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Revisiting the solutions to the Ongoing crisis in The Cameroons

A reply to the article : Biya Needs to devise a monumental shift if Cameroon is to turn the corner" as published in The Conversation

Dear Prof. Amin J.

I read the article with keen attention and I thank that author for his opinion and suggestions. I totally agree with the very captivating title that there is need for a monumental shift in policies for any positive change in The Cameroons.

Unfortunately, the article falls short of stating clearly the “tangible” things that can be done to qualify the term “monumental shift”. Subtly put, the things listed and apparently considered monumental by the author are indeed cosmetic changes.

When the author says Biya should appoint Anglophones to strategic positions, I think that writer either does not understand the Southern Cameroons crisis, history or what people really want or NEED. It is not about appointments.

Let us even forget about secession. The anglophone crisis cannot be resolved by appointments. Aren’t anglophones now the ministers of Territorial Administration, and that of Basic Education for the first time in decades? What difference will it make if there are 20 anglophone ministers and 5 from francophone areas operating under the current governance/ form of government? I can assure you that almost nothing positive will change.

The problem at the very least, is about autonomy and change in the form of governance/state. Biya knows that and he has refused to accept it. That should be the monumental change the author should have or might have been referring to. It is not about appointments.

David Abouem A Tchoyi, former appointed governor of Northwest and South west provinces and now a member of the useless/moribund National Bilingualism and Multicultural Organization said this so clearly.

Littoral, Adamawa, Centre Province, East, South, West provinces etc. have NEVER been self governing. However, Southern Cameroons (Anglophone Cameroon) has been self governing and they want to continue being self governing. That is where the problem lies.

It is also not about saying that corruption is all over the country, bad roads everywhere, poor power and water supply everywhere etc. Or that everyone is suffering. If everyone is suffering, why is everyone not hungry for change? So, the issue is not about underdevelopment or appointments.

Secondly, the author says Bamilekes were designated as enemies in the house. I stand corrected. However, when late Emma Basile, the bigot, used the term “enemies in the house” or enemies dans la maison, he was directly referring to anglophones because Anglophone spearheaded the wind of change in the 1990s with the support of some Bamilekes. Maybe Bamilekes could be added there but Ema Basile’s diatribe was first an foremost directed anglophones.

Furthermore, the issue is not only about having 2 anglophone general managers of state para-statals out of 150. Another and more important question is, are these para-statals even duly paying ALL required taxes to local councils as should be the case where they are located? It is not the case. Most of them should even belong various regional governments and be managed from there, not national government.

There is need for autonomy in fiscal policies, legislation, education etc. There is no way one can dismiss the colonial heritage of The Cameroons. Canada, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium are all glaring examples. We will live with that until the French/Francophone assimilation of Southern Cameroons (Anglophone Cameroon) is completed maybe in the next 1000 years.

I am not so much a fan of affirmative action. People need at the minimum, autonomy/federation to manage their affairs. NOT decentralization. The lawyers clearly stated in their protests that a two state federation or independence would be a solution for the problem. Whatever solution or monumental shift in Biya’s policies must be driven by that statement from Southern Cameroons lawyers at the start of the ongoing conflict. It is the beginning and the end of this conflict.

Mr. Biya has been talking about decentralization for over 2 decades. He repeated it at his swearing in on November 06, 2018. What has happened or changed? It means he is not ready for the monumental shift you are maybe talking about.

How can decentralization work when you have positions like DOs, SDOs Government Delegates etc. Such positions should be simply scrapped or ENAM shutdown altogether. No kind of effective decentralization, talk less of federation can work with such positions or with the existence of such a school. The current dispensation does not allow for decentralization to bloom, talk less of federation. Those are details we cannot afford to gloss over when talking about meaningful change in The Cameroons

Belgium stayed for about a year without a federal government. Most countries in the developed world can survive without federal governments for so long. We are bound to compare ourselves with developed countries because we want to be like them in terms of development. Our measuring rod should not be mediocre and “shithole” countries with “shithole” people.

Someone in Lewoh, Furawa, Idenau, Nkambe etc. should not be able to breathe simply because Yaoundé cannot breathe. Primitive way of thinking, isn’t it? That is what is destroying Africa. Too much centralization of power.

Again, I thank the author for his contribution, but the suggestions fall way below expectations.

AGENDIA ALOYSIUS in Edmonton, Canada


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