Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Southern Cameroon Wants To Declare Independence And Rename Itself Ambazonia

October 1 is a day of liberation and freedom for the people of southern Cameroon. Anglophone Cameroonians gathered at the weekend worldwide to protest for the reclamation of their independence from the La République du Cameroun, the francophone majority governing Cameroon. 

The Daily Vox attended the sister march which took place in Johannesburg at the weekend.

On Sunday, the South African branch of the Southern Cameroons Ambazonia Consortium United Front (SCACUF-SA) marched from Pieter Roos Park to Constitution Hill calling for a protected referendum to be organised and monitored by the United Nations. They want the people of southern Cameroon, which they call Ambazonia, to be given the right to freely determine whether they want to continue in the federal union with La République du Cameroun or to restore the independence of the Southern Cameroons as a sovereign state.‎

The anglophone region of Cameroon is currently experiencing violent repression by the francophone government. According to reports, President Paul Biya had deployed armed forces to the South West and North West regions, restricting people’s movements, closing public spaces and banning meetings.
Southern Cameroon Wants To Declare Independence And Rename Itself Ambazonia
The region of Cameroon was shared by wartime allies Britain and France after Britain captured it from the Germans when they lost World War I. Ambazonia refers to the southern English-speaking Cameroonian region that was administered by the United Kingdom as a trust territory from 1946 until 1961. The northern French-speaking Cameroun was colonised by the France until 1960. When La République was formed, anglophone Cameroonians only had a choice between joining Nigeria or French Cameroun.

Professor Carlson Anyangwe, a retired law professor from Walter Sisulu University and leader in the Ambazonian reclamation movement told The Daily Vox Southern Cameroon produces food for the whole region. It is rich in minerals such as gold and oil. “All the food they eat comes from our territories. We don’t expect them to be happy. We’re not going to allow them to have access to our resources. Those days are gone. We’ve taken full control over our territory and for them it’s high time they start working hard for their own country.”

There have been widespread internet shutdowns this year by francophone Cameroon to discourage mass mobilisation from the anglophone population.

“In 1961 we came together as a federal system. Since then we’ve been marginalised to the point of becoming second class citizens. Over time the French, because they are the majority of 80%, decided to then form what we call a united republic of Cameroon and we got into it as a minority of 20%. Over time we’re being ‘francophonised’. Our culture is being eroded.”

“We have two legal systems. There was the common law which is the English legal system, which has been eradicated and now you expect people to come to court who are English speaking and listen to a judge who speaks in French and who’s practising the French system of law. It is impossible for you as an English speaking person to even get public service positions. We got to a point where we got tired and we said we want to restore our independence. When this protest started, students went to the streets complaining about this, teachers went to the streets complaining about this. They were arrested, they were beaten, students were taken out of their hostels and rolled in mud, some were raped.”

A car leading the group of about 100 people to Constitution Hill filled Queens Street with Cameroonian pop music and Freedom is Coming Tomorrow from the musical Sarafina. The Ambazonians see Constitution Hill as a symbol of democracy and they hold up the South African constitution a model of what a functional democracy should look like.

Milton Taka, the spokesperson for SCACUF Africa gave an impassioned speech, saying “The bond between La République du Cameroun and Ambazonia is broken. From today going forward, it is illegal for the green, red, yellow [Cameroonian] flag to fly anywhere in Ambazonia. Only the Ambazonian flag will fly all over our land. Our people are taking their power back. From today we declare self-rule. Self-determination is an inalienable right and nobody will take that from us. Complete powers of administration have been transferred to the chief. From South Africa we are sending support to our president chief.”
Taka was referring to Sessekou Ayuk Julius Tambe, the man chosen to be the Ambazonian leader. Tambe was voted in as the interim leader of the Southern Cameroons government during a SCACUF assembly in early July.

He said the Ambazonian people had given Tambe power to administer the land and that parliamentarians would be announced in the next few days.

Marches back home in southern Cameroon were met with severe brutality. At least seven people died and several injured in clashes with President Biya’s forces. Over the same weekend, the Spanish government also responded with brutality against Catalans voting to secede from Spain. Much like the Ambazonians, they see themselves as very different from the Spanish and want the right to self-determination. Southern Cameroon Wants To Declare Independence And Rename Itself Ambazonia.

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