Cameroon:Fireworks Gauranteed as Parliamentary Session Opens Amid Worsening Anglophone Crisis

Among the curiosities of this 2013-2018 parliamentary mandate, the oldest members of both the senate and the national assembly are anglophones. this monday's solemn opening of the legislative year will also be the first time both anglophone oldest members address both houses since the present anglophone upheavals began.

NFON V.E. MUKETE and GOVERNOR ENOW TANJONG are both from the south west region and are members of the ruling CPDM.

by the rules of both upper and lower houses, their oldest members chair deliberations at the start of the march sessions, which are the first in the legislative year, before their permanent executive bureaux are chosen.

the opening speech of the legislative year and conducting elections are about the most important functions oldest members perform during their chairmanship which often lasts no more than a week.

both opening ceremonies will be broadcast live by state broadcaster, crtv from 11am (assembly) and from 4pm (senate). they will provide golden opportunities for our two grandfathers, both past 80 (MUKETE IS 96) to speak the truth they know or can afford, on the burning anglophone problem.

both men have spoken uncomfortable truth before that rattled yaounde.

MUKETE, oldest member of the senate, who was an indepedence and reunification actor, might have been at the origin of this wave of the anglophone awakening as he whipped up sentiments while launching his book (his independence and reunification memoirs, MY ODYSSEY). thereafter, some events he convened with other angophone stakeholders including traditional rulers like himself to address the anglophone problem were banned by local administrative officials. MUKETE is also paramount ruler of the bafaw in and around kumba in the south west region.

ENOW TANJONG, oldest member of the national assembly, from the manyu constituency, is now less disposed to get confrontational with the government.

a former governor of both angloohone regions (called provinces at the time) right after the abolition of the nostalgic two-state federation, TANJONG is also well placed to understand where things began to go wrong for anglophones. but he is less of a maverick than MUKETE who freely speaks bitter truth to his own political family.

however, in a distant past during his long years in the political and state administrative wilderness, TANJONG was quoted to have questioned president BIYA's legitimacy and expressed the preference for an anglophone to accede to the post of president of the republic.

that 2004 story, which he disclaimed (he said he never spoke to the reporter for "the herald" newspaper that published the story; the reporter insisted he did), is believed in certain quarters to have cost TANJONG an imminent appointment as prime minister to replace eight-year incumbent, PETER MAFANY MUSONGE. it was another son of fako division EPHRAIM INONI like MUSONGE, who got the job.

even if TANJONG had not decried angloohone marginalization in the "herald" story, he was a strong voice for anglophone rights, the position of one of the factions within the south west elite association(SWELA) since the 1990s. the opposing faction comprised mainly members of government who generally shied from pro-anglophone issues.

speeches at official ceremonies like the solemn opening of parliament on this monday, march 13, are either written or vetted by "hierarchy", so it may appear improbable for scripts by either MUKETE or TANJONG to contain pro-anglophone lines whose tone may embarrass the government bench that will massively attend the ceremonies at both houses.

however, it may be possible for MUKETE, a remarkable orator, to speak his mind at some point during his speech, unscripted.

many anglophones may recall that on a visit by president biya to bamenda in the politically turbulent early 1990s, bamenda government delegate (super mayor), JOMIA PEFOK (RIP), set aside his entire vetted speech and presented his own, hand-written, out of which he spoke truth considered embarrassing to biya, urging him to engage in dialogue with the nascent opposition at the time.

with none of these certain to happen this monday, anglophones only nurse a hope that with honourable JOSEPH WIRBAforce, on the run, the oldest members may bear in mind the tribulations of their people when the take to the high stage this monday. THE PEOPLE ARE WATCHING.

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