“If Dr. Munzu believes that the international community will remain indifferent to the gross violation of international treaties by La Republique du Cameroun, can he therefore tell us that instrument of International Law that gives La Republique du Cameroun sovereignty over the territory of the former British Southern Cameroons?”
By Simon Fuh Ngwa, Friday Aug. 11, 2017
Dr. Simon Munzu is a household name within the S.C.N.C. (Southern Cameroons National Council) in particular and Cameroon in general. This is so because he played a frontline role in the fight to institute genuine constitutional reforms in Cameroon in the early nineties. Unable to push through a draft constitution for a return to the two-state federation, he championed the fight for the restoration of the confiscated independence of British Southern Cameroons. Doctor Munzu occupied centre stage in this struggle until he finally picked up a more lucrative job with the United Nations.
I learned he worked with that U.N. organ for 17 years before retiring during which time he had practically no interest in or had lost touch with the Southern Cameroons independence struggle. What puzzles me is, upon his return to Cameroon, he granted an interview to one of the local newspapers whereby he declared that the S.C.N.C. was not formed for “secession,” therefore implying that it was formed to fight for the restoration of Southern Cameroons’ independence.
What actually prompted me to react to his recent telephone interview with Mr. Chris Anu of the Cameroon Journal, also published in the Cameroon Journal online on the 3rd August 2017, is the fact that he asserts that Southern Cameroonians cannot gain independence through preventive diplomacy and petitions to the U.N. but through war much against the SCNC motto of, “THE FORCE OF ARGUMENT; NOT THE ARGUMENT OF FORCE”, to which conception he contributed enormously.
He claims that the international community will not back us up because La Republique du Cameroun is the only sovereign nation known within international circles and any problems posed by the Anglophone community will be treated as an internal problem. He equally stated that the circumstances that influenced the imposed independence “by joining” in 1961 had changed dramatically and the U.N. Trusteeship Council dissolved and therefore nobody at the level of the U.N. will be ready to entertain any such discussion any longer. The U.N. charter in its article 35, 1 and 2, provides for peaceful conflict resolution through preventive diplomacy.
By his utterances, is Dr. Munzu telling us that the U.N. charter today has changed from what it was in 1961? Is he telling us that article 102 of that charter which requires any U.N. member nation that goes into a union treaty with another nation to deposit a copy of that treaty at the U.N. secretariat for validation is no longer in force?
French Cameroon obtained independence from France on 1st January 1960 with well-defined international boundaries excluding the former U.N. Trust Territory of British Southern Cameroons. The then President H.E. Ahmadou Ahidjo never complained to the U.N. that part of his territory had been cut and left aside. They gained U.N. membership in September of the same year, yet President Ahidjo still did not complain. The international principle of UTI POSSEDETIS JURIS AND THE CRITICAL DATE emphasizes the respect of territorial boundaries acquired at independence. The African Union Constitutive Act in its article 4b states that boundaries acquired at independence of any member state remain immutable and non-violable. La Republique du Cameroon is a signatory to the African Union charter and therefore bound by it.
If Dr. Munzu believes that the international community will remain indifferent to the gross violation of international treaties by La Republique du Cameroun, can he therefore tell us that instrument of International Law that gives La Republique du Cameroun sovereignty over the territory of the former British Southern Cameroons? Is he therefore telling us that the international community condones annexation which the U.N. condemns as a crime against humanity?
He further claims that Mr. Biya or any members of his regime cannot sit down to discuss separation with the Southern Cameroons separatists but can be pressured by circumstances to accept federalism. He sounds as if he has the magic wand to impact on Mr. Biya to bow to pressure for a return to federalism. On January 31st, 2005 Mr. Biya signed the implementation of the Green Tree Accord which states; “ I, President Paul Biya of the Republic of Cameroon, on behalf of my Government and in a bid to provide lasting solutions to the Bakassi conflict do hereby undertake to respect the territorial boundaries as obtained at independence of my country.” By coercing Mr. Biya to sign such an undertaking, did H.E. Koffi Annan not use preventive diplomacy to make Mr. Biya acknowledge the fact that Southern Cameroons does not constitute part of his territory?
I would like the Southern Cameroonian public to know that the S.C.N.C./S.C.A.P.O. filed a suit before the A.C.H.P.R. (African Commission on Human and People’s Rights) in Banjul, The Gambia, in what is popularly known as communication 266/2003 against La Republique du Cameroun for annexation of their territory. The commission in May 2009 passed a landmark ruling in which it recognizes the people of Southern Cameroons as different from citizens of La Republique du Cameroun with a right to self-determination even though they inserted a contradictory clause that they do not encourage secession because they misunderstood Southern Cameroons to mean the Southern part of La Republique du Cameroun.
They, however, recommended constructive dialogue between the two peoples to determine their political future and gave 180 days for the dialogue for which they offered their good offices for that purpose. The S.C.N.C./ S.C.A.P.O immediately declared their readiness for the dialogue but La Republique du Cameroun, guilty of the skeletons in its cupboard, played games until towards the expiry of the 180 days, applied for additional time. The commission added 180 days, thus making one year, but still Yaounde was not ready for the dialogue even though that particular ruling was ratified by the African Union Heads of State summit that met in Sirte, Libya on the 2nd and 3rd of July 2009 under the chairmanship of late President Muammar khadaffi.
It should be recalled that President Khadaffi’s envoy, the Ambassador in Libreville, personally handed an invitation to Mr. Biya for the summit in his Etoudi palace. Knowing very well that he will be quizzed on the Southern Cameroons issue, he tactfully and as characteristic of him avoided the summit and made sure he would not be properly represented by appointing Mr. Philemon Yang as Prime Minister on June 30, 2009. As such, he excused himself that the P.M. had not yet assumed office to be able to represent him.
The question is, if Mr. Biya can snub a ruling ratified by his African peers, how then does Dr. Munzu think he can force him into any dialogue concerning changing the form of the state? He further claims that the resistance has been sustained so far by the population without a Leadership therefore undermining the role of the outlawed consortium and SCNC leaders. No doubt he now wants to project himself as the new leader of the Anglophone Community so as to lure Mr. Biya to endorse him for another lucrative U.N. appointment. He fails to understand that the U.N. is not the C.P.D.M. that sacks or retires people only to recall them several years later for recycling using the same obsolete machinery. He fails further to understand that Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and Co. spent several years in prison on Robben Island but still directed the affairs of the A.N.C. from their prison cells.
Again he claims that the stiff resistance put up by people back home has forced Mr. Biya to condescend to certain cosmetic reforms and not the cyber warriors in the diaspora shooting things on social media. If he believes in that utterance, why then does he leave these same people at home who can impact on Mr. Biya to accept a dialogue on
federalism and go after the toothless cyber warriors in the diaspora? Dr. Munzu appears to be a ship on the high seas without a compass. If he is convinced that preventive diplomacy cannot yield the expected results, why doesn’t he advise Mr. Biya to let sleeping dogs lie rather than spend over 130 million francs cfa to send delegations around the world on an illusory image cleansing mission?
Greek mythology has it that when the gods want to punish a King, they first of all make him mad. Mr. Biya, though Francois Mitterand’s best student, lacks the caliber of a statesman. How can Mr. Biya who has arrogantly snubbed calls by the U.N., A.U. and other international organizations for the unconditional release of those detained in their dungeons send delegations to these same people to peddle lies against the Southern Cameroons cause? Does he expect them to believe him as he has been believing his own lies? And that is the man Dr. Munzu is begging Southern Cameroonians to federate with?
Mr. Biya is unrepentantly evil and all his scheming towards Southern Cameroonians is malicious. So, if Dr. Simon Munzu is so inclined to federating with him, it means that he too is malicious. After all, don’t they say, “Birds of a feather flock together”? How can Dr. Munzu who was the spokesman of the S.C.N.C. delegation that went to the U.N. in 1995 to petition against the annexation of Southern Cameroons by La Republique du Cameroun now turn coat to start preaching federalism with the same people?
When questioned on the significance of the two framed maps that were handed to Mr. Biya in Yaounde, he expressed his impatience with the separatists for always cooking up many things and throwing them at the population. Even though he later confessed not to have seen the maps, he had initially waved that aside as a fabrication because the affluence in which he was living at the time made him lose touch with the reality on the ground. The truth is that
on May 19 2010, Mr. Biya was presented two well-framed maps in his unity palace by Mr. Ali Triki, President of the 64th session of the U.N. General Assembly during celebrations commemorating the 50th anniversary of the independence of La Republique du Cameroun. The first map was that of La Republique du Cameroun as at 1st January 1960 without Southern Cameroons and the other, the map of British Cameroons after 1st January, 1960. In presenting the first map, Mr. Ali Triki had this to say, “Voici la carte du Cameroun; l’histoire en a ainsi decide”; “this is the map of Cameroon; history has so decided”.
By presenting a map to Biya without Southern Cameroons, was the U.N. not indirectly telling him that he has no sovereignty over British Southern Cameroons? Does one need to be an expert in international law to understand such basic concepts? Is that not a sign of preventive diplomatic victory? No doubt the Editor-in- chief of Cameroon Tribune newspaper posted the event on its front page and misinterpreted the second map to mean the U.N.’s mastery of the Geography of Cameroon. But later, when La Republique du Cameroun authorities finally understood the implication of the two maps, they sent Policemen to retrieve that particular edition from Newspaper kiosks but too late, thousands of copies had already circulated all over the national territory.
Unfortunately, I cannot have access to that document from my present hideout to attach to this write-up. If an expert in international law as Dr. Munzu, who knows very well that the U.N. was founded to put an end to the scourge of war that had caused untold suffering around the world, can advocate for war while opposing preventive diplomacy, is he now telling the world that the U.N. has failed in its divine mission of maintaining peace throughout the world? Is he challenging the U.N. for consistently violating its own charter and conspiracy against the people of Southern Cameroons? Has he first of all attempted a solution to the Southern Cameroons question through preventive diplomacy at the level of the U.N. and failed before concluding that S.C.A.C.U.F. is wasting precious time and resources? Does he not know that the delegations Mr. Biya has sent out will be confronted and embarrassed with these victories whose enforcement S.C.A.C.U.F. is doing everything to see implemented? If he is so awed by La Republique du Cameroun’s mighty army, let him know that, that army will crumble before Southern Cameroonians like that of King Sennacherib crumbled before the Israelites. Nelson Mandela in his book, “Long Walk to Freedom” says; “To overthrow oppression has been sanctioned by humanity and it is the highest aspiration of every free man”. So, it is incumbent on Southern Cameroonians to overthrow the yoke of annexation imposed on them by La Republique du Cameroun.
Patriotic Southern Cameroonians/Ambazonians, for lack of space and time, permit me rest my case here but remember that he who sets out on a journey and listens to distractions along the way will never reach his destination. OUR FOCUS IS BUEA AND NOTHING ELSE.
Simon Fuh Ngwa is S.C.N.C. National Officer for Youth Affairs + Kumba/Meme Secretary of the S.C.N.C.