Lest we stray into the woods

EDITORIAL 24 Sep 2019
Lest we stray  into the woods

Since President Biya’s announcement last September 10, calling for a national dialogue, the excitement that has accompanied this call, does not seem to be helping us find the right comportment suitable for a task such as the one that lies before our very eyes, namely, the reconstruction of a battered nation. It only remains pertinent to lay bare the truth that the crisis raging in the country should not be given any other interpretation other than that the people who have come to be identified as Anglophones have a problem, which is certainly not of their making. It has been imposed on them. So it merits urgent and just attention.
• Because it now seems to have become our revered culture to bury our past in tombs of history, we shall continue to shamelessly attempt to hide our intrigues and errors, while forgetting that truth can never be hidden. This truth has today exposed us under the sunshine of posterity before our very eyes. The year 1961 is a year which defined the destiny of a people with a credible history and a background so well documented that it will not be faire for anyone to alter the face of this document and toy with their destiny..
The way forward in this matter is therefore that we must first of all, honestly admit that there is an Anglophone problem, lest we stray into the woods. It is obvious that the broad picture of a national and all inclusive dialogue, which in some quarters most people have been waywardly advocating, which has no defined format, we think, should focus more on the more intricate issues surrounding the plight of the people of the two English speaking regions of the country.
We certainly have the fear that the way things are going, the projected dialogue consultative process is glaringly becoming globalised to a certain extent that, the people of the two English speaking regions are being reduced to a mere tribe. We are however consoled by the president’s assurance that the situation in the two regions will take centre position in the dialogue itself. In the long run however, while all these may seem to present obstacles in our projected dialogue, the fact that the dialogue seems to be only around the corner, is consoling.
But against this spirit of invoking obstacles, there are some worries. Looking at members of delegations to the Diaspora, it is disturbing to note that a good majority of the members are sympathisers of the ruling party, the CPDM. There is certainly no way Cameroonians will be convinced that much in the interest of neutrality will transpire in these consultations. And this immediately raises the question about who are those who constitute the Diaspora who the delegates are going to meet. We wish to believe that those to meet are not a selected Diaspora, who will look at things the way the government will want them to.
Where a few questions may also arise is the way and manner with which the dialogue will be managed. For example, there have been calls for the Prime Minister, Chief Joseph Dion Ngute, to step aside from chairing the dialogue and the argument of those advocating this stance is in the hope of achieving neutrality in the whole process. To back up the argument of those who raise the fear that Dion Ngute, being member of government, appointed by the head of state, is not likely to feel free to exercise that much needed neutrality. We think there is some rationality in this perception all the same. For this reason therefore, let us not throw our faith in a successful dialogue overboard, but rather, the thought of it should only compel us to harness our commitments for the task before us.
It would be recalled that there have been similar suggestions from both within as well as from our friendly countries that the dialogue would require facilitators or mediators, whichever way we wish to call them. We are sure that the world now has its eyes on Cameroon and if we have accepted to dialogue, no one would expect the crisis to be resolved on the premise of half measures.
For a crisis that has lasted three years, with more than three thousand dead, missing or maimed, villages reduced to ashes, thousands displaced, anything short of a lasting solution as an outcome from this projected dialogue, will only take away our pride as a nation that had once won the admiration of many as a peace loving people. Collectively, we owe the world a duty to regain our lost image of a peace loving people despite all odds.

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