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Abakwa Times Interviews Professor Carlson Anyangwe

Abakwa Times Interviews Professor Carlson Anyangwe

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Professor Anyangwe, one of the fathers of the Southern Cameroons movement discusses the origins of the Southern Cameroons and the problems with its decolonization that resulted in in black on black colonization by the Republic of Cameroon. (La Republique du Cameroun. In this interview he debunks Dr Susungi's assertions about the legitimacy of the Southern Cameroons struggle.
Professor Anyangwe, one of the fathers of the Southern Cameroons movement discusses the origins of the Southern Cameroons and the problems with its decolonization that resulted in in black on black colonization by the Republic of Cameroon. (La Republique du Cameroun. In this interview he debunks Dr Susungi's assertions about the legitimacy of the Southern Cameroons struggle.

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Categories:Types, Speeches
Published by: Track and Trace Committee on Mar 01, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Prof, youhave been described as anastute, cold but resilientfigure, a person very muchadmired and respected forhis stance and tenacity;the conscience of thepeople of the SouthernCameroons yet a reluctantGeneral unwilling to stepforward and assume a moreproactive and visible roleof leadership in theSouthern Cameroonsstruggle. Is this a verymuch simplistic claim tosomething more complexabout you?
 A n s w e r
: That is aninvolved question. If bythat it is meant that I amlacking in enthusiasm itis not true. What is seenas lack of enthusiasm isactually deliberation.The second limb of yourquestion is a caricature.It is a simplisticcharacterization. Quiteearly, I became aware ofour political, economic,social, and culturalpredicament. That got meinvolved in the thick ofthings with variousSouthern Cameroonsstruggle formations andleaderships. We are atthe verge of becomingextinct as a people. OurHomeland is at thethreshold of beingcompletely defaced. Ilooked at our uncommonsituation. I sought tounderstand why thiswretched lot befell us. Isought to know whether Godpeculiarly created us forperdition as our earthlydestiny. I came tounderstand our humancondition and the natureand character of ourpeople. So quite early, Iresolved not only toengage in the Struggle butalso to be a peacemakerand a consensus builder.I decided to be apeacemaker and a consensusbuilder in the interest ofthe Struggle. Being apeacemaker in the SouthernCameroons Strugglerequires that I contributeto the advantage of myfellow citizens of theSouthern Cameroons. Iabhor anything, anyconduct, any posturing,any utterances, and anyattitude tending to derailor constrain the Struggle.I am naturally not contentwith our presentcollective lot, including,by extension, the future
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Remedying The Botched Decolonization of the Southern Cameroons
 about the
lot of our progeny. If wetake no remedial actionnow to change the negativedestiny and the loomingcalamity staring us in theface we would be lost andour children will be lost.I seek no glory. I amcontent with what I am. Iam content with what Ihave, be it so paltry.I am ready to serve. But Iwill readily decline to doso if that would promotedivisiveness, if thatwould be the source ofacrimony rather than thesource of a sense ofpurpose. I would readilydecline to do so if thatwould promote bickeringrather than the commongood. In suchcircumstances I wouldrather defer to someoneelse. I prefer to be aconsensus choice. I am forcultivating and sustainingour spirit oftogetherness. This to meis critical for securingour collective freedomfrom colonial serfdom. Soto be a peacemaker is anactive virtue. It hasnever meant that I detachmyself from the Struggleto ponder over peace insome monastery. I makeevery effort to advancethe Struggle. At the sametime, attitudinally and byword and conduct, I workactively and positivelytowards peace.
You havewritten and published manyarticles and books aboutthe Southern Cameroons.Can you explain to anybodyunaware of this situationwhat the SouthernCameroons problem is allabout?
This country wasplaced by Britain underthe international tutelagesystem. From 1922 untilthe demise of the Leagueof Nations it was amandated territory underthe League. Then from 1946to 1961 it was a UnitedNations trust territory.The ultimate objective ofthe trusteeship system wasto lead the inhabitants oftrust territories to“self-government orindependence.” The UN-mandated plebiscite in theSouthern Cameroons heldout the promise that theterritory would “achieveindependence” consistentlywith Article 76 b of theCharter of the UnitedNations. The plebiscitevote was above all a voteto achieve independence, aprocess dictated by theCharter principle of theright of self-determination. Thatprinciple informed andformed the basis of theUnited Nationsdecolonization agenda.United Nations GeneralAssembly Resolution 1608(XV) of 21 April 1961 tookcare to state upfront thatthe UN “endorsed theresult of the plebiscitethat … the people of theSouthern Cameroons havedecided to achieveindependence.” Afterendorsing the decision ofthe people of the SouthernCameroons to achieveindependence, the UnitedNations then proceeded inthe same Resolution todecide that itstrusteeship over theterritory would beterminated “in accordancewith Article 76 b of theCharter of the UnitedNations … on 1 October1961 upon [the SouthernCameroons] joining theRepublic of Cameroun.”Notice the sequence of thematters dealt with in theresolution: the plebiscitewas basically a vote toachieve independence; theindependence decision wasendorsed by the UN; the UNthen made two decisions(i) termination of thetrusteeship, it beingsatisfied that theprovisions of Article 76 bof the UN Charter had beenmet, meaning the SouthernCameroons had politicallyadvanced to the level of‘self-government orindependence’, (ii) 1October 1961 set as thedate of ending of thetrusteeship entailingautomatic independence forthe Southern Cameroons andthen its ‘joiningCameroun Republic on thatsame date; ‘joining’ waslegally infeasible in theabsence of concomitantachievement ofindependence andtermination oftrusteeship.
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What all this means isthat there was a vote toachieve independence andthe vote was endorsed bythe UN. But a vote toachieve independence andeven when endorsed by theUN does not meanindependence was actuallyachieved. That is thefirst point we make onthis subject. Arguably,the termination oftrusteeship on 1 October1961 ipso facto meantindependence was indeedachieved. But that is notborne out by the evidenceof what transpired. Wellbefore that date CamerounRepublic purported toexercise acts ofsovereignty over theterritory such as bymoving its troops into itand passing an annexationlaw laying claim to theSouthern Cameroons as partof its national territoryreturned to it. TheBritish themselvesconfessed that theytransferred the SouthernCameroons to CamerounRepublic. A colonialterritory does not achieveindependence by beingannexed by or transferredto another country. Thatis the second point wemake. In sum, we aresaying while the SouthernCameroons voted forindependence, independencewas in fact never achievedas Cameroun Republicsimply annexed theterritory and therebyfrustrated and suppressedthe achievement ofindependence set for 1October 1961. Thiscontention is furthersupported by the fact thatthere is no evidence thatthe Southern Cameroonsever achievedindependence. Theterritory, cut into twoand linked to borderingregions of CamerounRepublic, is under therule and occupation ofthat country. There is nogovernment in Buea asought to have been thecase. Politically,economically, socially,and culturally we are adependent people underCameroun Republic colonialrule just as we were underBritish colonial rule.The Southern Cameroonsproblem then isessentially a sovereigntyquestion, a question oflegal title to territory,a decolonization problem.It is a case of colonialoccupation and spoliationby a contiguous state. Itis a case of black-on-black colonization. I havearticulated thisparticularly in my“Imperialistic Politics inCameroun (2008), Betrayalof Too Trusting a People(2009), and Secrets of anAborted Decolonisation(2010).”For the avoidance of doubtlet us step a little backinto history. Before theAct of the 1885 BerlinAfrican Conference came upwith the concept of‘effective occupation’,the international law andpractice of territorialacquisition at the timewas that when a colonialpower claimed a coastalstrip the area beyond thatstrip also fell to thecolonial power by virtueof the ‘hinterlandtheory’. Way back in 1844Britain started concludingtreaties with coastalchiefs from Bimbia toBakassi (Ambose or AmbasBay). In 1858 themissionary settlement ofVictoria was founded bycertain British subjectsand subsequently takenover by Britain as anintegral part of HerMajesty’s dominions. Withthe British assumption ofsovereignty over Victoriathe coastal environ fromBimbia to Bakassi alsobecame British and thehinterland of that coastalstrip automatically becamea British sphere ofinfluence. It remained sountil 1887 when it wastransferred to Germany.That area correspondedroughly to the territorythat later became theBritish SouthernCameroons. It was not partof the original Duala mudflat estuarine enclaveclaimed in 1884 by Germanyas Kamerun. Victoria andthe surrounding area weretransferred to Germany in1887 but because of theemergent concept ofeffective occupationGermany could claim only
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