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After years of skirmishing, the English-speaking minority scarcely trusts the government.

For the past three years, civil strife has been tearing Cameroon apart. New public opinion data from Afrobarometer suggest serious — and widening — rifts in fundamental perceptions and attitudes between the country’s Anglophone and Francophone regions.

A snapshot of Cameroon’s turmoil

For more than half a century after independence in 1960, Cameroon’s Francophone majority (formerly ruled by the French) and Anglophone minority (ex-British colonial subjects) lived in uneasy, but largely peaceful, union.

In 2016, occasional protests against what many English-speaking citizens see as discrimination and exclusion intensified and turned violent. Now, militant Anglophone separatists skirmish with government forces almost daily. Human Rights Watch and other observers have accused both sides of killings, kidnappings and other abuses.

According to the United Nations, the violence has displaced hundreds of thousands of people, including thousands who have fled to neighboring Nigeria. In October, English-speaking Cameroon boycotted the presidential election en masse; Paul Biya, who has held that position since 1982, won — but many observers declared the election marred by irregularities and violence.

How deep is the divide between English- and French-speaking Cameroon?

Pulling farther apart on fundamental questions

Public-opinion data show that the Anglophone and Francophone regions have moved quite far from each other since 2016 on fundamental questions of democracy, trust in the state and national identity.

Afrobarometer has interviewed nationally representative samples of 1,200 adult Cameroonians in 2013, 2015, and May-June 2018, producing results with a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level. We did our analysis based on region, rather than primary language.

Here’s what we found. Most Cameroonians living in Anglophone regions no longer view their country as a functioning democracy. That’s a drastic shift from four years ago — and contrasts sharply with the views of their compatriots in Francophone regions. The proportion of Anglophone residents who consider Cameroon “a full democracy” or “a democracy with minor problems” dropped from more than half (52 percent) in 2015 to just 1 in 8 (12 percent) in 2018. Among those living in Francophone regions, the proportion of those who agree has slowly increased from 36 percent in 2013 to 45 percent, as you can see in the figure below.

Cameroon is a democracy | Anglophone vs. Francophone | Cameroon | 2013-2018

Respondents were asked: In your opinion, how much of a democracy is Cameroon today? The graph shows the percentage who say “a full democracy” or “a democracy with minor problems.” (Mircea Lazar /Mircea Lazar)

Similarly, as you can see in the figure below, satisfaction with the way democracy is working in Cameroon has plummeted among Anglophone citizens, from 43 percent who said they were “fairly” or “very” satisfied in 2015 to just 7 percent in 2018. Among Francophones, meanwhile, satisfaction remains low but fairly steady, at 33 percent.

Satisfied with democracy | Anglophone vs. Francophone | Cameroon | 2013-2018

Respondents were asked: Overall, how satisfied are you with the way democracy works in Cameroon? The graph shows the percentage who say “fairly satisfied” or “very satisfied.” (Mircea Lazar/Mircea Lazar)

Fewer than half (45 percent) of Anglophone Cameroonians now say they prefer democracy to any other political system, a sharp drop from 64 percent in 2015. Among Francophones, support for democracy has remained steady at two-thirds, or 66 percent. Popular support for elections as the best way to choose leaders shows a similar pattern.

Political scientists often consider popular trust in the police and the army to be a core indicator of broader support for the state — and so here, too, our survey findings may trouble policymakers. As you can see in the figure below, almost 6 in 10 Anglophone citizens, or 58 percent, say they do not trust the police “at all,” up from 39 percent in 2015 and more than double the proportion of absolute distrust among Francophones, at 24 percent. The divide is even greater when it comes to the army: The proportion of Anglophones who say they don’t trust the military “at all” has nearly tripled since 2015, from 22 percent to 62 percent, compared to just 13 percent of Francophones who say the same thing.

Don’t trust police and army ‘at all’ | Anglophone vs. Francophone | Cameroon | 2013-2018

Respondents were asked: How much do you trust each of the following, or haven’t you heard enough about them to say: The police? The army? The graph shows the percentage who say “not at all.”

Another key indicator of a growing chasm is identity: Do citizens identify more with their nation or with their ethnic group? If it’s the former, a fundamental national unity may exist that can help prevent civil conflict. Until recently, in Cameroon only small minorities — between 6 percent and 12 percent — of both Anglophone and Francophone citizens identified more closely with their ethnic group than with their nation. But as you can see below, since 2015, the proportion of Anglophones who identify more strongly with their ethnic group than their nationality has quadrupled, to almost one-third (31 percent). Among Francophones, the increase was from 7 percent to 13 percent.

Ethnic over national identity | Anglophone vs. Francophone | Cameroon | 2013-2018

Respondents were asked: Let us suppose that you had to choose between being a Cameroonian and being a ________[respondent’s ethnic group]. Which of the following statements best expresses your feelings: I feel only [ethnic group]? I feel more [ethnic group] than Cameroonian? I feel equally Cameroonian and [ethnic group]? I feel more Cameroonian than [ethnic group]? I feel only Cameroonian? The graph shows the percentage who say they feel “only [ethnic group]” or “more [ethnic group] than Cameroonian.. (Mircea Lazar/Mircea Lazar)

The results reveal that Cameroon’s national unity is fragmenting

These growing divides between Anglophone and Francophone Cameroonians suggest that beyond the headlines, some citizens may be starting to abandon a belief in the country’s unity. Despite Cameroon’s long history of individual English and French speakers living peacefully as friends and compatriots, these tears in the national fabric will take both time and skilled and inclusive political leadership to mend.

Author: Mircea Lazar

Source: washingtonpost

An American missionary who arrived Cameroon on the 18th of October 2018 with his wife and 8 children has been killed by forces loyal to the Biya Francophone regime. Charles Trumann Wesco was shot in Bambui some few kilometers from Bamenda the chief city in the Northern zone.

Cameroon Concord News sources revealed that the late Charles Truman did receive emergency treatment at Bambui and was referred to the Bamenda Regional Hospital but died from injuries sustained from gunshots aimed at him.

A District Medical Officer reportedly called for an ambulance from Bamenda this morning to transport a female student shot in the stomach by Cameroon government forces in Bambui but the rescue team were refused passage around Mile 6 Nkwen by Biya regime soldiers.

Our senior correspondent in Bamenda said there were civilian casualties in Bambili that could not be reached by the emergency team. We understand intense fighting is going on in Bambui and Bambili involving Ambazonian Restoration forces and Cameroon government troops.

An American Missionary by name Charles Trumann Wesco shot dead in Bambui, Northen zone of Ambazonia by French Cameroun military.
A press release from the Interim Government of Ambazonia.
Tuesday, October 30th, 2018. The press release read.

An American Missionary by name Charles Trumann Wesco shot dead in Bambui, Northen zone of Ambazonia by French Cameroun military.

An American Missionary by name Charles Trumann Wesco shot dead in Bambui, Northen zone of Ambazonia by French Cameroun military. A press release from the Interim Government of Ambazonia.Tuesday, October 30th, 2018. The press release read.Follow SCBC TV on Twitter using this link: https://twitter.com/scbc_tv

Posted by Southern Cameroons Broadcasting Corporation – SCBC on Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Author: Asu Vera Eyere

Source: Cameroon Concord News

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Among the many French and British African colonies which achieved independence in the early 1960s, Cameroon seemed destined for greatness.  A diverse reflection of peoples from across Africa, Cameroon has both Christians and Muslims, and French and English-speakers. The country enjoys substantial natural resources, as well as excellent agricultural potential.

Sadly, greatness has eluded the Cameroonian people. The country’s governance over the past six decades has been deficient in practically every respect. Weak democratic institutions are largely to blame; there is no doubt that Paul Biya will be the winner of the just-completed elections. Like every election in Cameroon since 1982, the 2018 polls were most certainly rigged.

Cameroon’s current turmoil is an inevitable consequence of the illegal 1972 referendum to unify the country and relegate anglophone Cameroonians to minority status, and decades of authoritarian rule by Paul Biya and his Beti minority, who comprise just 10% of the country’s population. Because of minority rule – and the inevitable corruption historically concomitant with such governance in Africa – Cameroon has not made as much progress in economic development as neighboring countries, especially Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana.

The abolition of the federal system deceived the Anglophone community

Cameroon achieved independence as a federation of the former French Cameroon and part of the former British Cameroon.  The people of the former British Cameroon voted in a UN-organized referendum to join with the former French Cameroon in a federal system. The English-speaking part of the Federal regime became West Cameroon, with its own legislature and its own President. The elected President of West Cameroon was designated de facto Vice President of the Federation under the constitution.

Decline began in 1972, when then-President Ahmadou Ahidjo  decided to hold a nationwide referendum on abolishing the federation, replacing it with a unified government.  Not surprisingly, 75% of the Francophone population voted to end the semi-autonomous status of English-speaking West Cameroon.  Cameroon became a unified state.

From the beginning, the political leadership of anglophone Cameroon considered the unification an illegal violation, under international law, of the original UN referendum to establish a federal system with equal political status for the francophone and anglophone regions. Only the people of West Cameroon had the right to decide whether or not to end their status as a member of this federation. The 1972 referendum made them into just another minority.

English-speaking intellectuals from West Cameroon began traveling to western capitals, including Washington, in the 1980s to call attention to their people’s unhappiness with this illegal move.

IsabelleEbanda40.jpg

After 1982, the Cameroonian Government entered an indefinite period of minority rule

In 1982, the founding President of Cameroon, Ahmadou Ahidjo, decided to retire after 22 years in power. He was succeeded by his Vice President, Paul Biya. This change added to the unhappiness of anglophone Cameroonians: Biya inaugurated a long period of minority rule, arranging for his ethnic group, the Beti, to hold a monopoly over political and economic power. To this day, the Beti continue to rule the country, as Biya continues to rule as President.

Violent protest among Anglophones became inevitable

As frustration mounted, incidents of anti-regime violence within Anglophone Cameroon grew in frequency and intensity to the point of quasi-civil war. The government’s security problems were multiplied by Boko Haram, which began attacking the northern region near Lake Chad from its main territory in northeast Nigeria.

The Biya administration has attempted, unsuccessfuly, to repress the anglophone rebellion with a harsh crackdown. The anglophone community’s resilience may be strengthened by significant ethnic support on the Nigerian side of the border.

Despite its economic potential, Cameroon has lagged in development thanks to these basic issues with fair representation and democratic institutions. As for the immediate future, the Cameroonian government will not find peace unless it negotiates a new relationship with its anglophone community. Another Biya term will not represent progress towards a solution to the country’s crisis. A return to the pre-1972 federal system would constitute a major step forward.

Source: cohenonafrica

The court “rejects (Osih’s) request as not justified,” presiding judge Clement Atangana ruled at around 2:00 am (0100 GMT) Friday shortly after the closure of hearings that started on Tuesday in the wake of the election on October 7, according to state media.

Cameroon‘s Constitutional Court rejected overnight a post-electoral appeal from Joshua Osih of the Social Democratic Front, the main opposition party, thus rebutting all 18 judicial protests made since a presidential vote.

None of the appeals were successful, whether on grounds of insecurity or alleged mass fraud at the polls.

Osih asked the court for the cancellation of the whole election, in which 85-year-old President Paul Biya was seeking his seventh term after almost 36 years and against a backdrop of mounting resistance in the two English-speaking regions of the country.

The SDF candidate argued that the election “didn’t take place” in these territories, which are historic bastions of his party in a largely Francophone nation, because of the security situation.

The past year has seen the eruption of open warfare in the Northwest and Southwest regions between armed separatists and troops. At least 420 civilians, 175 members of the security forces and an unknown number of separatists have been killed, according to the International Crisis Group.

Hardline militants warned people of reprisals should they go the polling stations. Though the SDF has long opposed the Biya regime, some regard party members as “traitors” for falling short of demanding outright independence for English-speaking areas.

Using a ledger, Judge Atangana told the court that “the election was held in the two regions of the Northwest and the Southwest, where respectively 32,729 and 57,084 voters were recorded,” out of more than one million registered voters.

Lawyers for the SDF presented examples to argue that potential voters had been deprived of their rights either by being already displaced by violence or because they were unable to venture out of their homes.

“The national president of my party, Ni John Fru Ndi, had his house wrecked (in the village of Baba II) and his younger sister was kidnapped because he voted, in defiance of instructions” from haredliners, Osih told the court.

“People are dead because they cast their votes on October 7,” Osih stated.

The state’s official gazette has until Monday to publish the official results of the presidential election.

Source: worldbulletin

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