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Journal of African History, 51 (2010), pp. 189212. f Cambridge University Press 2010 doi:10.





Ottawa University
A B S T R A C T : This article reassesses the political alternatives imagined by African nationalists in the rst wave of Africas decolonization through the lens of Cameroonian nationalism. After the proscription of Cameroons popular nationalist movement, the Union des Populations du Cameroun (UPC), in the mid-1950s, thousands of Cameroonian nationalists went into exile, most to Accra, where they gained the support of Kwame Nkrumahs Pan-African Bureau for African Aairs. The UPCs external support fed Cameroons internal maquis (as UPC members called the underground resistance camps within the territories), rooted in culturally particular conceptions of freedom and sovereignty. With such deeply local and broadly international foundations, the political future that Cameroonian nationalists envisaged seemed achievable : even after the Cameroon territories ocial independence, UPC nationalists kept ghting. But, by the mid-1960s, postcolonial states prioritized territorial sovereignty over African unity and Ghanas support of the UPC became unsustainable, leading to the movements disintegration. KEY WORDS:

Cameroon, Ghana, decolonization, nationalism, Pan-Africanism.

T H E independence of Ghana is meaningless , Prime Minister Kwame Nkrumah declared before those gathered to celebrate an end to colonial rule at the Accra polo grounds on 6 March 1957, unless it is linked with the total liberation of Africa . With Ghanas independence, Nkrumah founded the Bureau of African Aairs to aid other African colonial territories in their quest for independence. The new states constitution pledged to recognize the sovereignty of a United States of Africa over its own, should the occasion arise. Now, during the crucial period of decolonization, Nkrumah and his supporters believed that it was up to the Black Star to lead the way to a United States of Africa, free of European powers economic and political control, and non-aligned with either East or West in the age of the Cold War.1 For many territories in Africa still under colonial domination, Ghanas initiative came not a moment too soon. From 1958 to 1966, the African

* A Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Society for the Humanities at Cornell University provided support for the research and writing of this article. I am grateful to Abdoulaye Gueye, Naomi Davidson, Eric Alina-Pisano, anonymous readers for the Journal of African History, Jean-Michel Mabeko-Tali, Carina Ray, Edward Baptist, Sandra Greene, and Martin Bernal for valuable comments and suggestions. 1 On this point, see D. E. Apter, Ghanas independence : triumph and paradox , Transition, 98 (2008), 623.



Aairs Centre in Accra hosted activists and exiles from Egypt, Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, the Belgian Congo, Angola, Lesotho, Zambia, and Cameroon.2 For these African nationalists, Nkrumahs foreign policy constituted the African cornerstone of a Third World solidarity birthed at the AsianAfrican Bandung Conference held in 1955.3 Using Cameroons decolonization as a case study, this article reassesses the political alternatives imagined by African nationalists on the eve of independence. Historians of the French empire have recently emphasized that African political leaders found the possibilities of postcolonial federation and citizenship in the French Union very appealing as an alternative to national independence in the era of Africas decolonization.4 These approaches seem to present an inter-territorial federation centered on a common metropole as the sole non-national option for former colonial territories. Yet African nationalists who set their sights on the promise of Third World independence and hopes of a United States of Africa conceived extra-metropolitan political modalities and alliances.5 In other words,

2 Ras T. Makonnen, Pan-Africanism from Within as Recorded and Edited by Kenneth King (Nairobi, 1973), 21415. 3 The Conference of Bandung signaled an anti-imperial shift in the global political economy and engendered the non-aligned movement and the emergence of a Third World . See A. Burton, A. Espiritu, and F. C. Wilkins, The fate of nationalisms in the age of Bandung , Radical History Review, 95 (2006), 147 ; C. J. Lee (ed.), Making a World After Empire : The Bandung Moment and its Political Afterlives (Athens, OH, 2010) ; J. Burbank and F. Cooper, Empires in World History : Power and Politics of Dierence (Princeton, 2010), 427. 4 See, in particular, F. Cooper, Possibility and constraint : African independence in historical perspective , Journal of African History, 49: 2 (2008), 16796 ; and G. Wilder, Untimely vision : Aime Cesaire, decolonization, utopia , Public Culture, 21: 1 (2009), 10140. Elizabeth Schmidt calls this perspective into question by demonstrating that, by the time of the September 1958 referendum organized in Frances African territories over whether or not to join the French Community, Frances 1958 constitution had made the terms of confederating with France much less attractive to African states. See E. Schmidt, Anticolonial nationalism in French West Africa : what made Guinea unique ? African Studies Review, 52 : 2 (2009), 6. Other recent works suggest that administrations throughout French West Africa used hefty doses of coercion to push signicant portions of the populations to vote in favor of inclusion in the French Community. See, for example, K. van Walraven, Decolonization by referendum : the anomaly of Niger and the fall of Sawaba, 19581959 , Journal of African History, 50 : 2 (2009), 26992. 5 I use extra-metropolitan to describe movements that deliberately bypassed inclusion in or collaboration with metropolitan political institutions and frameworks. Other historians have emphasized the extra-metropolitan dimensions of anti-colonial movements in former French territories. See, for example, K. van Walraven, From Tamanrasset : the struggle of Sawaba and the Algerian connection, 19571966 , Journal of North African Studies, 10 :34 (2005), 50727; M. Connelly, A Diplomatic Revolution : Algerias Fight for Independence and the Origins of the Post-Cold War Era (Oxford, 2002) ; E. Schmidt, Cold War and Decolonization in Guinea, 19461958 (Athens, OH, 2007) which historicizes Guineas shift towards what I describe as an extra-metropolitan political practice. For an account of an extra-metropolitan alternative available to Muslim Africans under French rule on the eve of decolonization, see G. Mann and B. Lecocq, Between empire, umma, and the Muslim Third World : the French Union and African pilgrims to Mecca, 19461958 , Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, 27: 2 (2007), 36183.



alternative visions of federation existed concurrently and in competition with what Gary Wilder describes as those built on the imperial history that bound metropolitan and colonial populations together within an interdependent entity .6 For many African nationalists, former French subjects and evolues among them, Afro-Asian solidarity, non-alignment, and political, cultural, and economic rupture with colonial powers both comprised the very foundation of anti-colonial nationalism and opened new routes to Pan-African federation. As the historian Vijay Prashad insists, in the wake of Bandung, the Third World represented a coalition of new nations that possessed the autonomy to enact a novel world order committed to human rights, self-determination, and world peace as outlined by the Bandung communique .7 Those political actors who, in discourse and practice, pledged allegiance to the sovereignty of a United States of Africa viewed territorial independence not as an obstacle but as a prerequisite to or an anticipated benet of inclusion in a larger Pan-African framework. After the French and British proscriptions of the popular nationalist movement, the Union des Populations du Cameroun (UPC), in 1955 and 1957 respectively, thousands of Cameroonian nationalists ed arrest and went into exile, most ending up in Accra. Exiled upecistes (as UPC mem bers called themselves) reconstituted an explicitly extra-metropolitan political movement founded upon the possibilities symbolized by Nkrumahs Bureau for African Aairs. The UPCs external support fed Cameroons internal maquis8 rooted in indigenous, locally particular political conceptions of freedom and sovereignty.9 With such deeply local and broadly global foundations, the political alternatives that Cameroonian nationalists envisaged seemed achievable, even after the Cameroon territories ocial independence in January 1960 (French Cameroun) and October 1961 (British Cameroons). I begin this history of the UPCs place in the global politics of decolonization by demonstrating why, given the movements objectives and international foundations, postcolonial citizenship in a greater France never held much appeal for party leaders, even before the French proscribed the party. In the second part of the article, I probe the connections,

Wilder, Untimely vision, 108. V. Prashad, The Darker Nations : A Peoples History of the Third World (New York, 2007), 456. See also C. J. Lee, At the rendezvous of decolonization : the nal communique of the AsianAfrican Conference, Bandung, Indonesia, 1824 April 1955 , Interventions, 11: 1 (2009), 87. 8 As upecistes called the underground resistance military camps surely a reference to the French resistance during the Second World War. Algerian revolutionaries also used the term maquis. 9 A. Mbembe, Domaines de la nuit et autorite onirique dans les maquis du sud Cameroun (19551958) , Journal of African History, 31 :1 (1991), 89121 ; idem, La naissance du maquis dans le Sud-Cameroun (19201960) (Paris, 1996), for the vernacularization of the UPCs nationalist ideology in the region of the Sanaga-Maritime. See M. Terretta, God of independence, god of peace : village politics and nationalism in the maquis of Cameroun , Journal of African History, 46 :1 (2005), 75101, for an account of a similar process among Bamileke communities.



forged after the partys ban, between exiled Cameroonian nationalists and those in the maquis within the Cameroonian territories borders.10 As long as visions of Pan-Africanism shored up Africas anti-colonialist struggles, the external UPC remained linked to the internal resistance, nationalists exile worked to bolster the movement within their territorys boundaries, and the UPCs international credibility and visibility increased.11 The last part of the article reveals what it meant for UPC nationalism when, as the spirit of Bandung waned, new postcolonial states territorial concerns began to take precedence over the idea of supra-national unity. For many heads of newly independent African states, Accra freedom ghters represented more of a threat to state power than the embodiment of Pan-African liberation. After the foundation, in 1965, of the Organisation Commune Africaine et Malagache (OCAM), a bloc of thirteen francophone African states including Cameroon, Ghanas support of the UPC in exile became unsustainable. With dwindling support for the UPCs external front, the internal front unraveled as well, closing the door on the UPCs vision of nation. The UPC failed to gain ocial power in postcolonial Cameroon and the Nkrumah regime toppled in 1966. But there are at least two important reasons for exploring the failed project of continental unity through the lens of a failed nationalist movement, and vice versa. First, this history of UPC nationalists Pan-Africanist trajectory takes seriously the projects of African federation that transcended metropolitan boundaries, languages, and alliances. Doing so complicates Frederick Coopers assertion that French Community and African federation failed, and they failed together.12 The linkages actively forged between Ghanaian, Guinean, Algerian, Congolese, Cameroonian, and other nationalists, anti-colonialists, and political activists reveal another African federation in formation, one that Cooper does not address. The Accra-centered project of African federation to which UPC nationalists were committed failed not because the French Community dissolved but because its residual alliances reemerged among member states of OCAM in 1965. Joined by a francophone identity and a desire to safeguard each others national sovereignty, heads of OCAM states used diplomacy to undo Nkrumahs support for freedom ghters and the plans for a United States of Africa. Secondly, the history of UPCs international dimensions illustrates the lasting eects of the political alternatives that nationalists envisioned during the rst wave of Africas decolonization. Although the UPC and the United States of Africa failed together, patterns of political liberation conceived in Accra established a precedent for Pan-African

10 Maquis camps were based on both sides of the Anglo-French boundary. See below and J. Takougang, The Union des Populations du Cameroun and its southern connection , Revue Francaise dHistoire dOutre-Mer, 83: 310 (1996), 824. 11 Although UPC leaders in exile did not achieve an international media campaign on the same scale as the Gouvernement Provisoire de la Republique Algerienne (GPRA), they utilized the same methods as the Front de Liberation Nationale (FLN) of Algeria and the GPRA, attempting to transform the UPCs claims into a diplomatic revolution . See M. Connelly, Introduction, in Connelly, Diplomatic Revolution, 313. 12 Cooper, Possibility , 168.



support of exiled freedom ghters that characterized later African liberation movements.13

In April 1948, Cameroonian demands for political and economic independence and the reunication of territories under British and French rule found voice in the nationalist party, the UPC, created in French Camerouns port city and economic capital, Douala.14 The party grew out of post-war Marxist study circles organized in Yaounde by French communists traveling around the French territories of Africa after the Second World War.15 In October 1946, ve Cameroonian participants in the study circles went to Bamako to represent French Cameroun at the inaugural conference of the Rassemblement Democratique Africain (RDA). RDA leaders from French West Africa, French Equatorial Africa, and the UN Trusteeships under French rule, Cameroun and Togo, demanded economic and political rights for Africans under French rule and, to this end, encouraged the formation of territorial branches of the RDA throughout French Africa.16
13 Curiously, although the case of the UPC demonstrates that, even in this rst phase of Africas decolonization, exiled nationalists played a crucial role in the struggle for nation, the literature does not reect this. To my knowledge only one historical study considers the UPCs external activity : see D. Pouhe Pouhe, Les liaisons exterieures de lUPC, 19481960 , (unpublished MA thesis, University of Yaounde, 1999). In contrast, the role of exile in later liberation movements in eastern and southern Africa is well documented. See, for example, L. H. Malkki, Purity and Exile : Violence, Memory, and National Cosmology among Hutu Refugees in Tanzania (Chicago, 1995); J. D. Sidaway and D. Simon, Geopolitical transition and state formation : the changing political geographies of Angola, Mozambique, and Namibia , Journal of Southern African Studies, 19 :1 (1993), 628; S. Ellis, The historical signicance of South Africas Third Force , Journal of Southern African Studies, 24 : 2 (1998), 26199 ; R. Suttner, Cultures of the African National Congress of South Africa : imprint of exile experiences , Journal of Contemporary African Studies, 21: 2 (2003), 30320 ; N. Manghezi, The Maputo Connection : The ANC in the World of FRELIMO (Johannesburg, 2009) ; M. G. Panzer, The pedagogy of revolution : youth, generational conict, and education in Mozambican nationalism and the state, 19621970 , Journal of Southern African Studies, 35: 4 (2009), 80320. 14 My purpose in this article is not to recount the history of the UPCs activities in French Cameroun, but rather to emphasize its international foundations and its spread beyond French territory after its proscription. For the standard political history of the UPC nationalist movement in French Cameroun from 1948 to 1956, see R. Joseph, Radical Nationalism in Cameroun : The Social Origins of the UPC Rebellion (Oxford, 1977) ; for a classic approach focused mostly on formal politics, see V. Le Vine, The Cameroons from Mandate to Independence (Westport, CT, 1977). Revisionist histories from various disciplinary perspectives have proliferated, beginning with Mbembe, ` Naissance. But see also : J. Onana, Le sacre des indigenes evolues: Essai sur la professional ` isation politique (lexemple du Cameroun) (Paris, 2004) ; E. Tchumtchoua, De la Jeucafra a lUPC : Leclosion du nationalisme camerounais (Yaounde, 2006); and B. A. Ngando, La presence francaise au Cameroun (19161959): Colonialisme ou mission civilisatrice ? (Marseille, 2008). 15 G. Donnat, An que nul noublie : Litineraire dun anticolonialiste (Paris, 1986). 16 Cameroonian representatives included Ruben Um Nyobe, an active trade unionist at the time; Mathias Djoumessi, the ruler of the Bamileke chieftaincy of Foreke-Dschang ;



Supported by the French Communist Party in its early years, the RDAs initial stance was decidedly anti-colonial and pro-independence until 1950.17 In 1947, Ruben Um Nyobe and Felix Moumie, who would later become secretary-general and president of the UPC, respectively, met for the rst time at an RDA congress in Dakar, Senegal.18 The following year, both contributed to the formation of the UPC nationalist party as a territorial branch of the RDA. Aliated with French Communists and the RDA, the early anti-colonialist UPC seemed to be oriented towards francophone solidarity among post-Second World War antiimperialists. But UPC leaders purpose and vision would soon expand beyond a common colonial experience,19 metropolitan language, and identity. The key components of the UPCs political platform were, after all, the territories status as UN Trusteeships and the reunication of the British and French Cameroons. Guided by its political objectives, the movement traversed and transgressed metropolitan borders and boundaries. From its inception, the UPC and its aliates the Union Democratique des Femmes Camerounaises (UDEFEC), the Jeunesse Democratique du Cameroun (JDC), and the labor union, the Union des Syndicates Confederes du Cameroun (USCC) combined grassroots support with a visible presence in the international political arena maintained through annual visits to the UN General Assembly in New York, publications in sympathetic metropolitan presses, and links with African student groups and social movements throughout Europe, Africa, and Asia.20 Upecistes advocated higher wages, better working conditions, the right of African farmers to cultivate cash crops such as coee, cocoa, and bananas for export, and the removal of price controls, export laws, and licensing restrictions that limited the economic autonomy of Cameroonian merchants and planters while beneting white settlers, who numbered some 17,000 by the 1950s.21 Through its various branches and pyramidal organization, the movements membership grew to include women, wage laborers, small-scale farmers, low-level administrative

and Celestin Takala, a Bamileke merchant based in Douala. See E. Mortimer, France and the Africans, 19441960 : A Political History (New York, 1969), ch. 5. 17 As part of its initial constitution, the RDA stipulated that each territory should have the right to choose whether or not to join the French Union. Not until October 1950 did the RDA, guided by the leader of the Part Democratique de la Cote dIvoire, Felix Houphouet-Boigny, break with the French Communist Party and move towards collaboration with the metropolitan French Assembly and support for the French Union. See Schmidt, Cold War, 257, 3067. 18 Y. Pouamoun, Felix Roland Moumie, 19251960 : litineraire dun nationaliste in stransigeant (unpublished thesis, DIPES II, Ecole normale superieure, Yaounde, 1997), 18. For a biographical sketch of Ruben Um Nyobe, see A. Mbembe, Introduction , in ` Le probleme national kamerunais (Paris, 1984), 1825. 19 See Cooper, Possibility , 167. 20 A. Gueye, Les intellectuels africains en France (Paris, 2001) ; J.-M. Tchaptchet, Quand les jeunes africains creaient lhistoire (Paris, 2006) ; J.-P. Ndiaye, Enquete sur les etudiants noirs en France (Paris, 1962). 21 Joseph, Radical Nationalism, 1701.



functionaries, entrepreneurs, and several young traditional chiefs from the Bamileke region.22 By 1955, membership and sympathizers had climbed to some 100,000 out of a total electorate of just over 747,000.23 But upecistes would never have the chance to participate, as candidates or as voters, in elections after the implementation of universal surage in French Cameroun. Soon after remarking that the UPC wielded greater political inuence and attracted a greater number of followers than another other political party, the French administration banned the UPC and its aliates on 13 July 1955, just as the RDA expelled the UPC branch from its ranks.24 The proscription prompted the relocation of hundreds of nationalists to British territory, while thousands more joined the maquis (as UPC members called the underground resistance within the territories). The British followed suit in June 1957 and deported the Directors Bureau, including the UPC president, Felix Moumie, the vice-president, Ernest Ouandie, their wives, Marthe Moumie and Marthe Ouandie, the JDC president, Abel Kingue, the UDEFEC secretary-general, Marie-Irene Ngapeth-Biyong, and seven others.25 The ` British proscription forced the exile of hundreds more nationalists who had regrouped at Kumba and Bamenda after the French outlawed the movement. After its ban in French territory, the majority of the UPCs directors bureau turned away from collaboration or even dialogue with French administrators and were excluded from the project of inter-territorial federation spearheaded by the RDA. Instead, nationalists pieced together an extra-metropolitan political practice comprised of Pan-Africanism, antiimperialism, human rights, and socialism and wed their appropriations of these prevalent Third World ideologies with local spiritual and political practices that reawakened indigenous memories of political sovereignty.26 As
22 Ibid. ; Mbembe, Naissance; Le Vine, Cameroons. On womens involvement see M. Terretta, A miscarriage of revolution : Cameroonian women and nationalism , Stichproben : Vienna Journal of African Studies, 12 (2007), 6190. On the involvement of Bamileke chiefs, see Terretta, God of independence , and Terretta, Chiefs, traitors, and representatives : the construction of a political repertoire in independence era Cameroun , International Journal of African Historical Studies, 43: 2 (2010), 22754. I use Bamileke region to refer to the portion of the Grasselds under French rule, following the French administrations classication after the delineation, in 1919, of the Anglo-French boundary. Grasselds refers to the region stretching west to east from the Cross river to the Mbam, and from the Katsina Ala river in the north to the Manengouba mountain range in the south. See J.-P. Warnier, Echanges, developpement, et hierarchies dans le Bamenda pre-colonial (Cameroun) (Stuttgart, 1985) ; P. N. Nkwi and J.-P. Warnier, Elements for a History of the Western Grasselds (Yaounde, 1982). 23 See Onana, Sacre, 293308, for this and other political statistics from post-war French Cameroun. 24 Centre dArchives dOutre-Mer, Aix-en-Provence (CAOM), Aaires politiques 3335/1, 1955, Synthese sur limplantation de lUPC au Cameroun. For an account of the ` UPCs relationship with the RDA see Ngando, Presence, 269. 25 Terretta, Miscarriage ; Marthe Moumie, Victime du colonialisme francais (Paris, 2006). 26 A. Mbembe, Memoire historique et action politique , in J.-F. Bayart, A. Mbembe, ` and C. Toulabor (eds.), Le politique par le bas en Afrique noire : Contributions a une problematique de la democratie (Paris, 1992), 147256.



UPC militia based in maquis camps adopted guerilla sabotage after the December 1956 parliamentary elections, the rst in which universal surage applied, nationalists began to view their ght for independence as revolutionary, and intentionally modeled it on similar campaigns in Algeria and Vietnam.27 From 1957 on, UPC nationalism t a Fanonian, revolutionary, and Pan-African model.28 Henceforth the survival of the UPC depended upon exiled leaders ability to articulate UPC nationalism with Pan-Africanism and thus create a dual anti-colonial front : one located inside the territories and the other outside its borders. This dual front one external and PanAfrican, the other internal and cultivated by farmers, laborers, and ghters in the Sanaga-Maritime, Mungo, Wouri, Bamileke, Mbam, Nkam, Bamenda, and Kumba regions was of pivotal importance to the UPC nationalist movement.29 Yet, even before the UPCs ban, upecistes had never espoused the project of French Camerouns integration into a greater France.
T H E U P C S I N T E R N A T I O N A L P L A T F O R M ,

1 9 4 7 1 9 5 7

From its inception, the UPC and its aliate womens, youth, and labor parties broadcast the fact that the territories of Cameroon were not colonies, but UN Trusteeship territories, administered jointly by the French and the British. Beginning in 1951, Um Nyobe traveled annually to New York to speak before the UN General Assemblys Fourth Committee and, upon his return from trips abroad, he gave accounts of his visits in public gatherings and UPC congressional meetings. Copies of his speeches circulated as tracts in local meetings.
27 The UPC was the sole nationalist movement in francophone sub-Saharan Africa to use arms in the struggle for independence. Although upeciste leaders did not refer to South Africa explicitly (as they did with Algeria and Vietnam), there are striking parallels between the UPCs military strategy post-1957 and that of the Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing of the ANC and South African Communist Party, formed in 1961. See Ellis, Historical signicance , 264. 28 UPC leaders in exile would have had occasion to cross paths with Franz Fanon in 1958 at the All African Peoples Conference discussed below. However, my intent is not to suggest that upecistes read and evoked Fanon, but rather to classify UPC nationalism as tting a Fanonian model. See F. Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth, trans. R. Pilcox (New York, 2004), 130, 142. For Fanon, anti-colonial revolution in African colonies necessitated equal parts of social and political consciousness, and violence was a necessary path to liberation from colonial rule. Yet he warned against the revolutionary intellectual who overlooked the contributions of a local peasantry and/or lumpen proletariat. 29 The UPCs armed struggle began in the Sanaga-Maritime in late 1956 and spread to the Bamileke region in late 1957. The complex history of the UPC maquis in the Mungo, Wouri, Mbam, Nkam, Bamenda, and Kumba regions (the latter two in Anglophone territory) has yet to be written. As the years progressed, UPC militia groups became increasingly factionalized and it would be misleading to present the maquis as a unied front. What is certain is that there were numerous resistance camps in regions that the conventional historiography has entirely overlooked. Several MA theses have begun to explore the histories of specic maquis. For the Mbam, see L.-C. Oubel, La rebellion dans la subdivision de Ndikinimeki (Region du Mbam), 19551969 : approche historique (unpublished MA thesis, DIPES II, Ecole normale superieure, Yaounde, 1999) ; for an interesting perspective on the UPC in British territory, see T. Sharp, Binaries of nations : the Anglophone problem in Cameroon and the presentation of historical narratives on the internet (unpublished MA thesis, University of Manchester, 2008).



While the UN facilitated political mobilization within the Cameroonian Trusteeship Territories, it also promoted the formation of Pan-African and anti-colonial networks. In 1951, as Um Nyobe and Abel Kingue, the presi dent of the JDC, traveled to the meeting of the General Assembly Fourth Committee, they did so under a class C visa, which allowed them only to go from the Tudor Hotel to the United Nations building for daily meetings. Harlem was specically o-limits. However, Um Nyobe and Kingue re ceived visits from North African anti-colonialists such as Bouhafa, the Tunisian representative of Algerian nationalist Messali Hadj in the United States. At meetings such as the League for Human Rights and the American Committee on Africa, Um Nyobe met the future rst president of Togo, Sylvanus Olympio.30 From the moment of the UPCs foundation, the UN became essential to popular conceptions of nationalism and promoted the international alliances across metropolitan axes, from West to East upon which nationalist leaders would rely for support after the partys ban. It was this familiarity with the international that enabled nationalists to access the UN directly through the act of petitioning. The men and women of the UPC sent over 45,000 petitions to the UN from 1948 to 1960 more than from any other UN Trusteeship territory.31 UPC militia groups in the maquis had symbolic international code names for their major base camps, such as ONU, Congo , or Accra-ville.32 The nationalist narrative was perpetuated through the intersection of local and global, and members exposure to the international political realm eased upecistes transition to exile after the partys ban in British and French territories. Post-war Paris and London had, for decades, been thriving centers of anticolonial discussion among university students. If the most notorious of these meetings were between the likes of the anti-colonialists Frantz Fanon, Aime Cesaire, and Leopold Senghor, one might only imagine the proliferation of such alliances among students less erudite on paper but surely as passionate.33 These discussions, taking place in dormitory rooms or student watering holes, promoted a sense of urgency coupled with a realization that students could join in the anti-colonial struggle, beneting from their access to metropolitan politicians and media, resources, and connections to leftist and communist organizations. Compelled to action by fellow-students and by an awareness of the struggles back home, progressive Cameroonian students in France soon formed the Association des Etudiants Camerounais (AEC). The French government was alarmed to witness the AECs swift reaction to the 13 July 1955 proscription of the UPC. Within two days, the AEC organized a meeting that drew 75 students, including representatives from Marseille, Bordeaux, Toulouse, Montpellier, Clermont-Ferrand, and Lyon. Student
CAOM, Aaires politiques 3335/1, Lassalle, Bureau de Documentation de lAEFCameroun, n.d, apparently mid-1955. 31 Elsewhere, I have estimated the petitions sent by upecistes at around 6,000 : Terretta, Miscarriage , 62. But Janvier Onana, citing New Commonwealth, 30 April 1956, writes that upecistes sent 45,000 petitions in the year 1956 alone : see Onana, Sacre, 228. 32 Interview with Ignace Djoko Neguin, Baham centre, Mar. 2002. 33 For a history of Cameroonian students political mobilization in France, see Tchaptchet, Quand les jeunes.



leaders spoke out against the dissolution of the UPC as absolutely illegal, as Cameroun is not a French territory, but a territory under UN Trusteeship.34 After the AEC gathering, a student branch of the UPC, the Union Nationale des Etudiants Kamerunais (UNEK), emerged in France and declared its support for the UPC and its aliates. Cameroonian students resolved to maintain contact with the leaders of the UPC who ed French territory after the ocial ban and to send new petitions to the UN protesting the ban and the forced deportation of nationalists. Student supporters in favor of the UPC became the most crucial leaders of the movement, those who would form its intellectual and political nucleus, particularly during the years of exile after 1957. Many of these students achieved doctoral degrees, such as Osende Afana, in economics, Hogbe Nlend and Woungly Massaga in mathematics, and Abel Eyinga in law.35 In 1954, one young member of the AEC, Pierre Kamdem Ninyim, studying at Lycee Pascal in the 16th arrondissement in Paris, returned to Cameroon to succeed his father as traditional ruler of the chieftaincy of Baham in the Bamileke region. Kamdem Ninyim would become one of the dozen or more openly pro-nationalist chiefs in the region, facilitating the articulation between UPC nationalism and traditional governance, thus adding timbre and resonance to the grassroots dimensions of UPC nationalism.36 The Federation des Etudiants de lAfrique Noire en France (FEANF) was an aliate of the communist International Union of Students (IUS) based in Prague. FEANF kept abreast of current events in Africa, including the ebb and ow of anti-colonial demonstrations and their suppression by French administrations.37 Their missive to Kwame Nkrumah in 1965 demonstrated their familiarity with Ghanas support of revolutionaries and their recognition that this support was threatened or undermined by other African states, including Ivory Coast and Niger, which were not free and should be made to shed their imperialist ties . In order to enable freedom ghters to carry on the struggle for their respective countries , FEANF students requested that Ghanaian passports and scholarships be granted to students abandoned by their governments for political reasons.38 They also expressed their wish to send a delegation to student meetings in Ghana. Students and other Africans in exile became part of a global network with hubs in Accra, Conakry, and Cairo in Africa, London and Paris in the metropolitan sphere, and Moscow and Peking in the East. African students and activists followed Soviet bloc and Chinese scholarship funds, and participated in international conferences and gatherings such as those arranged by non-governmental organizations such as the Womens International Democratic Federation, the IUS, and the World Congress of Partisans of Peace.39 In Accra, African anti-colonialists transnational ties were
34 CAOM, Aaires politiques 3335/1, Note de renseignements, 24 Jul. 1955, Section de coordination, France dOutre-Mer. 35 Centre Historique dArchives Nationales, Paris (CHAN), Section du vingtieme ` siecle, Foccart papers, Fonds prives 153, Eyinga deportation le. ` 36 On this point see Terretta, God of independence . 37 Gueye, Intellectuels, ch. 2. 38 Ghana National Archives, Accra (GNA), SC/BAA/287 B, Mr. F. Dei Anangs summary of the letter from the Federation of African Students in France, 6 Dec. 1965. 39 Pouamoun, Felix-Roland Moumie , 53.




strengthened through the work of Ras T. Makonnen, a Caribbean-born Pan-Africanist who claimed Ethiopian descent, collaborated closely with George Padmore in Great Britain beginning in the 1930s, and attended, with Kwame Nkrumah, the Manchester Pan-African Conference of 1945. Makonnen held a top position in Ghanas African Aairs Committee, and remarked that Africans were not only compelled to think out the position of their own people, but were forced by the pressures of the times into making alliances across boundaries that would have been unthinkable back home .41 He described connections forged among Africans and people of African descent, particularly in metropolitan cities, that Brent Hayes Edwards argues broke the hold of the metropolecolony dichotomy , allowing for contacts and collaborations that would have been unthinkable in the colonial world, so dominated by that dichotomy .42

Following the French administrations proscription of the party on 13 July 1955, upecistes wanted by the administration had two options to avoid im prisonment or assassination. They could go underground, becoming part of the newly formed maquis, or they could ee into British territory, beginning the Pan-African exodus that would lead them further and further from their nations soil. Both options protected nationalists from European military repression by leading them into new areas where French administrators had no control. The exiles began their long journey in the British Cameroons, which they claimed as part of the nation they struggled to bring into existence. For the time being, it worked to their advantage that the territory on the British side of the Anglo-French boundary was, for all administrative and legal purposes, a foreign land. UPC nationalists used the Anglo-French frontier strategically, counting on the unwillingness of low-level European administrators to communicate across the border.43 Even before the French proscription of the party in July 1955, a hundred or so local UPC, JDC, and UDEFEC committees dotted the Mungo region along the Anglo-French boundary from Nkongsamba all the way down to Loum. By May 1955, the French estimated the UPC to have some 1,200 members in the Mungo alone, and an additional 300 in British territory.44
Ras T. Makonnen was named George Thomas Nathaniel Grith by his parents at the time of his birth in British Guiana. He later changed his name, claiming that his father was of Ethiopian origin, when he became involved in anti-colonial and Pan-African politics. See H. Adi and M. Sherwood, Pan-African History : Political Figures from Africa and the Diaspora since 1787 (London, 2003), 11722. 41 Makonnen, Pan-Africanism, 155. 42 B. H. Edwards, The Practice of Diaspora : Literature, Translation, and the Rise of Black Internationalism (Cambridge, MA, 2003), 242. 43 See, for example, British National Archives, Kew (BNA) FO 371/155344, Mr. Eastwood, Colonial Oce, to Sir Roger Stevens, Foreign Oce, 14 Aug. 1961. 44 CAOM, Aaires politiques, 3335/1, Propagande et action psychologique des groupements extremistes au Cameroun, s.d. apparently 1955 ; CAOM, Aaires poli tiques, 3309/1, Note de synthese sur les activites politiques et sociales du mois de janvier ` 1955.



On 25 May 1955, following public demonstrations organized by the UPC to mark the unfurling of its national anthem, ag, and Joint Proclamation , the French administration arrested a number of nationalists in the Mungo region. Most of the leaders left Nkongsamba that night and headed for refuge across the border in British territory, or back to their villages of origin in the Bamileke region.45 In so doing, they used the boundary to escape arrest, establishing a pattern that would henceforth serve the resistance movement. Following the proscription of the UPC and its aliates, the entire directors committee, with the exception of the secretary-general, Ruben Um Nyobe, took up residence in Kumba, in British territory. There, they continued organizing the movement in much the same way as they had before, remaining in daily contact with members in French territory owing to the mobility of the nationalists, and the porous border, particularly in the Mungo region.46 Without leaving the territory they envisioned as the nation, UPC nationalists became accustomed to a state of exile, that, rather than serving as an obstacle to the movements growth, could be engaged as a political strategy. One only had to learn how to slip across the border unnoticed and to maintain contact between internally and externally based comrades. By 1961, long after the UPC leaders had been deported, British authorities estimated that some 1,3001,500 maquisards from all over the combined Cameroons were concentrated along the Anglo-French boundary, forming militia base camps in the dense, mountainous terrain.47 The situation only intensied during the rst years after Cameroons independence. In April 1962, President Ahidjo declared a state of emergency in the regions of Kumba, Mamfe, and Bamenda in Anglophone territory to prevent the areas concerned from becoming a refuge for terrorists from east Cameroon.48

The UPCs survival as a nationalist movement depended upon its ability to inuence foreign-policy makers in Africa to support its cause. As though following the recipe for what Matthew Connelly, referring to the Algerian independence war, calls a diplomatic revolution , exiled UPC nationalists took care to position themselves prominently in all internationally attended Pan-African conferences that took place in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Connelly describes human rights reports, press conferences, youth congresses, and ghting over world opinion and international law as the weapons of greater importance for Algerian nationalists than conventional
CAOM, Aaires Politiques, 3337, Chronologique des evenements survenus a ` Nkongsamba, 22 mai30 mai 1955, Delegation du Haut-Commissariat. 46 CAOM, Aaires Politiques 3347/1, Rapport de Surete, Note de renseignements, 2229 Oct. 1955, Yaounde, 29 Oct. 1955 ; Interview with Ignace Djoko Neguin. 47 BNA, FO 371/155344, Threat of terrorists on the border of S. Cameroons and the possibility of combatant forces coming in before the 1st Oct. , Mr Eastwood, Colonial Oce, to Sir Roger Stevens, Foreign Oce, 14 Aug. 1961. 48 BNA, FO 371/161610, British embassy, Yaounde to Foreign Oce, 28 Apr. 1962. 49 Matthew Connelly uses the phrase to describe the Algerian struggle for independence. See Connelly, Diplomatic Revolution.




military arms. In using the international arenas available to them to sway world opinion in their favor, UPC leaders in exile remained on equal terms with their political opponent in Cameroon, Prime Minister and eventual President Ahmadou Ahidjo, whom they described as a valet of French colonialism. UPC speakers used the presence of the international journalists to their advantage, and held press conferences in the hopes of gaining support for their cause. But in order to transform the UPC nationalist struggle into a diplomatic revolution , upeciste leaders needed the ocial support of other governments. From the time of upecistes deportation until 1965, Pan-African conferences provided them with a nearly annual international forum in which to make their case. Ironically, the movements proscription within the Cameroon territories pushed the UPC to greater international exposure. On 30 May 1957, the British administration banned the UPC in The Cameroons and arrested 13 members of the UPC, JDC, and UDEFEC directors committees.51 British ocials decided not to surrender them to French authorities across the Anglo-French boundary, but instead allowed them to choose the nation to which they would be deported. Sudan was the only nation on the UPCs list of desirable hosts that opened its borders to them. Soon after their arrival, made uneasy by their radicalism and increasing visibility in the international arena, the Sudanese president encouraged them to leave.52 Facing censorship in Sudan, Moumie and other UPC leaders continued on to Cairo to establish the UPC Headquarters in exile. Just months after his forced deportation from the British Cameroons, the UPC president in exile, Dr Moumie, attended the Afro-Asian Solidarity Organizations (AASO) rst conference, held in Cairo in December 1957, and was elected to serve in the organizations directors committee along with the representatives of Ghana, Guinea, and Algeria the nations whose leaders would become the most ardent political supporters of the UPC in the years to come.53 The AASOs purpose was to unify the struggle against imperialism and colonialism by bringing together AASO national committees, political parties, labor unions, movements for peace, and youth and womens organizations.54 At the Cairo meeting in 1957, conference-goers
Ibid. 4. BNA, CO 554/2367, Despatch No. 18 from British Embassy, Yaounde to FO, 6 June 1960. 52 CHAN, Foccart papers, Fonds prives 149, Service de documentation exterieure et de contre-espionage (SDECE), Soudan-Cameroun (UPC), 30 Sep. 1958. 53 All information on the AASO is taken from CHAN, Foccart papers, Fonds publics 2092, Note dinformation, La conference de solidarite Afro-Asiatique de Conakry (1116 Avril 1960), Ministere des Aaires Etrangeres, Dir. de lAfrique-Levant. ` ` 54 The AASOs Directors Committee was comprised of 27 members, each one representing a particular nation : Algeria, Cameroun (UPC), Peoples Republic of China, Belgian Congo, North Korea, Ghana, Guinea, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Kenya, Lebanon, Liberia, Mongolia, Morocco, Uganda, Pakistan, Somalia, Southern Rhodesia, South-West Africa, Tunisia, UAR, USSR, North Vietnam, and Yemen. The organizations permanent secretariat was made up of 12 members chosen by the directors committee : Algeria (FLN), Cameroun (UPC), China, Congo, Guinea, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Japan, UAR, Uganda, USSR. The UPC held seats in both the Directors Committee and the permanent secretariat. Ibid.
51 50



addressed the Algerian war, condemned the barbarous acts committed by Belgian colonialists against the population of Congo, and agreed that economic sanctions and boycotts must be applied against the apartheid regime in South Africa. On the issue of Cameroon, the AASO passed a resolution painting the proscription of the UPC as a war of renewed colonial conquest, and delegates from independent states pledged their support for Cameroons immediate independence.55 During press conferences, AASO spokespersons called for a withdrawal of all French and British troops from the territories of Cameroon, a cessation of American aid to the Cameroonian government, and a UN referendum on the reunication of the British and French territories.56 At this initial AASO conference, Moumie built alliances with Sekou Toure and Kwame Nkrumah. The leaders of Guinea and Ghana adopted the UPC as one of their revolutionary projects and helped to get the Cameroon case on the agenda of subsequent Pan-African forums. In fact, it was just the sort of cause Nkrumah needed at the time. From the time of Ghanas independence, Accra became fertile ground for the cultivation of a new, political Pan-Africanism, and at the same time, a harbor for the men and women in exile who struggled to attain independence for African territories still under foreign domination. Nkrumah described the freedom ghters who had congregated in the African Aairs Centre in Accra as the gem of the revolution. To shape the foundations of the Ghanaian nation-state and dene its role in the quest for independence and African unity, Nkrumah relied on the expertise of two Pan-African advisors of Caribbean descent, George Padmore of Trinidad and Ras T. Makonnen. The three of them established the Bureau for African Aairs exclusively to handle contacts with freedom ghters from dependent territories.57 In April 1958, the leaders of Ghana, Ethiopia, Liberia, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, Sudan, and Egypt, the eight independent countries in Africa, convened in Accra to discuss ways to mutually safeguard their political and economic independence, to establish and maintain ties between independent states, and, perhaps most importantly, to strategize support for the liberation of the rest of Africa still under colonial rule.58 The Conference of Independent African States was a precursor to the more important All African Peoples Conference (AAPC) to be held the following December, also in Accra. During the April meeting of heads of state, Nkrumah scribbled a handwritten note on the records, suggesting that the upcoming AAPC conference could serve as a useful platform for dependent African territories to air views on matters aecting their destiny and future ,59 and listed French Togoland, Nigeria, and the Cameroons as territories that might benet from a conference forum.

56 Ibid. Ibid. The bureau was constituted informally from the date of Ghanas independence, and given a legal status in 1959 after Padmores death : see K. Armah, Peace Without Power : Ghanas Foreign Policy, 19571966 (Accra, 2004), 27. I am grateful to Akosua Darkwah 58 for providing me with a copy of this publication. Ibid. 58. 59 GNA, SC/BAA/136, Conference of Independent African States, 15 Apr. 1958. 57




The approaching AAPC provided a sense of urgency to the completion of the African Aairs Centre. Nkrumah delegated the task to Makonnen, who was to institutionalize the Ghanaian governments policy towards the freedom ghters. Because of the imminence of the conference and lack of hotel accommodation, Makonnen constructed a centre with 25 private apartments, a dormitory that would house 200 visitors, a kitchen and cafeteria, and a sta to prepare food and wait on guests.60 By the time of the AAPC conference in late 1958, the Centre had become a common meeting place for African politicians, Pan-Africanists, freedom ghters, and the African Aairs Committee, formed primarily of members of the Ghanaian government.61 Apparently in preparation for the AAPC, in November 1958, Sekou Toure of Guinea, Modiba Keta of Mali, and Nkrumah of Ghana ocially declared their three states to constitute the nucleus of a Union of West African States. The rst AAPC Conference, held in Accra in December 1958, was attended by representatives from the 8 independent African states, 28 African territories under foreign rule, and 62 nationalist organizations, political parties, and/or trade unions.62 The conference symbolized the new age of political, anti-colonial Pan-Africanism, and was extremely threatening to metropolitan powers that had yet to loosen the chains on many of their colonies.63 In the months leading up to the AAPC, the Franco-Cameroonian regime expressed its displeasure at Ghanas ocial support of the UPC bureau in exile. Upon learning of the AAPC conference plans in October 1958, Cameroonian Prime Minister Ahidjo told the French HighCommissioner of Cameroun that he would not send any representatives to Accra if Moumie were invited, and requested the intervention of the French ambassador of Ghana to prevent Moumies participation. Furthermore, Ahidjo demanded that the French submit a strident diplomatic protest to the Ghanaian government.64 French colonial administrators shared Ahidjos indignation at Ghanas position vis-a-vis Moumie and the UPC because they viewed it as an attack ` on their project to integrate African territories into the French Union. The Minister of Overseas France remarked that the conference constituted a dangerous tribunal for adversaries of the Franco-African community .65 On 18 July 1958, even before Prime Minister Ahidjo had learned of the impending AAPC conference, the French High Commissioner of Cameroon,
61 See Makonnen, Pan-Africanism, 21224. Ibid. Ibid. 58. 63 Jane Burbank and Frederick Cooper write that older forms of pan-Africanism had withered by the mid-1950s and that, by that time, already the devolution of power to territorial structures was underway (Burbank and Cooper, Empires, 425). And yet the AAPC convened in 1958 (and the AASO Conference held in 1957), symbolized the growth of a new form of Pan-Africanism that premised inter-territorial cooperation over territorial sovereignty. 64 CHAN, Foccart papers, Fonds publics, Directeur des Aaires Politiques, 3e bureau, ` Ministre de la France dOutre-Mer a M. le Ministre des Aaires Etrangeres, 31 Oct. ` ` 1958. 65 CHAN, Foccart papers, Fonds publics, Ministre de la France dOutre-Mer au Ministre des Aaires Etrangeres, Direction des Aaires Politiques, 3e Bureau, 15 Jul. ` ` 1958. 62 60



Torre, wrote to the Minister of Overseas France that, to symbolize the cohesion of the ensemble francais, it was
of the highest importance for us to make sure that Moumie cannot participate in the Accra debates and to obtain permission for the veritable representatives of Cameroonian public opinion to be admitted if this conference is to be attended by representatives of French territory. We must therefore require the political leaders of the other territories that have been invited to Accra, such as Sekou Toure, Djibo-Bakari, or Apithy, to refuse to attend the conference if they must sit in the presence of an illegal and insurrectional organization, in other words, if the invitation to Moumie is not revoked.66

However, in 1958, French diplomatic inuence in Africa was too weak to prevent Nkrumah and other AAPC planners from upholding the UPCs prominent position at the conference. Hence, not one delegate from the Ahidjo government attended.67 At this rst meeting of the AAPC, Moumie was elected to a position in the AAPC directors committee, chaired by the Kenyan Tom Mboya. Among his colleagues were Ahmed Boumendjel, the representative of the FLN, Patrice Lumumba, future prime minister of Congo, Kojo Botsio, Minister of Foreign Aairs in Ghana, and Abdoulaye Gueye, the representative of the Guinean labor union. As planned, Moumie found himself in the thick of the newly constituted Pan-Africanist body of the AAPC, and this gave him the courage to proclaim at a press conference on 12 December 1958 that the exiled UPC directors bureau constituted the legitimate Cameroonian government.68 On 13 December 1958, delegations in attendance adopted a resolution on the Cameroon question. All anti-colonial organizations and African nations agreed to go before the UN to request total amnesty for members of the UPC and its aliates, the return of those exiled and deported, a referendum on the issue of reunication, and democratic elections for the National Cameroonian Assembly with a UN-selected commission to organize and supervise all electoral proceedings.69 Before the close of the AAPC, Moumie moved the UPC headquarters to Conakry in Guinea. With Moumie established in Conakry, the UPC vice-president, Ernest Ouandie, remained in Accra, where he drew on the resources of the Bureau of African Aairs and the African Aairs Centre. It was one thing for the AAPC to recognize the UPC in exile as the legitimate government of Cameroon before the countrys independence. It was quite another for it to continue to do so at the subsequent AAPC conferences, even after Cameroons independence in 1960. In Cairo, in 1961, the AAPC passed a resolution severely criticizing the Ahidjo regime for allowing the presence of foreign armies, French, British, and West-German military
66 CHAN, Foccart papers, Fonds publics, Torre to Minister de la France dOutreMer, Directeur du Cabinet, Directeur des Aaires Politiques, Paris, 18 Jul. 1958. 67 CHAN, Foccart papers, Fonds publics, Telegram from Directeur des Aaires Politiques, M. Pignon and Chef du 3e Bureau, Rostain, to High Commissioner, ` Cameroun, 19 Dec. 1958. 68 CHAN, Foccart papers, Fonds publics 2092, Ministere des Aaires Etrangeres, ` ` Directeur dAfrique-Levant, 15 Dec. 1958. 69 CHAN, Foccart papers, Fonds publics 2092, Special Outre-Mer, Bulletin Sud Sahara, 11 Dec. 1958.



bases . The AAPC went on to condemn the agreements signed with the French government eliminating national sovereignty and practically converting this territory into a French department in Africa, and the bombardment of numerous regions in the Kameroun by the French artillery and the repeated executions of Kameroonese people struggling for independence . The resolution called for all independent African states to support the immediate and complete withdrawal of French and British military troops.70

International ideological support was perhaps not as crucial as material support for the increasing number of exiles escaping across the borders. Beginning in 1957, thousands of young nationalists set o across colonial borders on the trek to Ghana. Most came on foot. As Makonnen reminisced :
We would be rung up by the police at the frontier and told that some fellows had arrived; they would have no passports We needed enlightened policemen on the frontiers who would know not to enforce the regulations too strictly.71

The exiles included the sons and daughters of Bamileke chiefs or of the nascent Cameroonian bourgeoisie, urban laborers and members of labor unions, the elite cadre of late colonial intelligentsia school teachers such as Gertrude Omog and Ernest Ouandie, the vice-president of the UPC, doctors such as Felix Moumie, and nally the sons of small-scale farmers and traders, many of whom had had minimal schooling.72 In rare cases, elders accompanied the youths. At the African Aairs Centre, UPC leaders sorted out those who showed intellectual promise from those who had not spent much time in school. Scholarships were obtained for those who would some day make up the national intelligentsia.73 The others undertook the military training that UPC leaders expected would ensure the eventual overthrow of the Franco-Cameroonian government in formation.74 By mid-1960, if not before, the One Kamerun (OK) party, carrying on the UPC movement under another name in the British territory of The Cameroons, distributed scholarship application forms prepared by Moumie to its members.75
70 Resolutions adopted by the All African Peoples Conference, Cairo, 2331 Mar. 1961. 71 Makonnen, Pan-Africanism, 215. Those housed at the centre included Patrice Lumumba from the Belgian Congo, Felix Moumie and Ernest Ouandie of Cameroon, Holden Roberto of Angola, the Egyptian President Nassers representative, Dr Gallal, Rabaroca and Mulutsi of the PAC, Banda and Kenneth Kaunda from southern central Africa, and Mbiyu Koinange and Odinga of Kenya. 72 Interviews with Job Njapa, Nkongsamba, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2008 ; with Ignace Neguin Djoko, Baham, 2002, 2003, 2004 ; with Fo Marcel Ngandjong Feze, Bandenkop, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003 ; with Marie-Irene Ngapeth-Biyong, Yaounde, 1999 ; and with ` Jacqueline Kemayou, New Bell, Douala, 2005. 73 74 Ibid. Ibid. 75 Ibid. and BNA, FO 371/146650, Jeanne , 85 Brecknock Rd., London to Felix [Moumie], Accra, 22 Aug. 1960, in British Embassy, Leopoldville, Congo to E. B. Boothby, Esq., Africa Department, Foreign Oce, 28 Oct. 1960.



By late 1960, the British administration knew of at least four youths studying or soon to be studying on scholarship in Moscow,76 and a German ambassador in Accra agreed to provide scholarships to additional students for the academic year 19601.77 Other students were destined for the University of Peking.78 Moumies father, Samuel Mekou, a permanent resident in the African Aairs Centre, became one of the key gures in Accra, who oriented new arrivals and served as their liaison with the UPC Directors Bureau. Cameroonians on the run knew, by word of mouth, to make their way straight to the Guinean embassy upon arrival in Accra,79 where they would be put in contact with the UPC representatives in Accra. Mekou forwarded the names of prospective students or military trainees to the UPC leadership in Accra, Cairo, or Leopoldville, where Moumie was based in August and September 1960. Mekou found places for the youths in transit, usually in the Ghana House, procured passports for them from the Guinean embassy, and provided cab fares for the students to get to the airport, as well as money for food and lodging. He complained bitterly to Abel Kingue, president of the JDC, the UPCs youth wing, of lacking funds to carry out his duties.80 Some trustworthy young men and women, such as Emmanuel Fankem (also known as Fermete), or Cecile Teck, a loyal leader of the UDEFEC, were engaged as couriers to slip across borders and carry funds, arms, and correspondence from Accra to Cameroon.81 Class cleavages prevalent in Cameroon resurfaced among the exiles during their stay in Accra. While the youths destined for military training peddled ice water in the streets to earn enough to eat,82 the former Bamileke chiefs Marcel Feze and Paul Kemayou never fully forgot their style of life of yesterday and therefore weighed on UPC nances.83 Many Cameroonian exiles, especially in the later years of the inux

76 BNA, CO 554/2367, Extract from South Cameroons Intelligence Report for Dec. 1960. 77 BNA, FO 371/146650, Samuel Mekou, African Aairs Centre, Accra to Abel Kingue, 3 Sep. 1960 in British Embassy, Leopoldville, Congo to E. B. Boothby, Esq., Africa Department, Foreign Oce, 28 Oct. 1960. Mekou did not indicate which German ambassador, East or West. 78 The scholarships increased from 1960 to 1961. There were 33 scholarships awarded to Cameroonian students through the UPC-OK during the single month of July 1961. BNA, FO 371/155340, British embassy, Yaounde, to Secretary of State for the Colonies, Secret, 19 Aug. 1961. 79 Interviews with Job Ngoule Njapa, Jacqueline Kemayou, and Woungly Massaga, Yaounde, 2003, 2005. See also BNA, CO 554/2367, B. A. Flack to R. C. Cox, Esq., Commonwealth Relations Oce, London, 26 Feb. 1960 re Petition to High Commissioner (22 Feb. 1960) from 4 persons, political refugees from Cameroon. 80 BNA, FO 371/146650, Samuel Mekou, African Aairs Centre, Accra to Abel Kingue, 3 Sep. 1960 in British Embassy, Leopoldville, Congo to E. B. Boothby, Esq., Africa Department, Foreign Oce, 28 Oct. 1960. 81 BNA, CO 554/2367, Governor-General of Nigeria to the Secretary of State for the 82 Colonies, 30 Sep. 1960. Interview with Job Ngoule Njapa. 83 BNA, FO 371/146650, Ernest Ouandie, Accra, to Felix R. Moumie in Leopoldville, 4 Sep. 1960, in British Embassy, Leopoldville, Congo to E. B. Boothby, Esq., Africa Department, Foreign Oce, 28 Oct. 1960.



into Ghana, could not be funded by the UPC, or by the Ghanaian government.84

While many young Cameroonian nationalists in exile followed opportunities for scholarly, intellectual pursuits throughout the world, others became involved in transnational military training. In the late 1950s, the upeciste Thomas Emock, secretary of the African Aairs Centre in Accra, communicated to the internal OK-UPC headquarters his intent to form a revolutionary government in The Cameroons as soon as the revolutionary army was ready.85 In response, local OK-UPC leaders began to recruit nationalist youths suitable for military training.86 Beginning in 1960, if not before, British police and military personnel began to discover terrorists who had attended training courses in China and Morocco among the UPCs Armee de Liberation Nationale du Kamerun (ALNK) soldiers whom they arrested in the southern Cameroons. They believed that similar courses were being taught in Egypt, Algeria, and the USSR, with pre-course training taking place in Conakry and Accra.87 By 1961, British administrators estimated that over a hundred terrorists trained overseas had managed to return to the ALNK in both Cameroun and The Cameroons.88 Local UPC committees and ALNK base camps in Cameroon recommended literate, intelligent, and physically t young men in their late teens and early twenties to the overseas training program. The nominees were sent to Henri Tamo (also known as Leconstant Pengoye), the organizer and inspector of ALNK troops, who sorted through applicants and provided those selected with a written mandate that the ghter took with him or her to Accra. Housed most often at the African Aairs Centre, trainees were provided with personal funds, clothing, and other supplies, and then awaited transport by air to the location of their training course.89 Ocers of the Chinese army trained the freedom ghters in China. Because training was conducted in French, the program was equally suitable for any of the former French territories in Central Africa, for Congolese or for any Algerian, Tunisian or Moroccan youths .90 In both China and Morocco, military training was designed around the tactical teachings of
84 Ibid. These unfortunate youths were told to return to Cameroon, although to do so would have placed them in severe jeopardy. It is more likely that many stayed and fended for themselves in Accra or moved on. Male exiles sometimes arrived accompanied by their wives. In some cases, scholarships could be obtained for men, while their wives and families had to be sent home. 85 BNA, CO 554/2367, Extract from South Cameroons Intelligence Report for Sep. 1960, Part II . Kumba, because of its proximity to the now independent territory of Cameroun, established a militia base in the thick forest area along the border. Young soldiers showing military promise were probably recruited through this base. 86 Ibid. 87 BNA, FO 371/155341, Annex A to PERINTREP No. 8/61. 88 BNA, FO 371/155341. See Peking training young Africans in terrorism : disruption planned , Sunday Telegraph, 23 Jul. 1961, and Overseas training of ALNK terrorists , Under-Secretary of State for War, 16 June 1961. 89 90 Annex A to PERINTREP No. 8/61. Peking training .



Mao Tse-Tung, and covered the use of weaponry, sabotage, and guerilla warfare. Course instructors stressed the importance of outlining a guerilla strategy based on established red zones of control from which to direct operations and in which ghters could train and congregate. After politically educating the inhabitants of secured red zones, the ghters would advance to create additional bases in the surrounding areas, or white zones.91 Trainers familiarized students with the characteristics and handling of small arms, hand grenades, and explosives and detonating agents, and trained them to use these charges to destroy bridges, vehicles, houses, railways, and petrol dumps.92 In Cameroons locally entrenched maquis, culturally specic, indigenous strategies of warfare magical technologies, the protection of sacred forests, intimate knowledge of the terrain, and hunters skills intersected with revolutionary tactics learned abroad as internationally trained troops joined ranks with ALNK ghters who had never left.93

Tensions between the Ghanaian Ministry of Foreign Aairs and the Bureau of African Aairs surfaced early on, as Nkrumahs more nationally oriented advisors chafed under the power and inuence wielded by the PanAfricanists, and feared that the Ghanaian governments sympathy and aid to freedom ghters would develop into a foreign relations nightmare.95 Over time, these predictions began to come true. As the political leaders who spearheaded the nationalist movements most invested in Nkrumahs project of a non-aligned United States of Africa began to disappear, so too did the visions of Pan-African unity. On 3 November 1960, the poisoning of UPC President Moumie, ordered by the French government and carried out by the undercover agent Bechtel in Geneva, dealt a nal blow to the unity of the UPC in exile.96 Two months later, in the night of 1617 January, Belgians, Katangans, and Congolese collaborated in the assassination of Patrice Lumumba, former prime minister of Congo.97

92 Overseas training . Annex A to PERINTREP No. 8/61. On local strategies of warfare, particularly ghters use of spiritual technology and knowledge of the landscape, see S. Mbatchou, Contribution a la connaissance de ` lhistoire de lArmee de liberation nationale kamerunaise (ALNK), 19591971 (unpub lished MA thesis, Yaounde-I, 2003). See also Mbembe, Domaines . 94 In the 1960s, upecistes described the Ahidjo government as a puppet regime (gouvernement fantoche) and enumerated its neo-colonial characteristics. See, for example, Message du President du Comite Revolutionnaire (Ernest Ouandie), 22 Feb. 1967, in Archives de la Prefecture de Nkongsamba, Mungo (APN), Presidence de la Republique federale, Direction du service detudes et de documentation, Brigade Mixte Mobile, Bamenda, 6 Mar. 1967. 95 For one former cabinet members account, see Armah, Peace, 15861. 96 CHAN, Foccart papers, Fonds prives 151, Les activites de lUPC , Paris, 6 Jan. 1961. Of course, factionalization is characteristic of political movements initiated or upheld in exile. See Y. Shain, Frontier of Loyalty : Political Exiles in the Age of the Nation States (Ann Arbor, MI, 2005). 97 L. De Witte, The Assassination of Lumumba (London, 2001). 93




Although the UPC had led the way in using revolutionary violence against the postcolonial state government after independence, in the early 1960s, other parties protesting the apparent neo-colonialism in their governments after independence began to follow suit. In 1962, an Association of Freedom Fighters formed, made up of exiled revolutionaries from independent states, as well as from those territories still under colonial control. The organization included representatives of the Sawaba Party of Niger, the exiled UPC, the Northern Rhodesia Independence Party, the United Togolese Front, the Sanwi Liberation Movement of Ivory Coast, and the Peoples Party of Bechuanaland.98 The associations objective was to coordinate anticolonialist movements as well as struggles against puppet governments in most of the independent countries of Africa which are helping to keep Africans under neo-colonialism .99 Several of the associations leaders, if not all of them, had spent time in Accra, and the movement had grown out of alliances formed among the African Aairs Centre exiles. Members of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), formed in Addis Ababa in 1963, agreed that revolutionary nationalists outside the boundaries of their states of origin who collaborated to overthrow ocial governments in power represented a major threat to postcolonial African states. With the formation of the OAU, Nkrumahs gem turned into his albatross, as postcolonial African leaders began to describe Ghana as a place that harbored and aided political subversives. Rather than t Nkrumahs formula for African unity, the OAU strove for a mutually agreed national sovereignty couched as non-interference in the internal aairs of states and upheld through continued cooperation with metropolitan governments.100 The nal blow to the UPCs base in a Pan-African Ghana was dealt at Nouakchott, Mauritania, on 12 February 1965. Following nearly a decade of intense debates between African heads of state and policy makers over the nature of African unity, a francophone bloc, made up of 13 French-speaking African countries, including the newly independent Cameroon, emerged as the Organisation Commune Africaine et Malgache (OCAM). OCAM drafted a resolution to the OAU condemning Ghana for harboring subversive elements which are openly planning to overthrow established governments in Cote dIvoire, Niger, Upper Volta and Cameroon.101 OCAM demanded that the OAU have the subversives expelled. Apparently linked by their common attachment to France, members of OCAM rejected Nkrumahs proposed African Continental Union Government in favor of an ocial, inter-territorial francophone alliance. Writing for the group,
On Sawaba, see van Walraven, Decolonization . BNA, FO 371/161611, British Embassy, Yaounde to R. J. Stratton, Esq., West and Central African Department, Foreign Oce, 24 Sep. 1962. 100 See Armah, Peace, 96104 for an explanation of the emergence of three blocs of African states from 1960 : the conservative, francophone Brazzaville group, which became the Union Africain et Malgache in December 1960 ; the Casablanca group, of which Ghana was a member, which advocated a Pan-African assembly, political and economic committees, and High Command of Chiefs of Sta, and which pledged aid and assistance to nationalist forces ; and the Monrovia group, which took issue with political subversion and pledged non-interference in the internal aairs of states . 101 GNA, SC/BAA/372, Moktar Ould Daddah to Diallo Telli, Secretary-General of OUA, 18 Feb. 1965.
99 98



and echoing Ahidjos protests to French ocials in 1958, the President of Mauritania presented OCAMs resolution as an ultimatum to Diallo Telli, the secretary-general of the OAU: Telli must require Ghana to expel all subversive elements which are openly planning to overthrow established governments in Cote dIvoire, Niger, Upper Volta, and Cameroun, or OCAM would not attend the upcoming OAU Summit scheduled for October in Accra.102 Nkrumah complied after his cabinet members pressured him to send the freedom ghters away, and then only on the condition that the Bureau of African Aairs supply them with return tickets.103 Even so, eight francophone states stayed away from the OAU summit, because they accused Ghana of encouraging subversive activities directed against them.104 At the summit, the OAU passed a resolution stipulating that member states were not to tolerate any form of subversion on the part of political refugees, nor any subversive activity directed against any member state from outside its boundaries. A few months prior to the OAU summit of 1965, Cameroonian exiles were deported from Algeria, following Colonel Houari Boumediennes overthrow of Ben Bella. Many of them had returned to Accra and were housed at the African Aairs Centre and in the north-western Kokomlemle suburb of Accra. With their Ghanaian base now under the scrutiny of the OAU, the upecistes were once again uprooted and set o in entirely new directions to Cabinda or the northern forests of Congo-Brazzaville to ght in the UPCs Second Front.105 While in the forest, upeciste ghters beneted from further training with Che Guevaras Cuban forces, the Congolese Pierre Moulele rebels, and other militia groups.106 From late 1965 through 1968, these men,
102 J. H. Williams, Ambassador of Ghana, Congo-Brazzaville to Kwame Nkrumah, 8 Apr. 1965. For Ahidjos say in the matter, see N. Morton, British Embassy, Yaounde to Mervyn Brown, Esq., West and Central African Department, Foreign Oce, 17 Aug. 103 1965. Armah, Peace, 17 and GNA, SC/BAA/357. 104 CHAN, Foccart papers, Fonds publics, 454, Conference des Chefs dEtats . 105 The history of the UPCs Second Front, established in the northern regions of the Republic of Congo, has yet to be researched. No published scholarly accounts exist, although J.-F. Bayart makes brief reference to it, as does Victor LeVine. See J.-F. Bayart, LEtat au Cameroun (Paris, 1979), 119120 ; V. LeVine, The Cameroon Federal Republic (Ithaca, NY, 1971), 128. It seems that, rather than a unied Second Front controlled by the Chinese as the early accounts suggest, there were at least two factions of exiled upecistes. One group was stationed near Ouesso and under the command of Osende Afana, who was killed on the Cameroonian side of the Ngako river during an attempt to recruit supporters for the UPC and the ALNK. Scholars do not agree on the date of Afanas death : Bayart has some time in March 1966, while LeVine cites 3 December 1967 ; Woungly Massaga himself states that Afana was killed on 15 Mar 1966. The other group, under the command of Woungly Massaga (aka Commandant Kissamba), was located near Alate. Various pockets of ghters loyal or potentially loyal to the ALNK ranged along Cameroons southern border around Mouloundou, Lomie, and Djoum. See D. Abwa, Ngouo Woungly-Massaga alias Commandant Kissamba : Cameroun, ma part de verite (Paris, 2005), 129, 165, 172, 187, 199. While scholars ascribe UPC exiles factionalization to the Sino-Soviet split in the mid-1960s, Massagas own testimony suggests that there may be more to the story. 106 Interviews with Woungly Massaga and Job Ngoule Njapa. See also W. Massaga, Une histoire politique du Cameroun, 19442004 (Paris, 2004) ; E. Guevara, African Dream : The Diaries of the Revolutionary War in the Congo (New York, 2000).



some of them accompanied by their female companions, launched a number of unsuccessful invasions of Cameroon with the objective of joining the internal ALNK, still ghting under the command of Ernest Ouandie in the maquis.107 The Congolese governments eventual collaboration with Ahidjo to root out the upecistes sent the exiles, whose number had dwindled to less than a hundred, o in multiple directions. Woungly Massaga traveled to Cuba, while most of his ghters made their way to Angola. In 1970, Ernest Ouandie, commander of the internal maquis, was rounded up by Cameroonian military forces, and, on 15 January 1971, was publicly executed by ring squad.108 Cameroonian exiles, from wherever they learned the news, knew the movement to be nished, and also knew that they could not return home.


Frederick Cooper has stressed the need for greater comprehension of the political alternatives imagined by political actors on the eve of independence, in order to better understand how and why political possibilities expanded and narrowed.109 But to truly understand the political alternatives envisioned by nationalists, we must look beyond the metropolecolony parameters that have so often guided our research, scholarship, and assumptions. This means retrieving the local spiritual, political, and cultural content of nationalist movements such as the UPC, and then following the linkages nationalists created with political actors beyond their territories borders, even (or especially) when these routes do not lead to Paris, London, or Brussels. By 1965, the shifting geopolitical terrain signaled a disintegration of the project of the United States of Africa, but its failure at least for the upecistes, Nkrumaists, Guineans, Lumumbistes, and Algerians who had invested in it occurred beyond the borders of a community linked to a common metropole. Historians and political scientists of French Africas decolonization who have worked on the UPC, the Parti Democratique Guineen (PDG), or the Sawaba independence movement in Niger have emphasized these movements radicalism and/or exceptionalism.110 But when the historical perspective of decolonization is centered in Accra, Conakry, or Algiers, rather than in Paris, these anomalous, radical nationalist movements can no longer be seen as unique, stand-alone aairs. Instead, their interconnectedness suggests that they were part of a dierent pattern, one that took
While maquis camps remained in the Mbam and south-eastern Bamileke regions, the invading second front had a lot of ground to cover from their point of entry at Dja and Lobo before reaching the rst red zone several hundred miles due north-east. 108 On Ernest Ouandies arrest, see APN, Secteur militaire du Littoral, Qtr. de Nkongsamba, Bulletin de renseignements, Objet : Rapports entre ressortissants Dschang et Bangangte a Mbanga, 22 Sep. 1970. On Ouandies execution, see E. Kamguia K., ` 39 ans apres: Ernest Ouandie reste immortel, La Nouvelle Expression, 15 Jan. 2010 ; ` J.-A. Mbembe, On the Postcolony (Berkeley : University of California Press, 2001), 119 ; M. Beti, Le Cameroun dAhidjo , Temps Modernes, 316 (Nov. 1972). 109 Cooper, Possibility . 110 Joseph, Radical Nationalism ; Schmidt, Anticolonial nationalism ; van Walraven, Decolonization .



shape beyond the scope of the French Community. However, because most of the nationalist movements in French-governed territories that referenced Accra or Algiers rather than Paris failed to achieve political power in their home states, historians have mostly overlooked the larger pattern they created. Although the role of the exiled contingents of Namibias South West Africa Peoples Organization (SWAPO), Mozambiques Frente de Libertacao de Mocambique (FRELIMO), South Africas ANC, and the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) have been well documented,111 historians of the rst wave of African nationalisms, dating from the 1950s and early 1960s, have not often made connections between exile, revolutionary global trends, and liberation movements in culturally particular locales. Yet from 1957 to 1965, the UPC established its headquarters sequentially in Khartoum, Cairo, Rabat, Conakry, Accra, Algiers, and Brazzaville and upeciste freedom ght ers interacted with African nationalists and anti-colonial activists from the whole continent, who found themselves on a similar Pan-African circuit. The case of the UPC demonstrates that, even in this rst phase of decolonization, exiled nationalists played a role as crucial to the struggle for freedom as those who never left the contested territories that eventually became nation-states.

See note 13 above.