ROOT CAUSES OF THE ONGOING WAR IMPOSED ON AMBAZONIA BY FRENCH CAMEROUN
Professor C Anyangwe
Root causes are remote causes as opposed to immediate causes. My presentation will be in bullet form. There are three root causes of the present war imposed on Ambazonia by French Cameroun: the non-decolonization of the British Southern Cameroons, French Cameroun’s illegal claim to the territory of the Southern Cameroons, and French Cameroun’s policy of systemic armed oppression in the Southern Cameroons since 1961.
1. Non-decolonization of the Southern British Cameroons.
(a) Political and legal issues
• UK stated policy of sinking the Southern Cameroons into Nigeria
• Sir Phillipson’s instrumentalist report that concluded with the fat lie that the Southern Cameroons is not economically viability to be an independent state
• Dubious and deceitful phraseology of the plebiscite questions: achieve independence by joining independent Nigeria or independent French Cameroun
• The Southern Cameroons-French Cameroun pre-plebiscite written and signed agreement on a ‘federal of two states, equal in status’ as the form and basis of free association between the two countries
• UNGA Res 1608 (XV) of 21 April 1961 endorsed the Southern Cameroons vote for independence. It set 1 October 1961 as the date of termination of trusteeship. That, by necessary implication, meant the Southern Cameroons was to become an independent state on that date. That same date was also going to see the inception of the agreed federal association between the Southern Cameroons and French Cameroun
• On 1 September 1961 the content of federation was unilaterally determined and imposed by French Cameroun, resulting in the disguised annexation of the Southern Cameroons. The document was a domestic act of French Cameroun and in law could not have had extra-territorial application. The ‘federation’ was thus an internal informal arrangement. That is why no new subject of international law known as the Federal Republic of Cameroon came into existence on 1 October 1961 or known as United Republic of Cameroon came into existence in 1972. It has always been Republic of Cameroun all along. The records show that French Cameroun was admitted to membership of the UN, OAU, AU, Commonwealth and CEMAC under the name and style of la République du Cameroun (translated into English as Republic of Cameroon). That has never changed.
• On the night of 30 September 1961 the UK handed the instruments of government in relation to the Southern Cameroons not to the functional Government of the Southern Cameroons, self-governing since 1954, but to French Cameroun contrary to international law. The UK itself is on record as having said it handed the Southern Cameroons to the sovereignty of French Cameroun. The result was re-colonisation by an adjacent foreign states rather than decolonisation. French Cameroun assumed the mantle of successor colonialist.
(b) Moral question
• In 1959 Ahidjo, Premier of French Cameroun, gave the solemn undertaking at the UN that French Cameroun is not an annexationist country and that it would not annex the Southern Cameroons as that would spell doom for the Southern Cameroons. This assurance was never kept.
• From after the plebiscite vote, the Southern Cameroons has continued to experience French Cameroun as a fraudulent and deceitful country, an untrustworthy and extremely violent country.
• For nearly half a century some of our compatriots are still begging French Cameroun to graciously grant a federation. But they have been miserly on specifics about the federation they are craving for and obsequiously begging from French Cameroun. The implication of federation they are demanding from French Cameroun is that French Cameroun will simultaneous absorb the Southern Cameroons as its territory and then transform itself into a dis-aggregative federation of four, ten or twenty states, unlike the constitutive federation contemplated in 1961.
• In the unlikely event of a federation, whatever its content, shape or form, there is no reason to believe that French Cameroun would not go back on its commitment, just as it went back on its non-annexation and federation undertakings. Besides, the proponents of federalism purport by necessary implication that they are speaking on behalf of French Cameroun and yet they have so far been unable to exhibit the mandate received from French Cameroun to espouse federalism which they accept. We cannot go down that perilous route; not even the route of a confederation. Why do ‘federalists’ believe that French Cameroun would settle for split sovereignty when it already enjoys complete sovereignty? And why would we accept any form of accommodation with French Cameroun which is a French vassal state and then become an extension of the French vassal state under French subjugation?
• The fact of the matter is that given our six-decades-old lived experience, any cohabitation with French Cameroun in whatever form or shape is not humanly possible and is completely out of the question
2. French Cameroun’s territorial aggrandizement claim to the territory of the Southern Cameroons.
• Southern Cameroons’ territory is claimed by French Cameroun as its territory in defiance of international law. The territory of the Southern Cameroons has never ever been part of the territories of French Cameroun before, at or after that country’s ‘independence’ from France. That is a legal and historical fact. French Cameroun achieved independence from France on 1 Jan 1960 and its boundaries became frozen on that date by virtue of international law. French Cameroun is bound to respect the fundamental principle of the intangibility of frontiers as inherited from colonisation on the date of independence. International law disapproves of expansionism and territorial aggrandisement
• In pursuit of its hopeless territorial claim to the territory of the Southern Cameroons, French Cameroun has over the past decades, tried by various expedients, ways and means, to deny the existence of the Southern Cameroons identity and the Southern Cameroons nation.
• This denial translates into its declared policy of obliterating the Southern Cameroons as a geo-political entity, extinguishing the identity of the Southern Cameroons, the gradual but insidious transfer of part of its population to the Southern Cameroons, and procuring the fusion of the Southern Cameroons into the French Cameroun oppressive and bandit state.
• Part of this grand policy is this: (i) the unilateral balkanization of the Southern Cameroons into so-called ‘northwest and southwest’ and accentuating that dichotomy; (ii) denoting the Southern Cameroons variously –
* as a mere ‘ethnic community’ just like various ethnic groups in French Cameroun;
* as ‘the northwest and southwest provinces/regions of Republic of Cameroun’,
* as a ‘linguistic and demographic minority in Republic of Cameroun’;
* as ‘Anglophones’ in the French Cameroun state;
* and resorting to the fusionist ploy of depicting its self-created ‘northwest’ and ‘southwest’ as simply extensions of French Cameroun’s Bamiléké and Duala ethnicities respectively.
• It is trite that Southern Cameroons’ identity and nationhood are not self-constructed but historically, culturally and geographically situated.
• French Cameroun also adopted and has been pursuing a policy of active assimilation in matters of language, law, education, and public administration
• French Cameroun has furthermore been actively promoting the myth of the Southern Cameroons as infantile, inconsequential and politically irrelevant in governance and decision-making internally and externally
• Finally, French Cameroun has for the past six decades been pursuing a policy of spoliation and pauperisation of the Southern Cameroons
3. A continuing history of systematic targeted killings the purpose of which can only be to destroy the people of the Southern Cameroons overtime.
• The brutal ‘calé-calé’ (cordon and search) operations periodically unleashed on the population to terrorize them into submission to colonial occupation
• The Ebubu progrom, 1961
• The killings and destruction in Bamenda, 1961
• The Tombel massacre, 1966
• The massacres following the SDF launching in 1990 and the SDF electoral victory in1992
• The killing of Youth Leaguers in 1994
• The Ndu massacre, 1997
• Periodic targeted killings in Nso, Bamenda, Kumba and Victoria
• The 2008 killings all over the Southern Cameroons
• The 2012 killings all over the Southern Cameroons
• The 2016 and ongoing killings that have so fa claimed at least 3000 lives
• Under these circumstances, the people of the Southern Cameroons invoke the right and legitimacy of Resistance
There comes a time in every Revolution when there is a defining moment, a watershed. The events of this weekend in Washington DC mark the watershed in our epic existential struggle. They demonstrate to the world, to a section of our own people, and to the Doubting Thomas that we are one free people, able and willing to govern ourselves and shape our own destiny as we see fit.
Issues of identity, existence, dignity, respect and humanity have been at the centre of our long Struggle to be a free people, like every other people in the world. Colonization and systemic brutal oppression by the adjacent French Cameroun occupying predatory foreign country continue to occur in the Southern Cameroons. Hence the recurring need, and right, of the people of the Southern Cameroons to be free for ever from it. The people of the Southern Cameroons cannot continue to be targeted for atrocities for over half a century. They cannot live under systemic violent oppression and continuing efforts at destroying them and seizing and occupying their territory. The right of self-determination also applies in a situation, such as this one, of systemic oppression, assimilation, subjugation and tyranny of the worst kind.
We have crossed the Rubicon. We have burnt our bridges. There is no turning back. The actualization of the independence and sovereignty of the Southern Cameroons is beyond any shadow of doubt. The people of the Southern Cameroons have spoken. They spoke through their massive joyous and peaceful celebrations on 22 September and on 1 October 1917. They continue to speak by paying the ultimate price of dying so that we might live a free people for ever. There is no historical evidence anywhere in the world of people shedding blood for a mere federation. Throughout history, however, peoples in all climes have died and continue to die to be free. The only remaining question for us now is how soon our independence will become effective.
18 August 2018