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Thursday, December 6, 2018

Ambazonia: Cardinal Tumi strikes another big blow!

Young researchers have had the audacity to debate the question of the form of the state, in a collective work co-led by Father Ludovic Lado and prefaced by Cardinal Tumi. 

Here is a book that looks like a court scene. Here, one argues about the socio-political crisis that shakes for two years the regions of North-West and South-West of Cameroon. The form of the state is being debated in the collective work which bears the following subtitle: The process of state centralism. Centralized state?Decentralized unitary state? Federalism?Or secessionism? Each author took his pen and pronounced himself. The agreement is far from being found among the nine researchers in the social sciences, but they argue by force of the argument.The best known of all is the Jesuit priest Ludovic Lado. Through his earlier writings, he has positioned himself as a dissident vis-à-vis the established political order in Yaounde.

But this time, he co-directs a scientific work. His cap is that of the doctor in social and cultural anthropology. This is the science that brings him back to the other director: the sociologist Edmond VII Mballa Elanga, better known for his positions in favor of the regime. He is a lecturer at the University of Douala. To these two academics more capped, have joined young researchers who, for some, still write their doctoral thesis. These are "no names" that take the posture of the intellectual, according to Christian Tumi.The Cardinal signs the preface and rejoices to read citizens who have chosen to put their intelligence "at the service of truth and justice. "

Yet it is difficult to establish a truth after reading the 239 pages of this book published last November by Editions du Schabel in Yaounde.

All the same, we come out built on the actors involved in the so-called Anglophone crisis, their strategies and positioning. Three major actors are identified by the doctoral student in political science Godefroy Nouaham Kenmogne. First of all, there are the administrative and governmental authorities, great defenders of the unitary state, who want at all costs to maintain control over the management of the crisis.

Any uncontrolled change could make them lose their social position and the political and economic benefits that come with it.They embody the governing system in the neo-patrimonial state where each subaltern must make a "blind allegiance" to the hierarchy. This hierarchy above which is the President of the Republic.

Then there are the secessionist leaders in North West and Southwest, portrayed as frustrated or marginalized in the distribution of the national pie and the exploitation of wealth. The stake of the secession is the seizure of power in the former Southern Cameroons and the management of the wealth of this part of Cameroon. Finally, the political parties have seen the opportunity to make good business, either by bargaining their position with the power in place, or by standing up for the interests of the people.

Poor governance

If the challenge of the crisis is access or control of wealth, the debate on the form of the state is actually about the governance of that state. The same problems are raised from one author to another. Nouaham Kenmogne establishes the most complete diagnosis: remote rulers of people's expectations and aspirations, a lack of government initiative and anticipation, the collapse of public enterprises, inertia and delays in the implementation of reforms and projects, the high rate of misappropriation of public funds and the waste of budgetary resources, the low rate of access to basic social services, a high rate of unemployment, the low rate of attractiveness of private investors, the worsening of poverty, unbalanced regional development, the zombification and vassalization of citizens, the loss of confidence of young people in the state, combined with the loss of their self-esteem, the appearance among the population of feelings of defeatism, fatalism and resignation, the aggravation of tribalism and the loss of citizen solidarity, the stifling of democracy with the consequent disparity n from the plural expression in favor of monolithic thought.It is from this melodrama that the claims of the English-speaking minority were born. It rejects the French majority's responsibility for the poor governance of the state.

The socio-demographer Narcis Bangmo then proposes the concept of "colonialophonie", to understand the crystallization of the Anglophone / Francophone opposition. Colonialism is the expression of the identity withdrawal of the English-speaking Cameroonian.

It claims a "happy identity" that would be the product of British colonization, unlike the French colonization that would have been unfortunate and would be the source of governance problems in Cameroon. The facts, according to the researcher, indicate that British colonization has produced a culture, as well as institutional, administrative, managerial, and other traditions. In short, she has shaped a way of doing, living and reasoning. The Anglophonie ended up taking on the appearance of an ethnic group.

To be a member, it is not enough to speak English or to have studied in the English-language educational subsystem. If this identity was artificially created and maintained by a political elite, it is nonetheless true that there is a popular will among Anglophones to speak with one voice regardless of their ethnic differences prior to British colonization. In their fight for a cause that seems common, they chose to talk about what unites them.

Decentralization versus federation-secession

If the crisis gives to see instrumentalisations, it is necessary to pay attention to the cult words mobilized in the communication of the actors. Aristide Menguele Menyengue recalls that crisis communication is based on these mobilizing words, which carry a strong popular belief, which arouse and maintain the hope of change. It is the battle of opinion that is played out.

On the one hand, federalism is presented as the ideal state in the face of the failure of state centralism that has always prevailed since reunification in 1961. This idealization is historically constructed.Indeed, it feeds on the marginalization of former Southern Cameroons populations and on the belief in a happy past in the federal system when the territory was part of the Nigerian colony under British administration. On the other hand, the authorities' discourse on accelerating decentralization appears as the answer to marginalize and discredit the idea of ​​the federation.

It is by design that this form of the state is presented as an outdated and obsolete reality, and even assimilated to secession.However, the battle of words shows that a goal has been achieved: the politicization of a problem that is part of the corporatist demands of lawyers and teachers. Aristide Menguele Menyengue explains that to politicize a situation is to bring the public authority to take charge of it, it is to make recognize a problem publicly and to make admit that its regulation returns to the authority.

Researchers have different perspectives on the situation, which is politicized and instrumentalized. Edmond VII Mballa Elanga plans to remove some confusion.Thus, he insists that the poor governance and underdevelopment of Cameroon are not directly related to the administrative centralism inherited from French colonization.

Just as federalism is not a priori the solution to all the problems of Cameroon.It even seems to defend the idea of ​​a centralized regime carried by an elite in the service of the population. For him, the English / French categories must be out of date. History must also stop being the only referent because the past is very often instrumentalized and becomes a source of division. The most important thing is to take charge of the current realities of Cameroon.

Christian Bios Nelem adds that Cameroon has a more pressing national problem than the debate on the form of the state: intrigues, hatred, denunciation, corruption, ethnic chauvinism, manipulation or illicit enrichment. The Cameroonian problem is about the distribution of wealth between social classes. We could add between the rich and the poor.

To the sources of Nigerian federalism

Anglophone crisis or Cameroonian problem. It remains difficult to evacuate the debate on the form of the state. No one can deny that centralism, defended by Mballa Elanga, has shown its limits. The answer comes from two researchers molded into the Anglo-Saxon system.Emile Kifon, the specialist in governance and public policy, postulates that if the federal state does not guarantee good governance and development, it is at least a bearer of peace, power sharing and responsibility.

We can always adjust and adapt it for a better living together in a country of today and tomorrow, reassures Sa'ah François Guimatsia who has been working for years on bilingualism policies in Cameroon.There is the approach of the expert in political economy of development. Herve Lado invites to discover the federalism practiced in Nigeria since 1954 because, it is here that everything began for the populations of the ex Southern Cameroons.

They know the Nigerian experience that still speaks to them today: the fundamental decisions on the form of the State have always been the subject of a national conference, that is to say an inclusive assembly of all the components sociological aspects of the country. The federation is not a long calm river and Nigeria is not a complete federation.

But people are jealous of the right to choose their representatives at different levels and to be able to manage their local affairs. It is up to Cameroon to chart its course by drawing inspiration from the strengths and weaknesses of its big neighbor.