For the first time ever, the people of Buea, the historic capital of the British Southern Cameroons, have stood up like one man and in one determined voice, called on the chairperson of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Alapine-Gansou to inform he African Union that the Southern Cameroons quest for total independence has gone past the powers of the African Commission as well as the African Union.
The people made this declaration during a demonstration staged at the offices of the National Commission on Human Rights and Freedoms in Buea last Saturday, February 5, 2011.
The events had stared earlier that morning with Southern Cameroonians trooping from different points of Buea and converging at the Human Rights offices at the Soppo neighbourhoods. Information had been gotten that the African Commission delegation had suddenly cancelled a program to honour Southern Cameroonian activists, led by Senior Citizen Mola Njoh Litumbe, by having lunch at the elder man’s residence. Word soon spread the Yaoundé regime had decided to sponsor its own lunch at the residence of one of the delegation’s members, Chief Justice Asuagbor Lucie, who was recently proposed by the Yaoundé Government and confirmed as the Rapporteur for Human Rights Defenders in Africa at the Commission. Was this a design to keep the delegation’s leader and Chair of the Commission from having direct contacts with the Southern Cameroon’s activists ? Then they must have miscalculated…as usual and ailed woefully, for the events of the afternoon were to take an unprecedented turn, that will never be manipulated, not even by the ACHPR itself!
The Pro-Independence Demonstrations:
It was getting dark, and by 17:15, the African Commission envoy emerged from the walls of the Buea Maximum Production Prisons where it had decided to check out on the conditions of the prisoners and their welfare therein. The convoy took less than five minutes to drive up to Soppo’s Human Rights office, and lo and behold!, the shock the beheld was total! The entire yard was filled with chanting and placard- carrying demonstrators and protesters, many dressed in Southern Cameroons T-shirts, while others carried Southern Cameroons flags.
The convoy had to stop at the entrance of the yard, letting only the car carrying the Commission’s chair and her Cameroonian counterpart to get in. Yet, they remained blockaded in their car, either caught up in fear of the unknown confused or simply concerting and making inquiries. In the meantime, agents of the Governor’s office, security operatives in uniform and mufti could be espied running up and down, in and out of the office, making frantic calls and even taking down notes from the placards. At this time, the leadership of the Southern Cameroons was seated inside, relaxed. This included Chief Ayamba, Mola Njoh Litumbe, Nfor N. Nfor, Vincent Feko, Mola Mafoke, Prince Humphrey Mbinglo, Pa Sabum, I.N. Sona, Mr. Fomussoh from Washington DC, Chief Taku etc etc. Note that there were other Civil Society Organisation leaders in the hall from all over the South West…but, he Southern Cameroons issue suddenly became their issue as evidenced in their support in various ways…side comments, facial pleasures etc.