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CPDM MP Calls On Biya To Address Anglophone Problem 

By Nformi Sonde Kinsai

Hon. Martin Oyono

Hon. Martin Oyono

Hon. Martin Oyono, CPDM Member of Parliament, MP, for the Ocean Division in the South Region, has called on President Paul Biya to address the nation and assure the people of the Northwest and Southwest Regions on how the legitimate grievances tabled by the lawyers, teachers and students would be tackled.

He made the call while responding to questions at a press conference in Yaounde last December 15 under the theme:

“parliamentary communication for peace and inclusive development through dialogue in diversity”.

He said the initiative to address the press was a citizen’s contribution with regard to the severe crisis rocking the Northwest and Southwest Regions – two regions which present the typical history of the English-speaking people and the Anglo-Saxon culture.

“Some of our compatriots from this part of Cameroon have exercised their legitimate right to corporatist claims, put forward by lawyers, teachers and university students.

These grievances have been expressed through public demonstrations organised for diverse reasons for which some were genuine and others not.

“Unfortunately, these demonstrations were destructive, disastrous and regrettable. The violence that ensued plunged the entire country into confusion, consternation and indignation,” Hon. Oyono stated.

Expressing sympathy to all those affected, he declared his support to the forces of law and order who safeguarded persons and goods, urging all to respect laws and regulations.

“I strongly condemn all atrocities, physical attacks, acts of torture and humiliation,” which are unacceptable in a democracy like that of Cameroon, he said.

Oyono noted that the desecration of the flag which brings together our differences and a sense of belonging is appalling and unjustified.

“The burning of public or private buildings, cars, among others, are acts of vandalism that cannot be justified by any claim,” the MP held.

He referred to Cameroon as a State governed by law and justice which, therefore, excludes at all times and in all circumstances, anarchy, arbitrariness and the temptation for self justice.

The use of republican justice, which is based on national laws and other international commitments, should be the rule and the only means of claiming one’s rights,” he maintained.

Hon. Oyono recalled Article 1 (2) of the 1996 Constitution which states that Cameroon is a decentralised unitary state and that in case such a reality is denied at the government, administrative or advocacy level, “such acts will be condemned by the national community because Cameroonians are proud of their unity and envious of their togetherness.”

“…Section 1 (3) of the Constitution has adopted English and French as the official languages of equal value.

And it is not by chance that English comes before French in the constitutional numbering order.

The reversal of such constitutional precedence in practice or the premeditated or unconscious minimising of a language for the benefit of the other, can lead to legitimate frustrations that give room to social claims” Oyono told the press.

He outlined challenges affecting both Anglophones and Francophones to include the non-compliance to promotion of bilingualism, poor and unusual implementation of decentralisation, lack of follow-up on policies to stem mass unemployment, isolation, corruption, administrative predation, monopolising of common goods by some people, inertia, lack of careful planning, incompetence, lack of patriotism and failure to take general interest into consideration.

According to him, the consequences of the defects don’t spare any region and the solution cannot be avoidance, stigmatisation of some people by others or splitting of the country.

He admitted the existence of the Anglophone Problem and blamed it on confusion. He, however, said the problem has two faces – linguistic and cultural.

“All Government services in Cameroon have translation services and staff deemed competent [and] nothing justifies the fact that legislative and regulatory texts are not concomitantly delivered in the two official languages” adding that English is the language of international business.

Culturally, the MP remarked that the people of former British Southern Cameroons have a peculiar lifestyle, specific social codes, school and university systems that are completely different from that being practised by the French compatriots.

He cited the Bachelor-Masters-Doctorate system in the universities, the new criminal procedure code, programme budgeting, among others, as reforms in the country that are Anglo-Saxon inspired.

He recommended national integration as panacea to the ongoing crisis.

“It should not be the attitude of withdrawal, closure, rejection, stigmatisation, scorn, assimilation or wilful unconscious absorption of the other which no longer have a place in a society where inter-community marriages are clearly on the rise.

It is a question of mutual respect,” Oyono cautioned.

“There is no justification that, till date, regional councils only remain in the spirit of the constitution.

We belief that if nothing is done in this direction, the so-called Anglophone crisis, which followed regional memoranda, will resurface sooner or later…

The current immobility, unfortunately, fosters appeals for secession backed by some because the policy on decentralisation has not been fully implemented and sustained.

He described recent attempts by the CPDM to organise a rally in Bamenda that turned violent as an act of provocation by comrades of his party.

He noted that a delegation of MPs drawn from across the political board would have done the trick. He said recent declarations in Parliament by Hon.

Wirba exposing the reaction of some members of Government to the Anglophone Question demonstrated marks of irresponsibility by francophone compatriots.

He said it is high time President Biya addresses the nation clearly stating how the Anglophone issue would be resolved in Cameroon.

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