THE LEGAL ARGUMENT FOR SOUTHERN CAMEROON INDEPENDENCE
SC Workshop – Bamenda
11 February 2005
Presented by Germanus Dounge
“An annexed people is always for a king or an Emperor a matter of complex problems for his own people are always divided on the annexation like the annexed people themselves: he always has sleepless nights over them until the annexed people free themselves by sword or by negotiation, for the ashes of annexation are never completely cold”
The problem which has been existing between the Southern Cameroons and La Republique du Cameroun since 1961 has been given many improper names:
i. Marginalization (political, economic, social, cultural, and linguistic);
ii. Lack of democracy in the domain of elections;
iii. Bad governance;
iv. Non-accommodation of Anglo-French bilingualism on the grounds of the
French domino theory;
vi. Lack or imbalance of Affectio societatis between Southern Cameroonians and camerounais;
The last name, annexation, is the appropriate name: the first six have been in use since 1972; but annexation has been in use only since the peoples of the Southern Cameroons started their struggle for liberation in 1982 with the meetings of elites of the North-West and South-West provinces in Douala. These meetings served as the nucleus of what was to later to become the CAMEROON ANGLOPHONE MOVEMENT (CAM) in December 1991.
CAM later transmuted to the SOUTHERN CAMEROONS RESTORATION MOVEMENT (SCARM) in July 1996. CAM popularized the name, annexation, in its information bulletin called CAM Forum No. 2. Annexation is the appropriate name because it is justified in international law. The other names can be justified only in domestic law, that is, within the framework of a national constitution.
To justify the current struggle for independence for the Southern Cameroons and win the sympathy of the international community, SCARM all along has been focusing on the international status of the Southern Cameroons by exposing, explaining and upholding the struggle within the framework of international law. This has been done in four sections:
Section 1 – The physical and legal birth of the Southern Cameroons under international law;
Section 2 – The international legal existence of the Southern Cameroons from 1919 to 1946 under the Leagus of Nations;
Section 3 – The international legal existence of the Southern Cameroons from 13 December 1946 to 1961 under United Nations Trusteeship;
Section 4 – The international legal existence of the Southern Cameroons from its annexation on 1st October 1961 to the expected independence.
THE LEGAL ARGUMENT IN INTERNATIONAL LAW FOR INDEPENDENCE FOR THE SOUTHERN CAMEROONS.
The Physical and Legal Birth of the Southern Cameroons under International Law.
The German colony of KAMERUN was lying between the British colony of NIGERIA and the French colonies of Tchad, Oubangui-chari, Congo and Gabon. At the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 the British West African Frontier Forces from The Gambia, Sierra- Leone, Ghana (the Gold Coast) and Nigeria gathered at Ikom in Nigeria under the command of General CHARLES C. DOBELL. These British colonial troops entered the German colony of Kamerun and fought their first battle with German colonial troops commanded by Colonel Zimmermann at SANAKANG. The French colonial troops from Tchad, Oubangui-Chari, Congo and Gabon, under the command of General Joseph AYMERICH, entered KAMERUN to fight the German troops. The war lasted from 1914 till 1918 with the defeat of the German troops in Kamerun.
The British troops from the west and the French troops from the east had penetrated right inside the colony by 1916. The British Secretary for the Colonies, Alfred MILNER and the French Minister for the Colonies and Navy, Henri SIMON, realizing that their combined troops were about to capture German KAMERUN, drew a line in 1916 to partition the German colony between Britain and France. As the war progressed, Alfred MILNER and Henri SIMON signed an agreement to confirm the line in 1917: the agreement became known as the SIMON – MILNER AGREEMENT which shared the German colony of KAMERUN into two sectors for Britain in the West and for France in the East.
When the map of the partition was sent from London to General Charles C. Dobell, he unexpectedly rejected the map, sent it back to London in protest on grounds that the partition of the land from the sea – Tiko through Misselele to Muyuka - is the area where he lost many of his men, and that land had been put in the French Sector according to the map; so he could never accept it; that that piece of land must be in the British Sector.
London rejected Dobell’s argument and refused to modify the map: Dobell threatened to fight the French troops which were already camping in the disputed area. Realising the seriousness of Dobell’s threat, London gave in and modified the map to include the disputed area in the British Sector as requested by Dobell. Dobell was later accused by the British of rebellion and insubordination and sent on punitive transfer to Rawalpindi in India (Rawalpindi is today in Pakistan).
The war ended in 1918 with the defeat of Germany and the partition of the German colony of KAMERUN. Britain and France set up administrations in their respective sectors. In 1919 Britain, France and Germany signed the Versailles Peace Treaty at LE PALAIS DES GALERIES DES GLACES (Versailles – France) on 28 July 1919. This treaty confirmed the Simon – Milner Agreement of 1916: and this was the physical and Legal Birth of the Southern Cameroons in international law binding Britain, France and Germany, and eye-witnessed by the United States.
It should be noted that during the war, the United States which had refused to fight alongside France and Britain when contacted, sold war materials to Britain and France according to the “Buy and Carry Act” passed by the US Congress as a diplomatic way of assisting Britain. “Buy and Carry Act” meant you buy them in cash. According to President Woodrow Wilson “we sell arms to you and you carry them away at once in one shipment to where you want and to do what you want”.
When contacted to sign the Versailles Peace Treaty as a big power, Woodrow Wilson refused on the grounds that “we have not been defeated nor have we won in a war we have only heard of; but we should seat at Versailles as an observer”. The Versailles Peace Treaty, an international treaty, made the Simon – Milne Agreement boundary the permanent international boundary between the Southern Cameroons and La Republique du Cameroun du premier janvier 1960.
The First Specific International Status of the Southern Cameroons within International Boundaries.
Before the formation of the League of Nations, the international boundary of the Southern Cameroons on its eastern border was the one recognised by the Versailles Peace Treaty: on its western border, the international boundary was the one recognised by the Anglo – German Treaty of 1913. The League of Nations was founded as an international organisation to promote, maintain and keep peace around the world. As manager of international peace, the League of Nations put all the territories of German colonies captured during the war under a system of Mandatory Administration to mandated powers. Britain – France - Belgium became Mandatory Powers respectively for British Cameroons, Tanganyika, Papua New Guinea, British Togoland; French Cameroun, French Togo; Rwanda – Burundi.
The Southern Cameroons was given an international status in 1922 as a League of Nations Mandated Territory under British Administration. In 1931, the League of Nations requested Britain and France to landmark the international boundary between the British Cameroons and French Cameroun.
So on 9 January 1931, the “Cameroons boundary Commission” met in London. Under the supervision of the League of Nations. Administrators of the British Cameroons and those of French Cameroun landmarked the international boundary by building concrete cement pillar marks along the boundary: each landmark was the object of a specific topographic document which was co-signed by the Administrators of both countries.
The Illegitimate and Illegal claim of Sovereignty over the Territory of the Southern Cameroons by La Republique du Cameroun on the grounds that the German colony of Kamerun ( Camereroes) became a German colony in 1884 by a Treaty signed between the German Consul GUSTAV NAGHTIGAL and the Kings of Douala.
That German colony comprised the current territory of La Republique du Cameroun and the British Cameroons; but the territory of German Kamerun has gone through a number of changes of its original boundaries over time. It is known that Germany, under Chancellor Von Bismark went out later for colonies because Von Bismark had in the past told the Reishtag (Parliament): “I do not need colonies”. But Bismark, pressured by Von Papin, decided later to get colonies especially in Africa. So Germany wanted the area from Tangiers to Casablanca in the northern part of Morocco, a French colony.
The military governor of Morocco, General Lyanty, bitterly opposed the German request. France and Germany quarreled over Tangiers – Casablanca; and in order to settle the dispute, France preferred to offer land to Germany in the heart of Africa where France had many large colonies: Gabon, Congo, Oubangui – Chari, Tchad. France’s move was probably due to the fact that those four colonies were governed by civilian governors who, of course, were more amenable than a military governor like General Lyanty in Morocco, Biaut –Willaumez in Gabon, Saborgnan de Brazzo (an Italian) in Congo, Captain Lomy in Oubangui – Chari, and Reverend Father Foureau in Tchad. Germany accepted France’s offer first by a treaty on 4 November 1911.
A portion of Tchad and a portion of Congo were joined to the German colony. By a treaty on 1st October 1912, a portion of Northern Gabon was joined to Kamerun. On 1st February 1913, a very large portion of western Oubangui – Chari was joined to Kamerun. So France expanded the territory of German Kamerun by 275,000 square kilometers before the outbreak of the war in 1914. By the effect of war, the expanded German Kamerun was shared between Britain and France.
France and the Returned Lands from the expanded German Kamerun.
Two factors were at play:
1. The Mandate of the League of Nations;
2. The bitter protests of the populations of the portions of French colonies which were attached to the original German Kamerun less than five years earlier.
France took over its portion of the divided German Kamerun in a very brutal manner, especially by forcefully suppressing the German language. The French-speaking populations who were joined to German Kamerun soon tabled two complaints: first, that war was never fought in the areas they inhabited as it was in the German-speaking area; that they did not yet speak German well; secondly, that they were not colonized by the Germans; that they willingly collaborated with the French troops against German troops. So, considering all those complaints, France returned to its colonies their respective portions of territory she ceded to Germany by treaties. So the Mandate given to France was applied on its original portion of German Kamerun, that is, the current territory of La Republique du Cameroun since 1916.
La Republique du Cameroun cannot legally claim the territory of the Southern Cameroons; La Republique du Cameroun has been claiming it as part of German Kamerun. How can a war booty believe that it is the father or mother of a twin war booty? The Southern Cameroons and La Republique du Cameroun are both monozygotic twins (from one egg) of the First World War. ( c/f: London – Cameroons Boundaries Commission – State Treaties Series No. CMD / 3639 / 03 – 9 January 1931).
The International Legal Existence of Southern Cameroons from 13 December 1946 till 1st October 1961.
After the Yalta Conference in 1944 - (Stalin (Soviet Union)– Franklin Delano Roosevelt (USA) – Orlando (Italy) – Winston Churchill (Britain) - the U.N.O. was formed on 24 October 1945 at San Francisco to replace the League of Nations. On 13 December 1946, the U.N.O. created its Trusteeship Council by UNGAR 63-111 to replace the Mandates System of the defunct League of Nations. By the same Resolution 63-111 of 13 December 1946, the UN appointed Britain – France – Belgium – Australia – New Zealand Administering Authorities for the same territories over which there had been mandated powers of the defunct League of Nations. The same day, 13 December 1946, the U.N.O. signed Trusteeship Agreements with each Administering Authority for the former Mandated Territories. By these Agreements the former Mandated Territories became known as UN Trust Territories under the Administration of the Administering Authority.
The UN and Britain signed the Trusteeship Agreement No Document A / 152 / REV2 for the British Cameroons; and No. Document A / 155 / REV2 for La Republique du Cameroun
The Southern Cameroons then had its second specific international legal status as a UN Trust Territory. From 13 December 1946 the Southern Cameroons enjoyed its new international legal status through numerous UNGA Resolutions till 1st October 1961. The most important UN Resolutions on the Southern Cameroons in chronological order are:
* Resolution 338 – XI banning public corporal punishment within the territory: from this resolution, the popular 25 lashes were henceforth given as punishment inside a house, no more in the public view.
• Resolution 224 – 111 on the Administrative Union between adjacent UN Trust Territories under the same Administering Authority (see Nigeria and the Southern Cameroons as part of the Eastern Region of Nigeria till 1959 with Dr. E.M.L. Endeley as Prime Minister).
• Resolution 1282 – X111 of 13 July 1958 with British Report T./ 93 on the progress towards independence.
* Resolution 1350 – XIV on the principle of a plebiscite in the Southern Cameroons.
• Resolution 1352 – XIV of 16 October 1959 organizing the plebiscite in both Northern and Southern British Cameroons.
• Resolution 1608 – XV of 21 April 1961 on the independence and union with La Republique du Cameroun.
The Plebiscites of 11 and 12 February 1961
Definition of plebiscite:
It is a vote to confirm a decision which has already been taken: in case of a YES vote, the decision is maintained; in case of a NO vote, the decision should be called off and the process may be re-launched. But the Southern Cameroons plebiscite was not a de jure confirmation of the two questions put at the plebiscite. Any YES vote was a mere wish for union; it was due to have any legal effect only as it was later specified by Resolution 1608 –XV of 21 April 1961. So the YES vote for union with La Republique du Cameroun was not legally binding.
Already Resolution 1352 – XIV categorically stated in its paragraph 6:
“the Administering Authority should take steps to separate the Administration of the Southern Cameroons from that of Nigeria not later than 1st October 1960”.
This paragraph put La Republique du Cameroun and Nigeria on an equal footing so that on 1st October 1960, the day fixed by the UN for independence for Nigeria, L a Republique du Cameroun and Nigeria had no legal link with the Southern Cameroons. This put a legal end to the Administrative union according to Resolution 224.
By contrast, a referendum is a vote to authorize to take a decision to do something: the two procedures are not substitutive. The 1961 plebiscite was a vote on a projected legal union whose legal treaty was due to be worked out as prescribed by Resolution 1608.
The Debate on Resolution 1608 – XV at the UNGA on 21st April 1961
The Draft Resolution was proposed by India (IYA JAIPAL and Chrishna MENON)
-Chairman 14th General Assembly: Lambertin Dinar (Indonesia)
-Chairman of the Southern Cameroons item 13 and 41: Adnan PACHASI (Iraq)
-Vice – Chairman: Miss Silvia Shelton Villalien (Cuba)
-Djabal Abdo (Iran), Plebiscite Commissioner (seating with consultative status).
Take note that the vote was in three stages:
Round 1: Termination of the Trusteeship Agreement for the Southern Cameroons.
Round 2: Independence and its date.
Round 3: The Treaty and form of union between the Southern Cameroons and La Republique du Cameroun.
The chairman opened the Debate by putting to vote the entire Resolution 1608 as drafted by the team chaired by M. Stravoulopos; and it was accepted by acclamation..
The chairman then put to vote the Rounds with the following results:-
- Round 1: 50 YES votes, 6 NO votes, 12 abstentions;
- Round 2: 50 YES votes, 6 NO votes, 12 abstentions;
- Round 3: Union in the form of a United Federal Republic of Cameroons [Cameroons in the plural (2 Cameroons: La Republique du Cameroun and the Southern Cameroons)]: 50 YES votes, 21 NO votes, 6 abstentions as specified in paragraph B.
THE TREATY OF UNION:
A constitutional conference to be held to draft or workout an international Legal Treaty for the projected union with the assistance of Britain, the Southern Cameroons, La Republique du Cameroun, three experts in Constitutional and Administrative law. This Treaty of Union could legally validate the YES vote retroactively. According to the Law on Treaties (that is their legal system), the draft constitution must be approved by both parliaments of La Republique du Cameroun and the Southern Cameroons by a Vote of Acceptance after first and second readings to the House by the Speaker; readings during which probable questions on the sensitive points would be asked and answered as well as the psychological, semantics and syntaxes in the draft.
If it is rejected, the work on these points must be done again satisfactorily. If it is accepted, it can be debated on its legal implications. After the debate, it can be ratified, meaning that it is good. Then a length of time is set for reflection on it; then after that time, it can be signed, making it internationally binding in international law.
There two kinds of federation: aggregative and segregative
A Segregative Federation is a mode of governance by a sovereign state to resolve political, economic or cultural problems within the state – it is not recognized in international law – its members are generally called autonomous regions, provinces or districts: they are not states as defined by the international law. And in international law they cannot quit the federation because they are an integral part of the national territory.
An Aggregative Federation is the form of federation the Southern Cameroons voted for in the 1961 plebiscite – it is formed by sovereign states which have internationally recognised boundaries. Although the Southern Cameroons was not a sovereign and independent state, at the time of the plebiscite, it had its international legal status as a UN Trust Territory which allowed the Southern Cameroons to form an aggregative federation with La Republique du Cameroun. That was the reason why the UN could not simply ask the Southern Cameroons at the plebiscite to integrate itself into La Republique du Cameroun.
It was on this legal ground that the UN envisioned the workout of a Treaty of Union for the projected federation according to the international law on Treaties. So one wonders why La Republique du Cameroun calls the Southern Cameroons a province of its territory. Members of an aggregative federation are called Federated States: each of them has the right to quit the federation. Examples of aggregative federations are: Federation of the Federated States of Micronesia in the South Pacific, Senegal / Gambia. The majority of federations around the world are segregative federations: Brazil, India, Nigeria, Argentina, Australia, Germany, etc.
The Foumban Conference: How it took place (c/f la Duperie du Foumban).
“As the Anglophones were given only three days to study the constitution that sealed their fate” .
Foumban is a calm, sunny and beautiful town, where Ahmadou Ahidjo used to go to for relaxation because of his twin friendship between Sultan Seidou and Arouna Njoya. According to eye-witnesses at the time, Foumban was an island of peace in a environment where terror reigned in the midst of an armed rebellion. Despite the enormous means in men and materials put at the disposal of the regular army, it was not easy for it to crush the rebellion led by the National Liberation Army of Cameroun, the armed wing of the UPC.
In the two weeks leading up to the Foumban Conference, it was reported that more than one hundred people had been killed by terrorists in Loum, Bafang, Ndom and Douala. The echoes of these killings rapidly spread across the Mungo and seriously worried a large number of unification advocates there. On several occasions, Foncha had to publicly express his worries; on July 3, 1961 in Douala he made the following appeal: “Those who are killing should return to legality and work for the greatness of this country”.
In that climate of high insecurity in the country, Ahidjo was very much worried about how to reassure the leaders of the Southern Cameroons; so in deciding on the choice of Foumban as venue for the conference, Ahidjo thereby wanted to prove to those leaders that he was the master of peace. But Ahidjo’s choice was not completely without risks. Indeed Sultan Seidou and the traditional council of the Bamoun people have always been on the side of legality; but it should be remembered that Felix-Roland Moumie, a son of the soil, was one of the front leaders of the UPC, and as such , he had won many hearts over to the UPC cause; and he had even succeeded in introducing the doctrine of the UPC into the Sultan’s palace through one Mekou Samuel who was not only a friend but also the private secretary to the Sultan. Mekou Samuel had joined the UPC in the early days of its launching.
Even though the Koutaba military camp was there to reassure whoever, “the terrorists” of ANLK had proven that they mastered the field and could carry out any audacious attack wherever as was confirmed by the recent killing of the SDO, Albert Khong, through the complicity of DO Samuel Njouma.
In order to curb the infiltration of terrorists into Bamoun country, the authorities had tightened preventive security measures: after a short period of relative calm, a curfew was reinforced in all the administrative units around Foumban effective from the beginning of July. A stern communiqué issued by the prefet of Mbouda on July 3, 1961 to the populations that were used to violating the curfew warned that nobody should be found outdoors from 10pm to 5am in the Mbouda urban area, and from 7pm to 10pm in the assembling campus in the area of Bamboutos (camps commando); that from 6.30pm, only the vehicles of the administrative authorities, army and police were allowed to move. These same measures were taken in bafang, Bangante and Dschang.
On July 6, 1961 at the end of his tour in “Bamileke country”, the minister of justice pledged to the administrative authorities that “ he will inform the head of state about the encouraging feeling of the population about the very efficient fight against terrorism by the authorities”. The much publicised tranquillity and serenity and the paradisaical locality of Foumban was all fake. Of the date of 16 July 1961, only the people of the inner circle, like the minister of interior, Arouna njoya, knew that Foumban was nothing but an entrenched camp.
Introductions on preparations for the Conference
By all indications, one can believe that the principle to hold the constitutional conference in Foumban was adopted in the aftermath of the plebiscite of 11-12 February 1961 in the Southern Cameroons. Watch out! The Sultan of Foumban, Seidou Njoya, was one of the very few dignitaries who were at the Yaounde airport on March 3, 1961 to welcome Foncha who had come to brief Ahidjo on the outcome of the plebiscite. Five weeks later, precisely between 11 and 13 APRIL 1961, Ahidjo received in his palace, one after another, Njoya Arouna, and the nephew of the latter, Sultan Seidou Njoya of Foumban – since then, these three personalities, even before all of them died, people have always been tight lipped about the agenda of their meeting; but one may guess that the guidelines of the proposed constitutional conference were discussed during the underground meetings of the trio – Ahidjo – Seidou – Arouna. In fact, soon after that meeting, Yaounde (Ahidjo) sent strict instructions to the administrative authorities in the Bamoun country about the big projected event.
Without boasting his double capacity as eye-witness and as sous prefet of Foumban at that time, Emmanuel Njoya recounts the story as if it took place just two days ago. Let us listen to Emmanuel Njoya, now 92 years old, who was the sous-prefet of Foumban in 1961; hear him:
“ I became an administrative authority in 1955 as assistant DO of Foumban; from 1959 to 1963, I was the sous-prefet of the same town. Two months before the opening of the conference, the prefet, Jean-Marcel Mengueme, and myself were instructed and trusted with the organisation of the conference.
So while waiting for the politicians to come in for business, the prefet and the sous-prefet had to resolve the tedious problem of accommodation, feeding and transport of delegates as well as the animation of Foumban during the six days of the conference; decent houses hosting functionaries were requested; big farmers likeLaurent Guerpillon, Andre Blanc, Trolier et Charles Ock Dopher were solicited and contributed by putting at our disposal either a vehicle or a beautiful house; this local contribution was meagre compared to the huge means that were sent from Yaounde. As I must speak the truth, we cajoled, lured and enticed the Anglophones by our way of welcoming them; we were given so many things to prepare for the conference----- with all these things at our disposal, we lured the Anglophones.
Ahidjo and Foncha were accommodated in the Sultan’s palace where the Sultan himself took care of them. As concerns the others, we were given a special assignment to blindfold them: so each delegate had a refrigerator in his room, which was always full of champagnes and other assorted drinks; each big one among them had two refrigerators in his room, had a well-made bed with the most beautiful and expensive mattress and beddings. In addition, there were two beautiful girls who were assigned to permanently take care of him. These are the things which normally should not be told- these girls were instructed to permanently take care of our guests--that was real corruption-corruption has always existed- it has not started today..but at that time, it was not corruption for selfish interests as it is today..at the time it was good corruption to build the country.
As for the agenda of the activities, it included ballroom dances every evening throughout the week; cocktails followed by ballroom dances in Auberge de Foumban, prefet’s residence, sous-prefet’s residence, Dr. Herve’s residence; these were the logistics put in place when the delegations set foot on the soil of Foumban on July 16, 1961.
Arrival of delegations
First to arrive was the delegation of La republique du Cameroun du premier janvier 1960, headed by Ahmadou Ahidjo: it comprised Charles Assale (premier minister), Charles Okala (minister des affaires etrangeres), Josue Tetang (Secretaire d’Etat a l’Information), Christian Tobie Kuoh (Secretaire general du minister des Affaires etrangeres), the Guinea-Conakry-born Cheick Kekou Sissoko (chef du Secretariat particulierd’Ahmadou Ahidjo). Arouna Njoya(, Minister of interior, had been come ahead of the delegation to supervise the preparations for the conference.
The delegation of the Southern Cameroons left Tiko by a twin engine plane on the same 16 July 1961 and landed at Koutaba; as soon as it landed, the delegation left for Foumban by road where they arrived in the afternoon in the midst of an immense and enthusiastic crowd. It was made up of John Ngu Foncha, Emmanuel Liffaffe Endeley, Augustine Ngom Jua, Solomon Tandeng Muna, Nerius Namasso Mbile, John Bokwe, Bernard Fonlon; ten KNDP members, five CPNC members and two Ok members, and traditional rulers. At night fall, the delegation, still very tired after the long tedious journey from Tiko to Foumban, found solace for their tiredness by joining the immense crowd in singing and drinking; the ceremony was animated by Orchestre Irenee and Victor Priso band at the Auberge de Foumban.
The next day, 17 July 1961, the delegates, highly spirited, moved into the premises of the Cours complementaire (Teachers Training college). Consecutive speeches from Ahidjo, Foncha and Endeley lauded the singular opportunity for the come together. Endeley, leader of the opposition who had threatened to raise one hundred thousand men to break away and join Nigeria during the plebiscite campaigns, had already forgotten about that threat.
Opening the Conference by Ahidjo on July 17, 1961
Ahidjo, standing by the edge of a very long table covered with a green cloth, opened the constitutional conference that brought together the delegates of la Republique du Cameroun and those of the Southern Cameroons which was still a UN Trust Territory evolving towards the termination of the Trusteeship Agreement and independence. Ahidjo said: “The Bamoun country which I have chosen to host this conference, and whose chief, Sultan Seidou, is our friend whom I warmly thank for welcoming us so heartily, is a country where one would like to go for rest and relaxation”. This is how Ahidjo justified his choice of Foumban as the venue for the conference.
Soon after the speeches, the trust and confidence of the Southern Cameroons delegation was rudely shattered by Ahidjo: to the surprise of the Southern Cameroons delegates, Ahidjo rudely requested them to make their observations on the Draft constitution. “Which constitution?” Southern Cameroons delegates shouted! They had thought that they had come to Foumban together with Ahidjo’s delegation in order to jointly draft a constitution for the future federal united state. They were very embarrassed to learn that the drtaft constitution had been handed to Foncha for screening and studying long ago; but Foncha kept the Document secret.
The All Party Conference that held in Bamenda a month earlier had been the occasion to screen and debate the Ahidjo draft constitution. Mbile said: “ We have the feeling that we have waisted our time coming to Foumban for the draft to be tabled to us for our observations in this way. This is in total contradiction to our expectations; instead of a draft confederal constitution, we are being requested to make observations on a draft highly centralised constitution with unlimited powers; members of the CPNC delegation can now understand what Foncha meant when he said in the Akwa meeting hall in Douala on 13 July 1961: “the goals of the struggle have been completely achieved”.
Ngom Jua’s angry surprise seemed to indicate that even within the KNDP everybody was not aware of the handing of the draft constitution to Foncha. Bitter protests erupted from all round: the protesting Southern Cameroons delegation demanded that they should be given three more weeks to study the draft. They recalled the constitutional conferences of London in 1953, 1957, and 1958, each of them having lasted for at least three weeks.
Endeley warned: ”Too much haste would have far-reaching consequencies on the people of the Cameroons”.
Ngom Jua screamed: “I have never seen people expected to write a constitution in two days!”
The tense atmosphere of unhappiness and protests caused one journalist to write: “ political observers are wondering if it is really here in Foumban in this rowdy atmosphere that the guidelines of a federal constitution are going to be effectively drawn”.
Finally, just after the mid-day meal, the Southern Cameroons delegation sat down to work in studying the Ahidjo draft constitution. The atmosphere was kafkaienne: counting on their experience gained during the constitutional conferences in London and Lagos (Lugard, MacPherson, Littleton constitutions) the Southern Cameroons delegates worked really hard on the Draft brought to them from Yaounde. While they were working in anger, distrust and suspicion, the francophones were relaxing calmly as they had spent months to draft the constitution with the assistance of French experts in constitutional law.
The atmosphere of the workshop was often rowdy; from time to time delegates shouted in protest and in anger. According to Namasso Mbile, Foncha, feeling guilty for having deprived his colleagues of the opportunity to study the draft at the All Party Conference in Bamenda, adapted a low profile throughout the working session.
On Thursday night, the Southern Cameroons delegation handed the report of their work to the francophone side: the report contained amendments demanded by the Foncha delegation on the following points:
1. The Flag.
2. National Anthem.
4. Federal Capital to be in Douala.
5. Electoral maturity at 21.
6. Secret ballot.
7. Powers and attributions of the federal president.
8. Presidential mandates limited to two.
9. A federal assembly made up of a national assembly and a senate.
10. Double nationality.
11. Primary and Higher education system.
12. Cancellation of the word INDIVISIBLE from the constitution.
The next day, Friday, July 21, 1961, the last plenary session was opened by Ahidjo with fanfare and festivities as many traditional dance groups from all over Bamoun country had been converging at Njinka since dawn , and the festivities went on till 4pm.
At 4pm Foncha took the floor and congratulated everyone for the team spirit and fraternity that prevailed during the working session.
Endeley took the floor after Foncha and warmly thanked Sultan Seidou for the lavish welcome given to them and expressed his high satisfaction for the success of the work; he concluded as follows:
“Mr. President, we shall always be completely loyal to you whenever you should request our collaboration for the larger interests of Cameroon”.
At 4.30pm, Ahidjo took the floor to address the plenary session; he swiftly and rudely gave answers to the demands of the Southern Cameroons delegation for amendments to the draft constitution. A second shock awaited the Southern Cameroons delegation: Ahidjo, in a rather dictatorial manner, brushed aside all the demands tabled by the Southern Cameroons delegation.
He said: “The word indivisible will be cancelled, but a clause guaranteeing the integrity of the federation and preventing any possibility of secession shall be introduced. For lack of big financial means, there is no room for a bicameral parliament; the House of Chiefs will be maintained; Yaounde must remain the federal capital. -There is no room for double nationality; -The president and the vice-president shall be elected by universal suffrage. -While waiting for the setting up of new institutions, the functions of the federal president and federal vice-president shall be performed by the president of la republique du Cameroun and the prime minister of the Southern Cameroons”
The Foumban conference did not satisfy the prescription of UN GA Resolution 1608 (XV) of 21 April 1961, neither in form nor in substance.
The Independence of La Republique du Cameroun du premier Janvier 1960
The United Nations, by UNGAR 1349 – XIV of 13 March 1959 decided to grant independence to le Territoire soustutelle l’ONU du Cameroun sous administration francaise on 1st January 1960. The Territory did achieve independence on 1st January 1960. The British permanent representative at the UN, Sir Andrew Cohen, represented Britain at the independence ceremony.
A Constitutional referendum was held on 12 February 1960. On 4 March 1960, the constitution as approved by the referendum was promulgated.
- On 10 April 1960, presidential elections took place: the president was elected by the Depute’s at the National Assembly. There could not be elections by universal suffrage because there was an insurrection ravaging the country. Ahidjo had only one opponent, Abel Eyinga, who was not residing in Cameroun but in Algeria as a lecturer in the Faculty of Law in Algiers and France.
- On 28 January 1960, the newly independent La Republique du Cameroun applied for UN membership.
- On 20 September 1960, by UNGA Resolution 1476 – XIV La Republique du Cameroun was granted UN membership.
- On 6 August 1961, the National Assembly amended the constitution of 4 March 1960 by 88 YES votes, zero NO votes, and 6 abstentions.
- On 1st September 1961, the amended constitution was promulgated as the federal constitution of the Federal Republic of Cameroon. This was done in total violation of the strict and specific prescriptions of the UNGA Resolution 1608 –XV of 21 April 1961 on the projected union between La Republic du Cameroun and the Southern Cameroons as the outcome of the UN-sponsored plebiscite of 11 and 12 February 1961 in the British Cameroons. The federal constitution of 1st September 1961 was signed by the president of La Republique du Cameroun, Ahmadou Ahidjo, alone; never by John Ngu Foncha, the Prime Minister of the Southern Cameroons.
La Republique du Cameroun and the Southern Cameroons were not a Franco – British Condominium:
A condominium is a Latin word meaning a house jointly managed by two equal masters. So a condominium is a territory jointly ruled by two powers according to a treaty they signed in international law. Examples of condominiums are: the present island of St. Martin in the West Indies = Netherlands West Indies, Aruba – Bonaire – Curacao – Saba – St. Martin – St. Eustache. St. Martin is jointly ruled by France and The Netherlands. The New Hebrides (today Vanuatu) was a Franco – British condominium; it was a bilingual French – English condominium. But take note that a condominium is not necessarily a matter of languages: the language factor is incidental. So a condominium could be monolingual. What is important is its international legal status.
In the case of New Hebrides, four months before Britain and France granted independence, a senior citizen of the English Sector, Stephen Maleku, unilaterally proclaimed a separate independence for the English Sector. (He wanted the territory to achieve independence, then become a confederation of two states. As Stephen put Britain and France before a fait accompli, while Britain was still reflecting on the issue, France hurriedly sent 400 gendarmes from La Nouvelle – Caledonie, a nearby French colony, to occupy Port - Vila, the capital of New Hebrides and forcefully stopped Stephen’s move. Britain bitterly complained to France, saying that by opting unilaterally for a military solution for the condominium’s problem, France had instead complicated the situation as Moleku’s move for separate independence was based on the brutality of the French administration.
La Republique du Cameroun cannot even pass through a legal status of a condominium to annex the Southern Cameroons since such locus standi does not exist. La Republique du Cameroun has been arguing verbally and very emotionally on a non - existing condominium. The 1961 plebiscite and the fake bilingualism crudely imposed on both La Republique du Cameroun and the Southern Cameroons do not make the two countries a condominium because condominium is a matter of international law.
And not that of Anglo-Saxon + Greco - Latin linguistics. La Republique du Cameroun has been brandishing its de facto bilingual condominium at home but at the same time brandishing itself as a monolingual francophone unitary state at the international level. On one hand La Republique du Cameroun is imposing a de facto Anglo – French condominium on two neighbouring former UN Trust Territories with separate Trusteeship Agreements, and on the other hand imposing a unitary state on an illegal defunct two-state federation. This is blatant dubious contradiction!
The Administration of La Republique du Cameroun in the Southern Cameroons since 1st October 1961
According to La Republique du Cameroun, the constitutional amendment made on 6 August 1961 on la constitution de la Republique du Cameroun du premier janvier 1960, was meant to accommodate the Southern Cameroons as the western part of German Kamerun. We now know all about the German colony of Kamerun from the preceding legal analyses. The Constitutional Amendment of Yves Bie’ville, the French jurist who drafted the constitution of 4 March 1960, was a mockery of international law, the international community, and the United Nations. The amended constitution could in no way become a Treaty of Union in international law as prescribed by UNGAR 1608 (XV) of 21 April 1961.
On the grounds of the amended constitution, la Republique du Cameroun moved its troops and administration into the Southern Cameroons on 1st October 1961 and has since been ruling the Southern Cameroons in the same brutal manner in which France ruled its portion of the divided German Kamerun. The administration of la Republique du Cameroun in the Southern Cameroons is null and void ab initio: it is illegitimate and illegal. It is a civil – cum military administration. The cardinal legal principle, tantum appelatum, quantum revelatum, meaning that the judge of the Appeal Court cannot have the right in a civil matter to grant more than it was requested by the Magistrate Court.
The principle does not apply between the Southern Cameroons and la Republique du Cameroun because la Republique du Cameroun has no right to belittle the Southern Cameroons as its province, as if la Republique du Cameroun is the alter ego of the Southern Cameroons. This is because the international status of the Southern Cameroons under the League of Nations, then under the U.N.O., cannot be changed.
La Republique du Cameroun has no right to judge positively or negatively the results of the 1961 plebiscite and use that to annex the Southern Cameroons because nemo crime sine legi – there is no crime (offence) without a text of law which defines and punishes the incriminating act. So by voting, and voting YES in the plebiscite, the Southern Cameroons did not commit an offence punishable by La Republique du Cameroun by annexation as penal punishment.
La Republique du Cameroun has been benefiting enormously from the annexation of the Southern Cameroons in violation of the Latin legal principle nemo nudutur propriam turpitudi – nobody should benefit in any way whatsoever from a crime he has committed. La Republique du Cameroun has been arguing that the Southern Cameroons has no utis possedetis juris on 1st October 1961; that the Southern Cameroons was an empty piece of land that La Republique du Cameroun annexed to civilise and develop.
The argument has no legal basis because the Southern Cameroons had utis possedetis juris - international legal status publicly recognised. As a UN Trust Territory the Southern Cameroons had utis possedetis juris by the Mandate of the League of Nations, and by the UN Trusteeship Agreement.
In addition, the Southern Cameroons was jointly administered with the Eastern Region of Nigeria within the international legal framework of UNGA Resolution 224 – 111 on the Administrative Union between adjacent territories under the same Administering Authority. There is no modification of international boundaries between States by domestic or internal law. The constitution of a state being a fundamental internal law, la Republique du Cameroun cannot legally justify how it modified its international boundaries, as we have demonstrated earlier, with the Southern Cameroons for its own benefits.
The peoples of the Southern Cameroons, in their daily life, accept all acts of constitutional law, civil law, criminal law, and administrative law imposed on them by La Republique du Cameroun as Actes of bienseance, that means, Acts which one does not like, but toterates them in order to survive.
The International Legal Status of the Southern Cameroons since 1st October 1961 to date
La Republique du Cameroun started to govern the Southern Cameroons from 1st October 1961 when the Treaty of Union had not yet been worked out as prescribed by UNGA Resolution 1608 –(XV) of 21 April 1961. The international legal situation in the Southern Cameroons on 1st October 1961 was that, without a Treaty of Union, the Southern Cameroons smoothly moved backwards from the status of a UN Trust Territory it had from 12 December 1946 till 1st October 1961, to the status of a UN Territory the Southern Cameroons had on 11 December 1946. In between the adoption of the UN Resolution 63 – 111 that created the UN Trusteeship Council, and subsequently appointed Britain as the Administering Authority for the Southern Cameroons, and the signing of the Trusteeship Agreement No Document A / 152 / REV2 for the Southern Cameroons between the UN and Britain on that same date 13 December 1946.
The formation of the UN Trusteeship Council having abrogated the Mandates System of the League of Nations of 1922 (and) the Trusteeship Agreement for the Southern Cameroons therefore replaced the Mandate Britain had on the Southern Cameroons from 1922 till 13 December 1946. The situation, simplified, is that on 1st October 1961, the Southern Cameroons had not been granted any independence, neither according to Article 47 paragraph B of the Charter of the United Nations, nor according to UNGA Resolution 1608 –(XV) in the 994th plenary session on 21 April 1961 which granted independence by joining whose international legal Treaty for the projected Union had not been worked out on the date fixed for independence (1st October 1961).
So, through a cool-minded legal analysis, one can understand that since 1st October 1961, La Republique du Cameroun has been forcefully occupying and governing a UN Territory. The difference between a UN Trust Territory and a UN Territory is that a UN Trust Territory is governed by an independent and sovereign State according to a contract or mandate signed between the country and the UN; whereas a UN Territory is directly governed by the UN through its permanent representative it appoints to the Territory. The UN representative should in no way be a native of that territory: He / she is called, the UN Administrator, governor. As the Administering Authority, the UN Administrator governs the territory in preparation for independence.
The Way to Independence for the Southern Cameroons
1) The way to Independence for the Southern Cameroons is in the hands of the UN. The UN should follow the same path it took to grant independence to other UN territories. It must be noted that the Southern Cameroons is a particular UN Territory as it had been annexed by La Republique du Cameroun and France through an orthodox independence-by-joining that the UN granted the Southern Cameroons in 1961.
The Southern Cameroons today is in the same situation as the three Baltic States (Estonia – Lestonia – Lithuania). Let it be recalled that the latter three states were granted independence by the League of Nations, and the independence was later suppressed by the Soviet Union which then annexed them on the grounds that as small neighbouring states, it was their weakness that allowed the German troops to crush them very easily and then crossed their international boundary with the Soviet Union into St. Petersburg. But with Glassnok and perestroika brought by Mikail Gorbatchov, the latter states regained their lost independence through the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO) and the UN.
2) Another way out for the Southern Cameroons is that the UN may simply implement the UNGA Resolution 1514 – (XIV) of 14 December 1960 on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Territories and Peoples.
Southern Cameroon Free State Southern Cameroon Stamps
Federation of the Free States of Africa
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