Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Presidential Speech: Paul Biya still marginalized English speakers on Tuesday

President Paul Biya, who reviewed each of his 86 years, delivered a rare televised address to the nation on Tuesday night - and the first thing many observers noticed was that he only spoke in French, in front of a divided nation since October 2016 about grievances written in English.Francophone regions.

The Anglophone crisis in Cameroon was at the heart of Biya's 30-minute speech.What had been at the origin of the peaceful demonstrations organized by lawyers and teachers calling for equality - and crushed by the Biya government - has transformed, in some parts of the country, a violent secessionist movement.

Now Biya is calling for unity and has proposed a national dialogue to move the country forward. At the same time, he said those who opt for violence "will face" the security forces.

"We must all work for a fruitful dialogue," said Biya, adding that the country's prime minister, Joseph Dion Ngute, would lead the proposed dialogue that will begin at the end of the month.

Ngute said in June that the Cameroonian government wanted to negotiate with the armed groups, but that the secession demands from the English-speaking regions of the north-west and south-west of the country to establish a separate nation, Ambazonia, are not about. Table.

The Cameroonian crisis has attracted international attention with the banning of the Anglophone movement, the arrest and trial of prominent leaders, the many casualties and allegations of human rights violations by government security forces and opposition groups armed.

According to a report published in May by Crisis Group, the conflict claimed the lives of 1,850 people and left more than half a million people displaced.