Yaounde: With no power over government, Prime Minister Ngute digs in heels 0

Though technically the highest-ranked minister, Joseph Dion Ngute is only the head of government in name and it is Paul Biya’s advisors who manage the executive’s day-to-day actions.

It is not strange in the minds of every Southern Cameroonian. For over 57 years after independence and re-unification, there has never been an Southern Cameroons President or a Southern Cameroons Secretary General or Director of Civil Cabinet at the Presidency of the Republic. Nor has any British Southern Cameroonian ever held the strategic ministerial portfolio of Defense, Finance, Communication, and External Relations or even in charge of the Police, Gendarmerie, the Army and Intelligence services; not even ambassadors to English-speaking countries like the USA and Nigeria. For a region that represents about 20% of the population, accounting for over 60% of GDP, the fact that the lone oil refinery named in French (SONARA) is in Southern Cameroon, yet has been run by Francophone general managers with a predominantly Francophone workforce since its creation is unacceptable. It just cannot be that there are no competent Southern Cameroonians to occupy these positions.

Higher institutions like the National Polytechnic, ENAM, IRIC, ESSTIC, INJS, IFORD, CUSS, Public Works, ENSPT, IRAD, are heavily laden with French courses; another way of saying, British Southern Cameroonians need not apply.

Although La Republique du Cameroun passes officially for a bilingual country where both English and French are equal, the head of state has never ever made an official address to the nation in English! All official correspondences are in French, even when directed to British Southern Cameroonians. French is the language used in the administration, police, gendarmerie, army and the courts. Southern Cameroonians have to seek translators at their own expense. All road signs are in French and there is not a single word in English on the FCFA currency in circulation. Chief Dr Dion Ngute understands that this is not constitutional.

French Camerounians occupy all key positions in the Supreme Court – President of the Supreme Court; Attorney General; Head of Judicial Division; Head of Administrative Division; Head of audit Division; Head of Special Criminal Court; Special Attorney Special Criminal Court; Director of Military Justice; Registrar-In-Chief Supreme Court and Secretary General Supreme Court. 58 (39%) of the 148 magistrates in the Southern Zone of Ambazonia are French Camerounians while 54 (61%) of the 89 magistrates in the legal department in the same Southern Zone are French Camerounians. Prime Minister Dion Ngute is aware!

Of the 128 magistrates in the Northern Zone of Ambazonia, there are 67 French Camerounians (52 %). Of the 97 magistrates of the legal departments, 64 of them are French Camerounians, (65.9%); 22 (48.9%) of the 45 magistrates in Bamenda are French Camerounians. There are 27 magistrates in the legal department in Bamenda of which 21, (77.8%) are French Camerounians. Prime Minister Dion Ngute is very much aware!! There is no reference hospital and no functional airport or seaport in the entire Southern Cameroons.

Back by the French government in Paris ever since the so-called reunification, Yaounde has made it a point to assign French Camerounians who neither speak nor understand English to British Southern Cameroons.

French Camerounians disrespect British Southern Cameroonians in positions of authority, even the prime minister, head of government. Francophone ministers either ignore cabinet meetings called by the PM or come late, in breach of standard protocol.

By Chi Prudence Asong with files from Ekinneh Agbaw-Ebai