Writings by Ruben Um Nyobe: Political Constant of Unity Practiced by Ruben Um Nyobe – 1959

Ruben Um Nyobé
Ruben Um Nyobé

In celebration of the life of  Ruben Um Nyobé, I chose to share with you his writings below on this day, 13 September. These writings by  Ruben Um Nyobé, leader of the UPC, were published in 1959. The book was published as “Constante politique d’unité pratiquée par Ruben Um Nyobe – 1959,” by Union des Populations du Cameroun (UPC). The text below by Ruben Um Nyobe served as a preface to the book, and has been translated to English by Dr. Y. Afrolegends.com . For the original, go to gallica.fr

======

Flag of the UPC
Flag of the UPC

Political Constant of Unity practiced by Ruben Um Nyobe – 1959

 Author: Union des Populations du Cameroon

Inform to Enlighten by Ruben Um Nyobe, General Secretary of the Union the Populations du Cameroun (UPC), Leader of the National Resistance for the Liberation of Cameroon

The national aspiration, which has just cumulated in the recognition of our independence, Is the concrete and objective expression of the result of the struggle of our people. No one can claim that independence has been granted to us, we have conquered it. All those who fought for this national liberty, whether dead or alive, have sealed their names in the history of our motherland, their glory will be immortal! But now at the term of a crowned struggle, instead of concord uniting all members of the coalition, a storm of jealousy and hatred, still sweep over our poor little country. Until when obscene passions and the most execrable hypocrisies cease to brave virtue and honesty! Why will cruel selfishness and blind ambitions not recoil before the honor and national dignity? In this flood of provocations and hatreds, where is the future of our children, the tranquility of our homes, the future of the country? Is it possible to build a country without its population? Is there independence without independent citizens? Answer! Yes answer! All those who oppress our people and those who aim to exploit it.

I say that we must give the people the means to hope and the opportunity to have confidence in them. To reach that goal we have some preliminary work to do.

  1. Present the people with clear options for his future.
  2. Prepare for the people a climate of cordiality and put an end to insecurity.
  3. Train the people’s judgment through civic and political culture / instruction.

All this is feasible/possible, so long as it is wanted. No need to dodge the work by creating tribal oppositions.   

Kamerun_Map 1901-1960
Map of Kamerun from 1901 to 1960 (Wikipedia)

I add that all those who sow hatred and call for crimes, throw the boomerang, which unfortunately does not clarify the future. In politics, there is good sense and virtue, notwithstanding the apprentices of Machiavelli! In politics, truth is also necessary, even if it hurts and displeases because we do not define the future of the people in lies and slanders! Yes, we have to be realistic! To all my compatriots, I formally repeat this: our enemies in this crucial hour of our history, are those who divide us, because they expose us weakened to the solicitations and appetites of the foreigner…

When one reflects on current events, one reaches a first observation: it is the conception of power and sovereignty which is at stake. If it is true (and it cannot be otherwise) that power comes from the people, is it not up to the people to freely designate their interlocutors? Why pretend to take the place of the people? Why seek to abuse and deceives the masses? To get elected and impose a dictatorship, isn’t it? Finally, we believe that the events of the past should make the darkest adventurers retreat. It is only in ignorance that a dictatorship can be imposed, even if it is subtle. In these conditions our task is clear: to enlighten the people. We must do it and we will do it against all adventures. Our goal is to safeguard the national dignity and sovereignty of Kamerun.

Ernest Ouandié: Cameroonian Freedom Fighter and Leader

Ouandié1
Ernest Ouandie on the day of his execution

A while back, I published an interview of Ernest Ouandié: A Cameroonian and African Hero and Martyr,  on the murder of  Félix Moumié. In this Rare Interview, which he gave with Marthe Moumié, the wife of Félix Moumié, in 1960, he said:

When you have chosen the struggle, the path of struggle, for a true independence, you must necessarily expect to receive anytime the hard knocks that the imperialists will give you. But we are used to say that it is because the imperialists are beating us so much that we have become and are becoming stronger in our daily struggle.” [“Lorsque vous avez choisi la lutte, la voix de la lutte, pour une indépendance véritable, vous devez nécessairement vous attendre à tout moment aux coups durs que vous portent les impérialistes.  Mais nous avons l’habitude de dire que c’est parce que les impérialistes nous portent beaucoup de coups que nous sommes devenus et nous devenons chaque jour un peu plus aguerris pour la lutte.”] Ernest Ouandié.

Condemnation of Rudolf Douala Manga Bell – August 8th 1914

Rudolf Douala Manga Bell - ca 1900s
Rudolf Douala Manga Bell – ca 1900s

On August 8th, 1914, a proclamation signed by Governor Karl Ebermaier was posted on all the principal places of the town of Douala, stating:

People of Douala, I am here to announce that Manga (Rudolf) Bell is condemned today to death by hanging because he has betrayed the Kaiser and the empire.

That same day, at 5PM (17:00) in the evening, the respondent was executed by hanging, with his relative and secretary Ngosso Din.

The official statement from the governor stating the charges incriminating the Bell king, continues as follows:

Adolf Ngoso Din, Assistant to Rudolf Manga Bell
Adolf Ngoso Din, Assistant to Rudolf Manga Bell

He [Manga Bell] admitted, at the last minute, that he had been led by the fear of revenge from his countrymen, from those whom you know, who, by fear, secretly remain in the background, those who brood poison and seduce the people.  May the blood of Manga fall back on those who led him on the path of crime!  He who does not want to become a traitor, like Duala Manga and his aids, should pull away from his seducers, who secretly remain in the background preparing poison!  Whoever has fair intentions will be welcome.  The government of Kaiser will always be just and grateful to the loyal aids and loyal subjects.

What we deplore is the result of machinations carried by these of men of darkness who – the governor says – have always been at work to excite the people, to maintain it in terror with their poisons and kept under the yoke to their benefit. T ear yourself from them and you will be happy.  Manga himself, in his last hour, prayed his people that with his death, loyalty to the Kaiser and obedience towards the government may return into the heart of the Douala people.

The translation to English is offered to you here by Dr. Y., www.afrolegends.com.  You can find the original published in French by the Cameroonian Quotidien Mutations on Bonaberi.com.  Don’t forget to read the article by Suzanne Kala-Lobé on NjanguiPress.com.

The Principal Reasons why Osende Afana was defeated

Castor Osende Afana
Castor Osende Afana

Castor Osendé Afana‘s maquis suffered a major defeat, and a final blow with the murder and decapitation of its leader on 15 March 1966.  Here are some of the principal reasons of the defeat of the Boumba-Ngoko maquis in the south east corner of Cameroon.  These reasons had been identified by Osendé Afana himself before his death, and by his some of his followers later on.

1 – The Boumba-Ngoko region (or Moloundou region) had not been exposed to any revolutionary movement, or any influx of political ideas about the liberation of Cameroon since the end of the second world war, like the populations of the West, Littoral, Center or Southern provinces.  The populations there being mostly Bakas pygmies and poor Bantous peasants and illiterate had almost never led major economic or political struggles against the exploitation and domination of the colonial and neocolonial forces.  Their political awareness was quite low, and they had very little experience fighting.

2 – The region was sparsely populated, which forced the guerilleros, who were supposed to move around the people as fish in the sea, to fight practically in the open against a very powerful enemy.

Map of Cameroon from 1919 to 1960, including both Cameroons (French in Blue, and British in red)
Map of Cameroon from 1919 to 1960, including both Cameroons (French in Blue, and British in red)

3 – The low number in Afana’s group which kept decreasing due to several desertions.  It was also very difficult to recruit among the local people.

4 – No members of the initial group were originally from that region, and thus had little knowledge of the field, the language, and customs of the local populations.

5 – The maquis’ entrance from Congo-Brazzaville had happened without much discretion, and all their subsequent movements in the region did not go unnoticed.  This made it easy for the colonial forces to trace them.

6 – No prior ground study had been done.

7 – The government of Congo, while giving their support to Afana, were opposed to any military action on their borders.

8 – Several tactical differences persisted within the group, with Osendé Afana, being more political and anxious of respecting the Congolese wishes, and with Fosso Francois, who was more military-centered.

9 – No prior contact/communication had been established with the Western maquis led by Ernest Ouandié.  This could have ensure some help.

10 – An incorrect assessment of the colonial forces, their tactics, their capacity of enrolment, and the political activity of the masses on the national scale.

11 – Lastly, too big a reliance on external help.

For more information, visit afrohistorama.com to learn more about these critical events in the history of Cameroon.

Abel Kingué, Short but rising Tall for the Independence of Cameroon

UPC Leaders (L. to R.) front row: Castor Osende Afana, Abel Kingué, Ruben Um Nyobé, Felix Moumié, and Ernest Ouandié
UPC Leaders (L. to R.) front row: Castor Osende Afana, Abel Kingué, Ruben Um Nyobé, Felix Moumié, and Ernest Ouandié

Today, I will be talking about an almost forgotten leader of the UPC (Union des Populations du Cameroun), its vice president, Abel Kingué.  Who was Abel Kingué?

Well, Abel Kingué was born Abel Kegne, in Fokoue near Bamendou (in the Menoua department) in 1924, into a polygamous household.  Soon, he would live his home and move to the city of Dschang where he worked as a tennis ball boy for a while before getting spotted and given a chance to attend school.  After school in Dschang, Bafang, and Nkongsamba, he went on to attend the Nursing school of Ayos.  In 1947, he moved to Douala, and work in a big commercial center.

In April of 1950, Abel entered the direction of the UPC directly after its first congress in Dschang.  He entered the spotlight when, despite his short height, he publicly denounced the political embezzlement of prince Ndoumbe Douala Manga Bell.  Not only was Abel Kingué a great orator, but he also showed great firmness, great organization skills, great work ethics, and kindness.

Flag of the UPC
Flag of the UPC

He was re-elected vice president of the UPC during its 2nd congress in Eséka, in September 1952.  He was also chief editor of the ‘Voix du Kamerun‘ (Voice of Kamerun), UPC’s main organ of expression.  In december 1953, he went to the United Nations, to represent the JDC (Jeunesse Démocratique Camerounaise – Cameroonian Democratic Youth) of which he was a founding member.  On his return, while touring the country to share his report with others, he was attacked in Mbouroukou, near Melong, and was seriously injured and left for dead.

The crackdown on the UPC movement intensified dramatically in 1954 with the arrival of the new French High Commissioner, Roland Pré. Roland Pré said in one of his interviews about his crackdown on the UPC that he implemented techniques he had learnt in nazi concentration camps to crush UPC’s leaders in Cameroon… One just shivers while imagining the brutality and atrocity that our courageous independence fighters had to face.  On April 14th 1954, Kingué ran for elections into the ATCAM (Assemblée territoriale du Cameroun – Territorial Assembly of Cameroon), and despite his huge popularity, will be declared a loser by the colonial administration. Click here to Continue reading “Abel Kingué, Short but rising Tall for the Independence of Cameroon”

Pius Njawe: A journalist and a freedom fighter

Pius Njawe
Pius Njawe

Le 3 Mai est la journée internationale de la liberté de presse. Pour moi, quand je grandissais à Douala, la liberté de presse avait toujours été symbolisée par Pius Njawe et son journal ‘le Messager‘. Qui au Cameroun n’a pas lu ‘le Messager’? Qui n’a pas souri sous les caricatures du ‘Messager Popoli‘? Je dévorais assidument chaque page de son journal… Au debut, quand j’étais toute petite, la rubrique ‘Takala et Muyenga‘ était la seule qui m’interessait car elle était amusante et il y avait de très belles carricatures (oui j’admets… j’aimais les dessins). Petit à petit, j’ai commencé à lire l’éditorial écrit par Pius Njawe lui-même, et puis finalement le journal tout entier. Mon père étais un abonné hors-pair, et c’est grâce à lui que le ‘Messager’ est devenu presque synonyme de ‘vraies‘ nouvelles (i.e. non contrôlée par l’etat) dans mes pensées. Pius Njawe avait un don, une passion: il aimait la vérité! Il était à la recherche de la vérité et du bien-être de la société civile.  Il n’avait pas peur d’aller en prison pour avoir publier des articles poignants contre le gouvernement en place; il avait d’ailleurs été arrêté plus de 126 fois. En 2000, Njawe est nommé parmi les 50 heros de la liberté de la presse des derniers 50 ans.

Le Messager
Le Messager

Quand je pense que Njawe avait créé ‘le Messager’ à l’age de 22 ans en 1979, sans même avoir fait d’études avancées… C’est surprenant!… non, impressionant! Il avait toujours était guidé par sa passion, et c’est certainement pour cela que ‘Le Messager’ était si différent de tous les autres journaux de la place: il était authentique, mû entièrement par la passion et la recherche de la vérité impartiale… bref par le journalisme à l’état pur! Que puis-je dire? La perte de Pius Njawe est comme la perte d’une perle precieuse, car Pius Njawe était effectivement une perle rare pour le Cameroun. Il avait résisté pendant 30 ans, et avait payé de cela par ses détentions arbitraires en prison, le saccage de ses bureaux par le gouvernement, l’exil au Benin (qui avait duré 1 an), la fausse-couche de sa femme (qui avait été battue en prison), la mort de sa femme, et ensuite lui-même. Il a payé de sa vie son amour de sa patrie, de la vérité, et du journalisme. Une chose est sûre et certaine, il a touché chacun d’entre nous, et son oeuvre continuera à jamais. Hasta la vista Pius, tu nous a ouvert les yeux à la cause de la démocratie et de la liberté. Tu resteras dans nos memoires comme étant le plus grand combattant, et opposant camerounais, car tu t’es opposé au népotisme, à la dictature, à l’injustice, et à la gabegie. Comme disait si bien Agostinho Neto: “La lutte continue et la victoire est certaine!

Pius Njawe in jail
Pius Njawe in jail

May 3rd is the World Press Freedom Day. Pius Njawe and his journal ‘le Messager’ have come to symbolize this day to me. Pius Njawe’s pioneering work as the head of leMessager‘ has marked me for as long as I can remember. His journal was not only the first true alternative to Cameroon Tribune (state-owned newspaper), but the real way to find news about what was truly going on in the country. In 2000, the Austria-based International Press Institute listed Mr. Njawe among its 50 world press  freedom heroes of the past half-century. The institute called Mr. Njawe “Cameroon’s most beleaguered journalist and one of Africa’s most courageous fighters for press freedom.” Yes… Njawe was the quintessential freedom fighter in a country where the press was constantly controlled and held under the sword of Damocles by the regime. He was arrested over 126 times, most of the time simply for telling the truth and keeping the government under constant check. He embodied what true journalism is all about: the impartial search for truth. While resisting the regime for over 30 years, he had come to symbolize the true voice of the people, the voice of those who could not speak, those who had no one, the people of Cameroon. We salute you Pius, you were indeed a true freedom fighter, and the true representant of the people! You will sorely be missed!

Check out the website of his newspaper: Le Messager, articles by the Thomson Foundation, The Washington Post and the International Press Institute.

I am posting here a video of him giving a conference about Francafrique in 2009.

Pius Njawe: Cameroun et la Francafrique