There has been a seemingly unending debate on social media and among Cameroonians from the North West and South West region as to whether John Ngu Foncha and Solomon Tandeng Muna should be blamed for the marginalisation of Anglophones in Cameroon. The longstanding debate was recently reignited and fuelled by the on-going protests against a perceived injustice and disrespect by the Francophone dominated government, of clauses and agreements reached during the process of reunification of East and West Cameroons.
While some Anglophones complain that Foncha and Muna, who played key roles in the reunification process, sold their brothers and sisters of the North West and South West region to East Cameroon, others argue, the duo acted in good faith but were dubbed.
In the face of these arguments, some historical documents that would help citizens understand the efforts of the Anglophone actors of reunification in upholding equality between Anglophones and Francophones as a way of maintaining national unity have been emerging from both public and private archives.
Below are a transcription of two of such documents.
A call to the Head of State to save the nation before it is too late
From: Dr. John Ngu Foncha (former Prime Minister of West Cameroon, former Vice President of the Federal Republic of Cameroon, former Chairman of the Kamerun National Democratic Party, former Vice President of the UNC, former Vice President of the CPDM, former Grand Chancellor of National Orders)
Hon. Solomon Tandeng Muna (former Federal Minister of Post and Telecommunications, Transport and Power, former Prime Minister of West Cameroon, former Vice President of the Federal Republic of Cameroon, former Speaker of the National Assembly of Cameroon, former Chairman of the Cameroon United Congress)
AT this hour in the history of our nation, we the undersigned believe it is our moral and historic duty to address this call to you as the Head of State and the only person who can save the nation from the brink of DISASTER, DISUNITY and DISINTEGRATION.
WE feel it our duty because we took part in the great events that brought about the INDEPENDENCE and REUNIFICATION of our Nation. We can recall what was the spirit of the Foumban Conference 1961 and later on the Yaoundé Conference of 1966 that led to the birth of the Cameroon National Union (CNU) to whom the Cameroon Peoples Democratic Movement (CPDM) owes its existence.
IN all these Conferences that brought about important changes to the political life of our nation, dialogue, concertation and genuine consensus resulting in the signed documents were the only means by which we were able to bring profound changes and at the same time maintain National Unity.
TODAY we are at the verge of another important political change in the life of our nation, but unfortunately Cameroonians are divided and the unity of our nation is threatened.
IT would have been better if this phase of another change in the political life of Cameroon would have been preceded by a National Conference. However, you selected the Tripartite Conference which if properly conducted, with genuine concern for our nation and have honesty some results generally acceptable to all Cameroonians should have come about. Today, nobody can honestly and truthfully say what was agreed on at the tripartite talks because the conference was dispersed before the two Committees reported to the General Assembly. Delegates left the talks without knowing what was finally accepted and without signing any document as evidence of any consensus that was arrived at.
TODAY, the parties which assisted at this tripartite are not even in agreement that the media degree and the electoral law, for convening the tripartite are the results of any agreement or consensus. Even the second tripartite that was supposed to take place before the elections has not even been mentioned.
WE have watched with consternation and awe as the government has taken upon itself to violate the very laws (electoral law) that it proposed and passed. A government or nation that does not obey its very laws is doomed. When a government is the first to break laws, how can the same government call other citizens to obey the law?
TODAY, the Cameroon nation stands divided, the government has had to lure parties to contest elections by promising monetary reward. Some parties have been reluctantly forced to participate at the 11th hour. The list of candidates has not even been published. There are calls for strike and ghost towns etc. The political and social atmosphere is therefore pregnant with possible conflicts, confusion, chaos and violence.
IT is in this regard that in order to save this Republic from impending disaster, we hereby call on the President of the Republic to:
- Call off immediately the legislative elections fixed for the 1st of March,
- Convene a Constitutional Conference made up of the political parties and delegates arrived at a preparatory meeting of all the parties
- Programme the transition of Cameroon from the one party system to a democracy by holding first Municipal elections, the Legislative elections and ultimately Presidential elections.
WE believe your Excellency, that if you take the above steps, you will dissipate the dark clouds that are gathering and the impending storm that may tear apart our nation.
YOU have a duty to stop it and we pray that God Almighty may give you the wisdom and strength to take this important and historic decision.
Done at Bamenda, this 22nd Day of February 1992
Dr. J.N. FONCHA Hon. S .T. MUNA
CALL BY DR J.N. FONCHA AND HON. S.T. MUNA TO THE PEOPLE OF CAMEROON IN REACTION TO THE UPCOMING LEGISLATIVE ELECTIONS OF 1ST MARCH 1992
In line with a Memorandum dated the 22nd of February, 1992, submitted to President Paul Biya, Head of State and Chairman of the CPDM by the two of us, here-undersigned:
Because the points agreed upon in the Tripartite Conference such as:-
1) The Reform of the Constitution to which a Technical Committee was set up to produce a draft for the resumed Conference to discuss and sign before any general elections could be possible;
2) Because the Electoral c. is short of being transparent, thus giving ample room for election rigging;
3) Because failure on the part of the President of the Republic to call off these impending elections, the State of insecurity would be enormous; We hereby call on the general population of Cameroon to keep a cool head and observe the reaction of the Government towards this Memorandum.
Failure to obtain from the Government this concession which we all believe to be in the general interest of the peace, unity and stability of our Nation, we strongly advice the general public, for the sake of their security, to boycott the elections and staying in-doors come March 1st, 1992.
Dr. J.N. Foncha Hon. S.T. Muna
Bamenda, the 22nd of February 1992