My Take on Professor C Anyangwe’s Presentation “ROOT CAUSES OF THE ONGOING WAR IMPOSED ON AMBAZONIA BY FRENCH CAMEROUN”

I want to start by appreciating the time and effort you have put into this write-up dated 18 August 2018. Your title talks about ‘root causes’ which got me interested as I have been looking forward to getting into the heart of the problem and see exactly it started. The use of the words ‘root causes’ are also captivating as they have been bandied around quite a bit since this current phase of the Anglophone struggle started.

Professor Carlson Anyangwe
Professor Carlson Anyangwe

The first difficulty I have is that the very first sentence of your introduction presents ‘root causes’ as ‘remote causes’.  That, unfortunately, means you started on the wrong foot. Root Causes according to the Collins Dictionary are “the fundamental reason for the occurrence of a problem”, whereas remote causes are those that are somehow obscure. From the lexicon meaning of the two words, there is no way they can be synonymous. Also, within legal parlance, remote causes are often considered to be speculative rather than direct, consequently are not given the weighting that direct, or root causes have. However, without throwing the baby out with the bathwater, I will treat your causes both as root and remote. I will take the definition of remote in this context to mean “far in the past” – hence remote will be about distance in memory.

Your first cause is the “Non-decolonization of the Southern British Cameroons”. I would naturally have ignored your usage of the name ‘Southern British Cameroons’ but given that you attached a lot of importance on name in a part of your write-up, let me just clear this up. There NEVER was any territory called ‘Southern British Cameroons’ or ‘British Southern Cameroons’, as some call it. It has always been officially, either British Cameroons (which included Northern Cameroons and Southern Cameroons) or simply Southern Cameroons when reference was being made to our territory. If we must pay attention to issues of nomenclature, it is essential that we also get the name of our territory correct.

On the political and legal issues that you raise, I will deal with a few. 

You term the phrasing of the plebiscite questions as ‘dubious’. That may be the case, but what you fail to acknowledge was that in the UNGA Resolution 1350 of 16 October 1959, the questions are recommended, based on discussions that had taken place in the Southern Cameroons House of Assembly. I wish to also point out that UNGA Resolution 1350 of 13 March 1959, had given the Southern Cameroons House of assembly the opportunity to come up with suggestions for the plebiscite questions before the 14th Session of the UNGA. Resolution 1352 makes reference to the difficulties that the Southern Cameroons Premier and leader of the opposition had in coming to an agreement. It is therefore misleading to make it sound as if the plebiscite questions were simply imposed on Southern Cameroonians.

In discussing UNGA Res 1608 (XV) of 21 April 1961 which endorsed the results of the Plebiscite vote, you left out the fact that the resolution ends by inviting the Plebiscite Administering authority, the Government of Southern Cameroons and The Republic of Cameroon to initiate discussions upon which the agreed outcomes of the plebiscite will be implemented. You therefore conveniently leave out the fact that such discussions took place in Foumban, in July 1961. Whether or not the process and the level of discussions were fair, is entirely another question. However, it is misleading for you to make it appear as if after the passing of Resolution 1608, the content of the Federations was “On 1 September 1961… unilaterally determined and imposed by French Cameroun, resulting in the disguised annexation of the Southern Cameroons.” This statement by you, not only misrepresents the facts and timeline of events, it is craftily designed to bolster your argument of annexation, which has been peddled around for so long.

I agree with you that the manner in which the United Kingdom handled the termination of its Trusteeship is suspect. It, however, does not deviate from the fact that this is a blip in the process of implementing the outcome of a public vote.

On the second part of your first cause, where you claim to be discussing the ‘moral question’, I struggle to see any ethical issues raised. Rather, you spend time, making a case against Federalism. You make the valid point that Ahidjo failed to uphold the agreements that led to a federal structure. However, you completely fail to address the fact that Ahidjo’s breach in 1972, amounts to what can only be classed as a constitutional breach. If we are to treat what occurred between Southern Cameroons and The Republic of Cameroon as a contract, then the remedy for this breach will be to put Southern Cameroons where they would have been, had the breach not occurred. You will agree with me that, should that be done, then we end up again with a Two-State Federation.

However, should we treat the breach as an abuse of power by a public authority, making it an issue of Public Law, then the remedy we can seek, will be by means of a judicial review. There is no legal precedence to suggest that such a Judicial Review will amount to a nullification of the plebiscite results. The only remedy that can be sought is for the 1972 decision to be reversed. That will leave us again within a Two State Federation.

So as much as you try to debunk the quest for a return to Federation, it appears to be the only legal remedy available to Southern Cameroonians. The only other case, which I have not seen you make, is to call for a second referendum/plebiscite, to ask Southern Cameroonians to vote again, as the outcome of such a vote is the only democratic process to overturn the February 11, 1961 vote.

Your second cause, which you class as “French Cameroun’s territorial aggrandisement claim to the territory of the Southern Cameroons”, sees you making another bogus claim. You claim that “The territory of the Southern Cameroons has never ever been part of the territories of French Cameroun before, at or after that country’s ‘independence’ from France.“ This is factually and historically incorrect. I will want to draw your attention to the fact that Treaty of Versailles, divided the German territory of Kamerun on June 28, 1919, between France and the United Kingdom, under a League of Nations Mandate, What is important to note is that when the Germans were ousted in 1916, the French, administered the whole occupied territory, until the League of Nations Mandate created the arbitrary division. As such, France naturally got the larger part of the territory, while Southern Cameroons and Northern Cameroons were ceded to the British.

You are drawing on international law to disapprove of expansionism (Colonialism, imperialism) and territorial aggrandisement, yet a sentence before that, you are asking that French Cameroon ought to respect the outcomes of what it inherited from colonialism. I agree with you that at some point, we ought to move past the issues of colonialism and the destruction it wrought on our communities. However, you cannot claim to be denouncing colonial tendencies, while hanging on to the proceeds of colonialism as the basis for your arguments. The principle of contradiction states that a thing cannot be and not be from the same point of view. Either colonialism is bad, and we cannot lay claim to proceeds of colonialism, or it is not entirely bad and we can accept that the Southern Cameroons we are laying claim to today, was a colonial creation.

This brings me to the most important point about the issue of root and remote causes. The foregoing section has indicated that you completely failed to identify the root cause of the current crisis. The fundamental cause of what we have today, rather than being the botched decolonisation process, which you so painstakingly describe, is rather the creation of the colonial divide. But for the colonisation by Germans, our territories would have evolved differently and there is no guarantee that we would have Southern Cameroons. But for the arbitrary division in 1919 between the English and French, there would be no such thing as Southern Cameroons or Anglophones or English-Speaking Cameroons. So, you will agree with me that when we talk about the root causes, we can look no further than colonialism and Western Imperialism.

However, the causes which you have brought up, had you been factual, historically and logically honest, can well fall under the category of remote causes or immediate causes. This would be especially true, given that you rightly point out a lot of barbarism that has been visited on the English-Speaking Cameroonians by both the Ahidjo and Biya regimes, under what you class as your third root cause.

You conclude with a revolutionary message of hope. However, it is mired in deception, as your analysis has been far from being truthful. You claim that the weekend in Washington DC marks the watershed moment in the history of our struggle. However, I am sorry to say that reading through the resolutions, I am yet to see that ground-breaking innovation that came out from the conference. Rather, I see a regurgitation of policies began by the Federalist Consortium.

I kept wondering why it is that our leaders with all the knowledge base among them, seem unable to come up with innovative ways to steer this struggle, beyond relying on archaic strategies such as ghost towns and school-boycott, which regrettably, heaps more misery on our own people than it does to Biya’s regime.

By reading through your presentation, I am beginning to see why. Intellectual dishonesty, the presentation of half-truths and outright lies, are surely not foundations upon which we can build a truly successful revolutionary movement to guarantee our freedom.

The UN and Ambazonia: The Case of Missing Files or Misfiling?

Many citizens of the self-proclaimed state of Ambazonia would have been taken aback upon reading a short piece purportedly written by Professor Martin Ayim. Ayim in his write-up claims that all documents sent to the United Nations (UN) by Ambazonians since the 1990s have been shredded, without being looked at. Anyim presents this as a discovery that appears to have been a victory achieved by the Ambazonian Interim Government (IG). He therefore quickly goes on to state that the same IG will soon be reaching out to the UN Secretary General.
La-Republique-and-Ambazonia

As this short write-up made its rounds on social media, I read with fascination as many latched on to the optimistic parts, which provided them with a reason to cling to their hope of having a new nation. The truth is that Prof. Anyim, like many erudite persons from Cameroon, West of the Mungo, have for a long time, excelled in the art of deception. This deception paradoxically has been of their own people.

Let us be clear about something, the UN has no legal obligation to a state called Ambazonia. As far as the UN is concerned, Southern Cameroons voted in 1961 in a plebiscite to join The Republic of Cameroon in a Federation. Resolution 1608 of April 1961 confirmed the results of this plebiscite and in the Foumban Conference, the representatives of both Southern Cameroons and the French-speaking Republic of Cameroon agreed on the form of state they wanted.  On October 1, 1961, Southern Cameroons became West Cameroon.

The contention today, which has some legal basis, is how West Cameroon disappeared in 1972, as the state mutated to the United Republic of Cameroon and what happened to the supposed ‘unity’, when Paul Biya in 1984 changed the country’s name back to The Republic of Cameroon.

Maybe, taking the issues regarding the disappearance of West Cameroon to the UN for discussion might have given them something to talk about. However approaching the UN with the quest for the recognition of a new state, was a nonstarter.

The UN clearly has NO MANDATE to recognise a new state. It makes this clear when it states that:

The recognition of a new State or Government is an act that only other States and Governments may grant or withhold. It generally implies readiness to assume diplomatic relations. The United Nations is neither a State nor a Government, and therefore does not possess any authority to recognize either a State or a Government. As an organization of independent States, it may admit a new State to its membership or accept the credentials of the representatives of a new Government.

The procedure is briefly as follows:

  1. The State submits an application to the Secretary-General and a letter formally stating that it accepts the obligations under the Charter.
  2. The Security Council considers the application. Any recommendation for admission must receive the affirmative votes of 9 of the 15 members of the Council, provided that none of its five permanent members — China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America — have voted against the application.
  3. If the Council recommends admission, the recommendation is presented to the General Assembly for consideration. A two-thirds majority vote is necessary in the Assembly for admission of a new State.
  4. Membership becomes effective the date the resolution for admission is adopted.

So contrary to what Prof. Anyim and many claim, the UN did not grant independence to Southern Cameroons in 1961, it merely recognised the outcome of a public vote. In the same manner, the UN has no mandate to grant independence to Ambazonia.

So instead of sending papers and petitions to the UN asking for the recognition of a new state, Ambazonians might think of courting at least 9 out of the 15 members of the Security Council, while making sure that the Five Permanent members are among these.

This, of course, would be a herculean task given that, with the apparent exception of the Russian Federation, the other permanent members have been instrumental in different ways in propping up the Biya Regime’s 36 years in power.

Ambazonians have also been known to tender petitions to the Commonwealth, of which Cameroon is a member. Under the same rules of engagement that the UN has with its members, the Commonwealth is under no obligation to respond to Ambazonia, as it is not one of her members.

It is my view that the best way for English-Speaking Cameroonians to get any form of freedom or respect within their country, is to challenge the system from within. It is obvious that elections will never guarantee this, as the rigging machinery is effectively controlled by Biya. Making the case for the Restoration of the State of West Cameroon, which has a legal argument starting with the violation of the constitution in 1972, remains the best option.

A return to a Two-State Federation within Cameroon will give Anglophones, the autonomy to build the right institutions that can attract diplomatic relations with other states. Such can be the start of any talk of independence. Within a federal structure, the people of the English-speaking regions can effectively talk with the UN or Commonwealth, as sections of a Country that is their member.

In a nutshell, English-Speaking Cameroonians will need to gain some degree of autonomy before they can think of approaching the UN. As an organisation of independent states, the UN deals with independent entities, not help them gain independence.

BOH HERBERT WARNS Tassang Wilfred AND SURROGATES

 

I have not been a fan of Boh Herbert throughout this struggle. But when a man is objective in a particular stance, our personal idiosyncrasies must give way to rational judgement. I literally clapped after reading his response to the ongoing tirage against Balla.

Happy reading

These Political Lynchings Must End

boh-herber

I don’t know for some of you, but I have watched, in horror, more than enough of these revolting videos of flag-waving, political zealots, foaming in the mouth as they advertise their intolerance towards Barrister Agbor Nkongho and anyone else, for that matter, who dares not to be reading from the Holy Book of SCACUF. This nonsense is sickening.

One thing is a constant: Ambazonians must not and shall not all worship at the altar of SCACUF and His Holiness the Pope, crowned at the sighting of white smoke at secret SCACUF conclaves. Nothing will change that. Not threats! Not actual violence! Not acts of arson! Nothing!

Why, may I ask, would anyone bearing the flag of Ambazonia – the boldest symbol and expression of our freedom to be who we are, not what someone else wants us to be – not know that the right to hold and express such political opinion without fear, applies in equal measure to everyone else? Which class in political tolerance or mere decent upbringing did these vulgar political lynch mobs miss?

Surely, Ambazonians seek a nation, better – not worse – than the Egypt from which we flee, right? Surely, Ambazonians know that they cannot reach or inherit such Promised Land unless they defend the liberties and freedoms of ALL – not just some. Surely, Ambazonians know better than to heed calls by a so-called leaders who seek freedom from fear by inviting their followers to throw their political opponents under the bus.

These mob lynchings are ugly and shameful. They paint a picture of a people unworthy of what they claim to deserve after 56 years of annexation. Instead, these lynchings suggest that some of us may have perfected or seek a nation in which we will perfect the wickedness we have suffered at the hands of our colonial master. This is sooooo very, very sad!

If only one could swear that those in these mobs are truly brave!

Speaking of brave, exactly how many of these “brave-in-the-safety of London political gangsters” would speak up boldly and openly in support of independence if they lived in the Cameroons today? How many of them would do anything different from finding the clever wording Barrister Agbor Nkongho uses to express his support for the right to self-determination ostensibly in order to survive the murderous, colonial regime of Yaounde? How many of these brave mobsters would parade the Ambazonia flag and voice open support for independence if they were (as Barrister Agbor Nkongho must) going to be boarding the next flight back to the Cameroons? It’s easy to ask Barrister Agbor Nkongho to put the noose around his neck that even the outspoken, mostly exiled leadership of this independence quest have not yet done.

We need o show more respect for each other and definitely more appreciation for the sacrifices, however small, of each Ambazonian, whether we like them or not. It is their country too, damn it! And they have a right to voice their views about it whether we share those views or not.

By Ntumfoyn Boh Herbert (Yindo Toh)
Spokesperson, MoRISC