The Anglophone Crisis: Where I Stand – Hon. FOBI NCHINDA 

Hon. Fobi Nchinda MP for Bamenda/Bali

It has been an honour and a blessing for me to legally represent the more than 700,000 noble people of the Bamenda/Bali constituency in my native Mezam. I am thankful to the Almighty God, and to you my people, who have in different degrees, made this possible.

I have received threats on my person, my family, my honour and my property directly and indirectly from some Anglophones. I have accepted all in equanimity as the price to pay as a politician. What most of them have said has come to reinforce my understanding of their frustrations and the frustrations of other Anglophones.

The very difficult times we are now going through are but the tip of the iceberg of our experience over 57 years. The people who came out of the 1961 plebiscite, today called the Anglophones, have in their mouths the bitter taste of second class citizens in a country they would have liked to consider their own. This is not the forum for me to list the legion of historical, professional, physical and psychological frustrations that have marked our existence. What we retain is that we cannot stomach it any more. Nevertheless, as we stand now the following three options are now available to the Anglophones:

A decentralized unitary state: I find this option unacceptable because of the excessive concentration of powers (and financial wherewithal) at the centre, the propensity for appointed official to lord it over the elected officials as well as the multiple associated abuses.

A federation which my party (the SDF) stands for and which I find acceptable because of its guarantee for real devolution of powers and financial means to the people. The federation is supposed to be held together by a reduced overarching central government in charge of common defense, common currency, foreign affairs, norms etc.

A separation (erroneously called secession) by the Anglophone regions. My humble analysis of the situation leads me to the conclusion that should push comes to shove and if la Republique is unwilling to negotiate a fair deal for the Anglophones for a union treaty, then this option becomes inevitable.

However, the birth of the separated state could only come through a referendum (for which I am favourable), or through an armed struggle with consequent loss in human life (which I do not condone).

I am truly saddened by the loss of human lives in the search for their dignity within their own homeland; deaths we must put at the doorsteps of Mr. Biya, because of his lack-lustre handling of the crisis.

While all of these hypotheses evolve, I believe that I (and the other Anglophone MPs) can best influence a positive outcome for the Anglophone crisis by remaining in Parliament at this time and holding the Biya regime accountable.

However, I would wish my people to note that I am with them, and if at any time the situation changes and it becomes necessary to leave the Parliament of La Republique, they my people should count on me.

Let me use this occasion to remind all of the battles I have been fighting for the Anglophone cause:

I marched on the streets of Bamenda and Buea with the SDF MPs in order to insist on the rights to freedom of expression by the Anglophone lawyers, teachers and university students who were arrested, tortured, raped, rubbed in mud and locked up by the forces of La Republique.

I am a signatory to the two (2) open letters to Mr. Paul Biya by the SDF MPs insisting on an urgent dialogue as a solution to the Anglophone crisis; not to mention the letters by the National Chairman of the SDF to Mr Biya insisting on urgent solutions to this very Anglophone problem.

On at least five (5) occasions, I took the podium of the National Assembly to publicly question the Prime Minister and members of the Biyas Government on various facets of the Anglophone problem (common law, the Anglophone subsystem of education, military treatment of Anglophones, and the obligatory use of the English Language and signs in publics spaces, etc).

Since I entered the National Assembly, every year I take on every minister to examine the annual budgetary provisions of the given ministry allocated to the Anglophone regions.

I visited our Anglophone children in the hospitals when they were wounded during protest rallies and made provisions for their feeding and medical care.

It is on records that I also visited the Anglophone detainees in SED, Kondengui and the Police headquarters to make provisions for their feeding, medical care and legal defense.

It suffices to equally state here that I have been on the television, radio and written press to publicly defend the Anglophone cause.

My dear brothers and sisters, as I thank you again for the opportunity you gave me to serve my people; please permit me to draw three conclusions which I want to share with you:

The first conclusion is that the country must change. It cannot, and must not continue the way it is-neither in its structure nor in its functioning.

The second is that we should at all costs, avoid bloodshed. Let no one fool you, it is easy to get into or escalate a war. It is not easy to stop it. Even when the war ends, its sequels are unimaginable and indelible. Since all wars must end at a conference table, we should do all that is possible to go to that Conference table NOW!

The third conclusion is that I am and will remain, in the service of my constituents, whenever and wherever they want me.

May our good God Bless us all.

FOBI NCHINDA SIMON

MP Bamenda/Bali.

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