So long Proud Warrior: Jean Paul Yitamben and the Microcosm of Africa’s Fragmentation

A great light

A great light has joined the stars. His Majesty, Jean Paul Yitamben, Chief of Batcheu Village, in Cameroon, has changed dimensions, and now graduated to be an ancestor to guide our paths. A great Economist, Teacher, Historian, Father, Brother, Husband, Friend, has moved on. Like Behanzin, before and many other kings, he devoted his life to the service of his community and his people. The fight has changed! Local kings are no longer deported, but kingdoms and cultures are still fragmented, crushed under the load of ‘fake’ modernism assisted by “administrations” (excrescence of colonialism) which are at the service of foreign forces to continue the work of the annihilation and/or spoliation of the African identity.  

Descendant of great kings before him, Jean Paul Yitamben was an avid historian and a perfectionist who tirelessly sought perfection in everything he did. Meticulous to a letter, he did not tolerate half-done work. With his wife, world-renowned social entrepreneur, Gisele Yitamben, he worked tirelessly to empower women in micro-finance, less-privileged youth to find jobs in our tough local economies, and more importantly he affected the lives of countless others outside of his own village, community, city, and beyond. The aborted Kugwe village Palm oil and indigenous development project in the North West Region of Cameroon is a clear example.

Le soleil / The sun

Yitamben was very methodical. He had so many great projects! He worked to bring solar power to his village, sent local village women to be trained in India on how to become solar engineers at a time when it was not yet common. He sent others to Australia and Denmark, and was the first in the area to organize the ‘quinzaine’: two weeks of sports competitions to encourage local pride, and distribute prizes to the winners, encouraging children to strive in education; awarding scholarships to youths, and prizes to mothers and grandmothers. He was ahead of his time, in sub-Saharan Africa where millions of people have low access to electricity, firewood and charcoal are the main source of energy for cooking meals, representing three quarters of total energy demand; Yitamben brought in improved households (foyers améliorés) which are more efficient and better for environmental protection. He brought in international collaborators because he sought a great place for his village and his people. Let us build on Yitamben’s strength!

Libya, the Prey of the West
Libya, the Prey of the West

His biggest fight was that of his village. See, colonization did not stop in 1884, or in 1960 with the advent of pseudo-independences, it is well and alive and waxing on even stronger than before. The fight is not open, but like in Libya in 2011 or Mali today, the goal is still to fragment, to divide and conquer; to break into thousand pieces and loot local wealth while crushing the spirits of the indigenous populations. The overall objective is still the destruction of local initiatives to take the land and resources; it has not changed.

The fight at the level of Chief Yitamben’s village is an ample microcosm of what happens at the national or continental level in Africa: when a land is rich, or when the enemy covets the area, he promotes in-fighting among brothers (Ethiopia – Eritrea, Sudan – South Sudan), division over boundaries (Cameroon – Nigeria over Bakassi, Tanzania – Malawi over Lake Nyasa/Malawi), and division over resources (DRC – Rwanda).

Behanzin, king of Dahomey
Behanzin, king of Dahomey

Remember that in the time of Behanzin, after his deportation, the tactic used was to install Agoli-Agbo as a puppet King; one who was not chosen by the traditions of the land, but by Europeans to help in weakening and eradicating traditions, and promoting divisions (Côte d’Ivoire where Alassane Ouattara was installed by French war tanks in 2011).

Flash news…

The fights that occurred over 100 years ago in Dahomey kingdom, or other parts of Africa, are still ongoing, albeit on a smaller scale (and big scale as well). Villages are divided, fragmented, and local institutions weakened. The governments which, in most African countries do not serve the locals but foreign forces, are complicit in the destruction of African traditions and institutions. Yitamben believed that it was possible to change the tides of time, by at least awakening his own people against division. He fought tirelessly for unity, and against division; adamantly refusing the fragmentation orchestrated by some of his people helped by a complicit administration with colonial instincts. He could not understand how his people could let themselves be used to destroy their very own land. He was a force to reckon with. He had a titanic strength; but it is a difficult fight.

Proud warrior, you have placed the bricks on its foundation, and the task will be completed. You tirelessly gave yourself for it. The fight continues. O great warrior! Your legacy lives on!

When we have lost a leader, we need to look forward, and build for future generations. Yitamben had a strong presence, was so confident, and so generous in sharing his time, resources, and knowledge. 

So long brother, father, husband, friend, … May your seeds bear lots of fruits. I will remember your laughter, your big smile, your intelligence, your fight for perfection, and above all your teachings. I feel so privileged to have had you in my life, and received your teachings. You showed us the way. Now we have to carry on your light.

May the Ancestors receive and cherish you.

The Charter of Imperialism

La charte de l'imperialisme telle publiee dans le journal "La Nouvelle Expression"
La charte de l’imperialisme telle publiee dans le journal “La Nouvelle Expression”

A while ago, I published the charter of Imperialism in French (La charte de l’impérialisme). Today, I would like to bring it to you in English for all to understand how dominated Africans have been, and how that domination continues to this day. As you read this, can you give example of where each one of these articles has been applied on the African continent nowadays?

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The present “charter” was drawn up in Washington during the “slave trade”, then quietly negotiated at the “Berlin conference in 1885” while the Western powers shared Africa; renegotiated secretly in Yalta at the time of division of the world in two blocks after the Second World War and during the creation of the “League of Nations”, the ancestor of the “UN”.

I. GENERAL PROVISION

Article 1:
From the Motto: – Motto of imperialism: Governing the world and controlling the riches of the planet; Our policy is to divide and conquer, dominate, exploit and loot to fill our banks and make them the most powerful in the world.

Le partage de l'Afrique a la Conference de Berlin de 1884
Le partage de l’Afrique a la Conference de Berlin de 1884

Article 2:
No third world country constitutes a sovereign and independent state.

Article 3:
All power in Third World countries comes from us, who exert it through pressure on the leaders who are only our puppets. No organ of the Third World can attribute to it the exercise.

Article 4:
All Third World countries are divisible and their borders displaceable according to our will. Respect for territorial integrity does not exist for the Third World.

Article 5:
All dictators must put their fortunes in our banks for the security of our interests. This fortune will be used for donations and credits granted by us as assistance and development aid to Third World countries.

II. THE POLITICAL REGIME

Nicolas Sarkozy, by Zapiro (source Grigrinews.com)
Nicolas Sarkozy, by Zapiro (source Grigrinews.com)

Article 6:
Any power and government established by us is legal, legitimate and democratic. But any other power or government that does not emanate from us is illegal, illegitimate and dictatorial, regardless of its form and legitimacy.

Article 7:
Any power that opposes any resistance to our injunctions loses its legality, legitimacy and credibility. He must disappear.

III. TREATIES AND AGREEMENTS

Article 8:
We do not negotiate agreements and contracts with Third World countries, we impose what we want and they undergo our will.

Article 9:
Any agreement with another country or negotiation without our approval is null and void.

IV. FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS

Article 10:
Wherever there is interest, Third World countries have no rights, in the southern countries our interests go before law and international law.

Article 11:
Freedom of expression, freedom of association and human rights only make sense in the country where the leaders oppose our will.

Article 12:
The peoples of the Third World have no opinion or right, they suffer our law and our law.

10,000FCFA (BEAC-1992)
10,000FCFA (BEAC-1992)

Article 13:
Third world countries have neither culture nor civilization without referring to Western civilization.

Article 14:
We are not talking about genocide, massacre, or “war crimes” or “crimes against humanity” in countries where our interests are guaranteed. Even though the number of victims is very important.

V. PUBLIC FINANCES

Article 15:
In Third World countries, no one has the right to put in their banks a ceiling of money fixed by us. When the fortune exceeds the ceiling, it is deposited in one of our banks so that profits return in the form of loans or economic development aid in cash or in kind.

Article 16:
The countries whose leaders show total submission to us, our puppets and our valets will not be entitled to the aid mentioned above.

Article 17:
Our assistance must be accompanied by strong recommendations to prevent and break the development of Third World countries.

Libya, the Prey of the West
Libya, the Prey of the West (2011)

VI. MILITARY TREATIES

Article 18:
Our armies must be always stronger and more powerful than the armies of the Third World. The limitation and prohibition of weapons of mass destruction does not concern us, but the others.

Article 19:
Our armies must help each other and unite in the war against the army of a weak country to show our supremacy and be feared by the countries of the Third World.

Article 20:
Any military intervention aims to protect our interests and those of our valets.

Article 21:
Any operation of evacuation of the nationals of the Western countries hides our real mission, that to protect our interests and those of our valets.

VII. INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS

Article 22:
The UN is our instrument, we must use it against our enemies and third world countries to protect our interests.

Article 23:
Our goal is to destabilize and destroy the hostile regimes and to place our puppets under the protection of our military under cover of the mandates of the “UN” forces.

Article 24:
“UN” resolutions are texts that give us the right and the means to strike, kill and destroy countries whose leaders and peoples refuse to submit to our injunctions under the cover of the resolutions of the Council Security Council.

Article 25:
Our duty is to keep Africa and other countries of the world in the underdeveloped, the bet, the division, the wars, the chaos to dominate them, exploit them and plunder them through the “Missions” of ” United Nations “.

Lumumba detained
Lumumba detained, December 1960

Article 26:
Our golden rule is the physical liquidation of Third World nationalist leaders and leaders.

Article 27:
The laws, resolutions, courts and tribunals of the “United Nations” are our tools of pressure against the leaders and leaders of the countries that defend the interests of their peoples.

Article 28:
Leaders of Western Powers can not be prosecuted, arrested or incarcerated by “UN” courts and tribunals, even if they commit “war crimes”, “genocide” or “crimes against humanity” .

SOURCE: The Royal Museum for Central Africa, in Tervuren, Belgium.

The Berlin Conference 1884 – 1885 – Final Act (Continuation)

Conference de Berlin 1884
Conference de Berlin 1884

Here are some selections (Chapters 4 – 6) from the final act of the Berlin Conference signed on 26 February 1885. For the entire document, find it here in English and French. For both of these versions, we thank the work of the South African History Online.

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CHAPTER IV

ACT OF NAVIGATION FOR THE KONGO

Article XIII

The navigation of the Kongo, without excepting any of its branches or outlets, is, and shall remain, free for the merchant ships of all nations equally . . . the subjects and flags of all nations shall in all respects be treated on a footing of perfect equality . . . no exclusive privilege of navigation will be conceded to Companies, Corporations, or private persons whatsoever . . .

CHAPTER V

ACT OF NAVIGATION FOR THE NIGER

Berlin Conference_1Article XXVI

The navigation of the (River) Niger, without excepting any of its branches and outlets, is and shall remain entirely free for the merchant ships of all nations equally . . . [both Britain and France which had parts of the region of the Niger under protectorate status also undertook to apply the principle of free trade in their territories].

CHAPTER VI

REGARDING NEW OCCUPATIONS ON THE COASTS OF AFRICA

Article XXXIV

Any power which henceforth takes possession of a tract of land on the coasts of the African Continent outside of its present possessions, or which, being hitherto without such possessions, shall acquire them and assume a protectorate. . . shall accompany either act with a notification thereof, addressed to the other Signatory Powers of the present Act, in order to enable them to protest against the same if there exists any grounds for their doing so.

Le partage de l'Afrique a la Conference de Berlin de 1884
Le partage de l’Afrique a la Conference de Berlin de 1884-1885

Article XXXV

The Signatory Powers of the present Act recognize the obligation to insure the establishment of authority in the regions occupied by them on the coasts of the African Continent sufficient to protect existing rights, and, as the case may be, freedom of trade and of transit under the conditions agreed upon.

Article XXXVII

The Powers signatory to the present general Act reserve to themselves the right of eventually, by mutual agreement, introducing therein modifications or improvements the utility of which has been shown by experience ………………………………..

Done at Berlin, the 26th day of February, 1885.

Selection from the 1885 Berlin Conference Final Act

Le partage de l'Afrique a la Conference de Berlin de 1884
Le partage de l’Afrique a la Conference de Berlin de 1884

Today I would like to talk about the atrocity which divided Africa in 10,000 pieces… you know, the one known as the Berlin Conference. How the livelihood of millions of lives could be decided by some foreigners at some tables thousands of kilometers away is beyond me! In reality, the Berlin Conference drafted from 1884 to 1885 is still in action today, over 132 years later, and that is why it is important to talk about it today. This conference regulated European colonization and trade in Africa during the New Imperialism period. Organized by Otto von Bismarck, first Chancellor of Germany, its outcome, the General Act of the Berlin Conference, is seen as the formalization of the Scramble for Africa. This conference officialized European colonization, and eliminated or overrode existing forms of African autonomy and self-governance. I print here a selection from the final 1885 Berlin Act from Chapter 1-3, and I will print the rest later.

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Selections from the 1885 Berlin Act

Conference de Berlin 1884
Conference de Berlin 1884

Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Empress of India; His Majesty the German Emperor, King of Prussia; His Majesty the Emperor of Austria, King of Bohemia, etc, and Apostolic King of Hungary; His Majesty the King of the Belgians; His Majesty the King of Denmark; His Majesty the King of Spain; the President of the United States of America; the President of the French Republic; His Majesty the King of Italy; His Majesty the King of the Netherlands, Grand Duke of Luxemburg, etc; His Majesty the King of Portugal and the Algarves, etc; His Majesty the Emperor of all the Russias; His Majesty the King of Sweden and Norway, etc; and His Majesty the Emperor of the Ottomans,

WISHING, in a spirit of good and mutual accord, to regulate the conditions most favourable to the development of trade and civilization in certain regions of Africa, and to assure to all nations the advantages of free navigation on the two chief rivers of Africa flowing into the Atlantic Ocean;

Berlin Conference_1
Division of Africa between European powers resulting from the Berlin Conference

BEING DESIROUS, on the other hand, to obviate the misunderstanding and disputes which might in future arise from new acts of occupation…on the coast of Africa; and concerned, at the same time, as to the means of furthering the moral and material well-being of the native populations;

HAVE RESOLVED, on the invitation addressed to them by the Imperial Government of Germany, in agreement with the Government of the French Republic, to meet for those purposes in Conference at Berlin, and have appointed as their Plenipotentiaries, to wit:

Who, being provided with full powers, which have been found in good and due form, have successively discussed and adopted:

  1. A Declaration relative to freedom of trade in the basin of the Congo, its embouchures and circumjacent regions, with other provisions connected therewith.
  2. A Declaration relative to the slave trade, and the operations by sea or land which furnish slaves to that trade.
  3. A Declaration relative to the neutrality of the territories comprised in the Conventional basin of the Congo.
  4. An Act of Navigation for the Congo, which, while having regard to local circumstances, extends to this river, its affluents, and the waters in its system…, the general principles enunciated in Articles CVIII and CXVI of the Final Act of the Congress of Vienna, and intended to regulate, as between the Signatory Powers of that Act, the free navigation of the waterways separating or traversing several States—these said principles having since then been applied by agreement to certain rivers of Europe and America, but especially to the Danube, with the modifications stipulated by the Treaties of Paris (1856), of Berlin (1878), and of London (1871 and 1883).
  5. An Act of Navigation for the Niger, which, while likewise having regard to local circumstances, extends to this river and its affluents the same principles as set forth in Articles CVIII and CXVI of the Final Act of the Congress of Vienna.
  6. A Declaration introducing into international relations certain uniform rules with reference to future occupations on the coast of the African Continent.

And deeming it expedient that all these several documents should be combined in one single instrument, they (the Signatory Powers) have collected them into one General Act, composed of the following Articles:

CHAPTER I

DECLARATION RELATIVE TO FREEDOM OF TRADE IN THE BASIN OF THE CONGO, ITS MOUTHS AND CIRCUMJACENT REGIONS, WITH OTHER PROVISIONS CONNECTED THEREWITH

Article I

The trade of all nations shall enjoy complete freedom….

Article II

Cecil Rhodes with his transafrican train project from Cairo to Cape Town - the most imperialist ever
Cecil Rhodes with his transafrican train project from Cairo to Cape Town – the most imperialist ever

All flags, without distinction of nationality, shall have free access to the whole of the coastline of the territories above enumerated, to the rivers there running into the sea, to all the waters of the Congo and its effluents, including the lakes, and to all the ports situated on the banks of these waters, as well as to all canals which may in future be constructed with intent to unite the watercourses or lakes within the entire area of the territories described in Article I. Those trading under such flags may engage in all sorts of transport, and carry on the coasting trade by sea and river, as well as boat traffic, on the same footing as if they were subjects.

Article III

Wares, of whatever origin, imported into these regions, under whatsoever flag, by sea or river, or overland, shall be subject to no other taxes than such as may be levied as fair compensation for expenditure in the interests of trade, and which for this reason must be equally borne by the subjects themselves and by foreigners of all nationalities.

All differential dues on vessels, as well as on merchandise, are forbidden.

Article IV

Merchandise imported into these regions shall remain free from import and transit dues….

Article V

No Power which exercises or shall exercise sovereign rights in the abovementioned regions shall be allowed to grant therein a monopoly or favour of any kind in matters of trade.

PROVISIONS RELATIVE TO PROTECTION OF THE NATIVES, OF MISSIONARIES AND TRAVELLERS, AS WELL AS RELATIVE TO RELIGIOUS LIBERTY

Article VI

All the Powers exercising sovereign rights or influence in the aforesaid territories bind themselves to watch over the preservation of the native tribes, and to care for the improvement of the conditions of their moral and material well-being, and to help in suppressing slavery, and especially the slave trade. They shall, without distinction of creed or nation, protect and favour all religious, scientific or charitable institutions and undertakings created and organized for the above ends, or which aim at instructing the natives and bringing home to them the blessings of civilization.

Christian missionaries, scientists and explorers, with their followers, property and collections, shall likewise be the objects of especial protection.

Freedom of conscience and religious toleration are expressly guaranteed to the natives, no less than to subjects and to foreigners. The free and public exercise of all forms of divine worship, and the right to build edifices for religious purposes, and to organize religious missions belonging to all creeds, shall not be limited or fettered in any way whatsoever….

Slavery_capture
Slave capture

CHAPTER II

DECLARATION RELATIVE TO THE SLAVE TRADE

Article IX

Seeing that trading in slaves is forbidden in conformity with the principles of international law as recognized by the Signatory Powers, and seeing also that the operations, which, by sea or land, furnish slaves to trade, ought likewise to be regarded as forbidden, the Powers which do or shall exercise sovereign rights or influence in the territories forming the Conventional basin of the Congo declare that these territories may not serve as a market or means of transit for the trade in slaves, of whatever race they may be. Each of the Powers binds itself to employ all the means at its disposal for putting an end to this trade and for punishing those who engage in it.

berlin-conference
Africa’s partition 1885-1914 among European powers

CHAPTER III

DECLARATION RELATIVE TO THE NEUTRALITY OF THE TERRITORIES COMPRISED IN THE CONVENTIONAL BASIN OF THE CONGO

Article XII

In case a serious disagreement originating on the subject of, or in the limits of, the territories mentioned in Article I, and placed under the free trade system, shall arise between any Signatory Powers of the present Act, or the Powers which may become parties to it, these Powers bind themselves, before appealing to arms, to have recourse to the mediation of one or more of the friendly Powers.

In a similar case the same Powers reserve to themselves the option of having recourse to arbitration….

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF the several plenipotentiaries have signed the present General Act and have affixed thereto their seals.

DONE at Berlin, the 26th day of February, 1885