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Would Biya’s Bilingualism Commission Solve Anglophone Problem? 

By Yerima Kini Nsom

Encomiums are being heaped on President Paul Biya for honouring his end of year address promise to Cameroonians by creating the National Commission on the promotion of Bilingualism and Multiculturalism in Cameroon.

According to observers, the creation of the Commission is a big step towards stemming the tides of an ugly situation in which the very Government that was expected to protect the country’s bilingual character, violated it for over five decades with impunity.

Like the UPC Communication Officer, Charlie Gabriel Mbock, put it “It is better late than never.”

For one thing, article 3(1) of the Presidential Decree N0. 2017/013 of January 23 provides that the Commission shall be responsible for the promotion of bilingualism and multiculturalism In Cameroon.

This, according to the decree, must be done with a view to maintaining peace and consolidating the country’s national integration and strengthening its people willingness and day-to-day experience with respect to living together.

The 150 member Commission will be appointed by the President of the Republic. All its reports will be submitted to the Head of State.

Many observers are expressing fears that the Commission may just be another giant, but hollow elephant without powers.

One of such critics is one of the Vice Presidents of the National Assembly, Hon. Joseph Mbah Ndam.

While reacting to the creation of the Commission, he said if it is treated like the rest of the commissions already existing in the country, it will be of no use.

He regretted that the reports of other commissions are usually published very late at the whims and caprices of the President of the Republic no matter the urgency.

Even if the Commission becomes very efficient in executing its assignments, it would only handle a tiny aspect of the Anglophone Problem, going by him.

It will deal only with the aspect that has to do with English as an official language that has equal status as French.

Mbah Ndam said the Anglophone Problem is a multifaceted issue that has its tentacles in almost all aspects of national life.

According to him, the Commission cannot be a panacea to the Anglophone Problem that has stirred unrest in the Northwest and Southwest Regions in recent times.

The MP said he expects the President to let the Minister of Justice and Keeper of the Seals to create a Common Law Department at the National School of Administration and Magistracy, ENAM, and another one at the Supreme Court as demanded by Anglophone lawyers.

Many critics are unanimous that the Anglophone Problem will continue to stare at the nation if it is not tackled in its entirety.

They hold that it is incumbent on the President to ensure that Anglophones are appointed to positions that have been hitherto exclusively reserved for Francophones.

For instance, in a bloated cabinet of over 65 portfolios, Anglophones can boast only of one full Minister. Talk less of the national sovereignty portfolios.

During A press conference at the Ministry of Communication recently, one journalist, Francois Bikoro, wondered why the Government was so comfortable in a situation wherein Anglophones have been relegated to the background.

He pointed out that the President of the Republic, the President of Senate, the Speaker of the National Assembly, the President of the Economic and Social Council are all Francophone in a country that is made up of two independent entities.

Many people are wondering if the Commission will only entertain complaints bordering on language and culture or equally examine issues on the marginalisation of Anglophones.

Political pundits are warning that the Commission will make no difference if the President avoids real independent personalities and appoints his party’s lackeys to man it.

    One Response to Would Biya’s Bilingualism Commission Solve Anglophone Problem?

    1. likakene

      stop using a 30 year old picture of Paul Biya in your report! He was trusted by the people then, today his old face is that of a thief, a traitor and a criminal gang leader of Cameroon.
      I am sure you have access to what this criminal looks like today so the police can find him.


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