For sometime now, there has been some crisis in Cameroon with little effort on the side of government to settle it.
Cameroon is a country with two official languages – English and French. For this reason they have the smaller Anglophone region and the bigger part of the country, Francophone region. The Francophone community have been enjoying certain privileges for a long time now, including best schools, Teachers using French as the teaching language, representation in government appointments and more. Basically you’d rather be a French to make it in Cameroon.
The Anglophone region decided to make a peaceful protest in regards to all this and more which unfortunately has escalated into something else, with the government using brutal force on them and arresting leaders everywhere. From an interaction with one of the youths from the Anglophone regions in Cameroon, schools are currently closed in the region, internet has been cut off, some of them are being hurt and leaders are being arrested. They are still doing the protest in the form of creating a ghost town every Mondays and Tuesdays – where they all stay indoors and the city looks abandoned.
New African Chapter (NAC) has been following this and has decided it’s time to lend their voice to the “Bamenda Crisis”. Read below, the letter from their President to H.E. Paul Biya, the President of Cameroon.
“HIS EXCELLENCY PAUL BIYA
Dear Mr. President,
NAC APPEALS THAT THE CRISES IN BAMENDA NEEDS YOUR ATTENTION AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE
Very few countries are bilingual that is, they have two official languages like Canada and your dear nation Cameroon. Language has always been a barrier and breeding grounds for crises due to misunderstanding between people of which the current happenings in Bamenda in Cameroon attests that fact. Mr. President NAC would have to outline some demographical facts about your country for the sake of readers who might not be familiar with your dear country. Eight out of the ten regions of Cameroon are primarily Francophone; representing 83% of the country’s population and 2 are Anglophone, representing 17% of the country’s population. It appears the Anglophone proportion of the country is in constant regression, having decreased from 21% in 1976 to 20% in 1987 and to 17% in 2005, and is estimated at 16% in 2015.
From the little facts above it appears the Francophone community has and will always have their way and the Anglophone will have their say which we (NAC) see as the root of the crises. But Mr. President I think you will bear with us (NAC) that variety is the spice of life therefore room should be made to accommodate people who have different ideas, faith, perspective, tastes, etc name them from us, after all if the Almighty wanted us to think and behave the same he could have.
Mr. President, as thousands of English-speaking Cameroonians in the main opposition stronghold of Bamenda, Cameroon, are chant “we are ready to die” if the military attempts to use violence on a nationwide peaceful protest against the marginalization of nearly 10 million citizens living in English-speaking regions, we pray you don’t turn a deaf ear to their request. So that the peace you’ve been enjoying for some time now until this crises will still prevail.
We NAC from the information reaching us from the streets of Bamenda, means the solution to end these more than 50 years of marginalization is inclusive dialogue between both sides and nothing else. We need the president to negotiate with his countrymen on a level-playing ground.
Education is key therefore, the progress of the curriculum shouldn’t be crossed neither should instructional time be wasted but in this case all schools in the English-speaking regions are shut down and thousands are protesting. . Most key positions and schools in the country are reserved for French-speaking citizens only which must be very disheartening is you are from Cameroon and you are not a Francophone. You must have French names like Atanagana or Mvondo to succeed which is quite discriminative.
Mr. President, since 1961, grievances between English-speaking and French-speaking citizens have never reached a dialogue table for sleeping dogs to lie, but we plead with you that under your esteemed watch, this problem is not managed but solved completely.
Thank you Mr. President! We hope you will put Cameroon first and solve this issue amicably.
Accept, Dear President, the assurance of our highest consideration.
(President, New African Chapter)