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What Is Your Take On Cameroon’s 50th Independence Anniversary Celebrations 

Compiled by Daniel Gwarbarah & Leocadia Bongben, Francis Tim Mbom, Olive Ejang Ngoh, Elvis Tah & Lydie Yuri

I Don’t See Any Good Faith In It
I see the celebration as an aspect of Francophone domination of Anglophones. When the Anglophones want to celebrate their independence on October 1, La République always rallies troops to disrupt it and make sure that it doesn’t take place. Today, they are coming up with another independence anniversary celebration, which was the day French Cameroon had her independence. I don’t see any good faith in it. The two territories should celebrate their independence without any interference from the Francophone-led government. 
Martin Besong Arrey, UB Student 

It Is A Mockery Of The Anglophones
I think it is a mockery to the Anglophones because when it comes to Southern Cameroons celebrating October 1, which is her Independence Day, the Biya government sends troops everywhere to terrorise people but when it comes to theirs, it becomes a national issue. I should say there is no unity in Cameroon because if there was unity, both territories would celebrate their independence day. But to say we should celebrate the 50th anniversary of independence of French Cameroon is a mockery because we cannot celebrate it; we don’t feel like we belong to the same nation.
Eyong Eta Mbuagbaw, Buea

We Aren’t Part Of It
The independence anniversary celebration has nothing to do with us Anglophones because East Cameroon had her independence in 1960, while West Cameroon had hers in 1961, so I don’t see why Anglophone Cameroonians should take part in the independence anniversary celebration of French Cameroon. It is not necessary; we are not part of it. The 1961 constitution spells out clearly that the Anglophones and the Francophones had equal opportunities but right now, everything has been distorted and the Anglophones have no say in the present regime.

The constitution has been mutilated; Biya is changing everything at will just because he wants to remain in power. Look at what he has recently changed; that you cannot be tried even if you commit a crime as a president! I think Biya is not a Cameroonian because if he was, he wouldn’t have been tampering with the constitution the way he is doing.
Foretia Nkafu, Teacher, Buea

We Shouldn’t Distort History
When I hear of independence anniversary celebration, it gives me a type of cloud because as far as I know, 1960 was when La République had its independence and that makes it 50 years now. But I am surprised that we should be included in the celebration because in 1961, when La République and Southern Cameroons became one in the sense that we had what we called re-unification.

That is the genuine celebration that we are looking forward to in 2011, which concerns the whole of the Republic of Cameroon. We should feel ourselves included. Now, it is difficult for us to accept the celebration of 50th anniversary to be generalised. I think that it is misleading. We should understand where the truth lies and we should not distort history.
Mola Tennyson Ekema Luma, Buea

There Are A lot Of Falsehoods
I think that any nation that is built on falsehood is bound to collapse. The proclamation of the Head of State with regard to independence without specifying which independence we are celebrating is a blatant display of a lack of history of the nation that he purports to govern. I think that there is a lot of falsehood and the proper steps to take are to begin to correct those falsehoods. For instance, there is a section in Cameroon that regards May 20 as a robbery or as a rape of a particular people and that notion has to be corrected before we proceed to continue to celebrate that day.

Secondly, there is the issue of February 11, which has now been styled as Youth Day. I think that it is also an attempt to wipe out a whole history and an event that has a lot of significance in the lives and culture of the people of this nation. And I think that until the Head of State begins to address these focal issues, whatsoever thing he does cannot stand. You cannot put something on nothing and expect it to stand. It will definitely collapse.
Martin Dikanjo Esingila, Pupil Barrister, Limbe

It is A Mockery of Anglophone Cameroonians
I think that the Head of State’s declaration about the 50th anniversary celebration of independence is making a mockery of Cameroonians. A mockery because when you walk back memory lane, the date that gives you 50 years behind is the 1st of January 1960, the day French Cameroon got its independence from France. And now, when Biya says it will be celebrated, you are indirectly saying that you have cut off part of the territory from that independence celebration. So when is that territory going to celebrate its own independence? It means that they too will be doing it by next year because they too recognise their independence as at 1961 on October 1.

So what is good for the goose is also good for the gander. In 1984, a unilateral decision, again, was taken which would have been an issue of a referendum to decide about the change of the name of the country. But Biya went ahead and changed the name to La République du Cameroun which is the name of the French part of the country at independence. So the 50th anniversary as held by Biya is a mockery; it is a continuation of the coup d’etat that the French leaders governing our country have put in place for a long time.
Barrister Sylvester Awasume, Limbe

We Are Waiting For The Independence Of Anglophone Cameroon
I think January 1 is the independence day of French Cameroon. But, as a matter of fact, we are still waiting for the independence of Anglophone Cameroon. The celebrations were meant to bring happiness to the two parties, the Francophone and the Anglophones. To me, I think there is nothing so bad for this particular celebration.
Ashu Stephen, ENS Yaounde
 
Anniversary Is Not For The United Republic Of Cameroon

Going by history, this country was divided into two, with one part being Anglophone Cameroon and French Cameroon. La République du Cameroun was given independence in 1960, but Anglophone Cameroon only joined La République to form the United Republic of Cameroon in 1961 and that was one year later. If we go by history therefore, it will be fair to say that 50 years anniversary celebration is for La République and not for the United Republic of Cameroon.

If the marriage between La République and Anglophone Cameroon is authentic and valid, the 50 years should have been celebrated in 2011 for it to be more encompassing. The fact that a part of the country is celebrating and another is one year from its 50th anniversary celebration is a clear indication that national unity in Cameroon is still to become a reality.
Joe Wankuy, Yaounde

It Should Be Celebrated On October 1
For me I think the 50th independence anniversary celebrations should not be done on January 1, as we saw it last week. The day should be celebrated on October 1; the day the Anglophone Cameroon joined La République du Cameroun to become one nation. This day should be the Independence Day.
Nfor Solange, Yaounde

We Are Happy With The Celebrations
In fact, the French Cameroon section of the country is celebrating its independence. But we know that Cameroon is made up of the French and British Cameroons. Since they are our brothers, even with our grievances, we will still join with them to celebrate. As you know, there is a saying that ‘united we stand, divided we fall’. If we allow them to celebrate alone, we would not be doing anything good. So Cameroon is Cameroon, and we are happy with the celebrations.
Ferdinand Kum, Teacher, Yaounde

January 1 Is Of No Significance
To me, January 1 is of no significance in the history of Cameroon. To me, October 1 should be celebrated because that is the day the two territories officially unified under the independence status to form the Federal Republic of Cameroon. Celebrating January 1 is like confirming the general opinion that the Anglophones were annexed by the Francophones and that has provoked secessionist tendencies in the Anglophones who believe that they are marginalised in the society.
George Buh, Principal, Yaounde

We Are Still Under The Firm Grip Of France
Historically, French Cameroon is celebrating its 50 years of independence, while the Anglophone part of Cameroon is at 49. However, I am still questioning the type of independence we are celebrating when we are still under the firm grip of France. We don’t have a currency of our own as the FCFA is being managed by the French treasury. Whatever the case, I am urging all Cameroonians to continue to work hard in order for us to one day achieve true independence.
Thomas Ndam, Businessman, Yaounde

Unique Opportunity
I think it is a unique opportunity for us to take stock of the state of our unity as Anglophones and Francophones. I think one of the greatest achievements is the recent harmonisation of the criminal procedure code even though its effective implementation is another story. The 50 years celebration should be used as a milestone for the harmonisation of other sectors of the society in order to inculcate a sense of belonging into all Cameroonians if truly we want to live as one nation.
Claude Nyang, Teacher, Yaounde

Let Biya Celebrate
Anniversary celebration is a character for Biya to keep stumbling into new controversies. I understand this country does not have a single day for independence because we the Anglophone section have a different day of independence from the Francophone.  Biya’s 50 years of independence does not make sense if he is thinking about a country that has two distinct parts. This is a country that loves celebrating, so let him be celebrating.  Remember he has been celebrating ever since he came into power for the La République and not the Anglophone part of Cameroon.  He is a president of celebrations while the rest of the country is suffering.
John Menkefor, Bamenda

We’re Celebrating Unity!
Cameroon is celebrating 50 years of Cameroonian idea, idea of two peoples, two cultures made up of over 250 ethnic groups with over 200 linguistic groups coming together.  We are celebrating 50 years of what is called effective national integration, 50 years of national unity, peace; a peaceful nation surrounded by turbulent waters, an island of peace and celebrating a maturity in a people who recognize that they can use their divergences to advantage and celebrating unity to diversity.
Jude Waindem, Bamenda

No Need For Anniversary Celebrations
We understand that Cameroon’s issue of independence has been contested by some people because of the political history of the country.  We had two Cameroons both of which had independence on different dates. So some people agree that Cameroon has no independence day as such, there is no need for anniversary celebrations.  But I also think that there have been some improvements, even though unity has grown with Anglophones.
Aminateh Nkemngu, Eden Reporter, Bamenda

Which Independence Are We Celebrating?
Which independence? It is that of British Southern Cameroon or La République. As a history student teacher, I believe Cameroonians should be told the truth.  To the best of my knowledge, if we celebrate that of La République on January 1, let’s also celebrate that of British Southern Cameroons on October 1. 
Elvis Dogo Dogo, Journalist, Bamenda

Francophone Affair
Cameroon’s 50 years of independence is a Francophone affair and does not concern us. As an Anglophone, we have our own day of independence and French Cameroon has its own. Cameroon is one and indivisible only on paper because Southern Cameroonians have suffered marginalization from their Francophone brothers.

That is the reason why Southern Cameroon is today in court with La République and the latter is always represented in court. Any right-thinking Anglophone cannot celebrate this day. Fancophones should celebrate it alone. It is more irking that La République uses troops to disperse Anglophones who try to celebrate their on independence on October 1.
George Asafor, Businessman, Kumba

Decentralisation First
Looking at the state of events, the 50th anniversary of Cameroon’s independence is not worth celebrating because nothing has improved over time. The 50 years should be a time of reckoning, whether the progress meets the standards of an independent country. I think we are not really independent politically.

Ahidjo and Foncha agreed on decentralisation which is still a dream and mismanagement is a cankerworm. These are issues we should look at squarely, not really celebrating. I want to advise government to embrace federalism or decentralisation and make the regions to be truly decentralised so that they can compete for balanced development. 
Anthony Fon, Councillor, Kumba II Council

Campaign Strategy
This 50th independence anniversary is just another means of shouting praises to Biya like the Biya’s Code that was published sometime last year. Since the presidential election is fast approaching next year, the President wants Cameroonians to sing praises to him as a strategy to win the elections.

Celebrating 50 years per se is not bad but what have we achieved in 50 years? There is untold hardship and suffering, starvation, leading to untimely deaths, gross marginalization of Anglophone Cameroonians, unemployment and corruption. Let Biya divert the funds of such celebrations by revamping the economy and create jobs.
Michael Fongwe, Economist, Kumba
 

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