THE IMPACT OF THE ANGLOPHONE CRISIS: CASE STUDY OF MANYU DIVISION
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The long seven years arm conflict which resulted from peaceful protest of Anglophone Lawyers and Teachers has brought severed suffering to the people of Manyu. In the course of this conflict, civilians are targeted by the belligerents. This work seeks to examine the impact of the Anglophone Crisis in Manyu Division; South West Region of Cameroon. The study makes use of the conflict theory of Karl Marx and the relative deprivation theory. The study make use of the quantitative method design, questionnaire was used to collect data from 100 respondents. Findings indicate that the immediate cause of the Anglophone crisis in Cameroon was the November 2016 protest and the proclamation of the independence of southern Cameroon. Findings also indicates that the Anglophone crisis have greatly affected Manyu Division negatively. The people of Manyu have faced numerous challenges such as a fall in agricultural products, numerous ghost towns which prevent students from going to school as well as difficulties in carrying out business activities. Furthermore, findings have revealed that the government has taken measures such as the holding of the Grand National Dialogue, the creation of Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Centers, the creation of the National Commission for Bilingualism and Multiculturalism, and the granting of the Special Status to Anglophone regions. However, these measures have been very cosmetic in nature .The study concluded that the Anglophone crisis has greatly and negatively affected Manyu Division
The Anglophone crisis can be traced back to the era of colonialism in 1884; Cameroon became the colony of Germany bust as a result of the 1919 Versailles treaty after world war one, Cameroon was forfeited to Britain and France who then partitioned the territory into two parts; 4/5to France and 1/5to Britain.
Therefore, these territories were governed by Britain and France as separate territories until the advent of decolonization in 1961, the British part of Cameroon ( British southern Cameroons) was asked through an UN- Sponsored referendum to gain independence either by joining the already republic of Nigeria or the already independent French part of Cameroon ( LA republic du Cameroun)
British Northern Cameroon decided to join Nigeria while British Southern Cameroon decided to reunited with their brothers of the former German Kamerun in what subsequently became as the Republic of Cameroon (Le Vine, 1964; Ngoh, 1979)
However, there was a significant difference in the reunification charade. Unlike the United identity that was once possessed by all during the German era, the division had harmonized stronger and more consolidated identities that had become dominant than the initial one.
The Federal-state experienced constant friction between these new dominant identities as a result of their differences and interest. These clashes never resulted in any significant active conflict until October 2016.
The heavy-handedness of the security forces in stifling peaceful protests organized by the Lawyers and Teachers Association of the Anglophone Community provoked civilians to retaliate resulting in considerable loss of life and property.
This incident led to the implementation of certain measures to attract attention from both government and both Anglophone community. First, the Anglophone community resolved to boycott all commercial and public activities as commercial, public and financial centers were shut down In retaliation, the government on the 17th January 2017 after the arrest of the protest leaders ordered for the shutdown of internet services in the regions and barricaded both internal and national borders linked to these regions which prohibited the transportation either by land or sea of people, goods and services to neighboring towns as well as neighboring countries. This led to the distortion of economic activities in these two regions, the economy of Manyu division was also affected by this crisis.
While the crisis is still ongoing, these three measures already indicate significant consequences for the economic development of Cameroon given that before this crisis Cameroon was already experiencing very slow economic growth at a rate of 0.2, from the index of 5.4 in 2015 to 5.6 in 2016, as indicated by the World Bank Index on Economic Growth.
Cultural diversity within states often serves both as a blessing and as a curse especially in African countries where intrastate conflicts are mostly derived from cultural diversity. While analyzing the relationship between intrastate conflicts and economic development in the case of Kenya, Ouchi (2000) examined that the relationship is cyclical.
There is a need for peace and stability to attract investment and foster development. At the same time, underdevelopment can cause intrastate conflicts that end up claiming lives, displacing people, destroying infrastructure, and scaring away investors.
In essence, most often countries that have experienced intrastate conflict usually have difficulties in speeding up economic development thereafter as foreign direct investment in these countries is often low while pending war casualties and debts are often high causing a very slow rate of economic development at every turn.
Apart from the economic impact of the crisis in Anglophone regions, the conflict is also causing a major humanitarian crisis, with 530,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) and 35,000 refugees in Nigeria, mostly women and children (OCHA, 31 March 2019).
Humanitarian assistance to IDPs is insufficient to meet needs, according to the UN (UN News, 24 January 2019). This is due to under-funding, difficult access, and security risks. Cameroon’s authorities initially obstructed international humanitarian assistance and opposed the presence of UN and humanitarian NGOs in affected areas.
In July 2018, the government reacted to increased UN pressure for access to Anglophone regions by announcing its own Humanitarian Response Plan.
Distribution of aid is all the more difficult because few IDPs are accommodated in dedicated sites. Some are hosted by families; others live in the forest where access is difficult (Le Monde, 25 January 2019).
International aid is focused on Anglophone regions, where three-quarters of IDPs are living. Only a few of the 86,000 displaced in Francophone regions (Douala and the West) are receiving assistance, even from NGOs. The same is probably true for thousands of non-identified IDPs in Yaoundé.
Refugees began to pour into Nigeria at the end of 2017. They are mainly in the care of the UN High Commission for Refugees, the Nigerian government, local authorities, and local and international NGOs. But support is limited because Nigeria is itself dealing with the millions of people displaced by the country’s multiple security and humanitarian crises.
Most of the refugees live with host families, but some camps have been established, including at Ogoja in Cross River State (6,000 refugees). Initially established close to the border with Cameroon in the states of Cross River, Benue, and Taraba, these sites were moved 50km away from the border in September 2018 to avoid incursions by Cameroon’s security forces tracking secessionists. Since then, there have been fewer incursions and also fewer trips back and forth by refugees between the camps in Nigeria and their villages in Cameroon.
The conflict has also had repercussions for the education system. Since 2017, the separatists have demanded the closure of schools and threatened or burned down establishments that have remained open. Consequently, pupil attendance has fallen drastically and many pupils have dropped out.
The majority of children in the Anglophone regions have not been to school for two or three years; unwanted pregnancies are increasing among young women, and many families are pressuring their children into work. Even if the conflict were to end now, it would be difficult for these children to go back to school.
Continuing conflict risks causing an even more serious problem: a whole generation of children brought up to hate Cameroon, who could form the backbone of future armed groups. At some IDP reception sites, children are re-educated about the history of Ambazonia, the name given by the separatists to their self-proclaimed state.
Among the refugees in Nigeria, there is strong support for the separatists and the armed militias. Their defiance of Cameroon’s government is such that they refuse gifts or visits from the authorities. They often teach their children the anthem and history of Ambazonia.
The conflict has had devastating effects on the economy of the Anglophone regions and the entire country. Major state-owned companies, such as the Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC) and Pamol, which employ tens of thousands of people in the Anglophone regions, are experiencing serious problems.
There is no thorough assessment of the conflict’s economic impact, but in July 2018 the Cameroon Employers’ Association (GICAM) estimated the value of losses at FCFA 269 billion (€410 million). It also calculated that 6,434 jobs had been lost in the formal economy and a further 8,000 jobs were under threat. This situation calls for an investigation of the impact of the crisis with focus on Manyu Division of the South-west region of Cameroon