Dr Christopher Fomunyoh, Senior Associate & Regional Director For Africa at the National Democratic Institute (NDI), has outlined proposals which he believes would put an end to the long-drawn-out crisis in the North West and South West regions of Cameroon.
He made the proposals in an interview with French language daily, Le Messager in which he was quizzed on what could be done to put an end to the ongoing protests that have paralyzed schools and courts in Anglophone regions since October 2016.
“First of all, it is important to diagnose fairly the rather harmful impact of this crisis. Even if the crisis from a geographical point of view is directly felt in the North-West and South-West, there are Cameroonians in all the other regions of the country who identify with the grievances posed by the nationals of these two regions. Other compatriots sympathize because they are equally not happy with their living conditions even if the historical foundations differ from each other” he said.
Dr Fomunyoh also pointed out that it is necessary to take account of other Cameroonian citizens working outside the national territory, scattered around the world, who also express their disapproval of the management of this crisis, and are worried about how it’s dragging on. “Everyone would like an equitable and lasting solution to be found, and as soon as possible;” he said.
He proposed a five-step approach to solving the problem. To begin with, he said, there is a need to re-establish political will and a commitment to dialogue on the part of those who up to now regard themselves outside the Republic, as well as those who have managed the country as if the country belonged to them alone
Secondly, he said, the unconditional release of all those imprisoned since the outbreak of the crisis would be neccessary, so as to lay the foundations for a return of confidence on both sides and for the acceptance of the legitimacy of the actions that the state would undertake thereafter.
The third step, he said, would be for government to convene a forum for dialogue and consultation on all the demands and grievances put forward, with a view to seeking genuine political and lasting solutions to them;
The fourth step he outlined, is for government to extend the dialogue in step three, to exchanges on complaints from socio-economic or political sectors so that citizens as a whole can find themselves in these platforms which allow their proposals to be taken into account. And lastly; “government should undertake missions to explain the results obtained from citizens at the grass-roots level to reassure the already traumatized populations regarding the roadmap for the future,” he said.
To him, such an approach “will retain the support of the vast majority of our fellow citizens and will restore confidence and lay the foundation for a consensual and enlightened conception of the future that we must forge for our country. Our generation cannot afford the errors of the elders, whose disastrous management of human relations and bad governance have pushed the country to such a difficult and delicate point. We must remember at all times that one of the fundamental principles of human actions is the inclination of man and woman to greater freedom and greater respect for their dignity.”