By Boris Esono Nwenfor
Former Cameroon presidential candidate Barrister Akere Muna says true dialogue is one of the keys ways to begin solving the crisis in the North West and South West Regions. He however avers that the government lacks the will for true dialogue hence the worsening of the crisis which is in its third year.
“Dialogue is, first and foremost about the will, not about the structure. If we show a willingness to talk, we will find a way to do so. The problem is that there is a clear lack of will for a true dialogue on the part of the authorities”. “The problem is that there is a clear lack of will for a true dialogue on the part of the authorities,” he stressed during a presentation in the French city of Normandy.
Muna was part of a roundtable discussion at the Normandy World Peace Forum on the topic: Cameroon, a Nascent Conflict. A handful of Nobel Peace Laureates participated at the event such as Egypt’s Mohamed El Baradei, Liberia’s Leymah Gbowee and DRC’s Denis Mukwege.
The lawyer and politician has been at the heart of a call for true dialogue to be pursued to end the secessionist agenda his office described as a product of the mismanagement of diversity of Cameroon’s Anglophone-Francophone divide from the 70s, reports Africanews.
Last year, Akere Muna withdrew from standing at the presidential election deciding to support Maurice Kamto of the MRC Party. The latter however finished in second position behind incumbent President Paul Biya. Kamto is presently at the Kondengui Maximum prison in Younde for organizing protests in connection with the presidential election, as he holds that he is the winner and not President Biya.
The question of dialogue has been advocated by most western allies of Cameroon, the government has hardly made any concrete efforts at going that route. The recent visit of Cameroon’s Prime Minister to the restive zones speaks of government’s willingness to dialogue. Observers however see this as nothing but a camouflage.
It should be recalled that the crisis rocking the Anglophone regions of the country came into being in late 2016 after protests of the “acculturation” of the Anglophone cultures by the French systems. The teachers and the common law lawyers and later on the entire population took to the streets staging peaceful protests and demonstrations to denounce the encroachment, submersion and assimilation of the English subsystems of education and the common law practice by the French subsystem of education and civil law practice.
This started a later bigger trend with the entire Anglophone populations (North West & South West Regions of Cameroon) joining to clamour for fairer and better living conditions and fairer access to employment opportunities, rising against the government for its marginalization and discrimination of the Anglophones in public and private sectors.
The government’s inability to manage the crisis and to provide palpable solutions to the demands of the Anglophones, led the crisis into another phase that escalated into a full-blown war between government forces and separatists who today are demanding independence of the English speaking part of Cameroon.
Today, this crisis has affected the social, economic and political life of the population of the two regions. The living conditions of the peoples of these regions has been stifled and access to basic mandatory needs for human existence, that is healthcare, shelter, food, economic welfare, education and livelihood, is becoming difficult, especially to women and children and affected communities in these two regions of Cameroon.
According to the International Crisis Group, the conflict in the Anglophone regions has resulted in 1,850 people killed. The United Nations estimates that, the violence has forced more than 530,000 people to flee their homes.