J.N foncha (left) Ahmadou Ahidjo (right)The First impressions of French diplomats in Cameroon two months after Plebiscite was that Reunification will be difficult.
According to a letter from the Chargé d’Affaires of the French Embassy in Yaoundé on November 25, 1961 of which alafnet.com has attached a copy,The behavior of Francophone civil servants in the English-speaking area was already attracting attention from the Anglophone community Bearly two months in to the union .
The letter reveals that ,President Ahidjo’s first administrator to Southern Cameroons, Epo Manfred had the posture of a colonial chief-whip instructed to execute directives from La Republique.
His imposing rule also targetted British nationals who served in Southern Cameroons Public Service with the aim of disorganising the administration and implementing the Yaounde oriented ‘prefets’ in place of the erstwhile ‘district officers ‘.
The official diplomatic note portrayed that the Yaounde regime targetted Doctor Endeley and Mr Mbile who were stunch opposing figures graced with the objectivity of Her Majesty’s Government style of criticism. As early as 1961, these figures stood against the lacunae in electoral laws and malpractices orchestrated by the Ahidjo administration in favour his supporter. The aim was to unite to the strengths of Foncha’s ruling Kamerun National Democratic Party (KNDP) to suppress Endeley’s Kamerun People National Convention (KPNC) as well as to completely eliminate the independence ideologies of Ndeh N’tumazah’s One Kamerun Party.
The diplomat also reported that Ahidjo’s nightmare was the integration problem with Southern Cameroons and that the Head of State was completely void appropriate strategies to form a harmonious legal union. The machinations of the Yaounde Administration would be realized by portraying East Cameroonians as a superior ‘people with better infrastructure, administration, social standards’.
It was part of the plan to systematically destroy the good aspects, vibrant businesses, banks and cultural identity in West Cameroon in order submit the people to the centralized system of government which was practiced in East Cameroon.
Referring to the proud look of the newly appointed air traffic controller to the Tiko Airport, the diplomatic note reveals that the operation to integrate the two Cameroons ‘…would not be possible without frictions’
By Hansel k Tanteh