Educating Will Power. By Arturo Ramo

In educational environments it is often said that the Pedagogy of effort is fundamental for learning with effectiveness and being successful in one’s academic life and life in general.

Various research studies concerning education conclude that the “wanting to study” is more important than intelligence when it comes to academic performance. Payot asserts that genius is, above all, a long process of patience: scientific and literary works that honor human talent the most are not at all due to the superiority of intelligence, like it is generally believed, but instead to the superiority of a will power that is admirably owner of itself.

Campaigns against drugs, alcohol, sexual promiscuity, tobacco and violence are promoted from different sectors of society. In all of these campaigns, the youth is taught to say “NO” to drugs, alcohol, tobacco, etc., but for this to happen it is necessary for these young people to have a strong will power.

This is why it is crucial to educate one’s will power, which in other words means to educate one’s self.

However, what is will power? It could be said that it is the soul’s potential that moves someone to do or not to do something. Will power moves one to do or to achieve the ideals of the youth as well as the objectives that we propose to ourselves in order to improve society and become a well educated individual. Will power also moves us to not fall for or look for drugs, tobacco, and many other vices that jeopardize human beings. We must especially reject the tendency of only doing that which we fancy and like as well as what our body asks us for. Our will power is shaped by not giving into these little things: i.e. doing at every moment what must be done even if it is difficult to do so. “Do what you must, and be in what you do”, as our grandparents used to tell us.

There are two factors that favor and facilitate will power: motivation and illusion. Motivation consists of having reasons or causes or even motives to do something. These reasons or motives will drag us with force to reach our ideals and goals. Illusion is the hope that is caressed by our imagination, which provides us with joy and good spirit in order to make it till the end of our set purposes.

Personal struggles that move forward through small but constant efforts are at the base of educating will power. Will power is not accomplished by carrying out a heroic act at a given moment, but by achieving small wins with consistency one day after another without giving up.

That is how holistic and integral individuals are educated; those who overcome fatigue, frustration, unwillingness, and the thousands of difficulties that life brings about. A strong will power is essential for success in life and it is one of the best decorations of one’s own personality.

Arturo Ramo
Independent Forum of Opinion

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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.
Conclusion
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.
http://www.dibussi.com/2012/05/albatross-affair-mebara-found-not-guilty-on-three-of-five-charges.html

The Chinese-African Union Why is China spending $200 million for this new over-the-top headquarters for the African Union

 
The choice of words by Foreign Policy is very telling. “Over-the-top headquarters”, the magazine writes. FP is dropping a clear hint: Africans don’t deserve such a modern HQs. Get the drift? Ain’t they supposed to be living on tree tops?
 
China’s coming into donor status has been unsettling for so-called traditional donors especially because the Chinese are proving they are “doers” not just “talkers”. The money spent on so-called studies to establish that hospitals in Africa don’t work as they should would have modernized or built many new, sophisticated hospital from scratch.
 
Take any African country and the Chinese are making a rather big development statement. They have no obligation to do so, given our leaders are willing to “sell us on the cheap”. Chinese funds, contractors and, yes, Chinese laborers have transformed not only the AU HQs but major road networks across Addis, Nairobi and Malabo, among other major African cities. In Equatorial Guinea, they have helped transform an entire nation almost overnight; a feat ex-colonial power Spain could not achieve. They have overtaken the debt-burdened, cash strapped Portuguese in the transformation ongoing in Angola.
 
Unlike the exorbitant, gpod-for-nothing European technical assistance and the cohorts of assistants they have deployed across Africa for at least 50 years; unlike European technical assistants who have assisted themselves to African resources, ensuring that the bulk of aid has been either ineffective or has just been “back to sender”; unlike those technical assistants who rode luxury cars, lived in five-star hotel suits, loitered nightlong with the hottest ladies in town (sometimes underaged, sometimes just ladies of the night); unlike these technical assistants who spotted the best Italian suits even to go into dusty public works sites; unlike them, the Chinese who love in shacks, work ungodly hours… the Chinese are clearly a different breed – and truth be acknowledged- yes, they too have their shortcomings of course.
 
I’m sure the French technical assistants who never bothered to build a facility like the Madagascar Sports Complex in Yaounde, must be looking at the indoor complex the Chinese built at the entrance to the Briqueterie neighborhood as a bit “over-the-top” for Cameroonians. I remember hearing non-African sports commentators during the 1987 4th All Africa Games in Nairobi describe the Chinese-funded, built and Chinese-gifted Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi as “over-the-top”. 
 
As for Chinese workers developing Africa, we need to blunt any xenophobia on that front. African slave labor (in chains for hundreds of years by the Arabs) laid the foundations of the modern Arab states. Then, African slaves helped build Europe and the USA. Droves of predominantly Mexican labor continue to be at the heart of today’s labor force in the USA. At least the Chinese are not shipping millions of Africans into slavery to help sustain economic growth in China.
 
Africans are fully capable of finding out and I’m ready to swear they know what is wrong with the current Sino-African cooperation. The reason, I guess they are not complaining as much as Foreign Policy is about the “i
“over-the-top” Chinese “gifts” is that Africans know how much worse the alternatives are or have been.
 
Boh Herbert
 

Boh Herbert’s Reaction to:The Chinese-African Union Why is China spending $200 million for this new over-the-top headquarters for the African Union

Boh Herbert’s Reaction to:The Chinese-African Union Why is China spending $200 million for this new over-the-top headquarters for the African Union

 
The choice of words by Foreign Policy is very telling. “Over-the-top headquarters”, the magazine writes. FP is dropping a clear hint: Africans don’t deserve such a modern HQs. Get the drift? Ain’t they supposed to be living on tree tops?
 
China’s coming into donor status has been unsettling for so-called traditional donors especially because the Chinese are proving they are “doers” not just “talkers”. The money spent on so-called studies to establish that hospitals in Africa don’t work as they should would have modernized or built many new, sophisticated hospital from scratch.
 
Take any African country and the Chinese are making a rather big development statement. They have no obligation to do so, given our leaders are willing to “sell us on the cheap”. Chinese funds, contractors and, yes, Chinese laborers have transformed not only the AU HQs but major road networks across Addis, Nairobi and Malabo, among other major African cities. In Equatorial Guinea, they have helped transform an entire nation almost overnight; a feat ex-colonial power Spain could not achieve. They have overtaken the debt-burdened, cash strapped Portuguese in the transformation ongoing in Angola.
 
Unlike the exorbitant, gpod-for-nothing European technical assistance and the cohorts of assistants they have deployed across Africa for at least 50 years; unlike European technical assistants who have assisted themselves to African resources, ensuring that the bulk of aid has been either ineffective or has just been “back to sender”; unlike those technical assistants who rode luxury cars, lived in five-star hotel suits, loitered nightlong with the hottest ladies in town (sometimes underaged, sometimes just ladies of the night); unlike these technical assistants who spotted the best Italian suits even to go into dusty public works sites; unlike them, the Chinese who love in shacks, work ungodly hours… the Chinese are clearly a different breed – and truth be acknowledged- yes, they too have their shortcomings of course.
 
I’m sure the French technical assistants who never bothered to build a facility like the Madagascar Sports Complex in Yaounde, must be looking at the indoor complex the Chinese built at the entrance to the Briqueterie neighborhood as a bit “over-the-top” for Cameroonians. I remember hearing non-African sports commentators during the 1987 4th All Africa Games in Nairobi describe the Chinese-funded, built and Chinese-gifted Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi as “over-the-top”. 
 
As for Chinese workers developing Africa, we need to blunt any xenophobia on that front. African slave labor (in chains for hundreds of years by the Arabs) laid the foundations of the modern Arab states. Then, African slaves helped build Europe and the USA. Droves of predominantly Mexican labor continue to be at the heart of today’s labor force in the USA. At least the Chinese are not shipping millions of Africans into slavery to help sustain economic growth in China.
 
Africans are fully capable of finding out and I’m ready to swear they know what is wrong with the current Sino-African cooperation. The reason, I guess they are not complaining as much as Foreign Policy is about the “i
“over-the-top” Chinese “gifts” is that Africans know how much worse the alternatives are or have been.
 
Boh Herbert
 

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.

Open Letter: Professor Fanso on Professor V.J. Ngoh’s Reaction to his Valediction Address.

Open Letter: Professor Fanso on Professor V.J. Ngoh’s Reaction to his Valediction Address.

Dear Professor Ngoh,

Thank you very much for your reaction to the small part of my valediction that made reference to your interview published in the Summit Magazine of April-June 2011. I was hoping that you would take time to read before reacting to my assessment of your research on the issue of Dr. John Ngu Foncha and the Foumban Constitutional Conference of 1961. It should therefore not have been the “incessant calls from colleagues in-and-out of Cameroon” that “finally persuaded” you to react. I believe that if you had taken time to reflect on that tiny part of my speech and not be pushed prematurely to react, you would have made a proper and more reasonable academic response, instead of the outbursts of emotions and fallacious accusations you have levied against me in your rejoinder.

I dare say I have read both your published piece in The Post of Friday September 9th and Monday September 12th, 2011 and in the Chronicle of Monday September 12th as well as the copy you left on my table with keen attention and interest. I note that you have slightly modified the published version of the reaction. Whatever, I thank you very much for personally bringing the unprinted copy to the History Department of the University of Yaoundé 1 on Thursday 8th September 2011 to be handed to me.
I have decided to send this reaction to you through your email first before sending it to the press for public information. My decision to respond to the issues you have raised and to tell what I have gathered from my own source(s) is to help our readers to know about the argument and also as a compelling academic exercise. May be it is the spirit of Foncha that made me to read your interview and to try to put the story straight.
The Post newspaper has decided to publish my valediction, which they had from when it was delivered weeks before they published your reaction, so that those who have read your piece without the slightest idea of what you are talking about can better be informed. I am urging those who want to fully understand the origin of our disagreement to also read your interview in the Summit Magazine of April-June 2011. My interview with The Post that you are referring to was slightly jumbled up and difficult to understand; I did call the paper about it.
I equally want to let you know that the part of my speech on your negative characterization of Foncha is based only on your interview in the Summit Magazine, a reputable and popular Cameroon quarterly. In writing that speech I had no intention whatsoever of insulting you or anyone, especially as you have qualified that section as “Prof. Fanso’s academic insults on my academic reputation”. I will, in this reply, tell you and the public the little I know about the draft constitution that you say Foncha got in private and hid from his peers in Bamenda.
Whatever, you have failed in the reaction to address the issue I raised in the valediction and have instead levied unfounded accusations against me. I would have accepted your response as a scholarly exchange and left it at that, but for the fact that if I do many who have read you will not understand what it is we are talking about; they will think that your story is correct. I simply said in my speech that your oral sources are weak (too weak) and controversial for the big claim. Any scholar would accept and respect a claim that is backed by authentic evidence, by verifiable facts, even if he/she does not like the way the story is worded. I indicated some of such (local) sources that should have been ferreted in my speech. That is it.

It is definitely not the first time you and I are disagreeing in public on certain aspects of our history generally and issues concerning Anglophone Cameroon in particular. We had disagreed, if you think back, over the issue of Cameroon’s national anthem and also on this on Foncha during a PhD defence on the myths and realities of Cameroon’s national unity and integration. The candidate was arguing that the Francophone-led government of Cameroon (not the Francophones) had furnished the country with two national anthems, which did not favour national unity and integration. You disagreed vehemently that Anglophones should not keep on blaming Francophones because the English version of the anthem that differs from the French version was written by Anglophones. I tried to point out to you that you had missed the argument, that what the student was saying was that the two versions of the anthem in the same country that were approved by the Francophone-led government were not helping national unity and integration, whoever produced them.
I disagreed with you during that same defence when you claimed, as you have done in the interview in the Summit Magazine that Foncha had received the draft constitution from Ahidjo in private earlier but did not present it at Bamenda. Since the candidate was my student and you (an external examiner in the jury) were insisting on your point of view and trying to impose it on him, I left it at that because I did not want us to steal the show or jeopardize his defence. The press that was present at that defence reported about our clash. Anyone who has not supervised a PhD thesis cannot know how a supervisor feels when a member of the jury is unfair or wrong in his or her criticism of a candidate’s work.

I also disagreed with you and others, in a more subtle way though, who argue that Anglophones should not cry foul against the referendum of 1972 that destroyed the Federation because Article 2 of the Foumban Constitution authorized the holding of a referendum to revise it. I say no to that argument because Article 47 of that same Constitution also states clearly that any proposal for the revision that impairs the unity and integrity of the Federation shall be inadmissible. Please read my article (online) in theCameroon Journal on Democracy and Human Rights (CJDHR), December 2009, Volume 3, Number 2, titled “Constitutional Problems in the Construction and Legality of the Unitary State in Cameroon”. But since Ahidjo was all powerful and would not tolerate any challenge from whomever, he got away with violating and destroying the Foumban Constitution. I do not want to be carried away by the argument of many who read and discuss the works of us Anglophone historians (and we are many in colleges and universities!) that some of us write as if we have been commissioned for whatever purpose to distort or discredit the past of Southern Cameroons.
History is an interesting but delicate subject because the past we are writing about is never dead to the present and also because it is written and re-written. Whoever thinks that the dead do not bite and that the past is gone for good does not think history.

You have said several times in your reactions (written and oral) that I should have asked you to provide evidence of what you have published or said about Dr. John Ngu Foncha instead of raising the issue in public. If I did that in private, how would it help those who have read your published interview and other works on the matter? They would all think that all the historians have agreed with you would they not? Many keep on accusing us (historians) of distorting the history of this country because we never criticize ourselves or each other. When I disagreed with you over this matter during the defence referred to above, you did not provide any concrete evidence except that you had interviewed some reliable persons who knew what happened. It was proper for me this time after your edited interview to bring it up in my talk to students as a research problem. I am still not satisfied with your answer. If the issue was raised in Cameroon from a Federal to a Unitary State, 1961-1972: A Critical Study (2004) that you edited and I approved for UB funding without criticizing it, it was a gross oversight and I regret.

I have not said anywhere in my valedictory speech that you did not interview S.T. Muna, N.N. Mbile and Moussa Yaya. Read it over again. What I have said is this, that I doubt that S.T. Muna would have told you in 1990 that Dr. John Ngu Foncha, or Foncha and him as accomplice (because you say the two were bribed with high governmental positions, one to be VP and the other to be Minister), received the draft constitution from La Republique in private and hid it from his/their peers at the Bamenda Conference. After this clarification, my question is, are you therefore asking me to see Barister Akere Muna to confirm that his father told you what you say he did or that he should confirm (what I have not contested) that you actually interviewed his father? I have also said that Mbile might have said what you say he did for the reason given in my speech. May be Moussa Yaya told you that he was present at one of the Ahidjo-Foncha private meetings when Ahidjo gave the document to Foncha and that he, the informant, later learnt that Foncha hid it from his peers. But that is not what you have said. That is why I have used doubt and perhaps to qualify the possible answers the three informants gave to your questions. Interviewing an informant and reporting exactly what the informant said, especially after he/she has died, are different things.

Incidentally, I was already in college in 1960 and fully aware of the politics of reunification and integration and was on Mbile’s side against reunification, after P.M. Kale’s bid for the independence of Southern Cameroons was turned down. I have never regretted to this day that I was against the reunification of Cameroon. When asked recently on CRTV how I would react if the hands of the clock were to be turned back to the time of the plebiscite, I responded that I would still argue for the independence of Southern Cameroons and nothing else. Perhaps N.N. Mbile had changed his mind and was regretting about the past; I have not changed mine. So if I was simply writing in support of the person who was opposed to reunification like me, it should be Mbile, not Foncha. Remember my dear professor that we are dealing with the past that is still with us and also with someone’s character and reputation. See how angrily and emotionally you have reacted to an academic criticism that you call “academic insults” on your reputation!

If you have not been told, I am telling you today that many who have read your interview in the Summit Magazine talk bitterly and negatively about it. It was the talk that urged me to acquire the magazine and read the interview, and I decided to take just a tiny bit of your very negative portrayal of the statesman to discuss as a research problem in my farewell address to students. There are a few other things that you have refuted in that same interview without remorse that you yourself had raised and claimed to be facts, without saying that you had been misinformed by your earlier source(s) on the matter. An example is what you now say is not true, that the Fon of Bali was made to carry Endeley’s bag in London an act, you had said, that infuriated the Grassfields people to vote against Endeley and his KNC. I hope that someday you will also come back to some of the negative things you have written and said about Foncha without proper evidence, especially this on the hiding of the draft constitution.

Your coming back from the US with a PhD and being at my defence (not as member of jury) are irrelevant to the discussion. Whatever, it is the pride of many teachers including me to see their students rise and prosper and achieve. You know very well that I always encouraged you to publish and change your grade from Lecturer (Assistant) to Senior Lecturer, then to Associate Professor and finally to Professor. Incidentally I was selected as full professor with others in the last two cases to evaluate/assess your application file for promotion. You have also risen administratively to the highest or near-highest academic post at the university. Yet I continued (not only as your teacher and senior colleague in age and grade) to be proud instead of jealous of you, as you seem to insinuate. I even sent you congratulations from afar when you climbed to the position of Registrar at UB, did I not Professor?
Indicating earlier publications and other sources without citing or paraphrasing what each says on the issue of Foncha privately receiving and hiding the draft constitution is unhelpful to the discussion. This is particularly so because the public might not know or have easy access to those published sources. But, if Willard Johnson was the first to say the same thing before you, why claim that you first said it in 1990? Why not give him that credit and use his work as an additional source?

Let me come now to what I have gathered from a more authentic source about Foncha and the draft constitution from La Republique before the Bamenda and Foumban Conferences. Yes, Ahidjo did give the Foncha Government (not Foncha alone in private) constitutional proposals in June 1961 at Buea after a tripartite meeting involving his government, Foncha’s government and the British administration. These proposals that favoured a much centralized system of federal government were later discussed by the Foncha Cabinet in consultation with a certain Smith (British) and counter proposals were produced for the Bamenda Conference, “which adhere[d] very closely to the form of Federal Constitution published by Foncha immediately prior to the plebiscite”. The British were of the opinion that there would be fireworks in Bamenda over the Ahidjo and the Buea proposals. Yes, Foncha and Muna did hold private discussion with Ahidjo after that tripartite about the form of Federal Government and security matters after re-unification during which Ahidjo told them he could not open the door to large constitutional changes in La Republique but that he would “suitably enlarge … the Government on the 1st of October” to constitute the Federal Government. He told them that a “new Government of Eastern Cameroon could be formed in due course”. Ahidjo promised that he was going to leave a place in that enlarged government for Foncha as Vice President and Muna as Minister; that A.N. Jua would then become Prime Minister in the Southern Cameroons and the other Ministers could hope to retain their portfolios. News of this private discussion soon spread in Buea and Yaoundé and the One Kamerun (OK) party was strongly opposed to Ahidjo resuming full powers in Southern Cameroons, fearing he would immediately eliminate the party. All these things happened and were known before the Bamenda and Foumban Conferences.

I thought Professor that a specialist like you on Foncha and the Foumban Constitution, who has kept “abreast with new scientific discoveries, newly de-classified documents, new publications and new sources of evidence,” unlike me who has failed “to keep abreast” with them, would have had this information from the PRO (Public Records Office, now British National Archives) to use as authentic evidence in your interviews and writings. Since you did not know the source, I will help you. The information is contained in a secret inward telegram after the tripartite from the Commissioner of Southern Cameroons to the Secretary of State for the Colonies (CO.554/2188) in the United Kingdom and dated 26th June 1961. My question to you now is whether or not you are talking about the same or different constitutional proposals that Foncha got in private from Ahidjo and refused to table at Bamenda? Is this the same Muna you claim informed you that Foncha (and possibly himself) received the proposals but refused to show to his/their peers in Bamenda? Are Ahidjo’s proposals that Foncha would be VP and Muna Minister what you call bribes?

Coming back to another source you have made reference to, I met Malcolm Milne in person in 1996 when I was a Fellow at the University of Oxford. I held many discussions with him on the issue of Cameroon reunification and told him clearly that they, the British, produced bogus and much distorted information about the Southern Cameroons economy in order to persuade the United Nations not to grant the territory independence in its own right and also to force its inhabitants to vote in favour of integration with Nigeria. I wanted to know from him why they thought it was proper to terminate their administration of British Cameroon generally and Southern Cameroons in particular by going against both the UN Charter and the colonial understanding that every colonized people should be granted independence at the end of colonization. I also said that the British did not like Foncha at all and called him names because he had stolen the show and taken Southern Cameroons away from Nigeria into re-unification against their wish. He found it difficult to refute some of the things and to convince me with his defensive arguments. We continued to talk about Cameroon on the few occasions we were together during that fellowship and he even chaired my presentation on “Anglophone and Francophone Nationalisms in Cameroon” that has since been published in The Round Table: the Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs in 1999. Malcolm Milne was a very wonderful and friendly person, open-minded and nice. I also read his book and was hoping to discuss some issues in it with him the next time I was in the UK, but unfortunately he passed on before I was again there to meet him.

About not interviewing Foncha, I expected you to tell our readers that you went to his home several times but that he refused to grant you an interview. Making only one attempt on the day he was about his own business was not enough. Considering the magnitude of the question you wanted to ask him, you should have made several attempts. A researcher goes to the informant at the convenience of the informant, not at the convenience of the researcher!
How can you deny saying that you did not say in that interview that Foncha was corrupt? Even a primary school child knows that whoever accepts or gives a bribe is corrupt! It is as simple as that. You say it clearly that Foncha was selfish and unskillful in his discussions with Ahidjo because of the bribe, which made him not to take the interests of the people of Southern Cameroons into consideration. Please, revisit your own interview in the Summit Magazine.

What has my coming from Nso’ and travelling ever so often to Nso’ through the kingdom of the Fon of Mankon, Angwafor III, got to do with the fact that “No Southern Cameroonian participant at the Constitutional Conference declared … that Foncha had received but refused to show them the document….”? Are you asking me now to go and ask the Fon of Mankon to tell me in 2011 (for your own sake) what he did not say after Foumban in 1961? I think it is you, not I, who has researched on the matter who should go to the Mankon monarch. As for my interview with Foncha in the 1980s, I certainly would have raised the question of his hiding the draft constitution with him if you had raised that controversy then.

Someone who continues to research and publish and to work with research students at all levels, from the Masters to the PhD, even at retirement, cannot be said to have suddenly gotten up “from academic slumber … as if he has been paid to defend a cause or people or as if he wants to take care of his retirement.” If you do not know, I just returned from a six-month research fellowship at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom where I was working on a totally different aspect of our Anglophone Cameroon history. In any event, I cannot and will never accept a bribe or commission to falsify history. Only those who are desperate for something and are commissioned to write defamatory history can do so. I am definitely not desperate for anything and have no overbearing desire or ambition to accept such a commission. Your statement that I am possibly writing for whatever to take care of my retirement is therefore misguided! We see some of such people who have been very critical of our present administration for failing to do this or do that now struggling to have a political base and to be members of the ruling party at all cost, when nothing at all has changed. What reasons do such people give for their change of mind?

I like to state once again that I used my farewell speech to point out a research problem to students and researchers. The controversial item was only a tiny part of the valediction, not a paper on you and Foncha. Everyone will see that my speech was not entirely on you whenThe Post newspaper has done with the installments.

I like to conclude by saying that our disagreement in this and other aspects of Cameroon history should not turn us into enemies. I do not wish to have enemies in my old age when I did not have them in my youth. I still respect you as a scholar and researcher and hope that, God willing; you will someday be humble enough to accept a simple academic criticism as an aspect of scholarship, without insulting retired professors. Although you have annoyingly harped much and for too long on this issue of Foncha and the draft constitution, I surely recognize that you have also written and published on other matters. You seem to forget or are not aware of one important thing. Throughout the time their territory was administered as an integral part of Nigeria, Southern Cameroons nationalists and politicians believed that politics was a game of interests and commitments, not a game of deceit and violation of solemn accords as they were to learn at their cost after the plebiscite and re-unification. I hope that the revelations you say are in your new publication do not turn out to be anything but history that enriches and illuminates our past, not betrayals. You should not forget Professor that sooner or later you too will be another ‘retired, tired and dangerous professor’!
Sincerely,
V.G. Fanso