Echoes of another mandate extension

EDITORIAL 02 Jul 2019
Echoes of another  mandate extension

Before leaving the country on a private visit to Europe, the head of state, had requested both the president of the National Assembly and the Senate, to deliberate on a possible extension of the mandate of these two chambers of the country’s parliament for eight and two months respectively.
To be precise, this extension will take the current mandate of parliament up to February, 29, 2020. Constitutionally, the president is covered, but not beyond this second extension. We are however aware that the constitution equally demands that, there must be a convincing and legitimate reason for such an extension.
We strongly want to believe that any such legitimate and convincing reason, even though the president has not mentioned any particular reason, only common sense can lead us to the conclusion that the security situation in the North West and South West, cannot be far from being the main reason behind this extension. The truth is that no matter how much government tries to cover up the reality of the last presidential elections, posterity has certainly absorbed the elections as not to have been free and fair. They were imposed on the Cameroonian people in the interest of the current office holder.
They were held under appalling circumstances of insecurity. They were held in the heat of a senseless war, in which the people of one part of the country could not exercise their franchise, yet the government was bold enough to proclaim an incredible percentage of votes from this troubled part of the country in favour of the ruling CPDM party. We consider this to be dishonest, unpatriotic, and therefore unfortunate. If this time around therefore, the president deems it necessary to ask for another extension, we equally deem it important and we can only hope that this is in the spirit of reconciliation with the people of these troubled regions in an honest attempt to mend fences, in order to move forward towards a meaningful dialogue.
We also want to count on the president’s wisdom, if only it will lead him to sincerely do every-thing in his power, to ensure that within this period of extension, much ground will be covered in the process of restoring lasting peace and understanding in the country. For one thing, we are certain that hope is rising now more than ever before; the situation is beginning to move towards the right direction. Our rising hope is founded on the fact that, following reports, the Swiss government has opted to play the role of facilitator in a likely dialogue which should take no other form, other that examining carefully and honestly, the root causes of the crisis. And in this case, we are talking specifically about the Anglophone problem, which every honest mind accepts was what actually sparked off the crisis. The Kamto angle is entirely another issue altogether. The two should never be bundled together in any form of sincere talks.
To the Swiss government, we sincerely appreciate their concern, effort and determination to step into what has remained a nightmare to many for some time now, in which even the big powers of the world have never attempted to go beyond mere condemnations of the wanton abuse of human rights in the country, particularly in the two English-speaking regions. It is already known that secret talks are currently going on in the Swiss capital of Geneva, where the head of state is currently on a private visit. We consider this a golden opportunity for government to throw over-board its pride, and look forward to the best option which is reconciliation. This challenge also goes to the other parties, be it Federalists of the separatists.
However, what we will whole-heartedly condemn is any attempt by the government to engage in any form of maneuver to turn things in their favour. Already there are reports of splits on the side of the Ambazonians. We do not want to believe that this is the hidden hand of government’s usual maneouvers.
In the first place, while appreciating the fact that there are moves for talks, we certainly do not consider it proper to keep the level of the talks entirely in camera. The situation has reached a point where there must be nothing secret, not even the talks. There must be transparency which should include the identity of every participant at the talks. It should not be a dialogue of selected participants. At this stage we can only hope for the best results.

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