Voluminous are gone, our children are distress while the near imminent is full of uncertainty. Only one person have a say of peace that can lead to the solution of ups and downs in Queens region and he is the one who created the problem as will be seen below
The impact of various international regimes in Cameroon that is France and England, is ever of great negative significant to the extent that even the yet to be born children cry of it. The question is “what is an Anglophone palaver? ” or the root causes of Anglophone crisis in Cameroon, it is clear that it all started as a problem when the Anglophone Cameroonians were denied the third option of being an independent country of their own in the 1960s. The following paragraphs define an Anglophone problem and Anglophone crisis or the root causes of Anglophone crisis in Cameroon
The poor foundation of West Cameroon laid down by the United Nations(UN) created an Anglophone problem with the aid of international regimes.
NB Anglophone problem began
There is no doubt that when other countries were asking for their independents from their colonial masters in the 1960s, the Southern Cameroonians were also agitating for theirs also. But unfortunately for the Southern Cameroonians, their quest for total independent was denied by the British in collaboration with UN and France. In this light, they were force with only two option and swept away third option to the dust bin which accordingly was favorite to more than 90 % of the inhabitants of Anglophone Cameroon. The two options were whether to have independent by joining La Republic du Cameroon or by joining Nigeria in 1961. For this reason, West Cameroon was divided into two camps that is, between those who wanted to joined La Republic du Cameroon (rally behind Foncha and his party KNDP) and those who wanted to joined Nigeria (rally behind Endeley). This historic moment was so difficult because that is when the issue of minority actually gain grounds and is the main complaint by the citizens of this region.
This is because both Endeley and Foncha worn the election within their various political jurisdiction that is, Endeley worn in the Northern part of West Cameroon to joined Nigeria on 31 May 1961 and Foncha worn in the Southern part of West Cameroon to joined with La Republic du Cameroon on 1st October 1961.
In denying West Cameroon the right to be self-independent which was influence by British representative to the UN trusteeship council by name Andrew Cohen was because Britain at the time thought it wise that this part of her colony was not economically strong to have a government and to run as a country. With this decision of both the UN and Britain that West Cameroon should gain independent by joining either Nigeria or La Republic du Cameroon, it was the foundation for this current Anglophone crisis that is rocking the entire nation with blood shed flowing everywhere within the jurisdiction of Northwest and Southwest Regions of Cameroon.
Though there was no immediate problem when the Southern part of West Cameroon gaining independent by joining La Republic du Cameroon because as per the constitution of 1961, the territory was to be govern through a federal system of government. This system was to the fact that Southern Cameroon was to be administered different and La Republic different pertaining to their inherited foreign governance. And also that there was to be the office of the president and that of the vice president in which if the president was from La Republic, the vice was to be but from Southern Cameroon and the reverse was true. This type of federal system did not only end within the office of the president but it cut across all government organs within the territory as both part of the country that is French and English regions were also having equal status in the management of the country’s affairs. In other word these were two countries that decide to joined and carried out their activities together with equal status. But this unity started to fall apart when the federal system was abolished in 1972
2 The birth of a unitary state in 1972.
It all started like a play that was going to end in a fiasco but it’s really a mess. On the 20 of May 1972, what is worthy to be describe as a coup d’ etate within the Anglophone jurisdiction was the sudden change of a federal system of government to unitary system because it was not democratically agreed and accepted by the two parties. It was an intelligent which supposedly flows but from the advice given to the president by the French government since all French speaking countries believe not in the validity of federation as a system of governance.
It is worthy to note that this day is always celebrated as a national unity day in Cameroon today which many Southern Cameroonians considered it as being provocative. With this view by many Southern Cameroonians, hearing from the public gathering and many television debate in several panel discussions like during the press hour program in Mother television station (CRTV), many intellectual are of the opinion that 1st October should be celebrated as National unity day rather than 20th May.
Though this problem of centralization of power which is a culture of most or all French speaking countries in the world could be solve in the 1996 when the new constitution was drafted. But it failed to solve the problem because of it ineffective implementation.
3 The failure of Cameroon government to put the 1996 constitution into practice.
President Paul Biya
It is rather unfortunate that the unitary system of government could lead to a war within the jurisdiction of Cameroon because of minority problem in the 1980s. Because of this war of ideas between the French and English regions, the Multiparty system of democracy was introduced in the 1990s which saw the birth of the main political party that is Social Democratic Front (SDF). With this move, there was rapid reduction of minority cry by the Southern Cameroonians. Though this did not quickly amuse the minds of the Southern Cameroonian because in 1994, John Ngu Foncha led a delegation of Cameroons National Council (SCNC) to United Nations seeking for effective autonomy of Anglophone region of Cameroon.
With this move, there was rapid reduction of minority cry by the Southern Cameroonians. Giving hopes to the Southern Cameroonians who have started seeing the possible solution to the minority problems in Cameroon, the constitution which introduces the decentralization system of government was birthed in 1996. Article 55(2) of the constitution governing decentralization system is to the fact that “Regional and local authorities shall be public law corporate bodies. They shall have administrative and financial autonomy in the management of regional and local interests. They shall be freely elected by councils under the conditions laid down by law” article 57 (2) of the same constitution further stipulate that “The regional councils shall be deliberative organ of the region. Regional councils whose term of office shall be five (5) years shall comprise” ………… This means that all the governors were supposed to be elected to office rather than being appointed by the president of the Republic. Because of this impracticability of this constitution of 1996, it has led to many questioning by the citizen and intellectuals in Cameroon.
Thus, if decentralization method of government could have been put to practice before, there could have not been any problem of minority because the effective application decentralization method in a stricto senso means federation as per the constitution of Cameroon 1996.
4 The neglect of lawyers strike in October 2016.
EditBar. Agbor Nkongho and colleagues peaceful protest in Buea
Legal practitioners peaceful protest in Bamenda
NB Anglophone crisis began
It is saddened that when the common law legal minded officers went on strike, the government gave a deaf ear to their demands. This was unfortunate for the government because they thought that these people were going to take it easy that time. The lawyers strike was based on minority and marginalization problems pertaining to the use of French language within the common law jurisdiction by the appointed judges who have no idea about the common law practice. They also went further to question the marginalization of common law principles in favor of French civil law within the jurisdiction of common law, they also demand the government to look into form and system of government. Because of these problems, the lawyers recommended the government to soften grounds for both languages to be implemented in the country on equal bases. And also proposes that the 1961 constitution should be revisit or that the best system of government is two state federation
After giving a deaf hear to the demands of common law lawyers of Northwest and Southwest region of Cameroon, the lawyers decide to went on street expressing their grievances which they hope that the government by that time was going to listen to their cry.
What an astonishment as many describe was the fact that the military dealt with the legal minded persons in the street of Buea and Bamenda mercilessly with serious beatings and seizing their robes.
With this incidents, many Cameroonians were expecting the government to punished the security forces for such a barbaric treatment to intellectuals of all times. But unfortunately, these security men were left unpunished by the government. The minister justice (Laurent Esso) whom the lawyers were looking up to even worsen the situation by saying that the lawyers should remain striking because when they will be hungry they will go back to court. This statement was arrogant and a very true example of hate speech by top ranking government officials towards country’s population. Later on in 17 January 2017 Agbor Balla and others were arrested and detain and later charge with many crimes including terrorism. This scene draws the attention of the international community as many international organizations called for his immediate released.
5 Teachers strike which was neglected also contributed to Anglophone uprising
Failing whole fully to address the common law lawyer’s demands, still in 2016 the month of November, teachers came up with their own demands which was heavier as compare to that of the lawyers.
This was a turning point in the history of Cameroon because the whole of English speaking regions were affected that is both legal and educational sectors were shaken and a rapid slowdown of economic activities. These teachers strike matters not to the government since they thought that the two cubes of sugar were to be melt or dissolve in a bucket of water according to minister of Higher Education (Jacque Fame Ndongo). But unfortunately for them, this cubes of sugar were instead changing gradually into rocks which if care was or will not be taken, it may later be remove from the bucket of water.
The teachers strike was later aggravated to something bigger when students of the university of Buea rose to ask question the vice chancellor (Nalova Lyonga) pertaining to their faith of returning to school since the lecturers were not coming to lecture on the 28 of November 2016. Unfortunately for students, trucks of military arrived in campus while the vice chancellor refuses to surface. This scene saw a gross human rights violation as students were tortured arrest and taken to prison for no just cause. The government still reluctant to address these problems, set up commissions which instead fuel the crisis to a different level
6 The coffin revolution came up with Mancho Bibixy holding the flag of change
Since the government of Cameroon was delaying in addressing lawyers and teacher’s problems, a journalist by name Mancho on the 21st of November 2016 came out openly while standing in a casket cry to the government asking several questions to the government pertaining to while there is no employment and poor infrastructural development to the youth of Bamenda municipality and Cameroon as a whole.
Though this coffin revolution did not tilt toward the present idea of separation, the government thought it wise to arrest mancho bibixy for no just cause. Along many other Anglophones arrested, this people stayed for months without having access to justice before they were later on given a chance in late 2017 for their case to commence at the military court in Yaoundé. Staying closed to two years without any justification from the justice department was a violation of human rights as per ideas which flows from the country’s population and international community. It is suprising that this Bibixy and some others were later in 2018 in the sentence to atleast 15 years’ imprisonment
7 The rise of Anglophone leaders in the diaspora
As the struggle grows higher and attractive, many Anglophones who have been abroad either in search of jobs or for political reasons took upon themselves to continue with the struggle after the arrest of Agbor Balla, Mancho and others who headed the struggle. This was not an easy task for the regime of his excellency president Paul Biya because the game automatically at that time change toward achieving or restoring the independence of Southern Cameroon. Leaders such as Ayuke Tabe, Ayaba Cho, Mark Barah and others arise not to fall again as the struggle goes international.
At this particular time the interim government was formed
with Ayuke Tabe being the interim president. On the 7th of January 2018 Ayuke tabe and others were abducted in Nigeria by people unknown according to original sources and the government of Nigeria denied abducting these people but later in few days after their abduction confirm the abduction. This game of abduction was so suspicious as many questions the legality of the so called arrest pertaining to international laws on extradition. Ayuke Tabe and others were later on extradited to Cameroon thus which the Nigerian authorities lack legal competency to do that. From the 7th of January 2018, the revolution change direction and other leaders started agitating for immediate release of their leaders. Detain in Cameroon within the jurisdiction unknown to any one including their family members, these people stayed they for more than five months without having access to the outside world until late June 23 2018 when rumors of their presence in Cameroon surfaces in public.
8 The deployment of military and their activities in Northwest and Southwest Cameroon
Though there exist hopes of dialogue between the government and Anglophone regions of Cameroon, on the 30th of November 2017 Paul biya the president of Cameroon declared war against the people of Anglophone regions when he was returning from Abidjan where he attended the 5TH African Union-European Submit.
Declaring war upon these regions was what many describe as genocide because declaring war upon part of his country was a human rights abuse since the aim was to prevent the Anglophones from expressing their rights of freedom of speech. Soldiers also willing to serve the situation through a military way embark on torturing, arrest, and shooting indiscriminately in this part of the country.
9 The rapid rise of restoration forces or Ambazonia Defense Force (ADF)
Because of military activities which resulted in killing of many citizens and destruction of properties living people hopeless, Village by village and county by county the youths and adults engage in self-defense tactics which they use against the military or government forces. The military so angry because of the creation of this groups, they engage in burning of villages such as the localities of Kwakwa, Konye, Ekona, and other localities especially in the Southwest region in the name of capturing areas under the control of Ambazonia forces, while doing that the villagers were force to escape to bushes thus leading to more recruitment. This was the birth of what is happening today as children and adult now are being recruited every day in nearly every village to fight and many are willing to fight for revenge. June 2018 saw a rapid increase of these groups across the Anglophone region as many videos of groups are release to that effects. They are of the fact that the military should quit the Anglophone region and give negotiation a chance.
Civil war is looming in Cameroon as the government delayed in dialoging or negotiating with the Anglophone population since in the month of June 2018 there has been serious shooting between the Cameroon soldiers and restoration forces in localities like Kumba, Ekona, Mamfe, Balli, Pinyin, Kwakwa etc.
Thus the government need visit the first or the root cause of this crisis which is the violation of the 1961 agreement or the government need to revisit the 1961 constitution before the commencement of any dialogue
While we pray for quick intervention of international community while it is still early, we the youths as for now enhance everything to God the Almighty because the future is pregnant with the child unknown to us while the United Nations falls asleep