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[watch Video] Freed Maurice Kamto welcomed by Chanting supporters

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The President of MRC today October 5th 2019 was one of the more than 100 militants who benefited from Presidential pardon today October 5th 2019.

professor Maurice Kamto was received today in Yaounde court by chanting sympathizers  and huge crowed of party militants  who had gathered to welcome their leader

”presisent president ” they were chanting, as he waved the exited crowd.

Famed lawyer Michele Ndoki, Kamto’s political protege who was also arrested as part of the MRC crackdown was also released alongside many others.

Right groups and foreign governments had called for the release of Maurice Kamto and his supporters, labeling them political prisoners.

Yaounde had charged them for insurrection against the state amongst other things for rebelling against the results of 2018 Presidential results which Kamto claimed he won and called for nationwide protest

It remains to be seen if he will continue his call for protest and denial  of the results

President  Biya was declared winner in that of that election by the constitutional council with more than 76 %of the votes

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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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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.

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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