As a result of the calling of another All Anglophone Conference termed Anglophone General Conference, BaretaNews shall present in pieces the Buea declaration made in April, 1993 when over 5000 Anglophones met in Buea. What has changed that warranted the new calls from Christain Cardinal Tumi and Dr. Munzu should be the Judge of the people of Southern Cameroons. We begin with this part:
THE BUEA DECLARATION
Issued by the ALL ANGLOPHONE CONFERENCE
Held At Buea On 2nd and 3rd April, 1993.
IN THE NAME OF THE ALMIGHTY GOD FROM WHOM ALL LIFE, WISDOM, POWER, GLORY AND PROTECTION PROCEED:
WE, THE PEOPLE OF ANGLOPHONE CAMEROON, represented by over five Thousand Delegates drawn from the thirteen Divisions of our Territory (Boyo, Bui, Donga-Mantung, Fako, Kupe –Manenguba, Lebialem, Manyu, Meme, Menchum, Mezam, Momo, Ndian, Ngokitunjia) and from all over the rest of Cameroon, among whom, Elder Statesmen and Senior Citizens, Traditional Rulers, Religious and Spiritual Leaders, Leaders of Political Parties, Members of Parliament and of the Economic and Social Council, Farmers, Workers, Students and Elites of all Professions, meeting at Mount Mary Maternity Centre in the historic town of Buea from the 2nd day to the 3rd day of April 1993 in an All Anglophone Conference for the purpose of adopting a common Anglophone stand for the announced national debate on constitutional reform and of examining several other matters related to the welfare of Ourselves, our Posterity, our Territory and the entire Cameroon Nation,
DO SOLEMNLY MAKE THE DECLARATION herein contained for which we offer the following justification:
TODAY, NO GROUP OF PEOPLE who freely chose to join a political Union would want to be treated as a captive people. In 1961 the people of Southern Cameroons through a United Nations-supervised plebiscite decided to enter into a political Union with the people of La Republique du Cameroun whom they considered as their brothers and fellow countrymen. They did so, by the grace of God, FREELY and without the involvement or participation of the people of La Republique du Cameroun. Their aspiration was to establish a unique Federation on the continent of Africa, and to evolve a bicultural society in which the distinct heritage of each of the partners to the union would flourish. We believed that such a lofty goal could be achieved. During these past thirty-two years, however, our common experience in the Union leaves us in no doubt that far from attaining theses ends; we have become a people with a problem. Our problem, which the intolerant and hypocritical attitude of our Francophone brothers would rather suppress, springs from a breach of trust on the part of Francophone leadership and from a lack of openness in matters of public interest. Within these thirty-two years, our Union accord has been violated. We have been disenfranchised, marginalized, and treated with suspicion. Our interests have been disregarded.
Our participation in national life has been limited to non-essential functions. Our natural resources have been ruthlessly exploited without any benefit accruing to our territory or to its people. The development of our territory has been negligible and confined to areas that directly or indirectly benefit Francophones. Through manoeuvres and manipulations, we have been reduced from partners of equal status in the Union to the status of a subjugated people.
The common values, vision, and goals which we share as a people and those of our Francophone partners in the Union are different, and clearly cannot blend within the framework of a Unitary state such as was imposed on us in 1972. We are by nature pacifist, patient and tolerant and have demonstrated those qualities since we came into this Union. Our Francophone brothers believe in brutalising, torturing, maiming and assassinating dissenters. They have raped our women and daughters and used hand and rifle grenades against peaceful demonstrators. We find such barbarism alien to us and short of the civilised standards of all democratic societies.
We subscribe fully to the Voltairean dictum that: “I wholly disapprove of what you say, but will defend to death your right to say it”. Our idea of freedom of expression and of the press leads us to believe in the open discussion of public issues that affect our lives. Our Francophone brothers suppress freedom of expression and practice censorship of the press. The democratic principle of majority rule the minority rights leads us to believe in the rights and freedoms of the minority. Successive Francophone-led Regimes in this country have pursued a policy of assimilation aimed at wiping out our identity. Thus, our vision of a bicultural society has become an illusive, unattainable goal, and will remain so unless and until we devise a better framework within which this aspiration can find expression.
To be continued