The Major National Dialogue: One year after

EDITORIAL 30 Sep 2020
The Major National Dialogue: One year after

On September 30, 2019, what was officially titled a Major National Dialogue, decreed by the head of state, President Paul Biya, took off in the nation’s capital, Yaounde, the purpose of which was mainly to find prospects for the return of peace to the two war-ravaged Anglophone regions of Cameroon.
That, it came rather sluggishly but obviously, only after what seemed like persistent pressure mounted on government from various quarters, it all the same, raised the hopes of many Cameroonians, including even the international community, which has consistently showed its concern for the situation in Cameroon.
There was no doubt at the time that dialogue, and of-course, the kind of dialogue that would be inclusive, and one that will take cognizance of the root causes of the Anglophone problem, and conceived with a patriotic flare, was the only way towards the much desired peace.
In the next few days it will be one year already and there does not seem to be any sign of peace. Blood is still being shed. So the question persists: Where has the Major National Dialogue landed the hopes for peace which it instilled in the hearts of many?
For the past one year therefore, all what can easily be ascertained is that, the president called for a Major National Dialogue, which the government organised, but which came under heavy criticism on the grounds of its composition. There were more than 1000 participants at the dialogue, whose role and contributions we strongly believe, obviously derailed the very essentials of the dialogue intentions, by deliberately avoiding an honest X-Ray of the root cause of the Anglophone crisis.
We think what makes the whole process of finding a lasting solution to the crisis lame, is our zeal to transform falsehood into truth. The truth is that the government is at war with separatists. And to arrive at any meaningful understanding, which is a sure path to peace, the dialogue ought to have included the recognized leaders of separatist groups.
It is under this canopy that true business can be discussed, rather than the more than 1000 participants who only ended up drumming up the interests of their respective regions. For instance, their participation only gave them the undeserved opportunity to be included in the so-called package of special status.
But that a forum such as the Major National Dialogue, held one year ago, should be proclaimed a success after five days of deliberations without the major actors of the other side, only qualifies the entire process as manipulation of the thinking of others who otherwise are focused on a straight path to peace.
The present situation cannot all of a sudden, transform into peace in order to please government alone without making life comfortable for the majority of the people, especially the suffering people of the two Anglophone regions. Nor must anyone attempt to manipulate the thinking of others in the hope of forcing peace over war such as we are experiencing in the two Anglophone regions.
We are aware of a number of recommendations that emanated from the Major National Dialogue. Perhaps one of which touches directly on the aggrieved Anglophones is the one which talks of SPECIAL STATUS for two Anglophone regions. Unfortunately, this special status, for the past one year, has remained the ‘Label’ that it is, resting mainly on paper.
Not a single item on this special status has been explained to give it its merited form. The irony of it all is that the president received the package of recommendations or resolutions with enthusiasm, describing every portion of the package as “RICH and VARIED” and promised that they will “be object of attentive and diligent examination with a view to implementing them.” It is obvious that the recommendations which the president received are certainly not as rich as the crisis on the ground would demand for a solution.
Even when the government spokes person for the Dialogue proclaimed that 58 of the separatist fighters have laid down their arms, it can only send out the false message that things are getting better. But are things getting better while there are reports of continuous armed confrontations between separatist fighters and government troops? Are things getting better when innocent civilians are being slaughtered like animals on the streets and bushes?
One year after, the Major National Dialogue has not achieved its goal of ushering in peace. The truth remains in place that, the populations in the crisis zone is still confronted with the same realities that loitered around them even before the Major National Dialogue. Sentiments aside, this country certainly needs peace now, more than ever before so to keep pace with the rest of the world. Four years of a senseless conflict belittles us all!

About the author

Leave A Reply

Leave A Reply