Archive | October, 2013

Regional Integration My Smallest Toe!!

28 Oct

By Nwanatifu Nwaco

Of what use is it to carry a CEMAC passport if Cameroonians are being routinely chased, caught, rounded up and loaded unto boats and trucks without any personal effects or belongings and then dropped off at the coast and border posts by the authorities in Equatorial Guinea without food or clothing meanwhile Cameroonian security officers are guarding all the residential areas where E.Guineans live in Cameroon??? Why is it free for them to come to our country but not us to theirs even as we share the same economic and monetary union for the free movement of goods, services and persons with them? Are they paying our government officials some of their hugely laundered oil money for them to keep silent? 
Worse of all they always unilaterally close the border after such acts. The amazing fact is that this is a country whose civil administration and technical services is trained in Cameroon. Cameroon used to offer them development aid and budgetary support and was very instrumental in their admittance into the regional economic union. Since the exportation of petroleum from the year 2000, this tiny oil ‘kingdom’ and Africa’s 3rd largest producer after Nigeria and Angola has developed strong xenophobic feelings and expressions towards its once celebrated benefactor. It is worth noting that the people of Eq. Guinea are of the same Bulu Fang ethnic group as the president of Cameroon even!! 

As always the talk-less and do-nothing government of Cameroon wouldn’t move a diplomatic muscle.  This post isn’t about to measure the functioning of our own national politics. Many of my compatriots are quick to blame the numerous failures of our country’s domestic policy, they are yet to understand the human rights or inter-state relations aspect of this write up. My post isn’t about the push or pull factors of migration, it is more about the obligations of states which are parties to a multilateral treaty framework and the impact on the population for whom this treaty is undertaken. We Cameroonians are simply demanding reciprocity-pacta sunt servanda!
In this case Equatorial Guinea is acting ultra vires to the fundamental act of the CEMAC framework of agreements. There is clear evidence of bad faith here. According to victim accounts residence permit holders had their papers confiscated and torn as they were rounded up along with undocumented migrants and deported under gruesome subhuman conditions.women,children and men are dropped off on the beach or border at the mercy of the natural elements without basic necessities or clothing.Our authorities just find these compatriots stranded and abandoned without notification from the Guineans.most men are without shirts indicating some torture while in detention. The simple excuse as you see is that they are Cameroonians!The worse part is that our governments foreign policy is to shy to demand a diplomatic answer for these human and treaty failures from its counterpart.

We’re not pro uncontrolled immigration,all we want is the ability to trade and seek opportunities as they do in ours,without being harassed and dehumanized.Before they found oil and when our economy was in boom, we never turned them away.Out of fraternal largesse CRTV set up and staffed their national broadcast service.with a subsistence economy and a valueless Bipkwelle currency, presidents Ahidjo and Biya patronized their entry into UDEAC and eventual backing of the CFA and BEAC regional market.This uplifted them in many ways in geopolitical-strategic terms.The discovery of oil a decade ago brought xenophobia along with it to them.we and them had open borders before then.the fact is we have a stake in their economic boom just as we got with Chad.Chadians got oil too and despite that they pose far more challenger to our security,we’re both free to come and go about our businesses according to the treaties.
If any of you was ever in E.Guinea, you wouldn’t be this over idealistic and simplistic. The EU and Schengen treaties are no different from the CEMAC treaty.One signatory no matter how rich they are cannot unilaterally break it repeatedly with impunity. Why does Germany not opt out of the EU but continues to bail out failing member states?if Guinea wants to in out,let them do so by due procedure. Now you guys as diaspora or home based tell me if this has any thing to do with partisan politics as we’re so quick to interpret things only in this perspective. No Cameroonian patriot no matter their grief with the regime in power should take sides with Guinea on this issue in a matter where our fellow compatriots have been exacted material and body injury. Our national blame game simply doesn’t apply here. Ask the Americans how much they value any of their good or bad citizen when they’re affected by a situation while abroad? That works for us too but our diplomacy isn’t standing up for up for us abroad. After we’ve addressed the abuser only them can we return to the national politics to question how and why Cameroon is going bad and pushing its citizens into such dire straits.