Federation [Assimilation] or Restoration?
The assimilation of Ambazonia (Southern Cameroons) into Cameroun Republic by France has been the strategy all along. The two state federation that the people of the then Southern Cameroons voted for in the plebiscite that brought the two together has never been in consideration. But assimilation has failed, and separation and restoration of an independent Ambazonia state remains the only resolution to the current crisis with Cameroun Republic.
In a previous piece published in bareta.press, I noted that prior to the infamous Foumban Conference of 1961, French authorities, as was revealed through the pen of one Pierre Messmer (Colonial Administrator in Africa: 1952 -1956; Governor General of Cameroun, 1956, French Minister of Armies: 1960–1969, French Minister of State, Minister of Departments and Overseas Territories: 1971–1972, French Prime Minister: 1972–1974), viewed the then Southern Cameroons as a territory ripe for annexation. It is therefore only logical that as night follows day, pro-active and intensive assimilation had to ensue.
Confidential memoranda such as the recently published directive to the French Consul, Mr. Michel Morel, based in Buea and dated August, 1967 evinces the strategy of colonial assimilation. And the native inhabitants and indigenes of Ambazonia are living witnesses to the violence of the brutal tactics of this French directed strategy.
However, after half a century of the employment of relentlessly dehumanizing methods to achieve this goal, Yaoundé, under the colonial tutelage of Paris obviously remains wanting. All of the ‘Grandes Écoles à l’Africaine,’ EMIA, ENAM, IRIC etc., conceived and customized for the tropical periphery in order to mold the loyal and Frenchified administrative cadres to serve the Parisian metropole, have not been able to effectively wipe out that which makes the people of Ambazonia distinct.
Today, these manufactured elites, formatted to deceive, seduce and corrupt are void of any legitimacy in the eyes of those they sought to pacify. The masses have seen them for what they were manufactured and programmed to be: privileged slaves who represent an effete band of self-flagellating empty suits, some of whom have desperately resorted to appeals of base bigotry.
In this enduring crisis, the French traditional instinct on behalf of their Vichy colony, Cameroun Republic, was one of annexation and assimilation while those of the people of the then Southern Cameroons was one of a union with two federated states of equal status. The reasons for failure in co-habitation between these two territories, these two states, these two peoples, are due to the irreconcilable value systems, perspectives of governance and a worldview, which were rooted in, and have rooted distinct traditions. Both peoples being Africans negates not this reality.
Cameroun Republic and Ambazonia have an international boundary not being demarcated today. This boundary makes it clear that they are two separate and distinct countries; it is a matter of genetic geopolitics, which is immutable. It is a similar recognition and pragmatism that has seen the creation of newer states in the European Union in the last generation. Not all peoples are meant to co-habit within the same political and administrative space.
Confronted with unknotting a French mindset that have them tied in colonial bondage, Ambazonians today should not be naïve. But what exactly is this mindset? In Charles Cogan’s study and analysis of the French political tradition and worldview (French Negotiating Behavior: Dealing with La Grande Nation), he quotes Hubert Védrine, a former French Foreign Minister:
“’The ultra-liberal market economy, mistrust of the state, individualism removed from the Republican tradition, the inevitable reinforcement of the universal and ‘indispensable’ role of the United States, common law, the English Language, Anglo-Saxon norms…”
Védrine contrasted this with the French tradition: “Historically, French identity has been defined by and built upon a strong central state, first monarchial, and then republican. It was painstakingly built by jurists and based on the idea that France had a specific political, legal, and cultural role to play in the world” (Emphasis mine).
Cogan called it a “sweeping philippic on globalization.”
Védrine’s philippic reveals the entrenched French mindset and worldview that is at once intensely and instinctively anti Anglo-Saxon and for the hyper-centralization of power and state authority. It is steeped in hundreds if not thousands of years of French authoritarian tradition: “first monarchial, and then republican.”
This is the immutable mindset of the infantilized governing elite in Yaoundé, vetted and approved by the Cellule Africaine of the Élysée Palace in Paris.
This is the mindset that allows for a French-fried African to boldly proclaim to fellow Africans that they are cubes of sugar meant for dissolution.
This is the mindset that allows for a French-fried African to tell a representative of his people, “Qu’est-ce que vous allez faire?” in response to the expression of legitimate grievances.
This is the mindset that enables the “epithet” of “Biafran” when such insanity is challenged.
This the mindset that allows for our people to be kidnapped and transported across an international boundary for calling for federation.
For those who continue to preach “federation” with Yaoundé as opposed to restoration in Buea at the footsteps of Mount Fako, they are asking Ambazonians to accept unadulterated assimilation even after all the violence of public beatings, kidnappings, rapes and murder of their fellow citizens.
There exists no federal concept of governance in the French tradition and view of political administration. Asking for a federation with a state under the colonial control of France and its policy of monetary slavery, is, to paraphrase Richard Joseph in Gaullist Africa, to accept the principle of free intercourse between wolves and sheep.
Fellow Ambazonians, “you get from this life what you have the courage to ask for.”
Terrence B. Wakai