An advocate for the people of the former British Southern Cameroons – Mola Njoh Litumbe, has faulted the government of La Republique du Cameroun, for failing to observe the special statues of Southern Cameroons, (which he argues was never part of its territory at independence) for nearly 50 years. In an interview granted VOA’s James Butty, of Daybreak Africa, Litumbe, who is dedicated to justice, equality, fairness and liberty for all Southern Cameroonias, expressed regret that anyone talking about Southern Cameroons, is arrested and charge for secessions by the government of president Paul Biya.
Southern Cameroons, which makes up the Northwest Region and Southwest Region, was the southern part of the British Mandate territory of Cameroons in West Africa. It became part of the Republic of Cameroun, in 1961. However, pressure groups in the territory have sought independence from La Republique du Cameroun, since 1994.
The position of Mola Njoh, and those of Southern Cameroonians is that you can not have secession unless you had first been part of a corporate territory as it happened in the case of Nigeria, where the eastern region threatened to break away from the federal republic. “There had been one country at independence. So, that was an act of secession. But in the case of Southern Cameroons, and La Republique du Cameroun, Southern Cameroons, was never part of La Republique, when that territory gained independence”.
As a member of the Southern Cameroons Restoration Government, Mola Litumbe who has braved what Southern Cameroonians would describe as “armed colonial presence in the Southern Cameroons” to educate the population on the goals of the Liberation Movement expressed optimism that the fight for Southern Cameroons independent is attainable. Noted also for his brave legal battle against the government of La Republique du Cameroun, Mola told the VOA that the people of Southern Cameroons, brought La Republique, before the African Commission, in 2003, to complain against their illegal occupation. And in a decision rendered six years later (2009), the commission advised the government of Paul Biya, to enter into constructive dialogue with the people of Southern Cameroons, with the view of resolving constitutional and other grievances.
Though the commission gave a period of six months for which both parties must come together under the auspices of the commission, the government of Cameroun, in its apparent defiant attitude in respecting international recommendations, applied for an additional six months – making a total of one year, both of which expired in June this year. “So, we are waiting to see if La Republique du Cameroun, is amendable to the discipline of the international community by entering into constructive dialogue” hoped Litumbe, who doubles as Secretary-General of the Bakweri Lands Claims Committee (BLCC).
Asked what is holding him and the people of Southern Cameroons, from departing from La Republique du Cameroun, Mola Njoh, maintained, “The territory of Southern Cameroons, is under siege – the Army, Police, and Gendarmerie forces are all in the hands of La Republique du Cameroun. Indeed, even the divisional and senior divisional officers in Southern Cameroons, 90% of them are from La Republique du Cameroun”. To him independence by joining as defined by the United Nations was a power sharing arrangement that has been denied the people of Southern Cameroons.
In his reactions to claims by La Republique du Cameroun, that Southern Cameroons, joined them prior a federation on 1st October, 1961, Mola Njoh debunked, “That is not true! La Republique du Cameroun, just amended its constitution on 1st October, when Southern Cameroons, was still a British territory, and declared there that come 1st October, 1961, they will enlarge their territorial boundaries to include Southern Cameroons. Being a British trust territory, the British administration did not participate in the law which was being passed in parliament of La Republique du Cameroun. So, it was an annexationist law that the moment Britain left without surrendering power to the functional government in West Caneroons, La Republique du Cameroun, just moved over its forces and have been in occupation ever since”.
Mola Litumbe, who is also Chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDA), says it remains to be seen if the people of Southern Cameroons, will participate or not in the upcoming presidential elections due next year in Cameroon. However, he reiterated the desire for constructive dialogue between the government of La Republique du Cameroun and the people of Southern Camerouns. Hear him, “we would prefer to solve our differences amicably and in accordance with the provisions of the UN. And we will proceed to apply to be granted independence in our own rights in accordance with the provisions of the UN charter. Although we are alleged to have joined La Republique du Cameroun, on 1st October, 1961, there is no treaty of the union. We are two separate people. This is a sort of political co-habitation and we have challenged La Republique du Cameroun, that if you are accusing the woman in your house of divorce you must have in your pocket a marriage certificate that produce any instrument acceptable under international law to prove that we ever joined. Otherwise you are exercising colonialism which has been condemned by the UN by denying the people of Southern Cameroons their sovereign right to independence”.
Mola Njoh Litumbe is amongst the most committed, vocal and effective advocates for freedom and justice for the people of the former United Nations Trust Territory of the Southern Cameroons under United Kingdom Administration.