Today Sunday 20th marks another special day in the history books of our great and rich nation. We as a people are celebrating the 46th national day of our fatherland.
From the deserts of the northern regions to the forest of the east, from the Plaines of of the Grand South to the West, the Triangular nation takes pride in its rich history and proud cultural diversity in a nation proudly called Africa miniature.
But amidst the celebrations, there lies a silent truth and an imposing threat to the very unity and oneness the over 20 million people celebrates today across the nation today.
The country is in trouble and even the very day is being disputed in some quarters. Many question why the country is celebrating the day the country moved to a united one through a referendum they consider illegal rather than the day former West Cameroon voted to join then independent Cameroon in February 1961 and says it constitutes one of the many attempts by the government to wipe away the history of the English speaking minority.
As the head of state and commander in chief of the armed forces stepped out of his presidential limousine to officially kick start the celebration across the country, the country’s army which before now has long been the source of great pride and honor of the “peaceful nation” take turns to display the latest military hardware of the central African nation
Troop after troops, the army will display what the country has in terms of armory and military technology to assure and reassure all Cameroonians of their ability to defend fatherland at all times and perhaps sends a strong message to neighboring countries too.
This ritual will take place in all administrative headquarters in the country albeit in a smaller scale as the whole nation pays homage to our armed forces and bask in the glory of our unity at a time the unity faces existential threats from secessionists who say the Anglophone minority have been marginalized for so long and needs their independence
After succeeding to silence the dreaded Boko haram in the North who were threatening to destabilize the country, the military was heavily praised and cherished at home, envied abroad for keeping the country whole.
Truth is told, before the coming of the terrorist group, our army has largely been combat free as their only splash point was the Bakasi border dispute with giant neighbor Nigeria which was historically settled in Haque based international court in the early 2000s to the favor of Cameroon. With sporadic peace mission abroad to their credit, they were reduced to guard the country’s banks and plantations as main duties.
But how quick has time passed. The country’s army is in a position it has never been before and so too its people, the Anglophone crisis has brought in a new dynamics, government officials seem confused while military generals do acknowledge the morale of the persons task with protecting and defending fatherland is weaken in the restive Anglophone regions as casualties continue to rise on both sides
Even the country’s Israelite trained elite forces, BIR has not been able to have final solution to this new form of insurgency which has received large support from the inhabitants.
The under fire army of the country has been battling insurgency in the Anglophone regions for months now after dialogue with teachers and lawyers failed and some of their leaders jailed while others fled the country in January 2017
Secessionist seize the opportunity given to them by hijacking the much heralded and supported teachers and lawyers strike actions in November 2016 and the country is gradually dragging into full blown out war as calls of sincere and honest dialogue pours in from concerned quarters.
Conflict resolution analyst/experts have talked and given their verdict if things don’t change and their predictions are not worth wishing for, churches have been praying and continue to do so but the government and leaders of the secessionists have been defiant with each side accusing each other with defiant rhetoric as the crisis worsens.
Many have died, from soldiers to rebels to civilians. The government calls them terrorists and insists it will not dialogue with those who want to divide the country while the head of state repeated his calls for unity in recent tweets and adding that national untiy remains supreme law of the land
The US ambassador has weighed in, asking the commander in chief to think of his “legacy” while blaming the military or killings and burning of villages as well as accusing “tiny minority” of diasporas for preaching hate speech and violence back home.
But as diplomacy continues to fail, many are becoming displaced with UN estimating about 16 000 Cameroonian refugees in Nigeria and many more internally displaced at home because of violence caused by the war, the stakes could not be higher
The secessionist are bent on reaching Buea which they say is their historic capital and repeated threats of attack has forced many major towns in Anglophone regions like Buea to empty to Douala as denizens fear for the worst.
The government is battling to remain in control in increasingly hostile regions as the influence of the armed men grows steadily amidst daily clashes with security forces in different parts of the regions
The Unity of the country has never before been threatened in our history like today. Whether we like it or not the country is in dire need of urgent and immediate solution before the situation goes out of hand
The economies of the regions which were already struggling has plummeted as businesses closes every day and potential investors fear to put their money in a place experts have warned could be a war zone in no time.
The people are suffering and any sense of national unity is lost as people continue to die and suffer with many who still believe the government is not doing enough and blames the country’s army of extra judicial killings especially innocent civilians who are the biggest victims’ of the war
But as many continue to pay the ultimate price in a senseless war propelled by pride and bad fate from both sides, the leaders of the country are determine that the day seen as the symbol of our unity is celebrated everywhere even if thousands continue to sleep in forest where the government says it’s infected and many more continue to die kilometers away from celebration grounds