Mola Njoh Litumbe is Dead, Long Live Mola Njoh: The Man, His Life & His Thoughts
One of the oldest and staunch advocates of the Southern Cameroons pro-independence movement, Mola Njoh Litumbe has died, but his memories are just being born and will likely live longer that he physically stayed on earth.
Born on February 4, 1927 in Buea, the Chairman of the Liberal Democratic Alliance (LDA), died in Douala Tuesday, May 26, 2020 of a protracted illness, family members say.
Mola Njoh’s remains, family sources confirmed, have been preserved at the mortuary of the Buea Regional Hospital Annex pending funeral arrangements. He was widowed and is survived by four children. He will be remembered for widely advocating the right to self-determination of indigenes of the once independent state of Southern Cameroons.
Mola Njoh Marking a SOBA Event
He has suffered arrests, house arrests, intimidation as he constantly aired his views on the subject without fear of the Yaounde regime. Mola Njoh has taken the case of Southern Cameroonians to international jurisdictions and institutions.
On February 17, 2014, he was speaker at a colloquium held as part of activities to commemorate Cameroon’s 50th Anniversary of reunification. The colloquium had as theme “From Reunification to Integration.” Mola Njoh told his audience that included the Prime Minister, head of government among other state dignitaries that “there is no documentary evidence at the United Nations Organization (UNO) as required, that Southern Cameroons and La Republique du Cameroun legally yoked together to become one country – Cameroon.” He likened the union between the two entities as mere cohabitation – what he humorously referred to as “njumba marriage”.
On May 28, 2011, Mola Njoh organised a press conference in Buea during which he presented his book, “Case of the Annexation of the UN British Administered Territory of Southern Cameroons.” In the 48-page book, written in French and English, Mola Njoh said, is also a “Critical review of the Formation and Dissolution of the State of the Federal Republic of Cameroon”.
“Southern Cameroons has never got independence from Britain. We merely changed our slave master from Britain to la Republique du Cameroon,” Mola Njoh stressed. “We have just been annexed. This is crime against humanity because colonialism is abolished”.
When the Southern Cameroons resistance turned into an armed conflict, he is known to have gone mute, especially given that he had all his life upheld the force of argument and not the reverse.
Early Life and Career
Mola Njoh (Sasse Old Boys Association (SOBA) admission number 225), enjoys the distinction of belonging to the first group of young men to graduate from St. Joseph’s College Sasse, with the University of Cambridge Senior Schools Certificate. He retired as a Chartered Accountant, was a well-known political activist, Chairman of the Liberal Democratic Alliance (LDA).
“Sasse College was the melting pot for the brightest young men, from all over British Cameroons, who had passed Standard Six. We were admitted into Sasse in January 1942; there were about forty of us, only nine of us actually graduated. The overwhelming majority having fallen out for many reasons, some financial but mostly on account of the academic rigours of our education,” Mola Njoh told journalists in 2013.
Mola Njoh was amazingly comfortable on a computer keyboard, something that people his age, all over the world, are scared stiff by. He held that the typewriting he learnt in Sasse prepared him adequately for his new age. He recalled often that he was subjected to a severe flogging by Fr. Julius Peeters, who was their Mathematics teacher, because of a dip in his performance in that subject. The beating must have greatly spurred him because, from then on, his results in Maths became the talk of the school and underscored his success in his Accountancy studies and subsequent career as a Chartered Accountant.
Featuring Mola Njoh (Left to Right) Late Justice Ebong Alobwede- John Akuroh- Late Mola Njoh & Dexter Brains of SCTV
“Young men need to be kept on the straight and narrow, if secondary education is going to prepare them for later life,” he always said of the school thrashing experience.
Armed with the Cambridge Senior Schools Certificate, the young graduate went out straight to the job market. Mola Njoh took up a job as a junior accounts clerk in the offices of the CDC in Buea on a salary of £2.00 (about USD2.5) a month to which was added COLA (Cost of Living Allowance) of £1 and 4 shillings. His mates who were employed by the government were paid £6.00 (about USD7.38).
He later became Chairman of the Akintola Williams group and founded the Cameroon Institute of Chartered Accountants, known by the French acronym ONECCA, as the founding President of the Institute.
Mola Njoh, in October 2017, during the peak of the Southern Cameroons resistance, had stated that he was for complete independence of Southern Cameroons. He made this clear assertion upon his return from a mission on behalf of the Southern Cameroons to the United States, the United Nations, and Europe and based on the fact that the Cameroon government party, CPDM elite sent on an appeasement and fact-finding mission to the once independent territory of Southern Cameroon had expressed the wish to meet him.
Apparently irked by the brutal killing of Southern Cameroonians by armed soldiers during their peaceful march, he told Cameroon Postline: “The Government has crossed the red line; they have proven beyond reasonable doubts that Southern Cameroonians can never live together in harmony with La République du Cameroon because”.
According to him, Southern Cameroonians have been reduced to something less than dogs; “that is why they were brutally killed for the simple reasons that they were exercising their fundamental human rights by marching with peace plants to ask for what rightfully belongs to them.”
He lamented: “How do you dialogue and accept to live happily with somebody who takes delight in killing your family members. If you have a son and the son is wayward, you don’t kill him; rather, you punish him and take him back into the house. Nobody has the right to take away human lives when we have institutions that can legally try offenders to see if they are guilty of any crime”.
“Southern Cameroons had been sufficiently educated and prepared to graduate into full independence on October 1, 1961, but power was never handed over to them; instead, the British surreptitiously handed over the instrument of power over British Southern Cameroons overnight to President Ahmadou Ahidjo as a colonial territory to add to their own territory,” Mola Njoh explained.
“I told the Political Affairs Department in the UN that, to solve this issue, they need to invite La République du Cameroun and Southern Cameroons to the UN to get into an agreement, which will be put into writing, such that both parties come together as equal partners and that if both parties cannot agree, then, let them go their separate ways, because, what we have now is akin to an “Akwara (prostitution)” or “Njomba (sterile romance)” kind of arrangement,” he maintained.
“My position now, in the light of the massacre of Southern Cameroonians, is that La République has crossed the red line, so, we should proceed to have our own State,” he concluded.
The Political Leader
The Liberal Democratic Alliance (LDA) party was born out of a merger between the National Democratic Party, NDP, and the Liberal Democratic Party, LDP, headed respectively by Hon. Henry Fosung and Mola Njoh. The Party was founded on an incredibly attractive mission statement bulwarked by a rich array of talents on September 5, 1993.
Mola Njoh Litumbe in the Frontlines, Washington DC June 2018
Article 1 of the manifesto with headquarters in Buea and Chairman Mola Njoh Litumbe, runs thus “The Republic of Cameroon as at present constituted came into being as a result of the Foumban Concordat of 1961. Political evolution during the ensuring thirty years has led to the amendment of certain provisions of that concordat, but certain other provisions remain stagnant, apparently through a lack of political will for their enforcement. Whilst the LDA may not necessarily agree with all previous constitutional amendments effected in the past, it is considered however, that the time has come to revitalise that real spirit of the Foumban Concordat.”
Mola Njoh Litumbe who had formed part of the Alliance for Change along with the SDF in 1992, dissociated himself from the Alliance that privileged national interest over those of the group, whereby he articulated the concerns of the minorities when he observed that “national integration should be achieved not by the misguided policy of suffocating peace-loving indigenous minorities by an overzealous migrant population.”
He said that national integration should “be based on diversity, rather than imposed uniformity inconsistent with the genuine feelings of the population” (Cameroon Post, March 11, 1997). It would be spurious to attribute this volte face to the landslide defeat that the LDA suffered in the hands of the SDF, a defeat which Mola Njoh attributed to the foregrounding of essentialism or ethnic rather than programmatic concerns, in the Municipal elections in 1997 in Buea considered as his natural constituency.
Mola Njoh, has said Southern Cameroons would achieve their independence pursuits if the movements came together and spoke with one voice. He maintained this stance, refusing to align with any single group against the other until his death May 26 at the Muna Clinic in Douala.
Negotiating an Anglophone Identity: A study of the politics of recognition and representation in Cameroon. (Additional information gotten from SOBA 75th Anniversary Chronicles – Last Man Standing by John Mbame).