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Ambazonia: The new Cameroon state and the growing clamour for secession across Africa

February 08th, 2019
topics:Humans
by:Bob Koigi
located in:Cameroon, Nigeria
tags:Africa, Ambazonia, autonomy, Cameroon, independence, Paul Biya, secession

When Cameroon president Paul Biya declared in 2016 that French should be spoken in Anglophone speaking schools and deploying French speaking judges to courts in English speaking zones, the South Western region, home to an approximated five million English speaking Cameroonians, erupted into an orgy of violence, mayhem and street protests.

The protests which were largely led by elites among them lawyers and teachers have been a microcosm of the growing dissent by the region over years of marginalization in resource distribution and political persecutions by the French-speaking government.

The violence has now metamorphosed into a full- blown call for secession and autonomy of the South Cameroon from the rest of the country, epitomized by decades-long simmering resentments.  

It is a clamour that traces its roots to colonial period when upon gaining independence in 1960 from both France and Britain that ruled different sections of the expansive country, Cameroon decided to form a unified state that brought together the two regions. But the people of South Cameroon felt cheated by a referendum that never gave them an opportunity to leave and form their own state despite being economically side-lined. The then government revised the constitution to limit chances of a secession. Two years after taking over office in 1982, the current president Paul Biya changed the national flag by removing the two-star design that symbolized the union between the English and French speaking regions to a one star in an attempt to demonstrate the dominance of the Francophone region. Pockets of peaceful protests that have followed since then agitating for equal treatment have taken an ugly turn with emergence of separatist groups that are now taking on government officials and any citizens opposed to the secession agenda.

The state of Ambazonia, a name derived from the Ambas Bay in Southwestern Cameroon where a missionary used to settle freed slaves, has become the unifying factor for the English-Speaking Cameroonians. It has a sky blue and white stripped flag with a dove etched between 13 stars and a national anthem that celebrates heroes who have paid for the cause with their blood. “Glory to the father for making you a nation, a joy forevermore. Ambazonia, land of freedom,” a section of the anthem reads.

Last year it launched a virtual currency dubbed Amba Coin, an Ethereum cryptocurrency whose equivalence is $0.25. The government has floated a bond sale and has so far received over 41,000 orders according to details on the website. The Ambacoin sale is meant to “to fund the Ambazonian Cause, to assist Refugees & Internally Displaced Persons, to rebuild homes destroyed by occupying military forces, and to defend communities from the repressive regime of La Republique Du Cameroun,” the government further says.

The state also has an entire government made up of the Executive, Judiciary and Legislature, 13 county governments and is headed by interim president Dr. Samuel Ikome Sako following last year’s arrest of the secession chief leader Julius Ayuk Tabe and 46 others in a hotel in Abuja Nigeria who were handed over to the Cameroon government. 

Article written by:
Bildschirmfoto-2014-10-08-um-19.29.13
Bob Koigi
Author, Contributing Editor
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Embed from Getty Images
The violence has now metamorphosed into a full- blown call for secession and autonomy of the South Cameroon from the rest of the country.
Embed from Getty Images
It is a clamour that traces its roots to colonial period when upon gaining independence in 1960 from both France and Britain that ruled different sections of the expansive country.
Embed from Getty Images
The state of Ambazonia, a name derived from the Ambas Bay in Southwestern Cameroon where a missionary used to settle freed slaves, has become the unifying factor for the English-Speaking Cameroonians.

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