“I leave Cameroon with the impression that there is only one Cameroon, multilingual and multi-ethnic. I encourage dialogue of these stakeholders. In every country, there are problems of marginalisation. The way it has to be solved is by dialogue and not by walking away.” Former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, on the Anglophone Problem. .2000AD
“It’s time to walk away” Ntemfac A.N. Ofege
Chronicle: Mr. Ntemfac A.N. Ofege, two years ago you prophesized that the CPDM will gerrymander, rig the elections and collect 7-10 seats from the SDF. You also said that the CPDM would take at least 15 councils room the SDF. You must be pleased with yourself now that everything you said has come to pass.
Ntemfac A. N. Ofege: Pleased? No, not at all, Mr. Motomu, it gives me no pleasure at all. Rather I’m truly saddened by what is happening. You may see only the gerrymandering aspect of the rigging, but the CPDM did more than that. Once again, Mr. Biya’s government and party used all election-fraud strategies known to man to give themselves another moonslide victory. They ethnically cleansed English-speaking Cameroonians especially from the voter’s register; they created fake registers; they registered themselves in hideouts; they refused to give English-speaking Cameroonians especially voting cards; they registered foreigners; they refused to publish voter’s registers; they chased away opposition observers; they stuffed ballot boxes; they asked known or suspected opposition hands to produce birth certificate, bank statements, driving licenses, residence permits, ID cards before voting; they sent the voting cards and registers of known opposition hands to wrong polling stations; they ferried themselves to vote left, right and center; they caused children to vote; they gave CPDM cards to militants days ahead of the election, they refused to produce indelible ink; they voted many times; they confiscated ballot boxes; they corrupted voters, even the prime minister bought and sold votes; the decreed shortage of opposition ballot papers; they bought votes; they sold votes; they used state resources to campaign; they hijacked the public media; they disqualified the lists of opponents; they created ghost polling stations; they declared fake results; they created fake result sheets; they cancelled votes; they announced the result of past fake results; they even created their own Election Observatory to…observe the rigging, etc. They gerrymandered and invented fake constituencies. Like Mr. Biya and his regime did every time they won the World Corruption Trophy, “They bribed, they threatened, they issues veiled and real threats, they looted, they embezzled ballot papers and boxes, they ransacked polling stations, they exploited, they pilfered, they shook down, they play bikutsi tunes on ballot boxes, they brought in muscle, etc.” In fact, they did everything a president and his party had to do to be world champions in election fraud. The purpose of this exercise was to eternalize the system by giving themselves the means (vast majority) to maintain the chairman of the board for life. I’ve heard that some so-called international observers have issued reports saying that the elections were “peaceful, calm, free and fair.” Rubbish. These observers are operating in the blind. All elections in Cameroon are rigged even before they happen.
Chronicle: Was there any new method of fraud in these elections?
Ntemfac A. N. Ofege: There was and this one is most devilish. The CPDM gave its militants CPDM ballot papers three days ahead of the election. All CPDM militants had to do was walk into the polling stations with hundreds of ballot papers into their pockets to stuff the envelopes and then the ballot box. Who knows Mr. Biya probably had some ballot papers hidden away in his coat pocket under his bulletproof vest. This poses a new problem for the future independent election commission. Like they search for “cartouches” in the University of Yaounde, ELECAM would have to search handbags, pockets and private parts of voters for ballot papers in every election. Did the so-called international observers, who were fed, lodged and brown-enveloped by the CPDM, know that?
Chronicle: Before these elections, the American Ambassador said any elections with less than 8.000.000 registered voters would not be credible. The observation is that the turnout was very low. Given this low turnout can these elections be credible?
Ntemfac A. N. Ofege: Take it from me. The Minister of Territorial Administration is even now doctoring the books to up the turnout. You will hear that 80% of the fake 5.000.000 figure that the minister announced turned out to. The truth is that there are less than three million Cameroonians actually registered and out of this figure, there were less than 1.5oo.000 who actually voted. The actual valid votes are less than 1.000.000. Ethnic cleansing of known opposition names from the voter’s register is the key parameter of election fraud in Cameroon. Take the figures. By every extrapolation, Cameroon has a population of circa 17.000.000. By African standards, at least 70 percent of that population should be registered since Africa countries tend to have a young population which is easily mobilized for elections. There should be at least 10.000.000 Cameroonians on that register; the best-case scenario is 11.900.000. Our voters register has less than 3.000.000 and less than 1.000.000 Cameroonians actually voted. There were less than 500.000 Southern Cameroonians out of 6.000.000. What this means concretely is that 90% of Cameroonians are excluded from the electoral process. Since 1992, Mr. Biya’s score, on the average for every seriously flawed (massively rigged) presidential election, has never been beyond 1.500.000 votes. This is less than 10% of the population and less than less than 15% of the potential electorate of 10.000.000. You see, we are dealing with some unrepresentative governance created by fraudulent and hence unrepresentative and illegitimate processes.
Chronicle: The SDF has 14 seats, barely enough to form a parliamentary group. What do you think the SDF and its Chairman should do now?
Ntemfac A. N. Ofege: There is no point giving any advice to people who are very hard of hearing. Or rather people who are blinded by the vast sums the have been collecting from the regime for themselves. I told you that Mr. Fru Ndi is now the CPDM sub-section president of Ntarikon. The SDF that he runs is no longer the SDF that children died for and that people gave their sweat, time and energy for. It is a CPDM sub-section. The good people have since left the SDF because the principles are no longer there. It is saddening that very old and retired men like Pa Nicholas Ade Ngwa and Lucas Tandap should be the ones doggedly manning the trenches and fighting the enemy…with bayonets when the enemy has bazookas, computers and cruise missiles. The fault is in the miss-leader ship of one man – Mr. John of Ntarikon. You see Mr. Motomu, there is a definition of leaders and leadership that I want to share with your readers. Pastor Myles Munroe defines leadership as “The ability to influence others through inspiration, generated by a passion, motivated by a vision, produced by a conviction, birth by a purpose.” To agree with Munroe, most characters passing around for leaders in Africa fall short of all of the above terms of reference. Mr. Fru Ndi never had any vision for a political party, let alone a vision to be president. The only conviction Fru Ndi now has, like the Baforchu businessman he is, is how to use this position to make money and wheel and deal. This man is the victim of circumstances – opportunity miss road. Fru Ndi sees the SDF as a limited liability company, a tool to use for wheeling and dealing. Unfortunately. This is now a business, an NGO with Fru Ndi as chairman of the board. He has been acting out his role in full; pretending to oppose the government so that more money should come. Give me one good reason why those that Fru Ndi has been misleading for 17 years should not now brand him a traitor and then do what they do to all traitors. String him up! Give me one good reason why the any of those who actually founded and believe in the SDF should not string Fru Ndi, Mbah Ndam and Yoyo up.
Mr. Fru Ndi is not even a manager. Managers maintain. Leaders lead. Managers are concerned about keeping the status quo. Leaders innovate. Mr. Biya has proven that he is a neither a leader nor a manager. Same for Mr. Fru Ndi who confuses the maintenance of his own stomach and personal provision store with that of the SDF. That is why the SDF capital has been depleting since 1992.
Also, Mr. Fru Ndi and his party continue to show an ignorance of the Cameroonian reality that is mortifying. The SDF trump card is that it is an Anglophone party. I painstakingly explained that reality to Fru Ndi and his NEC members in 1997. That was when they had 43 parliamentarians and were excited about going to parliament to “change Cameroon.” On that day, the SDF had to decide whether to go to parliament or not, I told Fru Ndi to take that NEC meeting to Buea and hold it there. The argument was that it sent the right signal to Biya. The man said something about not wanting to bring bloodshed to Cameroon. Rubbish. He held the meeting at his Tower Restaurant in Bamenda. Biya sent helicopters and Alpha jets to fly over the building to intimidate Mr. John. The Francophone spies in the meeting came in with warlike–talkies to report to proceedings to their paymasters. The long and short of it was that Pa John panicked as sent unprincipled characters like Mbah Ndam Yoyo and Akonteh to parliament. My friend and brother, Fai Emmanuel Visha, has just reminded me that when we pointed out to Fru Ndi the stupidity of not anchoring on the Angophone base and that of going to parliament he called us “blind radicals.” Now the blind radicals are laughing all the way to the bank. Let me shout it out: change via parliament/elections is impossible! Article 9 of the current constituent says that the head of state – Mr. Paul Biya defines all policies in Cameroon. Even if the SDF had 100 seats in parliament, the head of state will still define policies because of the constitution and the fact that he is also elected by universal suffrage. The standing orders of the National Assembly make it quasi impossible for any opposition or private member to table a bill in parliament. Only government bills are allowed. Mbah Ndam and the rest of the dishonest people in the SDF know this very well. Anyway, they are hunting dogs, you see. They spend their time arm-twisting Gregoire Owona and others for money for themselves and their chairman. Fru Ndi now has 14 fresh, starving (ravenous!) hunting dogs – German Shepherds. These new boys will charge into parliament with gusto and then collect some more money for their own vast stomachs and for their chairman. What can they change? Let them not pretend to represent anybody because they do not. I was most amused to hear my elder brother, Simon Nchinda Fobi, now MP for Bamenda-Bali, tell Bafreng (Nkwen) people that Fru Ndi was sending him to parliament to vote the budget and change laws. I laugh. How will he do that? With 14 Mps? Fru Ndi is a pretender. He is paid to pretend: The Great Pretender. Fru Ndi came from the CNU-CPDM, for God’s sake! He cannot be different. The man knows that change will not come through the ballot box. He knows that change can never come through parliament. It’s as if Mr. Biya planted an inside man, a front CPDM man and a spy, within the opposition system. Biya now sleeps with two eyes shut tightly because Fru Ndi is there. Your readers must understand this. Well you must know Fru Ndi’s methods by now. He waits until election money comes from Biya, then he does a grand safari around the country and like a stuck gramophone, he comes singing this dirge about suffering natives in Bertoua, Garoua. Then he pockets the rest of the money and goes into real estate (houses), caterpillars, 40-wheelers, farming, etc, while waiting for the next elections to bring more loot. This is no longer politics, this is no longer the art of the possible, and this is armed robbery. This is a scam. These con artists should not deceive people, especially Anglophones, again. Fru Ndi failed in 1992, not so much because of the rigging but because he failed to listen to sound advice. In 1997, Fru Ndi, some Anglophone prisoners of hope, gave Fru Ndi another chance. 2002 and now 2007. What song does he have to sing now? You fool me once, shame on you. You fool me twice, shame on me. You fool me three times; I must be Jack the Ass himself.
Chronicle: Should the SDF now join the government?
Ntemfac A. N. Ofege: Interesting question. Mr. Biya opened the door to that eventuality when he told CRTV on Election Day that he expected other Cameroonians (of the opposition) to join his administration. There is a problem here. The problem is what Mr. Biya stands for. The regime in Yaounde is identified with fraud, tyranny, dictatorship, trickery, thievery, pilfering, hegemony, Pedes, nepotism, Freemasonry, occultism, witchcraft, kleptocracy, tribalism, oligarchy, corruption, extortion, election-fraud, subterfuge, graft, tribalism, colonization, annexation, incompetence, confusion, underachievement, subterfuge, grand larceny, autocracy, violence, etc., etc. This system was created by the French “Code de l’indigénat,” a body of French-enacted laws that made the government system of La Republique du Cameroun not only corrupt, but also vicious, barbaric and savage. In the July edition of his newspaper, the Star, ‘Enoh Meyomesse, leader of the National Renaissance Party, Parena, likened it to a man being infected with AIDS, prostrate cancer, hypertension and diabetes at the same time. When you live in the bush for long with baboons, you will start barking like a baboon. In 1990, the SDF claimed to be different. How different? The current SDF has been identified with some of the above, no? Your newspaper has exposed the negatives in Fru Ndi and the SDF for one year, no? Today the SDF baboons look very much like the CPDM chimpanzees. Seen in this light the SDF baboon should join its twin brother, the CPDM chimpanzee, in government to continue stealing. Speedily. Birds of a feather flock together. Fru Ndi should officially merge into the CPDM and stop pretending that he is only asking for a salary. He should do that fast and stop distracting Anglophones from the real issue. The SDF is already part of the government machinery anyway i.e. in councils and in parliament. I would be most interesting to see how exactly Mr. Biya builds a government of national unity out of all these CPDM clowns who have rigged the elections and want instant gratification and then some so-called opposition folks. We may have a 200 member cabinet with Bernard Muna being Minister of Lawyers and Simon Fobi being Minister of Architecture. Don’t laugh, the French say le ridicule ne tue pas. Greed.
Chronicle: You are neither for the SDF nor for the CPDM. Who are you for?
Ntemfac A. N. Ofege (laughs): Must I be for the SDF or the CPDM? Let’s just say I’m independent, neutral. If you look at it closely, the independents are the majority in Cameroon. The independents are the nationalists, the intellectuals, the educated, the wise and the knowledgeable class. Unfortunately, Cameroon’s current system does not allow independents to run. Maybe the independents will save Cameroon someday, who knows. Political parties operate like joint-stock companies or like ngumbah houses with strict and often stupid rules. You either toe the line of the blind man leading you or get out.
Chronicle: But you are a known sympathizer of the Anglophone independentist movement the SCNC. What will happen now that it is proven that the regime in Yaounde does not want Anglophones?
Ntemfac A. N. Ofege: The question warms my heart. When he visited Cameroon in 1996, the then Secretary General of the UN, Kofi Annan said. “I leave Cameroon with the impression that there is only one Cameroon, multilingual and multi-ethnic. I encourage dialogue of these stakeholders. In every country, there are problems of marginalisation. The way it has to be solved is by dialogue and not by walking away.” Mr. Biya is not interested in dialogue. I mean the kind of consensual dialogue that is normal in a consociational, fragmented and multi-national (multicultural and multiethnic) state. In such a contraption, because there are irreconcilable symbolic and real boundaries between the stakeholders, all parties agree on an innovative power-sharing mechanism to suit their situation. You see, Mr. Motomu, in all situations, elections are always a conflict-resolution and/or power-resource sharing machinery. People place their hopes in elections because they are a means of curbing raving greed, violence and man’s inhumanity to man. You place your hope in your elected official to speak for you and get something from the commonwealth for you. Overt rigging breeds frustration and frustration breeds violence. The same people cannot continue stuffing their elephantine bowels and vast mouths through corruption for 45 years while others watch. And when challenged by a peaceful means called elections, these fraudsters rig the thing. I hope you have heard everything that the so-called elite – did in Santa. It’s a pity that so-called leaders would transform to petty thieves. Also these elections were supposed to adjudge the perpetual conflict of values between the Francophone led CPDM and all that it stands for and the Anglophone-led SDF and what it stands for. It did because rigging, fraud and corruption won. However, this is one rigging too many. Elections are by nature divisive, especially in a fragmented state. Rigged elections are even more divisive. In the absence of a genuine power-sharing mechanism and in the absence of dialogue to establish one, the time has come to walk away. If you don’t walk away, you condone rigging, fraud and corruption. Eventually, you will become part of the system. Walking away is an imperative. It is a must. It is a matter of survival. It is a matter of fleeing ethnic and economic genocide and cleansing. It is a matter of fleeing the deaf, dumb and blind subjugation of Anglophones. The regime has always operated on the typically Francophone myopia that it is untouchable, Le chien aboie et la caravane passé. It has to stop. The long walk to freedom has to start somewhere, no? In fact, it started on May 26th 1990, the same day Anglophones got together and constituted themselves into a political party. Those who hijacked that party and thought they could use it for their own agenda have failed. Now is time to get down to basics. You see Mr. Motomu, even if the SDF took power in Yaounde Anglophones would have walked away. Only faster.
Chronicle: You seem to simply the entire issue to the conflict between the Anglophones and Francophones.
Ntemfac A. N. Ofege: Absolutely. The entire Cameroonian tragedy is solidly grounded on this conflict and the manner in which it is resolved or not resolved. I just told you that Mr. Biya is not interested in dialogue. Before him, Ahidjo was not interested in dialogue. Let me explain the gravity of the situation to your readers, especially the Anglophones among them. I hope they understand it once and for all. There are 6.000.000 Anglophones. There are circa 6-7 million Bamilekes. That is about 13 million. An Anglophone-Bamileke axis will win every election in Cameroon, all things being equal. That scares Biya just as it scared Ahidjo. Ahidjo never wanted Southern Cameroons to join La Republique because of this threat. He wanted Northern Cameroons, which he could use to counter the Anglophone-Bamilke-Bassa-Ewondo threat presented by Andre-Marie Mbida. Biya is also scared of the threat. In any free and fair elections, the Anglo-Bami candidate will always win because, unfortunately, polyarchy (Lincolnian democracy) is a game of numbers. That is why it is difficult to apply polyarchy in a multi-state, multicultural, fragmented, multi-national or multi-ethnic state. Except you operate a form of the Canadian consensus wherein the prime minister comes from the minority. All Francophone presidents will always see Anglophones as threats even Francophone leaders from the North. They must be kept out of the system. The only way to keep them out is disenfranchise them – ethnically cleanse them out of the voters’ registers. Secondly, Anglophones stand for everything that Francophone-led regimes do not stand for. I have told you that the system over which Mr. Biya presides is a corrupt, kleptocratic, visionless, barbarian, incompetent, underachieving governance that can only survive through massive election fraud. Since he knows that he will always be beaten in any free and fair elections he gets the administration to rig the thing. What is happening is a facet of majority-minority interaction. The majority French-speaking is afraid of the minority but it cannot let the minority go because that minority has the oil. So the majority designs all tricks, including election fraud, to keep the minority down as slaves. In minority-majority interaction, prejudice is an attitudinal phenomenon and often involves an intense emotional component. The dominant group goes forward to elaborate mechanisms to keep “the troublesome presence” in subservience. The dominant group operates on the foundation that what unsettles culture is “matter out of place”– the breaking of our unwritten rules and codes.
Name-calling, ethnic and economic cleansing, economic genocide, election fraud, intellectual and actual terrorism and violence are just some of the methods used by the dominant group to maintain its illicit position of prestige, privilege and power. For example, a Southern Cameroonian must never hold the position of any of the “ministries of sovereignty” – finance, home affairs, foreign affairs and defense. They must always be relegated to symbolic and inconsequential (faire valoir) positions. Even when they have been prime ministers, they have been only in name. The system also creates other structures and positions to water down the powers of a prime minister when a native Southern Cameroonian is involved. In the early 1990s, Sardou Hayatou benefited from the full plenitude of prime ministerial power and prerogatives in Cameroon. When a native of Southern Cameroons (Achidi Achu) came into the job, Mr. Biya created a Vice Prime Minister and an omnipotent secretary general to hem in the prime minister. Ditto for the current Southern Cameroonian native, Inoni Ephraim, who has to contend with the minister of justice, Amadou Ali, as vice prime minister.
Chronicle: Can a government of national unity work. Could this save Cameroon?
Ntemfac A. N. Ofege: Mr. Biya should have thought of that before he started this blind, deaf and dumb rigging of the elections. I’ve told you that elections are by nature divisive. More so when they are rigged. It does not suffice to appoint a few un-representative Anglophones into government. Only a genuine authentic representation and sharing of the national cake and power would do. There are 6 million Anglophones, right. This is about 35% of the population. Let’s just take 30% as the working base. Whether Mr. Biya knows it or not, Cameroon is a consociational state, one in which only a consensual application of consociational paradigms would do. When Kofi Annan suggested dialogue rather than walking away as a solution to the Cameroonian drama, he meant a one-on-one discussion on an equal sharing of power, positions, prestige, privileges and resources. No taxation without representation. The minimum representation in the National Assembly that should pacify Anglophones is 54. This will guarantee that laws passed by the National Assembly have some Anglophone flavour. Anglophones must also get 30% of the councils…even councils in Diaspora areas like Bonaberi and Obili-Biyemassi. Read meaning in the fact that the lone SDF seat in the Diaspora is the seat in Bonaberi Douala i.e. where Anglophones live. The local people, not the un-elected Divisional Officers and Senior Divisional Officers, must define policies within these councils. Then 30 percent of the budget must be invested in Anglophone Cameroon and 30 percent of the cabinet positions (including the so-called sovereign ministries) must come to Anglophones. This is even minimalist agenda. Also an Affirmative Action program should be established to make up for years and years of rape, marginalisation an un-equal sharing. Then a Federal Character must be established to permit, the South West, for example, use part of its revenue from CDC and the oil for its own development. Anglophones gave Mr. Biya the Buea Peace Initiative (BPI) ages ago. The man continues to ignore it. Shoving a few obscure Anglophone obscurantists into obscure assistant to the assistant of the assistant of the assistant positions of power, privilege and prestige will not do.
Chronicle: Do you see Mr. Biya accepting sharing?
Ntemfac A. N. Ofege: He has no choice. The alterative is that Southern Cameroons nationalism will be pushed to the logical conclusion – armed conflict. You see, Mr. Motomu, the Cameroon drama is anchored on one reality. That reality is how to deal with the Anglophones be they in the SDF or in the SCNC. Nfor Susungi once wrote that this situation will inevitable build up to an armed conflict. That armed conflict, he said, would be triggered by the SDF trying to fight its way out of the antechamber of the republic to the core (center of the republic) or the SCNC trying to fight its way out of the republic and all it stands for. The Anglophone leadership of the SDF has manoeuvred itself into the position of losers. So we now know who exactly will trigger the armed conflict. I say, walk away. Unfortunately, where there is no vision and inspiration, manipulation sets in. Mr. Paul Biya, president of La Republique du Cameroun, is a professional Machiavellian manipulator. He is the hand that holds the hands that rig elections. Mr. Biya continues to believe that he can keep Anglophones be they in the SDF or the SCNC under by rigging elections, and state-sponsored terrorism. It will not work. The situation needs vision and innovation because the price is implosion. Unfortunately, Mr. Biya can only manipulate elections, manipulate people, divide and rule, and preside over corruption. Development is not his thing. He cannot innovate. When Mr. Biya was asked what his vision for Cameroun is, the man says, “I have Grand Ambitions for Cameroon.” When asked to translate “Grand Ambitions” into bread and butter, the man remains daft. The man’s disciples have used their own blindness to attempt putting flesh to Mr. Biya’s dry bones. In vain. When Mr. Biya was asked what he expected from the elections (which he has rigged), the man said he expected his party to garner a give him a vast majority to continue the policies he has commenced. Which policies? The artistic miasma of corruption, election-fraud, incompetence and Grand Ambitions, naturally. Blind man leading the blind. So goes the leader, so goes the organization. Rather than inspire people, a man anchored on miasma and fumes of “Grand Ambitions” can only be a manipulator. He can and will always rig elections to survive. Grand Ambition is not a vision, neither is it an inspiration. Instead, the slogan comes from the profound darkness of a hollow mind and a dark spirit. Would you submit your time, energy, life to a thing called “Grand Ambitions?”
A leader can only move a people from where they are to where he has been. Mr. Biya condones, he lives in and he thrives in corruption and election fraud because he lives in the field of those tares. That is the quintessential and essential Biya. He can only lead people into corruption. Mr. Biya represents continuity and the externalization of a mindset and system, which mindset and system believe that real and symbolic boundaries could be obliterated by shouting “National Unity and Integration” from every rooftop. In 1984, in a fit of maladroitness, Mr. Biya signed a law ending the tie between Southern Cameroons and La Republique du Cameroun by re-creating La Republique du Cameroun. The symbolism of this act is clear: The real and symbolic boundaries between the founding components of the Federal and the United Republic no longer exist. Southern Cameroons now has every right to restore its independence, preferably under a new name. For one thing, the difference is clear. Real and symbolic boundaries are eternal. They Scriptures cannot be broken so also the real and symbolic boundaries between Anglophones and Francophones.
Chronicle: What about the CPDM Anglophones or Anglophone CPDM. Don’t they represent Anglophones?
Ntemfac A. N. Ofege: Ntumfor Nico Halle, ONEL representative for the North West province, repeated this statement again and again during the campaigns for the just ended elections for the benefit of Mr. Biya and his ilk. “When you rig elections everything else is rigged; appointments are rigged, contract-awards are rigged, etc.” Would you want to be represented by a fraud? A man who rigs elections or who benefits from rigged elections is worst than a thief. Do you think the population would be supportive of a council or parliamentarian created by fraud? The entire population, even members of the CPDM, would consider such individuals and councils as fraud, illegitimate and a joke. For one thing, the population knows how the got there. So goes a leader who rigs elections so goes the entire administration. Should anyone be surprised that corruption reeks at all levels of this Francophone-invented and led system? Does Inoni Ephraim represent you? Is he speaking or you? Does he know you problem? Can he address your problem? The CPDM was maybe born in Bamenda but it is a foreign party. The CPDM can and will never speak for you and me. In sociology and political science, we say that there are real and symbolic boundaries between Anglophones and Francophones, between the SDF and the CPDM.
Chronicle: Do you mean there is no way Anglophones and Francophones can live together?
Ntemfac A. N. Ofege: I just told you. By an application of a genuine, innovative and consociational power-sharing mechanism. That is just one step. The next step would be to revolutionize the system – a forceful application of the system that worked in Southern Cameroon on the Francophones. That, unfortunately, is not as easy as it seems. Mr. Motomu, I’m always scared of these luminaries who think that they can foist their own beliefs or pattern of values on others. The SDF thought that it had a mandate to liberate Cameroon by forcing Southern Cameroonian system and values of the Francophones. George Bush thought that he had a mandate to impose the American system and values on Iraq. Who send you? A drowning man and system can only drag you under with it. What if the Francophones believe in and massively support their CPDM, its president and all that they stand for? Mr. Motomu, since the biblical Tower of Babel, boundaries (be they symbolic or real) have been very powerful in maintaining separation between nations and individuals. Boundaries between individuals and nations can be either real or symbolic. Boundaries are those frontier points recognized, legalized and legitimized by national and/or International law, attitudes, behaviour, customs and mores. Boundaries often have their own history and anthropology some of which are contentious. In the specific context of Cameroun, symbolic and real borders became an issue once historically and culturally different Anglophones and Francophones were lumped together into a dubious state by the UN with the pious hope that a nation-state could be forged out of the wedlock. It will not work. Real and symbolic boundaries are eternal. They cannot be broken. A real boundary is that recognized national/international frontier post separating a recognized or legitimized state with a collective of individuals and groups who identify with that state. Whether you like it or not the Southern Cameroons state was one of the states that made up Cameroon. A symbolic boundary is that moral code, that spiritual thing, that convention that makes of its adherents the “we” versus the “them” non-adherents and unbelievers on the other side.
‘Real and symbolic boundaries are central to all culture. Marking “difference” leads us, symbolically, to close ranks, shore up culture and to stigmatize and expel anything which is defined as impure, strangely attractive precisely because it is forbidden, taboo, threatening to cultural order’
Whenever the heathen culture starts reaching out for freedom and independence, the symbolic or boundary marking “difference” leads the majority, to close ranks, shore up culture and to stigmatize and expel anything that is defined as impure, taboo, forbidden or whatever it is that threatens the cultural order. Francophones are Francophones. Anglophones are Anglophones. La Republique du Cameroun is La Republique. Southern Cameroons is Southern Cameroons. The majority of Anglophones still live in their territory while a majority of Francophones live in their territory. There is a middle of the road zone made up of bastardized entities – those who have married into either cultures but that zone is a minority. An absolute minority. What I am saying is that after45 years of a live-and-let-live mutual disdain; after decades of a strange monster called national unity-integration, reality has now set it. Oil and water cannot mix; real and symbolic boundaries cannot be broken.
Disparate cultures and histories will always create a process of purification legitimizes exclusion, intolerance, tribalism and racism. They would always allocate marginal identities to individuals who do not conform to the values and perception of the norm – the majoritarian view. Southern Cameroonians have been called Anglofous, Anglo-fools, Biafrans, Anglos, l’enemie dans la maison, etc. In fact, a francophone CPDM parliamentarian once called Paulinus Jua, a Southern Cameroonians representative of the opposition SDF Party, a Biafran. We have called them frogs, no?
Chronicle: The attitude of the Francophones in this thing is interesting. Why do they seem to support Biya and his regime?
Ntemfac A. N. Ofege: It is their system. They created it. They support it; they glorify it; they thrive in it and they live in it. A frog can only live in the swamps, the mud and the muck. Frogs can only croak (die) in the swamps, the mud and the muck. Remove a frog from its natural habitat and it will no longer croak. Biya does not want to change the system; it is his system. He knows it and he thrives in it. French-speaking Cameroonians, (East Cameroonians) may disagree strenuously with the severity of one, or all, of the items that symbolize their side of the symbolic boundary, but facts are facts and truths are truths. Francophones dare not quarrel with this depiction after all the socio-political system in Cameroon is created and sustained by the majority. Robert Bierstedt says, “Within every polity, it is the majority, which sets the cultural pattern and sustains it, which is in fact responsible for whatever pattern or configuration there is in a culture. It is the majority, which confers upon folkways, mores, customs, and laws the status of norms and gives the coercive power. It is the majority, which guarantees the stability of a society. It is the majority which requires conformity to customs and which penalizes deviation…“except in ways in which the majority sanctions and approves. It is the majority which is the custodian of the mores and which defends them against innovation. And it is the inertia of the majorities, finally, which retards the processes of social change.” The best case scenario is that Francophones support their corrupt system because they have never known better. They are also afraid of the unknown.
When a culture and a people, especially a large group of people, are afraid of an unknown culture and people, they rig elections. As a last resort, the majority culture resorts to state-sponsored economic cleansing and other genocidal practices to get rid of the unwelcome and troublesome presence. And violence is used to keep the slaves in their proper place of subservience. In extreme cases (and the Cameroonian scenario is extreme by all definitions) genocidal practices (ethnic and economic cleansing, intellectual terrorism, war and violence) against the troublesome presence starts at the initial level of conflict. The most intense conflicts between majority and minority have resulted when “the subordinate minority group has attempted to disrupt the accommodative pattern or when the super ordinate group has defined the situation as one in which such an attempt is being made.” You see that in this case, my suggestion of an application of consociationalism (consensual power sharing) is only a stopgap measure. The system is now caught between a rock and a very haaard place. In the long run, the differences will tear the thing apart. Nations and people live together by desire, not by force.
Chronicle: What role will the South West play? The SDF has zero parliamentarian and zero councils in the South West.
Ntemfac A. N. Ofege: Do not be deceived. Politicization of ethnicity (Divide and Rule) is a strategy for every manipulator. Mr. Biya is a manipulator. Mr. Biya operates by divide and rule or politicized ethnicity. He gets the elites in the South Westerner to believe that a good score will eternalize the post of prime minister. Then he gets the North westerner to believe the same thing. These poor devils go about outsmarting each other in rigging. The elites of the South West are so desperate to be in the good books of the regime that they get the SDOs and DOs to disenfranchise North Westerners or SDFers (Cam-no-go) from the voters register. The orders to rig came from the office of the prime minister. It is a pity how low the Anglophone elites and the intelligentsia would stoop to collect crumbs from the slave master’s table. The DOs, SDOs, directors, ministers and prime ministers rigging elections are fathers and grandfathers who are supposed to be role models. Now they have transformed into petty thieves. Some years ago, Mr. Inoni was chased by a mob in Victoria. He was ferrying a ballot box to a hideout. Politics is a game of numbers. Reality is that 55-60% of the South West province is made up of North Westerners. The regime may disenfranchise the voters but it does not mean the mumbers are not there. Add the 55-60% North Westerners born in the SW to the die-hard independentists, SCNC militants, like those in Meme, Ndian, Lebialem, Manyu and you get the picture. Shared values, the values that are shares by Anglophones go deeper than politicized ethnicity. Those who think the post of prime minister could mean anything to them are just a misguided handful of tribesmen and elite and even then. Even then…
Chronicle: You say Anglophones should walk away. How?
Ntemfac A. N. Ofege: The first thing is to accept is that Fru Ndi should just shut up and keep quiet for now. He should stop being a distraction. Or else we string him up. He should enjoy the money he has gotten out of Biya and get the hell out of the way. He has failed. Woefully. Hear Fru Ndi on July 26, 2007: “We did not get in into this unification business to learn election rigging, fraud, embezzlement, corruption, homosexual acts.” Has Fru Ndi seen the light at last? No. Be careful. This is a businessman and a politician. He’s only saying this to up the stakes in his future negotiations and deals with Biya. Don’t forget that before the elections Fru Ndi called on Biya to arrest all SCNC members because he thought, they were the people telling Anglophones to boycott the elections. The SDF is not Fru Ndi. Vice versa. We all created the SDF. By the way, Mr. Fru Ndi and his generation are on their way out. Our generation must take over. The time is now. We have a better plan. Not the Muna plan though (laughs). We have the trump card. The time has come for our creation to work for us. What do we have in hand? What is the rod of Moses? We have a very good starting point. We now have Biya and Fru Ndi just where we want them – by their arrangements. Now we squeeze tight. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. The rest of the strategies are unprintable. Our generation, my generation, must now deal with the problem directly. There will not be another chance.
Chronicle: But how can Anglophones free themselves when they have no leader? All we see is a confusion of SCNC groups, groups that cannot agree on anything? There are no encouraging signs as far as liberating Anglophones is concerned.
Ntemfac A. N. Ofege: Quite the contrary Mr. Motomu, quite the contrary. The cacophony of groups and voices instead shows buoyancy in the various liberation movements. They do not disagree on the objective – liberating Southern Cameroons. Rather they disagree and quarrel over strategies. In that kind of situation, some groups and individuals have a better strategy than others. One group is in Banjul, the Youth League is carrying out demonstration and sensitization is all European capitals, another group is working with UNPO, another group has now identified the UN as the source o and the solution to the problem…brief, something is happening. Your newspaper, like others, must have published reports denouncing Ambassador (rtd) Fossung’s SCNC and so on, right? Wrong. Fossung has been working. Let me unveil to your readers this excerpt of a letter from the UN Under-Secretary for Political Affairs to Ambassador Fossung as recently as 12 February 2007: “I write to acknowledge your previous correspondence on the above subject and to inform you that, as you rightly know, the issues they raised are sensitive and they require a great deal of careful, full and fair evaluation and consideration. Please be assured that this is being done at the moment…. I will encourage you to continue to use your good offices as Chairman of the SCNC to continue to pursue the dialogue and non-violent approach to addressing all outstanding issues. We all engage in the search for a peaceful and just resolution of this important matter.”
The UN Under-Secretary for Political Affairs, a key Advisor to the Security Council and the Secretary General, knows the political implication of the non-respect of the UN Charter and Resolutions regarding fundamental issue like decolonization, membership, etc. Diplomacy and the UN system are slow machines. Let’s hope they are effective machines to avoid the bloodbath that looms. I believe that all liberation movements should focus on the ball, on the key issue. The so-called Anglophones, I rather call them Southern Cameroonians, do not have a problem with Mr. Biya or with Francophones for that matter. Ahidjo and the Francophones did not initiate the Trusteeship, the Plebiscite and unification. These were imposed on Southern Cameroons by the United Nations, but under conditions that were enshrined in a plethora of UN Resolutions and the UN Charter. In fact, Ahidjo did not want unification with Southern Cameroons for reasons I’ve already explained. Those shouting “we must unite withi we brada” were the likes of Dibonge, former UPC refugees who had discovered and enjoyed the freedom of Southern Cameroons. UPC refugees also infiltrated Foncha’s party and started clamouring for unification. Anglophones have a problem with the UN and the UN system which failed to apply its own charter and almost all resolutions it took on Southern Cameroons especially:
1) Article 73: Declaration regarding Non-Self-Governing Territories;
2) Article 76.b on the basic objectives of the trusteeship system;
3) UNGA Resolution 224 (III) of 18 November 1948 on the Administrative Unions Affecting Trust Territories;
4) UNGA Resolution 226 (III) of 18 November 1948 on the Progressive Development of Trust Territories;
5) UNGA Resolution 1514 (XV) of 14 December 1960 Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples; and;
6) UNGA Resolution 1803 (XVII), 17 U.N. GAOR Supp. (No.17) at 15, UN. Doc. A/5217 (1962) on Permanent Sovereignty over Natural Resources.
I am especially grateful to Professor Chia Martin and Dr Arnold Boh Yongbang who opened my eyes to the meaning of the next thing I will tell your readers. For there to be any union between La Republique and Southern Cameroons, UN Resolution 1608 (XV) of 21 April 1961 that voted for the independence of Southern Cameroons required that a “TREATY of UNION” be worked out between the Governments of the Federation of Nigeria, Northern Cameroons and the United Kingdom as Administering Authority of Northern Cameroons Trust Territory before 6 June 1961; and between the Governments of La Republique du Cameroun and of the Southern Cameroons with the United Kingdom as Administering Authority of the Southern Cameroons Trust Territory before 1st October 1961. No such treat exists simply because there is none. I hope you understand the meaning of this. Had there been such a treaty, the Northern Cameroons Territorial Assembly and the Parliament of the Federation of Nigeria would have ratified it on the one hand, and by the Southern Cameroons Territorial Assembly and the Parliament of La Republique du Cameroun on the other. The TREATIES should have been registered and copies deposited at the Secretariat of the Secretary-General of the United Nations Organization in application of Article 102 (1) of the Charter of the United Nations. That Article states: Every Treaty and every international agreement entered into by any member of the United Nations after the present Charter comes into force shall as soon as possible be registered with the Secretariat and published by it.”
Article 102 (2) reads: “No party to any such Treaty or International Agreement which has not been registered in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 1 of this Article may invoke that treaty or agreement before any organ of the United Nations.”
The non-application of Article 76b of the UN Charter and the non-application of the above resolutions mean one thing: the UN is still the Administrating Authority of Southern Cameroons.
Come back sometime and I will give you copies of all of these resolutions to publish for the education of your readers. The treaties were to protect the interests of both the Northern Cameroons and the Federation of Nigeria on the one hand, and the Southern Cameroons and La Republique du Cameroun on the other. There is no such treaty. None whatsoever. Anglophones have been (1) free since 1961 or (2) the UN has to see Article 76b on the “emancipation” (de-colonization) clause to the finish. In this and in the absence of a Treaty of Union between the Southern Cameroons and La Republique du Cameroun, La Republique du Cameroun had no right to claim that Southern Cameroons is part of its territory let alone applying its policies like rigged elections, fraud, corruption an Grand Ambitions thereon. La Republique had no locus standi in taking the Federation of Nigeria to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over the Southern Cameroons Territory of the Bakassi Peninsula. Consequently, the ruling of the ICJ over the Bakassi Conflict on 10 October 2002 was misleading and null and void ab initio in international law. The trouble is they do not know it. There is a Bible principle is this. Jesus Christ set man free and man does not know it. Take it from me, one of these days, the leadership issue in the restoration movement will be addressed and then the end will come. Anglophones have now woken up from their slumber. It is now time to walk away.
Chronicle: The last word?
Ntemfac A. N. Ofege: Anglophones have no business being part of this mess. Fraud ad infinitum ad nauseam we abhor. The hegemonistic paranoia of the Francophone led, invented sustained regime in Yaounde must be halted for a very good reason. Allowing Francophones and their regime to be rampant would only mean the acceptation and the spread of slavery, corruption, fraud, thievery as well as other intoxicating, viral and hence catching tares. We are different. We are not grounded within the internationally defined and recognized real and symbolic boundaries. We have a different anchored on the same pattern of norms, customs and values. For 25 years, Mr. Biya has proven that he has neither the capacity nor the will to dialogue. Why then should people having different knowledge base, people trained in a different perception of public life and people with a different set of values continue along this path to the precipice? Therefore, an unknown quantity is leading you to an unknown place called “Grand Ambitions?” And another unknown quantity called Fru Ndi is pretending to lead you to a promise land that he has not seen? And you are trundling behind him like a goat to the market? God forbid. Myles Munroe says it is illegal (a sin) to lead people to nowhere. The leader you follow will determine your destination.
Since 1972, the date of a contentious referendum, rather than knuckling under, our “difference” values, nationalism are rather on the ascendancy. It is just a matter of time before that buoyancy translates into implosion.