Cameroon’s 2011 Presidential Elections: Democratic Ideals or Complacent Politics of Disappointment By Frank Oben:North Africa: Nod Africa or ‘Not’ Africa?

North Africa: Nod Africa or ‘Not’ Africa?

Egypt’s victory has become an impetus to the eradication of dictatorship. The world was watching as it took 18 days to cause a dictatorship to abandon his favorite sit. We all applaud the trials and tribulations of Egypt. There is a heightened concerned that this effect might trigger a domino effect or geometrically leap into countries governed by dictators, or oppressed by an authoritarian ruler. Indeed, while Tunisia lit the torch light, Egypt blew Africa’s trumpet to the rise for democracy.

This bold step in Egypt has stimulated some Cameroonians, especially the youths and other ‘democratic fanatics,’ to use social media such as Facebook and Twitter to send messages for riots even before the elections take place in October, just because of the Egyptian victory. Others are advocating for a post-riot in case a fraud is declared. The day and locations have already been selected. Online discussions are going on, some youths say they are ready to spill blood, sighting the University of Buea riots which to them proved functional in delivering some results, the recent one which took place on the 11th of February in Buea, South-West province of Cameroon. We should not forget that, practically all silliness of conduct ascends from the imitation of those who we cannot resemble. Imitation can be viewed as a serious form of flattery. However there are no two snowmen that are identically similar. But every snowman is a unique design on its own from its creator

Let me make some points clear, and if you are interested, you can carry out your own investigative research. Firstly, the demonstrations in Egypt were triggered months ago in 2010, due to complaints about the 29-year government-imposed state of emergency which has been used to curb protests and freedom of expression, knowing fully well that 2011 was an electoral year and also calling for political reform. The other riot was around President Mubarak’s birthday, May 3-4, this time by political activists and members of parliament who were more roughly treated than the protesters in April 2010. The Western media just ignored these demonstrations, and the plea from Amnesty International was futile.

Secondly, Egyptians were not affected by what happened in Tunisia. Tunisia is the country which carried the torch light in that region. The reason for the Tunisian uprising was primarily corrupt government and deeply rooted nepotism, which was gradually eliminating the middle social class in that country. Egyptians were rioting against Western imperialism to which the government deemed more necessary than the basic needs of the Egyptians themselves, and yet all progressing businesses were seized by the government or asked to pay high dividends. Issues such as the Egypt’s Nile water rights, the persistent housing crisis, unemployment, injustice and poverty were always brought to the table and ignored by a government which preferred trading in billions with America over military and war- related products and services.  Both Tunisia and Egyptian riots were fueled by provocative postings on social media sites, not in Arabic, but in English and French.

While Tunisia is ruled by the sirens of a police regime, Egyptians are under the boots of the army. The Egyptian army is more valuable, well trained, well-funded and better paid than the Tunisian army. This is just to name a few. Cameroon has a ‘soft’ presence in the international scene, not ruled by a General, and it has witnessed almost similar riots which resulted in a decrease in food and beverage prices – the carrots the government uses to appease its citizens. We have never heard of Cameroonian parliamentarians rioting, the national assembly is a dead as the graveyard.

Cameroonians should not forget that Arabs and Muslims have different motives and aspirations. We might have slippery mouths in declaring that it all boils down to democracy. True, but since democracy is not possessive but reflective of the society in which it seeks to operate, different cultural societies have different demands to prompt a ‘democratic supply.’ You can be happy for Egyptians but tell yourself this; their struggles have just begun. Their country is still ruled by the military, military officers who have no abilities or capabilities of state administration. Administering the affairs of a country is not similar to fighting war. It is similar to asking the best taxi driver to fly a plane because he has a good command of the wheel. There is a great difference between driving a taxi and piloting. There is a difference between controlling the military and governing a country.

The Way Forward – Definitely not the road that leads to Rome

We all know that to win, to become a meritorious champion, you must train. Look at heavyweight champion lifters, successful tennis players, football players, and athletes. There is constant training and training, determination, dedication, motivation and DISCIPLINE. Yes, discipline. Every champion has a coach and a supporting team. This is a fact, not a fable. Candidates should earn their stripes

Fellow Cameroonians, we live in society where it can be proven that working together is different from working with each other. We should understand that the only thing that supports our reality and constant struggle is our belief in it. We are experiencing a transitional period where change should reflect a substantial effect as to the quality of the transformation. This quality of the transformation would primarily be determined by our ways of lives, then our relations with others and our environments.

But where will the ideas and knowledge come from? Certainly not from the same architects, congress, men or parliamentarians, public relations officers or journalists, doctors, professors, scientists and priests of the old system. Not from the same strategies and implementations copied from neighboring countries, and neither from the good talks from developed countries. It is the poor, the people tagged as debtors in this democratic process, who are demanding more for excellence, not the rich nor the ‘better-offs.’ The money-makers are bent on their business, wanting to live in luxury, sometimes becoming physically or mentally idle, suppressing their ability to be exposed to pain while they welcome pleasure. They are much more concerned about making money, not for excellence.

Designs, knowledge, ideas and creativity and hence understanding will originate wherever creative and critical thinking flourish within the mind of the Cameroonian individual, societal relationships, the common place, the platform for constructive debate – wherever common people strike a balance between who says what, where, when and why, its ramifications, implications and consequences to them as individuals and to their society in general. Change shall be effective where Cameroonians struggle to discover and exploit their individuality and surroundings, their ability to assimilate and articulate ideas that are already of conscious times, embedded in everyday life. Thus, the form of change implied should be one whose outcome should maintain the functioning of active systems of communities, and at the same time sustaining continuous changes in it.

Educate people from villages to cities. Educate people on the necessity of change rather than on its obligations. Education must not necessarily  come from the classroom but from common places of acquaintances; village meetings, gatherings, symposiums, rural conference, family meetings and socialization, ex-student associations, conventions, church announcements and support groups. Yes, all the pieces of the pizza put together would form the whole.

What do I think the new president should do? Gradually revamp the old systems. I would suggest two methods for guidance and gradual progression: clear and concise action planning and communal motivation. We should collectively diagnosed the mistakes of yesterday, plan for today and prepare for the joys and odds of tomorrow. Communal participation stimulates the growth of trust. It ensures that everyone is involved from villages to cities, and willing to execute the missions. Other issues worth considering and acting upon are:

  • Cultural values should be preserved and respected. There is no culture which is more dominant that the other.
  • People should merit their jobs. An effective analysis of performance should be established in all industrial sectors. Decentralization of job-tasks should be encouraged.
  • Boost the private sector by encouraging investments and entrepreneurship.
  • The banking sector should be regulated. Client savings should be a priority. Banks should set up supervisory and executive bodies, committees for constitution and laws, to control monetary policy, local and foreign investments, financial stability of institutions, payment transactions, and banknotes and coins.
  • Business partnerships should be re-evaluated.
  • Syndicates, think-tanks, brain trust teams should be formed in every community, even the least. There should an osmosis effect, where the strong, hardworking, intelligent and creative minds pull the least of such. The diffusion of knowledge should be encouraged through communal participatory methods.
  • Encourage economic, sociology and scientific research in universities. Problematic topics should be carefully studied. National issues should be prioritized; economic issues should be listed in scale of preferences.

There should be no rush in trying to clean the old systems. No need to draw hasty conclusions out of unusual situations.

Dear Cameroonians let us open our eyes and fall short from being excited about October 2011. Do not forget. We might talk of a wind of change, but you must ask yourself how many winds of change were actually winds? Most swiftly became whirlwinds, and tornadoes, and guess what, many did not survive. Only the strong survived and only the lonely died slowly.

With the radical emergence of Honorable Ayah Paul, and the current ‘bold’ leap into the ‘Change Camp’ of the other presidential hopefuls, some Cameroonians think at last their cries in the wilderness have been heard. And who knows if upcoming cries in the wilderness might be the coming of a sand storm? It could be our ruin.

We are not looking for a truck or tractor driver to show us his expertise in commanding the wheels of these heavy automobiles, nor are we looking for a ship captain who does not know what nautical miles are, neither are we looking for the best Formula 1 speed racer nor a straight 5 A’s A-level genius, or the good doctor who is always ready to prescribe medicine to his patients. No. Cameroon like any country needs an ear which listens to the people, a mind which thinks about and alongside with the people and their societal relations, a man who is not by the people, nor who is there for the people but the leader who is WITH those citizens who think and bleed for the betterment of their country.

Think again, Dear Cameroonians:

Remember Benjamin Franklin, who said, he that cannot obey cannot command.

a) We are not looking for a leader who would spend time listening to our wants and needs. Nor are we looking for those who would promise to build bridges where there are no rivers, because no matter the intensity of the rain, it cannot change the spots on a leopard. If you want to change the spots on a leopard, cross breed it. Easy. So we need a leader who can cross-breed ideas and take us to where we have not been.  Leaders do not promise. The only way to keep your word is, don’t give it up.  Change comes in small doses, but we expect the wind of change to sweep across the territory.

b) We are not looking for leaders who would follow a path for guidance but those who can go where there are no paths and leave a trail.

Methinks, this is the time whereby the opposition should sit down, design strategies to gradually restore confidence to the people that as soon the presidency is changed, Cameroon would be back on track for gradual democratic development and progression.

Indeed, fellow readers, it is a long way to go, and we have to start small. It is not a matter of time; it is a matter of alertness, awareness – heightened consciousness. It is a matter of pre-preparation, organization, of momentary ideas and decisions, of looking forward while acting on feedback. It is not a moment for lamenting about problems and finger-pointing, not a moment to curse, neither cry nor being rash in behavior. We all should think together. There is no stupid proposition. The only stupid proposition is the one which was not proposed. During this journey, we shall make mistakes. Making mistakes should not be automatically viewed as a guarantee for failure. Immediate steps should be taken to correct our mistakes and transform them into successful experiences.  Given certain time-frames, issues should be ranked and taken into consideration. Not family issues but issues which hinder the propping up of the society in which we live.

We live in a world where everybody wants something. No one wants to be the last to know…so, do not be the last man standing. I do hope our aspiring leaders do not become much ado about nothing persons, but persons who are serious, focused, tactical, dynamic, dedicated, disciplined and smart.

And please do not say God is in control, because I would ask you where he was when the last elections were taking place.  We can pray to God and trust in God yet we would always pay cash. You can trust in God but you have to lock your car.

We do not need to imitate any other society; nor do our leaders imitate any other leader. We need to be supportive to ourselves and our leaders and uphold our cultural values as we internally cleanse ourselves. Methods, strategies, decisions and policies placed on the table and ready for implementation after considerable thinking would determine our direction. We cannot see a leaf falling and know which direction the wind is blowing. This is not about liberalization; this is about waking up from slumber and taking each horse by the reins.

Every dog has its day. Unfortunately we are not dogs. We just want to be like dogs with no tails.

Our visions of a democratic society would become clearer when we search the memory of our minds. When we spend time looking outside and expecting any form of external aid, we are dreaming, but when we look inside, we would awaken. We would grow and advance when we desire sleep in the absence of dreams.

We all hope and would be willing to participate for the development of a better Cameroon

May passion and not pedigree triumph.

Notes: I am sorry for taking off much of your time. I deemed it necessary that we know the actual issues of our Country and our own conditioning as Cameroonians. Not the big talk or big words going on in the press or from intellectuals or from the international community.

I stand reasonably corrected and very open-minded to debate and questions. Sorry for spelling errors. Sorry if you thought I offended your opinion. I am not inclined to any candidate. I am just asking Cameroonians to THINK AGAIN.

To all those who have the same thinking of ‘another Cameroonian babbling from abroad’; I very much respect your opinion. If you need to know what I have done, what I am doing and what I am planning to do for Cameroon, please mail me.

We are human beings who can think and act. Such childish thoughts should be eradicated. We should be mature.

My e mail: frank4b@hotmail.com

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Complete Report of the ACHPR Visit to Buea. Compiled by Martin Fon Yembe

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.

 

The Messages:

The messages on the placards were as loud as they were sharp. They ranged from slogans to calls and warnings to the Yaoundé regime, the African Commission and the entire international community in general. Some of them read as follows:

La Republique du Cameroun: Respect AU Constitutive Act; The Unification of West and East Cameroon was faked by Ahidjo: We want o be free Now.; Annexation I Crime Against UN Charter; No to Annexation, No to Occupation, No to Colonial Rule; There re no Documents filed at the UN…;  We are Demanding Southern Cameroons Independence; Southern Cameroonians are a People; No to Colonial Occupation; La Republique du Cameron, Respect your Boundary at Independence; The Constructive Dialogue, Now or never!; Self-Determination is our Inalienable Right; No to Assimilation, no to Military Occupation; We are demanding Southern Cameroons Independence Now; Bravo! Bravo! Southern Sudan etc etc. One could see military and security operatives jotting down the points raised on the placards. An agent of the African Commission later came around collecting the placards, some memos from some individuals and even stamps bearing the map of La Republique du Cameroun indicating that the Southern Cameroons was never part of La Republique du Cameroun.

 

Standoff between Southern Cameroons and AC Delegation: The French Language Syndrom

One US writer, Clarence Shepard one indicated in a book, Father Interferes ( 1934), that  “Imagine the Lord talking French! Aside from a few odd words in Hebrew, I took it completely for granted that God had never spoken anything but the most dignified English.” He must have very touched once by some French speaking official who made him conclude that all that goes with French is no good. So, when Madam Alapine Ganou started off the encounter/discussions in the hall in French and was told that many are not understanding, she worsened things by showing her French cultural background. She flared, shouted, ranted and told all present that she is Beninoise and so speaks only her French. At this juncture many could understand why Southern Cameroonians have been having multiple obstacles with the African Commission, given that the Secretary of that Commission who worked and butchered the Banjul verdict on Communication 266/2003, Mary Maboreke, is a Burkina Bay, French speaking. She sounded like the lady at the court of Versailles in Voltaire’s book when she said :  “’What a dreadful pity that the bother at the tower of Babel should have got language all mixed up, but for that, everyone would always have spoken French.’”

 

Even when the very respectable elderly statesman, Mola Njoh Litumbe took the floor language that is spoken and understood; that his generation was not privileged to be taught a word in French; that even during trials it is the right of the other party to have a translator if they don’t understand the other language; that Mm Chairperson’s interventions be translated into English…Madam Gansou continued being emphatic that she will speak her French and the others could speak their English. She insisted that they were not at Banjul or Addis Ababa. In spite of all the jeers and boos, she and her collaborator, Mm Asagbor crudely and rudely insisted that they will not heed to the people’s wishes.

 

 

Mission of the Delegation: The Southern Cameroons Problem

So, she went on to trace her last visit the to Cameroons in 2006 when  she was in Mme Asagbor’s shoes as Rapporteur for Huma Rights Defenders in Africa. She is back to see whether there has been any improvements after her report and recommendations on prison and human rights situation in Cameroon.

By the time the delegation gave the place for interventions from the floor, and the first to take the floor was Mola Njoh Litumbe on behalf of the People of the Southern Cameroons, SCNC , SCAPO, BRISCAMIAC, Southern Cameroons Civil Society in Washington DC, Liberal Democratic Alliance and other. Here are excerpts of what he had to say:

“Madam chairlady of the African Commission. In order to have a peaceful society there must be mutual respect for law and order. In the process of bringing matters to the African Commission, people expect the recommendations are respected, but this is not the case with our case in Cameroon… I wonder whether the African Commission has any powers to follow up and bring delinquent and despondent states to respecting decisions from the African Commission…

The fundamental issue is the status of the Southern Cameroons. We, as a people were called by the Charter and rules of the UN to have our independence by joining, and modalities are prescribed in that Charter, why, in our case, is this not being respected?…

We are aare tht the United Nations, the world organ decided to create regional organs like the AU to oversee issues that could be handled at this level. So, I wonder, as an elderly man, whether it is possible for the African Commission to take a decision that is contrary to that of the United Nations!…

The people of the Southern Cameroons have been insisting that they don’t want any bloodshed. The fact that he recommendations of the African Commission are not being respected by La Republique du Cameroun troubles him…

It took the African Cmmission six years to go through Communication 266/2003, with the financial burden on the poor citizens of the Southern Cameroons…empoverished further by the delay and the non compliance of the LRC government as well as the African Commission…

I therefore submit, with very strong warnings, that there is an urgent need for the African Commission to pay urgent attention to the situation in the Southern Cameroons, else, the wworld will soon be taken off guard.

 

The next to take the floor was Nfor N. Nfor, Vice Chair of SCNC. Hear him ( excerpts)

“… Madam Chairlady, I stand here on behalf of the over five million Southern Cameroonians to let you understand that we, and our unborn children are suffering brutal human rights abuses in the Southern Cameroons. Until we come to understand what we, Southern Cameroonians are going through as such under the occupational forces, we will never understand why we are crying.

…I stress here that SCNC members are arrested day in, day out as if there is no Criminal Procedure code (CPC) for SCNC. The police, magistrates and administrators, all, proconsuls of La Republique du Cameroun always refuse SCNC detainees bail after arrests and detentions. We have come to understand that human rights are never respected and can never be respected where a people have been colonized.

…We here congratulate the African Union and United Nations for the outcome in Southern Sudan, and so Southern Cameroonians wish their situation to be resolved peacefully, not until over two million souls would have perished as was the case in Sudan.

…LRC and the Southern Cameroons will, forever remain neighbours. Let our rights as Southern Cameroonians be respected, and there will be no problem. We accommodated citizens of La Republique du Cameroun during the days of terrorism, and we hope that this whole thing ends peacefully…”

In her reaction to the issues concerning the Southern Cameroons, Madam Alapine was frank and humble enough to state that her commission has no powers to take political decisions over political issues. It is the prerogative of the African Union. She indicated that theirs ends at the level of recommendations, especially when it has to do with human rights abuses. The truth, she insisted is that the African Court, which is being put in place, is the as the AC, an adjudicator. It is thus for Southern Cameroonians to make their point to the “appropriate bodies” for effective result.

 

Concluding Observations:

It should be noted that the moderator of the occasion had indicated that speakers during the occasion were to be those NGOs and organizations that had indicated and were accredited. This meant that the SCNC was out of the way. But, why was it the Southern Cameroons issue that dominated the day and took over ¾ of the time? It is clear that nothing can be gotten if not seized. The Commission and all had to adjust to accommodate the real issue of concern for the people…the independence and freedom of the Southern Cameroons.

It was realized that for the first time in Buea, the people felt free to demonstrate, peacefully as opposed to what obtained in 2009 October when the LDA organized a meting at the Molyko stadium to explain the Banjul verdict to the people and were molested by the forces of law and order( as raised by Vincent Feko in his own worries to the Commission).

Thousands were around, but stood at a respectable distance to lend their support, but full of fear. Why was there no intervention from the forces? Was it because the Commission members were around? If on another occasion, this same people want to carry out a similar action, will gendarmes and police simply look on and take down notes as was the case this Saturday February 5?

There is a strong message contained in the statements of the Southern Cameroons’ leaders. Either the world solves the problem of the Southern Cameroons peacefully while the going is still good, or they should be ready to do it the Southern Sudanese way, after millions lose their lives. In her reaction, the chairlady made a straight point, that the African Commission is helpless and can do nothing more than what it has done so far. The message is clear, “…call the attention of the African Union and United Nation as others have done and your problem can be solved!!!”

This report is open and can be published by anyone anywhere. A detailed report with the memorandum, pictures and other reports of land grabbing in the Southern Cameroons like Bang Koumtchoum, Kutupit, Lebialem and Tiko and documentations Submitted to the African Commission is circulated to restricted quarters.

Compiled by Martin Fon Yembe

Buea Feb 6, 2011

Buea Calls for Action for Independence of Southern Cameroons. By Martin Yembe In Buea

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.

The Ongoing Trial at the African Court between Southern Cameroons and La Republique du Cameroun..From Den of Lions Volume I by Ntemfac Ofege

reallThe Import of Communications 337/2007

Southern Cameroons had two Communications at the African Commission: Communication 266/2003 whose ruling has been handed down and Communication 337/2007. As sumised by the deputy-Chairman of SCAPO, Augustine Feh Ndangam, ‘the ruling on Communication 266/2003 has brought in a significant measure of breakthrough and weaned that project from the windward side of the mountain to the leeward, and the flurry of activities.’[1]

Per Ndangam, broadly speaking in Communication  337, the State of the Southern Cameroons is asking the ‘Court’ or the African Commission –  to declare La Republique du Cameroon to be in violation of Article 4(b) of the Constitutive Act of the African Union with respect to the westward expansion of the international boundary of La Republique du Cameroun to include the former UN Trust territory of the Southern Cameroons.  As earlier stated, State parties to the African Constitutive Act are committed (Article 4b) to respecting the borders they inherited at independence. That is their recognized international boundary.

In a September 13, 2008 response to Letter No ACHPR/LPROT/COMM377/07/FO of  October 7, 2008, SCAPO and the SCNC wrote:

1)      Comunication 337/2007 was filed at the 41st ordinary Session of the ACHPR in Ghana. At the 42nd Session in Brazzaville, Complainants were told that the Respondent states had not yet replied.

2)      At the 43rd Session in Swaziland, Complainants were again told that the Respondent States had not yet replied.

3)      Here at the 44th Session In Abuja, complainants have again been told that the Communication under reference is being deferred because Respondent States have not yet replied.In the light of these persistent failures of the Respondent States to respond, we urge the Commission to take the appropriate measure/decision when defendants either refuse or reply after three sessions as is the present case.

To this end we wish to underscore the following points:

1)      That the frontiers of the Southern Cameroons are determined by International Treaties. These frontiers wer not set up by La Republique du Cameroun, a country of which we were not part when they independence and have not been a part of as will be established in the merit phase of this case.

2)      That self-determination is a continuing right and in essence means self preservation, not self destruction. Therefore, a people cannot self preserve by extinguishing themselves. NO African country is known to have undergone self-extinction in the process of decolonization and self determination.

3)      If tomorrow African countries have to surrender their independence and sovereignties to create a stronger union in Africa it will be by each sovereign people to surrender their own independent territory to create such a stronger sovereign African Union, but not through the crimes of annexation, illegal territorial acquisition and the subjugation of Africans by Africans. The very notion of union excludes duress, it excludes manipulation, it excludes the violation of the rights of others peoples fully protected by the African Charter.

4)      Communicatiosn337/2007 is fully based on the principles of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, the AU Charter, and the principles of international law in general. We must make it crystsl clear to the African Commission that just as the erst of Africa rejected coloization, in all its forms, the people of the Southern Cameroons shall never, never bow to it in whatever form.

We therefore call on the 44th Ordinary Session of the African Commission to make a ruling on the admissibility of Commission 337/2007.[2]

Interim Measures and the possible arrival of a Peace-Keping force

To date, the Southern Cameroons has the following complaints before the ACHPR:

1)      Application for the Review of Decision on Communication 266/2003.

2)      Admissibility in Communication 337/2007.

3)      Application for Provincial Measures in Communication 337/2007.

Per AF Ndangam, the application for provisional/interim measures pursuant to Article III of the Rules of Procedure of the ACHPR arose from the reaction of the government of LRC to the transformation of SCAPO to a Southern Cameroons Political Party. Contrary to some who claimed that SCAPO had registered as a party in Republique du Cameroun, the inside story was different.

SCAPO had declared itself a Southern Cameroons Political party with a 3-point political agenda

1)      De-Annexation of the Southern Cameroons from Republique du Cameroun.

2)      Self-determination for the people of Southern Cameroons within their International  Boundary and

3)      the confirmation and re-tracing of Southern  Cameroons international boundaries.  This declaration was distributed to the press and to LRC Administration in Bamenda.

The SDO for Mezam refused to entertain the declaration. The Governor’s office in Bamenda refused to accept the application but later took but, in violation of the law, refused to issue the acknowledgement receipt.

SCAPO, however, drew the attention of ACHPR to the incidence copying the Governor who promptly issued the acknowledgement Receipt and forwarded the declaration file to the Ministry of Territorial Administration.

The Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralization then wrote to SCAPO saying that the stated objectives of SCAPO ran contrary to national unity and to Article 9 of Cameroons law on political parties.  SCAPO now drew the attention of the African Commission to what amounted to a ban on SCAPO’s political activities and pointed out the need to restrain the action of the Minister of Territorial Administration in Southern Cameroon’s internal affairs where their claim of sovereignty over SC was undergoing legal challenge before the ACHPR.

SCAPO therefore applied for an injunction order restraining LRC from interfering in Southern Cameroons including their exercise of sovereignty and conduct of elections until Communication 337/2007 was disposed of. This application for an injunction order is the third matter we have presently before the African Commission.

Mr. Biya’s Response – the Military

On December 4, 2009, Mr. Paul Biya, president of La Republique du Cameroun, decided to schedule what he termed the ‘Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Camerounese Army’ in Bamenda, the main town of the Northern Zone of the Southern Cameroons.

The deployment of the Camerounese army to Bamenda ran contrary to several advisories tabled to Mr. Biya by none other than the U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, on an official visit to Cameroun, last June 2010, which advisory called on Mr. Biya to desist from deploying his army to Bamenda on a so-called 50th Army Day, the ever supercilious Biya stuck his guns.  The ACHPR also advised against the deployment of troops to Bamenda.


[1] See Report on the 47th Ordinary Session of the African Commission of Human and Peoples Rights Meeting in Banjul, the Gambia from May 12-26, 2010. as posted on Ambasbay.

[2] Letter posted on most Southern cameroons websites

Why the UN gave the President of Cameroun two Maps On May 20, 2010

Biya Handed Two Maps as of Date of Independence

According to CRTV reports monitored in Buea, and recorded in the State-owned Cameroon Tribune, the United Nation’s 64th President of the general Assembly, Ali Triki was in Yaounde on May 20. He had not been at the ceremonial ceremony marking Yaounde declared National Day, but turned up at the Unity Palace with a strong delegation. His birthday gift to Biya was two well-framed maps. The one was a large framed map of La Republique du Cameroon, with an international boundary separating LRC and the Southern Cameroons. The second was the map of the British Cameroons, with an international boundary separating the Southern Cameroons and Northern Cameroons.

The CRTV reporter on the bid, George Ewane made the following commentaries: “Apart from the Map of the Republic of Cameroun is that of British Southern Cameroons is and the anchor man at the studio, Joseph Le and Ephraim Banda Ghogomo cut in to ask “What did you say?” And George could comment no more. So he allowed the microphone to overhear what Mr. Ali Triki was saying.., Voici la carte du Cameroun Britannique…histoire en a decidee”

La Republique du Cameroun had her independence on January 1, 1960. The boundaries as of that date were determined, established and recorded at the Secretariat of the United Nations in New York. As of that day, the Southern Cameroons and Northern Cameroons were still under the trusteeship of Britain, being prepared for eventual independence. Its flag was Green Red Yellow and its National Anthem, reflecting the savagery of LRC was made public. Its first President was Mr. Ahmadou Ahidjo.

On February 11, 1961, the Southern Cameroons voted in a UN-organized plebiscite to have her independence in a defined union with LRC, while Northern Cameroons did so, but to unite with the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Nigeria remains a federation as of that pact signed in 1961, while the Southern Cameroons remains annexed, given that the proceeds from the 1961 plebiscite were never formalized in a Union Treaty to be deposited at the Secretariat of the United Nations as per U.N Charter, which makes it very clear that if two nations come into an understanding to change their original international boundaries in the form of any mergence, it must do so with the knowledge of the United nations and both will sign a Union pact which must be deposited at the U.N Secretariat.

But, history has it that by June/July of 1961, La Republique du Cameroun invited the Southern Cameroons, through its Prime Minister, John Ngu Foncha, to attend a Conference in Foumban in LRC where they were to discuss the Constitution of a future United Cameroons in a federal structure. Was this to go along smoothly, there was to be a signing ceremony whose outcome was to be related to the United Nations as per UN Charter Article 102(b)? Alas, this never happened as LRC’s foul play was uncovered. Foumban ended in a still birth.

So, by October 1, 1961, Britain was itchy to quit the soils of Southern Cameroons. J.O. Field had packed his bags and baggage and his boat was steaming, ready to take off. Southern Cameroons was to be officially declared an independent state, to assert its future. What happened at today is Bongo Square was a horrible mess “an open hijacking of the independence of a people. When the Union Jack was lowered, Ahidjo’s green Red Yellow was raised and LRC’s Savage Anthem chanted in French!! Foncha was helpless and vulnerable.

That notwithstanding, the independence was declared, and only hijacked. It was like a slave being freed by one slave master, and on his way home, he is enslaved by another slave master.

ENTER THE TWO MAPS

So, what were the two maps that the UN representative handed to Biya in Yaounde on May 20, 2010? According to live re[ports from CRTV monitored in Bamenda, the UN representative, Ali Triki, who is the President of the 64th General Assembly of the UN, in handing the two maps to Cameroun’s Head of State, declared “Voici les cartes de Cameroon Britannique…histoire en a decidee ( Here are the maps of British Cameroons…history had so decided..”. According to another State-owned media, Cameroon Tribune of Tuesday May 25, 2010, on page 1 and 3, carrying the pictures of the two maps in the presence of Paul Biya and Jean Victor Nkolo, who is of the Information Department at the UN, the two maps were well framed, large enough for Biya to understand even from twenty meters away.

The first and very gigantic one is the Map of La Republique du Cameroun as of January 1, 1960! It shows clearly the red line and green line separating British Cameroons from La Republique du Cameroun. LRC is no more a triangle with British Cameroons as Biya and Yaounde have it. What Mr. Ali Triki was presenting through this first big map was the map showing LRC as far as the United Nations is concerned. That is LRC as per January 1, 1960.

The second map is also very clear and well framed, clearly separated from the first. It shows the Map of British Southern Cameroons as of October 1, 1961. What does this entails? It means one and one thing only. The United Nations cannot suffer itself to print and frame very large maps of one’s country to come and present it as birth day gifts just like that. Imagine that at your birth day, someone comes up with framed pictures of yours when you were born. Or, in another circumstance, imagine that you are celebrating the 50th anniversary of your marriage; someone comes with two framed pictures of you, and your wife, separately, when she was a maiden and you a bachelor. More so, he refers to her as Miss. The message is simple! That the man, say, the court magistrate or mayor, is reminding you that your stay together is still not regularized as per the law.

WHAT IS AT STAKE?

The United Nations has come and attended the 50th anniversary of LRC, and, by the gift of those two maps, is informing the Yaounde authorities that the same UN will readily attend the 50th anniversary of the Southern Cameroons in Buea come October 1, 1961. Is the UN acknowledging, in a diplomatic manner that Yaounde and Buea have some unfinished works at the UN’s Secretariat. That what the Banjul courts. ACHPR is dabbling with is already being taken care of at the level of the UN..or maybe, the Gorji Dinka were right after all, except that they do not know like all of us, how to exploit their opportunities and chances!

Internationally Recognised Boundary Between Southern Cameroons and La Republique du Cameroun

INTERNATIONALLY TREATIED BOUNDARY BETWEEN THE BRITISH SOUTHERN CAMEROONS AND LRC

Extracted from:

DECLARATION MADE BY THE GOVERNOR OF THE COLONY AND PROTECTORATE OF NIGERIA AND THE GOVERNOR OF THE FRENCH CAMEROONS DEFINING THE BOUNDARY BETWEEN BRITISH AND FRENCH CAMEROONS

 

The undersigned:

 

Sir Graeme Thomson, G.C.M.G., K.C.B., Governor of the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria.

 

Dated 9 January 1931

(Treaty Series No. 34 (1931) [Cmd. 3936])

Exchange of Notes between His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom and the French Government respecting the Boundary between British and French Cameroons

NOTE: 1-75 defines LRC and British Northern Cameroons boundary, which by the plebiscite treaty joined Nigeria as per UN Resolution 1608 of April 21, 1961!

(76) Thence a line parallel to the Koubokam-Koutopi path on its northern side until the stream Moinum (Banso) or Ketchouperin (Bamun) is reached, thus leaving the Koubokam-Koutopi path wholly in French territory.

(77) Thence the stream Ketchouperin or Moinun until its junction with the River Moinun (Banso and Bamun) or Upper Nun.

(78) Thence the Moinun to its junction with the River Nun.

(79) Thence the River Nun to its junction with the River Ngwanonsia or Chawnga or Chawga.

(80) Thence the River Ngwanonsia upstream to the point where it is crossed by the Nkwefu-Bambalang Road.

(81) Thence a line westwards through the swamp to the northern extremity of the Island of Nkwefu (an elder of the Bagam village of Fombefu).

(82) Thence a line westwards through the swamp to the point where the Fombefu-Nkwefu path cuts the River Ta or Tantam.

(83) Thence the River Tantam upstream to its confluence with the River Sefu or Mekango.

(84) Thence the River Sefu upstream to its source.

(85) Thence a line south-westwards to the apex of the large isolated rock called Ngoma Fominyam.

(86) Thence a line southwards to the source of the River Webinga near point 1300 in Moisel’s map and to the east of it.

(87) Thence the River Webinga to its confluence with the Mbonso (Bali-Bagam) or Momogo (Bagam).

(88) Thence the River Mbonso to its confluence with the River Mifi.

(89) Thence the River Mifi upstream to its confluence with the River Mogo or Dochi.

(90) Thence the River Mogo upstream to its confluence with the stream Dugum (Bali-Bagam) or Mousete-Fontchili (Bagam), which is slightly above where the Bagam-Bali-Bagam road crosses the River Mogo.

(91) Thence the stream Dugum to its source which is marked by a cairn of stones on the eastern side of Mount Ngenkoa (Bali-Bagam) or Koungo (Bagam).

(92) Thence a line to a cairn of stones at the top of the defile between Mount Ngenkoa in the south and Mount Tabira (Bali-Bagam) or Koumenou (Bagam) in the north.

(93) Thence a line to the bend in the River Bingwa (Bali-Bagam) or Seporo (Bagam), about 60 yards from the above-mentioned cairn.

(94) Thence the River Bingwa to its confluence with the River Mifi.

(95) Thence the River Mifi upstream to its confluence with the River Kongwong.

(96) Thence the River Kongwong upstream to its junction with the River Tooloo or Ntoulou.

(97) Thence the River Tooloo to a cairn at the top of the waterfall about 1 kilometre above the confluence of the Rivers Tooloo and Kongwong.

(98) Thence a straight line on a magnetic bearing of 130º to the summit of a circular peak immediately to the north of the defile Zemembi, through which passes the Babadju-Bapinyi path.

(99) Thence the line of heights overlooking to the east the vale of Babdju and to the west the valley of the Meso to the peak Asimi, where this line of heights ends.

(100) Thence a straight line to the centre of the marsh shown on Moisel’s map as Mbetscho and called Kifi by the natives of Babinyi, and Tchinbintcho by those of Babadju.

(101) Thence the crest of the watershed between the Cross River on the west and the River Noun on the east to a beacon in the centre of a small area of forest named Mepong about 400 Metres south-east of Mount Lekonkwe or Etchemtankou on the crest of the watershed.

(102) Thence the stream Tantchempong, which has its source about 25 metres south-west of the above-mentioned beacon, to its confluence with the stream Mintchemecharlee.

(103) Thence the stream Mintchemecharlee upstream to the point where it most nearly reaches two small rocks named Tolezet which mark the boundary between the villages of Fossong Elelen and Fongo Tongo on the road between those villages.

(104) Thence a line passing through the two rocks named Tolezet to the source of the stream Monchenjemaw or Montchi Zemo.

(105) Thence this stream to its confluence with the stream Munchisemor or Montchi Zemoua, which has its source about 50 metres west of the largest of the three rocks called Melogomalee or Melegomele.

(106) Thence the stream Munchisemor to its source.

(107) Thence a line passing through the centre of the largest of the three rocks called Melogomalee to the source of the stream Monchita or Montchi Monie, about 100 metres south-south- east of the above-named rock.

(108) Thence the stream Monchita to its confluence with the River Bamig.

(109) Thence the River Bamig upstream to its source on a forest-covered hill called Nkenchop (the point where the River Bamig crosses the Dschang-Fontem Road is marked by a beacon).

(110) Thence a line through the crest of the hill Nkenchop to the crest of a forest-covered hill called Siambi.

(111) Thence a straight line to a beacon placed on the watershed at a point known as Ntchoumgomo.

(112) Thence a line following the crest of the watershed between the Cross River on the west and the River Nkam on the east through the summits of Mounts Ngome and Jomen to the summit of Mount Wenmen.

(113) Thence a straight line running south-south- west to join the River Ngwe.

(114) Thence the River Ngwe for a distance of 3 kilometres to its affluent, the stream Liplo.

(115) Thence the stream Liplo to a point 500 metres west of the Moangekam-Lo track.

(116) Thence a line running parallel with this track and 500 metres west of it, until this line reaches the crest of Mount Njimba.

(117) Thence a line along the crest of Mount Njimba to its summit, which lies to the west of the French village of Moangekam.

(118) Thence a line through the summit of Mount Ngokela to the plain of Elung, leaving the Muanya compound of Nyan in British territory.

(119) Thence a track cut across the plain and marked with posts so as to leave the village of Nyan in British territory and the village of Po-Wassum in French territory, until this track reaches the stream Edidio.

(120) Thence this stream until it is crossed by the Poala-Muangel track.

(121) Thence a line running south-south- west along the summit of Mount Manenguba to the ridge surrounding the basin of the lakes.

(122) Thence a curved line along the eastward side of the ridge until the point where the Muandon-Poala track crosses the ridge.

(123) Thence the Muandon-Poala track in a westerly direction down the slopes of Mount Hahin and Mount Ebouye until it reaches the River Mbe.

(124) Thence the River Mbe which runs parallel with Mount Mueba, until a line of cairns and posts is reached.

(125) Thence this line of cairns and posts, which marks the boundary between the French villages of Muaminam (Grand Chef Nsasso) and the English villages of the Bakossi tribe (District Head Ntoko) and the Ninong tribe (district Head Makege), to the point where an unnamed tributary from the North joins the River Eko.

(126) Thence a line touching the two westernmost points of the boundary of the former German plantation of Ngoll to the crest of Mount Elesiang.

(127) Thence along the crest of Mount Elesiang to the northern-most point of the tobacco plantation of Nkolankote.

(128) Thence a line running south-south- west along Mount Endon, so as to leave the plantation of Nkolankote in French territory and the plantation of Essosung in British territory, to the summit of Mount Coupe.

(129) Thence a straight line running south-south- west to a cairn of stones on the Lum-Ngab Road at a point 6,930 metres along this road from the railway track.

(130) Thence a straight line in a south-westerly direction to the source of the River Bubu.

(131) Thence the River Bubu to a point 1,200 metres downstream from a place called Muanjong Farm.

(132) Thence in a straight line in a westerly direction to the source of the River Ediminjo.

(133) Thence the River Ediminjo to its confluence with the River Mungo.

(134) Thence the River Mungo to the point in its mouth where it meets the parallel 4º 2′ 3″ north.

(135) Thence this parallel of latitude westwards so as to reach the coast south of Tauben Island.

(136) Thence a line following the coast, passing south of Reiher Island to Mokola Creek, thus leaving the whole of the Moewe See in British territory.

(137) Thence a line following the eastern banks of the Mokola, Mbakwele, Njubanan-Jau, and Matumal creeks, and cutting the mouths of the Mbossa-Bombe, Mikanje, Tende, Victoria and other unnamed creeks to the junction of Matumal and Victoria creeks.

(138) Thence a line running 35º west of true south to the Atlantic Ocean.

Signed:

GRAEME THOMSON, Governor of the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria.

MARCHAND Gouverneur, Commissaire de la République française au Cameroun.

The Thrust of the New Southern Cameroons Case – Communications 337/2007 at the African Court

Broadly speaking in Communication 33/2007, the State of the Southern Cameroons is asking the “Court”/African Commission to declare La Republique du Cameroon to be in violation of Article 4(b) of the Constitutive Act of the African Union with respect to the westward expansion of the international boundary of La Republique du Cameroun to include the former UN Trust territory of the Southern Cameroons.  State parties to the African Constitutive Act are committed (Article 4b) to respecting the borders they inherited at independence. That is their recognized international boundary.

It is likely that 337 will anchor not only on the AU Constitutive Act but also on the UN Charter and other International Instruments eg if LRC says (as they already did in Communication 266: Kevin Ngwang Gumne and Others Vs LRC) that SC voted later on to join them, it may also be necessary to go into whether or not there is a legal instrument (Treaty of Union) signed by SC and LR and registered at the UN Secretariat in compliance with Article 102 of the UN charter, etc.