17 March 2017

Cameroon: National Commission for the Promotion of Bilingualism and Multiculturalism - Keeping to Promises

Photo: facebook
Buea University students being brutalized by police.

Officials of the National Commission for the promotion of Bilingualism and Multiculturalism have been appointed through three presidential decrees signed on 15 March 2017. The former Prime Minister, Peter Mafany Musonge, became the pioneer President of the Commission while Oumarou Djika Saidou is vice president and 13 other people mostly drown from the civil society, professional groups and who have demonstrated a track record in their mastery of the multifaceted realities of Cameroon. Wednesday's appointments followed Decree No. 2017/013 of 23 January 2017 to lay down the Establishment, Organization and Functioning of the National Commission for the promotion of Bilingualism and Multiculturalism, NCPBM, referred to as "the Commission." By putting in place the Commission members less than two months after the institution was created, President Paul Biya is keeping to a promise he made while addressing the nation on 31 December 2016 as he examined the state of the country at the end of the year. The New Year message equally offered him the opportunity, as usual, to present a perspective look at the year ahead, pointing out that the turn of events being taken by the sit-in strike started by Anglophone Teacher's Trade Unions and the Common Law Lawyers warranted that our experiences as a people should be critically looked into and enhanced. Obviously, there are people who might not have understood what the Head of State meant as he repeatedly talked of the need for Cameroonians to be tolerant with each other given that Cameroon is already on record as a haven of peace and stability and others admire the country for staying afloat over the years in spite of all odds. Yet, the mosaic of ethnic, religious, regional, and cultural groups that sum up to build the national entity, called Cameroon, require careful handling if the options of peace, unity and stability must be maintained. It also lays bare the fact that issues affecting one part of the country are likely to have repercussions across the national territory as a painful finger that has the potential to affect the entire body. Conscious of the challenges at stake, President Paul Biya made the promise for an institutional framework to enable Cameroonians across the board table their grievances against things happening in the country for coordinated solutions to be provided whenever a group or a community has a bone to pick with their survival within the national triangle. From the first consideration on the duties of the Commission, the Presidential decree states clearly that; "Under the authority of the President of the Republic, the Commission shall be responsible for promoting bilingualism and multiculturalism in Cameroon with a view to maintaining peace, consolidating the country's national unity and strengthening its people's willingness and day-to-day experience with respect to living together." No matter the under pinning interpretations that people may make about the formation and composition of members of the commission, there is no gainsaying that the Head of State through the initiative is simply out to uphold national integrity, peace and unity in Cameroon so that the progress and development which all Cameroonians of goodwill keep yearning for can be achieved. Those appoint into the Commission therefore, have an arduous task ahead to sink their differences and work for the common good of Cameroon so that the ardent desire for a peaceful Cameroon whereby all sons and daughters of this nation can live and work harmoniously should come to fruition. The simmering fact has been that even people clamouring for any advantages and proclaiming any form of disappointment with the country have hardly departed from their fervent attachment to national values and determination to see a better and prosperous Cameroon.

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