Washington D.C – President Paul Biya’s announced measures at redressing the problems of the Common Law Lawyers in the country come at a time the Common Law is under its most humiliating assault. A prominent Southern Cameroonian Supreme Court Judge, Hon. Justice Paul Ayah was abducted from his residence clandestinely and dumped in the detention cell of his Francophone subordinates in Yaounde.
A prominent Southern Cameroonian international lawyer, Barrister Felix Agbor Nkongho Balla and a number of his colleagues were also abducted and taken hostage from the common law jurisdiction and court-martialed in a French speaking jurisdiction in Yaounde. They are sharing this fate with hundreds of other Southern Cameroonians from all walks of life who were abducted from various parts of the territory and deported to military and paramilitary installations in French-speaking Cameroon. It is as if no courts exist in the Common Law jurisdictions from where they were abducted and taken hostage.
The actions of President Biya in relying on the most ferocious and overzealous executors of his anti-Southern Cameroons agenda to oversee the rolling out of purported solutions to the Southern Cameroons problem is in bad taste. Laurent Esso and Fame Ndongo standout among a crowd of self-confessed haters of Anglophones who were carefully chosen by Paul Biya to oversee the cultural genocide and total obliteration of all vestiges of the international personality and specificity of the Southern Cameroons from where Babatoura Ahmadou Ahidjo left.
The announcement by Laurent Eso today of purported measures aimed at resolving the problems of the common law lawyers can deceive only the gullible and the ignorant. At The Cameroon Journal, we call on well-meaning people the world over to reject this insulting attempt to misstate the Southern Cameroons problem. The announced measures are one more attempt at hoodwinking the victims of Biya’s oppressive policies and misleading international opinion.
If anyone was in doubt about the real intention of Mr. Biya, then Laurent Esso in his introductory speech prior to announcing the purported measures, made his intention clear even to the jaundiced eye. He defined “Anglophone” in a manner which negates the very specificity and identity of the Southern Cameroons victims of fifty-six years of annexation and oppressive colonial rule. He clearly challenged the validity, legality, and legitimacy the Southern Cameroonians claim that their legal system has been bastardized and that they are victims of a deliberate policy of systemic cultural genocide. Laurent Esso made a reference to 1961 once, not to recognize its symbolic significance but to emphasize President Paul Biya’s policy aimed at obliterating this historic date and its relevance from the history and lives of Southern Cameroonians.
By misstating the Southern Cameroons problem as merely a common law lawyer’s problem or simply a problem by some disaffected component of his supposed nationally integrated country, Paul Biya intends through his palliatives to cast a spear on the wounds of the Southern Cameroons victims of his oppressive policies. There is in reality no longer a Common Law problem per se, just as there is no longer an Anglophone teachers’ problem. There is a Southern Cameroons problem which was brought into sharp focus by the lawyers and the teachers.
As it stands now, neither the lawyers nor the teachers or any one purporting to act on their behalf can validly concede to deceptive half measures and meaningless palliatives aimed at placating the gullible and the ignorant. The afflicted people of the Southern Cameroons have taken their destiny into their hands and will not be fooled by the promised embrace of Paul Biya’s poisoned cup of ill-intentioned promises.
The Southern Cameroons victims of Paul Biya’s oppressive systemic policies are aware that President Paul Biya has never ever kept his plethora of promises to them. The only people he respects and keeps the promises he makes to them are the French whom he has severed with the undivided loyalty of a favoured slave. Southern Cameroonians are aware that Paul Biya is a master manipulator, an unapologetic guru of deception and a ruthless dictator who cares about nothing but his personal power and the art of sustaining it at all cost. The announced promised by Laurent Esso on his behalf is one such occasion.
In the past, Paul Biya promised to construct a ring road in the North West. That promise was never realized. He forced through a constitution over the strong objections from Southern Cameroonians but the institutions established in that constitution have never been realized. He has established so many commissions during his thirty-four years of personal power but none has ever made public its deliberations, let alone implement them. Former Governor Abouem a Tchoyi recently revealed that one such commission was established to conduct a study of the Southern Cameroons problem several years ago. According to him, the said commission made wide-ranging recommendations which if implemented would have provided a remedy to some of the problems that have claimed several lives. This is one among reasons why we rejected the Musonge-led Commission and hereby call on a rejection of the measures announced by Laurent Eso on behalf of Paul Biya.
It is significant to note that Paul Biya ignored the findings of the Abouem a Tchoyi Commission and proceeded with his policy of the obliteration of the Southern Cameroon’s identity and way of life with ferocious intensity. The Paul Biya Southern Cameroons policy has simply collapsed under its own weight leading to the ongoing Southern Cameroons Peoples’ revolt. The time has long past when acting on spurious promises and statements of intent, the people will be required to capitulate to their oppressor.
It is insulting that without acknowledging the wrongs committed against Southern Cameroonians, without releasing hundreds of Southern Cameroonians who are kidnapped daily from the privacy of their homes and detained in military facilities in French-speaking Cameroon, and without accounting for those slaughtered in cold blood and raped or maimed, Paul Biya has sent his executioner-in-chief to announce half measures too little too late. These measures will not bring back the dead nor provide reasonable justification why Southern Cameroonians who chose freely to gain independence by uniting with a supposed brotherly people can still live as one people in one nation with the ongoing genocide, crimes against humanity and indignities committed on their women and girls. These measures will never rebuild the trust which is the umbilical cord that unites people.
These measures will never provide an answer why the asking for the re-establishment of the rights Southern Cameroons attained under international law to their identity, specificity, legal system, educational system, distinctive way of life and fundamental freedoms, warranted the court-martial of their leaders for terrorism and related crimes, the inflicting of collective punishment in its territory and the ongoing rape of its economy? These measures are intended to provide Paul Biya the breathing space to better oppress and subdue the Southern Cameroons.
Ordinarily, the announced measures should have been unnecessary due to the fact that the Constitution of Cameroon affirms the bilingual, bi-jural and bi-cultural nature of the polity. Was that provision of the constitution not there before Paul Biya ordered Laurent Esso to send Francophone magistrates to Southern Cameroonians courts? Was that provision not there before he sent Francophone teachers to Anglophone schools? Was that provision not there before French became the defacto language in the army, gendarmerie, police and the public service? Was it not there before they vitiated the Federal Republic, imposed the United Republic and now returned to La Republique du Cameroun’s international identity at its independence in 1960 to the exclusion of the Southern Cameroons? Are the Esso announced measures worth the humiliations these fifty-six years of annexation, colonial rule, oppression, and brutal dictatorship that our people have endured? These measures should therefore not distract the peoples’ quest for freedom. They should be considered for what they are worth and ignored. The struggle for liberation must continue.