In 1961, Ahidjo and John Ngu Foncha signed an agreement which rejected Cameroon’s membership into the Commonwealth of Nations. Their reasons were not disclosed.
However in the 1980’s the situation changed because Anglophone Cameroonians increasingly demanded the admission of Cameroon into the gentleman club- as the commonwealth is fondly called.
The desire for the Anglophone Cameroonians to be admitted into the club stem from the fact that Cameroon was already a member of the Francophonie.
However, despite the pressure from Anglophones to be admitted into the Commonwealth, the gentleman club gave a number of conditions which were supposed to fall in line with the Harare Declaration of1961.
Worthy to note that the Harare declaration was to promote and protect the following core values;
1 Democracy and democratic process and institutions which unanimously reflect the national interest.
2 .The rule of law and absolute independence of the judiciary from the other arms of the government.
3. Honest and just government.
4. Fundamental human rights ,which include equal rights and equal opportunities for all citizens.
After accepting the above preconditions, Cameroon was admitted as the 52nd member of commonwealth on November 1995.
The question now by many in 24 years after admitted into commonwealth, is Cameroon meeting with the aspirations and preconditions of admission in the gentleman club?
Cameroon’s position in the commonwealth is questionable in regards to the southern Cameroon crisis. Many are of the opinion that Cameroon should be dismissed from the gentleman’s club for violating all the fundamental principles binding the organisation.
Cameroon’s human right situation on the southern Cameroon crisis is very dirty as there have been appalling and trending videos of human right abuse circulating online on social media purportedly orchestrated by Cameroon armed forces on peaceful civilian population in the English regions of Cameroon.
Cameroon soldiers have been carrying out extra-judicial and targeted killings on the civilian population of the English regions and also the scorch earth policy of burning civilian houses. More than 250 villages have been completely razed down to ashes by the Cameroon soldiers in the English regions of Cameroon.
Further there is the absence of freedom of speech and association in Cameroon as the government is ready the clammed down on any one who dare to question the dictatorial regime of President Paul Biya.
The million dollar question we should be asking Patricia Scotland (secretary general of commonwealth) is why Cameroon is still a member of the gentleman’s club after committing atrocities in the southern Cameroons?
By Daniel Mengot Besong
SCNC activist UK