Cameroon, a Central African country, celebrates a national holiday on May 20, 1972, when the French-speaking (Francophone) and Anglophone (English-speaking) regions became unitary together, rather than January 1, 1960, when it declared its independence.
The people of Cameroon were divided into Anglophone and Francophone because colonial powers imposed their culture and language for 45 years.
The country had to prefer the federal system after independence in 1961.
The government held a referendum in 1972 to switch from a federal to a unitary system, claiming that the federal structure was too expensive.
In the country, 80 percent of which is Francophone, it was decided to switch to the unitary system and the name of the country was changed to the “United Republic of Cameroon” and the date of transition to the unitary system was announced on May 20. national holiday.”
Cameroonian sociologist Mohamed Bagna told Anadolu Agency: “Cameroon is the only country in the world that does not celebrate its independence day. There are also historical reasons for this. Instead of celebrating the British and French dates of Cameroon’s independence, the date of Cameroon’s unification is celebrated as a national holiday.” Use the phrase.
Noting that some Anglophone Cameroonians want to stay in the federal structure, Bajna said, “The Cameroonian government does not want to remember and remember the independence gained through the federal structure.” He said.
Bajna said that there were still people in the Anglophone region who celebrated October 1, 1961, when Cameroon entered the federal structure, as a national day, and noted that the problems between the Anglophone and Francophone regions could not be resolved and that this exposed the problems that had been afflicted by the “crisis of the Anglophones”. English”, which is the biggest problem facing the country.
The Colonial Legacy of the Anglophone Crisis
The hasty desire of colonial powers France and Britain to colonize Cameroon in 1916 before the end of World War I became the basis of the Anglophone crisis.
While France occupied the eastern part of Cameroon, that is, four-fifths of the country, England took possession of the western part and attached this region to its colony, Nigeria.
The different political, administrative and legal practices implemented by France and England in the territories they occupied caused the separation of the country which had been living in peace and tranquility before the colonial period.
It is mentioned that the most important factor impeding development in Cameroon is the Anglophone crisis, which is effective in the Northwest and Southwest regions.
In the country with more than 250 ethnic structures and no majority, the language factor from the colonial period, “anglophone-francophone” stands out as a conflict area.
The government’s placement of non-English speaking teachers and judges in schools and courts in these two regions in 2016 sparked outrage in the region. As the demonstrations that began after the reactions grew, so did the Anglophone crisis.
Some Anglophones, who received the support of Anglophone diasporas in the United States and other countries, took up arms and announced that they had set up a country in the northwest region on October 1, 2017, naming it “Ambazonia”.
According to the latest data, at least 6,000 people lost their lives in clashes between the army and separatists during the Anglophone crisis, 800,000 people were displaced, and 40,000 people were forced to seek refuge in neighboring countries.
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