One of the things imperial Cameroon brandishes to the world as a success is its bilingualism. No one seems to see that Cameroon bilingualism is an act of fraud; that it disrespects the Anglophone component of the imposed nation; that it is an arch example of colonization and assimilation; that nowhere else in the whole wide world is this form of bilingualism practiced. Today, we lift the veil, so that the fraud may be exposed.

2. What is bilingualism? Bilingualism is a situation in which the administration of a country uses two languages to serve two groups of its users, each of which uses only one of the two languages in question. A country adopts bilingualism only when it has two groups of its population, each of which understands or is presumed to understand only one of the two languages in question, and not both. In that situation, the government makes it its responsibility to serve every user in one of the two languages of the country.

3. Bilingualism exists to honour and respect the identity of each of the linguistic groups of users; it recognizes the language of each of the groups as part of its identity and therefore will never impose upon each of the groups the language of the other group. Whether you take the example of Canada or of Switzerland, this is what you will find. In Canada for example, the official language in Quebec is French, not the English of the majority. It is only in imperial Cameroon that English is not the official language of the English speaking peoples! Nowhere else in the world is this form of fraud practised.

4. In Cameroon, bilingualism has taken the form of the imposition of French on the English speaking peoples of the Southern Cameroons; the refusal to recognize their own language, English, as the official language in the Southern Cameroons; the absence of any law which makes texts issued only in French illegal in the Southern Cameroons and therefore virtually no responsibility for the government even to translate official texts. No citizen can sue the government for issuing a text only in one language or reject a document served to him in French. Translation by government is done on an optional basis. They say that English is also used in La Republique du Cameroun, but this is a mere hoax since no English administrator dares serve anyone there a text in English. On the contrary, French is the language in which most administrative texts are served to Southern Cameroonians within the Southern Cameroons; French is the official language in the military and polices forces and virtually all professional schools; everywhere in the Southern Cameroons you find government sign boards in French, but you cannot see one single government sign board in English in Republique du Cameroun.

5. The absolute and primary condition for the existence of bilingualism (or the use of two languages in the administration of a country) is that each linguistic group should keep its own language as its official language and not be imposed the language of the other group. Once the two groups are forced to learn each other’s language, the administration is bound to become monolingual. It is the language of the minority group that will die, for the simple reason that the minority must first learn the language of the majority and thus establish communication in that language!

6. For bilingualism to exist in Cameroon (and not the assimilation that is now called bilingualism), English must become the official language in the Southern Cameroons and French to be the official language in
La Republique du Cameroun. This would dramatically increase the need for bilingual services, because all French documents must be translated into the official language in the Southern Cameroons and all English documents be translated into the official language in La Republique du Cameroun. Interpretation services will also increase because all conferences must be interpreted.

7. It is the monolingualism of individuals which forces the administration to be bilingual. That is to say, for the administration to be bilingual, those who use that administration must be monolingual or at least have the choice of using only their own language! Bilingualism of individuals must necessarily end the bilingualism of the administration or the state! If all or most citizens are bilingual, what need would there be for the government to translate any texts? In Cameroon, bilingualism was introduced only because there are Anglophones who don’t understand French. If Anglophones who don’t understand French continue to diminish in number every year, the need for bilingualism must also decrease! Translation of government texts is done only for this group! As you can see, it is only a matter of time before the generation of Southern Cameroonians who don’t understand French is phased out. When that happens, all Southern Cameroonians will be speaking French. At that point, it would be completely useless to use English in the Cameroon administration.

8. Language is simply a tool for communication. Once communication is established, there is no need for another language! The more so-called Anglophones learn French, the more communication is established in French, and the less need there is to use English any more, especially in the administration. Always remember that English was introduced into the colonial Cameroon administration only for the colonized Anglophones who could not yet speak French! It was not introduced so that Francophones should learn English! No, it was a measure to accommodate their colonized Anglophones while their assimilation is completed. Consequently, once communication is established through French, English must naturally cease to be valid as a means of communication in the administration.

9. If I can speak your language, what would be the need for you to learn my own? Even if you can learn my own, what purpose would it serve since we are already able to communicate in your own language?

10. In the current imperial Cameroon situation, translation and interpretation services must naturally dwindle and finally die. It is an impossibility to continue to translate texts and interpret conferences for those who already understand the original language in which the texts were written or conferences held! It would not be long before everyone would discover the enormous waste of time and resources, and also the hypocrisy involved.

11. When Southern Cameroonians meet people from La Republique du Cameroun, what language do they speak? French, of course! Why? Because Anglophones are the first to learn French and so communication must occur only in the language which both sides understand.

12. If most or all Southern Cameroonians begin to speak or even merely understand French, what would be the need to use English in the Cameroon administration? And if Anglophones continue to speak in French, who will speak their own language? Does this not tell you that English is programmed to die in the Cameroon administration?

13. Yes, only the language that is used in the administration counts as an official language or as part of the bilingualism. A sizeable portion of English people speak French; that does not make England a bilingual
nation. Similarly, a sizeable portion of Germans speak English, that does not make English one of the official languages of Germany. Many French people speak English, that does not make English an official language in France. An official language of a nation is only a language that is used in the administration or in public offices.

14. As further proof, let me ask you this question: In 1961 or even 1972 what percentage of Southern Cameroonians understood French? What is the percentage today? Probably in 1961 and later on in 1972, less than 20% of Southern Cameroonians understood French. Today, probably 70%! Does that percentage that understands French today need any translation or interpretation? If the need for translation and interpretation is constantly dwindling, what does that tell you about the future of bilingual services in colonial Cameroon?

15. The questions above prove to you that Cameroon is moving towards a single language, not bilingualism. Colonial Cameroon is therefore guilty of fraud, misrepresentation, swindle and cheating. Its version of bilingualism is an act of fraud against the people of the Southern Cameroons; it is part of its colonial and assimilation policy, not bilingualism at all.

16. The only way for bilingualism to survive is for English to be the official language in the southern Cameroons and French to be the official language in La Republique du Cameroun. That is what will promote bilingual services such as translation and interpretation.

17. Southern Cameroonians, you now see the gigantic fraud, the misrepresentation, the hoax, the swindle that is practiced on you by colonial Cameroon! Wake up and claim the right to your own language. No more should French be accepted as the official language in the Southern Cameroons; no more should French sign boards be accepted; no more should administrative texts be served in French in the Southern Cameroons.

18. Francophones learn English today, not so that it can be used in the Cameroon administration, but for the enormous advantages that English gives them in the world. Do not be deceived. Even Francophone Ministers who study in English countries use only the French language when serving in the Cameroon administration. The Anglophone Prime Minister uses only French and so do all other Anglophones in the administration. They must do this, to prove to their Francophone bosses that they have been thoroughly assimilated; to pretend to belong, to gain favours and so on. No one dares point out the programmed end of bilingualism in Cameroon.

19. There you have your so-called bilingualism, one more crime against the people of the Southern Cameroons

By Denis Atabong