The Association of South West Elites have once again pen the President of the republic as the Anglophone crisis moves to dangerous low with multiple gun battles, panic and fright sandwiched with ghost towns and deserted villages in the restive Anglophone regions as they timidly and fearfully join and other 8 regions to celebrate national day despite rising threats.
The letter from the elites could not have come at a better time and only if the government will listen this time.
Amongst other things, the South West elites had 5 major demands for the father of the nation to help solve the troubling Anglophone conflict which has caused many death and tens of thousands displaced from their homes
Firstly, the Association which has been suffering from multiple internal crisis of its own as members seem divided almost on every issue, wants the head of state to end the war declared on secessionist even as the government continue to deny it has not declare war on the people.
Secondly, they are calling for the release of all detained or arrested because of the crisis, a famous call which has been made multiple times by activists and opposition parties alike
Thirdly, they want President Biya to order communication minister Issa Chiroma to show the whereabouts of Sessekou and 46 other members who have been held incommunicado ever since their arrest from Nigeria and subsequent deportation to Cameroon
Fourthly, they are also calling for funds to be made available and disbursed to help Cameroonian refugees in Nigeria and finally they want urgent call for an inclusive dialogue to help end the crisis.
The major points raised by the South West Elites Association are quite lofty but not new as different organizations, associations and individuals in different capacities including the head of the country’s opposition party had raised those concerns and even more but the government remains defiant to defeat the “terrorists” and end the conflict forcefully even when it is apparent it’s not working.
The government continues to militarize the regions and separatists and their sponsors have upped their rhetoric as the civilians continue to suffer
The question many now wonder is what gives SWELA members the imprison that their latest letter to the President will be heard when others with bigger names, following and influence across the nation including the Bishops of the region, chief opposition leader John Fru Ndi and many more have written in the past and their letters were snubbed by the government.
The letter comes amidst rising tension in the region as many continue to die in clashes between the armed groups and security forces ahead of national day celebrations and the day itself.
Even the authors of this latest piece of writing are certainly aware that it will have little or no impact on the ground conflict or change of government policies but wants to be seen as doing something politically to prove their relevance amidst a rapidly transforming landscape with the people fast losing confidence in certain institutions like SWELA.
Many of the South West elites have lost contact with their people; fail to represent them at almost all levels and some have even distance themselves from the problems they now help to articulate.
But the elites under the banner of SWELA have been having an internal crisis of their own even as they seek to unite for a common course
In April 2018, the assistant secretary general of the association was fired after using the association’s letterhead to write a motion of support to the government
Prince Daniel Nasako Molondo was also accused of making comments contrary to the constitution of SWELA. Nasako’s dismissal was announced during a meeting in Kumba on April 15, 2016 organized by SWELA Secretary General, Joseph Etukeni Moki
In November 2016 in Kumba, members of the association abandoned a written memo destined or the unity palace as controversies swirls