The Southern Cameroons People's Organization-SCAPO has written an open letter to President Paul Biya. The open letter signed by Dr. Gumni and Mr. Ndangam addresses some pertinent issues on the union between Southern Cameroons and La Republique. Here below is the letter in its entirety.
When News Breaks Out, We Break In. Minute by Minute Report on Cameroon and Africa
President Paul Biya,
Republic of Cameroon
Your Excellency Mr. President,
Subject: YOUR PLAN TO CELEBRATE 1ST OCTOBER AS RE-UNIFICATION DAY
The Southern Cameroons People’s Organization (SCAPO) is a political Party in Southern Cameroons working to end the annexation and foreign occupation of Southern Cameroons since 1961.
Your plan to celebrate 1st October 2012 as Re-Unification Day and to do so in Buea capital of Southern Cameroons takes many people in Southern Cameroon by surprise. Many do not know the reason behind the elaborate plans about this celebration which has not happened in the last fifty years. Your answers to the following questions will clear the air about this new plan for celebration in Buea:
- Why do you want to celebrate an event that did not take place?
- Why a celebration when your country voted at the United Nations in 1961 that they did not want Union with Southern Cameroons?
- Why this celebration after your government (for 50 years) carried out yearly harassment and arrests of Southern Cameroonians on every 1st October for celebrating their independence day?
- Why do you call the event Re-Unification?
- Why a celebration after evading the dialogue proposal made by the African Commission to be held between your country and the State of Southern Cameroons?
Permit us to draw your attention to the following:
1) That you are planning to celebrate an event that did not take place. In 1961 the people of Southern Cameroon voted in a UN plebiscite to join with their brothers in the Republic of Cameroon. After that plebiscite, instead of engaging in negotiation in good faith for that union to succeed in accordance with UN principles and Resolutions, YOUR Country chose the path of annexation and today Southern Cameroon is two provinces of your Country that was supposed to be a partner in a Federation of two States both equal in status.
2) Mr. President, you will recall that on April 21, 1961 when the UN proposed that Southern Cameroon joins your country (UN Resolution 1608X V paragraph 4b) your country joined the rest of French Speaking Africa to vote “NO” to that UN proposal and Resolution. Your country has since never apologised to the people of Southern Cameroon for that position on Union with Southern Cameroons. Your Country’s U-turn after this stand AGAINST Union with Southern Cameroons can only be explained in the light of the subsequent annexation of Southern Cameroon by your country in utter disregard of mutually agreed terms for the union and in defiance of international law.
3) That for 51 years now your government has harassed arrested and detained Southern Cameroonians each year on 1st October for celebrating a day which was named by the Trusteeship Council of the United Nations as Independence Day for Southern Cameroon. Your present U-turn is therefore surprising (as surprising as the dramatic U-turn and ambivalence of the Republic of Cameroon about union with Southern Cameroon in 1961 at the UN).
4) It will be recalled that your predecessor Amadou Ahidjo told the 13th session of the U.N.O on 25th of February 1959, “I should not like the firmness and clarity of our stand to be interpreted as a desire for integration on my part which would sound the death knell to the hopes of our brothers in the zone under British Administration”.
“We do not wish to bring the weight of our population to bear on our British brothers. We are not annexationists”.
“In other words, if our brothers of the British zone wish to unite with an independent Cameroun, we are ready to discuss the matter with them, but we will discuss it on a footing of equality”.
So what happened afterwards that your country went back on these declarations and used “the weight” of your population in 1972 to reverse the vote of the people of Southern Cameroons people for a Federal Union? What happened afterwards that your country became “annexationists”?
5) Mr President, you and your predecessor have insisted that in the plebiscite in 1961 Southern Cameroons voted to join what you claim to be the mother-country which historically was German Kamerun. You therefore call the event RE-UNIFICATION. Unless this wrong information is calculated to achieve some hidden agenda, we are sure that your lawyers and historians would tell you that the United Nations plebiscite did not set out to reconstitute German Kamerun in 1961 and that Germany renounced all her overseas colonies at the end of world war I (Treaty of Versailles) . They would tell you that when the former UN Trust Territory of French Cameroun achieved independence on January 1st 1960 there was no statute at the UN or anywhere in the world appointing your new country as successor to German Kamerun. They would tell you that your country can rightly claim to be successor to the former UN Trust Territory of French Cameroun and not German Kamerun. Your theory of a mother-country and of Re-Unification are both wrong and unacceptable because they are a threat to the stability of the entire sub-region because there are portions of German Kamerun in what is today Chad, Gabon, Congo, Central African Republic, and Nigeria. It is therefore unacceptable that your country’s pro-consuls are erecting structures within Southern Cameroons called “RE-UNIFICATION MONUMENTS” while you are planning a big Re-Unification celebration on 1st October.
6) Mr. President, in this letter we have referred to the people of the Republic of Cameroon as our brothers. We use these words responsibly and we mean what we say. The peoples of the Southern Cameroons and those of the Republic of Cameroon shared the same political and economic space for 50 years and the relationship between individual families have become intertwined.
Unfortunately, the people of Southern Cameroons have lived through situations which convince them that, even two twins from the same womb have to live separate lives. The people of Southern Cameroons are convinced that the union with la République du Cameroun failed a long time ago, indeed, it failed before it started. We do not see our future as part of the political system which has governed your country during the last 50 years.
The people of Southern Cameroons did not vote in the Plebiscite to sell out themselves, their territory and their political status to become two Provinces of the Republic of Cameroon. That is the reason why they conducted a signature referendum in 1995. The response to that referendum was that they overwhelmingly want a peaceful separation. The plan of SCAPO as a Southern Cameroon Political Party is to ensure that there is a peaceful separation between the two Countries. This is the key reason why the people of Southern Cameroons have just filed a case at the United Nations Security Council. This case gives the Republic of Cameroon the opportunity of showing the legal basis of their presence in Southern Cameroons, and of justifying their annexation of a State that was supposed to be a partner with them in a Federation of two States (both equal in Stations). But which, they chose to incorporate that state as two of their Provinces.
We can learn from events elsewhere: When the people of Czechoslovakia realized that their union was not working, they voluntarily decided to separate their two peoples into two separate republics rather than to trigger another war in the middle of Europe. After 75 years, the leaders of the country agreed to peacefully dissolve their union into a Czech and Slovak Republics on January 1, 1993. The two countries are now doing very well as separate states. The proposal for dialogue between Southern Cameroon and the Republic of Cameroon has been made by the African Commission for Human and Peoples’ Rights, Banjul and before then by Mr. Kofi Annan the then Secretary General of the United Nations. Mr. President, we are surprise that you should brush aside these proposals for dialogue with Southern Cameroon and are planning a celebration.
Your Excellency, in working to restore our statehood our purpose is to revive our own form of democracy in which change was possible. Before coming under annexation and the suppression of our Statehood the government of the Southern Cameroons conducted free-and-fair general elections in Southern Cameroons. Dr E.M.L. Endeley the then Prime Minister of the Southern Cameroons conceded defeat when Mr J.N.Foncha (Leader of the Opposition) was elected by the people. There was a peaceful change of government which is rare today in Africa where incumbents hang on and on to power claiming popularity but refusing to create credible Independent Electoral Commissions and where frequent electoral and post-electoral strife manifest across the continent. For fifty years under annexation we have become more than convinced that we need to restore our statehood and revive our cherished democratic values.
Finally Mr. President, we think that with our Statehood restored we will develop our country better. We recall that twice under annexation the government of the Republic of Cameroon has opened the Kumba – Mamfe road (once from the Mamfe end by your predecessor and at at another time by a high ranking Minister of Government from the Kumba end of the road) and that these events remain the exceptional cases in Cameroon when un-tarred roads were ceremonially opened and tapes cut. You yourself know how many times you have visited Bamenda and told the people that you will construct the Ring-Road and other times that you will personally supervise the construction of that road. Still, the construction of the Ring Road has never taken off and the last we heard concerning the Ring-Road was from a Minister of your government saying that the Ring-Road was not a priority for your government. So who is fooling who in all these or in the plan for a big celebration in Buea on 1st October 2012?
FOR AND ON BEHALF OF THE SOUTHERN CAMEROONS PEOPLE’S ORGANIZATION
DR. KELVIN NGWANG GUMNE MR.AUGUSTINE NDANGAM
· The Secretary General of the United Nations.
· The President of the French Republic
· The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
· The President of the UN Security Council
· The Chairman of the African Union
· The Chairman of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union
· The President of the Commission of the African Union
· The Chairperson of the African Commission, Banjul
· The Executive Secretary, ECOWAS
· The Ambassador, United States Embassy, Yaoundé
· The Canadian High Commission Yaounde
· The Ambassador, French Embassy, Yaoundé
· The British High Commission, Yaounde
· The Ambassador, Russian Embassy, Yaounde
· The Ambassador, Embassy of the Peoples Republic of China, Yaounde
· The Nigerian High Commission, Yaounde
· All Political Parties with Headquarters in Southern Cameroons
· All Political Parties of the Republic of Cameroon
· All Traditional Rulers of the Southern Cameroons
· All Deputies of Southern Cameroons Origin in the National Assembly of La République du Cameroun
· All Mayors of Southern Cameroons Local Government Areas.
When News Breaks Out, We Break In. Minute by Minute Report on Cameroon and Africa