In 2017, Cameroon’s President Paul Biya created the National Commission for the Promotion of Bilingualism and Multiculturalism as an organ through which the Anglophone Crisis could be solved.
Three years after, the Commission headed by erstwhile Prime Minister Peter Mafany Musonge has distinguished itself as another organ created to deprive the masses of the collective wealth.
While some say they saw the Musonge Commission as a body to tackle the pressing issues of the day, it has only help to compensate Biya’s long time friends whose only interest is to line their wallets with taxpayer’s money.
The commission was to be responsible for Promoting Bilingualism and Multiculturalism in Cameroon with a view to: maintaining peace; consolidation the country’s unity; strengthening its people’s willingness and day to day experience with respect to living together.
While commissioning its members, the then Prime Minister, Head of Government, Philemon Yang spelled out the importance of their tasks as well as the need to effectively serve the nation.
Almost three years later, many are curious to know how effective the body has been. After being criticised several times for being ‘closed’, the commission in 2018 provided a toll free number for citizens to report violations to the country’s bilingualism, multiculturalism and living together.
According to the Secretary General of the commission, Dr. Chi Asafor Cornelius, the toll-free number, 1518, is available to all subscribers of Camtel, MTN, NEXTTEL and ORANGE network. Members of the public were advised to call the number provided they had any grievances relating to the missions and attributions of the commission in English or French.
The body has since seen other activities to fulfill its mission including a one day brianstorming conference organised in April 2019 in Yaounde.
With over thirty experts as participants, the Chairman Peter Mafany Musonge said the commission was working to uphold the values of peace, tolerance and understanding among Cameroonians.
In November 2019, the body got its Buea office. Speaking at the ceremony to inaugurate the building, the commission’s SG, Dr. Mohamadou said “it should be possible that a citizen can move on foot or take a taxi drop to drop a complaint … the commission is for citizens who have suffered discrimination based on language or culture”.
One of the most identifiable shortcomings of the commission came just months after its creation when Oumarou Djika Saidou, its Vice President was criticised for his inability to express himself in English. This raised the question on how effective the body could be when its members themselves could not live up to its goals.
Another set of individuals however say they believe the body altogether is irrelevant, as the crisis needs a more comprehensive solution to the crisis.
Ahead of the February 9 elections, more reports of violence keep coming from the restive regions.
With millions said to be in need of humanitarian aid and several others fleeing for safety, it becomes doubtful on how effectively the commission and other agencies set up due to the crisis can function.
For one thing, the Commission members can only boost of their fat salaries, bogus mission allowances, the recruitment of their relatives and friends, the buying of official cars for themselves and the use of state security for their personal gain.
Not even the Commission has been able to twist the arm of 87-year-old life President of Cameroon to address the nation in English.
He has also not taken into account even one of the many proposals made to normalise the situation in the troubled North West and South West Regions.