Archive | April, 2017

INTERNET RESTORED IN ANGLOPHONE CAMEROON: Why am I not excited about it!?

21 Apr

Nwanatifu Nwaco

 

It’s been a gruesome 93 days without this communication utility. The Yaounde cabal in its typical and expected show of presidential totalitarianism spat out an executive order to its telecom accomplices of abuse and deprivation to switch on internet access in Southern Cameroon. It has finally yielded to the pressure driven by its Diaspora community of activists online and through petitions and demonstrations at international organizations, embassies and media outlets.

It has restored internet not out of love for citizens but out of shame from ridicule. The audience cost on the regime will impact its implication in the governance and peace building process,that is if it has learned or acknowledged any wrongdoing yet. Our people must not out of excitement for the renewed connectivity forget why and how we got to this violation in the first place. I am sure the government will resort more to social media monitoring and its suspension, not a total shut down as it has set a world record for the longest blackout already.
The government is trying to solve secondary issues without addressing the root causes. The problem of Southern Cameroon is not internet, it is against unrepresentative government and its policies of exclusion and marginalization of minorities. The core problem is a constitutional and republican one.

Before our overzealous elites and persons with social amnesia start sending motions of support and thanks to the regime, the following issues must be cross examined:

– Why is the regime still still detaining activists and leaders arrested in the struggle? If its claim that there is no Anglophone problem persists?
– When is the regime going to convene a national conference on dialogue and constitutional review or bring to book those who carried out hate speech and violence against lawyers, teachers and ordinary citizens? – Will the ban on media broadcasting this topic as well as the Consortium be lifted?
– What is going to be done to repair material and property damages suffered by businesses and individuals from arson?
– Internet service providers are yet to tell their customers and clients what indemnities they have prepared to compensate the losses inflicted by their compliance to bad government policy on the digital based economy? How do they plan to win back customer loyalty?

These are just a few highlights of many issues at hand. Unless the government in Yaoundé develops a stronger political will to act in the interest of political stability and national cohesion, these superficial measures it’s rolling out will only prolong the spectre of suspicion that has stalled debate and solution oriented dialogue. Ghost towns and state of emergency hurt, Education is a human right, no child should be deprived of it because of government pride. 
Give us justice and freedoms or else our STRUGGLE WILL INTENSIFY

#freeAllArrested

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UNDERSTANDING THE LEGALITY OF THE KAMERUN UNION AND THE LOST STATEHOOD OF SOUTHERN CAMEROON

14 Apr

Neither of the capitals Yaounde nor Buea can claim to be the sole legitimate heir to the successor state that represents former German Kamerun. As a matter of international law, German Kamerun had ceased to exist as the many small city states it had annexed to form itself. The First World War had created new subjects under international law, these were the successor states to this defunct Kamerun, split between British Nigeria and French Equatorial Africa. To begin to claim true reunification will mean a reconstitution of Kamerun as it was in 1911. This will mean 5 neighbouring countries of today’s Cameroon will have to cede back territories belonging to the defunct German Kamerun.

The 11 February 1961 Plebiscite was just a sampling tool as to whether British Southern Cameroonians WISHED to one day enter a union with “the Republic of Cameroun” or Nigeria; reason why the Plebiscite questions were simply to achieve independence by integration with the independent Federation of Nigeria or by joining the independent Republic of Cameroun. Contrary to wishes, there was no third option for complete independence. The post-plebiscite conference held at Foumban should have been where the ‘birth certificate’ of the Union was established and later ratified by the parliaments of both entities as was the procedure between the countries Tanganyika and Zanzibar done later in 1964 (available here http://www.wipo.int/edocs/lexdocs/laws/en/tz/tz027en.pdf )

But what happened instead was that the 1960 Constitution of the already independent former French Cameroon was simply amended on 1st September 1961 to a federal constitution meanwhile the Southern Cameroonians was still under British colonial rule which as of 1st October 1961 officially came to an end. Without even enjoying seconds of sovereign statehood and its accompanying attributes or symbolism, the former British Southern Cameroon was automatically declared part of the Federal republic of Cameroon.The hoisting down of the British Union Jack was never followed by any Southern Cameroon flag but was succeeded by the hoisting of the new two star flag adopted by the parliament of the Republic of Cameroon one month earlier to that historic day.

The reason why a “Union treaty” does not exist in the Cameroons union is because the 1961 reunification between the Southern Cameroons which was not yet a sovereign state and the independent Republic of Cameroon was a union founded on uneven bargaining terms because the still colonial status of Southern Cameroons effectively disqualified it to enter an international treaty with an already a sovereign state. As such it came into the union by incorporation (absorption and annexation) and not by treaty. The Southern Cameroons acquired autonomy not independence, by becoming the appendix of an independent country. If the de facto state of Southern Cameroon was independent just for one day from the UN or from Nigeria and Cameroun which were already de jure states and exhibiting by it self all the attributes of a sovereign state as defined by Article 3 to 6 of the Montevideo Convention of 1933, then it could have been able to negotiate a treaty for itself and get both parties to submit and register it in accordance with article 102 of the UNO charter (available here https://treaties.un.org/xml/db/MSDB/pageRegulation_en.html ) 
At the time of “joining” the Cameroun Republic, the Southern Cameroons did not have an anthem, a seal of state, coat of arms, a flag or ability to formulate and execute foreign policy, mint currency or wage war. Those in use belonged to the British foreign and commonwealth office. Worthy of note is the fact that Nigeria gained independence on 1st October 1960 while former French Cameroon gained independence on 1st January 1960, So within this window period from October 1960 to October 1961, the Southern Cameroons was never an independent state but was an internal self governing trust territory of the UN under British administration. It should be retained at heart that it joined on October 1st 1961, that is exactly one month after La Republique du Cameroun had revised it’s constitution to accommodate the ‘newcomers’: the stateless Southern Cameroonians who had refused Nigerian citizenship and who had also been denied the right of choice to their own independence and sovereign statehood.

As long as this paradise remains lost and the reunification dream remains worthy to sustain and prosper it, government inertia, non-provision of judicial remedies to victims of state violence and deprivation and general poor conflict management are the things that will lead the sub-national identities in Cameroon to get more polarized and feel marginalized, hence the challenges to state legitimacy and leadership will only gain sympathy and following. It therefore becomes incumbent and urgent on the successor state of Cameroon to embark on a nation-state building process project in which the PEOPLE of the former Southern Cameroons and French Cameroun will be able to enjoy their identities, rights and freedoms as a nation without a jeopardy of human welfare, security and territorial integrity. The regime in Yaounde must decriminalize expressions in political discourse, discussion and dissent, it should convene a national dialogue conference and a constitutional review act to establish a stronger social contract in which all citizens regardless of linguistic expression, ethnicity or political affiliation will all feel as first class citizens and patriots of a common homeland with shared aspiration for the future.

Nwanatifu Nwaco, April 14, 2017

CAMEROON: PEACE WITHOUT SOCIAL JUSTICE AND NATIONAL SOLIDARITY EQUALS SUPPRESSION

11 Apr

We are yet to see “national prayers” organised for those who died from medical negligence, who got killed by rebel and terror groups, who died from neglected transport infrastructure, who died or lost their liberties from participation in pro-democracy movements at the hands of abusive state security agents, who died for being excluded the opportunity to contribute in the nation building process…

If you are one of those or know anyone who goes about under government sponsorship and rhetoric calling for peace to reign in Cameroon without ever acknowledging or speaking out about the root causes of the current political and social conflict in which Cameroon has been embroiled in, then your call to peace is not credible or sincere enough. Peace and social cohesion thrive were there is national dialogue, where there is political pluralism, the rule of law and safeguard for civil liberties and human rights.

Peace thrives not by the calls we make from ivory towers but flourishes when we are in solidarity for our fellow citizens, when we tolerate dissenting opinions instead of dismissing them and advocating for the status quo. Peace is negotiated with concessions and inclusive policy reforms. Peace is not just the absence of armed conflict but is much more the presence of social justice and participatory governance.

In this libertarian era, he who wants peace must not necessarily prepare for war, suppressing political dissent in Cameroon by violent and degrading means will only achieve compliance but will not attain social order. Cameroon does not need to sacrifice the the education of a whole generation just because political elites are obsessed with regime security above human security. The problems will only be postponed if time is used as a toy and the solutions and grievances that feed conflict will only get complex and replicated in successor generations and regimes.

#BringBackOurInternet
#FreeAllPoliticalPrisoners

THE NEW MASQUERADE IN TOWN

5 Apr

The government of Cameroun, not my Kamerun, is a pathological liar and fraudster. The tactics used by this tribal cabal and its political mob to resolve the constitutional and republican crisis in Southern Cameroon are akin to techniques used by stone age men and late feudal lords to find solutions to daily issues: brute force and morale blackmail.

To hear that a national ecumenical service has been organised and broadcast on national TV to “thank God” for his health is the most occultic thing that has happened lately. A national prayer has not been organised to pray for peace and change of moral conscience for the country’s leaders and all killed by state sponsored violence or transnational organised criminal groups even. In the mid 1990’s, Rigobert Song was famously welcomed to the North West province in the company of his team mate Geremi Njitap, when they traveled the bumpy-muddy road from Bamenda to Nkambe town to promote a football tournament organised annually by an elite of the locality called George Weya.

Personally, I find it morally appalling for a man of status such as the former captain of the national football team to accept being used by the government as a mascot to foster their bravado and conquistador agenda in West Cameroon. It has been announced that he will be touring the English speaking regions to ”thank them for their prayers for his health” after he was medically evacuated to France on a presidential privilege last year, while many of ordinary Cameroonians like him just had to die of treatable diseases because their lives were not as valuable as his or more realistically due to the absence or dilapidated state of health care facilities and services.

The government seems to want to relocate all public events such as the Fenasco school games in the volatile regions in desperate attempts to cheer the world that it is still exercising legitimate authority over the territory but not the people anyway, but let that farce not deceive you. After failing and persistently shying away to dialogue with English speaking Cameroon leaders, the Yaounde political cabal is using every publicity stunt and coercion to bend the political resolve of the people in these regions. It has even begun to plagiarize the ideas posited by the anglophone leaders it jailed without appropriate reference.

The government cabal is ready to spend millions in a few weeks to organise national tours for the militarized football national team, but is unwilling though able to spend such amounts instead on public health and infrastructure development or even pay hotel bills for its players when they’re playing abroad. The government of Cameroun is a reckless human rights abuser, a nepotist cartel, a regime where political corruption and elite impunity is the moral standard to be upheld by its leadership corps. Only in a dysfunctional and people disoriented government will you find xenophobes fascists still keeping their jobs after ordering the arbitrary arrests, detentions and killing of civilians and failing to resolve a national crisis for many months.

There is a new ”juju” in town: Rigobert Song is the new ‘Nkoh’, the new ‘Mabuu’ that will be thrilling us in the days ahead as we commemorate 78 days today since government violated our rights online and offline by shutting down internet connection and arresting citizens in English speaking regions.

#FreeAllPoliticalPrisoners
#BringBackOurInternet

By Nwanatifu Nwaco