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Ambazonia as many other lands in Africa embodied numerous autonomous collection of families – that later formed tribes – most being hunters and farmers before the European expedition of the territory began in 1472. Hanno from Carthage in present-day Tunisia is the first explorer to report that in 500BC he saw the Mountain in Buea, Mt. Fako, in the Southern Zone of the Ambas Bay.
In the centuries that followed, the slave trade would become part of the Ambazonian ancient history as slaves are transported by expeditors from North Africa exploring South of the Sahara to northern Africa.
Between 200 to 100BC, the first tribes of the Bantu, mainly nomads and farmers needing much land for agriculture, migrate westward into Ambaland.
In 1472, the Portuguese led by Fernando Po reach the Douala in present-day La Republique du Cameroun. Seeing many prawns in the River Wouri, which is not in Ambazonia, the Portuguese name the river, “Rio dos Camarões” – River of Prawns – from which the name of the Republic of Cameroun derives.
As trade in slavery expands, the Europeans cross from Camarões through the River Mongo into the Ambas Bay – Ambazonia – that presents unique qualities, namely, fertile ground for large scale agriculture and access to the Atlantic Ocean for the transportation of slaves and goods.
Thus, in 1520, some Portuguese started the Trans-Atlantic slave trade and plantation agriculture in the Ambas Bay.
In the 1600s, the Dutch dominate the Portuguese in the slave trade and in the 1700s, British Missionaries enter the Ambas Bay and demand an end to slavery. The London Baptist Missionary Society creates a Christian Center in Victory, called Limbe today.
Slaves from Jamaica, Ghana, and Liberia are freed in Victoria in the Ambas Bay – making Ambazonia the Land of Freedom in Africa.
The Europeans abolish slavery several years before the Americans in 1863, but illegal trading continues. In 1858, Alfred Saker, an English navy Engineer and missionary funds the first European settlements in Victoria. In the blessed land of Ambazonia, he sees financial prosperity in the settlements and convinces the government of England to make it a crown territory. Slavery finally gives way in the Land of Freedom in Africa (Ambaland) and is replaced by trading in natural resources such as palm oil, ivory, and gold from across the entire Ambazonia homeland of autonomous tribes or villages headed by fons or chiefs, each with a strong cabinet that served the common good of the land. The palaces of the fons and chiefs represented power, unity, and service in the tribe.
British: 1858 to 1887
The British established a foothold in the armpit of Africa as far back as 1847. In 1858, they took over an English missionary settlement at Ambas Bay in the Gulf of Guinea and named the British colony Victoria, after Queen Victoria. It is from this Ambas Bay in the Gulf of Guinea that Fon Gorji Dinka coined the name Ambazonia in 1984.
British: 1914 to 1961
A major consequence of her defeat in World War I was that Germany, as provided in the Treaties of Versailles 1919, renounced and relinquished title and right to all her colonial possessions. The possessions in question included the Kamerun territory, which had been seized in 1916 by Britain and France as war booty according to the Laws of War at the time. The territory was partitioned between the two Powers along what became known as the Milner-Simon Line. Britain retained the whole area it had overrun in 1914 at the onset of the War and it became known as the British Cameroons. To sooth French pain and humiliation resulting from the crushing defeat of France by Germany in the Franco-Prussian war in 1870, France was allowed to take the original German Kamerun protectorate proclaimed in 1884, naming it French Cameroun.
The Anglo-French Treaty of 1916 (the Milner-Simon Declaration) defined the international boundary between the British Cameroons and French Cameroun. This boundary was subsequently confirmed by the League of Nations in 1922 when the two territories were separately placed under the Mandates System.
The territorial alignment between Southern Cameroons and French Cameroun was further confirmed by the Anglo-French Treaty of 9 January 1931, signed by the Governor-General of Nigeria and the Governor of French Cameroun.
Out of the extinct German colony emerged two separate and distinct legal and political entities, British Cameroons and French Cameroun.
Each of these two political entities was placed under the mandate system, the goal being ultimate independence of the natives of each mandated territory. In 1922, the League of Nations granted to Britain a mandate over the British Cameroons and a mandate to France over French Cameroun. In doing so the League confirmed the 1916 Anglo-French partition put in treaty form in the 1919 Anglo-French boundary treaty between the British Cameroons and French Cameroun (Milner-Simon Declaration).
The frontier alignment between the British Cameroons and French Cameroun, as defined by the 1919 boundary treaty, was more particularly determined in the 1931 Anglo-French boundary treaty (Graeme-Marchand Declaration) and confirmed once again in 1946 by the United Nations in the Trusteeship Agreement relative to the British Cameroons and the one relative to French Cameroun.
The British Cameroons and French Cameroun were separate, new, legal and political entities created in 1922 by the political force represented by the mandate system.
The juridical basis of their respective existence and the international basis of the frontier between the two countries are the mandate system, transmuted into the trusteeship system after World War Two.
France granted independence to French Cameroun on 1st January 1960 and sponsored the new state’s admission to membership of the United Nations in September that year. The United Kingdom, by contrast, dilly-dallied, spoke with a forked tongue on the subject of independence for the Southern British Cameroons, and actively opposed independence for the Trust Territory.
“We are not annexationists... If our brothers of the British zone wish to unite with independent Cameroun, we are ready to discuss the matter with them, but we will do so on a footing of equality.”
The Southern Cameroons is not the southern or any part of French Cameroun/Republic of Cameroun. The name Southern Cameroons comes from the fact that the British Order in Council of 26 June 1923 divided the Mandated Territory of the British Cameroons into two parts, a southern part known as the Southern Cameroons and a northern part known as the Northern Cameroons. The British tagged each part onto Nigeria in an administrative union and administered as though it formed an integral part of Nigeria. By this act of the Administering Authority, the Southern British Cameroons became a distinct territory from the Northern British Cameroons within the international system and a distinct unit of self-determination.
The British administration of the Southern Cameroons from 1858 to 1887, and then from 1915 to 1961, bequeathed to it an Anglo-Saxon heritage: the official language being English, and its educational, legal, administrative, political, governance and institutional culture and value systems being all English-derived. On 1 October 1960, the Southern Cameroons was separated from Nigeria and by 1961, the Southern Cameroons had attained a full measure of self-government in its Government of Southern Cameroons, except on matters of defense and foreign affairs that remained under Britain as provided in the Southern Cameroons Constitution Order in Council
At the 849th meeting of the Fourth Committee of the UN on 25th February 1959, Mr. Ahmadou Ahidjo of La Republique du Cameroun solemnly assured the UN: “We are not annexationists. … If our brothers of the British zone wish to unite with independent Cameroun, we are ready to discuss the matter with them, but we will do so on a footing of equality.”
The Plebiscite and the Independence of Southern Cameroons (Ambazonia) in 1961
On 11 February 1961, the UN held a plebiscite in which the choice of attaining independence as a sovereign nation was eliminated from the ballot against the will of the people of Southern Cameroons, and the said people voted to achieve independence by joining La Republique du Cameroun on precise terms.
The said terms of Southern Cameroons’ achievement of independence by joining La Republique du Cameroun as provided in “The Two Alternatives” pre-plebiscite pamphlet included:
- The Southern Cameroons and Republique du Cameroun would unite to create a Federal State to be called the ‘Federal United Cameroon Republic’, outside the British Commonwealth and the French Community
- The component states of the Federation would be the Southern Cameroons and Republique du Cameroun, legally equal in status
- Each federated state would continue to conduct its affairs consistently with its colonially-inherited state-culture, with only a limited number of subject matters conceded to the Union government
- Nationals of the federated states would enjoy Federal Cameroon nationality
- The Federation would have a bicameral Parliament consisting of a Federal Senate and a Federal National Assembly
- Federal laws will only be enacted in such a way that no measures contrary to the interests of one state will be imposed upon it by the majority
- Constitutional arrangements would be worked out after the plebiscite by a post-plebiscite conference comprising representative delegations of equal status from the Southern Cameroons and Republique du Cameroun, in association with the United Kingdom Government and the United Nations
- The post-plebiscite conference would have its goal as the fixing of time limits and conditions for the transfer of sovereignty powers to an organization representing the future federation; and
- Those entrusted with the affairs of the United Cameroon would put the would-be federal constitution to the people of the Southern Cameroons and Republique du Cameroun to pronounce themselves on it
On April 21, 1961, the United Nations in Resolution 1608 (XV) recognized the results of the plebiscite and asked that the British Government, the Government of Southern Cameroons and La Republique du Cameroun urgently meet and discuss with a view to finalizing the post-plebiscite arrangements by which the agreed and declared policies of the parties concerned will be implemented before Southern Cameroons could join La Republique du Cameroun following the former’s achievement of independence on October 1, 1961.
La Republique du Cameroun voted “No!” to UN Resolution 1608 (XV), thereby declaring it neither intended to nor could it be compelled by the UN to enter a union with Southern Cameroons (Ambazonia).
The said ‘agreed and declared policies’ were not and have never been finalized and declared to make British Southern Cameroons and La Republique du Cameroun one country. In this regard, no union treaty has ever been signed uniting and integrating the two territories.
The Foumban Conference held in La Republique du Cameroun from the 17th to the 21st of July 1961 between the Southern Cameroons and La Republique du Cameroun to finalize, agree upon and declare the terms of the agreement scattered because of manipulative bad faith on the part of La Republique du Cameroun, and the absence of the government of the United Kingdom contrary to the provision of UN Resolution 1608 (XV) (5).
La Republique du Cameroun: 1961 to Today
Without the process of negotiating the terms of the agreed federal union having been completed, without any federal constituent assembly having met, and without any draft federal constitution having been established, La Republique du Cameroun unilaterally drafted a document which that country’s assembly, meeting without any Southern Cameroons participation, enacted into ‘law’ on 1 September 1961 as ‘the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Cameroon’ to enter into force on 1 October 1961.
This same ‘federal constitution’ had no provision in the document to the effect that the Southern Cameroons and Republique du Cameroun shall be united in one sovereign Republic; no provision to the effect that the federation was ‘one and indivisible’; and no claim that the document represented consensus ad idem of the Southern Cameroons and Republique du Cameroun.
The government of La Republique du Cameroun, being aware that the Federation lacked a legally valid founding document and only existed as a mere de facto existence, never applied for UN membership of the Federation and so the Federation was never a member of the UN, and there exist no treaty or official map at the UN in which the two territories of Southern Cameroons and La Republique du Cameroun are combined and sealed as one country.
Even though the terms of any union between Southern Cameroons and La Republique du Cameroun had not been agreed upon and declared as required by UN Resolution 1608 (XV) (5), and no treaty established between the government of Southern Cameroons and La Republique du Cameroons to become one country, La Republique du Cameroun moved her military into Southern Cameroons territory on October 1, 1961, occupied and annexed Southern Cameroons without the terms of agreement as demanded by the people of Southern Cameroons in “The Two Alternatives” pamphlet having been finalized, agreed upon and declared, and without the consent of the government of Southern Cameroons acting on behalf of its people.
In September 1961, an army of La Republique du Cameroun crossed the border into the Southern Cameroons at Ebubu village near Tombel and massacred thirteen CDC workers in cold blood, and some other soldiers of the same La Republique du Cameroun crossed in Santa near Bamenda, killed Southern Cameroonians without cause and destroyed the property.
From 1962-1972 the Territory was confusingly also known as West Cameroon. To confound matters further, in 1972 it was split by Republic of Cameroun into two parts denoted as North West & South West provinces. The Territory’s definitive geographical indication or name, Ambazonia, envisaged by the national liberation forces speaks to the very critical matters of sovereign branding, identity, specificity and territorial integrity, and seeks to end the name confusion.
For standing up to La Republique du Cameroun’s expansionist agenda Prime Minister Augustine Ngom Jua from Southern Cameroons was labeled ‘un autonomiste avant tout’ (‘a die-hard autonomist’) and dismissed by the Ahidjo, the governing president of La Republique du Cameroun. When Vice President Foncha reminded the government of La Republique du Cameroun that there was no valid union accord or treaty between the Southern Cameroons and Republique du Cameroun, and that it was high time such an accord is concluded between the two parties, Ahidjo likewise dismissed Foncha Southern Cameroons dismissed from his office of Vice President.
In early 1972, the government of La Republique du Cameroun poured in more troops into Southern Cameroons to stop a possible uprising for the independence of Southern Cameroons as the people were totally dissatisfied with the annexation of their territory. On May 6, 1972 Ahidjo, president of La Republique du Cameroun announced in the Federal National Assembly: “I have decided to end the federation,” and then proceeded to hold a referendum in which the majority people of La Republique du Cameroun unjustly voted in although it was the people of the Southern Cameroons alone who had voted at the plebiscite, and them alone stood to lose their self-government.
The government of La Republique du Cameroun in order to fully colonize the people of Southern Cameroons (Ambazonia) imposed an administrative politics of divide and rule by cutting up the one Southern Cameroons territory into North West and South West Provinces, now South West and North West Regions, which have since continued to be administered from Republique du Cameroun through a hierarchy of colonial-type district commissioners known as ‘sous-prefets’, ‘prefets’, ‘gouverneurs’, and ‘commandants des legions’ from Republique du Cameroun as dependencies of that country.
In February 1984, Mr. Paul Biya (another citizen of Republique du Cameroun who had been picked by Ahidjo and handed the Presidency in 1982) discarded Ahidjo’s ‘republique unie du Cameroun’ contraption, and signed a law formally reverting to the denomination and identity ‘Republique du Cameroun,’ a denomination that had officially not been in use since 1 October 1961, and which confirmed the formal colonization of the Southern Cameroons.
Throughout the 1980s, the people of the Southern Cameroons, as individuals or as groups, continued to revolt against what was openly annexation of Southern Cameroons by Republique du Cameroun, especially after the issuance of “The New Social Order” on March 15, 1985, “The Letter to the L’Etat Major of Cameroun: Defuse the Timed Bomb” on May 5th, 1985, and “The Revolt of Ambazonia” on July 11, 1985, all by Fon Fongum Gorji-Dinka of the Ambazonia Restoration Movement in Southern Cameroons. On 21 August 1986, more than 3,000 people and an untold number of livestock and other animals in the vicinity of Lake Nyos in Southern Cameroons perished from inhaling a gas later identified as a mixture of carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulphide, an incident the people of Southern Cameroon continue to hold firmly as a chemical weapon attack on their very existence orchestrated by the hands of La Republique du Cameroun.
In 1993 and 1994, against the backdrop of terrorization and disruptions by the Camerounese military, the people of the Southern Cameroons, assembled for the first time as a people since early 1972, where they created the Southern Cameroons National Council (SCNC) and mandated it to seek and secure constitutional talks with Republique du Cameroun on the basis of an agreed federal constitution. The SCNC was further mandated, if the Yaoundé regime refused to engage in meaningful constitutional talks or if it failed to engage in such talks within a reasonable time, to so inform the people of the Southern Cameroons by all suitable means and thereupon proclaim the revival of the independence and sovereignty of the Southern Cameroons and take all measures necessary to secure, defend and preserve the independence, sovereignty and integrity of the Southern Cameroons.
Six years afterwards, in 1999, Republique du Cameroun had not as much as indicated a willingness to talk with the Southern Cameroons, and the SCNC informed the people of the Southern Cameroons, served notice that ‘reasonable time’ had expired and declared that it intended to fulfill its mandate of proclaiming the revival of the independence and sovereignty of the Southern Cameroons.
During the signature referendum as an exercise in democracy and the freedom to hold political opinion, Cameroon military abducted many people of Southern Cameroons (Ambazona) and tortured them. Others disappeared, among which were Abel Apong and Chrispus Keenebie who were taken to Douala in La Republique du Cameroun and tortured for weeks on end; and John Kudi and Paul Chiajoy Juangwa who were taken to Yaounde in the same La Republique du Cameroun and disappeared. In April 1997, the government of La Republique du Cameroun arrested more than 400 Southern Cameroons youths, members of the Southern Cameroons Youth League (SCYL), subjected them to the third degree (what the Camerounese press itself calls ‘interrogation musclee); detained some in solidarity confinement for years, locked up others in deplorable inhumane conditions, tried them in military courts, and killed many, including Emmanuel Konsek, Mathias Ngum, Joseph Ndifon, Richard Ngwa, Julius Ngwa, Samuel Tita, Mathias Gwei, Daniel Tita, Lawrence Fai, and Patrick Timbu, because they stood up for the rights of all peoples to self-determination as enshrined in the International Bill of Human Rights.
In the Case Concerning the Land and Maritime Boundary Between La Republique du Cameroun and the Federal Republic of Nigeria, filed by the government of La Republique du Cameroun at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on 29 March 1994, La Republique du Cameroun asked the ICJ to adjudge and declare the Bakassi Peninsula as Cameroonian because Nigeria’s claim of ownership over the said land “violated and is violating the fundamental principle of respect for frontiers inherited from colonization (uti possidetis juris).” In June 2006, the president of La Republique du Cameroun, Mr. Paul Biya, signed the Greentree Agreement with the Federal Republic of Nigeria in which he promised to respect the boundaries of La Republique du Cameroun as it pertained at the independence of the said La Republique du Cameroun.
La Republique du Cameroun rejected the confederacy proposed by the people of Southern Cameroon through their prime minister, John Ngu Foncha, at theFoumban Conference of 1961 and has rejected the federation proposed by the Anglophone Civil Society Consortium as evident in the arbitrary arrest and detention of its leaders and massive abductions, detention, torture and killing of proponents, thereby, leaving the people of Southern Cameroons with no option but self-determination in the context of self-government as a sovereign nation.
From November 2016, La Republique du Cameroun intensified its abduction of many Southern Cameroons youth to unknown locations, and gross violation of the human rights of so many Southern Cameroonians in daylight and undercover of darkness.
On November 30, 2017, President Paul Biya of Cameroun declared war on the esrwhile Southern Cameroons (Ambazonia) as the Ambazonian people rose to, declaring ones and for all their determination to terminate the illegal occupation of Ambazonia by Cameroun without a union treaty, and to pursue their right it independence and the sovereignty of Ambazonia.
On May 31, 2019, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported that 1.3million people are affected by the ongoing conflict and over 530,000 people are internally displaced.
700,000 children are out of school. More than 3,000 people have been killed on both sides of the conflict, most victims being civilians, and at least 40,000 have escaped the war into Nigeria as refugees.