REACTION TO THE UPC INITIATIVE
ON WHAT THEY CALL NATIONAL INCLUSIVE DIALOGUE
By Denis Atemnkeng
This article is a reaction to a document titled: “Pre-project of National Inclusive Dialogue (NID) in Cameroon”, prepared by J. Bahebeck, F. Nke, R. Momha, J.M. Mbackyem, J.A. Wouaffo and revised by Jean-Baptist Tsanga.
Without the slightest doubt, the project is a very good initiative of its authors. It shows at least that there are still some citizens of Republique du Cameroun whose minds have not been confiscated in every sense by the ongoing crisis in Cameroon and the blinding propaganda of the regime. Whatever are the shortcomings contained in the initiative, we must admit that it is a first step in the right direction. Our hope is that the shortcomings are not the result of calculated blindness but genuine omissions which the authors will be able to see once they are pointed out to them. Human beings soon become slaves to ideologies which do not serve any purpose and which cannot in any way be justified, but which nevertheless are pursued because they are ideologies.
We totally agree with the authors that “there is no credible alternative other than dialogue”. But unfortunately, reading through the document, we fail to agree with the kind of dialogue the authors are proposing. The authors say the project is aimed at “restoring peace, reconciliation and sustainable rebuilding of the Republic of Cameroon”. Rebuilding the Republic of Cameroon, Yes, but NOT the Southern Cameroons/Ambazonia.
It remains to be seen whether the authors can live with truth, justice and the rule of law, which are the only foundation for a lasting and sustainable peace, or whether, like all other Republique du Cameroun citizens, truth, justice and the rule of law should never apply to the relation between the People of the Southern Cameroons and Republique du Cameroun. It has been noticed that citizens of Republique du Cameroun pretend to be logical until they are asked a few questions on the Southern Cameroons conflict; then, all of them become illogical and confused, believing that they can annex the Southern Cameroons merely because they have the power to do so, or by relying on the silence of the rest of the world. When it comes to the Southern Cameroons question, Camerounese scholars, officials, intellectuals talk about peace without justice; without truth, without the rule of law. What kind of peace can that be?
How painful it is to see Africans who only yesterday were accusing White People for colonisation to become the most avid defenders of colonialism and being ready to kill to maintain their colonial grip on a neighbouring peaceful people!
This project gives us an opportunity to open some discussion between citizens of Republique du Cameroun and the Southern Cameroons, if only both sides are willing to live by truth, justice and the rule of law. The writer of this article assumes that the authors of the Project are familiar with the genuine history of the Southern Cameroons; the resolutions of the United Nations on decolonization and the principles of international law on territoriality, particularly the fact every nation’s territory is confined to the territory it inherited on its day of independence subject to any subsequent adjustment in conformity with Article 102(1) of the UN Charter.
1. Let us begin by noting that the authors mix up two conflicts that should never be mixed up: the internal problems of Republique du Cameroun and the grievances of the People of the Southern Cameroons. The Southern Cameroons conflict has nothing to do with the internal squabbles within Republique du Cameroun. The authors have assumed, as citizens of Republique du Cameroun often do, that the Southern Cameroons is an integral part of Republique du Cameroun. The question is: when and how did the Southern Cameroons become part of Republique du Cameroun? Can any of the authors publish the instrument of international law by which Republique du Cameroun lays claim to the Southern Cameroons’ territory? The UN-organised Plebiscite of 1961 was not an act of law nor an instrument or treaty, but was merely a consultative process. Furthermore, the Plebiscite was never about integrating the Southern Cameroons into Cameroun, but about Southern Cameroons independence, though in confederation with either Nigeria or Cameroon. The form of relation intended between the two Cameroons was a federation of “two states equal in status”; in other words, a kind of joint venture between the two Cameroons.
The purported 1961 federation was a unilateral act of the parliament of Republique du Cameroun; an amendment of its internal law! The Southern Cameroons House of Assembly never passed any law to create a federation with Republique du Cameroun because there was no agreement on it. Can the authors then show the world the treaty of union between the two sides? Cameroon’s pretended claim has always been that either the Plebiscite was a mechanism by which to make a free gift of the people, government and territory of the Southern Cameroons to Republique du Cameroun, or that the 1972 supposed referendum in which Republique du Cameroun got its population, which was four times the size of the population of the Southern Cameroons to participate in a vote to abolish the federation, contrary to the provisions of Article 47 of the unilateral federal constitution, was legal.
The federation was the only thing that protected the identity and way of life of the people of the Southern Cameroons, and it was intended solely for the people of the Southern Cameroons. How could the citizens of French Cameroon participate in any vote to abolish the federation? Is it possible the people of the Southern Cameroons could voluntarily decide to remove the only protection of their identity and way of life? Could the people of the Southern Cameroons pass a death sentence on themselves? These are the absurdities on which the so-called “one and indivisible Cameroon” are based; acts of fraud! Let us even suppose merely for the sake of argument that a valid union was formed. If a voluntary union was formed, why should the people of the Southern Cameroons not be able to withdraw from it?
Quebec has conducted two referenda to leave Canada and has the right to conduct as many as it wants; Scotland has conducted one referendum to leave the UK and is planning another one in 2020; the UK joined the European Union and has opted to withdraw. Can the authors tell the world in good conscience, why they think the people of the Southern Cameroons cannot withdraw from the supposed union? Can they tell the world why the Southern Cameroons must be tied forever to Republique du Cameroun and in permanent conflict? Which god and which law gave Republique du Cameroun the mission to annex and enslave the Southern Cameroons? What good does it serve for the two peoples, each with their internationally defined territory, to be forced together to live in permanent conflict?
To be continued