Oct 21, 2005

Southern Cameroons: Political Leaders Warn President Biya: Negotiate With Southern Cameroons Nationa

Leaders of two Buea-based political parties, the Social Liberal Congress, SLC, and the Liberal Democratic Alliance, LDA, have called on President Paul Biya to enter into negotiations with the Southern Cameroons National Council
Leaders of two Buea-based political parties, the Social Liberal Congress, SLC, and the Liberal Democratic Alliance, LDA, have called on President Paul Biya to enter into negotiations with the Southern Cameroons National Council, SCNC, the group fighting for the secession of former British Cameroons.

Mola Njoh Litumbe, putative Chairman of the LDA and the snazzy Dr. George Nyamndi of the SLC were speaking during a joint press conference held in the LDA headquarters in Bokwango, Buea, on Tuesday, October 18.

The two leaders said time was running out and Biya must act fast in order to pre-empt a tragedy."It has been said that some human tragedies could be averted if only good men and women speak up when the dark clouds before the storm appear in the sky," Litumbe stated in his opening remarks.

He said, "recent events in Cameroon during the few weeks prior to October 2005 are sufficiently indicative that there is indeed a gathering storm."Recalling the campaigns government launched prior to October to dissuade Southern Cameroonians from supporting the SCNC, Litumbe said, "there was no valid reason for the harassment of citizens who wished to exercise their rights to celebrate a major historic event."

Litumbe said the creation of a Federal government in 1961 was no more than a smokescreen to be blown off as the years progress. He said the constitution that was used was prepared in September 1961, one month before the independence of the Southern Cameroons.

"This constitution was signed by Ahidjo and therefore, was the Constitution of La République du Cameroun."The elderly statesman said Ahidjo merely "changed the name of his country from La République Du Cameroun to the Federal Republic of Southern Cameroons. And then he said he was going to include the state of Southern Cameroons to be part of this country."

He said in spite of the reference of Southern Cameroons as a state in article 56 of the 1961 Federal Constitution, "there is little doubt that if the terms of joining was the total absorption or osmosis of the Southern Cameroons into La République du Cameroun, with its cultural heritage of language, institutions and system of public administration, there would have been no need to create a semblance of a federation from the outset of the marriage."

Litumbe noted that the UN passed a resolution stating that on October 1, 1961, Southern Cameroons should be independent by joining La République. "This did not seem to have taken place because the constitution was an instrument of La République, which thereby colonised the Southern Cameroons, because the UN had not formally given independence."

He said in 1961, Southern Cameroons stood as a beautiful girl that was being courted by Nigeria and La République du Cameroun but the marriage was just a temporary affair (com we stay).

If Biya Does Not Negotiate

Should President fail to heed the call for negotiation, then Cameroon will be in for the worst. Litumbe pointed out that some 14 Southern Cameroonians have instituted a group action against La République to Cameroun before the African Commission on Human Rights.

The plaintiffs are saying that their human rights to self-determination has been violated. He warned that should the case be allowed to run its full course and judgment passed in favour of the plaintiffs, then it would be up to Biya.

"If Mr. Biya cannot negotiate with responsible Southern Cameroonians, then we cannot dance the foxtrot alone, there would have to be a divorce," said Litumbe.He said failing to respect a constitution, which states that no arrangement will destroy its federal option, is a treasonable offence, Litumbe said.

"We should tell Mr. Biya that time is running out. We have lived together for 44 years on the precipice. Any little thing can trigger a conflagration," Litumbe warned. "If we do not address issues now, we may be in for a very painful moment," Nyamndi added.

Though leaders of essentially small political parties, Litumbe and Nyamndi said they could not fold their arms and watch the nation tilt perilously towards an upheaval.Asked if he was not resorting to reductionism by focusing on the Anglophone problem, Dr. Nyamndi said as a leader of a national party, it is his duty to address problems wherever they are.

"If I cannot defend the minority, I can never claim to defend the majority. By dint of our heritage, bicultural as it is, every Cameroonian enjoys the dual identity. You are first of all an Anglophone or a Francophone before being a Cameroonian."

The SLC Chairman said he could not wait for the storm to drain out before moving out to address the issue.On why they could not pool resources together in order to have a greater clout to articulate the problems, Litumbe said political parties have their idiosyncrasies. However, he said, the Anglophone problem is a national issue that transcends party politics.

Asked why the LDA has been dormant for many years now, Litumbe said politics entails a lot of expenditure. "The extent to which this section of the Cameroon nation has been impoverished, we do not have the financial resources or the tycoons who can dole out money so that those who are able to talk can go forward and propagate the gospel."

Asked why he was quick to endorse the victory of President Biya in the 2004 Presidential election, Dr. Nyamndi said he entered the race knowing fully well the condition that attain and inform the running of the race.

"Before I decided to join the race, I knew that the road was bumpy. I cannot now, with my bruised knees, say the race was poorly organised. I was just trying to be consistent," he said.

Source: allAfrica.com