-Reveals imminent implementation of Special Status for Anglophone regions
By NOELA EBOB BISONG
Paul Biya, President of the Republic of Cameroon has said the dilemma currently ongoing in his country, notably in its two English speaking regions, is rooted in the country’s complex colonial history. Biya, speaking during a debate platform coordinated by business magnate, Mo Ibrahim of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, on Tuesday, November 12, 2019, in the course of the second edition of the Paris Peace Forum in France, acknowledged that the problems in the English-speaking regions stem from the country’s history, characterised by first German annexation and then British and French rule, after Germany’s defeat during the First World War. By his brief explanation to the panel, Biya pointed out that his country Cameroon was one prior to German annexation and even during German rule.
President Biya, in a relaxed and confident manner, held that the system of divide and rule practiced by colonial masters, (France and Britain) who partitioned the country after the First World War, divided the population, which at independence in the early sixties, culminated to cultural differences currently responsible for the country’s present predicaments.
According to Biya, the inherited cultural and civilisation differences from the French and British have gone to make things very difficult for the country to stay intact as a nation, though much has been done by his government to ensure equality. He maintained that the mentality and systems of education, judiciary etc remain different which have gone to create a conflict which his government is trying to resolve at the moment.
Biya nonetheless held that the problems faced by his country Cameroon remain crucial to the state, reason why a Special Status has been prescribed to be accorded to the two Anglophone regions. President Biya however clearly pointed out that according a Special Status to the two regions does not in any way make it separate from the rest of the country, but is meant to ensure more inclusiveness and to ensure that their specificities in terms of identity are not engulfed in the francophone majority.
The pronouncement of a Special Status for the North West and South West regions was the main fruit brought forth by the Major National dialogue which held in Cameroon last September 30- October 4, 2019, as instructed by President Biya.
Over a month since the recommendation, little or nothing has been done in line with framing the content and its implementation, safe for some Anglophones who have been describing what content the Special Status package should contain. This had made some to quickly judge that the organisation of the Major National Dialogue was just a way of winning public and foreign sympathy but with no good intention of putting an end to the bloodshed ongoing in the country’s restive North West and South West regions.
However, with President Biya, for the first time talking (on foreign soil) about the implementation of a Special Status as a way of limiting the country’s problems and the fact that the November session of Parliament is on, many fingers have again been crossed to see if the implementation of the Special Status is just around the corner.
The Paris Peace Forum which brought together at least thirty Heads of State across the globe, was aimed to promote collective action and cooperation amongst countries.