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GSSC Seminar Series
14 November 2023


The weight of French colonial legacy in handling dissent in postcolonial Cameroon: The case of the Anglophone conflict.

(Ernest Forbin, University of Douala)


Since 2017, Cameroon has been the theatre of an armed confrontation between separatists in the English-speaking region and the Cameroon army. This wave of Anglophone mobilization is by far the most intense. For the first time since the 1961 Reunification between the former British territory of Southern Cameroons and the French territory of La Republique du Cameroon, there is an armed response from the Anglophone mobilization groups.

With over 750,000 displaced, 5,000 dead and 60,000 refugees in neighboring Nigeria, there is an outcry from both national stakeholders and the international community to find long-lasting solutions to this problem. The malaise that existed among the Anglophone minority shortly after the 1961 Reunification, crystallized into what was termed the ‘Anglophone Problem’ resurfaced in a more violent and radical manner in 2016, hence the appellation ‘Anglophone Crisis/Conflict’. The heavy-handed response to the peaceful corporatist protests once again brought to the limelight the contrasting political cultures of both former territories.

In this presentation, which is a summarized overview of my ongoing Ph.D. research project, I argue that the Cameroon postcolonial State has been considerably influenced by its colonial predecessors in managing dissent. I go further to give insight into the role of gerontocracy and local patriarchal domination in the reproduction of the French colonial highly bureaucratic and autocratic State. Also, the academic training in French colonial administrator’s schools overseas coupled with the professional mentoring by colonial officers during the early stages of their career helped construct and strengthen the French colonial habitus among the key actors in the Cameroonian postcolonial State.


  • Ernest Forbin is a Political Science Ph.D. student at the University of Douala, Cameroon.  He obtained a B.Sc. in political Science at the University of Yaoundé 2, Soa in 2014 and a Master’s Degree in Political science from the same university in 2018.
  • His areas of interest include protest movements, political violence, political crises, formation and evolution of the African postcolonial State etc.