Carlson Anyangwe…Too trusting a man?

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Carlson Anyangwe…Too trusting a man?


carlson anyangwe…too trusting a man?

Professor Carlson Anyangwe, Simon Munzu and Barrister Sam Ekontang Elad originally convened the Buea All Anglophone Conference in 1993 to examine the marginalization of English speaking Cameroonians . They were positioned to do this because they had been chosen by the government of LRC to be part of a constitutional draft committee to work out a “new” constitution for Cameroon. Eventually, despite their input and to their dismay, a pseudo French constitution was adopted for LRC. Their contributions were simply disregarded.

17 Years after the Buea AAC1,  Dr Simon Munzu and Sam Ekongtang have taken different career paths that have taken them partly away from the struggle. Professor Carlson Anyangwe is however still directly involved in the fight. He recently published a ground breaking book “Betrayal of too trusting a people”. But can he be trusted? Can the long suffering people of Southern Cameroon put their faith in him and the handful of others spearheading  the fight? The people now want answers which is why we conceived this series.  After all, Southern Cameroonians have never voted for any leader since 1993 when the first AAC took place.

Prof Carlson Anyangwe and SCYL leader Ebenezer Akwanga

Prof Carlson Anyangwe now lives and works in Zambia and is adamant English speaking Cameroon will one day be independent, the delay tactics of LRC notwithstanding.

Francis Ngwa  asked the questions.




 Q  Why has it been so difficult to unite the rather divided Southern Cameroons movements and why are there so many movements fighting for the same cause?



The reason is that those fighting occupation hardly ever do so under one constituted organization or structure. Ideology, tactics and strategy dictate this course.  In the anti-Apartheid movement in South Africa, there was the African National Congress, the United Democratic Front, COSATU, Black Consciousness Movement, Pan-Africanist Congress of Azania, Inkhata Freedom Movement, Black Sash etc. In Zimbabwe, there was ZANU and ZAPU amongst the most prominent. In Angola there was MPLA, UNITA , etc. The story was the same for Mozambique, Eritrea, East Timor, and so on. In Palestine, there is Hamas and the PLO. All these groups do constitute one Liberation Movement for their various peoples.

The Southern Cameroons is no exception. There is one Southern Cameroons Liberation Movement that is fighting for the sovereign independence of the former British Southern Cameroons. And yes, there are several groups such as the Southern Cameroons National Council (SCNC), the Southern Cameroons Youth League (SCYL), the Southern Cameroons People Organization (SCAPO) and other groups that have been formed by fighters for freedom that are all are united in purpose for the common cause of freedom from colonial captivity. I would be surprised if you do not know that the occupying state, République du Cameroun expends a lot of time and huge sums of money on what are demonstrably futile efforts to scuttle our national liberation struggle: rented groups and paid individuals (including some of its own citizens) are deployed to cause confusion, diversion and give the perception of division. These are ancient but familiar and ineffectual rearguard actions of all colonial occupiers. No one has ever been fooled, and we are not.

Q.Initial assessments indicate there is little grassroots support for Anglophone nationalism primarily because they own no radio, TV, newspaper or any mass media outlet. Why is that the case?


You talk of ‘initial assessment’. Who did that, where and when? What is the evidence? And when can we expect the ‘final’ assessment?  By ‘Anglophone nationalism’, a misnomer, I suppose you mean Southern Cameroons nationalism. Is there such a thing as Francophone or Lusophone or Mandarin or Hispanic nationalism?

I do not see how the absence of mass media ownership by any of the organizations in the Liberation Movement constitutes what you claim to be ‘a lack of grassroots support’ for Southern Cameroons nationalism. On the contrary, there is overwhelming and unimpeachable evidence that there is grassroots support for Southern Cameroons nationalism. In 1995, a signature referendum conducted in the entire territory of the Southern Cameroons secured over 300,000 signatures from the grassroots. This was accomplished despite a suffocating disruption and intimidation by the brutal gendarmes and other armed elements of the occupying state, and virtually without the signature of any Southern Cameroonian national serving in the civil service of the colonial occupying state. Let me also reveal to you that, as a lawyer for the Southern Cameroons people at the African Commission, our people coopted into administration of République du Cameroun look forward for an early resolution of the Southern Cameroons sovereignty questions in order for them to return home and join the rest of our people in rebuilding their shattered lives in peace and freedom. Southern Cameroons nationalism is alive and well in the soul of every single one of our people.

Q A Liberation Movement needs loads of money but that is glaringly absent in the Anglophone liberation fight. Isn’t this partly explained by the fact that with limited grassroots support, raising money is difficult? Why don’t you have foreign backers?


You keep harping on this fictional lack of grassroots support as if mandate to do so in the hope of conveying that impression to the world.

All liberation movements, ipso facto, face funding challenges, the primary reason being that they are not in control of their territory and resources. In the Southern Cameroons, the colonizer, République du Cameroun, long instituted a policy of pauperization and destroyed all institutions of commerce and business in our land. In this regard read the Banjul ruling and it recommendation on this specific matter. Airports and seaports were closed. The road network that facilitated trade within the territory is in total neglect. The municipality where the oil company is based pays taxes to Douala, in another municipality, in another country, in République du Cameroun. Your assumption that the Southern Cameroons lack foreign backers is speculation that I will let be for now.

Q  Sincerely, do Anglophones need a separate state or do they need a well behaved government that will recognize and treat them as equal citizens in Cameroon?  The Canadian example appears to be working well.


I dispute your continuing use of ‘Anglophone’ when in fact you ought to speak of the people of the Southern Cameroons. This matter has been finally laid to rest by the Banjul ruling. What do you mean by ‘sincerely’? And what do you mean by ‘need’? You might as well ask whether you need freedom of the press.  You might as well ask whether any people on earth need a state. You might as well say independence for any colonial territory is sincerely not needed and that all a colonized people need is recognition and treatment on an equal footing with citizens of the colonial power. Colonialism is a negation of fundamental human rights and it is a crime against humanity in that it is a form of terrorism. Statehood is a right, a right that inheres in every people consistent with the law of self-determination. The people of the Southern Cameroons are entitled, as a matter of law, justice and history, to their government, instituted by themselves and for themselves. They do not want some imperial government, even if that government is benevolent, ‘well behaved’ and playing Father Christmas.

 The Southern Cameroons has its internationally defined borders which are not being drawn today. When République du Cameroun became independent on January 1, 1960, the Southern Cameroons was not part of it. The Southern Cameroons was a separate state, with a government based in Buea, a parliament and a House of Chiefs. Yes, the Southern Cameroons needs a separate state and will eventually become one within its internationally defined borders that as I stated, are not being drawn today.

Yaoundé should behave well for the well being of its citizens. République du Cameroun is not Canada (which at regular intervals allows Quebec to vote on their status) and will never be Canada.

Q  Complaining that Anglophones are treated badly is simply not good enough in this day and age. You used to be a lecturer at the Yaoundé University, how did university authorities treat you differently from your French-speaking colleagues.

You simplistically reduce this matter to what you call ‘bad treatment’ of those you persist in calling ‘Anglophones’, a denotation that suggests a certain state of mind. By so do you are consciously or unconsciously trivializing the legitimate struggle of the people of the Southern Cameroons to free themselves from colonial occupation and captivity. The Southern Cameroons has been annexed and is under occupation by a foreign state, République du Cameroun. Colonization is against international law; it is a threat to international peace and security; it is a crime against humanity. For you in this “day and age” to cheapen this struggle that concerns the very survival of a people, their dignity and their worth as “Anglophones [being] treated badly”, betrays, I would suggest, an absolute lack of appreciation of the severe consequences this colonial adventure is costing both the peoples of the Southern Cameroons and  République du Cameroun.


Q  Why has the fight for liberation been limited to emails and press releases?


Once more you got it all wrong. The creation and launch of the SDF party in 1990 in blood, inspired by the plight of Southern Cameroonians was not an email or press release. The All Anglophone Conference in Buea in 1993 was not an email or press release. The All Anglophone Conference in Bamenda in 1994 was not an email or press release. The Signature Referendum of 1995, with over three hundred thousand signatures was not an email or press release. The successful struggle to establish the GCE Board was not an email of press release. The law suit won against Nigeria in Abuja to take the Southern Cameroons case to the UN in 2002 was not an email or press release. The recent declaration by the African Commission of Human and Peoples Rights on Communication No. 226/2003 is not an email or press release.  Should I go on?

Q  If you had political power today, what practical things will you do to improve the lot of Southern Cameroonians?


Political power where? What political power? The real improvement of the lot of a slave can only come through manumission. The real improvement of the lot of a colonized people can only come through decolonization.

Q   A frequent accusation against Southern Cameroonian leaders is that they are old, tired, unhappy men who did nothing while they were in active service. Your reaction,  and any proposals to change this.

Who is this accuser, where and when was the accusation made and in what circumstances? Assuming there is such a thing let those making the accusation stand up and be counted. The Southern Cameroons needs its people, all of them: the young and the old, the tired and the vibrant, the happy and the not-so-happy, the clever and the not-so-clever, the fighters and fence sitters, including even the collaborationists. My appeal is for each one of us to ask ourselves: what can we do to secure justice, freedom, for the people of the Southern Cameroons. It starts by being informed about the history of the Southern Cameroons and its people. Allow me to recommend to you and others the last three books I wrote as starters:  Imperialistic Politics in Cameroun, Betrayal of too trusting a People, and Secrets of an Aborted Decolonisation. These can be procured from

Q  Without being biased, do you think English speaking Cameroon will ever be an independent country?


As sure as the sun rises in the morning, yes, the Southern Cameroons SHALL be an independent country. As I mentioned above, the territory of the Southern Cameroons is already defined, the international borders have been established, and those boundaries are not being drawn today. The Southern Cameroons was already had an established government and was a functioning democracy. In a sense, we are talking of re-asserting the statehood and the independence of the Southern Cameroons suppressed through colonial occupation by Republique du Cameroun.

Justice always, always triumphs! Slavery lasted centuries, look who the president of the United States is. Colonialism lasted centuries and the sun was never to set on the British Empire. The USSR is no more. Hitler spoke of a thousand years of the Third Reich. Ian Smith spoke of a thousand years of white domination in Zimbabwe. And apartheid South Africa looked invincible.

Continuous occupation ultimately imposes an armed struggle on the Liberation Movement, and as I’ve mentioned a few times, the Southern Cameroons will not be exemption from the rules of liberation struggles. But I also believe there is a growing sentiment within certain circles in République du Cameroun that they have diminished themselves with this adventure in the Southern Cameroons. Republique du Cameroun will never be able to establish functional institutions of democracy and justice because under such conditions, their colonial occupation of the Southern Cameroons would become untenable. The new sentiment is that the adventure in the Southern Cameroons has really not benefitted their population. Thinking heads and perspicacious minds in Republique du Cameroun know that their country will never extricate itself from grinding poverty, disease, systemic corruption and rule by horse whip so long as the colonial adventure in the Southern Cameroons is not brought to an end.

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