“Shall we make or mar”

EDITORIAL 02 Oct 2019
“Shall we make or mar”

The above caption of this piece is borrowed from the title of the late Dr. Bernard Fonlon’s thought provoking Book, written at a very critical time, just a few years after reunification, the first ten years, to be precise. This was at a time when the founding spirit of the reunification enterprise was beginning to be systematically pulled off its hinges.
With so much global appreciation which accompanied the book in those days, today, it can only be seen by the present generation as a writing on the wall, warning that, as early as that, the country was about to be engaged in a long trek through a wilderness of uncertainty and which will certainly land it in a tight corner. What anyone who has been following the political trends in the country since reunification can now be certain about is that, that tight corner has simply slowly emerged in our midst, only to be identified as the now seemingly insolvable Anglophone problem.
We in this Newspaper sincerely do not wish to believe that this problem is insolvable. We are graciously at the threshold of a dialogue. Every one called for it, and here it is. But is it the kind of dialogue that will produce the necessary solution to the problem? We are not asking this question because we have lost hope for the success of the dialogue. We are instead encouraged by contributions from various stakeholders in the preliminary stages of consultations. Much has been expressed by contributors about the need for a decentralized form of government which removes the cancer worm of an over centralized administration thereby allowing excessive powers in the hands of a few miscreants in the guise of barons.
However, whether the country’s leadership is willing to acknowledge the present crisis as a genuinely Anglophone problem or not, the next few days or weeks, depending on how long the proposed dialogue will last, will certainly throw some light on the path we are about to tread in search for a lasting and peaceful solution to the Anglophone problem. This is where the question of whether we are about to make or mar reechoes itself.
There is no doubt that the Anglophones have genuine grievances, besides what the government only tends to see as a mere marginalization. The truth is that the people of the two English speaking regions strongly believe in certain fundamental freedoms inherited from their colonial past. One of which is a culture of a certain level of SELF RULE. This culture largely influenced the adoption of the two options that later became the foundation of a reunified Cameroon on the basis of a federal system, and this is how the people of the two English speaking regions of Cameroon came to embrace reunification whole heartedly.
We strongly believe that we have at this juncture arrived at a point where we need not go back to those details, lest we open old wounds which we are now so committed to heal through a meaningful dialogue. Even as it is worth noting that this dialogue which has all along been provoked by the gruesome scenarios which have characterized the crisis in the two Anglophone regions, it is equally necessary to note that the trend tends to shift emphasis towards what the government believes a broad and indiscriminate selection of participants at the dialogue will be turned into a magic wand to offer a solution. It will certainly not. We no doubt appreciate the worries of the peoples of the other regions of the country, but this should not in any way be used as a yard stake for a solution.
We in this Newspaper have always emphasized and even preached the option of a federation, or call it whatever name, so long as it guarantees some level of autonomy for the political unit, be it the two state federation or the ten state structure. In whatever form of the structures, let the procedure of appointment of governors give way for democratically elected officials to run the affairs of these defined political units, beginning from the local governments up to the regions.
Having said all this, it is now pertinent to state this fact loud and clear that, as Cameroonians look forward to the dialogue as a means to the solution, let participants examine their consciences and focus on the truth. Let participants try as much as possible to subdue the force of their ego and go for what every honest Cameroonian expects of them.

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