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Opinion: This week Yaoundé gave up everything…or almost

The five days national dialogue which sought to reconcile the country’s elites with its history and craft a pleasant and acceptable future with a segment of its disgruntled population has finally come to an end.

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President Biya after the Major National Diaolgue

As you are reading this, delegates of the major national dialogue are home or on their way home.

The five days national dialogue which sought to reconcile the country’s elites with its history and craft a pleasant and acceptable future with a segment of its disgruntled population has finally come to an end.

More than 1500 delegates had converged in one of the country’s most famous building-Yaoundé conference center to rewrite their own history and have the rare opportunity to correct the past.

They were responding to a call from the country’s commander in chief President Biya who had announced a Grand National dialogue to resolve a crisis many say was born out of his government’s own making.

As delegates (most of them Anglophones) discussed the fate of the country especially the English speaking regions of North West and South West in raucous at times near punching debates, the expectant populace watches in wait and make meaning out of every debate as the dialogue spilled over on social media

After five days of hard and honest talk, the government finally makes some concessions, granting special status to the disgruntled Anglophone regions where power will be concentrated to local authorities even as critics say they aren’t enough.

But as delegates left the dialogue visibly divided as before, the country’s president was not done just yet.

In two separate decrees, pressure-insulated Biya ordered first; the discontinuance of proceedings against 333 persons connected with the Anglophone crisis for acts of misdemeanors and secondly, the release of political prisoners ( MRC supporters) who were arrested for staging a nationwide protest denouncing the results of the 2018 Presidential election.

While the first Presidential pardon will not see the Ambazonian leaders out of jail, it remains to be seen if the President of MRC (the party at the heart of the political protest east of the Mungo) professor Maurice kamto will be released along with his supporters.

The one-time regime loyalist turn critic had claimed he won the 2018 presidential elections, calling for multiple protests at home and abroad to change the ruling of the constitutional council which declared Biya winner with more than 70% of the total vote counts.

As the debate over who is who in the soon to be released list makes waves, many have welcomed the moves, praising the head of state for the taking important steps for the nation’s political healing and finding a lasting solution to the crisis.

The first week of October has seen the government made more concessions than the past three years of bloody conflict which has changed the face of the nation and put its political leaders on international scrutiny

The Biya regime is famously known for its ability to survive the pressure, hardly gives concessions and historically finds its way past local problems for the past 36 years, but the latest events of the week have changed everything….just anything.

Many now hope the barrage of concessions made will silent the guns in the two English speaking regions of the country at least for now as the country searches its political soul.

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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Cameroon

After wum killing: Tah Mai schools government on way forward for repentant Amba fighters

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The killing of a repentant Amba fighter Polycap  Bah  who publicly dropped his weapon on Wednesday October 16 2019 during the installation  of the SDO for WUM, Menchum division of  North West region has shocked the nation, with many now  calling for the resignation of the governor of North West region

Many are beginning to ask serious questions about the safety of repentant Amba fighters and the message it sends to potential fighters who might be willing to drop their guns given that Polycap was killed barely 24 hours after he surrendered his weapon  by the people he once fought for.

But amidst the public anger and frustration from a war weary  public, journalist and negotiation expert Tah Mai Jarvis Pens down the way forward for future disarmament to build confidence and encourage more armed youths to drop their weapons.

He writes:

 DDR Lack of Policies and Procedures in Cameroon Kills Ex-Amba Fighter in Wum (Policap Ikom)

The ongoing anglophone crisis is an emotional charged conflict which can never be won with soldiers and fighters on the field
And the government needs to understand that the non-state arm groups are not monolithic hence, there are some fighters that maybe willing to cooperate with the government we called these sets of fighters “Partner For Peace”
The partner for peace are those fighters who have a great role in the conflict and must have caused havoc in the course of the conflict and later on realizes that they can’t win the war and decides to drop their arms with the hope of convincing others to do so.
Futher more, the Partner for Peace can also be those individuals in a conflict who joined the conflict for reason because of a particular interest and once that interest is solved by the other party as we had with the MND they may decide to drop their arms
There are some whom out of fraudstration and the long duration of the conflict they may decide to drop their arms so as to return back to their normal activities (Kawah Kawah Yannick)
They maybe others whom out of resources and fear to be killed decide to chicken out and drop their weapons
Regardless of the reasons the government has it as obligations to protect the Partner for peace and must look for experts who are knowledgeable in Conflict/Negotiation to guard the process.
The partner for peace need to stay alive and must be given witness protection this will help others who are willing to drop their arms
If the partner for peace is killed it will deter others from dropping their arms and it will give the other side good publicity material to radicalize other partners for peace not to drop their arms.
Partner for peace play a very important role in the DDR process.

If Ikom Polycarp refused witness protection the commanding officers in charge should have refused because his dead is a blow to the process of getting more partner for peace.
The government was more focused on the substance than the process
The substance here is that the government is more focused in getting arm groups drop their arms than the process .
When I talk of the process I mean; what have been done to protect those who are willing to drop their arms, what is the procedure for arms to be drop, when an Ex Fighter drop the arm where is he taking to and how will he be treated? If the fighter or fighters appears in public what will be done to guarantee their security or his security after the ceremony?
When should an ex-fighter after appearing in public be let go back into the society and after letting go the ex-fighter into the society are there any follow up?
Simply put! The government need to establish P&Ps better know as policies and procedures for ex- Fighters and they government need to do a check list for the process to be effective

Tah Mai Javis
Journalist/Negotiator

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Politics

MND not enough? US government calls for open ended dialogue without pre- conditions

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In a statement released on its website on October 11th 2019, the US embassy in Yaounde has called for an open ended dialogue without pre conditions  to help resolve the Anglophone crisis

The statement which was issued to condemned the killing of a prison official in North West region last month urged authorities to undertake “balanced investigation” of this and other atrocities to punish those responsible.

Read full statement below

The U.S. Embassy condemns the horrific late September aggravated assault, murder, and beheading of a female prison official and mother of three in the Northwest Region of Cameroon.  We extend our deepest condolences to her surviving family.

We urge the authorities to undertake a thorough and balanced investigation of this and other atrocities and bring the perpetrators to a fair and transparent trial.

More violence is not the answer.  We call on both sides to the conflict in the Northwest and Southwest to abjure further violence and to enter into an open-ended dialogue without pre-conditions.

Many have interpreted the release as US disapproval of the recently held major national Dialogue in Yaounde which was boycotted by separatists.

The US embassy had earlier said they were playing the role of “neutral” observers during the dialogue.

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