Chronicles of the Anglophone Problem: Cameroon has no Business being in the British Commonwealth; Is Patricia Scotland Going to be the Neville Chamberlain of Africa?
This week Commonwealth Secretary General, the Right Hon. Patricia Scotland, visits Cameroon to try to solve the so-called Anglophone problem that has gripped the country since November 2016. The opulent banquets in President Paul Biya’s sumptuous palace, and the diplomatic niceties mouthed by Biya and Scotland cannot hide the palpable but invisible specter in the banquet hall, the 10,000-pound gorilla named “FAILURE.”
Cameroon has FAILED to live up to the values and human rights ideals of the Commonwealth. Cameroon has no business being in the Commonwealth. Cameroon should be expelled forthwith from the Commonwealth. The Anglophones who “brought” Cameroon to the Commonwealth symbolically “voted” overwhelmingly on 1st October 2017 for Cameroon to be expelled from the Commonwealth.
The name “Cameroon” now stands for the colossal FAILURE of the experiment to unite the French and British administered UN Trust territories of Southern Cameroon and East Cameroon into a bilingual union of two equal states that would have been the envy of Africa.
Ahidjo’s FAILURE to nurture and strengthen a laudable African experiment which would have melded the centralized, top-down, French republican logic of the strong man’s rule by decree, where authoritarian law trumps the human rights of citizens, with the Anglo-American federalist republican tradition where, under the rule of law, the courts protect citizens from the arbitrariness and excesses of the authoritarian strong man.
The FAILURE of the reunification experiment has led to a virtual black-on-black colonization of Southern Cameroon by the over-centralized, authoritarian, Napoleonic, strong-man, top-down rule-by-decree La Republique due Cameroun of President Amadou Ahidjo and his successor, authoritarian successor, President Paul Biya.
The name “Cameroon” also represents FAILURE of the worst kind––lack of vision and lack of respect for human rights. When in November 2017, Anglophones whose parents and grandparents had voluntarily––and in hindsight naively– voted in 1961 to join their “brothers and sisters” on the other side of the Mungo river, used their human rights to complain about their marginalization, and ill-treatment as second-class citizens, Biya, in his intransigence, opted for repression. He chose a military solution to this essentially political problem. The results have been a catalogue of catastrophic crimes against humanity: Hundreds of poor unarmed Anglophone civilians killed, maimed, imprisoned, tortured and brazenly expelled from their homes by Biya’s colonial administrators simply because they had the temerity to call for change. As a result of this military violence and repression, thousands of Anglophone men women and children Cameroonians are now refugees in Nigeria. No other Commonwealth country has the bloody legacy of human rights violations that the 35 year-old regime of Paul Biya has left Anglophones.
Cameroon has become the exemplar of the FAILURE of democratic governance and dialogue. In democratic societies, real leaders negotiate, visionary politicians dialogue to promote peace and tranquility. Not so in Cameroon. Paul Biya and his intellectual backers celebrate his unshakeable intransigence and absolute political inflexibility. Biya has never been a man of dialogue, he is not now a man of dialogue, and he will never be a man of dialogue. He would rather die than sit down with his political opponents.
The Commonwealth must not play nice with Cameroon. If all that Hon. Patricia Scotland succeeds to do about Cameroon is shake Biya’s bloody hand and mouth diplomatic niceties, she will go down in history as the Neville Chamberlain of Africa. Chamberlain, it will be recalled, was the British Prime Minister who was outwitted and out-foxed by Hitler, and left Germany proclaiming that he had secured peace and averted World War II. Subsequent events proved how delusional he was.
Hon. Patricia Scotland, through their symbolic declaration of independence on 1st October 2017 Anglophone Cameroonians voted to kick their oppressor, La République du Cameroon out of the Commonwealth. President Biya, who represents the FAILURE of dictatorship, has no business standing side-by-side with other Commonwealth heads of government. The voice of the people is the voice of God! Anglophones expect the Commonwealth to do the right thing.