Dion Ngute’s peace mission

EDITORIAL 16 May 2019
Dion Ngute’s  peace mission

After his visit to the North West region, the Prime Minister Dion Ngute, this week extended the visit to the South West region. As an emissary of the head of state, he is simply relaying a message from the one who sent him. However, honesty demands that he states his case as he should, short of any distortion.
The visiting Prime Minister has therefore been telling the population that turned out to welcome him everywhere he went, that the President having seen the suffering of the populations of these two regions, is ready to hold a dialogue, and that all what he is looking for, is people who can be representative enough to dialogue.
We certainly do not think it would be difficult to find people representative enough for the president to dialogue with. It can only seem difficult if the president has already made up his mind against people who pride and prejudice have compelled the President not to acknowledge as part of the solution to a biting problem.
Obviously, such a posture is only a diversion from a straight course towards the reality of a bad situation. Straight thinking compels us not to forget that in a stalemate such as we face today, every opinion matters, but it remains the responsibility of those dialoguing to keep close to mind the fact that a place must be allowed for concessions as a prerequisite for a successful dialogue.
However, what we in this Newspaper have so far deduced from the Prime Minister’s visit, to both the North West and South West regions is that, there has been a dramatic shift from the original position of Etoudi on the crisis in the two Anglophone regions, judging from the theme of the message he has delivered on behalf of the head of state. From all considerations, Etoudi now seems to be pleading rather than imposing. The popular ‘All inclusive’ dialogue option, suggestions for which have been coming from everyone who has the interest of this country at heart, but which hitherto seemed annoying to Etoudi, is gradually becoming endearing to those it once angered so much. We can only hope that this shift in position represents a sincere wish to genuine peace.
The controversial issue of the ‘form of the state’ which had once seemed a taboo, is no longer an issue of contention to the head of state. We want to believe that hope for a lasting solution to the crisis is rising and this is what makes Chief Dion Ngute’s visit interesting. From all what he has been telling the population, one gets the impression that the head of state is ready for a dialogue. But then, this only seems to give cynics the opportunity to express their doubts on the quality of dialogue he is contemplating and they could be right.
For almost three years, the president has been sending selected emissaries to the two war-torn regions in the name of dialogue which has proven to be more of a mockery than hope to those who actually are suffering. Now that the head of state is still sceptical about finding a people representative enough to dialogue, it begins to throw some dark shadows on the degree of sincerity in the whole process of organising such a forum. It raises even more doubts if not fear, about who the government will consider qualified to participate in the dialogue. It also raises the question of pre-conditions for the dialogue.
We certainly do not share in the option of subjecting the dialogue to pre-conditions. If we are ready for an inclusive dialogue for better results, let us be open enough to justify our readiness. Let us not forget that the contention here is certainly between the government and the separatists and not with the ordinary people whose only wish is peace. Under the present circumstance, they are only victims of the actions of both sides in the conflict.
We are therefore suggesting that the president should declare a bilateral ceasefire as a backup to the peace message that the Prime Minister seems to have very sincerely put across to the populations of these two regions. Judging from the reception given to Chief Dion Ngute there is every evidence that the people have taken the head of state’s message in good faith which in return deserves a quick reaction.
The sheer number of lives lost on both sides, the soaring numbers of displaced persons within the confines of the country and abroad, the paralysis of the educational and economic sectors, are all alarming indicators that call for an immediate convening of this all inclusive dialogue. If not the PM’s mission would have been another waste of time and resources.

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