Amadou Ahidjo: autopsy of a national traitor
For 57 years and counting the history of the Cameroun republic has been doctored and tailor-made to suit the narrative that justifies the usurpation of power by a click of handpicked colonial collaborators. Chief amongst them was the first president La République du Cameroun, Al Hadj Amadou Ahidjo. Contrary to popular narratives and the propaganda of Cameroun cum French colonial machinery, Amadou Ahidjo was nothing short of a traitor, a colonial collaborator who masterminded the execution of nationalists, oversaw the genocide of over 400000 bamilikes and bassas fighting for real and genuine independence through the UPC.
Ahidjo’s rise to power was taught in history and civic lessons as the stuff from which legends are made. The son of a Fulani (Peule) chief, a man who failed to complete his education, he became a radio operator with the postal service before joining politics and being elected to the territorial assembly in 1947. In less than 10 years he was to rise to the position of one of the secretaries in the French union assembly.
His susceptibility to manipulation and influence and his pro French approach quite quickly and easily earned him the less than coveted position of a colonial protégé. When as Vice Premier of the first government under of the Cameroon territory under Andre Marie Mbida, Ahidjo with the growing influence of his northern parliamentary base broke ranks with Mbida, and relying on French support he took over a premier.
In 1957 as premier therefore Ahidjo mortgaged the future of the Cameroon state by signing the infamous cooperation accord with France. Any patriot, with love for his country would have understood that the cooperation agreement was nothing short from selling ones country to the least bidder. Some terms of the agreement provided for France and French firms to have first pick of Cameroons natural resources, meaning that they owned everything above ground and underneath it. The accord also granted France the the privilege and control over Cameroons curriculum. So France decided what history Cameroonians were taught, history that vilified the heroes that fought against French imperialism and praised colonial collaborators; history that whitewashed the genocide of half a million Cameroonians. Cameroon was to deposit 80% of a reserves in the French treasury with France acting as the central bank, in control of Cameroons fiscal policy with a veto right at the board of BEAC. France also had the right to deploy French forces in Cameroon, with or without the request of the Cameroon government to protect French citizens and French interest.
Three years after the signing of this accord Cameroon under French trusteeship was granted independence with Ahidjo as president. With the complicity of his colonial masters and their military Ahidjo intensified his campaign against the heroes of Cameroon starting (after the assignation of Reuben Um Nyobe in 1958) with the elimination of Roland Felix Moumie by thallium poisoning in Geneva in November 1960 culminating with the beheading of Ernest Ouandie in 1971. His pseudo amnesty designed to extricate opponents from their guerrilla hideouts saw the indiscriminate arrests and detentions of suspects. Neither French nor successive Cameroonian governments have ever acknowledged what role they played in the war against the UPC and the Cameroonian heroes fighting for independence. While Ahidjo had the audacity to name streets and stadia after himself as well as imbued Cameroon with streets and status in honour of his French colonial sponsors he maintained a permanent desire the cleanse Cameroon history books, streets and public discourse of any mention of its real political heroes.
When in 1960 the UN chose to organise plebiscite the the British trust territories of Northern and southern Cameroons Ahidjo became very disappointed at the loss of the Northern Territory to Nigeria that he (the republic of Cameroon) voted against the independence (by joining LRC) of The Southern Cameroons. His vote was only overturned by a majority of states in the general assembly that voted in favour. To compensate for the loss of his preferred territory Ahidjo therefore set out to transform the southern Cameroons to an extension of the French colonial African experience. The southern Cameroons therefore became a pet project in the “Franchification” of the Central African subregion with Ahidjo as project manager.
In his quest to achieve his masters goal Ahidjo wilfully and criminally violated article 47 of the federal constitution of the federal republic of Cameroon by proposing a bill to amend the name and the form of the republic. His 1972 referendum was not only illegal it was wilfully mIsleading. The options of “Oui” and “Yes” on the ballot was designed to achieve exactly the outcome that it was intended: lay the groundwork for annexation and harmonisation.
While naivety is not criminal the manipulation and doctoring of a constitution to suit personal interests is. It is called abuse of power in the trafficking of influence. Ahidjo used his position and the authority of his office as president to manipulate the constitution by creating and suppressing roles, exercise his influence to appoint a prime minister to become constitutional successor. It was his naivety and ignorance that let him to think that he will be able to maintain control over the state apparatus through what he thought was a proxy. Although his role in the April 1984 failed coup d’état is disputed he nonetheless through zealousness for power and control paved the roads for the destruction of the Cameroon state.
While not discounting the numerous strides Ahidjo might have made in the areas of social reforms, education and infrastructure all his achievements pale insignificance to the consequences of his treachery, collaboration with the oppressor, criminality in seeking to benefit from constitutional violations and manipulations and his role in the genocide of almost half a million of his own citizens. In my opinion Amadou Ahidjo was no national hero. He was a traitor worthy to be tried posthumously for crimes against the nation, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
By Innocent Mancho