Macron wants historians to investigate

Emmanuel Macron is visiting Cameroon, where he arrived on Monday evening. After his speech to the French community, the president was received by his counterpart Paul Biya. The two heads of state had a one-on-one meeting at the Unity Palace for more than an hour. They then held a joint press conference where the memorial issue was particularly addressed. Emmanuel Macron wants French and Cameroonian historians to work together and a total opening of the archives.

Seven years ago, his predecessor François Hollande was the first French president to recognize repression of separatists in the 1950s and 1960s. Will Emmanuel Macron’s France move forward? He said he was in favor of joint work by Cameroonian and French historians to “shed light” on France’s action in Cameroon during the colonization and after that country’s independence, and announced the “entire” opening of French archives about “painful” and “tragic moments”.

“I solemnly undertake to open our archives in their entirety to this group of historians who will allow us to shed light on this past on individual situations, episodes that you mentioned and describe things very precisely. That is, the involvement of France, the role also of the Cameroonian authorities of the time, before and after independence”, he said. “It is necessary to establish factual” “responsibilities”, added the French president during his joint press conference with Paul Biya.

On Monday, a group of Cameroonian political parties called on Emmanuel Macron to recognize “the crimes of colonial France”. “We have a historic dispute with France (…) We are taking this opportunity to wake up the Cameroonians to the problem with France, which is to put all the crimes of France on the table and settle it once and for all if we want a peaceful relationship,” said Bedimo Kuoh, a member of the African Movement for New Independence and Democracy (Manidem), on Monday during a press conference in Douala.

No timetable is given for the creation of this joint committee of historians and the reproduction of the work.

The only thing we liked was that he confirmed that all archives will be declassified. But for what we asked for, that is, repentance, reparation, we don’t see why we need tons of historical recollections to ascertain facts that have already been established. I think that France is very embarrassed by this story and that it is difficult to commit.

Anicet Ekané, president of the Manidem party, an opposition movement historically linked to the UPC separatists

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