Anglophone Problem Rocks National Assembly


Ten years ago, the then Minister of Justice, Ahmadou Ali, told Hon. Joseph Wirba that Anglophones had gone to La Republique.

This statement had not gone down well with the MP for Jakiri in Bui Division, Northwest Region. It was an inflammatory response, to say the least, to the SCNC crisis which had broken out in the Northwest where gendarmes tortured people.

“Sitting with him in his cabinet, I told the Minister that my people have been suffering a lot of injustice for the past 40 years. I told him that if they do not initiate dialogue, the problems will end up breaking Cameroon,” Wirba said.

According to Hon. Wirba, the Minister responded thus: “Mr. Wirba, it is your people (Anglophones) who came to us.”

Wirba told the National Assembly that he interpreted the Minister’s statement to mean that since West Cameroonians accepted to join La Republique du Cameroun, they could be maltreated with impunity.

This memory came rushing to Wirba during the plenary sitting devoted to the 2017 budget recently at the National Assembly, when the Anglophone crisis got into the front burner at the hemi-cycle.

The MP stirred the brouhaha when he complained bitterly about the torture that gendarmes meted on students of the University of Buea recently.

Hon. Wirba exploded in anger soon after he mounted the rostrum on Friday, December 2.

“I am angry and incensed, almost at the point of losing my mind, that police tortured, raped and maimed children in Buea. Our ancestors trusted you but you have betrayed them in this union. We (West Cameroonians) will resist,” the MP thundered.

The vocal MP further quoted the former US President, Thomas Jefferson by stating that: “When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.”

He continued: “I am declaring from this rostrum, officially; your law is injustice to my people (Anglophone), we will resist to the last man.”

Wirba said he had acquired proof that Government has designed a plan to kill the Anglophone culture, education and justice system.

He recalled that shortly before the former Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralisation, Marafa Hamidou Yaya, Was jailed, he (Wirba) had complained to him about the brutal behaviour of the DOs, SDOs and the uniform officers in the Anglophone regions.

“I told Marafa that the DOs, SDOs and the military act like colonial masters and the forces of occupation. I pleaded with him by saying that the foundation of this country would be shaken to its very roots if nothing was done to stop this unscrupulous behaviour,” said Wirba.

The MP quoted Marafa as responding that if anybody does anything to undermine what the DOs, SDOs and the military are doing, he or she will be crushed.

Furthermore, the MP told the plenary sitting that a week ago he went and saw the Minister of Higher Education, Prof. Jacques Fame Ndongo, on the Anglophone crisis.

He said he told the Minister that he had sought audience to see the President to no avail. He then pleaded with the Minister to either take him to the President or take his very important message to him.

“I told the Minister that the current strike involving Anglophone teachers and lawyers is not the issue at stake.

I told him that the real issue is the maltreatment of Anglophones in the union and that only the President could solve the problem by resettling the foundation of the State,” he narrated.

The MP said he told the Minister that if government does not initiate dialogue on the Anglophone crisis, it will break Cameroon.

After listening to him, he went on; the Minister asked him what Anglophones would do if Government does not hearken to dialogue.

Wirba said after talking with the various ministers in private, he discovered that it is designed Government policy to suppress, oppress and subjugate West Cameroonians.

Anglophones Not Slaves

Seemingly overcome by anger, Wirba once more exploded at the rostrum: “The people of West Cameroon are not your slaves, they were not your slaves and they will never be!”

In reaction, the Ministers shifted uneasily on their seats as dead silence took hold of the House. Since the MP had used up the 10 minutes to make his claims as provided for by the standing orders of House Speaker, Hon. Cavaye Yeguie Djibril, attempted to stop him.

The Speaker hit the hammer on the table and told the MP that he had exhausted his time.

The MP fired back: “I am talking about the enslavement of my people and you are talking about time? Mr. Speaker, I will not leave this rostrum until I say my say.

By so doing, Mr. Speaker, I am saying that our resistance against injustice begins this minute. You will need the brutal gendarmes that are torturing the people of West Cameroon to remove me from here today.

In the spirit of Thomas Jefferson whom I quoted here, it is my duty to resist what you are telling me to do here now,” the MP fired.

He said it was also a duty of West Cameroonians in the circumstances to resist suppression, oppression and subjugation.

Said he: “Mr. Speaker, the reason why I am saying this, is because our people mean nothing to you in this union. How can the brutal torture of human beings that took place in Bamenda and Buea happen in the 21st century?”

He said the august Assembly; especially the Government bench was shocked at his remarks because there is a big difference between the French and the Anglo-Saxon systems.

He said the French system teaches people to fear their leaders while the Anglo-Saxon system teaches respect of leaders.

There was dead silence in the hall. The CPDM Parliamentary Group later broke the silence with humming of disapproval.

But Hon. Wirba fired on by saying that he does not fear the Speaker, the President of the Republic and Government, but rather has a lot of respect for them. He insisted that West Cameroonians will resist injustice with all their might even if Government brings in the French army to join their forces of occupation to crush them. After making his point, Hon. Wirba left the rostrum and took his seat.

But he rose to his feet in rage, once more, when one female CPDM MP took the floor and said she was shocked by the belligerent tone in the Bui MP’s submission.

For about 10 minutes, the entire House went into hurly-burly of shouting and booing by MPs. Some MPs asked the woman if the torture, maiming and the raping of female students in Buea by gendarmes was a normal thing to her.

Hon. Cavaye finally laid the matter to rest when he told the female MP to stop making any remarks on Hon. Wirba’s reaction.

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