The reality of the challenges of “reconstruction”

EDITORIAL 08 Jul 2020
The reality of the challenges of “reconstruction”

It is easy to conclude that the past two weeks spent in the North West and South West regions, by Minister Tasong and his assistant, Mayor Njong Donatus, marked a significant breakthrough on an assignment which initially seemed impossible to accomplish. But that, the Team succeeded in meeting people to whom they were able to sell the reconstruction and development idea, makes it convincing and a success only to those who muted the idea in the first place. We certainly believe the two wise men have not gone far enough to claim success.
However, looking at it from the true perspective of the situation on the ground, it is pertinent to warn that much ground is still to be broken to usher in an enabling condition to make things work, so to justify their claim the way they should, under normal circumstances. What is obviously discernable in the way government is handling the Anglophone crisis, which no longer bears the emblem of a mere crisis, but a bloody confrontation, is the evident lack of the will by government to bring an end to this nasty, inhuman and disgraceful carnage. To put it mildly, the crisis is slowly taking the look of genocide.
We are saying this because, in the middle of a conflict such as the one we are going through, it is unthinkable and even inhuman to brandish gorgeous garments before the very people who are experiencing the effects of the crisis, for them to put on, while their bodies are covered with blood and mud, with tears of suffering flowing down their eyes. This is exactly what the latest initiative by government tends to portray, by attempting to convince the people of these two regions that a reconstruction of these regions is a veritable panacea for peace. This, one may be tempted to believe, is more of a mockery than a heart-felt wish for appeasing a distressed people.
We in this Newspaper, do not want to rush into conclusions that government has ran out of convincing options for seeking a lasting solution to the crisis. All what is evident is that, government strongly believes in itself, and is either nursing the hope that a military option will cast the die, or that, the situation will end up on its own, by the time the affected people will no longer be able to bear the strains and horrors of the war. They will then be expected to capitulate in the face of the unbearable sufferings.
Otherwise there seem to be any other explanation to why government is ignoring well intended calls for a ceasefire to prepare the ground for reasonable talks. From every stand point, there is much behind government’s determined evasion of a more constructive dialogue geared towards finding a lasting solution to the Anglophone problem, than catches the eye. History hints that the issue of the assimilation of the Anglophones has remained long on the agenda of the Francophone leadership. Talking to a French Television channel a few months back, President Biya did admit that there had been relentless efforts to assimilate Anglophones into the Francophone culture and language, which Anglophones had peacefully resisted up to this moment.
While we acknowledge the President’s outing over the French Television channel as an honest confession, it now opens up clearly, why the present leadership still believes that there is still hope to achieve their dream of assimilation. It is also understandable why any mention of reviewing the form of the state has become a taboo and therefore, in the thinking of the regime in place, the form of the state has become non-negotiable. It will therefore surprise many how and why an amendment of the 1996 constitution was adopted with ease, and imposing a lame decentralised form of state.
This also included what the same constitution prescribed for Anglophones as special status, and was re-echoed at the Major National Dialogue, which till date has not been able to provide a solution to the crisis. In consequence, it only seems to frustrate the Anglophones even the more. The truth is that there is nothing in the so-called special status that bears any meaning to the Anglophone. The regime seems to have added this new creation on an already shaky pile of manipulations intended to avoid the real root causes of the Anglophone problem.
It is therefore necessary at this point, to remind those managing this crisis that, there are sure challenges awaiting the reconstruction and development project now being lobbied for by the Tasong, Njong lobby mission in the two Anglophone regions. We would rather suggest that they take a more determined hind look at all that has happened down the years, to discover where exactly things have gone wrong. So much has been denied these two regions, even their right to develop themselves, mainly due to the over-centralised structure of administration of the country. What these two regions need now is genuine peace and a comprehensive construction and not what the regime now calls a reconstruction and development. These regions need a brand new look, without any resemblance to yesterday’s North West and South West regions.

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