Message to His Excellency Gilles Thibault, French Ambassador to Yaounde
Your Excellency, it is my honour and duty to address this message to you through social media and I trust that it shall be eventually relayed to you through the power of this wonderful technology.
I am prompted to send this message to you by the fact that yesterday, the life of Mr. Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne the Fre Secretary of State was put at risk when the French Embassy organized a visit for him to the town of Buea which is not only claimed as the Ambazonian capital, but it is currently surrounded and infiltrated by self-defense groups which the Biya regime describes as "secessionists".
This visit was a very serious mistake because a few months ago, the French Embassy issued a travel advisory to French citizens not to travel to the Anglophone zone because it is a conflict zone. We believe that this travel advisory is still valid particularly after the recent report of Joseph Beti Assomo, the Minister Delegate in charge of the Armed Forces who has reported that hundreds of soldiers have been killed in the war in the last few weeks alone.
Your Excellency, just a few weeks ago, one of President Paul Biya's supporters came on prime time TV and threatened to send the US Ambassador Henry Barlerin back to his country in a coffin. Such a threat is a flagrant violation of the Vienna Convention on the protection of diplomats. This can only happen in a country which Donald Trump has described as "shit-hole countries"
Mindful of the fact that the Anglophone region is now at war since President Biya formally declared war on "secessionists" in December 2017, and the fact that the war has produced some 160,000 refugees living in Nigeria more than 100 villages burnt to ashes by the army and 200,000 IDPs living in the bushes, we issued a travel and political advisory against any activity in the conflict zone that is of a provocative nature.
The responsibility of the Embassy was to ensure the widest distribution of this advisory because our intention is to avoid incidents which can create unnecessary fatalities. On several occasions, Boko Haram kidnapped French citizens in the Far Northern region requiring the payment of huge ransom to Boko Haram in order for them to be released. Such ransom payments have helped to fund the terror campaign of Boko Haram.
You will also remember that an ill-advised march by the CPDM party in Bamenda in October 2016, led to the killing of dozens of Anglophones in Bamenda laying the solid foundation for the current armed conflict.
Your Excellency, the decision to bring the French Secretary of State to Buea under this climate was a serious mistake in judgment because there was nobody for him to see in Buea to have a serious exchange of views on his idea of "Conditional Federalism" of four states in Cameroon.
On the other hand, if the Minister had expressed the desire to see the town of Munyenge which was raised to the ground by fire on the orders of Cameroons military hierarchy, proper security arrangements would have been made for him to visit Munyenge which is only 30km from Buea. It is because of his failure to want to be an eyewitness of the atrocities that the Biya regime has inflicted on Anglophone regions that his conditional federalism project is not worthy of consideration by the people of the Southern Cameroons/Ambazonia.
Your Excellency, on the substance of the crisis itself, I must tell you with all the respect that I owe to your office that you have consistently fed misleading information to President Emmanuel Macron which has led him to make mistakes in his relationship with President Paul Biya.
Your Excellency, federalism was ended in Cameroon in May 1972 on the orders of President George Pompidou and since then, the political plan has been to make the English-speaking region of the former British Southern Cameroons to cease to exist on the map. This plan has failed and given birth to the Republic of Ambazonia on 1 October 2017. That is why Conditional Federalism cannot be brought back to Cameroon by Emmanuel Macron.
The only way that France can contribute to solving the Cameroonian conflict for which it assumes joint responsibility with the United Kingdom is through the UNSC
UN Security Council Resolution
36.0 France and the United Kingdom should jointly sponsor a resolution at the UN Security Council calling for a ceasefire in the Southern Cameroons. The reason why France and the UK assume joint responsibility for bringing this war to an end is because they are the two countries responsible of carving former German Kamerun between themselves after WWI and legalising the partition at the Treaty of Versailles.
37.0 Nowhere in the world have British and French political cultures coexisted harmoniously under the same flag. The experiment in Cameroon has not only failed; it has led to an armed conflict which can only be brought to an end by negotiated separation.
38.0 The UNSC resolution should:
(i) provide for the sending of a UN Peacekeeping force in Southern Cameroons to maintain the ceasefire throughout Southern Cameroons and disarm the separatist fighters and regroup them into a legitimate self-defense force.
(ii) call on the government of the Republic of Cameroun to withdraw its armed forces from Southern Cameroons so that schools can resume throughout Southern Cameroons.
(iii) call on the government of the Republic of Cameroun to release all the detained Anglophone leaders especially the Ambazonian leaders who were abducted from Abuja to Yaounde
(iv) fix a date for holding a referendum on independence for the people of the Southern Cameroons who shall be asked to choose between independence for Southern Cameroons and a united decentralized Cameroon.
(VIII) Independence Referendum
39.0 An independence referendum is the sine qua non-condition for ending the war in Cameroon because those who have taken up arms in Southern Cameroon will not settle for less.
40.0 President Emmanuel Macron of France understands this because he recently visited New Caledonia where France has scheduled an independence referendum to take place on 4 December 2018. Opinion polls suggest that the people of New Caledonia whose population is less than 300,000 will vote to remain part of France. That is their choice if that is what they want.
41.0 In Southern Cameroons the 8 million people are divided between those who want total independence and those who want to remain part of Cameroon under some decentralized system. This type of question cannot be settled by taking up arms and killing people. Nor can any government take it upon itself to impose its will on 8 million people through fiat.
42.0 There are 8 million Anglophones in Cameroon and the question that needs to be answered urgently is what does the majority of the Anglophone people want.? What is the will of the people?
43.0 This type of question cannot be resolved through dialogue. It can only be answered through the ballot box. No one in the world has the right to obstruct that democratic choice because the alternative is to take up arms and wage war.
44.0 An independence referendum shall be conducted in Southern Cameroons under UN supervision to determine whether the people of the territory want independence or to remain part of a united but decentralized Cameroon.
45.0 If the result of the referendum is that the will of the people is live in a united Cameroon under a decentralized structure, then the two parties can negotiate and agree on the structure and the constitutional arrangements for implementing the decentralisation.
On the other hand, if the popular will of the people is for total independence, then the two parties must sit down and negotiate a separation treaty which shall be signed an ratified on both sides and the instrument of ratification shall be submitted to the United Nation Secretariat in accordance with Article 102 of the UN Charter.
Your Excellency, this is the only solution to the quagmire into which Present Paul Biya has plunged everyone after a disastrous reign of 36 years.
© June 2018, Dr. Nfor N Susungi