Anglophone crisis, who is afraid of genuine talks for peace?

EDITORIAL 14 Jul 2020
Anglophone crisis, who is afraid of genuine talks for peace?

We reported in our issue of Monday, July 6, 2020, that what looks like a United Nations imposed cease fire Talks between the Government and Separatists has taken off in the nation’s capital, Yaounde. There is no doubt that, this has been the wish of concerned individuals, groups, or even organisations, such as the United Nations, the European Union, the African Union, etc. and they have been very vocal about it. Underneath these concerns, there have been diplomatic moves as follow-ups, to give the option of dialogue the credibility it deserves in issues of conflict resolution. If we therefore reported that there was a meeting, we did so because we were certain of our facts and there is certainly nothing wrong with such an initiative at this critical time.
Unfortunately the minister of communication only fell short of an outright denial that there was no such meeting and that what the media reported was not in line with the reality. He said so without actually denying the fact that a government delegation led by a senior government official, in the person of the Director General at the External Research, Leopold Maxim Eko Eko, met with separatist leaders, with the sole item on the agenda being the possibility for agreeing on a ceasefire.
Whatever the case, we do not want to believe that the government spokes person, did at the back of his mind intend to downplay the need for a ceasefire at this crucial moment of a crisis that is taking so long to resolve. Nor do we think that the Hon. Minister was simply trying to defend the stand of government, on which it had always held that it cannot dialogue with “Terrorists.” Rather it is our conviction that government has taken the right step and it deserves our sincere appreciation. We can also only encourage it not to relent on its efforts to reach peace where ever it may be found.
We however understand that there are certain intricacies that usually set in, in situations such as the initiative for talks such as this. It should also not be forgotten that after nearly four years of the conflict in these two regions of the country, the separatists have split into factions and, government might have thought it proper to contact the various factions separately. That, the group led by Ayuk Tabe, presently being held in the country, was contacted first is also not a bad idea. We certainly do not quarrel with such an initiative, provided it is accompanied by good faith.
But as far as experience has proven, government’s visible lack of the political will to seek a lasting solution to this crisis during these past years, casts much doubt in its true intention now. Such separate contacts and negotiations have often proved to be fertile ground for government manipulations, designed to widen whatever gap might have existed between the factions, all to the advantage of those who actually do not seek an end to this crisis. It could therefore be that, Sisiku’s conditions, as carried by the media, must have embarrassed government to a certain extent, in which he is urging the president to declare a ceasefire in a nationwide address, including a return of the military to the barracks, as well as the release of jailed activists, as a foundation for genuine talks.
It is equally possible that the various factions within the separatists’ ranks, may be having separate hidden agendas that could make things difficult in the process of finding a common ground. However, the good news is that, other factions such as the “Ambazonian governing council” of Ayaba Cho, and the Southern Cameroons Civil Consortium of John Mbah Akuro & Co. among others, have endorsed the Yaounde meeting as the first step towards a peaceful solution to the conflict. We find it difficult to think of any other option that will, at the end, lead us to a lasting solution than what the government has already shown its willingness to engage in.
We strongly believe that there should be no other interpretation of the global need for a cessation of hostilities in all locations of conflict worldwide, but that which places humanity first, above pride and prejudice and thus compel us to pay heed to the United Nations Secretary General’s global ceasefire appeal.

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