Despite the adoption of a law promoting official languages in Cameroon, “the practice of bilingualism is not yet anchored in all the components of our national life”. This is the observation made by the National Commission for the Promotion of Bilingualism and Multiculturalism in its latest quarterly publication.
The commission, headed by former Prime Minister Peter Mafany Musonge, recognises that the challenge is still great, but he is optimistic. “The Commission will obviously devote a lot of time to the promotion of multiculturalism. The Musonge Commission has not been idle since its creation in 2017 by the President of the Republic. Four missions to evaluate the practice of bilingualism have descended on all ministerial departments, public entities based in Yaounde and private companies operating in Douala. The CPNB also organised a listening mission in Buea, Bamenda, Garoua, and Maroua.” he explains.
The same sense of mixed success is expressed in the fight against hate speech in which the commission has been engaged for two years. “Hate speech and xenophobia are still present in our country, although the penal code has been revised to punish the perpetrators,” says Peter Mafany Musonge. Despite the legal arsenal and public bodies committed to fighting this phenomenon, the CNPBM notes that “the gangrene is still deep and requires stronger palliatives to prevent its spread in society”.
The CNFBM was created as a response to the emerging Anglophone crisis in the North West and South West regions. Composed of 15 members, its missions include the promotion of the use of the two official languages, French and English, but also the promotion of multiculturalism and living together.