounde, presided over by the Director of the Civil Cabinet at the Presidency of the Republic, and attended by several cabinet ministers and other senior state officials.  Principal speakers were eminent historian Professor Victor Julius Ngoh of the University of Buea, and seasoned Professor of Public Law and Constitutional Expert Ondoua Magloire.  They all came to the conclusion that there are no legal documents binding Southern Cameroons with La Republique du Cameroun.  Professor Ondoua then concluded by saying that there should be no celebration for re-unification that never took place, but that we should celebrate the anniversary of the present state of Cameroun that was born in 1961 following discussions between representatives of the two Cameroon parties in Foumban in 1961.  The pity of such a conclusion is that there is no record of any agreements reached at the Foumban get-together between the President of the sovereign state of La Republique du Cameroun and the Premier of a UN British colonial trust territory whose colonial type constitution reserved powers over foreign relations, defence, etc. to the British Imperial Government in London and outside the competence of the Southern Cameroons Legislature.

Mola, since you do not believe that Southern Cameroons and La Republique du Cameroun are one country, what advice would you give to your party adherents who wish to vote on 30th September?
   For reasons I have explained earlier, the LDA will not be fielding any candidates, but those party members and sympathizers who wish to participate, should vote not for a particular party but for individuals who are sympathetic to the Southern Cameroons cause, which has now been conceded by the high-powered Government- sponsored debate of 5 April 2013 in Yaounde.  They should vote for Change, and certainly not vote for the party which has been in office for so long that it has taken many things for granted.  Look at the mega corruption in high places and with no proper sense of direction, as evidenced by the on-going trials for theft of huge amounts of public funds. For Southern Cameroonians in particular, vote for men and women of “timber and calibre” who would, like the Hon. Justice Paul Anya of PAP, assert their independence and represent the Voice of their People in Parliament and in the Councils.  To vote for the status quo is to prolong the agony especially of Southern Cameroonians who thought they were joining La Republique du  Cameroun to create a Federation of two states, equal in status.  Ask yourself what has become of the state of West Cameroun that was alleged to have joined the state of East Cameroun to create a federation?  Does one state, in a partnership of two states equal in status, swallow the other state and extinguish it?  That is the question.

 What is the solution you propose to solve this problem, now that La Republique du Cameroun has conceded that there is no Union Treaty joining the two Cameroons?

What I have always said is that the two parties, La Republique du Cameroun and Southern Cameroons should go back to the drawing board, under the auspices of the United Nations, and strain every nerve to arrive at an arrangement in keeping the wishes of the founding fathers, for a strong united Federation of two states, equal in status.  Upon reaching a mutually acceptable Agreement, this should be reduced in writing and a copy filed at the UN Secretariat in New York, in order to comply with UN Charter Art. 102(1), thus making the joining legal.  If they fail to reach agreement, the parties should, peacefully, go their separate ways, so that Southern Cameroons too enjoys its unquestionable and inalienable right of self-determination and independence.
[This interview also appears in The Recorder Newspaper,Cameroon,of September 27,2013]

No comments: