CELEBRATING 52 YEARS OF REUNIFICATION = 52 YEARS OF SOUTHERN CAMEROON MARGINALIZATION
A MUST READ: PART ONE
As Cameroonians prepare to celebrate 50 years of reunification sometime this year in Buea, it is time to tell exactly what the state of the union looks like. It is time to establish a balance sheet of Cameroon’s reunification; in all spheres, 52 years after. 52 years in a marriage is more than enough time to redefine the terms of the union and work out a fair system of resource allocation on equal terms.
Even though the reunification crusade was fuelled by true nationalism, it is regrettable that on the eve of its Golden Jubilee celebration, those aspirations have been hijacked by narrow-minded, egoistic and treacherous politicians. Anglophones are now left with feelings of repentance and regret. This piece was first published in The Guardian Post newspaper in Yaounde.
The following observations, facts and analysis in the spheres of politics, administration, education, social and economic relations illustrate the state of the “union”.
Apart from the gubernatorial portfolio and rectors where a modicum of balance is attained, all the other areas of public life show Anglophones either playing second fiddle to Francophones or getting less than their fair share of the national cake.
To begin with, the abolition of the position of vice president then occupied by an Anglophone, the subsequent transfer of the second political position to the speaker of the national assembly and then, the change of succession arrangements were all meant to stop an Anglophone from ever taking over power in Cameroon.
Of the over 100 state corporations in Cameroon, six Anglophones or so are general managers! Apart from the CDC and recently the CSPH, no Anglophone heads any state corporation of substance. They are placed at the helm of dud corporations like MIPROMARLO, ANTIC and the National Civic Agency for Participation in Development.
Since independence, an Anglophone has never occupied the strategic ministries of Defense, Justice, Finance, National Education, MINAT/D and or serve as Police or Gendarmerie boss. There has been only one Anglophone Minister of State since independence! No Anglophone has been appointed Secretary General at the presidency of the republic, which is generally considered the most important position after the President of the Republic. The public service is like a death trap for Anglophones who try to rise
The evidence of Anglophone marginalization stands out like a candle in the night. Take another example in the current cabinet that is made up of 65 members. In this cabinet, there are only seven Anglophones, most of them holding junior positions. Of the 38 full ministers only two are Anglophones, Ngole Ngwese (Minister of Forestry and Wildlife) and Ama Tutu Muna (Minister of culture).
Of the seven Ministers of State, none is Anglophone. Of the 38 Secretaries of State, only two are Anglophones. In the ministry, the most important person with rank of director is the Director of General Administration, generally known by its French abbreviation DAG. There is only one Anglophone in DAG in 40 ministries. Again, there are only five Anglophone Secretaries General in 38 ministries.
In the central administration, Anglophones are almost completely absent. There are only six Anglophone SDOs out of 58.
The military is another black area for Anglophones. French is the de factor official language in the military. The police force witnesses a similar level of Anglophone marginalization.
Anglophones have been conditioned not to dream of heading the National Security and Defense Ministries. In the police training college in Mutengene, more than 90 percent of the students are Francophones even though the school is found on Anglophone soil.
Anglophones in CRTV are treated as second class citizens. The General Manager and deputy of the corporation are all Francophones. Out of ten chiefs of stations and four head of FM stations, only three are Anglophones. In CRTV, 57 Francophones as against 17 Anglophones journalists are handling the same work load on radio. In the TV newsroom, there are 62 Francophones as against 18 Anglophones.
Anglophone directors at CRTV can be counted with the fingers of the hand. If an Anglophone is director, the General Manager relies more on the deputy who is a Francophone.
Many renowned Anglophone journalists have left CRTV in protest against this glaring marginalization and injustice. The list is long: Charly Ndi Chia, Ntemfac Ofege, Eric Chinje, Patrick Sianne, Adamu Musa, Sam Nuvala Fonkem, Boh Hebert, Victor Epie Ngome, etc.
Other Anglophone journalists who have lost their lives apparently because of the injustices done against them include among others: Ebssy Ngum, Luke Ananga, Ben Beka Njovens, Atem Ebang Ashu and Akwanka Joe Ndifor.
The presidency is almost exclusively Francophone territory. Anglophone officials there are not only few but have been programmed to play only second fiddle.
Of the more than 30 heads of diplomatic missions, only four are Anglophones. In the most important English speaking countries like the United Kingdom, South Africa and the United States, there is no Anglophone heading the diplomatic mission. Anglophones are frightened away from most important state corporations.
In the National Oil Refinery Corporation, known by its French acronym, SONARA, more than 90 percent of senior staff and the over whelming majority of junior staff are Francophones.
Although SONARA is on Anglophone soil, the official language there is French. Since its inception in 1979, no Anglophone has occupied the position of General Manager or even Deputy General Manager. At present, the corporation counts four deputy managers but none is Anglophone.
At the Bank of Central African States, the central bank of countries in CEMAC, there is no single senior Anglophone official. That is probably the reason why there is no single word in English in all denominations of FCFA notes. The legal tender of Cameroon has no word in one of the two official languages of the country! The fact that there is no word in English on the CFA note is another pointer to the direct and indirect methods of eliminating symbols of biculturalism and unification. If you doubt us, check the bank note in your pocket for any residue of bilingualism.
The Douala Stock Exchange has no Anglophone on its board even though there are many qualified Anglophone economists. The national football team is also a no-go area for Anglophones. Francophone power has always made sure that only one Anglophone is called up to play in the national football team, especially when ever there is a prestigious tournament. No Anglophone has ever been president of FECAFOOT since independence.
Since the struggle for democracy was unleashed in the early 1990s, only Anglophones have been victims. Anglophones are not only still being whisked off to jails in Francophone Cameroon but are detained at the Kondengui maximum-security prison for speaking out against marginalization.
The only surviving Anglophone economic giant, the Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC) that was vibrant in 1993 when the first All Anglophone Conference (AAC) held, has been split into bits and pieces and are being gradually sold out to cold-blooded capitalists.
The committee for privatization that handled the sale of CDC tea estates had no Anglophone.
TO BE CONTINUED……..