Inside the Virtual Ambazonia: Separatism, Hate Speech Disinformation and Diaspora in the Cameroonian Anglophone Crisis

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Inside the Virtual Ambazonia: Separatism, Hate Speech, Disinformation and Diaspora in the Cameroonian Anglophone Crisis is a well researched History Master’s Thesis topic, it is to be used as a guide or framework for your Academic Research.

Abstract

This study examines the dynamics of the Anglophone separatist claims in Cameroon,
the so called “Anglophone Crisis”. I focus on explaining why the separatist claims reemerged in 2016 after being shut down for about 20 years.

It explains how the Anglophone separatist revendications have sustained over time despite the extremely centralized power of the Paul Biya government.

This paper first argues that the Anglophone crisis is more than an identity struggle between Anglophone/Francophone Cameroonians, but rather a conflict about historical and institutional grievances, political competition, and regional politics involving the neighboring state of Nigeria.

Second, it verifies the hypothesis that the sustainability of the Anglophone separatist
claims relies on the important support of Cameroonians from the diaspora with the
contribution of social media.

According to this hypothesis, over the years, this diaspora has contributed to strengthen the Anglophone identity and to maintain a mobilization of Anglophone Cameroonians on the ground around the idea of an independent republic, the republic of Ambazonia.

This mobilization has been mainly led through the internet space, especially on social media. Finally, I explain the dynamics of the online mobilization of the separatist
Anglophone movements. I argue that this mobilization is achieved through the spreading of hate speech and disinformation on social media platform such as Facebook.

I also argue that despite this important virtual mobilization, the Anglophone separatist movements reemerged as unstructured entities, composed of multiple armed groups that don’t necessarily cooperate.

Indeed, despite the apparent consensual mobilization around an independent republic of Ambazonia, it is still hard to perceive any homogeneity in the political and military structure of this separatist movement.

This fragmentation among the Anglophone people make the political negotiation with the Cameroonian government more difficult to achieve. In addition, I analyze the perception of this mobilization by international media, by doing a content
analysis of the coverage BBC and Jeune Afrique.

Existing literature on secession in Africa analyzes secession as identity, religious or
ethnic struggles. My study aims to analyze the Anglophone crisis with a different approach which considers the role of the diaspora and the mobilization on internet. It also captures the regional dynamic of the conflict involving the key role of Nigeria.

My research suggests that secession must be examined differently than the way it has
been studied by previous scholars. Indeed, previous studies focused on the local and national dynamic of this phenomena, limiting it to the borders of states.

My study challenges this approach by showing secession as a struggle that transcends borders, by considering the diasporas and the internet as important actors in the struggle. I suggest embedding separatist movements in the globalized and digitized world in which we live today.

In the final chapter, my study also explores potential measures that have to be taken to
handle the crisis. First, it suggests a strengthening of the decentralization guaranteed by the Cameroonian constitution.

Second, it encourages the humanitarian cooperation between Cameroon and Nigeria to keep the stability of their common border. Finally, it explains that the Anglophone crisis should also raise the awareness of the international community about the issue of disinformation and propaganda on the internet during conflict, which is one of our modern day’s challenge.

Introduction

The national unity and the stability of African states are often questioned by
international observers. Some African democracies struggle to create a single national identity, because of the diversity of their population and their colonial heritage.

Secessionism, the withdrawal of a group from a nation-state, is a political phenomenon resulting from the failed projects of national unity that many modern African democracies face today.

There are several examples of secessionist movements across the continent, including the independentist claims of the Biafra region in Nigeria, the creation of Somalil and in Somalia, and the birth of South-Sudan. These cases serve as prominent examples of how nation-building can divide a state into multiple fictive or real territorial entities.

Cameroon provides a new case of secessionist struggle in Africa. Since November 2016, this Central African country is going through a crisis linked to separatist claims. Indeed, the movement for Ambazonia, a separatist movement from northwestern and southwestern regions of the country is protesting the Paul Biya government to obtain the independence of these Anglophone regions from the rest of the country.

The movement is condemning the marginalization operated by the Biyagovernment towards the English language in sectors like education, employment, and administration. They want to make the Anglophone regions a country named Ambazonia.

The situation has escalated quickly, since the separatists started using force. They possess weapons, and they have been held responsible several attacks and killings in cities like Bamenda, and Douala by the Cameroonian government. Moreover, 10 separatist leaders, including Julius AyukTabe have been arrested by Cameroonian authorities in Abuja, Nigeria (Jeune Afrique;2018).

If the separatist issue in Cameroon caught the attention of the international observers
in 2016, the Anglophone separatist claims started in the 1990s.

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Additional information

Type

Master's Thesis

Category

History

No of Chapters

5

Reference

Yes

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