By Tikum Mbah Azonga
One of the most vocal advocates of what has come to be known as “The Anglophone Problem” of Cameroon, has again slammed his hand on the table, figuratively speaking, in order to drive home his point. The advocate, who is none other than Chief A.S. Ngwana, has done so by publishing a pamphlet in which he takes as stimulus the recent verdict by the African Commission in Banjul.
Entitled, “The Anglophone Problem: The Verdict of the African Commission”, the 25 page publication picks up the debate from the point of view of the ruling having been a timely vindication of the author’s advocacy of a federal state structure as the final solution to the Anglophone problem.
A.S. Ngwana places the issue within the wider context of the ‘world’: “The verdict of the SCNC versus La République du Cameroun by the African Commission on Human Rights is so important that we consider it a victory for the English speaking people of the British Southern Cameroons (West Cameroon). The outside world has been informed and alerted as to the injustices, marginalization and the betrayals the people of the British Cameroons (West Cameroon) have suffered since the abolition of the Federal Republic of Cameroon”.
Ngwana reproduces the recommendations made by the African Commission; firstly as they apply to “the Respondent State, the La République du Cameroun”, and next as they pertain to “the complainants and the SCNC and SCAPO in particular”. According to the verdict, the respondent state is enjoined to ensure fairness and justice while the opposite party is asked to “transform into a political party” and “abandon secessionism”, as well as “engage in dialogue with the respondent State on the constitutional issues and grievances”.
The author further remarks: “As you can see from the above, the recommendations are a very great victory for us who actually voted for unification and for the Cameroon Democratic Party / Cardinal Democratic Party and for the Cameroon Democratic Party”. He further says: “We have never supported violent secession but have advocated a return to federalism and have condemned marginalization, betrayal and abuse of unification. So the recommendations are in keeping with our aspirations.” In the latter part of the publication, Ngwana reproduces a speech he made some years earlier outlining the position of his party on the question of the Anglophone problem whose solution he summarizes as federation instead of secession.
Undoubtedly, Ngwana²s pamphlet is a useful contribution to the ongoing debate on the status of Cameroon’s minority Anglophone community and where it goes from here. Nonetheless, it is regrettable that for a publication on such a sensitive issue, the date of publication is nowhere indicated in the work. As a result, this vacuum creates confusion in the mind of the reader and leaves him or her unfocused and unsettled.