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20 May 1972 Cameroon referendum History

20 May 1972 Cameroon referendum History.

20 May 1972 Cameroon referendum History. Independence Day of Cameroon, Cameroon Independence Day.

Abstract: Cameroon’s National Day.

In following the initiative of Mr. Ahmadou Ahidjo, then president of the Republic of Cameroon, the Cameroon people voted by referendum on May 20, 1972 in favour of transforming the State from a Federation to a Unitarian State. Considered by doctrine as being no more than a civilian « coup d’état », this referendum stands today as the main basis threatening the implosion of Cameroon.

The primary objective of this paper is to présenta review of the literature pertaining to the 1972 referendum, which emphasizes the breaking points and areas of continuity that various authors may impugn one another in their developments on the subject. One sector pf the most authorized doctrine has concluded that the procedure leading up to the 1972 referendum could not legally be taken to task for the simple fact that the referendum was the work of an original constituent power acting ex nihilo and not a derived constituent power acting on the basis of the Federal Constitution.

In reaction to this assumption, the second objective of this paper will be to demonstrate that the sudden emergence from within the State of an original power acting ex nihilo and the implementation by this power of a new legal order does not in any way grant authorization to conclude that the creation of this new legal order is removed from legal criticism. The third objective of this paper is to demonstrate that beyond the legal criticism of the procedure leading up to the implementation of the new legal order, that it is essentially the force of the new power thus emerging, its unchallenged power over the territory that it effectively controlled, that justifies its capacity to found a valid legal order.

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This last observation will be made by an analysis of a recent decision of the Supreme Court of Canada pertaining the issue of Québec sovereignty, whose conclusions will be compared with some of the most important theses arising from the 1972 Cameroon referendum.

Pierre Fabien Nkot
Enseignant à l’Université de Dschang (Cameroun)


20 May 1972 Cameroon referendum History

Version Français (French)

Categories: Cameroon Education
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