‘’ For nearly three years now, the north-west and southwest regions of our country have been in crisis, which is endangering the safety and well-being of the people who live there, but it also has profound consequences on the entire national community’’.
This marked the first time President Paul Biya has exclusively addressed the Anglophone crisis, which has been dragging on for close to three years now.
According to President Biya, the inclusive national dialogue will commence by the end of September 2019, though posing a very big problem as to whom to dialogue with. According to political analysts, the call for a national dialogue by the head of state in his speech remains ambiguous, arguing that the main parties or principal actors to partake in the dialogue are absent, pointing fingers at the Anglophone leaders Sisiku and Co who were slammed a life imprisonment ahead of school resumption in the country.
Areas highlighted by president Paul Biya
Cognizant of the crisis that emanated from the lawyers’ and teachers’ demands some two years ago, President Biya underlined that his government has made tremendous efforts to arrest the crisis, but decried the fact that some forces of destabilization are bent on tearing the nation apart. He condemned the role of Cameroonians in the diaspora who have continued to incite the youthful population of the English speaking regions, providing them with arms in the quest of attaining their political ambitions. The 85-year old leader lamented the fact that the seemingly unending Anglophone crisis has undermined the security, wellbeing and the unity of Cameroonians. The head of state, however, said he would not relent his efforts to put an end to the crisis, which has forced hundreds out of their homes and made them refugees in their own nation.
He bemoaned the loss of lives, destruction of property and how the crisis in the two English speaking regions has had adverse effects on the economy of the entire nation. Over 80% of learning institutions have remained closed in the North West and South-West regions. He, however, challenged armed groups to lay down their arms and be reintegrated into the society, while promising stringent measures against those who remain defiant. The issue of independence remains an illusion in the philosophy of President Paul Biya.
The quest to pacify the International Community
Some Cameroonians have termed President Biya’s speech as historic and a mere drama to attract the international community. His critics have had it that it is due to the upcoming 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly that President Biya decided to address the socio-political turmoil that has wrecked the country in recent times. Different schools of thought, however, said it was high time the president addressed the Anglophone crisis, which has crumbled education in the affected regions for close to three years. The UN General Assembly is billed for September this year. It will run from Sept. 17 to 30, 2019.
Reacting to the term ‘’National ’’, Mr. Ako John Ako, who is a political analyst, said the speech was characterized by a lot of inconsistency, reiterating that the present socio-political turmoil in the country concerns just the South West and the North West Regions, thus the need for dialogue between the two regions and the government, not the entire nation, that will attract people of all walks of life. On his part, another political pundit Fah Elvis strongly lamented the importance of this proclaimed national dialogue without the prominent Anglophone leaders. He was quoted as saying; ‘’there can’t be and will never be a fruitful dialogue and an end to this Anglophone crisis if the Principal actors and their leaders are not at the round table’’.
From the reactions of Cameroonians, one could derive at the conclusion that President Paul Biya’s speech did not wholly meet the aspirations of everyone. Some critics regretted that the president did not call for a ceasefire, or talks with Ambazonia, which according to them, would have presented the way forward to solving the crisis. However, as per a marketing consultant Mr Taguia Pascal Blaise, for Mr Biya to accentuate on the Anglophone’s frustration and the corporatist revendications, is already a milestone, noting that the call for inclusive dialogue has been the cry of Human Rights organisations.
In a nutshell, the entire nation and its populace await to see the first phase of the national dialogue and how it would work towards ending the socio-political crisis in the North West and South West Regions of Cameroon. It is high time both parties arrest the crisis.
Article from AFRIC Editorial
photo Credit : google image/illustration