The proposed ban on Anglophone/ Francophone

EDITORIAL 09 May 2019
The proposed ban on Anglophone/ Francophone

Cameroonians have just been informed that a certain experts colloquium, organized in Yaounde recently, has proposed that, because the use of appellations such as ‘Anglophones /Francophones, referring to the people of Cameroon has proven to have become a stumbling block to the effective implementation of the “LIVING TOGETHER” concept, hence these two appellations should be erased from our political vocabulary. In their place, they have suggested that all who belong to the country should be simply referred to as Cameroonians.
While we do not doubt the ability of such learned experts to arrive at this proposal, we strongly want to believe that, one thing which remains obvious is that, these wise men have either been misled, or have voluntarily opted to join the bandwagon of those determined to shy away from the real solutions to the problems of this country, by brandishing shallow imaginations in the name of solutions. That the Colloquium was another of government’s creation, through which to authenticate its policies is nothing to doubt about. All what is obvious is that the stigma of the Anglophone problem is not easy to ignore simply with mere rhetoric.
In the first place it is equally difficult to explain how exactly the so-called ‘LIVING TOGETHER’ concept found its place in our political or cultural life. Cameroon happens to have about two hundred and fifty languages and cultural groupings. There is enough historical evidence to confirm that these multicultural groups have lived together in harmony, involving even cases of inter-marages. There is no proven case of any Cameroonian who has been refused living in any part of this country. There is a provision in the constitution of this country, which gives the right to every Cameroonian to live in any part of the country.
On the other hand, the issue of the distinction between Anglophones and Francophones, is as old as the very concept of reunification and well understood as the bedrock of the reunification itself. It bears the history of two peoples, whom for more than half a century, had been groomed under two different languages and cultures, which in no way can these two cultures and languages be compared to what our learned experts at the colloquium are struggling to equate with two hundred and fifty tribal or ethnic cultures and languages. If our wise men of the Colloquium are proposing that the two appellations of Anglophones and Francophones should be erased from our vocabulary, what then will they do with the two languages that have been officially recognised as the two official Languages?
There is no way we can pretend to do away with the mere appellations and keep the two languages afloat only to contend ourselves with the mere illusion that, the English or French speaking Cameroonian will banish from his mind the very background from which he was formed. The irony of the whole issue is that the wise men have made this proposal to submit to the Musonge-led National Commission for the Promotion of Bilingualism and Multiculturalism. We are aware that the Musonge commission actually went to the field in a form of a dialogue process, got everything that constituted the grievances of the people. It is also true that the people the commission met made such proposals as a return to the federal system. The commission is believed to have made its report. But since it is as a policy that reports of commissions such as this must be submitted to the head of state, which the commission did, nothing has since been heard.
The truth is that in its inability to seek a solution to the raging Anglophone problem, government is only multiplying its errors in the process and perhaps unknowingly, exposing its bad faith. It is important to emphasize that the setting up of the Musonge commission left much hope that this body was a forum for grass root dialogue. While in the field, the commission actually met those it was expected to meet. . That, the Colloquium of wise men is sending its proposals to the Musonge commission, we think it can only amount to dragging Musonge and his group into a mess because this does not in any way come near a solution to the Anglophone problem.
We think this is a proposal which must be dropped as soon as possible before it inflames the crisis even more. For, as it stands, such a proposal simply signals another angle in government’s deliberate attempts to down- play the magnitude of the Anglophone problem. Certainly there is every reason for cynics hold that the Colloquium was designed by whoever initiated it, not to face the reality of the Anglophone problem, but to dance before an audience, the music for which dance is orchestrated from a remote chamber.

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