By Pang Joseph, May 19, 2017
Cameroon Journal, Yaoundé – The Southern Cameroons Ambazonia Consortium United Front popularly known as SCACUF has petitioned the Secretary General of the United Nations to intervene in the Southern Cameroons crisis lest it becomes genocide.
The letter, dated May 18, and signed by SCACUF’s SG, Tassang Wilfred, opens with an invitation to the global body to intervene in time so as to avert what it calls “an impending disaster and waste of human life and valuable economic resources occasioned by the outbreak of violence.” The letter states that all avenues for peaceful dialogue have been exhausted and the Republic of Cameroun which it calls an “annexationist government” appears to want only the language of force which it is using on the people of the former British Trust Territory of Southern Cameroons.
SCACUF, in the letter entitled “Exhaustion of Avenues for Peaceful Resolution,” gives a background to the situation taking special note of the 20 May 1972 referendum which it calls “a malicious referendum” and explained that, “our people were made to choose between ‘OUI’ and ‘YES’ for a unitary State. This annexation was completed by Paul Biya, in 1984 when he returned the entity back to Republic of Cameroun’s status upon independence in 1960.
The letter also traces the route traveled by Southern Cameroons in its resistance to La Republique’s rule beginning with a memoranda signed by one of the territories most prominent academics in 1963, late Bernard Fonlon, passing through HRH Gorji Dinka, former Bar President of Cameroon, then the formation of SDF in 1990 which had as aim to defend the rights of the marginalized in the union, the formation of the Cameroon Anglophone Movement in 1992 (CAM). In unequivocal terms, the communiqué holds that in 1992 Fru Ndi won the Presidential elections but was prevented from entering the Presidency just because of his Anglophone background. “In October 1992, Ni John Fru Ndi, candidate of the SDF party won the Presidential elections but was prevented from taking power through a rigged process at the Supreme Court……this is in keeping with the
unwritten practice that nobody from our territory can ever be President,” it reads.
The famous All Anglophone Conference I and II where the founding fathers of the union in the persons of Dr. JN Foncha and ST Muna castigated the very union they fought for was also advanced as evidence of marginalization by Yaoundé authorities, which followed the birth of many Anglophone pressure groups including the SCNC challenging the union that was never consummated. In substantiating this view, SCACUF said, in 2010 prominent Southern Cameroonians like Justice Ayah Paul Abine, Mola Njoh Litumbe, Cardinal Tumi and the former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon in the person of Rt. Rev Nyansako Ni Nku were unanimous, that there was no treaty sanctioning the union and that the two parties should go back to the negotiating table. It was the same message reechoed by intellectuals during the public meetings held to celebrate 50 years of independence and reunification.
Settling on the immediate cause of the recent uprisings, it highlights the call made by Teachers’ representatives of Southern Cameroons and Common Law Lawyers beginning 2015 requesting for frank dialogue to which they got none.
“In 2015, representatives of Teachers Unions as well as various stakeholders of the education sector in the Southern Cameroons came together and after a series of meetings …….submitted a memorandum of the analysis proposing solutions which were also shelved by the government. On May 9, 2015, over 1000 Lawyers of English Common Law system in Cameroon met in Bamenda and after also analyzing the harm caused the Southern Cameroons, also gave a memorandum to government….and called for the restoration of legality as per UNGA Resolution 1608 (XV) but they were simply ignored by government.”
Because of government’s muted nature to genuine grievances of the people, a sit-in-strike started in October 2016, and since then many Southern Cameroonians have been killed while hundreds arrested and detained in deplorable conditions in Yaoundé. Even the request made by the UN in April for their release has fallen on deaf ears and dialogue has been buried by the government.
With the National Episcopal Council which is dominated by Francophone Bishops remaining intransigent to the sufferings of the people for the past seven months in total contrast to the firm position of Bishops of Southern Cameroons, SCACUF warns that the situation is slightly drifting towards a Rwanda styled genocide where some Priests narrow-mindedly watched how unarmed civilians were killed, sometimes even in Holy grounds. SCACUF ends its communication by challenging the UN to know whether 7 months of hardship is not enough for the global body to intervene and put things straight.
Many other bodies, national and international have petitioned the UN to intervene swiftly, yet it has chosen a political smoke-screen intervention like that done in April where it called for the government to restore internet, release detainees, demilitarized Southern Cameroons and open dialogue.