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Independence or Federalism: The Unnecessary Fight

 

 

 

Independence or Federalism: The Unnecessary Fight

I have watched with a lot of interest the feud between proponents of independence and the supporters of federalism in the ongoing bloody and violent conflict in Southern Cameroons, especially attempts by the supporters of independence to snuff out, by all means possible, the voices of federalists.This unnecessary fight, I believe, is borne of ignorance on how the process of self-determination and the attainment of independence and international sovereignty works.

The history of the decolonization process teaches us that colonized/occupied/annexed territories hardly ever go from a state of colonization/occupation/annexation straight into independence. Between colonization/occupation/annexation and independence, there is always, almost obligatorily, an interim period of a self-governing autonomous status meant to prepare the territory for eventual independence.

Some examples:

As part of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement to end the Sudan Civil War, South Sudan was granted a self-governing autonomous status for an interim period of six years (2005 to 2011). It was after those six years that South Sudanese voted in a referendum to either continue with their autonomous status within a united Sudan or become an independent state.

Similarly, under the 2005 Iraqi Constitution, Kurdistan gained a self-governing status with its own autonomous and regional government. In 2007 all the political parties in Kurdistan met and resolved to hold a referendum for full independence after 10 years (i.e. in 2017). Even though more than 90% of the population voted for independence, the bid failed. But Kurdistan retained its self-governing status.

Before its own failed bid for independence in 2017, Catalonia has enjoyed regional autonomy status since 1932.

The Palestinian Authority was set up in 1994 as the sole, recognized self-governing entity for the Palestinian people following the 1993 Oslo Accords. Its initial tenure was to be for an interim period of five years after which its definite status was to be determined within the purview of the “two-states solution” as the only viable pathway to the independence of Palestine.

These examples seek to prove one point: namely, that, any eventual independence for Southern Cameroons shall start with some form of a self-governing autonomous status within either a federation, a confederation, or a decentralized unitary state structure.

What is imperative for now is for all Southern Cameroons to come together, define and agree on an end-state for the ‘struggle’ that all parties (including the Cameroon Government) can live with. Tagging and labelling each other as federalists or “independencists” – and God alone knows what – is counter-productive and serves no useful purpose.

Given the way South Sudan turned out, the international community has developed a visceral and intestinal aversion to the break-up of States, especially fragile states with a complex ethno-linguistic, socio-cultural structure like Cameroon.

It, therefore, seems to me that some form of self-governance for Southern Cameroons is more feasible in the short and medium term and could be more amenable to the Cameroon Government and the international community.

So if Cardinal Tumi and his group can negotiate and obtain a self-governing autonomous status for SC, take it, consolidate it, and pass on the baton to the pro-independence group to continue the fight.

The complexity of this ‘struggle’ demands that federalists and “independencists” should be working with and supporting each other, not fighting and calling each other atrocious names. For the outcome of one shall determine the success of the other.

And to end, there shall never be a military solution to the conflict in Anglophone Cameroon. I am again urging all parties concerned to stop beating the drums of war; to genuinely seek a political settlement and to take steps to end the senseless slaughter of our youth (on both sides) and the suffering of the population.

George Ngwane

Otto Ama
15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Bonnie

    November 21, 2018 at 11:01 PM

    Cowards die many times before their death!for a start,the fight is not unnecessary.biya declared war on the people,did you expect them to fold their hands and being killed?before any federalism orindependence discussion,biya must release all SCs locked up relating to this struggle including Sisiku and all abducted cabinet members from Abudja, withdraw all their terrorists,thieving french Cameroon army from the SW NW regions other wise the war will continue, ironically that those SCs who stood for independence are either on exile,prison or killed,those federalist still roaming in Cameroon which is the worst option at this point where biya continue to kill maimed,jail, create refugees and in bushes, burn villages,these federalist are the ones initiating dialogue not Yaounde or biya therefore they are low class slaves begging for their unwilling master for forgiveness as if they are guilty of any wrong doings, are Anglophones that stupid?they have all these terminology as Barrister, doctors, cardinal, Iman yet their mean civil lrc servants looks down on them, it was a shame to see their failed conference in Douala because the regime snubs them,no educated civilised person would have stood that low,biya and the regime are very ignorant with colonial mentally, Ambazonians must fund and fight french Cameroon to their teeth especially destroying all of their money making interest in the region in order to bleed and empty lrc treasury,that is when they will want dialogue,come to their senses and respect the people of Ambazonians, for now we shall continue to fight we shall not give time for any worthless begging conferences or shall we lay down our weapons!no independence no french Cameroon period,all those weak hearted people in SCs should stop comparing and contrasting with situations on other countries

    • Dika

      November 22, 2018 at 2:49 PM

      Ten gun salute to you Bonnie, thank you…..

    • Malis

      November 22, 2018 at 6:48 PM

      Patriotic Salute.

  2. Bonese Mewanu

    November 21, 2018 at 11:52 PM

    As long as Mr Biya refuses to see the problem for what it really is and as long as the people are not ready to stand up to him, Cameroon, the whole of Cameroon, is going down the drain. It is that simple. Biya cannot be in the future of the country he has so completely damaged in 36 years.

  3. Mukong

    November 22, 2018 at 12:05 AM

    To imagine that the thieving thugs from LRC have for the longest time embarked on a scorched earth policy in Ambaland and some are more concern with organizing a meeting is beyond comprehension.
    What are some really begging from this Beti criminal call Biya?

  4. Mbeuh

    November 22, 2018 at 12:55 AM

    Perhaps George Ngwane need to be reminded that the history of Southern Cameroons includes the period from 1954 to 1961 when petition to the British crown for self-governing status was granted and a government was set up in Buea headed Dr. Endeley as Prime Minister and Foncha and his KNDP as the opposition. And that 5 years later in 1959 democratic elections took place with Foncha’s party victorious and becoming Prime Minister in a peaceful change of government exercise that saw Endeley take his turn on the opposition bench. After the British left on October 1st 1961 and Ahidjo’s occupation forces swooped in to start black on black re-colonization, West Cameroon government under Foncha continued to function though strenuously as Yaoundé systematically tighten the noose to strangulate self rule, completing its skim in May of 1972 using that charade of referendum to recompose a fake united Republie of Cameroon. I therefore wonder what experience of self rule or lack thereof that Mr Ngwane is writing about?. Where in the world then in 1961 or now in these modern times is a country, any country, granted “independence by joining” another country? Why was a choice of stand alone independence absent at the ballot box, barring the fake excuse of economic inviability at the time?

    George, for years I have read news articles, analysis and comments from your blog and I find you to be brilliant, but to display such (intentional?) ignorance as you have in this piece bespeaks of your slide into dementia. If 18 long years (1954-1972) of Southern Cameroons self government is not considered experience in self rule I and others wonder what is? Or perhaps you need to listen to Professor Carlson Anyangwe’s video presentation of the history of Southern Cameroons posted herein below. No one is going to beg Yaoundé or EU or AU or anybody for a joint arrangement that devolves us self rule experience. Absolute rubbish! Been there, done that and it didn’t work.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0w_fnsYNlg

    B

  5. Ndifor

    November 22, 2018 at 9:38 AM

    THANK YOU ELDER GEORGE FOR A GOOD WRITE UP.THE EXAMPLES YOU GIVE
    SHOULD RING A BELL TO WE THE ANGLOPHONES.THE SOUTH SUDAN EXPERIENCE
    HAS MADE THE WEST TO BE SILENT.THEIR EVENTUAL INDEPENDENCE LED THEM TO FIGHT EACH
    OTHER.AND IT WILL HAPPEN HERE BETWEEN THE NORTH WEST AND SOUTH WEST.
    WHY ARE WE GOING TO WORLD ORGANIZATIONS WITH NO RESPONSE?WHY ARE WE ASKING COUNTRIES TO ASSIST WITH NO RESPONSE?WHY ARE WE ASKING THE EU,AU,UN,ETC WITH NO RESPONSE?
    THEY ARE LOOKING ON AND LAUGHING AT US!THOSE IGNITING THIS WAR FROM OUTSIDE ARE DOING SO
    FOR THEIR SELFISH GAINS.HOW MANY SPLINTER GROUPS HAVE COME UP IN THIS STRUGGLE?
    PLEASE LET US LISTEN TO THE VOICE OF THE WISE AND THOSE WHO MATTER.OUR SCHOOLS ARE CLOSED,OUR PEOPLE ARE IN THE BUSH,OUR ECONOMY IS DOWN,OUR PEOPLE ARE DISPLACED TO LRC AND ELSEWHERE,OUR YOUNG BOYS ARE DYING AND LEAVING THEIR POOR FAMILIES BEHIND,PEOPLE ARE BEING BURIED LIKE FOWLS,ETC.
    THE FIGHTING WILL BRING NO SOLUTION.ENOUGH IS ENOUGH !

    • Janice Beyongsi

      November 23, 2018 at 6:00 PM

      Preach!!!A beg tell them!

  6. Augustine Nchukwi

    November 22, 2018 at 3:26 PM

    Southern Cameroons had fulfilled the conditions long time ago between 1954 and 1961. We had an autonomous government. We have not changed since then and should not be going back on it again.

  7. Sheila Ekukole

    November 22, 2018 at 4:54 PM

    Quite a beautiful article but for the sake of setting the intellectual record straight the article was not written by George Ngwane. He only shared it to some of us. Unfortunately the real author did not write his name. Looks like the Eric Chinje effect again. Mark should double check next time. By the way I just finished reading a seminal article on how laying down arms by conflicting parties can be made effective written by George in a local tabloid published last week. Great piece on cease fire.

  8. Malis

    November 22, 2018 at 6:47 PM

    What the hell is this man talking? He is confused.

    LRC did not respect the 1961 agreement.
    LRC is stealing over our land, resources and selling it.
    LRC destroyed all our institutions,
    LRC is destroying our culture and way of life and replace it with perversion.
    LRC has been trying to change everything of ours
    LRC thinks they own us, they see us as their slaves, fools they can rape at any time.

    We respect the nation
    We leave their land and resources to them
    We have never ever destroyed any institution of LRC
    We leave their culture and everything alone.
    We don’t ever care about anything of them.
    We have never ever tried to change them.
    We do not own them and don’t even want to own them even for free. They are trouble.

    Some people are just crazy.

  9. Open eye

    November 22, 2018 at 7:37 PM

    Do we really need Ngwane or whosoever wrote this article to school us that Graffi and Sawa can never form a union, or are we just voluntarily being dummies on matters of TRUTH?

    Anyway, we all know that diehards of this struggle are all Irish potato farmers. We also know their intents, you better fool yourselves.

    Na for last fight we go know who be real actor.

  10. Mukong

    November 22, 2018 at 8:54 PM

    Here we go again. Is this to imply that the Bamilike, Bassa, Beti/Bulu/Ewondo are cohesive entities in LRC or that to the north the Tupuri, Musgum and Fulbe are a cohesive entity?

  11. Jeffrey

    November 23, 2018 at 9:27 AM

    We used to have a good fight supported by all, but what do have today? Kidnappeds,killing, asking for ransoms, terror to are own people, and are people now hate this struggle. This was never what we hope for.

  12. Ni Jack

    November 24, 2018 at 3:16 PM

    My dear people, before we start insulting George Ngwane we need to identify the truth in what he is saying.

    He didn’t say southern cameroonians do not deserve independence. He didn’t say Biya is right in what he has been doing.

    He pointed out lessons from the past on how done conflicts have been resolved by the international community. Without understanding what we are fighting for we end up making many mistakes.

    We cannot have any peace unless the international community steps in.
    The west is refusing to step in now partly because we are not United in what we want.
    Even the hardline separatists are unwilling to compromise on a semi autonomous status as is the case in Catalonia.

    Anybody talking about federalism is labelled a traitor and threatened. The west is monitoring all of these threats and takes them seriously. This makes it even more difficult for them to support full independence.

    The question here is not whether we deserve independence or not but whether we have enough powerful support from the west. Palestine deserves a state of their own but Israel is unwilling to give in and Israel has a very strong ally- USA.

    Being right does not always mean you will win the case. Palestine is right but it is difficult to enforce the law.

    That is the way things work in a world of corruption and relationship building.

    We may be right but we if don’t have enough international support then nothing will change.

    Instead of fighting among ourselves we need to wise up and fighting for common ground which, l believe, is self governance, not necessarily an independent state.

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