Cameroon is One and Indivisible: Which Cameroon? BY AKERE MUNA Published 10 January 2017.
‘Cameroon is one and indivisible’ is a pronouncement that is supposed to have a solemn ring to it. However, there is so much happening in Cameroon today that such a statement now produces more questions than answers. Are we talking about a territory or a people?
As a Territory?
Cameroon as a country, or parts thereof, has been known as:
KAMERUN, SOUTHERN and NORTHERN CAMEROONS, “LA REPUBLIC DU CAMEROUN”, FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF CAMEROON, WEST CAMEROON, EAST CAMEROON, THE UNITED REPUBLIC OF CAMEROON and the second “LA REPUBLIQUE DU CAMEROUN”. Only the Constitution of the FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF CAMEROON of 1961 describes the territory of Cameroon. This constitution provides in Article 1 as follows:
1. (1) With effect from the 1st October 1961, the Federal Republic of Cameroon shall be constituted from the territory of the Republic of Cameroon, hereafter to be styled East Cameroon, and the territory of the Southern Cameroons, formerly under British trusteeship, hereafter to be styled West Cameroon.
Subsequent constitutions do not define the territories but proceed to change the name of the country. While the 1972 constitution attempts to maintain the notion of two territories getting together and forming a United Cameroon, the 1984 Constitution must be considered as the one that created the greatest confusion in the identification of the territory of the Cameroon. The 1984 Constitution states:
The United Republic of Cameroon shall, with effect from the date of entry into force of this law, be known as Republic of Cameroon (Law No 84-1 of February 4,1984).
By reverting to the name Republic of Cameroon, already defined by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Cameroon as being East Cameroon, the perennial question has always been: What happened to Southern Cameroons or West Cameroon? So, when one affirms that the Republic of Cameroon is One and Indivisible, does this also concern Southern Cameroons or West Cameroon?
If ever there was a need to change the name of the country, it would be to revert to the German appellation KAMERUN. All the main political parties of Southern Cameroons did, in fact, use the word Kamerun, namely: KNDP (Kamerun People’s Democratic Party), KNC (Kamerun National Party) KPP (Kamerun People’s Part) and OK (one Kamerun). It is clear from this that, while the affirmation of the Southern Cameroonians for a genuine reconstitution of the former colonial entity, based on the two inherited cultures in the form of a federation, the intention of the Republic of Cameroon has been opaque to say the least.
The constant changing of the name is what has heightened suspicion. The “Anglophone problem”, as it is sadly described, is indeed a Cameroonian problem. We seem to be in denial of our history and our past. All the publications about the Independence of La Republique du Cameroon or East Cameroon commands us to face our history, once and for all, and make the necessary adjustments. Whether it is the book “KAMERUN”, or the recent publications “La Guerre du Cameroun” or “La France Afrique” in which East Cameroun is described as the laboratory of the “France-Afrique” policy, it is clear that there are issues that must be addressed.
Some of us still have traumatizing memories of human heads on sticks in roundabouts, as one travelled through the Bamileke region during the years of the fight for independence. I cannot forget seeing the burning down of entire villages of people whose only desire was freedom. UPC, a historic party, struggled through suspicion, humiliation and persecution. A very well known French actor, during this process, actually affirmed that Independence was “given” to those who wanted it the least.
NGO’s in Namibia today are trying to sue Germany; the Kenyans sued the British for the repression in the era of the Mau Mau and obtained compensation. NGO’s in Cameroon are getting ready, in light of the release of the archives of the colonial and post-colonial period by the French government, to sue for compensation. The trusteeship agreements are being re-visited by different groups to see which clauses may have been violated. There is now the whole debate about payments by francophone colonies to France, and people are agitating about the political implications of the CFA franc.
If in the complex maze of this all we can gather is that this is an “Anglophone problem”, which we acknowledge half-heartedly and under pressure, then I am sad for my country. This continuous denial of facing our colonial history must stop. We must discuss it, understand it, and draw the conclusions that will help us chart a future. Simply rehabilitating people and calling them national heroes, without any concrete action to right the wrongs, talking of founding fathers without naming them, is at best a game of ruse. No street names, no national heroes day, no stamps, no monuments, just words of some anonymous folks, will take us nowhere. Furthermore, when a citizen of the country pays homage to a Father of Reunification in the form a statute in Douala, it is broken, pulled down and dragged through the streets of Douala under the nose of thousands of citizens who stare in total stupefaction and bewilderment. The so-called “Anglophone problem” is, in fact, a result of the state of denial we are in.
As a people?
As a people, are we then one and indivisible? It is interesting to read what a reporter for LE MONDE Afrique, Yann Gwet, says in commenting on the President’s 2017, New Year speech. He writes:
“Listening to President Biya, 82 years, talking about this jungle as a “democratic country and a “State of law” and positioning himself as the protector of “the foundations of our living together” solemnly referring to the Constitution, whereas he has been in power for thirty-three years, forcefully reaffirming the unity and indivisibility of Cameroon in reply to the “worries” of striking Teachers and Lawyers in the Anglophone part of the country who are described in the speech as “manipulated and guided extremists” I had the confirmation of what I already know. There are two Cameroons one official and one real.”
If we want to consolidate our unity, it is the real Cameroon we must face. We must talk to one another, frankly, truthfully, and transparently. If we continue to stay in denial, then we will never be united, the divisions will continue, and we will lose the peace we so dearly cherish.
Yaounde: Barrister Akere Muna has regained his residence in Yaounde after a 4 hours interrogation at the Judicial Investigation service of the Defence state secretariat (SED) today.
The towering legal figure, son of the famous West Cameroon political heavyweight ST Muna was accompanied to his summon by a college of 21 senior lawyers most of them past Battoniers.
The current president of the Bar council, Barrister Ngnie Kamga told Camcord that Akere was interrogated for 4hours with charges similar to those of the outlawed Consortium. "He is being SUSPECTED of Secession, Terrorism, hostility against the nation, contempt against the head of state." Kamga revealed.
According to the investigating officer, the fearless critic had written two controversial articles which were published in the French daily, LE JOUR. The articles written on December 2016 and January 2017 contained "questionable" messages liable to incite rebellion and cause chaos in the country. In other words Muna is alleged to have backed Balla and co in the events in the North West an South West regions. But Kamga said his colleague gave ample explanations, clarifying his position in the articles and refuting all claims.
After the thorough grilling, Barrister Akere Muna was asked to return home. Before leaving the SED precincts, he also met with the Secretary of State for Defence incharge of the National Gendarmerie, Jean Baptiste Bokam with whom he discussed the issue.
As it stands, Barrister Akere Muna remains a free man. But today's questioning appears to be just the beginning of a new chapter in the ongoing Anglophone crisis. When Camcord asked the Batonier about the way forward, he said the investigating officer will make a report that will be sent to hierarchy. Only then will a definite decision be taken to either dig deeper into the matter or drop it once and for all.
Six years after the uprising that ended his rule, former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has been freed from detention over his alleged involvement in the killings of hundreds of protesters in 2011.
Cameroonian Football icon, Samuel Eto’o Fils has been named the United Nations International Children’s Educational Fund,UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for Cameroon.
he 36 year old Cameroonian was crowned the 2017 UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador this Tuesday 21st March 2017 at the Yaounde Multipurpose Sports Complex
According to the UNICEF Country representative ,Dr.Felicite Tchibindat said the choice of Samuel Eto’o Fils was measured on his outstanding achievements inspired by his humble background and beginnings.
She added that it was UNICEF’s decision to take Eto’o Fils success story that help encourage the youth in Cameroon to be assiduous and daring.
Samuel Eto’o Fils on his part during the acceptance speech clearly stated his intentions to help provide humanitarian and developmental assistance to children and mothers in Cameroon.
After the installation, Samuel Eto’o Fils took off sometime to fraternize with the hundreds of school children present at the ceremonial ground.
He was received at the US Embassy in Yaounde by the Deputy Chief of Mission Matthew.
The Embassy released a statement on their Facebook page following the visit:
The excitement at the U.S. Embassy was palpable during Samuel Eto’o’s visit today. Embassy staff poured out of their offices to give him the warmest of welcomes and goodbyes. Eto’o – UNICEF’s new Goodwill Ambassador – stopped by to meet our Mandela Washington Fellows who have projects in the Far North for youth affected by the Boko Haram. Our fellows were ecstatic and so were we!
Barrister Akere Muna is presently at the Gendamerie headquarters in Yaounde where he is answering a summon from the Judicial Investigation Centre of the State Department for Defence, SED.
The renown legal heavyweight, son of one of West Cameroon's prominent figures ST Muna, is being accompanied by the President of the Bar council Barrister Jackson Kamga and a college of 21 lawyers. He was convoked to appear on Wednesday March 22 but postponed the call to Friday March 24 as he was to take part at the International Conference.Despite calls by sympathizers for him to stay abroad, the fearless critic has chosen to honour the summon and is now answering questions behind closed doors at SED
Stay connected to Cameroon as we shall be updating you on his breaking story.
Schools have remained closed and business paralyzed in the English-speaking northwest and southwest regions of Cameroon, as the strike initiated by teachers and lawyers against what they call the overbearing use of French enters its fifth month.
Three strike leaders and another group of 25 people arrested from the English-speaking regions appeared in the Yaounde military court Thursday, and the case was again adjourned.
Bibixy Mancho sang that he would never forget his home, as the military escorted him to the court.
The military ordered a handful of people who came out to see the suspects to not shake hands with them. Among the curious onlookers was Minang Flora, who said she traveled 400 kilometers (250 miles) to support the suspects.
"I want to see them, to encourage them and pray for them,” Flora said. “No matter how long it takes, we shall get there."
Group trial is disputed
Along with Nkongho Felix Agbor-Balla, Fontem Aforteka'a Neba and Bibixy Mancho, who are accused of organizing demonstrations in December that turned violent, 25 other suspects have been arrested from the English-speaking regions since the strike started.
Defense counsel Eta Bisong Junior said they found it inappropriate for all of them to be judged together.
“There was an application for two cases, two separate cases to be joined and heard and determined at the same time, and the lawyers for the defense were opposed to that. The court has adjourned the matter to the 7th of April for the ruling,” Junior said.
On April 7, the court will rule on whether the three leaders should be judged separately or together with the 25 others.
The case itself has been adjourned to April 27. The court rejected appeals for the three leaders to be granted bail.
The charges levied against them are conspiracy to terrorism, rebellion against the state, incitement of civil unrest, breach of the constitution, provoking civil war by inciting the people to take arms against each other, and propagation of false information. Cameroon is using a 2014 law on suppression of acts of terrorism and a 2014 law on cybersecurity and cybercriminality. The suspects could face death sentences.
Some strikers are calling for a return to federalism, while other leaders want secession. President Paul Biya, after meeting Italy's President Sergio Matterella this week, said they discussed the issue, but that national unity in his country was not up for negotiation.
Biya visits Italy
Biya said they spoke about the situation in the northwest and southwest regions of Cameroon, and he assured the president of Italy that a majority of Cameroonians want peace and support two fundamental principles — the unity and diversity of their nation as prescribed in the constitution.
English-speaking lawyers and teachers have been on strike since November. The strike has drawn other activists who accuse the state of marginalizing English speakers living primarily in the southwest and the northwest.
Moki Edwin Kindzeka