In continuing the discuss of the Bishops letter to President Paul Biya, the Bishops carefully explained that the under-representation of Anglophones in Government, the destruction of Southern Cameroons resources, the manner in which the English language is treated in Government circles, the powerless PM, the number of Anglophones in professional schools, the common law lawyers as well as teachers complaints etc are all symptoms of the Anglophone Problem. The Bishops again maintained that solving the root issue of the Anglophone problem will mean addressing the constitutionality of the Union. In showing the flagrant disrespect of the Prime Minister by the Francophone Ministers, the Bishops wrote “There are clearly Francophone ministers who wield more power than he does. This seems to have been proven true in the last Teachers’ strike. When the Prime Minister was in Bamenda negotiating with the Teachers’ Union Leaders, a group of Francophone Ministers were giving a Press Conference in Yaoundé on the same issue, giving the impression that the negotiations of the PM in Bamenda were of no consequence…”
Below is an excerpt from the Bishops letter which portrays the symptoms of the Anglophone Problem:
“..Symptoms of Discontent
What some people mistake for the Anglophone Problem are just symptoms pointing to the fact that an overwhelming majority of Anglophone Cameroonians are not happy in the union which they entered with East Cameroon in 1961. They have complained against widespread and systematic marginalisation in various areas of public life which point to the existence of a huge problem. Some of these symptoms include the following:
Marginalisation in Human Resource Development and Deployment
i. Anglophone Cameroonians have complained about the fact that National Entrance Examinations into Schools that develop the human resources of this country are set per the French Subsystem of Education which makes it very difficult for Anglophones and Francophones to compete on a level playing field. Majority of the membership of these Examination Boards are Francophone so that the interests of Anglophone candidates are hardly, if ever, protected.
ii. Out of the five Ministries concerned with Education, which is the means of the transmission of culture, none of the Minsters is Anglophone and none even qualifies to be a deputy or Secretary of State. This gives the impression of a calculated attempt to kill Anglophone culture.
iii. In human resource deployment, there is a gaping inequality in the distribution of posts of responsibility between Anglophones and Francophones. Of the 36 Ministers who defended the budgets for the Ministries last month, only one was Anglophone. In addition, there seem to be key ministries that have been reserved for Francophone Ministers only and Anglophones do not even qualify to be Secretaries of State under them. These include, but are not limited to, Defence, Finance, Territorial Administration, and Economy.
iv. In the 1961 Constitution, the Vice President was the second most important personality in state protocol. Today, the Prime Minister (appointed Anglophone) is the fourth most important person in State Protocol, after the President of the Senate and the President of the National Assembly. Even so, Anglophone Cameroonians believe that he wields no real authority and, like was the case with J.N. Foncha as First National Vice President of the CPDM, finds it “impossible to use [his] exalted position to help in any way shape or influence the policies of the party and nation.”(7)
There are clearly Francophone ministers who wield more power than he does. This seems to have been proven true in the last Teachers’ strike. When the Prime Minister was in Bamenda negotiating with the Teachers’ Union Leaders, a group of Francophone Ministers were giving a Press Conference in Yaoundé on the same issue, giving the impression that the negotiations of the PM in Bamenda were of no consequence…..” Bishops of Kumbo, Kumba, Buea, Mamfe and Bamenda writes.
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