Cameroon’s leading opposition party, the Social Democratic Front, SDF, has called on the President of the Republic, Paul Biya to step down due to his inability to handle the Anglophone crisis which has dragged on for close to 10 months now; thevoice weekly newspaper has reported.
Meeting in Bamenda last Saturday August 5 in a National Executive Committee, NEC, the party noted with dismay, the ongoing Anglophone crisis that has paralysed the educational, economic, social and even the political life of the North West and South West Regions of the country and which has unfortunately not received the right attention from the Biya Regime.
In a strongly worded statement issued at the end of deliberations, the SDF reiterated that the responsibility to resolve this crisis rests on the shoulders of Biya and his shoulders alone.
“Mr Biya, who has so spectacularly abdicated from his functions as Head of State, should finally give full effect to his actions by resigning from this office. The incompetence, negligence, laxity and inertia of government are the very reasons why this crisis has endured and has plunged Cameroon into a quagmire. Our children continue to look up to us to guarantee their future,” parts of the press statement read adding that “every crisis is an occasion for stock taking. Even more, it provides the unique opportunity for leaders to reassert their leadership.”
The SDF expects the government of Cameroon to immediately carry out far reaching and acceptable reforms in the various ministries of education as well as justice. Furthermore, the SDF expects the government to implement the decisions of the Prime Minister’s ad hoc Committee on Education, put in place at the onset of the crisis.
The press statement signed by the National Chairman of the SDF, Ni John Fru Ndi also challenges the Head of State to create an enabling atmosphere before schools reopen in Anglophone Cameroon come September 2017.
“The SDF is committed to the proposition that education is life. It bares emphasizing that parents are ready to send their kids to school, teachers are ready to return to the classrooms, pupils and students are eager to learn and above all, the population yearns for a return to normalcy in these two regions. But this requires the Biya regime to create an enabling and conducive environment, which consists amongst others the following:
resolving the issues presented by the teachers of the Anglophone sub-system of education, release the people who are incarcerated in relation to the crisis, demilitarise the North West and South West Regions, make possible the unconditional return for teachers, lawyers and others who have fled the country as a result of this crisis, stop further arbitrary arrest and harassment in the North West and South West Regions.”
The release also tackles the Biya government for abduction and forcefully transporting those with whom it was discussing to the Yaoundé prison cells and who are now standing trial before the Yaoundé Military Tribunal, on trumped up charges that are unrelated to the events connected to the crisis.
“Consistent with its intransigence and habitual inability to manage crisis, the Biya regime unleashed a reign of terror on an increasingly determined people, radicalising them in the process and today they are clamouring for separation. What is germane today is that the form and nature of the Cameroon State is being put in question. From inception, the SDF has stood for a federal system of governance, which will address not only the Anglophone Problem, but also the aspirations of Cameroonians in general.”
According to the party, the Biya regime’s refusal to engage the Cameroonian people in meaningful dialogue on the form and nature of the Cameroon State, its persistent false characterisation of federalism as secession and championing for the last 20 years a meaningless decentralisation process has brought the country to where it is today; to wit: destruction of family units; decline in economic activities; immeasurable after effect of the unprecedented disruption of access to internet; fear, despair and trauma; a divided nation; loss of trust and confidence in public institutions, the educational future of a generation of children placed in jeopardy
These confidence-building measures, which have been addressed in previous SDF communiqués, the party hopes, will pave the way for constructive and meaningful national dialogue on the Anglophone Problem. “This ought to be the regime’s priority instead of wasting taxpayer’s funds dispatching delegations abroad to misinform the international community as to the true nature of the Anglophone Crisis.”
Meantime, in the light of the foregoing, the National Executive Committee will meet in the very near future to assess the situation of the country, having regards to the positions taken in this press statement.