REFERENDUM: THE ONLY OPTION TO SILENCE THE SCHEMERS
By Denis Atemnkeng
When we proposed a referendum to settle the Southern Cameroons conflict, many people asked why we should even propose a referendum, considering that we had a Plebiscite on our independence in 1961 and the UN actually followed up and granted us independence.
All of us were still believing that there would be mediation or dialogue or an all-inclusive dialogue. We have not given up hope of mediation, but we know the satanic empire called La Republique du Cameroun! I tried to explain to those who were asking, that wherever there is doubt as to the will of the people or disagreement on representation, the only conclusive method to ensure the people are directly heard is a referendum. I also warned those who were rejecting a referendum that GZ would never be the solution to the problem, and many other factors that I need not repeat here.
As the days pass, it is becoming clearer that the conspiracy of the international community in alliance with the satanic Republique du Cameroun could once again surprise us with a fake all-inclusive dialogue! The president-elect following the elections in that country has indirectly declared that he would pursue Biya’s war against Ambazonia. In the current circumstance where the international community is speaking only of an all-inclusive dialogue, a fake dialogue with the federalists, unionists and all those being remote-controlled and protected by the satanic Yaounde regime may be accepted as “all-inclusive”. Already, we have Munzu and Tumi hurriedly organizing a so-called Anglophone General Conference (AGC). The federalists in the US are also said to be organizing a meeting on 27 October at the Bowie Public Library in Maryland. Even if these meetings do not include the nationalists, liberation movements and our poor masses on GZ, it would be claimed that they refused or failed to attend. The responsibility is theirs!
Note that all these schemers organizing these meetings have never stood for once with the masses in their suffering. They have never condemned the genocide; have not called on tyrant Biya to call off his evil war; have not shown any concern for their homeland, the Southern Cameroons. The best they have done is to whip up sentiments around our suffering; to call on Ambazonians to surrender because of the suffering and to judge the victims and the aggressor on equal terms! They need not do any of these things, because they count on the might of the enemy to impose its will on the people of Ambazonia!
What is happening? What is really happening is that the silent majority of Ambazonians, those being killed on the ground, those hiding in the bushes, those being tortured on a daily basis are completely excluded by these scheming groups. The game is being played over their heads and their voices are cut off and cannot be heard! They are considered irrelevant in the settlement of the crisis between Ambazonia and the satanic republic of Cameroun! But should their voices not count in any decision concerning their fate? Should they be outmaneuvered? Are they not the overwhelming majority? Is this whole struggle not about the desire of a people to express themselves? How can the close to 8 million Ambazonians just be silenced by all this scheming?
All over the world, wherever there has been need for such momentous decisions concerning self-determination, the solution has been to resort to universal and direct suffrage. Even in less important issues such as changes in the constitution or the election of the president, it has often been by direct suffrage. Quebec, Scotland, South Sudan, East Timor, and many other countries have gone through the referendum process to determine their fate. Even French Caledonia with less than 800,000 people will have a referendum to decide its fate! In the case of Djibouti, it needed three referenda for Djibouti to become independent. We must, therefore, make our case for a referendum!
You may still argue and say, the people of Ambazonia have sufficiently demonstrated their desire for freedom.
Yes, the people of the Southern Cameroons/Ambazonia have clearly demonstrated their desire for complete freedom from La Republique du Cameroun on five different occasions: 22 September when they came out en masse with peace plants to express their desire for freedom; on 1 October 2017 when they came out to declare the restoration of their statehood and independence; on 20th May 2018 when they boycotted those malicious celebrations; on 1 October 2018 when they came out to celebrate their independence in the midst of intimidation, and on 7 October 2018 when they collectively and resolutely rejected and boycotted La Republique du Cameroun’s elections. All of this, the international community, la Republique du Cameroun and its federalists would pretend not to see! They do not want to see!
We are faced therefore with a situation in which La Republique du Cameroun and its allies reject the claim that the Interim Government of the Federal Republic of Ambazonia represents the people; the Interim Government, in turn, rejects the notion that the federalists and unionist can speak for the people. Further, La Republique is telling all those who want to hear that the crisis is caused only by those in the diaspora, who don’t represent the masses. Therefore we have a strong disagreement on who is competent to speak for the people of Ambazonia and even on their wishes, despite all the proofs available.
The only solution in this circumstance is for IG, all liberation and nationalist movements and even genuine federalists, to call for a UN-organised referendum exclusively for the people of the Southern Cameroons to pronounce themselves on their fate. The questions to be put to the people can be whether they wish to rule themselves on their own territory or to enter into some form of a treaty with Republique du Cameroun for a clearly defined relationship. It can also be whether they want to rule themselves or decide the question at some future time. The issue at stake calls for direct suffrage; the disagreement on representation calls for it, and it remains the only lasting and transparent solution that no one can contest! It is the most inclusive of all options! For this solution, the IG has to give up its position that it represents the people! When the people speak, we will know who had been speaking for them.
La Republique du Cameroun would vehemently object to this proposal, on the grounds that it claims the problem to be an internal affair. Of course, such a position is only an unsubstantiated claim. The very fact that it did not achieve independence with the Southern Cameroons/Ambazonia forming a part of its territory means that prima facie, it has a case to answer under the principle of intangibility of frontiers. It is for the IG and liberation movements to know how to argue this matter before the international community. It is for LRC to produce the proofs on the basis of which it lays claim to the territory of the Southern Cameroons, not the people of Ambazonia. Such proofs, in addition, cannot be privy to La Republique, because, under Article 102(1) of the UN Charter, any such proof should be available to the public at the Secretariat of the UN. We must, therefore, understand that for the international community to support the referendum option, we must convince it that the problem is not internal as the satanic regime is claiming. No lasting relation between these two peoples can be built on systematic fraud and theft.
It has to be impressed on the international community that the much-talked-of 1961 federation was a complete hoax. It was a gigantic fraud on the people of the Southern Cameroons since the federation was merely an amendment of the constitution of LRC, passed into law exclusively by the Parliament of Republique du Cameroun. The Southern Cameroons parliament never adopted any law to become a federated state or even to approve the amendment of LRC’s constitution. The so-called 1972 referendum by which the fraudulent federation was abolished was also an additional act of fraud in that it was a violation of Article 47(1) of the federal constitution which assured the indissolubility of the federation. Further, any referendum to abolish the Federation ought to have been addressed solely to the people of West Cameroon since the federation was meant exclusively for their protection. It could not then be abolished by those for whom it was never intended! By asking the two states to vote in the referendum, it was a foregone conclusion that the federation would be abolished, as a further step in the annexation of the Southern Cameroons. Then the questions in the Southern Cameroons were either “Yes” or “Oui”. These facts show that there is absolutely no ground on which the satanic Republique can successfully object to the proposal for a UN-organised referendum.
The challenge, however, is on the IG and all the other frontline movements to push and argue only for a UN-organised referendum as a lasting solution to the crisis. We should leave aside the issue of mediation or all-inclusive dialogue for now.
We must impress it on the international community that the matter is not for a select few to talk for the silent majority. The crisis deserves that the voice of every Southern Cameroonian of voting age is heard. No solution that ignores the voice of the people of Ambazonia can be lasting. There is no other form of consultation more inclusive than a referendum. Every other solution, whether proposed by Cameroun, by the international community or by Southern Cameroonian groups, be it federation, decentralization or whatever, is an imposition on the will of the people! We want a UN-organised referendum as the final solution to the problem! We must press the international community to accept the same options that the people of Quebec, Scotland, Britain in Europe, South Sudan, East Timor etc. have had to conduct a referendum to determine their fate. No double standards should be accepted. A referendum is the most democratic, open, transparent and incontestable way of resolving this kind of crisis.
The referendum proposal would force the Nationalists, the federalists, the unionists, the various liberation movements to mobilize and convince the people about their ideas of what the solution should be. It will no longer be the political game of these groups trying to impose a solution on the people at Ground Zero. The elitist representational approach comes to an end with a referendum proposal!
This reduces our diplomatic mission to a one-item agenda: push for a UN-organised referendum to resolve the crisis! We should not ask countries for recognition, but to call for a UN-organised referendum as a lasting solution to end the crisis. Even supporters of the satanic regime will have no choice but to bow to this option with a little pressure.