Reactions at Major National Dialogue

NEWS 08 Oct 2019
Reactions at Major National Dialogue

Barrister Nkea Emmanuel

My general impressions are great but I am disappointed we did not resolve the issue of decentralization as opposed to federalism in a progressive way. You only give special status to colonized people (People who are not equal in status.) So when we talk about equality in status, it means that all citizens must enjoy the same level of devolution of power. But when you give special status to your own people, it creates the impression that they are not of equal status with the others.

Mayor Tong George, Nguti

I am personally satisfied because we have done what we were asked to do, to give proposals to the government on what to do for peace to return in the North West and South West regions. What is remaining now is the implementation because in this country, we have very good laws and very good proposals but sometimes implementation is a problem. We are graving the indulgence of the powers that be to implement what we have all proposed here. We had frank talks with everybody expressing his or her mind. I think these recommendations will have an impact on the separatist fighters because of the fact that dialogue was characterized by frank talks.

Mayor Moukondo Daniel, Tiko

I think all in all, I am going back pleased because firstly, the methodology that was used to run this dialogue was wonderful with some committee chairpersons so level headed and everybody was given a chance to see what he or she thinks. Enormous contributions came to the floor. The Committee on Decentralization had a wonderful opening. For regions with special dispensations, the Head of State can take special measures in respect to the Constitution. We of the English speaking background always say that we are a minority but I want to look at it from a different perspective because that minority is strength. What we have done here in Yaounde is helping this country to move forward and this is not the first time Anglophones are making this country to move forward. Though separatist leaders were not here, we saw some of the fighters in the field who decided to drop their guns and travel to Yaounde. This teaches us that nobody has absolute control over them again. They confessed that after noticing that it was a senseless war, they decided to lay down their weapons in order to give peace a chance.

Barrister John Kameni

The dialogue went well with various committees doing their jobs well. In the Judicial System Commission where I was a member, I will say that if 90% of all what we retained as recommendation is implemented, then we will definitely have peace back in our country. What drew my attention as recommendations are that we resolved that within the English speaking regions of Cameroon especially at the level of the police and gendarmes, statements should be written in the language the litigant understands best because it is impossible for somebody to speak English and the statement is being written by judicial police in French. This distorts first of all, the spirit in which such a person makes the statement and might distort the events the way they occurred.

Bony Dashaco, CEO ACMAR Partners

This whole process is a history making event not because the President called this Major National Dialogue but because it changes the destiny of a people. It gave an opportunity for people in the North West and South West regions to express their grievances and discuss issues affecting their social, economic and political lives in the various committees set up. From the resolutions, you could see that each time resolutions were concluded, the people from these two regions applauded indicating that it met their aspiration. I am very optimistic about the outcome and I caution lots of people that the momentum must continue so that the suffering people of the North West and South West regions who have incurred losses, deaths and loss of properties can begin to feel once again that we have been recognised in a great society called Cameroon and we can live a better life going forward.

Dr Kingsly Lyonga Ngange, HOD, JMC UB

As member of the Commission on Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration and Chairperson of the Sub Commission on Demobilization, I think I am impressed and I am always a positive person first because it breaks the silence by bringing people together to talk. The special status will carry the content that will bring much development especially to us the South West with all our natural resources; SONARA, CDC, PAMOL, the University of Buea and several others. Then that special status will require that we manage our resources properly and a significant portion of it is used for the development of our South West region and by extension our beloved country Cameroon.

Professor James Abangma, Lecturer, UB

I was in the Education Commission and have begun seeing some dysfunction in the resolutions because after the committee deliberations, the key points were read to us but some issues were projected beyond the actual points that were presented. The proliferations of trade unions and that they should work closely with the government, was not the key issue but I don’t know how it just surfaced. When there is a problem, there is always the need for a dialogue otherwise the problem will never be solved. My thought earlier was that the view of Anglophones will be overshadowed by Francophones but that was not the case. There were many Anglophones with many commissions headed by Anglophones. I however think airports, seaports construction and all others are necessary but not really linked to the root cause of the crisis. The root cause of the problem was linked to autonomy for the Anglophone regions. This either means going to the extreme of separation, confederation or federalism; all means greater autonomy for Anglophones.

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