The UK based Cameroon Diaspora has commenced exploratory talks to begin serious engagements with the United Kingdom Parliament on the ‘Anglophone Problem’.
During a meeting held on 1st February, 2017 in the UK Parliament (House of Commons Committee Room 10) at Westminster, which was heavily attended by the UK Cameroonian Diaspora, one of the speakers, Nelson Enonchong, a Law Professor and practicing UK Barrister, chronicled the legal, constitutional and historical background to the ‘Anglophone Problem’. The second speaker, Priscilla Nkwenti, an Epidemiologist and Non-Executive Director of Trafford North Primary Care Trust in Greater Manchester, in her presentation, highlighted the brutal and repressive manner in which the government had responded to the legitimate demands of West Cameroonians by presenting graphic evidence of human rights abuses and the recent order to disconnect internet and money remittance services to West Cameroon by the government.
The Acting Deputy High Commissioner, His Excellency Joel Herve Nguenkam, representing the government at the meeting, responded by saying that the government was taking steps to resolve the crisis and that His Excellency, President Paul Biya, had recently issued a decree to promote Bilingualism and Multiculturalism in response to the crises, and had promised that the government will be training an extra 1000 bilingual teachers and will infuse a cash injection of 2 Billion FCFA for the project. It is noteworthy that these steps announced unilaterally by the government, were rejected by the teachers and lawyers unions during negotiations as they are cosmetic and do not address the fundamental issues raised by the teachers and the lawyers.
The UK Cameroonians who were present at that meeting, resoundingly declared with a unanimous show of hands that the government was acting with extreme bad faith, and had not done anything close to what was required to find a just and lasting solution to the problems facing the peoples of West Cameroon.
One of the British MPs, The Right Honourable John Cryer, who was hosting the event, passionately encouraged West Cameroonians to continue with their actions in order to seek change. He said history had taught us that real change came from outside Parliament, and from the pressure that people exerted on their governments, citing examples of the UK Poll Tax and Colonialism itself, which saw pressure that was mounted by the people both at home and from the dependent territories to deliver change. The MP said he will be making his own representations to members of the UK government and encouraged each and every person present to write to their MP to make the case.
The UK West Cameroon diaspora has taken the MP’s comments as a call for an intensification of the peaceful protests and civil disobedience, such as the strikes and the ghost towns currently in force in West Cameroon by the people. The UK diaspora will actively engage with their local MPs, the international community and the international news media to continue pressing the case for West Cameroon. In collaboration with the West Cameroon Association, the diaspora would like to encourage the people of West Cameroon to remain steadfast until their demands are met.
WCA notes with utmost outrage the arrest of a BBC journalist at the recent military tribunal, when the case against Barrister Felix Nkongho Agbor Balla and Dr Neba Fontem (Consortium leaders), who have been falsely and unjustly accused of capital offences, was due to be heard. WCA reiterates its demands for all those arrested for peacefully expressing their rights to freedom of expression, to be immediately and unconditionally released, and for the government to commence dialogue with West Cameroonians without further delay.
The WCA is a collective of English-speaking Cameroonians based in Cameroon and the Diaspora.
God bless West Cameroon.
The West Cameroon Association,