The Mamfe Conference All Over Again?
By Ntumfoyn Boh Herbert (Yindo Toh)
In case you’ve been wondering why it seems like we’ve been here before, please, be reassured. We have, indeed, been here before.
Southern Cameroonians have been overwhelmingly in favor of independence since the 1950s. After separating from Colonial Nigeria in 1953 and becoming a self-governing territory in 1954, our people used the London Constitutional Conferences of 1957 and 1958 to deliver a clear message in favor of international sovereignty for our Homeland.
Sixty years ago this year, the Mamfe All Party Conference delivered another verdict. Our forebears voted art the August 1959 Mamfe Conference in favor of independence, turning down integration with Nigeria (a second choice) and joining Cameroon (an unpopular third).
The world then, as today, chose to ignore the will of our people. Britain and France, at whose behest the conference held, disregarded Mamfe; violating Article 76(b) of the UN Charter as they caused UN General Assembly Resolution 1352(xiv) to be adopted without offering independence as a third option.
Then, as today, the world worked doubly hard to prevent our forebears from reaching a consensus. The only solution Britain and France have ever wanted and want for Southern Cameroons is continued colonial subjugation. Britain made no secret of its position in November 1960 when it rejected including independence as a third option on the UN-led Plebiscite of 11 February 1961. The request was tabled in London by a delegation of Southern Cameroonian leaders brought to London by the then Prime Minister John Ngu Foncha. Post-plebiscite, the world has not enforced UN General Assembly Resolution 1541(xv). Under Principles VII and VIII of that Resolution, Southern Cameroons joined Cameroon “on the basis of complete equality between the peoples of the erstwhile Non-Self-Governing Territory and those of the independent country with which it is integrated. The peoples of both territories should have equal status and rights”.
Britain and France are it, again, today – leading the international community in a fresh campaign to deny our people international sovereignty. First, they realize – after allowing Cameroon to massacre as it deemed necessary – that victory will never come in what Tibor Nagy likens to Cameroon’s Vietnam. Second, they want the resistance decimated forever. Witness the call by the Security Council for an end to the violence without imposing a ceasefire, calling for troop withdrawals and deploying UN peacekeepers. Third, the world, notably partisan France, has taken a backseat, prompting the United States (seen as neutral) to take the lead in calling for third-party mediated talks – without preconditions. The goal is to prevent Southern Cameroonians from reaching consensus – especially not on independence – and to bundle them into talks in which their issues will be diluted by other problems of the Cameroons. Fourth, and aware Southern Cameroonians won’t give them such a role, the United Kingdom has rented a bully pulpit from which London now claims to speak on behalf of 38 countries.
What can go wrong with meeting without preconditions? The simple answer is everything.
The international community is working overtime – just as in 1959 – to prevent a clear consensus from emerging in favor of independence. And our liberation movements are, unwittingly or intentionally, doing double overtime to prosper that goal.
The so-called “Never Again Generation” is certainly more educated and more traveled than our forebears. Yet, it is our forebears who showed proof of more political maturity by agreeing to meet in Mamfe with fellow Southern Cameroonians of all political stripes and persuasions: those in favor of independence; those supporting integration into Nigeria and those in favor of joining Cameroon. They relied on the power of a democratic vote to determine a majority position.
While no one doubts that the political tolerance that made the Mamfe Conference possible in 1959 would not exist in the so-called Anglophone General Conference (AGC) being cooked by Christian Cardinal Tumi holding in Buea, those sponsoring the international conspiracy against Ambazonia claim the contrary. They begin by selling the falsehood that the international community is neutral. No, it is not. The world has taken sides, as it did in 1959. The world is glaringly against independence for Ambazonia as evident by the many donors who are funding the AGC of Cardinal Tumi, Barrister Agbor Nkongho and journalist Elie Smith. The world also wants the AGC to be the only thing in town, using a fake consultation process to sell the other falsehood that the AGC has a mandate to speak on behalf of all Southern Cameroonians.
This is why the All Southern Cameroons People’s Conference (ASCPC) called for 29-30 March 2019 in Washington, DC, is sooooooo important. It has been convened to prevent the one-party line that Cardinal Tumi’s AGC is being set up to sell. The ASCPC has no other political agenda than to create a forum to counter the gospel from the AGC temple from which Cardinal Tumi is expected to serve as high priest for the beatification of recolonization.
The world and Cardinal Tumi himself know that every attending the AGC in Buea will have as much freedom as is afforded prisoners or hostages with a gun held to their heads. The ASCPC is a reminder to the world that Southern Cameroonians cannot – will never again – be forced into accepting a political future dictated to them by a foreign people who want them to negotiate as captives.
Did I say history repeats itself?
If you do not want the Mamfe Conference chapter of history repeating itself, join me in making the ASCPC distinctive milestone in our unstoppable March to Buea.