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INVESTIGATING THE CAUSES AND CONSEQUENCES OF SEPARATIST MOVEMENTS IN THE ANGLOPHONE CAMEROON

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INVESTIGATING THE CAUSES AND CONSEQUENCES OF SEPARATIST MOVEMENTS IN THE ANGLOPHONE CAMEROON

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the study

Cameroon's many cultural identities, languages, and physical landscapes have earned it the nickname "Africa in Miniature." Cameroon harbours around 240 tribes, distributed among three primary ethnic categories: Bantus, semi-Bantus, and Sudanese. These ethnic groups together communicate using almost 240 distinct languages. Despite the presence of several ethnic groups and numerous tribes in Cameroon, the discourse around marginalisation, secession, favouritism, and persecution of minority ethnic groups has been neglected in favour of addressing the domination of the Anglophone minority and Francophone majority. The establishment of a national identity in Cameroon has been challenging due to the presence of a varied people and the lingering effects of colonialism. The inability to attain absolute national unity has led to the emergence of separatist movements. In order to comprehend the current state of affairs in Cameroon, specifically with regards to the Anglophone crisis and the secessionist demand for the establishment of a distinct state known as Ambazonia, it is necessary to delve into the historical context of Cameroon's colonial past, its struggle for independence, and the circumstances surrounding its reunification. This historical analysis is crucial for understanding the predicament in which Cameroon finds itself today (Emmanuel, 2021). The reunification of French and British Cameroon, together with revisions to the Federal constitution aimed at ensuring autonomous governance and preservation of distinct cultural identities, have significantly contributed to the current Anglophone issues. However, it was not until 1990 that a multi-party system was reintroduced, which was marked by the freedom of mass communication and association, including the right to hold public meetings and demonstrations. This was a significant departure from the previous regime under Ahmadou Ahidjo. It was during this time that the Anglophone elite took advantage of the opportunity to officially express their grievances. They demanded constitutional amendments, and some groups even entertained ideas of secession (Thomas, Charles, and Toyin, 2020). The sentiment of Anglophone oppression and stifled expression, as the use of force supplanted peaceful discourse, evolved into the current Anglophone crisis and the secessionist movement of Ambazonia in 2016. Anglophone lawyers initiated a strike to highlight the Justice system's neglect of common law, which was inherited from Britain during the colonial period, in the anglophone region. They demanded the translation of the Organisation for the Harmonisation of Business Law in Africa (OHADA) code into English and expressed criticism towards the appointment of Francophone magistrates and judiciary in common law jurisdictions. The attorneys' demand for the reinstatement of the Common law system, as it existed during the period of federalism, was met by gendarmes physically mistreating lawyers and apprehending their sympathisers. Furthermore, teachers also participated in the walkout. They orchestrated protests to denounce the shortage of Anglophone educators, the hiring of instructors with inadequate English proficiency, and the disregard for the distinctive Anglo-Saxon nature of schools and colleges in the Anglophone region. The source is from Group in 2017. The military and law enforcement intervened with force, resulting in serious physical assaults, arrests, and a minimum of two recorded fatalities. University of Buea students recently organised a peaceful protest to express their opposition to the ban on the University of Buea Student Union (UBSU), among other grievances. Unfortunately, this led to the violent mistreatment of students, with some being arrested from their hostels. A female student was subjected to physical assault, including being undressed, covered in mud, and allegedly raped by national security personnel. These events have further intensified feelings of marginalisation and inhumane treatment by government forces towards the Anglophone population, as well as fueling arguments for secession. Consequently, secessionist leaders in the diaspora declared the independence of Ambazonia, leading to the formation of armed militia groups with the goal of establishing the Ambazonian state. Therefore, the researcher sought to investigate the causes and consequences of separatist movements in the Anglophone Cameroon.

1.2 Statement of the problem

In the post-colonial period of Cameroons and Independence in 1960-1961, two official languages emerged with equal status according to the constitution of The Republic of Cameroon. Despite the fact that the French Cameroonian population makes up 80 percent of the population and that the political landscape is dominated by Francophones (Okereke & Nna-Emeka, 2018). Over time, the French language has come to dominate as the primary means of official communication. This is evident in the fact that most official announcements are published in French. Additionally, even administrative offices in English-speaking regions were staffed by individuals who had limited proficiency in English, often necessitating English-speaking locals to communicate in French. This element, above all others, revealed the marginalisation experienced by both the language and the people it represents. The representatives of this language were unable to comprehend and appreciate their culture and way of life (Keke, 2020). The implementation of the French system and deliberate integration of the anglophone people into the French way of life has resulted in the Anglophone problem in Cameroon, which has now escalated into a separatist movement seeking an independent state.The anglophone community's long-standing complaints since the reunification with French Cameroon in 1961 have sparked the resurgence of separatist groups in Cameroon. Efforts to settle the Civil War via dialogue and the development of a strategic plan to halt the bloodshed have been unsuccessful (Griffiths, 2016). Neither party is prepared to compromise on their stance; the secessionists are resolute in their pursuit of establishing an independent state, while the Government of Cameroon adamantly refuses to engage in any discussions including secession or federalism.. Hence, the study investigate the causes and consequences of separatist movements in the Anglophone Cameroon.

1.3 Objective of the study

The broad objective of the study is to investigate the causes and consequences of separatist movements in the Anglophone Cameroon. The specific objectives is as follows

Identify the root causes of Anglophone separatist movements in Cameroon.

Assess the socio-economic impacts of separatist movements in Cameroon.

Explore the political motivations behind Anglophone separatism in Cameroon

Assess the effectiveness of peacekeeping initiatives in promoting sustainable solutions to separatist movements.

1.4 Research questions

The following questions have been prepared to guide the study

What is the root causes of Anglophone separatist movements in Cameroon?

What are the socio-economic impacts of separatist movements in Cameroon?

What are the political motivations behind Anglophone separatism in Cameroon?

What is the effectiveness of peacekeeping initiatives in promoting sustainable solutions to separatist movements?

1.5 Significance of the study

The findings of the study will be significant to the following

Cameroon government: Understanding the root causes of separatist movements can aid in addressing underlying grievances and promoting political stability. By identifying the factors driving separatism, policymakers can develop targeted strategies to mitigate tensions and resolve conflicts peacefully.

Academia: the findings of the study will be significance to the academic community as it will contribute to the existing literature.

1.6 Scope of the study

The study focuses on  investigating the causes and consequences of separatist movements in the Anglophone Cameroon. Empirically, the study will identify the root causes of Anglophone separatist movements in Cameroon, assess the socio-economic impacts of separatist movements in Cameroon, explore the political motivations behind Anglophone separatism in Cameroon and assess the effectiveness of peacekeeping initiatives in promoting sustainable solutions to separatist movements.

1.7 Limitations 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

Separatist movements; the advocacy of cultural, ethnic, tribal, religious, racial, governmental, or gender separation from the larger group.


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