Top opposition parliamentarians rubbish the adoption of the controversial law on the use and promotion of bilingualism in Cameroon.
SDF parliamentarians have criticized the passing of the bill on the promotion of English and French as the 2 official languages in court hearings which to them is a bill that will completely assimilate the minority Anglophones in the country.
Paul Nji Tumasang a member of parliament for the social democratic front called the bill an obnoxious one owing to the way it was adopted by the speaker of the national assembly.
This bill created a bone of contention in the North West and South West Regions when it was passed with common law lawyers from these 2 regions staging a strike action due to article 26 (2) of the bill which Stated that ‘Courts decisions shall be rendered in any of the official languages, depending on the choice of the litigant and the understanding of all present in court.’.
The bill was then withdrawn and adjusted following the protest from the lawyers and civil society activists but to the SDF lawmaker, these amendments were even worse than the original bill proposed adding that this is a disastrous way for their legislature to end.
The minister of Arts and Culture Pierre Ismael Bidoung Mkpatt said after the adoption that the bill is the outcome of one of the main resolutions of the Major National Dialogue and will help strengthen the country’s bilingualism.
The bill was drafted by the government in accordance with Article 1(3) of the constitution which states: “The official languages of the Republic of Cameroon shall be English and French, both languages having the same status.
The State shall guarantee the promotion of bilingualism throughout the country. It is coming as a manifestation of President Paul Biya’s desire to strengthen national integration, the bilingual and multicultural nature of the country. Once it becomes law, the government will ensure that English and French are essentially used as working languages without distinction in public institutions.