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AN ASSESSMENT OF SECESSIONIST MOVEMENTS IN CAMEROON AND THEIR IMPACT ON NATIONAL UNITY

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AN ASSESSMENT OF SECESSIONIST MOVEMENTS IN CAMEROON AND THEIR IMPACT ON NATIONAL UNITY

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the study

The 'Anglophone crisis' in Southern Cameroons and the government of Cameroon's response of 'attempted secession' have sparked a fresh discussion on the significance of 'self-determination' in the 21st century. The Anglophone issue presents a barrier to the postcolonial state's attempts to establish national unity and integration, as well as to national and regional human security (Ngoh, 2019). The war in Cameroon's Anglophone Northwest and Southwest regions, which were formerly part of the former British colony and mandate area of Southern Cameroons, started on 11 October 2016 with peaceful demonstrations by Anglophone lawyers and teachers. The central government caused this by assigning French-speaking judges and instructors to English-language courts and schools, leading to a gradual weakening of Anglophone common law practices (Sterio, 2018). 

The excessive use of force escalated the unrest and resulted in a humanitarian crisis. 50Starting on October 1, 2017, violent separatist organisations symbolically declared the former Southern Cameroons as the state of Ambazonia, leading to a strong response from the government. Security forces detained several protesters, including minors, resulting in the deaths of at least four individuals and causing injuries to many more. More than 700,000 individuals have been displaced due to the continuous conflict between rebels and government forces, with a further 63,800 fleeing to neighbouring Nigeria. Approximately 4,000 people, in addition to members of the state security forces and rebels, have died as a result. So far, Cameroon's foreign allies and the global community have not commented on these incidents.53 The Anglophone problem has been underreported, resulting in little worldwide awareness and acknowledgment. The present separatist movements stem from historical frustrations of the Anglophone minority due to perceived marginalisation and discrimination by the Francophone-dominated administration. Efforts to resolve these complaints via decentralisation and power-sharing have not been successful, leading to continued dissatisfaction and calls for secession to establish an independent state known as Ambazonia (Chukwudi, Onuoha, & Okafor, 2020).

The emergence of separatist groups in Cameroon has had significant consequences for the country's unity and stability. The prolonged war has led to extensive human rights violations, displacement of residents, economic disturbances, and a collapse of societal unity. Additionally, the government's reaction, marked by forceful military actions and little communication, has intensified tensions and distanced impacted populations (Kingsley-Arthur, 2018). 

It is essential to comprehend the dynamics of separatist movements in Cameroon and their effects on national unity for several reasons. It offers insights into the socio-economic and political elements that drive these movements, such as identity, governance, and resource allocation. Secondly, it illuminates the efficacy of present government techniques in handling and resolving internal problems. It provides important insights for resolving conflicts and promoting peace in Cameroon and other areas dealing with ethno-political tensions and separatist movements (Mateş, 2019). 

This study attempts to thoroughly evaluate the characteristics, origins, and outcomes of separatist movements in Cameroon, specifically examining their impact on national cohesion. The study aims to analyse the historical context, socio-political dynamics, and stakeholders' perspectives to gain a detailed understanding of the complexities of the conflict and to identify possible ways to resolve the conflict and promote reconciliation (Thomas, Charles and Toyin Falola, 2020). 

The research aims to produce empirically based insights by using both qualitative and quantitative research methods such as literature review, interviews, and data analysis. These insights are intended to contribute to academic scholarship, policy development, and peacebuilding efforts in Cameroon and other regions. Ultimately, the goal is to encourage conversation, support reconciliation, and facilitate a peaceful and comprehensive solution to the separatist situation in Cameroon, thereby promoting sustained national unity and growth.

1.2 Statement of the problem

Cameroon, a nation renowned for its varied cultural and linguistic environment, has been dealing with separatist movements in the Anglophone areas in recent times. These movements, driven by complaints related to perceived marginalisation and discrimination, present a substantial obstacle to the nation's cohesion and stability (Brilmayer, 2015). The government's actions and initiatives have not effectively tackled the underlying reasons of separatist inclinations. 

The issue is to thoroughly evaluate the characteristics, motivations, and outcomes of separatist movements in Cameroon, namely in the Anglophone areas, and to comprehend their influence on national cohesion (Mateş, 2019). Despite significant academic and media focus on the topic, there is still a lack of understanding about the fundamental dynamics of these movements and their impact on the unity of the Cameroonian state. Hence, the study will assess of secessionist movements in Cameroon and their impact on national unity.

1.3 Objective of the study

The broad objective of the study is to assess of secessionist movements in Cameroon and their impact on national unity. The specific objectives is as follows

To analyze the historical roots of secessionist movements in Cameroon.

To evaluate the impact of secessionist movement on national stability and unity.

To assess the role of government policies in mitigating secessionist sentiments.

To propose recommendations for fostering reconciliation and promoting national cohesion amidst secessionist tensions in Cameroon.

1.4 Research Questions

The following questions have been prepared to guide the study

What are  the historical roots of secessionist movements in Cameroon?

What is the impact of secessionist movement on national stability and unity?

What are the role of government policies in mitigating secessionist sentiments?

What are the strategies for fostering reconciliation and promoting national cohesion amidst secessionist tensions in Cameroon?

1.5 Significance of the study

The study is significant to the following

Government: This study is significant because of the rising case of secessionist movement around the globe which encourages the parent state to adopt counter-separatist policies to prevent secession.

Academia: the study will be beneficial to the academic community as it will contribute to the existing literature.

1.6 Scope of the study

The study focuses on of secessionist movements in Cameroon and their impact on national unity.  Empirically, the study will analyze the historical roots of secessionist movements in Cameroon, evaluate the impact of secessionist movement on national stability and unity, assess the role of government policies in mitigating secessionist sentiments and propose recommendations for fostering reconciliation and promoting national cohesion amidst secessionist tensions in Cameroon.

1.7 Limitation of the study

Like in every human endeavour, the researchers encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. Insufficient funds tend to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire, and interview), which is why the researcher resorted to a moderate choice of sample size. More so, the researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. As a result, the amount of time spent on research will be reduced.

1.8 Definition of terms

Secessionist movements:  A movement is a group of people who share the same beliefs, ideas, or aims.

National unity:   a situation whereby people of diverse cultures, religions, language, political, social and economic systems are brought together to have a common goal.


This material content is developed to serve as a GUIDE for students to conduct academic research



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