Cameroon’s president Paul Biya announced today November 12, 2019 at the Paris Peace Summit a special status for the North West and South West region of Cameroon as stated in the constitution. After several years of the crisis, Paul Biya acknowledged that the ongoing problem in the North West and South West regions originates from historic and cultural differences which was introduced in the country during the colonial era.
According to Paul Biya, his country has been divided by a culture and civilization which make things very difficult for him and his administration to handle. The Anglophone problem remains a very vital challenge for Cameroon. The provision of a special status to the two Anglophone regions does not mean separating or distancing these regions from the rest of Cameroon, but rather as a way to strengthen the unity of the country. In relation to the special status he said: “We had the possibility of directly integrating the Anglophones into the Francophone system which is the majority with 80 percent of the population but i think countries are proud of their identities and we are trying to put in place a special status which recognises the specificity of the Anglophone region while respecting the territorial integrity of the country.”
He made this statement and more in a debate at the Paris Peace Forum coordinated by Mo Ibrahim of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation. He also used the platform to appreciate the president of France and the organizers of the Forum and coordinators of the debate. Responding to a question posed by Mo Ibrahim as to the measures taken to solve the anglophone crisis in Cameroon, he said: “We have done everything possible to put English and French at the same level but the education and judicial systems are different.” “This led to the present conflict which we are trying to resolve in order to preserve the special status of the Anglophone Regions so that we stay in unity”.
A group of fifty scholars and Human rights advocates from across the world wrote a letter to French president, Emmanuel Macron urging him to ”up its engagement in resolving Cameroon’s Anglophone Crisis, described by some analysts as “Rwanda in slow motion”.
According to Paul Biya, the divide and rule system of administration practiced by the colonial masters during the colonial era is an unfortunate situation for Cameroon today as the policy was meant to divide the population, and today it has not only created a language barrier but also a cultural one.