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Cameroon: Dr. Simon Munzu Damns Anglophone ‘Special Status’ Calls it “A mockery of the people.”
Category :- Politics Author :- N Gelmin S 
Posted on June 9, 2020, 6:39 am
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It is nine months after Cameroon held a Grande National Dialogue during which it was resolved that the English-Speaking Regions will be granted a ‘Special Status’ as part of the solutions to their long expressed grievances.

Despite taking part in the National Dialogue, Dr. Simon Munzu, federalist and co-author of the All Anglophone Federal Constitution of 1993 has damned the promised special status that topped the news after the dialogue but seemingly been forgotten.

Dr. Simon Munzu

According to The SUN, Munzu had bust out in regrets at the deafening silence of the government over this issue. Talking to the media editor, Wasso Norbert Binde on June 5th, 2020, the federalist said they have waited for way too long whereas there was actually nothing special about the ‘special status’.

In the following except from his conversation with The SUN editor, Dr. Munzu Expressed himself on the issue, raising pertinent concerns and elaborating on the said resolution arrived at during the dialogue.

He said, “We all held our breath and waited with great expectation for the Government to come up with the content. We ended up being very disappointed. I have read the Law on Decentralization that was promulgated on 24 December 2019 over and over and over again. It contains some provisions in Part V of Book IV entitled ‘Special Status of the North West and South West Regions’.

Dr. Simon Munzu

I regret to say that these provisions do not contain anything that confers any meaningful ‘special status’ on the two Anglophone regions. It is hard to see how they can lead to the resolution of the Anglophone problem.

Remember that the Major National Dialogue was organized specifically to examine ‘the situation in the North West and South West regions of Cameroon’. Its overall objective, as announced by the Head of State who convened it, was to find a lasting solution to the crisis in these two regions so that they could return to normalcy. After several days of deliberation in a forum organized by the Government, it was officially recognized, for the first time, that there was an Anglophone problem.

On the devolution of powers, the two Anglophone regions do not have any powers different from those enjoyed by their Francophone counterparts. The regional councils in the Anglophone regions comprise 90 members that are supposed to reflect the sociological composition of the region, exactly as is the case with those in the Francophone regions. The only difference is that, in the Anglophone regions, the law says that 20 out of those 90 regional councilors must be traditional chiefs, whereas in the Francophone regions the number of traditional chiefs is left to be decided by each council according to its local sociological realities.

Dr. Simon Munzu at stv

Second, while, in the eight Francophone regions, all the 90 regional councilors meet together and deliberate as a single chamber, in the two Anglophone regions 70 of the regional councilors meet separately as the ‘House of Divisional Representatives’ while the remaining 20, all of whom are traditional rulers, meet separately as the ‘House of Chiefs’. This is to create the illusion that in the two Anglophone regions, we now have a ‘House of Assembly’ and a ‘House of Chiefs’ as we had in the days of the Federation. This is a mockery of the people of these two regions.

The other distinguishing feature, one which is just as meaningless as the others, is the introduction for the two Anglophone regions of a state official who is appointed, and can be dismissed, by the President of the Republic, called the Public Independent Conciliator who will be charged mainly with the examination and amicable settlement of disputes between citizens and regional and municipal council administrations.

In every other respect, including the supervision and control by Governors and Senior Divisional Officers as ‘representatives of the State’, the two Anglophone regions are treated exactly the same as the eight Francophone regions. It is difficult to see how all this can contribute to resolving the Anglophone problem and ending the four-year-old crisis in the South West and North West regions.

The purpose of ‘special status’ for the Anglophone regions ought to be to grant these two regions a sufficient degree of administrative and financial autonomy to enable them to run their own systems of education, justice, police, etc. in accordance with their own heritage. The aim should be to put an end to the marginalization, domination, and assimilation of these two regions by ‘La Republique du Cameroun’.”

Dr. Simon Munzu

Like Dr. Munzu, many Anglophones have been expressing the desire to see this promised “Special Status” implemented, as most intellectuals said it is not different from the Federation some long for.

However, the government recently announced the reconstruction of the two Regions which many have criticized holding that there can be no true reconstruction without a ceasefire.

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