Cameroon President’s speech fails to address the nation

January 9, 2017 OPINION/NEWS

Bertrand Guay/AFP

 

By

Joseph Besong

Paul Biya, the President of Cameroon, has been at the helm of power for more than three decades. Many believe Cameroon is a haven of peace in Africa and the world at large. Recent unrest in the minority English region of Cameroon is an indication that things are not as people perceived them to be.

Last year young Anglophones were killed, brutalized and their human rights violated by the military of that country. Teachers and lawyers in the English speaking section of Cameroon led a peaceful strike action in Cameroon to speak out about their marginalization.  As I write, no concrete solution is possible. The young people in this part of Cameroon have taken to social media to request secession or a two state federation from their French counterpart. There is huge confusion among the young people in a country that has been rated as a peaceful nation.

Thousands of Cameroonians on December 31, 2016 waited anxiously for the traditional new year address of the President. The Anglophones and the rest of the country as usual listened to the New Year speech. Many believed no new topics ventured in the speech given the recent unrest in the English sub section of the country. He mentioned the need for economic growth, improving education and also combating insecurity, especially that which comes from Boko Haram. It’s important to note here the fact that he at least mentioned the Anglophone problem in the country. He takes pride in the oneness and indivisible Cameroon which contradicts with the recent hostility in the country.

He also mentioned the strikes that occurred in the South West and North West regions which are the two regions that harbor the English speaking people of Cameroon. The President acknowledged that all Cameroonians do have inalienable rights to freedom of expressions. Unfortunately, Cameroonians can’t engage in peaceful demonstrations. Any demonstrations in Cameroon are always confronted by the military who more often than not have to molest the demonstrators. This is an indication that human rights is violated in the country.

Anglophone Cameroonians were furious with the President’s speech because they believe their demands following last year’s strike orchestrated by teachers and lawyers of the English sub-section were not part of the message. In the speech the head of state referred to the strike and the authors as ‘’extremists”. In the speech, the President was quick to call Cameroon “one and indivisible” even though recently the English population has taken to social media to protest against their marginalization in all spheres.

The President is trying in vain to convince the population, especially the education family, to return back to school this Monday January 9th, 2017, as scheduled on the school’s calendar for the 2016/20017 academic year in the county. Many are of the opinion that the administration is trying to bribe principals and local chiefs of Anglophone extraction so they can convince the masses to go about their normal way of life before last year’s strike.

It will be a big blow to Biya’s regime if the Anglophones hold firm to their sit down strike on Monday. If that happens, it will mean the students will miss the academic year. The climax of the struggle and real test of the regime will be for the political parties and educational institutions in the English sub-section to boycott the February 11th commemorations. February 11th is known in Cameroon as the Youth Day, historically, it is the plebiscite day. Many are calling on the President to address the situation as soon as possible. The local chiefs and religious leaders, notably from the stream churches, Catholic Church, Presbyterian Church in Cameroon and the Cameroon Baptist Convention, have sent communique to the administration stating causes and remedies to the Anglophone problem in Cameroon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

joseph besong

Joseph Besong

I am the editor-in-chief of Kilimandjaro radio. I hail from Africa, precisely from Cameroon in Central Africa.

I did my secondary education at Bishop Rogan College Soppo-Buea located in the South West Region of Cameroon. After graduation, I proceeded to the University of Buea-Cameroon where I read English minor in Journalism and Mass Communication. I later worked in Cameroon as a broadcaster with Two radios namely Radio Evangelum and CBS Radio all located in Buea.

Presently, I work with Kilimandjaro radio, an online radio station based in Canada.

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