Riding the Tiger: Cameroon’s Rule of Men Regime. Part II. By Tatah Mentan, Theodroe Lentz Professor of Peace and Security Studies Introduction

Rule of Law: Foundation of Constitutions
Throughout most of human history, the rules by which life was governed were usually determined by force and fraud: he who had the power—whether military strength or political dominance—made the rules. The command of the absolute monarch or tyrannical despot was the rule and had the coercive force of the law. Rulers made up false stories of inheritance and rationalizations such as “divine right” to convince their subjects to accept their rule without question. This is still the case in many parts of the world, where the arbitrary rulings of the dictator are wrongly associated with the rule of law.
A principle that itself is quite old and long predates Cameroon, the rule of law, is the general concept that government as well as the governed are subject to the law and that all are to be equally protected by the law. Its roots can be found in classical antiquity. The vast difference between the rule of law as opposed to that of individual rulers and tyrants is a central theme in the writings of political philosophers from the beginning. In the works of Plato and as developed in Aristotle’s writings, it implies obedience to positive law as well as rudimentary checks on rulers and magistrates.
In Anglo-American history, the idea was expressed in Magna Carta in 1215. In its famous thirty-ninth clause, King John of England promised to his barons that “No free man shall be taken, imprisoned, disseized, outlawed, or banished, or in any way destroyed, nor will he proceed against or prosecute him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers and the Law of the Land.” The idea that the law is superior to human rulers is the cornerstone of English constitutional thought as it developed over the centuries. It can be found elaborated in the great seventeenth-century authorities on British law, Henry de Bracton, Edward Coke, and William Blackstone. The ultimate outcome of the Glorious Revolution of 1688 in England was permanently to establish that the king was subject to the law.
Over time, the rule of law had come to be associated with four key components in the defunct Southern Cameroons. First, the rule of law means a formal, regular process of law enforcement and adjudication. What we really mean by “a government of laws, not of men” is the rule of men bound by law, not subject to the arbitrary will of others. The rule of law means general rules of law that bind all people and are promulgated and enforced by a system of courts and law enforcement, not by mere discretionary authority. In order to secure equal rights to all citizens, government must apply law fairly and equally through this legal process. Notice, hearings, indictment, trial by jury, legal counsel, the right against self-incrimination—these are all part of a fair and equitable “due process of law” that provides regular procedural protections and safeguards against abuse by government authority. Among the complaints lodged against the king in the Declaration of Independence was that he had “obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers,” and was “depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury.”
Second, the rule of law means that these rules are binding on rulers and the ruled alike. If the American people, as Madison wrote in Federalist 57, “shall ever be so far debased as to tolerate a law not obligatory on the legislature, as well as on the people, the people will be prepared to tolerate anything but liberty.” As all are subject to the law, so all—government and citizens, indeed all persons—are equal before the law, and equally subject to the legal system and its decisions. No one is above the law in respect to enforcement; no one is privileged to ignore the law, just as no one is outside the law in terms of its protection. As the phrase goes, all are presumed innocent until proven guilty. We see this equal application of equal laws reflected in the Constitution’s references to “citizens” and “persons” rather than race, class, or some other group distinction, as in the Fifth Amendment’s language that “No person shall . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” It appears again in the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee that “No State shall . . . deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” The rights of all are dependent on the rights of each being defended and protected. In this sense, the rule of law is an expression of—indeed, is a requirement of—the idea of each person possessing equal rights by nature.
A striking example of this came in 1770, after British soldiers fired into a crowd of colonists, killing five persons, in what is known as the Boston Massacre. Popular passions were overwhelmingly against the soldiers yet, in a remarkable testament to the significance of the rule of law, these British regulars were acquitted in a colonial court, by a colonial jury, and defended by none other than John Adams, who was to become one of the most committed stalwarts of the patriot cause. Adams wrote that this was one of the most disinterested actions of his life, and considered it one of the best services he ever rendered his country.
Third, the rule of law implies that there are certain unwritten rules or generally understood standards to which specific laws and lawmaking must conform. There are some things that no government legitimately based on the rule of law can do. Many of these particulars were developed over the course of the history of British constitutionalism, but they may be said to stem from a certain logic of the law. Several examples can be seen in the clauses of the U.S. Constitution. There can be no “ex post facto” laws—that is, laws that classify an act as a crime leading to punishment after the act occurs. Nor can there be “bills of attainder,” which are laws that punish individuals or groups without a judicial trial. We have already mentioned the requirement of “due process,” but consider also the great writ of “habeas corpus” (no person may be imprisoned without legal cause) and the rule against “double jeopardy” (no person can be tried or punished twice for the same crime.) Strictly speaking, none of these rules are formal laws but follow from the nature of the rule of law. “Bills of attainder, ex-post facto laws and laws impairing the obligation of contracts,” Madison wrote in Federalist 44, “are contrary to the first principles of the social compact, and to every principle of sound legislation.”
Lastly, even though much of its operation is the work of courts and judges, the rule of law ultimately is based on, and emphasizes the centrality of, lawmaking. This is why, although we have three coequal branches of government, the legislature is the first among equals. But as those who make law are themselves subject to some law above them, this gives rise to the idea that there are different types of laws, some of which are more significant and important, and thus more authoritative than others. The rule of law—especially in terms of key procedural and constitutional concepts—stands above government. By definition and by enforcement it is a formal restraint on government. It judges government in light of a higher standard associated with those ideas. The more authoritative or fundamental laws have an enduring nature. They do not change day to day or by the whim of the moment and cannot be altered by ordinary acts of government.
This sense is captured in Magna Carta’s reference to “the Law of the Land,” a phrase written into all eight of the early American state constitutions, as well as the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. It is reflected in the supremacy clause of the United States Constitution: “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land.” The deep importance of this supremacy is seen in the fact that the oaths taken by those holding office in the United States—the president, members of Congress, federal judges—are oaths not to a king or ruler, or even to an executive or to Congress, but to the United States Constitution and the laws.
In the case of the Republic of Cameroon the BIG QUESTION mark as large as the size of Africa is: Can a Personality/Ethnic-Prone Constitution and laws be Personality/Ethnic-Proof? This is the brutal question the Prof.Ndiva Kofele Kale Defense Team has to confront squarely. All those victims of Biya’s “spectacular arrests” and dumping into dungeons had cautioned the Personality/Ethnic-Prone Constitution and laws of impunity for decades. Now, the chicks have come home to roost. Let the jail birds vomit the truth and, as the Holy Bible says,” the truth shall set you free” (John 8:32). This is enduringly a political trial of the Biya regime.And, the world is ready to see the verdict.
This is what a country becomes when it decides that it will not live under the rule of law, when it communicates to its political leaders that they are free to do whatever they want — including breaking their laws—and there will be no consequences. There are two choices and only two choices for every country—live under the rule of law or live under the rule of men. Cameroonians were hoodwinked into not collectively deciding that their most powerful political leaders are not bound by laws—that when they break the law, there will be no consequences. The country has thus become a country which lives under the proverbial “rule of men”—that is literally true, with no hyperbole needed—and the “spectacular arrests” and their attendant revelations are nothing more than the inevitable by-product of that choice.

Albatross Affair: Mebara Found Not Guilty on Three of Five Charges

By Dibussi Tande

The Mfoundi High Court this evening, May 3, 2012, found Mr. Atangana Mebara, former Secretary-General at the Presidency, not guilty of three of the five charges against him in the “Albatross Affair”, the botched attempt to purchase a presidential aircraft for president Biya.
Mebara verdict in Le Jour
Frontpage of tomorrow’s Le Jour newspaper

The High Court found Mr. Mebara not guilty of the attempt to jointly embezzle $31 million with Kevin Walls, CEO of the London-based Airport Portfolio Management (APM), and Essomba Otele, head of APM’s Cameroon subsidiary, Asset Portfolio Management (APM).

This accusation stemmed from a letter that Kevin Walls sent to Mr. Mebara on June 5, 2003 advising him that GIA, a US-based firm which had received $31 million from the Government of Cameroon to purchase a presidential aircraft, could claim the money as arrears for aircraft it had leased CAMAIR.

February 11 and the Southern Cameroons: The Betrayal of too Trusting a People. By Prof. Carlson Anyangwe

I. The Betrayal of too Trusting a People

The people of the British Southern Cameroons had absolute faith in the UN and trusted the Administering Authority, believing that both would always act in the best interest and for the wellbeing of the territory. This turned out to be a monumentally misplaced faith. In breach of the legal, moral and human rights foundations at the root of the trusteeship system, in breach of obligations assumed under the Charter of the UN, and in breach of the undertakings in the Trusteeship Agreement for the British Cameroons the UK betrayed the people of the British Southern Cameroons. The UN itself failed to stand up for the people of the trust territory.

A. The Betrayal by the UN

The UN failed to secure statehood for the people of British Southern Cameroons. By this failure the UN acted in breach of its own Charter (Article 76 b), in breach of its own 1960 Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, and in breach of the right of self-determination of peoples. The plebiscite and its timing were a UN imposition. The political leadership of the territory requested its deferment to 1962 but the request was ignored. The plebiscite questions, framed with the greatest opacity, in effect demanded the hapless people of British Southern Cameroons to choose between colonial rule by Nigeria and colonial rule by Cameroun Republic, the UK Government having indicated it was no longer prepared to continue to assume responsibility for the administration of the territory.

The plebiscite was in fact uncalled for and the alternatives presented to the people amounted to a violation of the right of all peoples to existence. A people cannot achieve independence by offering themselves for domination and their territory for annexation, by another country. The British Southern Cameroons had already achieved full self-government status and was poised for and had the right to accede to the ultimate status of independence as a sovereign state. Given this fact the plebiscite was unnecessary. The phraseology of the plebiscite question was itself a gross deception and an unconscionable fraud on an essentially illiterate population who, as the Plebiscite Commissioner rightly pointed out, may not have fully grasped the full implication of what they were invited to vote on.

Further, the UN did not present the people with the internationally recognized self-determination political status option of emergence as a sovereign independent state. There was, and there can be, no good reason why this option was withheld from the people. The very representative conference of all stakeholders held in Mamfe Town had resolved that given the UN’s insistence on a plebiscite in the territory the questions to be put to the people should be the following clear, sensible and straightforward questions: Do you want integration into Nigeria? Do you want secession from Nigeria? The British Southern Cameroons though internationally a separate territory from Nigeria was at then still administered by the UK as if it was an integral part of Nigeria. The questions therefore made great sense. There was no need bringing in French Cameroun into the equation as that country was foreign land. It was clearly understood by all the stakeholders at the Mamfe conference that a vote for secession from Nigeria would necessarily entail the emergence of the British Southern Cameroons into statehood. Mr. JN Foncha, Premier of the British Southern Cameroons, painstakingly outlined to the UN the proceedings and outcome of the Mamfe conference. But for reasons that have never been stated the UN ignored all of that and went ahead to impose an unwarranted plebiscite with vaguely framed questions and dead-end alternatives. It is still a mystery how the UN could have believed and taken the attitude that the destiny of the people of the British Southern Cameroons was necessarily tied to that of either of its two neighbours.

The UN betrayal did not end there. The Organization even failed to see to it that the very process of what it called ‘independence by joining’ and which it had initiated was carried to its completion. It did not call for four-party talks (UN, UK, British Southern Cameroons, Cameroun Republic) to satisfactorily iron out any outstanding issues and to ensure that there was indeed genuine de-colonization of the British Southern Cameroons. It did not participate in any post-plebiscite talks, whether bipartite between British Southern Cameroons and Cameroun Republic or tripartite between the UK, the British Southern Cameroons and Cameroun Republic. It did not even bother to ensure that any such talks took place under its auspices in the same way the plebiscite had been conducted under its auspices. It did not ensure that the Administering Authority participated effectively, meaningfully, in good faith, and in the best interest of the British Southern Cameroons, in any talks or dealings with Cameroun Republic that had a bearing on the future of the people and territory of British Southern Cameroons. Resolution 1608 of 21 April 1961 failed to include safeguards designed to show conclusively British Southern Cameroons as a de-colonized territory. The resolution was in fact a dangerously watered down version of the robust resolution earlier recommended by the Trusteeship Council for adoption by the General Assembly. The Trusteeship Council resolution had called for the UN involvement in the post-plebiscite de-colonization process and for the UN to make available to the Government of the British Southern Cameroons administrative, financial and constitutional expertise. The UN should responsibly have done so, but it failed to. The assistance to British Southern Cameroons recommended by the Trusteeship Council would have, on the reckoning of the UN Secretary General, cost a mere US$46, 000. Discriminatorily, the UN considered that paltry sum too large an amount to spend in order to secure and safeguard the integrity of the territory of the Southern Cameroons, however spatially small, and the dignity and worth of its people, however demographically small. It would seem the UN even appeared to have adopted the suspect attitude that the British Southern Cameroons was a returned part of the territory of Cameroun Republic.

Petals of Porcine Corruption

In fine, the announced October 9 presidential elections in the Cameroons will be just one more manner of spreading porcine corrupt practices around and about.
The Biya regime is enticing equally corrupt politicians with a cash-handout, or bait, of 25.000.000FCFA from the state coffers to present a challenge to his candidacy.
There are now 23 candidates now running. Each candidate pays in 5.000.000FCFA to the state treasury.
All the candidates have to do is rush to the nearing bank, microfinance hourse, credit union or whatever and demand a short term loan of 5.000.000FCFA.
They they collect 25.000.000 from the state; payback their short-term loan and report a profit of at least 15.000.000.
For less than three weeks of work.
Small wonder Cameroon has several times been voted most corrupt country on earth.
With Mr. Paul Biya presiding.
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Mola Njoh Litumbe Emerges as New Southern Cameroons Home Front Leader

Mola Njoh Litumbe Emerges as New Southern Cameroons Home Front Leader The Frontline Liberation Movements of the Southern Cameroons ( The
Patriotic Coalition Front) has finally designated the erstwhile, cold headed Bakweri icon, Mola Njoh Litumbe as its new leader. Mola Njoh Litumbe was chosen at a meeting of various Liberation Movements, the Southern Cameroons National Council ( SCNC) of Chief Ayamba and Nfor Nfor, as well as that of Justice Ebong /Kongnso Stephen Thomas Nwancham, the Southern Cameroons Peoples’ Organization ( SCAPO) of
Dr. Kevin Ngwang Gumne and Pa Augustine Ndangam, the BRICAMIAG( a group advocating for the liberation of both the Southern and Northern Cameroons…the British Cameroons) of Vincent Feko and Prof. Chia, the Civil Society led by Mola Litumbe , the Southern Cameroons Youth League ( SCYL) of Akwanga Ebenezar and Cho Ayaba, the Liberal
Democratic Alliance ( LDA) of Mola Njoh Litumbe and Barrister Ekontang Elad and the Restoration Government of Prof. Carlson Anyangwe.
According to a Press Release signed by Mola Njoh Litumbe in Buea on
September 11, 2011, a core Executive was elected from amongst these groupings after a long and intensive deliberation. The release states that this Home Front Coordinating Unit will be charged with the tasks of overseeing and guiding the various strategic activities of the Southern Cameroons struggle towards the realization of the ultimate
objective of the territory.
The Coordinating Unit will as well carry out policy formation and implementation for the various sub-committees created alongside the
coordinating unit. In the same light, the unit will coordinate, monitor and control effective fund-raising on the Home Front and see
to it that intensive mobilization is carried out throughout the
national territory for massive participation in the manifestations on
October 1, 2011, all over the Southern Cameroons.
On the forth-coming announced Presidential elections in the Cameroons,
the communiqué simply states that it will carry out “intensive
sensitization of all Southern Cameroonians to understand the significance of the presidential Elections being organized in La Republique du Cameroun.”

Election Rigging Strategy: Biya regime bans Twitter in the Cameroons

MTN Cameroon Instructed to Block Twitter Text Messages

By: Ian Mansfield | 10th Mar 2011

­Twitter’s SMS based messaging service has been banned on MTN Cameroon following an order from the Cameroonian government, Twitter announced yesterday over its own messaging platform. The company advised customers to contact MTN for more details.

There were reports that the country’s political opposition were Planning another series of protests against the long-serving President Paul Biya after earlier Egypt inspired protests were put down by the country’s military last month.

Like many countries facing political uprisings, the Cameroon government has been increasingly clamping down on internet services, especially ones accessible over mobile phones.

Cameroonian blogger Dibussi Tande told Foreign Policy magazine, if President Biya didn’t have a problem with Twitter activism before, he likely does now:

“Before today’s ban, very few Cameroonians were even aware that Twitter was available in Cameroon via SMS, and the majority of those who were did not even grasp its potential as a tool for political activism.”

As he also noted: “Obviously, the government has failed to learn the lesson from North Africa, particularly in Tunisia where the Ben Ali regime was still toppled even though it had banned all social media sites for years and had engaged in a sophisticated cyber-war with Tunisian digital activists.”

President Biya has been in power since 1982. In 2009, Biya was ranked #19 in Parade Magazine’s Top 20 list of The World’s Worst Dictators.

Garga Haman as the Solution

To pull a fast one on the ancient Mr. Paul Biya and his rigging macinery the Camerounese people could just decide to vote this man: Garga Haman Adji as President.

The Independence of the State of Palestine is a Given..despite Sabre rattling from the Zionist Netanyahu

Palestine a Given

Waiting For The Imminent ELECAM Revolution. By Tazoacha Asonganyi

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To cause the euphoric CPDM barons to descend from their imaginary horses of pride, I gave them the following caution when they were making noises around 6th November 2010: “As CPDM militants celebrate 6th November, they should keep in mind that the people have changed a lot over 28 years. The media revolution has broadened and deepened the people’s thinking, and reinforced their insistence on taking control of their destiny. The people have learned a lot from some of the powerful symbols and symbolic acts about change communicated to them from all corners of the globe during the better part of 28 years, right in their bedrooms. 2011 will neither be like 2004, 1997, nor 1992!”

By the time of this caution, the Sidi Bouzid Intifadah or what the western media have dubbed the Jasmin Revolution had not yet taken place in Tunisia, nor had Egypt’s own that followed closely on its heels. At that time, the only signposts were February 2008 in Cameroon, the “People Power” revolution of Corazon Aquino, and the colour revolutions that followed the collapse of the Berlin Wall, especially in Eastern European countries.

Few politicians can decipher their weaknesses from a position of ‘strength’, least of all CPDM militants! Politicians in a position of strength hardly ever think about the inevitability of defeat, or the inevitability of change. They hardly ever embrace reform in a more orderly manner, to pre-empt a more violent alternative.

Politicians are usually prone to choosing easy options. In creating ELECAM, Paul Biya sought to make it ‘his thing’, and appointed a coterie into the electoral board to act as a decoy for the totally submissive cronies he put as Manager and Assistant Manager of the electoral body. In doing this, he opted for an easy victory, stage-managed by these cronies, rather than a hard-fought, well-deserved one dependent on the will of the people.

In reaction to these antics, and the ineptitude of his cronies, Cameroonians have abandoned the whole thing to him, waiting patiently to teach him a lesson about their sovereignty, and their supremacy over him.

In politics like in football, an invisible hand – the ‘hand of God’ as Maradonna would describe it – can score critical goals. Some political heroes of the past may start claiming that they have been calling for ‘boycott’ of electoral registers to prepare the ground for an appropriate reaction. Interestingly, the ‘hand of God’ seems to have pushed out of the boat for change, those who would have barricaded themselves in their native provinces and issued appeals for “calm” in a sea of trouble.

There will be many grievances that will trigger the revolution being engineered by ELECAM in broad daylight, like the longevity of one man at the helm of the state, the insistence to use old registers doctored in the past by MINAT/D, the obscurantist approach of shunning new technologies, the glaring partisan control of the electoral process and the resultant loss of interest by the people, and the emptiness of majorities – like those of Ben Ali and Mubarak – gained by long reigning dictators in the ballot box.

There is also the possibility that one of these days the redoubtable WikiLeaks may compound the people’s bitterness by publishing the details of billions of tax-payers’ money stashed in foreign bank accounts by each of our long reigning dictators and their cronies!

Tanks, blank and life bullets, truncheons, water cannons, military boots, infested prison cells, and all the brute force that has been used to keep the people in check in the past will be at the rendezvous. But Corazon Aquino had since taught us, and Tunisians and Egyptians have just confirmed, that these weapons of oppression and repression are helpless in the face of masses of a determined people.

Although our own ‘leaders’ do not seem to be behaving like they know it, such masses of determined people are usually got through organisation and strategising; they are usually the outcome of grand coalitions of ‘opposition forces,’ not isolated calls for the people to ‘rise like one man’.

Of course, such grand coalitions need ‘leaders’ that do not have fixations about elections, since the futility of ballot boxes has since been shown even within their political parties. The emptiness of all-powerful ruling parties that derived their ‘power’ from ‘ballot boxes’ and the confiscation of state authority in Tunisia and Egypt is there for all to see!

Some of the leaders are swearing that they can only join the other ‘leaders’ to organise the people if it is to “fight for free and fair elections”, as if following the agenda set by the regime is the only avenue through which the people can reclaim their sovereignty. The people need to be organised in preparation for the impending ELECAM revolution. Those who are against coalitions are for the antics of the regime in place!

In any case, the media revolution has rendered distance education very effective. The people have learned the use of their power by watching other peoples use their own power. In the process, they have become aware of the advantages of mass action! Whether our ‘small’ and ‘big’ leaders like it or not, the people are poised to roar!

As usual, some people will tell us they do not want ‘war’, as if ‘war’ only represents the act of the people wrestling back their confiscated sovereignty. Keeping the people in check with repressive forces while usurpers mess around with the sovereignty of the people is not ‘war’, until the people react to the effrontery. Such idle talk about ‘war’ only gives the impression that those who fight around the world for their freedom and the sovereignty of the people do so because they like ‘war’…

Tazoacha Asonganyi


Burkinabe National to be President of Cote d’Ivoire

Burkinabe National plus..French-IMF-Western Stooge, Quattara soon to be rammed down the throats of Ivorians as president so that the West, especially France… can grab the land+the cocoa+the coffee+the oil…