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THE LEGAL ARGUMENT FOR SOUTHERN CAMEROON INDEPENDENCE

SC Workshop “ Bamenda, 11 February 2005

 

Introduction:

 

An annexed people is always for a king or an Emperor a matter of complex problems for his own people are always divided on the annexation like the annexed people themselves: he always has sleepless nights over them until the annexed people free themselves by sword or by negotiation, for the ashes of annexation are never completely cold

Michiavelo Machiaveli

 

The problem which has been existing between the Southern Cameroons and La Republique du Cameroun since 1961 has been given many improper names:

  1. Marginalization (political, economic, social, cultural, and linguistic);
  2. Lack of democracy in the domain of elections;

iii. Bad governance;

  1. Non-accommodation of Anglo-French bilingualism on the grounds of the

French domino theory;

  1. Dictatorship;
  2. Lack or imbalance of Affectio societatis between Southern Cameroonians and camerounais;

vii. Annexation

 

The last name, annexation, is the appropriate name: the first six have been in use since 1972; but annexation has been in use only since the peoples of the Southern Cameroons started their struggle for liberation in 1982 with the meetings of elites of the North-West and South-West provinces in Douala. These meetings served as the nucleus of what was to later to become the CAMEROON ANGLOPHONE MOVEMENT (CAM) in December 1991.

 

CAM later transmuted to the SOUTHERN CAMEROONS RESTORATION MOVEMENT (SCARM) in July 1996. CAM popularized the name, annexation, in its information bulletin called CAM Forum No. 2. Annexation is the appropriate name because it is justified in international law. The other names can be justified only in domestic law, that is, within the framework of a national constitution.

 

To justify the current struggle for independence for the Southern Cameroons and win the sympathy of the international community, SCARM all along has been focusing on the international status of the Southern Cameroons by exposing, explaining and upholding the struggle within the framework of international law. This has been done in four sections:

 

Section 1 The physical and legal birth of the Southern Cameroons under international law;

Section 2 The international legal existence of the Southern Cameroons from 1919 to 1946 under the Leagus of Nations;

Section 3 The international legal existence of the Southern Cameroons from 13 December 1946 to 1961 under United Nations Trusteeship;

Section 4 The international legal existence of the Southern Cameroons from its annexation on 1st October 1961 to the expected independence.

 

THE LEGAL ARGUMENT IN INTERNATIONAL LAW FOR INDEPENDENCE FOR THE SOUTHERN CAMEROONS.

 

SECTION 1

 

The Physical and Legal Birth of the Southern Cameroons under International Law.

 

The German colony of KAMERUN was lying between the British colony of NIGERIA and the French colonies of Tchad, Oubangui-chari, Congo and Gabon. At the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 the British West African Frontier Forces from The Gambia, Sierra- Leone, Ghana (the Gold Coast) and Nigeria gathered at Ikom in Nigeria under the command of General CHARLES C. DOBELL. These British colonial troops entered the German colony of Kamerun and fought their first battle with German colonial troops commanded by Colonel Zimmermann at SANAKANG. The French colonial troops from Tchad, Oubangui-Chari, Congo and Gabon, under the command of General Joseph AYMERICH, entered KAMERUN to fight the German troops. The war lasted from 1914 till 1918 with the defeat of the German troops in Kamerun.

 

The British troops from the west and the French troops from the east had penetrated right inside the colony by 1916. The British Secretary for the Colonies, Alfred MILNER and the French Minister for the Colonies and Navy, Henri SIMON, realizing that their combined troops were about to capture German KAMERUN, drew a line in 1916 to partition the German colony between Britain and France. As the war progressed, Alfred MILNER and Henri SIMON signed an agreement to confirm the line in 1917: the agreement became known as the SIMON MILNER AGREEMENT which shared the German colony of KAMERUN into two sectors for Britain in the West and for France in the East.

 

When the map of the partition was sent from London to General Charles C. Dobell, he unexpectedly rejected the map, sent it back to London in protest on grounds that the partition of the land from the sea – Tiko through Misselele to Muyuka - is the area where he lost many of his men, and that land had been put in the French Sector according to the map; so he could never accept it; that that piece of land must be in the British Sector.

 

London rejected Dobell's argument and refused to modify the map: Dobell threatened to fight the French troops which were already camping in the disputed area. Realising the seriousness of Dobell's threat, London gave in and modified the map.

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