Dialogue is over, have we made progress?

EDITORIAL 08 Oct 2019
Dialogue is over, have we made progress?

This in indeed, is a crucial question at a crucial moment of the nation’s survival chances, and a pertinent one when honesty and patriotism beckon on us. The much chanted dialogue has come and gone, but has left behind a major task of assessing the gains and losses of this gathering, which is yet to be qualified as historic. Reason being that, there is still that lingering shadow of the loss of faith in ourselves as Cameroonians, sincerely committed to our fate as a people, one and indivisible.
This, notwithstanding, however, we in this Newspaper want to believe that, after this gathering, the nation is beginning to move forward, but not yet closer to the target of the overall mission. It is pertinent to always remind ourselves that it is this lingering shadow of the loss of faith in ourselves that has led us where we find ourselves today. Look at it from every angle of our arguments, the main grievances of the Anglophones have stemmed from the virtual unilateral alteration of the original FORM OF THE STATE, and the government’s almost provocative persistence that the form of state is not negotiable has not helped the situation either.
In the first place, without hiding their phobia for the federal system, the Francophone leadership of this country under president Biya, has done everything since he came to power, to bury historical facts that testify for the truth that, the present nation of Cameroon was the historical result of a reunification of two distinct and equal partners, equal in status before the assembly of nations of the world.
It is obvious and easy to explain, why the regime has always detested the federal system of government and it has all along been bent on seeing that it does infiltrate into the unitary state structure. Under the centralized system, the advantages are legion in favour of the regime. Absolute power resides in their hands. The liberty to manage the resources and economy of the country remains within the command of the central government. The pace of development of the country is determined by their measure of benevolence. Central government’s social responsibility is sometimes exercised as an act of charity, especially in the case of the English speaking regions. In all this, corruption remains a companion.
The good news however is that a good number of voices have been raised in favour of federalism. Others have insisted on decentralisation without defining the form. Others still, persist on a ten regional decentralised system. However, one of the recommendations of the Decentralisation commission is the mention of a special status to be accorded to the two English speaking regions. What, however, needs to be explained is the nature of this special status.
We strongly believe that the people of the two English speaking regions may not be expecting anything short of the nature of status that will guarantee them a kind of semi autonomy for them to feely choose, through the ballot box, who to manage their affairs. Anything in the form of appointments, especially of governors etc. is not likely to be accepted.
In accordance with the provisions upon which the dialogue was summoned therefore, it is expected that these resolutions of the various commissions will be submitted to the president. Whatever will be his next step will be what will determine whether or not the dialogue has turned out to be a veritable path finder for the much desired peace. We in this Newspaper think the hurdles are still many. We whole heartedly appreciate his decision to let out a good number of those who have been incarcerated in connection with the Anglophone crisis, but we think there is still a loophole to be closed and here; we are talking about the separatist leaders, to whom we think the head of state’s unconditional prerogative of clemency should be extended. This, we think will add some value to the whole process of the search for a lasting peace.
For one thing, we say it with certainty that, the president was a central figure, if not the principal architect of the form of state which is now being contested violently. We simply hope that in going through the recommendations before him, he should first of all look back at where things started going wrong in order for him to correct them. Once more the ball is in his court.

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