NCPBM Crusades Against Hate Speech and Xenophobia

Nico Halle and Abouem A Tchoyi-NCPBM Members

The National Commission for the Promotion of Bilingualism and Multiculturalism –NCPBM has been holding regional campaigns against “Hate Speech and xenophobia” as a way of promoting living together and national peace in Cameroon.

Held in Bamenda from the 15-18 of June, former Northwest Governor Abouem A Tchoyi David and Barrister Nico Halle, members of the NCPBM meet with various peace stakeholders in the region from local administrators, security officials, journalists, traditional and religious leaders, the media, telecommunication companies, youths and women leaders, the civil society, lawyers and more.

Mr. Abouem A Tchoyi and Bar. Nico Halle in the context of their mission described hate speech and zenophobia as “language that insights hatred, contempt, on the basis of people’s origin, gender, religion, age, political affiliation or social condition. It can also be injustice, discrimination or disrespect of people’s rights or reputation that causes frustration and want for revenge, while xenophobia is dislike of, or prejudice against people from other ethnic groups, or region, or against the indigenes by the settlers”.

Hate Speech according to bar. Nico Halle emanates from frustration when people are maginalised, stigmatized, considered irrelevant and deprived of what is theirs. “You cannot get any kind words from such people. People who are poor, unemployed, trampled upon because of tribalism, Nepotism, and exclusion” he said “ tend to be sad and frustrated”.

The campaign clearly identified that in the current socio-political crisis in the Northwest and Southwest regions, “hate Speech” has been the fuel stoking the flames in the crisis for the past five years which has led to loss of lives and property, massive displacement of people, lack of Jobs, good roads, constant blackouts, maginalisation, too many security check points and police harassment around town, lack of youthful representation at top government positions in the country, illiteracy, neglect of the entertainment sector, lack of football Stadia and training pitches, neglect of the English language by government and military forces amongst many others.

Speakers after speakers at the three day mini-conference expressed and shared different ways hate speech and xenophobia manifest amongst the general population.

The neglect of the Bamenda-Babajou Road, the demolition and abandoned roads within Bamenda town, the selection rather than election of local leaders, the appropriation of power over land by administrators over traditional authorities, neglect of the youths, unemployment, abuse of power by security officials were singled out as some of the high instances of hate speech and xenophobia against the people of Bamenda and the Northwest region as a whole.

Paul Achombong, Bamenda City Mayor   after taking time to explain the difficulties with the ongoing road works in Bamenda pleaded with the representative of the NCPBM to sincerely convey the worries of the Bamenda man to the head of state and warned that if the roads that have been abandoned are not done soon, it could spark another wave of Anglophone protest which would be worse than the current Ambazonia crisis.

Members at the meeting with NCPBM members

Some of the recommendation taken and which the NCPBM members promised to channeled to the Head of State included; the military should go about their Job professionally without interfering in the activities of civilians and transporters, the press and civil society organizations should be empowered with amenities to run more campaigns against hate speech and xenophobia, name callings should stop to give way to genuine dialogue, anti hate Speech clubs be created in schools, leisure centers like stadia, cultural centers be created, the entertainment sector should be highly promoted because in the midst of all the stress people still need leisure activities to keep them away from propagating  hate speech. They also recommended that moral education be incorporated into the schools with religion studies considered as a passed Subject, young people should be appointed post of responsibility amongst others.

Round up the campaign in Bamenda, Bar. Nico Halle said “Having identified the root causes, we have to build a foundation of love, Justice, equity, transparency, integrity, patriotism and the fear of the Lord because if there is no love, no good thing can happen to a people. Time for Frustration, hypocrisy, Falsehood and lies telling is over. Let’s all sink  aside our differences and endeavor that this cankerworm that has destroyed the very fabric of our nation be fought and killed because Cameroon has all it takes for all Cameroonians to be Happy due to its rich and huge natural resources and also because  the average Cameroonian is very intelligent, God fearing and law abiding.

Don’t be a victim to stigmatization, marginalization, don’t sit on the fence asking what Cameroon has done for you but step down and save your motherland from the hands of Intruders and detractors, so hate speech and xenophobia can be eradicated from our region and country at large”

The campaign against “Hate Speech and Xenophobia” called for by the Head of State Paul Biya started in March with events held in Yaoundé by the head of the NCPBM Peter Mafany with frontline partners in the fight against hate speech. Different commission members have been touring the other regions for similar exercises.

By Anyam Yvette and Abongwa Fozo

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