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Editorial

One picture, a billion message: The picture that put the final nail on Osih’s campaign coffin?

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By: Mbah Lucas T.

When Osih made history in March 2018 national convention of the Social democratic front the SDF, easily shrugging off opposition from veteran Mbah Ndam and co to succeed the ageing Fru Ndi to run as the flag bearer for the country’s chief opposition party, many  had been sounding the trumpet of victory both for Osih and the party.

SDF supporters and sympathizers were quick to drum home the message that they are the only Democratic Party in the country and positioned themselves as the springboard in the country’s political landscape in a nation where political leaders are power drunk

Many had been clamoring for a change of guard at the helm for the opposition party, decrying the ineffectiveness of its national chairman and party founder Ni John Fru Ndi and questioning his penchant for democratic values as he held on to power amidst swirling criticism.

Many say he was no different from those of the ruling party who had stick to power and continue to give deaf ears to the cries of the people.

But when hen Fru Ndi finally decided to bow out of the stage although not completely as he still held the position of the national chairman of the party, many welcome the move as the birth of a new political era of the party and indeed the country’s democracy or what is left of it.

His 50 years old political protégé who has been rising steadily within the ranks of the party, anchoring his unquestionable loyalty to the Ntarinkong landlord who commands an avalanche of power in the party and sailing his way through the complex political dynamics of the party is now the new face of the party.

Many youths could identify themselves with him and some say he was the man many who could be relied on to dethrone the ageing head of state who will be contesting for the 7th mandate after being in power since 1982.

The impact of the ravaging Anglophone crisis

The problem though is the South west born Osih whom one of his parent originates from Switzerland took over the baton of command at a time when the base of his party has fractured, marred in a man-made political crisis which many have blame politicians for its escalation.

Osih was at the country’s lower house of parliament when the crisis started and apart from some hard talks behind the scene, Osih, like the other 179 members of parliament excerpt fellow party comrades Hon. Joseph Wirba of Jakiri special constituency (now on self-imposed exile) toll the line and were afraid to speak up for the people they represent.

The reaction of politicians across the political divide betrayed the people most of whom have been very loyal to his party and what started as a simple protest quickly spiraled into an armed conflict due to governments heavy crackdown and opposition’s inaction and some SDF MPs shamefully dribbled their electorates in a cheap and PR stun last year that they had resign from parliament in solidarity with the people which turnout to be a hoax.

A simple public protest has transformed to a full armed battle with hundreds death, tens of thousands displaced and villages razed as the world looks on according to international and local right groups

Osih had launched his campaign during the week end on August 19th 2018  had rollout a brilliant  14 points manifesto even as separatists forces have banned elections the entire Anglophone regions where SDF normally strive, killing the hopes of any kind of victory come October 7 as the party struggles to win voters from CPDM hard lands.

The picture which speaks volume

The latest controversy however has been one of the campaign pictures by the SDF flag bearer.

Dressed in the western region’s traditional regalia in front of arguably one of the most symbolic and iconic symbols of the world- the French Eiffel tower in Paris, the picture has drawn a tsunami of criticism on social media.

The importance of the iconic Eiffel tower is very much grilled in the minds of most Cameroonians and its representation painful even for those who have never seen an airplane or sea in their lives but thinks and believes most of their sufferings and predicaments have come from the former colonial master of former east Cameroon, France.

English speaking Cameroonians who constitute 20 percent of the population mostly located in the two English regions of North west and South West and were colonized by Great  Britain believes that the French government has partnered with the current regime to rob them of their resources, marginalized them and impoverish the people of that part of the country, ideologies  which has led to the Anglophone crisis ravaging the country today as some now call for an autonomous state of Southern Cameroons called Ambazonia.

Osih has been tough himself on the issue, denouncing the massive influence France wields in the country’s political decision making  and has vowed to fight and liberate the country from the European supper power’s clutches in the past.

Many say France, one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council continues to block third parties and shield the government at international level from being questioned about its activities back home especially with the alarming Anglophone crisis which continues to kill many and the people are desperate to have a country free from post colonial dependency.

The iconic tower in the blue background in one of Osih’s campaign photo with the inscription Osih 2018 reminds Cameroonians even across the linguistic divide about the uncherished role played by their colonial master in the past which they still continue to do so today with impunity  and gives the impression that Osih at the Unity palace will be a dejav vus for the French government and consequently the continuation of the current policies which has failed so many and benefited so few in a web of corrupt systems anchored at the Eiffel tower in Paris.

Many have already taken to social media to criticize the candidate for the picture. But given the huge role the foreign government plays in the politics of its former African colonies including Cameroon, the SDF firebrand might just be accepting the reality that he cannot ascend the top job of the land without the blessing of the French especially as many say his boss Ni John Fru Ndi and political mentor lost the 1992 elections because he threatened to “part-ways” with  the French.

Cameroon

Editorial: Anglophone crisis is in purgatory

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Ndumu Vincent-Government delegate of Bamenda City council begs population to end war

When the government delegate of the crisis-hit Bamenda City Council took the unusual step to beg his population on bended knees to end the crisis yesterday October 22nd, 2019, many saw it as another comic action from a senior government official who knows what to do to end the crisis but chooses a political theater

For keen observers of the now infamous Anglophone crisis, Vincent Ndumu’s action might reflect the reality on the ground-a government basically on its knees but adamant to continue a senseless war for interests far bigger than Yaoundé.

The three year’s war has ravaged the economy of the country not least the two English speaking regions of North West and South West.

More than 3000 billion francs CFA has been lost, hundreds of businesses closed and CDC-Cameroon’s second-largest employer after the state is a mockery of its former self as repeated attacks on its workers by armed groups has forced the corporation to shut down close to 90% of production capacity, sending tens of thousands to the employment world

Cameroon’s economy is on its knees and Bamenda City is the hardest hit. For a city which was already suffering from punitive neglect from the Yaoundé controlled government before the crisis, it was no surprise therefore that one of the immediate courses of the crisis was the protest by Mancho Bibixy over the state of roads in the city back in 2016.

His coffin revolution at the Bamenda City Chemist roundabout sparked a region wide protest which quickly spread across the two regions.

Many have died and many continue to die, in fact we have lost counts of the death but estimates put it at more than three thousands most of whom are civilians.

Hundreds of thousands have been displaced internally and in neighboring Nigeria and more than 200 villages burnt to ashes according the CHRDA.

Cameroon, once an island of peace in a turbulent central African region suddenly looks in tatters as its political leaders snail-walk their way to finding lasting solutions to a historic problem threatening the unity of the nation they swore to uphold.

After resisting calls at home and abroad to end the war which is driving thousands to die in high seas along US Mexico border, radicalizing more youths at home and displacing millions, President Biy finally called for major national dialogue during a rare address to the nation on September 1th 2019

After the 5 days major national dialogue organized by government and boycotted by separatists concluded in Yaoundé on October 4th, 2019, many are even more confused as to the fate of impoverished Anglophones as it is fast becoming clear that even the half-baked solutions and efforts were intended to shrug off international pressure rather than end the conflict,

President Biya quickly jetted out of the country immediately after the summit to brief France-te country’s colonial master about its outcome, brushing calls by US, EU and separatist leaders for yet another more inclusive dialogue out of the country’s borders to find lasting solutions to the crisis.

But as politics play out in Yaoundé and other western capitals, many continue to die and local administrators in the regions are increasingly under attack.

Governor Lele of North West, the New SDO of Bui all came under attack by separatists fighters this week in the North West regions even as government struggles brandish serene Anglophone regions

The Dismissal of about 16 ENAM grads last week by MINAT boss Paul Atanga Nji for refusing to report to work after their appointments in the restive northwest region further reveals the growing discontent even with the ruling class about the security situation in a region government says it’s under control

There have been multiple reports of fighting between government forces and armed Ambazonian fighters across the regions, leaving many dead as the population continues to pray and hope for an end to a crisis they suddenly  they have no say about its directions.

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Editorial

National Dialogue: Biya puts Dion Ngute at the crossroads of Cameroon’s history

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Many have dubbed him the country’s “luckiest” prime minister as Chief Dr. Joseph Dion Ngute is tasked with the responsibility to find lasting solutions to the Anglophone crisis-a historical problem which now threatens to return the country to pre-independence border.

Brought in during the latest cabinet shakeup earlier this year, the former minister was considered a surprise pick for the job. The South West born premier has been tasked with arguably the toughest and indeed exciting job in history.

Dion Ngute’s fate certainly rests with the success or failure of the planned dialogue but at the same time provides the seasoned diplomat the unique opportunity to create some of the best chapters in the country’s political history.

Prime Minister Dion Ngute has been busy ever since President Biya undercut his ministers and announced a surprise national dialogue. The move has been welcomed by the International community and different political actors at home

In a race against time, the premier who is tasked with chairing the dialogue has been holding different level consultations with opposition leaders, activists and different stakeholder within the contest of preparing the framework of the much-anticipated dialogue

Dialogue like no other

But Dion Ngute will be chairing a dialogue which centers on the survival of the country he now oversees its operations—at least on paper.

The Anglophone crisis which has gone violent for three years now has been a historical problem of the country ever since independence.

 The Anglophones have systematically complained of marginalization and discrimination in the dominant French-speaking union. Independence fathers west of the Mungo have tried and failed in the past.

This is not the first time the country will be converging under the umbrella of the Anglophone problem to chart a common course.

But previous meetings by Fonchas, Munas, and others have failed to resonate within political elites of the country at that time  had to prioritize national unity over bi-cultural values of the two people who agreed to reunite in 1961.

But despite the warning shots from independence fighters about the cracks emerging from our unity, the government has failed to implement most of the measures many believed would have gone a long way to avert the crisis.

But a three years crisis which has drawn the attention of the International community killed thousands displaced hundreds of thousands and seen many villages razed has forced the government to reconsider its position as the pressure keeps mounting at home and abroad.

Dion Ngute will be chairing a meeting, many say should be the bedrock of the future of one and unified Cameroon, strengthened by its diversity and people.

Dion Ngute has been given one of the most difficult job description ever handed to any of his predecessors in recent memory, it is left the “nyanga boy” as he is fondly called to decide how he would love to be remembered by history.

 

 

 

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Editorial

Editorial: Biya flashes Amba light…..at last.

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In a highly awaited speech announced for September 10th 2019, the President of the republic Paul Biya has shocked many.

In one of his longest speeches as president since he took over office more than 36 years ago, the 86 years old focused on the Anglophone crisis ravaging the North West and South West regions

In his introductory note, the president regrets the killing by armed separatists, kidnaps and torture in the three years crisis.

For the first time since the crisis started, the commander in chief also gave his heart felt condolences to all the families affected during the crisis which he said has forced “thousands of our population to live in other regions and neighboring countries”

The President who has been blamed for the poor handling of the crisis moved to familiar territory, enumerating numerous measures he believes his government has taken to resolve the crisis which began as strike led by teachers and lawyers in 2016

In his long list of measures reminiscent to a campaign speech, he mentioned the discontinuance of judicial proceedings to over 200 persons, his offer for armed groups to lay down arms and the creation of national disarmament  and rehabilitation committee among other achievements.

“We will continue to make the necessary efforts to fully materialize these efforts” he adds

But in a speech were many where pregnant with expectations of a big announcement, the president in all honesty failed to deliver once again on the national stage

Opposition leader Maurice kamto and all political prisoners arrested and incarcerated were ignored entirely in the speech

President Biya refutes any claims of marginalization within his government, touting the appointment of prime ministers from Anglophone regions for close to a generation now

Grand dialogue announced

In what could have been a glimmer of hope for the long night, the president announced a massive dialogue which has been describe as panacea to finding lasting solutions to the crisis.

President Biya says all sons and daughters of the republic will be called upon to participate in the dialogue to find lasting solutions in the country. The dialogue according to him will be chaired by the prime minister, rallying lawmakers, business leaders, security forces, armed groups and victims of the crisis among others.

Why the dialogue will be seen as a welcome move by many back in the Anglophone regions who have long clamored for any dialogue of this kind, the terms of the dialogue will certainly fail to please hardliners who say any such dialogue must take place out of the borders of the country and chaired by a third party.

Long speech, nothing new

In all, the president said nothing new in the highly awaited speech, touting regular phrases and achievements many believed was meant for International audience and CPDM supporters.

President Biya also failed to grant the much clamored amnesty to prisoners involved in the crisis, and rather intensifies his advocacy for a one and indivisible Cameroon, a statement critics perceives as a provocation to the separatists

For those who were expecting general amnesty, the President was clear, no one should be deceived that criminal acts would be pardon just to advance dialogue, he said, and made it sufficiently clear that perpetrators of violence abroad will face justice in no time as he slaps the wrong people and embrace the right ones

He however says that after the grand dialogue, a presidential pardon might be rollout to those incarcerated on certain conditions, while insisting that any such dialogue must take place within the constitution of the republic and the country.

National Reaction

Speaking to CRTV after the speech, the revered Catholic cardinal, Christian Cardinal Tumi who has been a vocal critic of the regime says he is positive with the announced dialogue, urging the prime minister to take all measures to ensure it’s a success

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