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The Push to Protect the Oneness of English as a Judicial Language in the Southern Cameroons Jurisdiction of Cameroon

In: International Journal on Minority and Group Rights
Author:
Eric Herman Ngwa Nfobin University of Dschang, West Region, Cameroon, fobineric@yahoo.fr

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The February 2015 crisis whether both official languages, French and English, be used in proceedings in the Anglophone jurisdiction practicing common law, was a reminder that the Cameroon concept of bilingualism still requires definition. At the simplest and most obvious level, the lawyers of the minority English-speaking jurisdiction were protesting against the introduction of a rival language, unfamiliar to their community. A second look unveils proofs of deeper malaise behind what is only the thin end of the wedge. In fact, there are conjoining components originating from misunderstandings traceable back to 1961 when the English-speaking Southern Cameroons and independent French-speaking Cameroon reunited. It is far from the dream that drove them to form a common entity. This article goes below the surface of these dissensions that amount to a veritable ‘Anglophone problem’, which if not properly understood and handled, and allowed to fester, can be the harbinger of disintegration.

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