CAMEROON: ONE COUNTRY TWO ANTHEMS

7 Feb

By Nwanatifu Nwaco

The government cabal of Cameroun is always quick to say the country is constitutionally one and indivisible but I beg to differ with this assertion! Cameroon for now as has been for the past 56 years, been more appropriately: A ONE AND DIVERSE COUNTRY. A country diverse in its ethnicity, languages, geography, history, political culture, colonial legacy, jurisprudence and even its aspirations for the future. Cameroon is the country where you have a national anthem although with the same melody yet it conveys a different lyrical message when sung in English or French, clearly attests to the fact that there are two entities in one country with unique identities, historical experiences and aspirations for the future. 

The divide isn’t just geographical but has become digital too. Internet connections have been completely shut down in the northwest and southwest regions of Cameroon since January 17, 2017. All government attempts to co-opt the resistance by means of mass arrests, intimidation, xenophobia from local and national elites loyal to the regime, propaganda through the national radio and television broadcaster, bribery of unscrupulous and dubious trade unionists to call of the strikes and “Ghost town” operations devoutly observed by West Cameroonians have been met with further civil disobedience. The government as a matter of fact is now in a conundrum on how to restore social order after its miscalculations and high-handed strategy of arresting anglophone leaders, banning pressure groups and prematurely ending dialogue. Even its attempts at creating new language and culture institutions by decree without consultation with stakeholders or politicizing sports have met with indifference from the masses.
Until a time when the government shall recognize this diversity, only then shall multiculturalism and national integration be attained, unless it recognizes and protects minority rights, only then shall it legitimately pride itself of achieving national unity. Until when the rule of law shall replace the impunity of state elites, only then can it invoke its claim to being a democratic country. Until when social cohesion, inter-communal dialogue and majoritarian solidarity shall become standard norms in nation building, only then shall it pride itself egalitarian and peaceful! Until when it shall guarantee the enjoyment of human rights, civil freedoms and public liberties, only then must it lay claim to the title of being Africa in miniature.

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