By Ndi Elvis
Some residents of Bamenda in the embattled North West region have told MMI that, the much parroted claim of national unity is mere political sloganeering.
Our respondents say in 50 years of the Unitary State, authorities have simply been paying lip service to national unity while the country remains fragmented along several lines.
In the Old Town neighbourhood of the North West regional capital, a group of residents discussed about 50 years of the unitary state with most lamenting that, their situation is worst than what obtained under the federal structure.
Amid separatist-imposed ghost town that has grounded every activity in the city, most of our respondents rubbished the concept of national unity.
According to Roland T, national unity was long destroyed by the regime in place when the two stars that symbolized that two countries united to form present day Cameroon was arbitrarily removed from the nation’s flag.
“Was the name not a United Republic of Cameroon before? What happened to the United in the name? This is clear prove that Cameroon is not a united country, let’s forget about it. Removing the united from the name of the country speaks volumes,” he stated.
On his part, another resident who identified himself only as Pa Mathias said the ongoing war in the two English-speaking regions of Cameroon is a sign that there is no unity in Cameroon.
“Let me start with the Anglophone Crisis which is one thing that has exposed the disunity of the country,” Pa Mathias said, questioning further that: “How many francophones have showed solidarity with their suffering brothers and sisters in Anglophone Cameroon? This is to say that unity is on paper and not reality. it is a political slogan.”
For another resident who gave his name only as Tata, the unity of a country is also seen when the pain of one is the pain of all.
“A country is like a whole body, when one part is in pain, the rest of the body is in pain. Is this what is happening in Cameroon? Can we say the francophones feel our pain? If yes, how come they have been the crisis has not been discussed in the National Assembly? This is a clear indication that they don’t want our issues discussed at their backyard, hence there no unity.”
Meanwhile, some said, the bilingual nature of Cameroon was supposed to be an indicator of a united country. Those who hold this opinion say, this has not been the case.
One of those who shared this view, a teacher said: “Language has divided us the more. In Bamenda, speak English to a uniformed officer and suffer the consequence. This will not be the case when one speaks French to the soldiers here. In Canada, people have the right to be attended to using the language they best understand. Here, French is being imposed. This, to me is a sign of disunity”.
Regional balance, discrimination against Anglophones amongst others are some of those areas many of our respondents faulted in 50 years of the Unitary State.
Some said the fact that the country has not had an Anglophone as Head of State in 50 years of the Unitary State is worrisome.
There are those who have equally seen all that is happening in Bamenda and beyond as a sign of unity.
Talking to MMI, a councillor who is a supporter of the ruling Cameroon Peoples Democratic Movement, CPDM party said, there is no country without problems and that the issues in Cameroon shouldn’t be used to rubbish the unity of the nation.
“The National Assembly, identification documents, international passport and many others are just some of items that bring us together. If we were not united, we would not have been using FCFA currency and the others mentioned above. We have problems but our unity stands. We decry bad roads in Bamenda, go to French Cameroon and the story is the same,” the councillor stated.
As Cameroon celebrates 50 years of its Unitary State Friday May 20, 2022, he general feeling in Bamenda already under a separatist-imposed lock down is that, the unity of the country has been destroyed by greed and bad governance.
These, many residents told our team makes the gospel of unity being preached by politicians to be mere sloganeering and lip service.
Mimi Mefo Info