Thinking Aloud of Issues Old and New. By Vincent N. Feko. Civil Society Senior Citizen, Human Rights Defender, Group Leader

In his End of Year State of the Nation Address, 31 December 2009, President Paul BIYA, said, inter alia: “My dear Compatriots, the fiftieth anniversary of independence in 2010 is a prelude to the fiftieth anniversary of Reunification which we will be celebrating in 2011.” This sounds like the rejuvenation of Reunification in 2011. What an after thought!

Regardless of the distortion and obliteration of British Cameroons history by the word: Reunification, an inquisitive mind would like to know the circumstances of the afterthought. For example, the thirtieth independence anniversary was celebrated with fanfare on 1 January 1990. It was not celebrated as a prelude to the thirtieth anniversary of Reunification which should have been celebrated in 1991. And as if these state issues are as complex to understand as the management of the oil revenue according to ASSOUMOU, the governor, who has the monopoly of understanding in this domain and is accountable to the governed, has not considered an explanation to the latter as a necessity. That thirtieth independence anniversary celebration was closed with the issuing of commemorative postage stamps with LRC’s map at independence, when it acceded to full-fledged membership of the United Nations on 20 September 1960 as a sovereign state.

Was thirty years too short a time in the life of a Reunified Country to warrant the celebration of its Reunification with commemorative objects bearing the Reunification map? Were those running the show not convinced that their Reunification was, to use the trite, something to write home about? In other words, was the Reunification lacking justification and it is only now that it can be justified and assured? Is the BAKASSI card at play? Are we to understand that, henceforth, LRC’s independence anniversary celebration will be a prelude to the Reunification anniversary celebration the following year?

Understandably, the fiftieth anniversary of independence commemorative map of LRC will in no way be different from that on the 1 January 1990 commemorative postage stamps, will it? Is it the understanding then, that with Reunification now assured, the authentic Reunification map will be released and imprinted on the fiftieth anniversary of Reunification commemorative objects in 2011?

What will that great date in 2011 be, 1 October, the date, in 2001, that 3 of our illustrious citizens were gunned down by Gendarmes in KUMBO in the Banso upland country, for celebrating the fortieth independence anniversary of Southern Cameroons, and people in their thousands were arrested and detained in most of the principal towns of Southern Cameroons for daring similar celebrations?

Incidentally, 11 February 2010, the anniversary of the United Nations’ BRIDGE by which it is claimed, Southern Cameroons and la Republique du Cameroun were brought together, is being celebrated today. That is the United Nations PLEBISCITE date on which part of the British Cameroons, Southern Cameroons precisely, freely and overwhelmingly voted to ACHIEVE INDEPENDENCE by JOINING la Republique du Cameroun as equal partners and not to be absorbed, as it would be absurd to think that’s how they voted. The Unification which LRC deceitfully calls Reunification was predicated on the achievement of that independence. So, LRC can not claim to welcome the Reunification and deny the independence. We are faced here with another but different TWO ALTERNATIVES: either Southern Cameroons achieved Independence and went into Reunification with La Republique du Cameroun, in which case it would be the Senegambia model; Or Southern Cameroons never achieved Independence and therefore, never went into Reunification with La Republique du Cameroun. Independence of Southern Cameroons ought to have been the bridge of the Reunification if the Reunification were not a myth or a figment of the imagination. You do not cross a bridge and collapse it or pretend that you never crossed it, or that one never existed. How do you justify being where you say you are, and gathering momentum to celebrate your fiftieth anniversary in 2011, when crossing a bridge was an international conditionality you circumvented?

Not surprisingly though, the more the Reunification saga seeks to transcend myth, the more mythical the thing looks by the methods employed, and the more it gathers momentum for self-dislodgement. For example, 11 February, 20 May, and 1 October, once LRC’s officially celebrated anniversaries before 1 October was dropped, and to be reinstated in 2011; have been, and continue to be laborious and futile attempts to legitimize a conceptual Reunification. What is LRC’s business celebrating 11 February, the memorable PLEBISCITE anniversary of British Southern Cameroons, and faking it as Youth Day? Youth Day, in commemoration of what outstanding achievement of LRC’s youth on the 11 February and of which year? What is the justification? Isn’t it simply one of those insidious methods usually employed to obliterate important landmarks in the history of Southern Cameroons? 1 October and 20 May, are progressions from 11 February. And like 11 February, there is no justification for celebrating them because none of them is LRC’s independence anniversary or National Day, None of them is significant in the history of their evolution. 1 January 1960, is the date the French handed down Independence, within the French Union, to French Cameroun with the new name of La Republique du Cameroun(LRC). The Independence was ratified by the United Nations on the 20 September 1960, on the Republic’s accession to membership of the United Nations.

Southern Cameroons was neither a part of French Cameroun before 1 January 1960, nor a part of LRC on, or after 1 January 1960, up till today. That is the reason why President Paul Biya, in his end of the Year Address to the Nation on 31 December 2009, could proudly and confidently declare: “On 1 January 1960, our independence was proclaimed. As from tomorrow we will therefore be celebrating the 50th anniversary of our accession to sovereignty.” By this declaration, President Biya impliedly affirms that 1 January is the independence anniversary of La Republique du Cameroun, and as such, the nation’s National Day since National Day is a derivative or offshoot of the independence date which is unique.

For Mr Biya to make that famous Declaration and in the same breath endorse his predecessor’s 20th May as La Republique du Cameroun’s National Day on a false premise, is to undermine the solemnity of the National Day, contradict himself, confuse his people and the international community, and display dishonesty.

If Southern Cameroons had achieved independence by joining LRC on 1 October 1961, as was programmed by the United Nations, a new nation state, christened by the United Nations as, the FEDERAL UNITED CAMEROON REPUBLIC, should have been born. It is significant to note that Southern Cameroons should have taken exceptions to having its independence linked to the French Union. It is therefore the FEDERAL UNITED CAMEROON REPUBLIC that should have ushered in, Unification. The word: Unification has its origin from the word: United, found in the new name: Federal United Cameroon Republic. Even after modifying the name to the: FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF CAMEROON by dropping UNITED, the first President, Mr Ahidjo picked it up again in the second REPUBLIC he called: UNITED REPUBLIC OF CAMEROON, which Mr Biya inherited but by nostalgia deleted to retain, REPUBLIC OF CAMEROUN or LRC. By the deletion of the word: United, Mr Biya destroyed all traces of Unification and Reunification which he has awakened too late to celebrate. What is the raison d’etre for President Biya contemplating on commemorating what he hated and destroyed, 25 years ago? Is he now conceding that he is a victim of his own imprudence?

If the United Nations wanted Reunification, they would have said so by the appellation: FEDERAL REUNITED CAMEROON REPUBLIC. That way, the second Republic, by Ahidjo’s formula, should have been called: REUNITED REPUBLIC OF CAMEROON which his successor should have inherited, and from which Reunification could logically have been derived. You do not inherit something, then reject it, and turn around and show the world quite a different thing you have chosen to inherit.

By inheritance, Unification was a “reality” that was ephemeral. Reunification is a phantom. It would be deceitful though, to celebrate Unification because, by empirical analysis, it has never existed; and celebrating Reunification would be compounding the deceit.

The building of a nation on falsehood, as the track record of la Republique du Cameroun shows every passing minute, is like the Biblical building of a house on a sandy foundation, and that house did not last; it collapsed.

For example, every one knows, as an open secret, that from the year 2003, Southern Cameroons representatives, SCNC/SCAPO, filed lawsuits against the government of LRC at the United Nations Council on Human Rights (UNCHR) by the medium of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation(UNPO), at the Hague; and at the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights(ACHPR) in Banjul, The Gambia; for various offences committed against the people of Southern Cameroons and their territory. The offences range from Human Rights abuse, arbitrary arrests and imprisonment, torture, economic rape, extra-judicial killings, forceful colonization, etc. The Verdict of the ACHPR’s Communication 266/2003 came out in May 2009 and was published in October 2009. The Commission, in their Recommendations, called for a Constructive Dialogue between the Complainants and the Respondent State to resolve Constitutional issues and grievances, under the auspices of the ACHPR; and each party was given 180 days to inform the Commission of its action. Whereas the Complainants have signaled the Commission on their preparedness for the Dialogue, and expected a similar response from the State party, LRC has not only unleashed a campaign of terror and witch –hunt against their adversary, President Biya has, in his end of Year Address on 31 December 2009, promised them mayhem.

President Biya has mentioned neither names of individuals nor organizations. But the message leaves no one in doubt that his target is SCNC/SCAPO, and Southern Cameroonians in the country and the Diaspora. Here is his stern warning: “I take this opportunity to denounce systematic contestation by a minority of our compatriots who readily resort to lie-telling and slander. Undoubtedly, they would rather our country plunged into all forms of chaos for them to achieve their aims.”

Isn’t it ironical that Mr Biya is now convinced of the chaos he has undoubtedly, been engineering since the year 1993? Has Mr Biya so soon forgotten that between 1993 and 2000, the Standing Committee of the ALL ANGLOPHONE CONFERENCE(AAC 1&11) and the SCNC of the SOUTHERN CAMEROONS PEOPLES CONFERENCE(SCPC) sent him not less than forty memoranda requesting him to create a forum for a Constructive Dialogue between his Government and representatives of the Southern Cameroons people, in a bid to resolving the Constitutional problem and subsequent return to the two states Federation of equal status that was unconstitutionally abolished in 1972; that shortly after the take over of Radio BUEA on 30/31 December 1999 by Rtd. Justice Frederick EBONG and five others including Chief Ette Otun AYAMBA, Chair of the SCNC, and broadcasting the Proclamation of the restoration of Southern Cameroons independence; Kofi Annan, the eminent emeritus Secretary-General of the United Nations, rushed in here, following the arrests and underground detention of Justice EBONG and his team, to request His Excellency to Dialogue with Southern Cameroons representatives; and, finally that, eighteen years later, the ACHPR, in their Verdict of Communication 266/2003, has made a similar Recommendation, among others? Has the President budged? Why not?

President Biya should be informed that it is this intransigence that is engendering the”systematic contestation,” and the only way to disprove their “lie-telling and slander,” is to open up to the Dialogue and let the Dialogue vindicate him. You don’t counteract “lie-telling and slander” by another lie-telling and slander of outrageous proportions. His adversary possess the truth, hence the systematic contestation. The only way Mr President can expose the lie-telling and slander of his adversary is at the Dialogue forum not by using the big stick to silence them. No one without a skeleton in his cupboard would resort to such Machiavellian tactics.

How can the Government hide the ACHPR’s Communication 266/2003 proceedings, and the President makes a turn a round to accuse their adversary of “lie-telling and slander,” and claims to be speaking on behalf of the people he expects to vindicate him, but from whom his Government has hidden the material on which they are expected to base their judgment? So, from a kindergarten arithmetical process of substitution and elimination, whose stock- in- trade is “lie-telling and slander”?

If the people who were arrested and detained in BAMENDA, for example, for no other offence than the distribution of the ACHPR’s Verdict in Communication 266/2003 (Southern Cameroons Vs Republic of Cameroun ), have by now been released, then it is thanks, to the whole gamut of international Human Rights Organisations that mounted continuous pressure on the regime for their release.

Perhaps it has not occurred to Government that hiding the Verdict amounts to its non recognition, as well as questioning the authority of the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR), and the African Union (AU) of which the Commission is an Organ. This is strange because, LRC is an accredited member of the AU and has pledged to uphold the Union’s Constitutive Act and Charter, and its other regulatory instruments. To put up an afterthought posture of repulsion in circumstances as those of the Verdict, can be likened to: desperately wanting back your cake after eating it. You can not, in one instant, submit yourself to the jurisdiction of a court, and in another, question the same jurisdiction.

By his stern warning, Mr Biya seems to be getting a message across that, irrespective of any outcome from any international Tribunal, he and his government will resort to the law of the jungle and use the big stick. In case Mr President has lost sight that his warning is an open declaration of WAR against Southern Cameroonians and their territory, he should be so acquainted so that he does not shy away from his responsibility when his fomentation reaches its critical mass.

America, Britain, and France who are arming LRC every passing day in exchange for oil for which Southern Cameroonians are paying with their blood, are called upon to reexamine their consciences and come to the realization that it is an inherent contradiction to preach justice and practice injustice for the love of oil, and to sacrifice the Rule of Law on the altar of jungle Law for the sake of oil.

The foresighted statesman, Fon GORJI DINKA, QC, perceived the approach of this calamity way back in 1985 when he made his famous address in which he called on LRC’s Army to: DIFFUSE THE TIME BOMB. GORJI DINKA suffered persecution, then he escaped, and now living in asylum in London; but the TB still needs to be diffused. The prescription: the Army should call on President Biya to divert the energy and resources he is using to foment war, to organize the Constructive Dialogue recommended by the ACHPR between the Respondent State and the Complainants, under the auspices of the African Commission. The Army should take their responsibility because, if they must fight a war, they should do so with clean and clear consciences that they are fighting and killing one another for a defendable and just cause and not for the sheer display of means and might to the glory of a Fuhrer.