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Anglophone Question Will Answer Francophone Equation 

By Bouddih Adams

Many honest and goodwill Francophones have intimated that answering the Anglophone question will also solve the Francophone equation. Equation here is not used in the mathematical sense of the word but in the socio-political sense as in the 3rd definition of the word in the Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary [International Students Edition] which states: “A problem or situation in which several things must be considered and dealt with.”

The Biya regime has, in the face of the Anglophone Problem, been doing two things to get the sympathy and bias of Francophones. In its intransigence toward the Anglophone Question, there has been the misinterpretation of the Federation that Anglophones want Secession. Secondly, the impression is being given that Anglophones hate Francophones. This is a fallacy! Anglophones have a problem with the system and not with their Francophone compatriots.

The former Governor in the Northwest and Southwest, erstwhile Secretary General at the Presidency of the Republic, ex-Minister of Higher Education, the very erudite David Abouem a Tchoyi, in his treatise in which he elucidates the Anglophone Problem, unambiguously, situates the problem with the system, not with compatriots.

Hear him: “This is not a problem between Anglophones and Francophones; there has never been a conflict between compatriots on both shores of the Mungo, on the basis of linguistic differences. It is not the rejection of what comes from Francophone Cameroon; no community in the Northwest or Southwest has never opposed the practice in its territory of Bassa, Beti, Bamilike, Peuhl, Sawa … or other communities of East Cameroon.

”It is not, on the part of our compatriots in these two regions, an obsessional mania and a morbid desire to exalt the Anglo-Saxon colonial heritage or to cling to it in order to demand its taking into account. It is not, and it’s very important, a desire to undermine national unity, apart from extreme manifestation such as those calling for secession.

“At the time of the federal state, Cameroon was no less united than today. The national feeling was even stronger at that time, perhaps because we had just regained our freedom” (translated version taken from Cameroon Panorama).      

We were shocked the other day while watching TV when a supposed Francophone intellectual claimed that he was just coming back from Buea and Francophones in that town have been earmarked for elimination. The allegation appears to suit Government’s intents and purposes, which, probably, is the reason why the government has redeployed gendarmes from places where they are more needed like Nkoletong and Bastos, where they are supposed to be protecting diplomats and international missions, to Buea.

We consider such people as Government agents and assigns with the mission to serve as agent provocateurs; create a situation in which the people would react and then the Government would marshal and deploy troops to act in exponential proportions.

If not, why would people decide on a sit-in strike and are keeping their children at home and Government is busily militarising the place and the troops are getting right into their homes and arresting them.

The random arrest of people has also been seen as a sort of provocation so that the people react and the Government now orders the troops to descend on them and commit pogrom. In other words, the heavy presence of troops and their activities is rather terrorising even children who might be willing to go to school but their parents are keeping them at home.

The Anglophone Question does not need a military answer. The sit-in strike action and peaceful observance of ghost town does not need a military reaction.

Nevertheless, most Francophones have observed that Anglophone grievances are genuine, only a few, who have a reason for not wanting the form of Government where there will be transparency and responsibility as demanded by Anglophone leaders, are against it. Why, they may lose their benefits from the convoluted status quo. Hence their fight against the Anglophone Question is a selfish fight.

Just like in the past, Anglophone demands, if granted, are sometimes even more beneficial to Francophones. For instance, when Anglophones asked for the creation of an Anglo-Saxon University in Buea, four were created to make five for Francophones; Yaounde II, Douala, Dchang and Ngaoundere plus the mother Yaounde I university.

When Anglophones clamoured for the creation of the Cameroon General Certificate or Education, GCE Board; Francophones benefitted as the Baccalaureate Board or BAC Board was created even before the GCE Board.

If what Anglophones want is granted, a locality in Maroua will, to guard against cholera, not wait for Yaounde to order that they get a latrine in the back of their compound, instead of defecating in the open air. The people of Nguelemedouka will not wait for orders from Yaounde to dig a bore hole in order to get potable water than drinking water from streams with their attendant water-borne diseases. The people will pick their leaders who would be answerable to them; answers will be readily found to community questions and solutions easily reached to local problems.



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