The 'anglophone problem' and chieftaincy in anglophone Cameroon

TitleThe 'anglophone problem' and chieftaincy in anglophone Cameroon
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication1999
AuthorsP.J.J. Konings
EditorE.A.B. van Rouveroy van Nieuwaal, and R.A. van Dijk
Secondary TitleAfrican chieftaincy in a new socio-political landscape
Pagination181 - 206
Date Published1999///
PublisherLit Verlag
Place PublishedHamburg
Publication Languageeng

The root of the 'anglophone problem' in Cameroon may be traced back to 1961, when the political elites of two territories with different colonial legacies - one French and the other British - agreed on the formation of a federal State. This federalism proved to be merely a transitory phase in a movement towards total integration of the anglophone minority into a strongly centralized, unitary State (1972). It was not until the political liberalization process of the early 1990s that part of the anglophone elite began openly organizing in a variety of associations and pressure groups to press claims for self-determination and autonomy. This article examines the role that chieftaincy has played in these struggles for autonomy. During the era of federalism anglophone chiefs were allowed a large measure of autonomy. After the unification of 1972 the political elite of Cameroon tried to integrate chieftaincy into the State apparatus in a subordinate position. The role of anglophone chiefs in the current struggles demonstrates that these integrative efforts have never been fully successful. The majority of the anglophone chiefs, in particular North Western chiefs, have identified with the widespread grievances among the anglophone population about the marginalization, exploitation and assimilation of its region by the francophone-dominated State. Bibliogr., notes, ref

Citation Key629