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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cameroon

Senior French official visits Cameroon

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French minister for Europe and Foreign affairs Jean Yves Ledrian visits Cameroon. He was received upon arrival by minister of communications Emmanuel Rene Sadi today October 23rd 2019. He is scheduled to meet President Biya and some opposition leaders.

France is the main backer of the Yaounde regime and some back home believe the European nation is largely responsible for the worsening  economic and political situation in the country.

As former colonial master of East Cameroon, France still plays a very heavy role in the affairs of the country like all its former colonies in Africa.

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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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Politics

Biya finally orders Inoni’s evacuation

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Biya finally orders Inoni’s evacuation abaroad for treatment

Information reaching us says President Biya has finally ordered the evacuation of former premier Chief Ephraim Inoni Abroad for treatment

Chief Inoni who is incarcerated at Kondengui maximum security prison for embezzlement has been seriously sick for a long time and many fear he could die in prison if not given urgent medical attention.

Appointed prime minister in 2004, the chief of Bakingiki held the position till 2008 before he was fired. In 2016, Inoni was sentenced to 20 years in prison for embezzlement of funds meant to buy a Presidential jet.

His supporters insist he is not guilty, arguing that there were no evidence showing him directly involved with the infamous purchase of a jet which has since sent many senior government officials to prison.

There have been calls especially from his native South West region for the President to order for his evacuation so that he can be treated.

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