Former United States assistant Secretary of State for Africa ambassador is advocating a return to federalism as the only viable solution to the Anglophone crisis.
Herman Cohen says the government must go back for the original federal system that was in his view ‘illegally abolished’ during the tenure of the country’s first president Ahmadou Ahidjo.
Ahidjo the country’s first president governed with a federal system for the first twelve years of his presidency. But in 1972, the federal system was abolished for a United Republic of Cameroon directed from Yaounde.
#Cameroon government must understand that only solution to West Cameroon crisis is a return to original federal system that was illegally abolished during Ahidjo administration.
— Herman J. Cohen (@CohenOnAfrica) March 8, 2018
Anglophones in the country have long complained that they face discrimination, saying that they are excluded from state jobs as a result of their limited French language skills.
The Anglophone regions of Cameroon erupted in protest in 2016, with people calling for more autonomy from the majority French-speaking government.
The government responded by shutting the internet and arresting protestors. When separatists declared an independent state called Ambazonia in October, that prompted a military clampdown, violent attacks, and the flight of refugees from the area.
Separatists have staged guerilla style attacks on security forces killing over twenty of them. The two Anglophone regions (North West and South West) have also been under curfew for the last few months.
Anglophone Cameroonians believe that only a complete overhaul of the administrative departments in the country and an inclusive federal constitution can end their woes. Cameroon had adopted a federal government system in the 1960s but this system was later dropped after a referendum.