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There Was Never Any Reunification 

Interviewed By Patrick Sianne

CameroonPostline — Roving reporter, Patrick Sianne, recently interviewed Hon. Paul Ayah, Chairman of the People’s Action Party, PAP, who aired his views on the Anglophone Problem, going down memory lane and finding no document that binds Anglophone Cameroonians to La République du Cameroun.

He also commented on the Albatross Affair, invoking Parliament and insinuating that President Biya is an eligible tenant for Kondengui Prison pertaining to the purchase of the ill-fated presidential aircraft.

Ayah, further pursuing the Anglophone problem, the current opposition disunity and, to keep abreast with today’s prime issue of Cameroon politics, touches on a private member bill that was introduced in Parliament mooting the creation of a commission of inquiry to investigate the 1995 CAMAIR air disaster in which some Government and CAMAIR officials were allegedly bribed at the peril of the national carrier then and, consequently, the lives of 71 people lost when the CAMAIR plane, Le Nyong, crashed in the mangroves in Douala. Read on:

Patrick Sianne: Countries are struggling to be united and stay bigger, but from Your statements and postings on the internet, you seemingly do not buy the reunification story.  Why?

Hon. Paul Ayah: I agree that many countries have made strides in the world because of their sizes due to their population and so people should be together.

But the trouble with the system in Cameroon today is that there is no document which shows that the two Cameroons ever came together and as a result of that, officially, we are told that an Anglophone can never be President, which is to say Anglophones are not full citizens of this nation; which is correct because as I said, there is no document which shows that we are part of Cameroon; we the Anglophones. The minimum we require is that we should sit around the table and agree on how we can go on from here because, as of now, there is no document to evidence that we are together.”

Is everything in order as to how the so-called Albatross Affair has been unfolding with the plucking of Marafa and Inoni for criminal proceedings and the spillovers it is having on the life of the nation where dog eats dog and no one cares? 

No, I think we are leaving the substance and chasing the shadows. Because there is nothing I know of which shows that the Parliament of Cameroon voted that money. Parliament has the sole jurisdiction to vote the budget of the country. It is often said that there is no imposition without representation. It is Parliament that votes the budget.

It is unthinkable that one individual can sit down and decide to take so much of our taxes to buy a plane for himself. That is where the problem started. Whatever we are doing today, we must not lose sight of the fact that it was an illegality from the very beginning and that the person proceeding against others today should be the person to answer first.

So, you mean the President may also have a place in Kondengui Prison, like Marafa, Inoni and company?

Well… I will say so; though he has his presidential immunity, which protects him from charges.

You just returned from Yaounde prematurely for health reasons. However, before leaving Yaounde, you attended the opening session of the ordinary session of the National Assembly where a proposed commission of inquiry into the 1995 CAMAIR crash was rejected. Does that speak something about where we are or aren’t with the democratic process?

It speaks volumes because in 1995 we had very regrettable loss of Cameroonian lives. One would have thought that if this issue has come up now it is all important that Parliament should probe the matter and come out with findings as to why money that was made available by the State for damages or compensation did not reach the deserved destination which, in this case, were the families of the victims, not State functionaries, be they Ministers. It is a very bad beginning for this session.

It seems it is trial time for the nation; we would like to know, Honorable, whether you and the other members of the opposition have a platform or are planning to have one any time soon? If not, why or why not?

Errr… We don’t have because people have their various approaches. There are people who for one reason or the other would want to protect their self-interest. But I am interested in the general interest. So it is not possible that persons with such divergent interests to the lofty state of agreeing to agree so easily. For my purpose, I feel, as much as we need to be together, it must be within the law.

For somebody who is the son of former West Cameroon or Federal Cameroon, one who saw real multi-party democracy in action, your frustration should be mammoth…

Very, indeed because it is unthinkable that up to the point that there is loss of life we protect the people who are dishonest by continuing to refuse the setting up of a commission of enquiry. I mean…

If you had a message at this crucial juncture tailored particularly to those of your primary cultural community, the Anglophones, what should the message be?

The Anglophones should sit down as a group and decide how and whether we, as a people, should go on with the present illegally; or to put things legally correct. That is all we need, and it is the urgency of the moment.  For now, we are not together as a matter of law and there is a need either for us to be together or not.

And now another message to Cameroonians at large, including our French-speaking neighbours.

Cameroonians should understand that you can never ever force any group of persons to be together. It is only important that we know that we all have our different sentiments (and backgrounds, cultures), and it is by agreeing to be together that we can get together.

First Published in The Post No 1353