Cameroon before 2016 was reference for a peaceful nation around the globe. But unfortunately, things have changed. Two years ago a strike action by teachers started, later by the lawyers of Anglophone extraction also. Schools, colleges and courts in the South West and North West Regions were shut down by the disgruntled English speaking population in the country due to claims they are marginalized by the majority French speaking citizens.
The situation has deteriorated with the loss of lives and properties among civilians and the military. Most Anglophones are clamoring for a separation from their French counterparts, thereby struggling to end the over fifty years of being together as one nation. The government of Cameroon insists that the country is one and indivisible but recent happenings in the North West and South regions show that things have drastically changed. Life has become difficult in these regions as people no longer go about their daily activities, being afraid of the military.
The United Nations, African Union and a host of foreign nations have called both the separatists and the government to seek a dialogue in order to bring back life into the two affected regions. Many are praying and hoping that the government will take the first initiative in calling for that dialogue needed at this time. Those who knew Cameroon are surprised to see how fast the nation of peace has turned into a battlefield.
The consequences of the unrest have affected the socio-economic activities of the entire nation. Schools are timid in attendance. Some areas haven’t had schools since 2016. Others have transferred their children to French zones to take classes. Some teachers are paid without teaching because their schools are temporarily closed. This is a waste of the nation’s resources. Children are unable to concentrate on academic work because of the unrest and insecurity. Parents are scared of their lives and those of their families.
The banks are also temporarily closed in some towns in the region. This means people have to travel great distances to make deposits or withdrawals. Life is not easy for the people. For these reasons, many want a ceasefire from both sides. They are tired of running into the bushes, seeing their loves ones murdered, etc. For the common man/woman, the government and international community are not doing enough to remedy them from the scourge. The church and traditional leaders of these two regions have spoken out but it seems the government is not buying into their proposals.
The United Nations through the department of Foreign Affairs recently held a special talk recounting the plight of both the civilians and military in Cameroon. That is a way forward. Many are hoping that the U.S. will press the government to come into a dialogue. France, as a former colonial master, has done very little since the crisis started. There are rumors that the U.S. stance might push the French government to do more.
It is really disheartening to see the gruesome images of dead bodies concerning civilians and those of the military on social media. Peace has always been the best option but it takes both parties to negotiate for it. War has never solved a problem. The Nigerian Biafra War, Ugandan Genocide, DR Congo crisis, Sudan, Eritrea and host of African countries who found themselves in the same situation will testify that peace is paramount. The call for dialogue is urgent and must be the priority of both sides.
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.