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Cardinal Tumi Says Regional Elections Would Not End Anglophone Separatist War

Roman Catholic Prelate Cardinal,  Christian Tumi says the regional elections scheduled to take place in Cameroon on December 6, 2020 may not end the Anglophone separatist war in the country.

Cardinal Tumi said if the regime in Yaounde thinks the election would end the war, then they are very mistaken.

The clergyman, who is a very strong English-speaking moral authority in Cameroon, said the only solution that can lead to the end of the insurrection in the two English-speaking regions of Cameroon would be a return to some sort of federation as obtained in the country from 1961 to 1972.

Speaking to the press in Douala on Wednesday, he declared: “They (the elections) are not going to automatically resolve the Anglophone separatist problem, no.”

“I have said that it is necessary to have a certain level of autonomy in the Northwest and Southwest regions as was the case when we were a federal nation. That was a period in our country when we had no problems.”

According to him, the federal system would not divide the nation.

“I have been asking why they have not gone directly towards a sort of federalism. 

“It is necessary for the Francophones to remove it from their heads that a federated state is necessarily a divided nation.”

“No, we can have a federation and the state remains perfectly united, because nothing less than a federation would succeed in stabilizing Cameroon,” the Catholic prelate insisted.

The Biya government, however, thinks that the regional elections which are being taunted as a panacea for stability would put an end to the Anglophone crisis which has so far resulted into the deaths of at least 3,000 persons since the outbreak of hostilities between Anglophone separatists and the Cameroon army. 

More than 700,000 Anglophones are internally displaced and living in Francophone regions of the country. 

About 50,000 others are refugees in Nigeria.

The English-speaking Cameroonians however perceive the December 6 regional elections as a charade and a little too late.

“The much taunted special status for the Northwest and Southwest Regions is little different from what obtains now,” says Professor Victor Julius Ngoh, Cameroon’s most prominent Anglophone historian and President of the Catholic University Institute of Buea.

“The regional representatives who would be elected would still be subject to the authority of unelected Governors appointed by the central government.”

“And this is exactly what Anglophones have been fighting against over the years.”

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Chief Bisong Etahoben

Chief Bisong Etahoben is a Cameroonian investigative journalist and traditional ruler. He writes for international media and has participated in several transnational investigations. Etahoben won the first-ever Cameroon Investigative Journalist Award in 1992. He serves as a member of a number of international investigative journalism professional bodies including the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR). He is HumAngle's Francophone and Central Africa editor.

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