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Cameroon

Major National dialogue: Winners and losers of “special status” outcome

After 5 days of painstaking debate with some delegates like Akere Muna abandoning the dialogue after day one, accusing the government of stage-managing the event with pre-planned motives, the outcome has certainly shocked many who had hoped for a miracle.

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Family Photo of Major national Diaolgue held in yaounde
Family Photo of Major national Diaolgue held in yaounde

Today October 4th, 2019 wraps-up the five days major national dialogue which rallied about 1500 people in the nation’s political capital Yaoundé to find a lasting solution to the Anglophone crisis.

The dialogue which was announced by president Biya in a surprise September 10th speech to the nation finally comes to an end after three weeks of marathon consultations which concluded with “punching” debates as authorities struggle to find the right formula for the future of a nation hunted by its history and disintegrated by the policies of its leaders.

Amidst post-debate interviews, tweets and accusations and counter-accusations by activists and opposition leaders who say the ruling elites have hijacked the dialogue with no real intention to resolve the crisis, the final outcome of the dialogue has been all but shocking.

Amongst the 8 different committees tasked to resolve the historic Anglophone problem of the country, perhaps the most important was the decentralization committee whose duty it was to decide the future governing mechanism for the country.

There have been massive calls from the people and indeed the delegates for a return to the two-state federation as was the case before 1972, many had warned that anything short of such federation would not solve the crisis and risk radicalizing more youths into picking arms and continuing the war

“Federation is the last thing the people can take” a helpless Barrister Agbor Balla warned committee members as decentralization agenda were being forced through.

“If I show you my phone, you will see multiple messages asking if we have started talking about the federation” he continued as he made the case for the people’s demand.

But the government considers a federation taboo topic, with some of its elites saying we cannot revisit the old pages of the country’s history, opting for “effective decentralization instead”

Speaking to state media at the end of the diaolgue, minister Pierre Mokoko says effective decentralization government is adopting and federation are the same things, the difference is just in the name, begging the question why not give the name the people wants

His comment was reminiscent to that of Agbor Balla, who had earlier equates effective decentralization to federation only to withdrew and clarified his stance after facing a backlash from the public.

After 5 days of painstaking debate with some delegates like Akere Muna abandoning the dialogue after day one, accusing the government of stage-managing the event with pre-planned motives, the outcome has certainly shocked many who had hoped for a miracle.

The committee finally decided on Decentralization with “special status” for the two belligerent regions of North West and South West.

Amongst the concessions made were; more powers to local councils, weakening of appointed governors Dos and SDOs, no future appointment of government delegates, insertion of English language in presidential speeches amongst other things.

The outcome has shocked many who had clamored for the return to the two-state federation, a deal agreed by the two unions back in February 1961 when former west Cameroon voted to joined the then La Republique du Cameroun in a plebiscite

But as the people expressed worry amidst a Presidential pardon ordering the discontinuance of proceedings against 333 persons who committed misdemeanor connected with the Anglophone crisis, we look at the winners and losers of the Grand National dialogue

Winners

Government of Cameroun

The government emerges as the biggest winner in the major national dialogue, basically leaving with everything she wanted.

The government gave no concession during the dialogue, disregarding the people’s only major demand for federation and imposing a decentralization plan many say has failed the country for the past 23 years

The state considers the federation taboo word and secession a red line and the dialogue proves the government is not willing to go extra mile for the Anglophones despite the pressure from home and abroad.

Separatist leaders

The dialogue was chastised and boycotted by Ambazonian separatists’ leaders. It was roundly labeled within the separatist circle as a “charade” by the leaders who were officially invited to attend but snubbed the event.

They say the government was not ready for honest dialogue and urge their supporters on the ground not to attend the what they said was a “CPDM rally”

The raucous debate and accusations by delegates that the government has a pre-planned agenda during the dialogue only confirm the fears of secessionists. The latest outcome has vindicated the hardliners who had criticized the federalist for negotiating with the government, telling them nothing will come out of the dialogue.

Many of them had already taken to social media to rubbish the “special status” conclusion, calling it enslavement as the drum for separation is beginning to sound even louder.

Government elites

The recent conclusion in Yaoundé benefits the ruling elites and some corrupt administrative officials who feed fat from the country’s resources, especially in the South West region.

Many corrupt government officials consider the Anglophone regions as a political lifeline not only for them but for the regime and so any form of the federation where power and resources will be controlled by the people is considered politically toxic. Many of them had fought against any form of federation

Losers of the Diaolgue

The federalists

Leaders such as barrister Balla, Cardinal Tumi, John Fru Ndi, Kah Walla and many others who had campaigned tirelessly at home and across the globe for a return to federalism to resolve the crisis should be hiding in shame. They had welcome to announced dialogue, took part in pre dialogue consulations and answered present during the dialogue only to leave empty-handed.

The effective decentralization with special status for South West falls short of meeting their aspirations and many know it’s far below anything close to the federation they so openly clamored for and failed to achieve.

They had risked their political capital on federation, believing the government would embrace their option and win the support of the war-wary population of the Anglophone regions-they failed

The Anglophones population 

While the dialogue was ongoing in Yaoundé, there were reports of serious fighting in different parts of the affected regions punctuated by the traditional ghost towns and symbolic “independence” celebrations. Armed groups heeded to calls from their backers not to surrender continuing to engage government troops in different towns and villages across the regions as death toll keeps mounting.

The October 1st celebrations across some villages and activation of massive propaganda machine to sell the images send a worrying signal for the days ahead.

Many had pinned their hopes for the dialogue, wishing the government will listen to the overwhelming call for federation and grant the people their hearts desire.

The decentralization strategy will hardly win any support on ground zero and Yaoundé knows it, as many have been hearing the word decentralization for over 20 years now with no real change on the ground.

Cameroon

As a country, the dialogue has failed its people yet again. More than 3000 persons have died, more than half-million displaced and hundreds of villages razed and yet authorities in Yaoundé seemed to be in no urgency to resolve the crisis in a way that satisfies the wishes and aspirations of a significant segment of its population-No wonder there is already discussion in some quarters of yet another major national dialogue-again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cameroon

Coronavirus: Mixed signals from Yaounde shows survival depends on you

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Earlier today Monday May 25th 2020, public health minister sent out a wake up call

He took to twitter to announce the worst is yet to come, saying we are entering a critical phase of the virus and more than ever before we need to respect government measures and keep social distancing to the best of our ability.

His message of social distancing and to avoid public places is consistent with his daily tweets to guard the public against contracting the deadly global pandemic.

The early morning tweet today though caries different underton, it signals we are yet to reach the peak of this virus,many more Cameroonians are likely to be infected and worst of all many more might die in the weeeks ahead especially as schools are planning to resume come June 1st 2020.

But his message of caution is in sharp contrast with government’s actions vis sa vis the fight against the virus

Government had rollback almost all the measures imposed in March to help curb the spread, deeming bars, hotels, restaurants, beeches, clubs and other services as essential and handed the burden of control back to business owners and citizens as the economy started to suffer under the weight of the lockdown.

What followed has been a spike in number of infected persons and deaths as many ignore social distancing and basic Hygienic calls

Same day government was announcing normalcy or near normalcy across the country, its public health minister was tweeting about the need for people to stay at home as much as they could, warning the risk of contracting the virus is higher and advising people to remain indoors and respect constant hygiene.

Today’s tweet on the eve of school resumption once again sadly reminds the population that the government is tasking them to fight for their very own survival amidst a deadly global pandemic

Cameroon has 4,890 infected cases this far, one of the highest in Africa.
1,865 have recovered while 165 persons have died according to latest official figures.

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Human Interest

Intelligent, nice and hardworking: A friend to Nkeng Lizette paints saint-like picture of deceased

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A very close friend to Nkeng Lizette, killed and abandoned at a student hostel in Buea has describe the girl as nice, hardworking and intelligent

Tifuh Sandrine who has known Lizette for years now was speaking to TeboPost this day May 25th 2020, saying her friend was anything but those she now reads on social media

She describe the deceased as reserved with strong facility values and says she was from a very comfortable home.

“ it’s pains me when I read online and Peoppe say she was dating men for me money” Tifuh told TeboPost before adding, she was from a very comfortable home, went to one of the most expensive universities in this country was was suppose to be abroad if not for coronavirus for her post graduate program

She wasn’t into men as people put it and wasn’t materialistic beceuse her family provided her with all her needs

Her remarks about the deceased is in sharp contrast to what has been trending on social media where reports say she was dating two boys for money and was allegedly killed by one of them

The corpse of Nkeng Lizette was found in a hostel in Buea on May 23 2020 while already at an advance stage of decomposition

Reports say she had been killed five days later by unidentified person(s).

She was immediately buried by the hygiene and sanitation unit of Buea council.

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Cameroon

June 1st School resumption: Teachers make demanding demands

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Teachers say they will Boycott June 1st School Resumption if Certain Conditions are not in Place by government to ensure smooth and safe teaching and learning  during the era of Covid-19

This is apparent from the document they issued during the week end where 19 Cameroon teachers syndicates including TAC and CATTU have declared that they will boycott the resumption of classes on June 1, 2020 if the conditions below are not met by the government

1. End of year exams be giving on basis of programs they have covered
2. Compulsory provision of sanitizer and face mask on campus
3. Risk allowance for teachers and allowance for overload
4. Not more than 24 students per class
4. Funds provided to schools to take care of health emergencies.
5. Remainder of school fees be paid to the schools among others

But amongst the numerous demands, the risk allowance for teachers has caught the eye of many Cameonians

Coming at a time when the nation like the rest of the world is suffering from the deadly pandemic, it’s only normal that teachers should fight for a safe learning space for their students and themselves

But demanding a risk allowance at a time when medics at the frontline are dying directly due to the virus and are yet to make any financial demands is seen by man as selfish in the part of the teachers

Many point to the fact that some of these teachers have not been teaching since 2016 when the Anglophone crisis started despite being paid their salaries in full and now are making strangulating demands before they go to class

Critics say Should government pay them risk allowance for teaching during the era or COVID-19, same allowance would have to be paid to all civil servants who risk their lives in one way or the other each day as they serve their nation.

Teachers they say are increasingly losing their sense of patriotism and all too often think only about their week being irrespective is the general interest.

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