He studied in some of the most prestigious institutions in the United States, served on several United Nations commissions, achieved the feat of being elected President of the African Diplomats Club in Washington, DC, and served as Ambassador of Cameroon with distinction to many countries. Ambassador Henry Fossung today serves as Chairman of the Southern Cameroons National Council (SCNC), the leading body articulating the case of Southern Cameroons.
Prior to heading the SCNC, Ambassador Fossung was a leading figure within opposition circles serving amongst others as the founder and pioneer Chairman of the National Democratic Party and Executive President of the Liberal Democratic Alliance after the merger of his party. He was active within the vibrant National Coordination of Opposition Parties and was one of the most articulate voices from the opposition during the tripartite talks of 1991. Ambassador Fossung was one of the pillars of the first All Anglophone Conference of 1993 in Buea which set the stage for the rebirth of Southern Cameroons Nationalism.
From the historic delegation that went to the United Nations in 1995, presenting the Southern Cameroons case, the Ambassador remains the most consistent and active in the struggle. He has had his own fair dose of persecution with the most vicious being in 2005 when armed troops vandalized his residence, brutalized SCNC members and sympathizers who had come to welcome him from one of his diplomatic meetings abroad, and arrested so many. The incident caused quite a stir and even the United States Congress came up with a resolution condemning it. Despite mounting persecution, the SCNC has stayed steadfast to its logic of using the force of argument and not the argument of force. In a move which the Ambassador sees as significant, the United Nations recently addressed a letter commending him for using non-violence as a major instrument in the struggle. In an interview with Ajong Mbapndah L, Ambassador Fossung sheds more light on the struggle and sounds upbeat that Southern Cameroons will triumph at the end.
Mr. Ambassador, what exactly is the Southern Cameroons problem all about?
Amb Fossung: Our loss of sovereignty through United Nations deception of “independence by joining” and subsequent annexation.
The motto of the Southern Cameroons National Council is “the force of argument and not the argument of force”. How effective has this been in the struggle and do you believe that it will lead you to victory?
Amb Fossung: It has been very effective in exposing the moral weaknesses of the enemy. It has led to international recognition of the struggle and averted war. Yes, it will lead us to victory because of its appeal both nationally and internationally. The groundwork has been laid.
So many people today lay claim to the leadership of the Southern Cameroons National Council; does this not hamper the progress of the struggle?
Amb Fossung: Any sincere and honest observer knows there is only one SCNC and its legitimate and authentic leadership. The rest is government SCNC and its paid agents. Cameroon papers reveal this fact so irrefutable.
Sometime last year there was a resolution of the United States Congress condemning the brutal assault that you and many others were victim of. What impact did this have on the struggle?
Amb Fossung: The resolution coming from the Congress of the world’s uni-superpower exerted a tremendous impact at home and abroad and helped the recognition of the struggle. The Yaounde regime rushed to Washington to hire a big law firm to follow up my activities in the USA and increased its agents.
Some years back you dragged the government of Her Majesty in the United Kingdom to court. What became of the case?
Amb Fossung: The case is pending in London because of the financial difficulties of the SCNC. The UK as Trustee of the United Nations Trust had no slightest colour of sovereignty to cede the Southern Cameroons to anybody.
Recently the United Nations commended you in your nonviolent approach to the struggle. What meaning did you read into the message since it has over the years been luke warm on the Southern Cameroons problem?
Amb Fossung: That correspondence from the United Nations organization, our former supervisory authority is very encouraging, indeed, giving its previous inertia. The UN now realizes that its power to impose a union without an Act presupposes its power to intervene in case of crises.
In 2005, students were killed in the University of Buea which is the lone Anglo Saxon university located in Southern Cameroons; more were killed in 2006 and at the moment many members of the SCNC were held in detention after arbitrary arrests. What is your response to this and what extra measures are been taken to curb the trend?
Amb Fossung: United Nations independence by joining has been very detrimental to us. La Republic du Cameroun’s self-inflicted delusion of having the power to make or mar in our country has included torture, arrests, and detentions ad nauseam and extra-judicial killings as its response to any dissent. Political and diplomatic actions are been taken to curb the tyrant.
The government of President Paul Biya has repeatedly shunned dialogue, what will be the reaction of the SCNC today if he opens up dialogue?
Amb Fossung: For forty-six years we have learnt that La Republique du Cameroun can never be honest and sincere with us. It delights in fraudulent manipulations. We do not trust them any longer.
Any last words Mr. Ambassador?
Amb Fossung: I am very grateful to seize this opportunity to send our condolences to those whose sons were murdered in cold blood by the trigger-happy regime of President Paul Biya. We regret the loss of our comrades fallen in our common struggle to restore the Southern Cameroons statehood. We pledge to honour these fallen comrades by doubling our efforts to achieve our basic goal. I made the following dedication when I published “Catechism of the Southern Cameroons Question” which is very pertinent and relevant here, that we have neither the force of bullet nor the ballot to defend ourselves against annexation and continued effects of it. But we shall not relent our efforts to achieve our goal. Victory is ours, for no just nationalist struggle was ever lost. So I urge Southern Cameroonians to stand up to their rights which are fundamental and imperscripible. In this fight for freedom, God is our first bullet, our resolve is the second, and the truth of it, our third bullet. The Southern Cameroons is suffering because of causes beyond its control and so we urge the international community to uphold and respect the rule of law, the major prop to any democracy. I pray it to check the excesses of Mr. Paul Biya, the Cameroon despot to ensure our safety and development.