“We would love Somaliland especially to recognize us in all our denominations — as Ambazonia at worst and as British Cameroons (Greater Ambazonia) (and greatly anticipated as UNO State of Cameroon) at best” Says Southern Cameroons independent movement known as the Republic of Ambazonia immediate foreign Affair minister Mr. Justice Muluh Mbuh, in an exclusive interview with somalidispatch.com
From west to East a number of African peoples are suffering under a tyranny rule and under failed states they were once a part of.
Those African people are still struggling to gain their identity and basic human rights, after they tried to unite with their neighbors right after they gained their independent from European colonialists.
The Republic of Ambazonia (in the South West of Cameroon Republic) and the Republic of Somaliland (in the North of Somalia’s federal government based in Mogadishu) which is under the trusteeship of African Union peacekeeping Mission (AMSOM), are two of those states.
To dig these and other issues, Somali Dispatch (SD) has recently interviewed the immediate foreign Minister of the self Declared independent English Speaking region of Cameroun known as the Republic of Ambazonia Mr. Justice Muluh Mbuh.
Mr. Muluh is, an Associate Professor of Economics, Int’l Law and Conflicts. He studied Economics at ABU Zaria, Nigeria (1990), did an interdisciplinary MEd in Economics and Education at USC, Columbia, SC, USA, in addition to an MA in Intl Relations in the same school (1993-2000).
He is also the author of three books, most particularly Int’l Law and Conflicts: Resolving Border and Sovereignty Disputes in Africa (2004) and Inside Contemporary CameroUn Politics (2005).
He is now living in Nigeria as an exile, due to the war and the fact that he became a target of the CameroUn Government–having won two cases against them in Bamenda High Court (2011) and in the Bamenda Military Tribunal (2018),which led him to flee to Nigeria.
Read the full interview below:.
Mr. Mbuh Welcome to Somalidispatch.com
1. First of give us brief information about your country?
It is proper to define CameroUn as referring to French Cameroun which had Independence on 1st January 1960; and Southern Cameroons where I come from was part of the UN Trust Territory of British Cameroons, which was supposed to attain Independence on 1/10/1961, pending a UN condition stipulated in UN Resolution 1608 (XV), which demanded CameroUn must comply with constitutional formalities on or before 1/10/1961, before the prospected Cameroon Federation comprising Southern Cameroons as West Cameroon and CameroUn as East Cameroon could safely take off.
Unfortunately, the Foumban Conferences, which held in June/July 1961 were inconclusive: there was no Constitution produced at Foumban and so the fundamental protection of the Southern Cameroons in that Cameroon Federation was eroded, especially given that on the night of 28/09/1961, French CameroUn troops moved into the Southern Cameroons while the British lowered their flag, folded it and handed it together with the said Southern Cameroons to then CameroUn President Ahmadou Ahidjo. There and then began the nightmare and mayhem in which we have been living since then until now!
Given the growing tendency as well as suspicions that the Southern Cameroons was being recolonized by CameroUn, our leaders and some elite began protesting Cameroun domination. For instance, one Peter Ndifon was whisked from from Buea to be detained in Yaounde. Shortly, it was the turn of the West Cameroon Prime Minister who imported arms from Austria for the West Cameroon Police Force, but upon arrival, the arms were ceased by the CameroUn military and taken to Yaounde. By a radio announcement of a Presidential Degree issued by Ahmadou Ahidjo, West Cameroon Prime Minister whom our people had elected was arbitrarily sacked! Furthermore, when the second Southern Cameroons Prime Minister Dr. John Ngu Foncha who became Vice President of the illegal federation upon leading us into this unconstitutional union with CameroUn sought audience with CameroUn President, he was shurned severally, so much upon getting frustrated he resigned in 1969.
There and then Ahidjo went on air again and appointed Hon Solomon Tandeng Muna whom he appointed to replace the elected Prime Minister if West Cameroon Bobe Jua, to concomitantly serve as Vice President of the Federation!!!
Our unsuspecting elite and masses where shocked when on 20 May 1972, Ahidjo again replaced the Cameroon Federation which was unconstitutional as well as illegal under international law because in violating UN Resolution 1608 of 21 April 1961, it invariably violated the UN General Assembly Resolution granting Independence to All Colonial and Other Peoples of 13 December 1960, violated the UN Trusteeship Agreement, and by so doing, violated the 1922 Mandated Territory Agreement of the League of Nations.
Unfortunately for Southern Cameroonians, who were now balkanized into Provinces of the 1972 United Republic of Cameroon, this was not going to be the end of violations, but growing triggers that would today register escalation that has produced multi-dimensional genocide and infanticide.
When Ahmadou Ahidjo (may God bless his soul) resigned from being the United Republic of Cameroon President and again picked Paul Biya as his successor in 1982, the recolonization of the Southern Cameroons which was simply being suspected now became a living reality when the new President Paul Biya decided to do away with the United Republic and simply reverted to CameroUn’s name at Independence: Republic of CameroUn or La Republique Du Cameroun, as of 1st January 1960. This act like previous ones under Ahidjo was equally illegal, as well as unconstitutional. The Southern Cameroons elite in Yaounde, led by three term Bar Association President Fon Fongum Gorji-Dinka assembled and he issued a document titled The New Social Order that has remained the primary protest against French CameroUn recolonization of the Southern Cameroons in the 1985 Bamenda Cameroon National Union (CNU) National Congress. That is a brief history of our abusive relations with French independent country of CameroUn since the lie of Cameroon Federation in 1961 till date!
2. For how long have you been fighting for your independence?
To be fair, our good heart and democratic peace-loving people of Ambazonia have never seen Cameroun as enemies worth separating from until 1984 when the Union names of either Cameroon Federation of Two Equal States or United Republic of Cameroon werre successively abolished by the first two Presidents–Ahidjo and Biya!!! Since 1984 up until 2017, the struggle was legal and diplomatic, regardless of the bottlenecks. But once Yaounde authorities decided to shoot at lawyers and teachers with live bullets, once they carried hundreds of our boys and girls from Wum in Mentchum Division who have not been accounted for until date, once the regime in Yaounde ordered troops to shoot and kill protesters at Commercial Avenue in Bamenda in 2017, they opened the doors for armed resistance against the government of Cameroun.
Thus the Union of Southern Cameroons with Cameroun was neither constitutional domestically, nor legally under international law as the world has been misled to believe: it’s been the most sophisticated slave trade deal ever to have taken place under United Nations cover! That is reason why in the New Social Order (1985), Southern Cameroon’s new leader renamed the territory by its traditional name, Ambazonia–meaning people of the hinterlands of Ambas Bay!!! To not overburden this, let’s set aside international law! Evidence that the Union was never consummated domestically via a Constitution is that the lie of a Foumban Constitution manifested by an Ahidjo self-imposed Constitution that was never debated, never approved by the Southern Cameroons House of Assembly, but was signed by only French Cameroun Nationals!!! Until date, no shred of paper exist for Cameroun to show as proof that our people ceded their sovereignty to a so-called Cameroun Federation or United Republic or simply Republic of CameroUn. That is why in my second book published in 2005, I called it a “Name-Changing-Syndrome” of a lie of a union! Put succinctly, as well as poignantly, CameroUn and Southern Cameroons have never been United; it was plain simply a recolonization and re-enslavement under which our new colonial master wanted us to stay silent or die horribly by reckless gun fire, arson, genocide, dragging behind military trucks and getting crushed under back tires of military trucks in broad day light! It was and is armed rubbery of a part of a UN Trust Territory, a breach of trust, a violation of good faith and cooperation that requires retaliation as well as punishment for associated egregious violation if rights, which amount to crimes against humanity!
3. What are the main reasons forcing you to secede from Cameroun?
We are not seceding from Cameroun. Secession is when part of an independent country seeks autonomy and or independence. Southern Cameroons, aka Republic of Ambazonia has international boundary between them, an iutcroo of the Partition if German Kamerun in the Simon-Milner Boundary Treaty of 1916.
We are therefore demanding Restoration of our statehood as apriori 1/10/1961 when the lie of a federated Cameroon began.
4. There have been human right violation taking place in your country, could you brief what happen in recent years?
Talks of human rights violation are too common, too simplistic: we lost our humanity to and between our African brothers to the east to the extend we are wondering how we lived with them all these years: put simply, they are monstrous, the regime in Yaounde are live vampires!!!
Let me start with persecution and prosecution of Ambazonia’s leader and myself that has forced him into exile since 1987 till date and myself since 10 December 2019. When intellectuals and legal minded persons take on any regime, when such a regime fails to listen or even call them for consultation, it means such a regime is either useless or senseless. Useless, they need to be discarded; senseless, we must question how they got to the helm of power in the first place. In the case of CameroUn, France created their minds and put them in power, remotely controlling them. Otherwise, how can a government that respects its Constitution and demands for separation if powers take on its Bar Association President, lock him up in underground prison, poison him, try him severally and he kept winning, release him upon mass demonstration, house arrest him, plot to kill and then force him into exile? How can any regime that has some sense refuse to attend a UN Tribunal? That’s the plight of Ambazonia’s first President who is still living in exile till date.
In my case, once I uncovered UN Resolution 1608 in 1997 and published it on the web while in the USA, I have never had a single night’s sound sleep. Worse, upon returning to Cameroon in 2007 and especially since authoring an essay on the dispute between Southern Cameroons and CameroUn in a South Korean Conference on Conflicts and Historical Reconciliation in 2008, the regime plotted and had me arrested and locked me up for a year on silly charges of secession, which term they don’t know the meaning! Unfortunately, I knew the facts and so won the case on 7 June 2011. Yet, after protesting the modus operandi of teachers and lawyers warning it was going to lead to war and genocide in three separate releases between 2015-2017, the regime in Yaounde sent a company of their brutal Gendarmes after me, forced my wife and I into our home at gunpoint, ransacked our home under pretext of searching for guns and other trumped up charges, took us to their brigade, beat us with matchete and cables until we were bloodied and passed out, locked us up in two bloodied and feacses and urine-stinking cells (my wife for two days, and I for five) during which I was pupping blood for 21 days and blood oozing out of my right ear for 7 days, that when my wife was release and I was taken to military Tribunal, there I provided evidence which freed me from all charges, that this story compared to the point-blank killing of American Missionary Charles Wesco, killing of University of Bamenda Professor Mbufong, the dipping of a baby in Widikum in a drum of boiling palm oil, the killing of innocent baby Martha with at least four AK-47 bullets, the crushing to death of some five Amba Fighters with military trucks at Bambui Four Corners, the many masacres at Ngarbuh, Muyuka, Menka-Pinyin, Batibo, and many others, arson, abductions and much more, our intellectual prosecution, persecution and exile are trivial: the Southern Cameroons has seen Hell on Earth and in the face of demanding Justice, not from some colored peoples–whites, Chinese, Indians, etc., but from their Aboriginal blood brothers from where their great grand parents hailed: we simply demanded restoration of our rights and have been treated like aliens from out of space!!! Put simply, the human rights situation in Cameroun and against Anbazonians, as uncalled for as it maybe is more of elitist greed, beyond illegal exploitation, plunder and abandon, which we’ve suffered in last sixty years to one that demands international Inquisition: the ruling class in Cameroun, together with ENABLERS from the Southern Cameroons have committed multiple genocides and infanticide: I for one would loose faith in international law should there not be a UN Cameroons Tribunal to investigate crimes against humanity that drove an unarmed populace insane!!!
5. Aside from the Cameroun government human right violation, you were also accusing committing crimes against humanity, what are you responding that?
It’s an irony that when a regime sets up a people to rebel when they don’t have arms, when the people confront their soldiers with barehands and acquire weapons and are fighting back successfully, the regime, knowing it’s in guilt begins to counter charge the opponents they created as commiting similar crimes as they did. What could be more absorb?
Secondly, should Cameroun authorities be investigated, we would most definitely uncover the fact that they infiltrated many groups of Ambazonia fighters and used these infiltrators to commit crimes which point to the armed rebels as perpetrators!
Thirdly, Yaounde also created her own vigilante groups (Amba Fighters groups) which have been noted to commit such crimes as the Ngarbuh and Pinyin massacres as well as Killing Amba fighters in what appears to be friendly fire. That is why outsiders may be given false opinions and pictures that point to Amba Fighters committing crimes as does Cameroun Gendarmes and the Brigades Intervention Rapids (BIR).
While it may be totally unreasonable that there have not been some cases where Ambazonia Fighters confronted, abducted and killed their own, I guess, we have to also view it contextually: Ambazonia fighters are like Napoleon Bonaoarte’s riff-raffs: they were hurriedly picked, hurriedly trained, without much discipline and hurriedly dispatched to confront their opposites who are beyond being well trained, well equipped and well dressed, have multiple Countries behind them including superpowers! What should we expect?
6. African Union never welcomes any secession, but calls respect the borders inherited from the colonial how your case fits that?
African Union, and excuse my language, is full of bullshit!!! When they were transforming the old ineffective and sleepy Organization African Unity into this mayhem of African Union, I warned (when their one time Educational Secretary asked me similar questions) that the Commission in charge of Conflict Resolution has been terrible. I demanded, using an old adage that we should learn to pour new wine in new bottles!!! If the AU has been seeing the Ambazonia case as one of secession, then they need to all leave office and go back to school. They can start by looking up the definition of secession in many dictionaries and tell us that with our Constitutionality and international legal arguments, especially treaty violations, how can they have the nerves to charge us for secession? Tell them CameroUn charged me for secession twice in our own home court and in the town where I was born and I won. By the way, the AU did rule against CameroUn in Communication 266 of 2009 recognizing the Southern Cameroons as a people, yet, instead of invoking international law that protected the territory since 1919, the AU demonstrated its preference for bribery and corruption when they demanded that the complainants or plaintiffs form political parties and redress their grievances from the CameroUn unification context. In total confusion, they demanded CameroUn should do many things, including ending discrimination. Then they gave Cameroun authorities 180 days to show evidence of their having implemented the AU recommendations. When CameroUn’s highly vocal minister of communication Issa Bakary Tchiroma wrote to the AU demanding an extension of additional 180 days and the AU declined, giving them 30 days, what has the AU done since then to avert the current carnage?
Respect of borders at Independence should have been invoked as far back as 2009, but the AU fell prey to a regime that Mastermind the art of deception, bribery and corruption. Had the AU been utilizing well schooled minds, they should have realized that the ICJ had invoked those boundaries in its 2002/10/10 Ruling over Bakassi and that both CameroUn and Nigeria were complying: Nigeria agreed to withdraw to its 1913 boundary with British Cameroons (Greater Ambazonia), which the ruling invoked by stating in at least seven instances that “Bakassi belongs to a territory termed Southern Cameroons, which are comprised within British Cameroons”! By this, CameroUn was equally demanded by the Court to withdraw to its 1919 boundary which did not include Southern Cameroons.
Worse, both Nigeria and CameroUn complied and after Nigeria administered Bakassi from 2005-2008 and handed to CameroUn, which together with the Special Transition Regime handed Bakassi to “Cameroon” (British Cameroons or Greater Ambazonia) on 14 August 2013 and duly acknowledged by UN Security Council on 15 August 2013, and on 22 September 2013, did the AU not have its work cut out for them? Instead, when the Ambazonia struggle provokingly became militarized, envoy after envoy from the AU kept talking without substance, without zeal and determination to resolve!
We have to ask the AU to support CameroUn recolonization of Southern Cameroons by showing us evidence on how Southern Cameroons became part of CameroUn when that country got Independence on 01/01/1960!!! It is sad to see our illustrous continental organization demonizing us, when the UN/ICJ (which some academics even from the Western World say it’s a toothless bull dog; it’s a Consortium of super powers) has defended us!!! Put simply, the AU has ridiculed itself!!!
7. Have you ever presented your case before African Union?
The Original Ambazonia to which I have been Foreign Minister, and under the leadership of veteran three term Cameroon Bar association President Fon Fongum Gorji-Dinka did address the AU and UN way back in the 1990s informing them of CameroUn Restoration Law 01/84, which dissolved the illegal and unconstitutional union, thus necessitating restoration of Southern Cameroons as Ambazonia. Of course, while the Southern Cameroons National Council (SCNC) and Southern Cameroons People’s Organization (SCAPO) took our case to Abuja, Nigeria High Court (2002) and to the AU Human Rights Tribunal in The Gambia (2009) and secured wins: Original Ambazonia equally secured wins against Cameroun at the UN Human Rights Tribunal (2005) and at Abuja, Nigeria (2013)! These are multiple sets of Rulings upon which a non-partisan and judiciously sound AU and her commissions should have long utilized to put pressure to bear on Cameroun authorities to resolve this brotherly and sisterly dispute peacefully before escalation and combustion! I guess we know how the AU had revealed their preferences!
8. Have you established any relations with other African countries, territories similar to your country, like Somaliland?
We would love Somaliland especially to recognize us in all our denominations — as Ambazonia at worst and as British Cameroon (Greater Ambazonia) (and greatly anticipated as UNO State of Cameroon) at best!
9. You wrote a book about African border problems in 2004, what you present in your book?
Yes, my book was titled International Law and Conflicts: Resolving Border and Sovereignty Disputes in Africa (2004), published by iUniverse in The USA. In it I treated thirteen African conflicts drawing from many portent conflicts the world over. I should be happy that Somaliland was properly treated and my unrepentant blame of bad governance in Somalia as is with Yaounde, and demands for rule of law that defend self-determination as well as interdependence has stood the test of time and realities on the African continent. I salute the Government and people of Somaliland for their resolve and good governance!
10. Due to the Similarities between the case of Somaliland and yours, what do you think that Somaliland can contribute you and you can contribute it?
All Africans have to listen to our collective dissenting voices under and against unnecessary tyranny. Somaliland, as noted in my work is worthy of emulating, and like us, we are clearly not against unity that bears fruits and respects and protect rights but are against unity that oppressed and violate basic and fundamental human rights, besides creating enabling evironment for life to improve. I guess we know how your people feel now; and there are traces that Yaounde has learnt a bitter lesson and in hindsight wish they never persecuted and prosecuted our three term Bar Association President, whose rebellion created Ambazonia and exposed Cameroun ineptitutes, just as Somalilanders did of Somalia to the world. My last word: African governments must ignore the adage that government is but a necessary evil as Thomas Paine said in his maiden pamphlet that triggered the American War of Independence; they should see government as competition, as a challenge, as a call to serve rather than be served. In the wake of Covid-19 and the many theories surrounding it, compounded by many irresponsible governments on our continent, I guess the Ambazonia and Somaliland message is being heard. May world leaders, organizations and the AU in particular rise up to expectation! I sincerely thank Somaliland for according me this opportunity to air out my mind, and for recognizing our collective demise. May God forgive our oppressors and have them see the desires of our hearts in their purity and in love!
Thank you too!