The Cameroon Condition

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The Cameroon Condition brings together three seminal essays by George Ngwane, one of the most renowned, committed and daring Anglophone Cameroon writers. �The Mungo Bridge,� is a stinging indictment of the tenuous relations between La Republique du Cameroun and the Southern Cameroons � a marriage gone sour right from the honeymoon. It raises hard questions on the failed union, and is uncompromisingly courageous in the solutions it proposes. This popular essay was first published at a time when it was risky to be open and critical, especially on what has come to be known as The Anglophone Problem. �The Anglophone File� discusses the narrow and barren politics of belonging that have exacerbated divisions and controversies among Anglophone elites, turning them into political fodder for the Francophone dominated state. The essay suggests ways out of the divisions and intrigue that have kept Anglophones permanently at daggers drawn against each other, and facilitated their exploitation, humiliation and marginalization. The third essay, �Fragments of Unity,� concerns the South West Region, whose leaders Ngwane criticizes of political opportunism and of a chronic lack of vision and fortitude with regard to the socio-economic development of the region. It calls for a leadership free of the docility, mediocrity and praisesingerliness. These are powerful essays that have attracted praise and criticism alike. They are essays to leave few indifferent. Their continued relevance to current debates makes of them a most read.

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Publié par
Date de parution 27 juin 2012
Nombre de visites sur la page 14
EAN13 9789956727100
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0068 €. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.

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The CA M E R O N CONDITION GEORGE NGWANE
The Cameroon ConditionGeorge Ngwane
L a ng a a R esea rch & P u blishing CIG Mankon, Bamenda
Publisher: LangaaRPCIG Langaa Research & Publishing Common Initiative Group P.O. Box 902 Mankon Bamenda North West Region Cameroon Langaagrp@gmail.comwww.langaa-rpcig.net Distributed in and outside N. America by African Books Collective orders@africanbookscollective.com www.africanbookcollective.com
ISBN: 9956-727-28-8 ©George Ngwane 2012
DISCLAIMER All views expressed in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Langaa RPCIG.
Table of Contents Preface………………………………………………….. v
The Mungo Bridge Introduction…………………………………………….. 3 Chapter One: National Integration………………………5 Chapter Two: National Unity…………………………… 23 Chapter Three: National Consciousness………………… 33
The Anglophone File
Chapter Four: Where the Coastal/Graffi Divide
Began…………………………………………………… 61 Chapter Five: Why the First Attempt At Coastal/Graffi Unity Failed…………………………………………………… 71 Chapter Six: How The Drama Of South West/North West Divide Is Being Rehearsed Today………………………. 81 Chapter Seven: Why we must Build Bridges instead of Walls……………………………………………………. 91
Chapter Eight: Why We Need a Two By (X) State Federation………………………………………… 101 Fragments of Unity
Chapter Nine: Our Geography………………………... 115
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Chapter Ten: Yesterday’s Heroes- The Cradle of South
West…………………………………………………….. 121 Chapter Eleven: Our Task Today……………………... 137 Chapter Twelve: Our Common Future…………………. 171
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Preface I am pleased to provide this preface to ‘The Cameroonian Condition’ which is a collection of previously acclaimed publications by George Ngwane, that include, ‘The Mungo Bridge’ (on the West and East Cameroon divide), The Anglophone file (on the North West / South West Regions relations) and Fragments of Unity (on the problem with the South West Region of Cameroon). The publication of ‘The Cameroonian Condition’ is informed by popular demand as much as by the need to put the reality of the issues succinctly explored in the publications within their rightful perspective. The Question then arises, why is there a popular request for a compendium of these publications and at this point in time? Why a desire to place the issues raised in these publications in their rightful perspective? I respectfully provide the answers hereunder. The popular demand for the publication of this volume arose from the fact that the publications in this volume, were widely read. Then and now, the publications separately or in aggregate aroused agitated public interest with varied reactions. The Mungo Bridge, the most popular of the publications, was a serious indictment of the tenuous relations between the Republic of Cameroon and the Southern Cameroons. With this publication, George Ngwane became one of the very few committed writers to make a serious attempt at initiating a civil and dispassionate debate on the failed state of the union between the Republic of Cameroon and the Southern Cameroons which many saw at inception as a model for Africa unity. The writer raised not only hard questions but provided critical solutions.
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George Ngwane followed through by proposing to a group of committed intellectuals in Buea the convening on nd rd the 2 and 3 April 1993 of an “All Anglophone Conference” to debate the future of the Southern Cameroons component territory within the union. Yes indeed, the idea was that of George Ngwane. Bate Besong, Francis Wache, Vincent Anu and my humble self adopted it unreservedly. It is then that a decision was made to approach Professor Carlson Anyangwe, Dr Simon Munzu, Barrister Sam Elad and the Hon. Benjamin Itoe who graciously accepted to bring it to the political mainstream through the then constitutional debate that led to the ill fated ‘Tripartite talks’ in Yaounde. These distinguished personalities, articulately presented the collective position of Southern Cameroons at the said talks and defended it valiantly. Unfortunately, it was ignored with the consequences that are evident in today’s Cameroon. The widely acknowledged admission of the ‘Anglophone Problem’ by President Paul Biya implicit in the th commemoration of the 50 anniversary of the independence of Southern Cameroons and unity with the Republic of Cameroon so-called ‘unification’ although belated, in some ways vindicate the popular position taken by George Ngwane in ‘The Mongo Bridge ‘at a time when it was simply dangerous to do so. The publication “The Anglophone File” based on the Anglophone regions of Cameroon to wit the North West/South West divide generated unprecedented controversy not because of its content but because that divide in itself is the very heartbeat of the politics of divide and rule that have more than anything perpetrated the subjugation of the two people. This publication was motivated by a desire to seek a solution that would take away a portend weapon of division and intrigue that kept the people permanently in a
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state of mistrust while both are exploited, humiliated and marginalized. The writer was misunderstood and criticized even by the victims of this form of exploitation, humiliation and marginalization for daring to raise the problem. I travelled to Rwanda where ethnicity on the basis of Hutu/Tutsi ethnic identification is banned and criminalized and Burundi where it is allowed and encouraged. The Rwandan legislation has led to tyranny and that of Burundi has led to a robust public discourse about race/ethnic relations that has strengthened social cohesion and a wider democratic political space. The Anglophone File aroused popular conscience and opened the eyes of the emergent leaders, particularly the intellectual class and the civil society to the mistakes of the past and the necessity of conceiving sustainable and enduring values that promote and protect the interest of all. In this, the writer is vindicated by Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere in an address to delegates of the Tangayika National Union in 1964 when he said that for a better formulation of present day policies and the planning for the future, the leaders must question and evaluate the past critically and dispassionately. In so doing, the leaders must make sure the mistakes of the past are used as a rationale to detract or inhibit the charting of a better future for ourselves and posterity. The publication “Fragments of Unity” concerns the then South West Province and now South West Region of Cameroon. Here the writer reserved the strongest criticism on his Southwest people and political class. Dr Simon Munzu, it was, who described the Southwest as a mere geographical expression. This indeed is the hard fact. It is simply unacceptable that due to the political opportunism of a few, the region is simply not only the least developed but stands the threat of losing its identity altogether. The people
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of the region must therefore be assertive in their demands for socio-economic and political needs and free themselves from the docility of Presidential praise singing to which they have been relegated with nothing to show for. Ever since George Ngwane set on the journey to raise national and international awareness on the situation and condition of his people, he like most committed writers elicited support and criticism. This is to be expected, in particular, when one writes about evolving political events. George Ngwane has suffered serious prejudice in his career pursuits and undergone all forms of deprivations and detention for his critical publications. This is to be expected of most significant critical works in despotic regimes. On this, Wilfred Cartey writes in the African Reader: Independent Africa, Random House Inc. New York 1970 P 11 that “Any Education, any growth of awareness demands its proper sacrifice. Such is its nature: to create a contrast so startling that the past must be abandoned in favour of the future it promises or the reality it so starkly reveals”. Neither George nor his people and posterity for whom he writes can escape this reality. I therefore unreservedly recommend this publication to policy makers, academics, researchers, lawyers and the public at large to read in one volume ideas that shaped our destiny as a people and as a nation. Chief Charles A.Taku Traditional ruler, international lawyer, Lead Counsel at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the Special Court for Sierra Leone, the African Court on Human and Peoples Rights and the International Criminal Court Arusha Tanzania, 30 March 2012.
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