Plans by the Equatorial Guinea government to build a border wall have caused consternation from the Cameroonian population especially those at the border town of Kye-Ossi and has sparked a strong message from the country’s army in recent week
As a member of the Economic Community of Central African state CEMAC which Cameroon is also a member, the very idea of a border wall in a union where the decision-makers have been preaching integration and free movement of its people in a manner which mirrors the EU styled union only goes to confirm speculations that the tiny country alongside Gabon are the two culprits blocking the union from integrating
President Theodore Obiang’s decision to build a long border wall along the border town of Kye-Ossi is a perfect script taken from US president Trump’s playbook where he had lavishly promised to build a border wall with Mexico despite criticism from within and without including Pope Francis
Trump’s border wall plans to curb illegal immigration and criminals which he says are taking advantage of the porous southern border with Mexico is aimed according to him to protect Americans from “rapists” and “illegal immigrants” stealing jobs in the paradise nation.
But despite the criticism Trump received around the globe including his own country where the congress refused to agree on funding the border wall of shame, the promise-keeping president has vowed to take resources elsewhere and fund the wall which has divided his own country.
His antics and rhetoric seemed to have inspired other leaders and despots around the world who now believe building walls is the way to go to secure their political powers once they feel threatened
Malabo says they are building the border wall because Cameroon has failed to stop the illegal flow of West African immigrants from entering their country in the Southern border and they are also seemingly tired with the excess Cameroonians entering their country every day.
But it is said that it was the recent arrest of some 30 foreign armed men from Chad, CAR and Sudan in what Malabo says was a foiled coup to unseat their long-time leader which has caused the oil-rich nation to embark on this controversial plans which will all but put the final nail on the regional integration’s coffin in the sub-region
Reckless and daring Move
As Yaoundé is struggling to come to terms with plans of a border wall with Biya’s government looking powerless as ever, the country’s military chief was dispatched to the border as was alleged Malabo had entered close to 2 kilometers across the Ntem river which naturally divides both countries to start their war.
Army chief of staff General Rene Claude Meka at the end of July went visiting with a message of force, warning the country’s army will most tolerate “an unlawful intrusion” into its territory as Equatorial Guinean ambassador is summoned to clarify the situation.
Two neighbors different fortunes
The news of the border wall could not have come at a worse time for authorities in Cameroon
With low employment around the country, rampant corruption and mounting international pressure as the country is battling terrorist groups and armed insurgency in 7 out of ten regions, Malabo thinks the time is right to build their wall unopposed.
But while Malabo reserves the right to build a wall on its border if it so wishes even though many say its morally wrong and appalling, news that the country has entered two kilometers into Cameroon’s territory is frightening and could be the beginning of a dangerous escalation.
That Small country the size of Equatorial Guinea which is smaller Cameroon’s South West region with less than 1 million people could nurture the courage and intent to encroach into Cameroon’s territory to build a border wall as reports suggest is a slap to Yaoundé and telling of the state of Cameroon and how the world sees us.
Cameroon’s military is stretched with Anglophone crisis in two English speaking regions, Boko Haram in far north and rebels in the east, the central African giant cannot afford another military confrontation- not even with Equatorial Guinea.
The two country’s boost of the unviable history of hosting the continents two longest-serving presidents with Obiang and Paul Biya haven’t been in power since 1979 and 1982 in Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon respectively.
Empowered by oil money, Equatorial Guinea has seen the massive transformation over the years both in infrastructure and standards of living even though human rights and political freedom has been stifled in the process.
The country hosts a large number of Cameroonians and has been reported to brutalize many illegal immigrants in their country especially Cameroonians with many killed there.
Cameroon on its part has moved from a promising nation to a poor man in the region with rampant corruption, massive unemployment, and increased poverty.
Rights groups also score Yaoundé a very low grade and political freedoms in the country are anything to be desired.
However, the country remains the breadbasket of the sub-region and boasts one of the biggest economies.
Editorial: Anglophone crisis is in purgatory
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.
National Dialogue: Biya puts Dion Ngute at the crossroads of Cameroon’s history
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.
Editorial: Biya flashes Amba light…..at last.
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.
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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