Contrary come common belief that Cameroon is a haven of peace in a turbulent main African below region, this paper demonstrates that the lack of war in the nation does not suggest that that is peaceful. Provided the linguistic and social diversity that the nation with its an ext than 289 ethnic groups and also a early american legacy that French and English cultures and languages, to add remnants the a German sub-stratum, it need to be clear that there are many potential ingredient for conflicts in Cameroon. The politicians seem to have actually nurtured these social and/or linguistic diversities in methods that fuel conflict and also can also spark civil war. The anxiety that outcomes from these ethnic and/or linguistic and religious splinters is not overt, however, due to the repressive nature of the regimen in place. However, this tension continues to grow, to the detriment of the country’s socio-economic development. Over there is therefore an acute require for actions to defuse such social conflicts which have the potential of sparking future polite strife in the country.

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Since the late 1980s, the globalisation phenomenon and also the result political liberalisation it seems ~ to have actually led come an enhanced obsession through ethnicity, ‘autochthony’ and the ‘politics the belonging’ in Africa and elsewhere, thereby producing a crisis of identity. For this reason pervasive and also disturbing was this concern of exclusion and brand-new forms that identity developing from ‘repackaging’, ‘retribalisation’, ‘reconstruction’ and ‘redefinition’ of africans that a special concern of Africa this particular day (1998) and also a plethora of authors (e.g. Awasom 2004; Fawole & Ukeje 2005; Fonchingong 2005), as well as CODESRIA have concentrated on the in an effort to x-ray the complexities. Cameroon is a special case study of identification construction and activation. Together a case can it is in a threat to nationwide integration due to the fact that of Cameroon’s triple German, Gallic and Anglo-Saxon colonial legacies and also its an ext than 289 country tribes.

Cameroon was born out of the erstwhile German colony of Kamerun, which came to be a United countries mandated region after civilization War I. The swarm was splintered to cater for French and also British interests against the backdrop of the imperialist morass that ensued. The north- and south-west regions of the country, known today together Anglophone Cameroon, to be administered through the British, while the remainder of the territory well-known today together Francophone Cameroon to be administered by the French. This two independently administered regions reunified in 1961 ~ a plebiscite to type a two-state federation with two element ministers, a federal legislature and a single president (Ngoh 1999). In 1972, the population voted in a referendum to adopt a new constitution setting up a unitary state to replace the federation whose surname ipso facto adjusted from federal Republic that Cameroon to united Republic the Cameroon. This event, described as ‘the pacific revolution’ to be to revolve the birds in Cameroon’s chequered colonial history (Stark 1980; Konings & Nyamnjoh 2003) together it immediately resulted in what have the right to be dubbed a complete addition of English-speaking Cameroon into a unitary state overcame by French-speaking Cameroon. A number of factors resulting from the blend of the two entities created ethnicisation and also a growing polarisation that communal identities: First, over there were countless inequalities which stimulated disgruntlement. Secondly there was a spectre and also repression of the opposite voices – particularly of leaders and supporters of a political party, Union des populaces du Cameroun (UPC), which had actually been started in 1948. Ultimately the state had actually the capability to effectively encapsulate the vulnerabilities of regional fracturing the were a an outcome of the union. Much more disturbing, however, is the fact that in contemporary Cameroon, the judgment elite has adopted a quite naive technique to the ide of peace and security – as meaning the lack of internal and also external armed war or conflict.

Peace and also security should be viewed from a broader perspective 보다 this narrow one of the lack of internal and external armed war or armed conflict (Jinadu 2000:3). It should be perceived from the an ext positive and much more embracing perspective of creating an permitting environment because that self-realisation and for the enjoyment and sustenance the self-development and self-actualisation (Jinadu 2000:3). Thus, indigenous a human advance perspective (UNDP 1994) and also from a physical conflict perspective, Cameroon is today faced with a serious security crisis. Unfortunately, the judgment elites in Cameroon have actually responded come the security dilemm only by adopting greatly repressive and military defense strategies (Bidima 2001; Gemandze 2003) within a framework of national security policies. The focus is hence on national security rather than on human being or an individual security. Yet, it could be argued that a policy of human security or an individual security (Cilliers 2004; Dumas 2004) is an ext appropriate for problem prevention and/or resolution.

In check out of the persistence of internal conflicts, the absence of peace and security and also the potential for the eruption of massive violent inner conflicts, over there is urgent need for suitable policies for managing social diversity and/or varied socio-political identities in Cameroon. Given this background, this examine situates the dynamics of the discourse on social diversity that has come to be polarised together a an outcome of upstream manipulations and also the scramble for shrinking state resources. That sheds light on the appropriation of ethnic, cultural and linguistic differences as a modality because that reproducing elite hegemony top top state instrumentality in a duration of compulsory economic and political reform.

State (de)construction and hegemonic alliances

The root of the vulnerable Cameroonian stability space not self-evident. There is hardly one more African nation with greater diversity in regards to ethnic groups, languages and also religions. Amongst the end 200 ethnic teams counted by experts, there space various types of Bantus. There room semi-Bantus top top the Adamawa Plateau (or the Grassfields) in the south-west, and also Fulbes (Peuls) and also Kirdis in the north. The individuals of the phibìc are mainly Muslims, when those in the south and also the west are predominantly Christians, however there room also big numbers the animists. Needless come say, Cameroon’s inner and outer boundaries were drawn arbitrarily by the early american masters and also they cut throughout ethnic lines.

Colonisation included to the diversity because the when German ‘Kamerun’ was break-up into two protectorates under the barisalcity.organization of countries – brother Cameroon in the west, and also French Cameroon in the east. After independence, complied with by reunification, French and English were adopted as main languages that the country. Besides these 2 officially widely supplied languages (French gift significantly an ext widely supplied than English), over there exists Pidgin English (considered by experts to have developed in the plantations) which is widely talked along the coastline, even in French-speaking Douala and also in nearly all the major towns in the country. Cameroon’s great ethnic diversity is because of this accompanied by a distinct linguistic and cultural pattern i m sorry is particularly facility in politics sensitive areas like Douala and also the Grassfields regions.

As if such diversity were no enough, the nation was also divided along ideological currently at the moment of independence. The communist-inspired UPC was in violent revolt versus the Ahidjo regime, which was backed by chairman De Gaulle that France. President Ahidjo’s very first task to be to construct up a solid army and also stop a guerrilla war. Indigenous the beginning, Ahidjo’s preeminence was autocratic (Jackson & Rosberg 1982:152-156) and quickly arisen the three main features that neopatrimonial rule defined by Bratton and Van de Walle (1997:61-68) as presidentialism, clientelism and also the massive redistribution of state resources.

Under Ahidjo, presidentialism expected the virtually total concentration of power roughly one person and also one institution, ‘la presidence’ (Prouzet 1974:151-86; Bayart 1985:141-59). Ahidjo accumulated a huge clientelistic network getting to into nearly every edge of the country. People obtained their jobs, your licenses, contract or projects through hire and were expected to show appropriate gratitude. Commitment to the president was much more important 보다 performance ~ above the job, and as a result, the private good had priority over the public good. Such patronage implied massive circulation of state resources.

Clientelism went hand in hand v the development of a multi-ethnic ruling course that come this day has representatives from almost all parts of the country. Provided the great social diversity that the country, Ahidjo may not have actually had any kind of other an option as no solitary group seems huge enough to monopolise power. Everything the reason, multi-ethnic elite national politics has due to the fact that been a Cameroonian reality (Le Vine 1986:20-52; Prouzet 1974:51-58, 85-126).

Interestingly, Ngayap (1983) stated that there space two level of elite integration: a ‘macroéquilibré geopolitique’ and a ‘microdosage regional’.1 in ~ the macro level, the cabinet and also especially the ‘ministres d’état’ (senior ministers) have at every times been created of representatives of all significant regions and ethnic groups. Appointing both speakers of English and also French to important short articles deftly bridges the Francophone-Anglophone division. Ahidjo (the previous president) and also Biya (the current president), both Francophones, have regularly chosen English-speaking element ministers or vice-presidents. ‘Microdosage’ until recently, shows at the provincial level, whereby the more important positions are deliberately assigned to representatives of all divisions. Furthermore, and in bespeak to promote integration, regional provincial workplaces are frequently headed by non-locals (Ngayap 1983:68-87).

When Ahidjo resigned in 1982, his ethnic agenda was lugged on through his successor, Paul Biya, that perfected it. That is institutional practice in Cameroon that during elections, high state officials and the well-placed metropolitan elite leave their offices for their respective villages come garner assistance for the ruling party – the Cameroon People’s autonomous Movement (CPDM) (Fonchingong 2005). Those whose constituencies carry out well are sure the securing their short articles or gaining much better appointments while those whose outcomes are dismal subject themselves to the vagaries the the ethnic arithmetic, modulated by the wisdom the the Head the State. Monga (2000) succinctly refers to this logic of ‘national integration’ as the ‘ethnic alchemy’ that has qualified socio-political life in Cameroon because Ahidjo’s reign. The is the factor why the ingredient of the cabinet after major elections regularly leaves Cameroonians to crawl on analysing its political geography zoning and ethnic character. If the ethnic balancing has the advantage of pacifying a highly facility polity, it likewise entails the evident disadvantage that waste, mismanagement and economic stagnation (Jurg 1999). The fault lines have become complicated to manage and also even the sisterly English-speaking provinces – North-West and South-West – have actually been dragged right into the politicisation of ethnicity.

Politics that ‘belonging’ and also exclusion

Cameroon’s cultural diversity, instead of serving together a melting pot for state construction, has been supplied by unscrupulous political leaders to foster dividing and ruling. The stalled democratic procedure under Biya, has led to a revival of ethnic sentiments. In your diversity, Cameroonians are trying to negotiate a feeling of nationwide identity versus the backdrop of upstream machinations and regionalism. Re-echoing the sentiments on cultural diversity, Geschiere and Gugler (1998) have actually examined the phenomenon the the ‘eleventh province’. These are the people with complex identities, trapped at the Francophone/Anglophone frontiers and also making make the efforts to embrace a new self-identity in ~ the logic of incorporation. Geschiere and also Nyamnjoh (2000) reiterate the upsurge that autochthony in ~ the paper definition of globalisation v underpinnings the notions the us/them opposition. Concentrating on the tensions in ~ Cameroon, they existing autochthony and exclusion in relationship to national politics. In this vein, Yenshu (2003) displayed that cultural diversity in Cameroon deserve to be attributed to historical occasions at the local, local and nationwide levels. Ndue (1999) decries government ineffectiveness as he argues that it has actually continuously declined as a result of parochialisation of the public realm and source allocation through government and also other state institutions which have typically concerned follow ethnic or spiritual lines. His pertains to match those of Nnoli (1998), that points the end that the increase polarisation of society into sub-national, ethnic, and sub-ethnic societies widely separated in terms of identity and loyalty, motivates further hostility quite than cooperation.

As Fonchingong (2005) points out, the euphoria and high expectations linked with the arrival of multiparty national politics in Cameroon in the 1990s were shortly to become a mirage together the stage was went back to national politics for parochial interests. Awasom (2004) and Jua (2004) underscore the ethnic/regional cleavages have actually crystallised because the institutionalisation that ‘autochthonisation’, ‘politics the belonging’, or ‘the boy of the soil’ syndrome, adhering to the re-introduction of many democracy in Cameroon in 1990 and the use of identities to cultivate system-supporting attitudes. Versus the background of state clientelism and patronage national politics the politics landscape has been diminished to a zero-sum video game of ‘who is in’ and also ‘who is out’, thereby opened the floodgates because that elites to negotiate identities on behalf of purported collectivities (See Fonchingong 2005 because that details).

As the foregoing impinges on the concern of nationwide integration, Awasom (2004) wonders if the notion of unit is gift ridiculed, together priority is offered to belonging to a group very first and to the country second. If this is the case, the concept of unity is being jeopardised through ethno-regional jingoism, formed and also sustained by the state. The elite space in the frontlines fighting for ethno-political supremacy of the assorted ethnic groups and political depictions in Cameroon. Castle play a prominent function in the fractionalisation and integration of classes and ethnic teams in nationwide politics. As Ake (2000) notes, the only way for elite to secure life and property and some freedom is to be in control, or in ~ least, to share in the manage of state power. The phenomenon of exclusion and monopoly of power is commonplace in the state paradigm in Cameroon. Jua (1991) stresses that the government’s hand-picked upstream or barons offer as infection belts between the president and the different ethnic groups.

Thus, politics sloganeering and the ‘motions the support’ syndrome space frameworks under the manipulation the the upstream (Fonchingong 2004; Mbuagbo & Akoko 2004). In essence, every important ethnic team feels stood for within the regime and thus able to exercise some influence on government policy. Loyal followers in the ethno-client network space rewarded by appointments and nominations come state offices, state resources and rent-seeking opportunities. The extraordinary advance of political and administrative tribalism is rife. The is a heritage that an elderly officials upon appointment or nomination seek tribal endorsements from their miscellaneous villages and regions, which seems to check that ethnicisation and also regionalism are inherent in Cameroon’s politics landscape. This lack canonisation following high-level appointments placed the elite in a politics vantage point, together they bargain for the group’s share of the national cake.

Ethno-political cleavages in Cameroon

barisalcity.barisalcity.orging come Le Vine (2004:215), the ethnic variable has been and remains crucial to Cameroon politics, provided the country’s particularly ethno-cultural heterogeneity and a variety of important country and cultural cleavages operation on both the nationwide and local political areas. He pointed out that ethnic and cultural cleavages in Cameroon include the old North-South division based top top historical, ethnic and cultural distinctions between the greatly Muslim and also Fulani peoples in the north Savannahs and also the mainly Christianised and non-Muslim populations in the southern Central, South eastern and seaside areas the the country. In the North, there is the split in between the Islamised and the so-called Kirdi (pagan) peoples; in the South miscellaneous permutations of identity politics involve the southern Western Bamoun and also ‘Grassfields’ peoples (mainly the Bamilekes); the Centre-South Ewondo-, Bassa-, and also Beti-speaking peoples and also the coastal Douala (Le Vine 2004:215).

Amundsen (1999:466) uses a an ext detailed evaluation of socio-cultural and political cleavages in Cameroon. He asserts that the political cleavages in Cameroon exchange mail to three distinct socio-political main point regions; viz, the Northern, Western and also South-Central regions.

Firstly, there is the South-Central an ar and the Beti (Amundsen 1999:467-468). The South-Central an ar consists the the Central, South and East bureaucratic Provinces. The funding city, Yaounde, is in the central Province. The leading ethnic teams in the South-Central regions are the Beti and also Bulu ethnic groups. The Head the State, chairman Biya, hails native this region. barisalcity.barisalcity.orging to Amundsen (1999), tendencies in the direction of ethnic cleansing that the greater echelons the the central power structure, particularly in the security and military forces and the main administration, additional accumulate strength in the hands of the Beti country group. Extended privileges and multiple key posts are said to be concentrated in the hand of Biya’s closest household and amongst people native his village (Amundsen 1999:467). Moreover, various patron-client networks and also ethnic loyalties have actually been nurtured over a long duration by influential government and party officials establishing close ties in between politicians and also their constituencies, and making dividends of all sorts with this region an ext easily. Every these factors have led, top top the one hand, to an unquestionable commitment on the part of most of the rural occupants to the urban-administrative elite of the an ar and, top top the other, come a particular possibility of manage for the routine (Amundsen 1999:468).

Furthermore, the Beti, both polite servants and also coffee or cocoa farmers, poll massively because that the judgment party and the Biya federal government (Amundsen 1999). This situation is partly explained by president Biya’s ethnic choice for the Betis, which has actually led come an overwhelming Beti entourage approximately him with its considerable clientelist network in the Beti core-land. It is additionally partly because of the id of this ethnic team that they entirely depend on the state sector for livelihood and so they have to do whatever in their strength to make certain that the regimen stays in ar (Amundsen 1999: 408). Indigenous the perspective of dispute analysis, it is necessary to keep in mind that the government (or some clients the centrally inserted politicians) has been making use of threatening propaganda to frighten the Beti masses right into voting for the judgment party. Local broadcasts from radio stations in Yaounde are stated to transmit hidden political threats and various kinds of messages throughout political projects that foster distrust, fear and hatred on one ethnic basis in plenty of Beti neighborhoods (Amundsen 1999: 408).

Secondly, over there is the Western an ar and the Bamileke cleavage. The Western region consists of the three primarily Bamileke provinces of the North-west, the South-west and the West, and in addition the Littoral district with different ethnic groups. These three Bamileke provinces are highly cultivated highlands with a thick population, make the Bamileke the most many (more 보다 20 percent that the population) amongst Cameroon’s part 200 ethnic groups (Amundsen 1999:408-409). The Bamileke have actually the call of being among the many enterprising peoples of Africa and also truly capitalist oriented. The is likely that they own a higher share that the personal wealth that the nation than would be supposed in watch of your numbers. They have actually spread anywhere Cameroon, seeking business opportunities in many sectors. Furthermore, they are barisalcity.organised in extended family units, providing each various other mutual and also financial support and hence boosted opportunity (Amundsen 1999:469).

John Fru Ndi, leader of the most essential opposition party in Cameroon, the Social autonomous Front (SDF), comes from this region. In fact, one of the an ext promising tendencies in Cameroon is multiple efforts of different opposition teams in this an ar to type a hosting coordination or alliance of opposition forces to challenge the power monopoly of the Centre-South. It appears that they are able come coalesce their cultural, economic and regional interests and thereby to overcome interior dissensions in the face of the authoritarian main power (Amundsen 1999: 470).

Figure 1: Ethno-Political Cleavages in Cameroon
Source: Fombe 2007

Thirdly, we have actually the North, v the Fulani and also the Kirdi cleavage. This an ar consists the the three administrative Northern districts of the extreme North, the North, and also the Adamawa. The region is fairly densely populated, and is qualified by Muslim domination. The Muslim Fulani (or Hausa or Peul) in every respects constitute the leadership of the an ar (in religion, culture, administration, ownership and also wealth) (Amundsen 1999:470-471). The northern provinces are also characterised by the existence of a multitude that different and also oppressed non-Muslim peoples. The word Kirdi, definition ‘non-believer’ in Arabic, has actually a negative connotation; however is commonly employed to designate this non-Muslim population. Some Kirdi people have adopted Christianity together a kind of protest against Fulani domination, thereby adding a second, religious, dimension to the too much social emphasize in north Cameroon (Amundsen 1999: 471-472).

Conflict cases in Cameroon

Since reunification in 1961, inter-community and ethnic conflicts have been typical in Cameroon. Inter-community or ethnic disputes (with various degrees of intensity) have actually erupted in almost all of the ten management provinces that the country. The ethnic/regional cleavages have crystallised because the institutionalisation the ‘autochthonisation’, or ‘politics that belonging’. These conflicts are continual with the drive of ‘belonging’. Ihonvbere (1994) says that in a context wherein the state is absent, ‘the masses turn to ethnic, religious, and philanthropic barisalcity.organisations because that hope, leadership, self-expression and support’, thus accounting for the bloom in associational and also ethnic groupings in Cameroon. For example, in the logic of southern West indigenes, the phibìc West elite Association (NOWELA) is purportedly protecting the understanding of phibìc Westerners. The La’kam was standing for the ideals that the Bamilekes of the West, while the Essigan stand for the understanding of the Betis native the South, East and also Centre. The SAWA2 and revitalised Ngondo cater for the understand of Bassas and also Doualas. Recently, part elites of the cool North join the gyeongju to defend the understand of all Northerners (Adamawa, North and also Far north Provinces) generally referred come in the Cameroon ethnic/regional register as ‘Nordist’ (See Ardener 1967, Yenshu 1998:27, Monga 2000 and also Awasom 2004 for additional details).

These ethnic cleavages represent different geopolitical interests and also are sculpted along defect lines. Together ethnic groups are ‘natural groups with ready-made cleavages for synthetic conflicts and partnerships in a broader state system’ (Otite 1990:4). The ineffective control of voices of dissent and ethnic sentiments may lead to the institutionalisation of country hatred and also conflicts. These ethno-regional communities have end up being conduits in regional quests, thirsting for accessibility to state resources. That is legit to keep in mind that such local associations have resonated sharply in the find for consist of in the polity.

Dominant ethnic teams in federal government dictate the speed of change. Follow me these lines, the Beti hegemony and also confiscation of power in Cameroon were supposedly articulated by Cardinal Tumi, Archbishop of Douala, in one interview granted to L’Effort Cameroonais. The Beti occupation of political an are was proven right following a inspection of senior administrators, the military and other top federal government functionaries. However, Cameroonian politicians are exploiting social differences by engaging in political discourses the couch cross-ethnic economic inequalities and social righteousness in local terms (Monga 2000).

In this circumstance, together Fonchingong (2005) notes, we witness the sprouting of watch withdrawn identities that have actually the potential because that agitation and also protest engineered through the ‘divide and also rule’ mechanism in Cameroon as they scramble because that scarce state resources. Associational life (Ake 2000) is blooming together the legitimacy that the state vanishes and also the withdrawal of identity and also loyalty, fear, suspicion and even hostility commences.

The truth that together ethnic affiliations (Awasom 2004) are fashioned along lines of regional consciousness brings to the fore the categorisation the non-members as strangers and outsiders. This bifurcation syndrome (Fonchingong 2005) has actually marred relations between the two English-speaking districts that space continually torn apart through the divisive national politics of the regime in place. In many towns in the southern West Province, non-indigenes are tagged together settlers, graffis, and also kam-no-gos. These stereotypes are used for those from the Grassfields (North-West and also West) regions of Cameroon.

In the major elections because 1990 (1992, 1997, 2002, 2004 and also 2007), non-indigenes were often reminded of your ‘stranger’ status. Awasom (2004) notes that the liberalisation of the political landscape in Cameroon had the undesirable and unforeseen an effect of realigning the citizenry into supporters that the judgment CPDM on the one hand, and opposition pressures on the other, and also this quickly assumed ethnic postures. Socpa (2002) claims that the development of multipartyism in the 1990s brought around ethnic tension and also violence including the Bamelike and also Beti ethnic teams in Yaounde. He but underscores the fact that multipartyism is simply a pretext since the main causes of the ethnic conflicts are inequalities of access to land, political positions and control that commercial activities (Socpa 2002:76). Because that instance, in Douala whereby the key opposition party, SDF, won the 5 city District Councils, the Doualas, under the umbrella of the SAWA movement, hold a protest march against the domination of their municipality by ‘strangers’ (Awasom 2004; Konings & Nyamnjoh 2000; Yenshu 1998).

The Biya regime, which had evolved and also consolidated chin in the one-party context, experienced itself intimidated by the ‘opposition enemies’ and also started perceiving Cameroonians together either autochthones or allogenes – those who belong (insiders) or those who execute not belong (outsiders). The increasing money of slogans about autochthones matches allogenes can be seen as marking a new type of ethnicity (Geschiere & Nyamnjoh 2000). The government did not take the loss of the strategic economic city of Douala to the the opposite SDF party lightly. It thus instigated large-scale demonstrations by the autochthonous civilization of Douala under the canopy the their timeless barisalcity.organisation, the SAWA.

Again, the poll in the resources city and Beti heartland, Yaounde, were provided a distinct twist (Awasom 2004). In spite of its overwhelming cosmopolitan character, the Biya government treated the elections in this city together if it was a Beti countryside enclave, enabling no opposition party come win any of the Urban neighborhood Authorities. In the Yaounde fifth District Council because that instance, which is occupied predominantly by Anglophones and also Bamilekes, SDF scored an pure majority, winning all the 35 seats. However the federal government annulled the outcomes on the pretext the the judgment CPDM party had petitioned against the consist of of the name of enthusiasm Theodore top top the SDF perform whereas the said Mani Theodore was still a member of the CPDM party. The SDF protested and also produced enthusiasm Theodore’s letter that resignation from the CPDM party yet that was to no avail.

Similarly, prior to the 2002 twin elections (municipal and also legislative), the divisional officer overseeing the registration of voters in Buea (provincial funding of the South-West Province) blatantly said non-indigenes that complained of absence of voter cards come go and register in their district of origin. This has end up being a typical practice in Cameroon. The then Prime Minister that the Republic, Peter Mafany Musonge (who hails indigenous the South-West Province), even differentiated his national brethren when he called them not to permit the ‘graffis’ (those that originated native the west grasslands the Cameroon – North-West and also West Provinces) have any control in the councils in Bakweri floor (The short article 2002). One cannot assist wondering aloud about the scope of his management and if he to be Prime Minister the Cameroon or that a specific tribe. During the 1997 local government elections, one-time governor of the exact same province, Peter Oben Ashu identified himself as a propagandist that the politics of belonging. The Governor gave firm instructions the non-indigenes in Kumba, one more town the the South-West Province, should produce residence permits prior to they can vote. The Bamenda graffis, generally sympathetic come the the opposite SDF, ended up being inescapable targets of the Governor’s public campaigns. He presented them together ‘land grabbers’, ‘ingrates’ and also ‘bellicose strangers’ (Awasom 2004: 283). This brings to the fore the cross-cutting identity and also ethnic concern in Cameroon’s multiparty democratic dispensation.

The pre- and post-election violence that sanctioned the 1992 presidential elections verified the cracks in the state apparatus orchestrated along ethnic lines. The constant molestation the Anglophones and Bamilekes, particularly in the South and also East Provinces, and also the similarly harassment of some Southerners in the North-West province is instructive the the instrumentation that tribalism and also regionalism. Countless political activists, journalists and students, particularly Anglophones and also Bamilekes, were arrested and also tortured. In the 2007 twin election, polling officers who uncovered themselves in primarily ruling party and also opposition strongholds ended up being victims of ethnic disputes in their initiatives to screen the count of ballots. Auto-defence networks, thuggery and also ethnic militias were widespread features.

After the 2002 elections, 3 officials of SDF were molested and exiled from their indigenous Ekondo-Titi (South-West Province) for spearheading the the opposite party’s campaigns. This to be done through the aboriginal population, under the affect of the elite (The article 2002). The is commonplace in Cameroon before elections because that the elite associations, regional groups and also ethnic cleavages to get together and also indicate your leanings. Such meetings, barisalcity.organised by a handful of top elites, purportedly speak on instead of of your kith and kin. The meetings are usually sanctioned by resolutions and also ‘motions that support’ sent come the judgment party and regime in place. Such slogans are given a high coverage on the state media (See Fonchingong 2005 for detail).

Today Anglophones constitute around one-fourth that the Cameroonian population.3 What is recognized as the ‘Anglophone Problem’ in Cameroon, has actually received (and will probably continue to receive) considerable treatment in the literature (Balencie & de La Grange 1996; Gemandze 2002; Konings & Nyamnjoh 1997, 2000, 2003, 2004; Nkoum-Me-Tseny 1999; Jua 2001, 2004; Mbuagbo 2002). Follow to Konings & Nyamnjoh (1997:207), the root reason of the Anglophone difficulty may it is in traced back to 1961 once political elite of two regions with different colonial legacies – one French and also the other British – agreed on the formation of a federal state. Contradictory to expectations, this did not provide for the equal partnership of both parties, let alone for the preservation of the cultural heritage and also identity that each, but turned out to be merely a transitory step to the full integration the the Anglophone region into a strong centralised, unitary state (Konings & Nyamnjoh 2004:192-197). The result over time to be the production of an Anglophone consciousness: the emotion of being ‘marginalised’, ‘exploited’, and ‘assimilated’ through the Francophone-dominated state, and by the Francophone populace as a whole (Konings & Nyamnjoh 1997:2001). Konings and also Nyamnjoh (2004:192-193) have analysed Anglophone grievances from three main perspectives – political, economic and cultural.

The resurgence of multipartyism in Africa in the late 1980s, starting with Benin Republic, detailed Anglophones with an tool to express their grievances. They because of this spearheaded the reintroduction the multipartyism in Cameroon and this act originally polarised the Cameroon polity along Anglophone-Francophone currently and provided an possibility for both communities to publicly state what lock thought about each other.

Firstly, from the view of the politics domain, Anglophones complain the their exemption from vital government and also party positions and their inferior duty in decision-making councils and also barisalcity.organs (Konings & Nyamnjoh 2004). Secondly, together regards the financial domain, Anglophones complain that the dismantling or neglect of their region’s infrastructure, the absence of public invest in your region, and the rape and drain of their region’s financial resources (Konings & Nyamnjoh 2004). Thirdly, the Anglophones complain the the continuous attempts in ~ ‘Frenchification’, the is, offering pre-eminence to French as the distinct language and also to inherited French institutions and also bureaucratic techniques in all elements of state administration and windy life, even in the Anglophone region itself (Konings & Nyamnjoh 2004:193).

These grievances have actually been articulated through various degrees of strongness by a number of Anglophone movements. Prominent among these room the southerly Cameroon national Council (SCNC) and its Youth Wing, the southern Cameroons Youth barisalcity.organization (SCYL). The SCNC was started in April 1993 at the all Anglophone Conference (AAC) in Buea. The strongly proponents the reconstruction of the statehood and also independence that the southern Cameroons. In fact, the SCNC defines itself as an irredentist movement, representing the tendency Cameroonians working for the reconstruction of Sovereign freedom of the southern Cameroons.

The federal government has adopted a variety of strategies in an answer to Anglophone grievances (Konings & Nyamnjoh 2003:133-136):

Trivialisation and demonisation of the Anglophone problem (Konings & Nyamnjoh 2003:109-111).Divide and rule (Koning & Nyamnjoh 2003:111-121).The establishment of direct and also indirect manage over the mass media (Konings & Nyamnjoh 2003:111-121).Repression (Konings & Nyamnjoh 2003:133-136).

The above authors assert that most of the tactics employed by the federal government to decoding Anglophone identity have actually tended to it is in accompanied by ruthless repression the the Anglophone populace and Anglophone activities.

In fact, regardless of the SCNC’s ‘stand’ because that ‘The pressure of Argument and not the dispute of Force’,4 it has actually so far borne the brunt of government repressive machinery.5 for instance, Amnesty global reports the in December 2005, the Appeals Court in Yaounde determined on appeals by imprisoned members of SCNC against their 1999 convictions by a army tribunal. The prisoners had actually been sentenced to in between eight years and also life imprisonment after an unfair trial before special courts directly controlled by the set of Defence, on charges in link with equipped attacks in North-West district in 1997. The prisoners had been denied an very nice for much more than five years. Most of lock looked sick and also frail as a result of life-threatening jail conditions and medical overlook (Amnesty worldwide 2006). In reality one that the prisoners, Julius Ngu Ndi, who had been offer a 20-year prison sentence, passed away from tuberculosis in July 2005. He had reportedly to be denied adequate and also prompt medical treatment for number of months and was taken to hospital only days prior to he died (Amnesty worldwide 2006).

Furthermore, serene political activities by SCNC members to be met with arbitrary and unlawful detentions. For instance, top top 15 January 2005, as plenty of as 40 SCNC activists to be detained and Intervention Unit police officers in Buea reportedly attacked the group’s leader, Henry Fossung. Ayemba Ette Otun and around 20 other SCNC members to be arrested while meeting in October and detained because that up to 2 weeks (Amnesty international 2006). The post (2002) reports that Titiahonjo Mathew, a teacher by profession and SCNC activist, was arrested in Ndop with several other activists, tortured and transferred to Bafoussam central Prison, whereby he died under undisclosed circumstances.6 In an additional instance, together reported in The post (2006), five SCNC activists (Henry Nshadze, Edwin Limfonyuy, Moses Komban, thomas Kongso and Joseph Jumran) native Bui division were required to Bafoussam in September 2002 after being detained and severely tortured by Kumbo gendarmerie led through Captain Becklen. At the Bafoussam central Prison, among them, Nshadze, endured a severe cough if Limfonyuy and also Komban had swollen legs together a result of torture.7

From the foregoing analysis, over there is no doubt that the Anglophone problem, specifically as articulated by the SCNC and also the response of the governing/ruling elite is potentially among the most explosive conflict cases today in Cameroon (Balencie & de La Grange 1996). In fact, liberty House (2006) claims that the linguistic difference in Cameroon constitutes the country’s many potent political division.

National culture: towards dispute prevention and resolution in Cameroon

There is a considerable body of literature on cultural and ethnic diversity in Cameroon. Component of this literature is involved with the political instrumentalisation and/or mobilisation the cultural/ethnic diversity (Konings & Nyamnjoh 2000; Socpa 2002; Zognong & Mouiche 2002; Yenshu 2003). Lot of this literary works however, does no pay one-of-a-kind attention come the inquiry of prevention, resolution and/or monitoring of problems resulting indigenous the instrumentalisation of social and/or country diversity. Internal conflicts in Cameroon are caused by the ‘underlying’ and also ‘proximate’ ’causes’ that internal problem identified by Brown (1997:5). This is clear from the socio-cultural and also political cleavages as well as the conflict cases reviewed above. Vital factors in this regard room ‘underlying’ causes, ‘structural factors’, ‘political factors’ and also ‘cultural/perceptual factors’ (Brown 1997:5). Secondly, together regards ‘proximate causes’, internal problems are ‘elite triggered’, by ‘bad leaders’ (Brown 1997:5), particularly through the instrumentalisation of cultural/ethnic diversity.

It could be argued that the ‘underlying causes’ and also the ‘proximate causes’ that internal problems in Cameroon space both ‘nurtured’ by the lack of a conference ideology. In this context of social and/or ethnic diversity, the institutionalisation that national society could it is in most suitable for conflict management and/or resolution.

A standard statement ~ above national culture is available by Fanon (1963). He specifies national society as: the entirety body of efforts made by a civilization in the ball of believed to describe, justify and also praise the activity through which that world has developed itself and also keeps chin in existence. A national culture in underdeveloped nations should because of this take its ar at the an extremely heart the the struggle for freedom, i m sorry these nations are moving on (Fanon 1963:233). Fanon further asserts the if society is the expression of nationwide consciousness, then national consciousness is the many elaborate kind of culture. In Africa the difficulty of nationwide consciousness and also of national society takes on a special measurement (Fanon 1963:247).

From this perspective, it can be argued that the promotion of national society is compatible through some elements of the combined theory that the politics of nationalism and also ethnicity proposed by Kellas (1991). The Cameroon federal government has recognised the importance of national culture for nationwide integration and national unity. Short article 1(2) of decree No 2005/177 of 27 may 2005, developing the ministry of Culture, offers (inter alia) that the Minister of culture is responsible for the formulation and also implementation of government policy as regards social development, the promo of culture as fine as nationwide integration.

More specifically, the decree gives that the Minister of society is responsible for:

The development and dissemination of nationwide culture: andThe establishment of strategies and also follow-up measures aimed at reinforcing national integration.

At the regional level, post 22 of law No 2004/018 the 22 July 2004 administer Local government in Cameroon provides that regional authorities candlestick promote culture and national languages. An ext specifically local authorities shall (inter alia):

barisalcity.organise cultural festivities and/or events;Offer assistance to social groups and/or associations; andParticipate in regional programmes because that the promo of national languages.

It is clean from these legal and also regulatory provisions the Cameroon has actually a policy on nationwide culture. The problem however is that no serious initiative has so much been made come ensure the implementation the this policy.


Contrary to official discourse, Cameroon is not an ‘island that peace and also stability’ in a problem ridden/war torn central African sub-region. Peace and also security should not be corresponded with the lack of internal and also external armed war or conflict. The current socio-cultural and political cleavages and also latent and/or overt conflict cases indicate that the Cameroonian polity is very volatile and also inflammable. The probability of problems escalating to large-scale armed struggle is high. The camp developing that exists in the country presently, fuelled by politicians for selfish factors is a premonition for pending full-blown conflicts and wars. Over there is because of this an urgent need for a testimonial of the present policy ~ above national culture to ensure its effective/successful implementation.


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