Cameroon’s assembly adopts bill to grant special status to Anglophone regions

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Reinnier Kaze, AFP | This photo taken on June 16, 2017 shows the city of Bamenda, the Anglophone capital of northwest Cameroon.
Reinnier Kaze, AFP | This photo taken on June 16, 2017 shows the city of Bamenda, the Anglophone capital of northwest Cameroon.

Cameroon’s National Assembly adopted a bill late Wednesday that grants special status to the country’s English-speaking regions.

The Anglophone regions of Northwest and Southwest were therefore given greater autonomy by having two new elected organs for regional affairs, the bicameral Regional Assembly and the Regional Executive Council.

A Public Independent Conciliator is also created to monitor the good functioning of the special status policies, while the state supervisory power “remains intact with regional governors,” according to the state newspaper Cameroon Tribune on Thursday.

The bill also establishes a framework to facilitate the practice of common law and the implementation of the British-inherited education system specific to the two regions.

Cameroon’s Minister of Decentralization and Local Development, Georges Elanga Obam, who defended the legislation during an extraordinary session of the Parliament, said the bill will guarantee local development “of the people and by the people.”

“Those who are elected will administer themselves freely but under the scrutiny of the state,” Obam said, adding that it gives the regions the means to function on its own.

The bill came two month after a national dialogue during which hundreds of representatives met up to seek exit from the Anglophone separatism crisis.

In 2017, weeks of protest by activists have culminated in an armed separatism which is ongoing. Since then, hundreds of people have died and about 530,000 have been internally displaced in the clashes between government forces and armed separatists. Enditem

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