By Boris Esono Nwenfor
Professor Willbroad Dze-Ngwa, Professor in Political History and International Relations says releasing all jailed persons in connection to the Anglophone crisis may just be a solution to the crisis, while also consolidating peace and national unity in Cameroon.
He was speaking during the celebration of the international day for living together in peace, organized by the Nkafu Policy Institute under the banner of the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation
“Living together should not just be a slogan but should action, persistent, insistent in order to bridge the gap that has been shaken”. “…It is important for Cameroonians to come together and think about this notion” He said while indicating that the release of detained persons in connection with the Anglophone crisis will help diffuse the situation.
“Peace is only a wish and we should engage in peace building by carrying out concrete actions. We should not only speak peace but ensure that our actions bring about peace” He added while indicating that the election of an Anglophone as president may serve as a temporary solution to the present crisis in the English speaking regions.
Prof. Tangwa Godfrey, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Yaounde 1, while drilling participants on the concept of peace and living together challenged Cameroonians to see their cultural diversity as an opportunity rather than a challenge which has plunged the country into its present state. To him, the diversity in Cameroon is more of an opportunity than a challenge
Dr. Hugue Nkoutchou while welcoming the various personalities to the event urged the participants to promote peace and unity in Cameroon.
Panellists stressed that the government of Cameroon must take a bold step to ensure and enhance a sincere dialogue amongst its people while indicating that Cameroonians should focus on what unites them if they have to consolidate peace and living together.
The purpose of this event was to propose common sense solutions through which Cameroon can accelerate its progress towards living together in peace. This event was in line with the mission of the Nkafu Policy Institute, a think tank at the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation which is to catalyze the economic transformation of African countries by focusing on social entrepreneurship, science and technology, health, and the implementation of development policies which will create.
The event brought together some 60 participants from the public, private and civil society sectors including journalists, researchers, IDPs, traditionalist, Muslim and Anglophone representatives and students who have potential to propose common sense solutions to the current crisis in Cameroon.
According to the United Nations, living together is all about accepting differences and having the ability to listen, recognize, respect and appreciate others in a peaceful and united way. This concept has been greatly tested in recent years as Cameroon has been locked in a bloody “civil war”. For years now, Anglophones have accused their fellow Francophones of unfair treatment and many other negatives things. This is one of the root causes of the present socio-political crisis in the English speaking regions of Cameroon.
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.