La Republique du Cameroun: 1961 to Today
Republic of Cameroun: 1961 to Date
Without the process of negotiating the terms of the agreed federal union having been completed, without any federal constituent assembly having met, and without any draft federal constitution having been established, La Republique du Cameroun unilaterally drafted a document which that country’s assembly, meeting without any Southern Cameroons participation, enacted into ‘law’ on 1 September 1961 as ‘the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Cameroon’ to enter into force on 1 October 1961.
This same ‘federal constitution’ had no provision in the document to the effect that the Southern Cameroons and Republique du Cameroun shall be united in one sovereign Republic; no provision to the effect that the federation was ‘one and indivisible’; and no claim that the document represented consensus ad idem of the Southern Cameroons and Republique du Cameroun.
The government of La Republique du Cameroun, being aware that the Federation lacked a legally valid founding document and only existed as a mere de facto existence, never applied for UN membership of the Federation and so the Federation was never a member of the UN, and there exist no treaty or official map at the UN in which the two territories of Southern Cameroons and La Republique du Cameroun are combined and sealed as one country.
Even though the terms of any union between Southern Cameroons and La Republique du Cameroun had not been agreed upon and declared as required by UN Resolution 1608 (XV) (5), and no treaty established between the government of Southern Cameroons and La Republique du Cameroons to become one country, La Republique du Cameroun moved her military into Southern Cameroons territory on October 1, 1961, occupied and annexed Southern Cameroons without the terms of agreement as demanded by the people of Southern Cameroons in “The Two Alternatives” pamphlet having been finalized, agreed upon and declared, and without the consent of the government of Southern Cameroons acting on behalf of its people.
In September 1961, an army of La Republique du Cameroun crossed the border into the Southern Cameroons at Ebubu village near Tombel and massacred thirteen CDC workers in cold blood, and some other soldiers of the same La Republique du Cameroun crossed in Santa near Bamenda, killed Southern Cameroonians without cause and destroyed the property.
From 1962-1972 the Territory was confusingly also known as West Cameroon. To confound matters further, in 1972 it was split by Republic of Cameroun into two parts denoted as North West & South West provinces. The Territory’s definitive geographical indication or name, Ambazonia, envisaged by the national liberation forces speaks to the very critical matters of sovereign branding, identity, specificity and territorial integrity, and seeks to end the name confusion.
For standing up to La Republique du Cameroun’s expansionist agenda Prime Minister Augustine Ngom Jua from Southern Cameroons was labeled ‘un autonomiste avant tout’ (‘a die-hard autonomist’) and dismissed by the Ahidjo, the governing president of La Republique du Cameroun. When Vice President Foncha reminded the government of La Republique du Cameroun that there was no valid union accord or treaty between the Southern Cameroons and Republique du Cameroun, and that it was high time such an accord is concluded between the two parties, Ahidjo likewise dismissed Foncha Southern Cameroons dismissed from his office of Vice President.
In early 1972, the government of La Republique du Cameroun poured in more troops into Southern Cameroons to stop a possible uprising for the independence of Southern Cameroons as the people were totally dissatisfied with the annexation of their territory. On May 6, 1972 Ahidjo, president of La Republique du Cameroun announced in the Federal National Assembly: “I have decided to end the federation,” and then proceeded to hold a referendum in which the majority people of La Republique du Cameroun unjustly voted in although it was the people of the Southern Cameroons alone who had voted at the plebiscite, and them alone stood to lose their self-government.
The government of La Republique du Cameroun in order to fully colonize the people of Southern Cameroons imposed an administrative politics of divide and rule by cutting up the one Southern Cameroons territory into North West and South West Provinces, now South West and North West Regions, which have since continued to be administered from Republique du Cameroun through a hierarchy of colonial-type district commissioners known as ‘sous-prefets’, ‘prefets’, ‘gouverneurs’, and ‘commandants des legions’ from Republique du Cameroun as dependencies of that country.
In February 1984, Mr. Paul Biya (another citizen of Republique du Cameroun who had been picked by Ahidjo and handed the Presidency in 1982) discarded Ahidjo’s ‘republique unie du Cameroun’ contraption, and signed a law formally reverting to the denomination and identity ‘Republique du Cameroun,’ a denomination that had officially not been in use since 1 October 1961, and which confirmed the formal colonization of the Southern Cameroons.
Throughout the 1980s, the people of the Southern Cameroons, as individuals or as groups, continued to revolt against what was openly annexation of Southern Cameroons by Republique du Cameroun, especially after the issuance of “The New Social Order” on March 15, 1985, “The Letter to the L’Etat Major of Cameroun: Defuse the Timed Bomb” on May 5th, 1985, and “The Revolt of Ambazonia” on July 11, 1985, all by Fon Fongum Gorji-Dinka of the Ambazonia Restoration Movement in Southern Cameroons. On 21 August 1986, more than 3,000 people and an untold number of livestock and other animals in the vicinity of Lake Nyos in Southern Cameroons perished from inhaling a gas later identified as a mixture of carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulphide, an incident the people of Southern Cameroon continue to hold firmly as a chemical weapon attack on their very existence orchestrated by the hands of La Republique du Cameroun.
In 1993 and 1994, against the backdrop of terrorization and disruptions by the Camerounese military, the people of the Southern Cameroons, assembled for the first time as a people since early 1972, where they created the Southern Cameroons National Council (SCNC) and mandated it to seek and secure constitutional talks with Republique du Cameroun on the basis of an agreed federal constitution. The SCNC was further mandated, if the Yaoundé regime refused to engage in meaningful constitutional talks or if it failed to engage in such talks within a reasonable time, to so inform the people of the Southern Cameroons by all suitable means and thereupon proclaim the revival of the independence and sovereignty of the Southern Cameroons and take all measures necessary to secure, defend and preserve the independence, sovereignty and integrity of the Southern Cameroons.
Six years afterwards, in 1999, Republique du Cameroun had not as much as indicated a willingness to talk with the Southern Cameroons, and the SCNC informed the people of the Southern Cameroons, served notice that ‘reasonable time’ had expired and declared that it intended to fulfill its mandate of proclaiming the revival of the independence and sovereignty of the Southern Cameroons.
In 2001, there were at least 2 Southern Cameroons citizens among the nine people who were disappeared by the military in Douala in what became known as the ‘Bepanda Nine’, Republique du Cameroun soldiers murdered 4 youths in the Southern Cameroons town of Kumbo during a peaceful celebration marking the 40th anniversary of Southern Cameroons independence, and in the same year, Matthew Titiahonjo was arbitrarily arrested in the Southern Cameroons town of Ndop in May, severely tortured and then taken to Bafoussam in Republique du Cameroun where he was held captive under atrocious conditions before being killed by the military forces of La Republique du Cameroun on 14 September 2002. Between September and November 2005, against a backdrop of intensified violent repression in the Southern Cameroons, the SCNC organized a signature referendum to ascertain the wishes of the people of the Southern Cameroons whether they wished to be independent or to be a part of Republique du Cameroun, 300,000 voters indicated their choice by signing the appropriate ballot paper, and of this number, which accurately reflects the voting population of the Southern Cameroons, 99% voted for independence.
During the signature referendum as an exercise in democracy and the freedom to hold political opinion, many people of Southern Cameroons were arrested, tortured or disappeared, among which were Abel Apong and Chrispus Keenebie who were taken to Douala in La Republique du Cameroun and tortured for weeks on end; and John Kudi and Paul Chiajoy Juangwa who were taken to Yaounde in the same La Republique du Cameroun and disappeared. In April 1997, the government of La Republique du Cameroun arrested more than 400 Southern Cameroons youths, members of the Southern Cameroons Youth League (SCYL), subjected them to the third degree (what the Camerounese press itself calls ‘interrogation musclee); detained some in solidarity confinement for years, locked up others in deplorable inhumane conditions, tried them in military courts, and killed many, including Emmanuel Konsek, Mathias Ngum, Joseph Ndifon, Richard Ngwa, Julius Ngwa, Samuel Tita, Mathias Gwei, Daniel Tita, Lawrence Fai, and Patrick Timbu, because they stood up for the rights of all peoples to self-determination as enshrined in the International Bill of Human Rights.
In the Case Concerning the Land and Maritime Boundary Between La Republique du Cameroun and the Federal Republic of Nigeria, filed by the government of La Republique du Cameroun at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on 29 March 1994, La Republique du Cameroun asked the ICJ to adjudge and declare the Bakassi Peninsula as Cameroonian because Nigeria’s claim of ownership over the said land “violated and is violating the fundamental principle of respect for frontiers inherited from colonization (uti possidetis juris).” In June 2006, the president of La Republique du Cameroun, Mr. Paul Biya, signed the Greentree Agreement with the Federal Republic of Nigeria in which he promised to respect the boundaries of La Republique du Cameroun as it pertained at the independence of the said La Republique du Cameroun.
La Republique du Cameroun rejected the confederacy proposed by the people of Southern Cameroon through their prime minister, John Ngu Foncha, at theFoumban Conference of 1961 and has rejected the federation proposed by the Anglophone Civil Society Consortium as evident in the arbitrary arrest and detention of its leaders and massive abductions, detention, torture and killing of proponents, thereby, leaving the people of Southern Cameroons with no option but self-determination in the context of self-government as a sovereign nation.
From November 2016, La Republique du Cameroun intensified its abduction of many Southern Cameroons youth to unknown locations, and gross violation of the human rights of so many Southern Cameroonians in daylight and undercover of darkness. La Republique du Cameroun has showed its unwillingness to ever dialogue with Southern Cameroonians on the oppressions that it has for decades meted on the people of Southern Cameroons by the recent arrests of leaders of the Anglophone Civil Society Consortium (created in December 2016) and other peace loving Anglophone civilians such as teachers and judges who simply point out governmental elements of oppression against the sons and daughters of former UN Trust Territory of British Southern Cameroons and propose peaceful solutions thereto.