The team headed by Peter Mafany Musonge will be commissioned tomorrow 27 April during a ceremony at the Yaounde Conference Centre to be chaired by Prime Minister, Philemon Yang. President Biya yesterday appointed Cornelius Chi Asafor as Secretary General of the said commission.
Cameroon’s unity in diversity is expected to receive fresh impetus when members of the newly-created National Commission for the Promotion of Bilingualism and Multiculturalism effectively begin work after their official installation tomorrow April 27, 2017. Created by the Presidential decree of 23 January 2017, the consultative committee has the arduous tasks to live up to and even go beyond constitutional provisions. This will entail ensuring, to the letter, that the bilingual nature of the country functions optimally, without one overriding the other; and that all the cultures of the country are harnessed and upheld.
With English and French as two official languages – with equal status, and over 250 national languages, which give her a specific identity in the African continent, Cameroon stands out privileged amidst other countries within and without Africa. These are undoubtedly assets for national integration and development. For, all Cameroonians will have what to give and take in their interaction and integration especially within a context of win-win partnership that is fast enveloping the globe now. As guarantor of the constitution, President Biya created this commission to reinforce this aspect of the Cameroonian people which he variously describes as rich and should be preserved. Unfortunately, instead of serving as a serious resource for the development of the country, bilingualism for instance has remained staggering and a feeling of supremacy and or inferiority made to creep deep into the system. Vexing wrongs which the commission imperatively needs to right. Success may require change of mind-sets and alteration of conflict-ridden administrative orders.
What the Committee Will Do
According to the missions assigned the Commission, members will work to reinforce national unity and national integration. The National Commission for the Promotion of Bilingualism and Multiculturalism will not only strengthen existing bilingualism (official languages of English and French) but will as well uphold the rich and diverse cultures of the country. With this, a sense and feeling of superiority or inferiority that greatly frustrates the essence of living together is hoped to be made a thing of the past and Cameroonians from all backgrounds will be expected to feel important, have a sense of belonging and hopefully jointly contribute to the social, political, cultural and economic development of the country.
The Commission will complement the work of other existing structures created to champion bilingualism and multiculturalism in the country like the Pilot Linguistic Centres and the Ministry of Arts and Culture. While the Commission would be working tooth and nail to live up to expectation, other segments of society, notably the private sector, would need to chip in its contributions for collective success. Promoting bilingualism and multiculturalism in Cameroon cannot solely be an affair of government. Excuses normally shouldn’t henceforth be given that this or that private structure is from purely a French or English speaking country to justify its lop-sidedness in getting human and material resources that live up to the bilingual nature of the country. Since the constitution of Cameroon as well as other laws of the land make provisions for the respect of the country’s bilingual, multicultural and bi-jurial nature, both the public and private sectors would need to unconditionally comply.
However, in no way and on no occasion shall the Commission be responsible for regulating political problems. Logically, it will work to ensure harmonious promotion and respect of cultures where all feel proud and useful for an indivisible Cameroon.