Cameroon is a highly divided country along linguistic lines, and authorities of the nation are doing their best to promote the divide. When it finally explode, probably most of them would have died and their children living abroad.Almost all occasions that bring Anglophones and Francophones together, have become harbingers of what is known today as the Anglophone Problem.
In the just ended All University Games of Cameroon for example, there were very visible signs of the divide as manifested in the way officials threated Anglophone participants. It appeared to have been carefully thought out and orchestrated by Francophones and some few Anglophones who have no consciences.
During the games, in any duel between a school from Anglophone Cameroon and a school from French Cameroon, Francophones officials would do all to make sure their team goes ahead, most often bending the rules. In one of the quarter finals of female football pitting the University of Bamenda (UBa) against the University of Ngaoundéré, for example, as Yaoundé authorities grew surprised at the collective play style of the Bamenda girls, they appeared resolved to do their best to make sure Bamenda girls didn’t sail through to the semifinals.
Consider this for example. The girls from Bamenda scored three goals but they were all canceled by either the referee on the centre of the field or his assistants in an incoherent manner. Sometimes the referee would allow the goal but his assistant would disallow it and vice versa. In spite of that, UBa girls finally won after post-match penalties.A similar situation was witnessed at the male football finals where the rules were interpreted to the favour of Yaoundé I University to allow them play a finals that, as per FIFA and FENASU rules, University of Buea had won since those of Yaoundé I came very late.
The question many asked is, if it was Buea that had come that late would the match not have been given to Yaoundé I?But the worst was yet to come. And this wasn’t at the pitch. On the eve of the closing ceremony, mobile telephone company MTN, organized what it called Miss Games. Despite the brilliant performance of the ladies from the University of Bamenda, who won the Gold, MTN chose to give the crown to a lady from the University of Douala who could not even address the people. The decision received booing from Anglophonesas well as some conscientious Francophones who observed that the partiality was so glaring.
It is a fair thing to say that the Games were all about Francophones. The rules were made by Francophone officials and imposed on Anglophones. The working language was French and instructions were given to teams from the North West and South West in French, whether they understood or not – their problem.
But the marginalization appeared to have strengthened solidarity amongst Anglophones at the Games. English speaking students from schools in French speaking cities could be seen rallying behind any team from either Buea or Bamenda each time they had a match. Students from the Catholic University Institute of the Diocese of Buea and their Fan club abandoned their sister school, Saint Jerome of Douala and Catholic University of Central Africa, based in Yaoundé and chose to rather rally behind any school from Buea and Bamenda.
Whether by accident or by design, in the official tribune, all Anglophones Vice Chancellors and Rectors of State Universities sad at one end where they could easily speak their common language. And when players and top officials of the Anglo-Saxon universities could no longer take it, they complained bitterly in public that it is because they are Anglophones. They have vowed not to let the mess repeat in 2017 as the games go to the University of Bamenda.