Recalling that representative of Anglophone groups convened the first All Anglophone Conference (AAC1) in Buea from 2 April to 3 April 1993. The conference issued the “Buea Declaration”, which called for constitutional amendments to restore the 1961 federation. This was followed by the second All Anglophone Conference (AAC2) in Bamenda in 1994.
This conference issued the “Bamenda Declaration”, which stated that if the federal state was not restored within a reasonable time, Southern Cameroons would declare its independence. The AAC was then renamed the Southern Cameroons Peoples Conference (SCPC), and later the Southern Cameroons Peoples Organisation (SCAPO), with the Southern Cameroons National Council (SCNC) as the executive governing body. Younger activists formed the Southern Cameroons Youth League (SCYL) in Buea on 28 May 1995. The SCNC sent a delegation, led by John Foncha, to the United Nations, which was received on 1 June 1995 and presented a petition against the ‘annexation’ of the Southern Cameroons by French Cameroun.
This was followed by a signature referendum the same year, which the organisers claim produced a 99% vote in favour of independence with 315,000 people voting. Some members of the SCNC took over the Buea radio station in Southwest Province on the night of 30 December 1999 and in the early hours of 31 December broadcast a tape of a proclamation of independence read by Judge Ebong Frederick Alobwede. Amnesty International has accused the Cameroun authorities of human right violations against Southern Cameroons activists.
A case was filed before the Africa Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights in Banjul on January 9, 2003 by late Dr. Kevin Ngwang Gumne and Others representatives of the Southern Cameroons National Council (SCNC) and Southern Cameroons Peoples Organisation (SCAPO), acting on their personal behalf and on the behalf of the Southern Cameroons against La République du Cameroun. The Banjul verdict, in conclusion, called for La Republique to dialogue with representatives of Southern Cameroons. They declared Southern Cameroons as a “people” with the rights to Self-Determination.
We can clearly see the road these groups had taken. There exist many other such groupings. However, the government had been reluctant to dialogue saying the said groups should transform to a political activity.
In 2015, SCAPO took the bull by the horn. We were informed that SCAPO, one of the movements fighting for the independence of Southern Cameroons has been transformed into a political party known as Southern Cameroons Peoples Party. They intend to participate in all elections henceforth in the Cameroons and fight for the place of Southern Cameroons. Was this a good move? This still remains to be seen. However, as we write, we have not seen any steps taken by the new party. We only know that they have submitted their papers for authorization. Would the Biya regime accept such a party with such a name?
However, with Brexit, could this party be a perfect move to unite the Anglophones people into one single voice and force the regime of Paul Biya and United Nations to call for a referendum to assess the state of the Union? Can this new Southern Cameroons Party be in a better position to dialogue and fight for the place of Anglophone Cameroon within the ‘union’?
It should be noted that many groupings of Southern Cameroons did not support such a transformation. While this recent development has received mix feelings amongst Southern Cameroonians, political pundit Jack Fonyuy Lontum put his thoughts so clearly. He had this to say….
” There are various ways of fighting a defiant system by an organization that has been stagnating for years with no reasonable way to penetrate a government that doesn’t care about a certain group of people simply because of their origin. The transformation of SCAPO into a political party can undoubtedly legitimize the struggle, expand its overall scope; could serve as a vehicle for the mass mobilization of Southern Cameroonians, formalize local, divisional, regional and national rallies to publicize the marginalization of the people originating from these constituencies. Diplomatic missions, emissaries and members of the international community can become more aware of the unfiltered plight of Southern Cameroonians in the land of their ancestors. Whatever the case, the steadfastness of SCAPO leadership in standing firmly towards the adherence of its founding principles, is paramount to the success of the organisation in its new role. This is putting old wine in a new bottle role. I am a pragmatist and not a pessimist. Let give this new role of SCAPO a chance and see what will come out of it. We are living in changing times and we need to change with changing circumstances”.
BaretaNews agrees very much with Jack’s analysis. We think that if such movement is allowed to preach the Southern Cameroons agenda as an inclusive nature in the present Cameroons, it could succeed in weakening traditional parties in the North West and South West Regions. This could galvanize the people behind this new party whose only objective is to emancipate the Anglophones and ensures that their place in the Union is guaranteed according to the aspirations of the founding fathers and the UN Charter on how nations come together. With this new waves of petitions from Southern Cameroonians, the transformation of the party may play a significant role. At the ends day, we have to be very watchful knowing the country we find ourselves and how typical Cameroonians are……..
The dye is cast……
God is still saying something.