Global peace activist, Molinge Henry Nyoki has called on the government of Cameroon to give young people more chances in administrative positions. To him, young people can be great leaders, if given the chance.
The young Cameroonian who is the Regional Coordinator for the World Peace Initiative, and also doubles as a member of the African Youth Movement, says youths are the leaders of today and tomorrow. To him, the reason why many young Cameroonians engage in negative initiatives is because they feel left out.
In an exclusive interview with this reporter, on July 28, Molinge Henry proffered some solutions to the Anglophone crisis, the position of the Cameroonian youth and the importance in spreading positive information.
You are well known within peace movements and initiatives but Cameroonians may not know you well. Tell us who Henry Molinge is?
I will like to define myself simply as a global peace activists. But professionally, I currently work with world peace initiative as the North, Central and West Africa Coordinator. That’s a short description of me.
Cameroon will be joining the rest of the world peace in September to commemorate the international day of peace. Do you think the country has anything to celebrate given its present socio political context?
Of course there is always a reason to celebrate the International Day of Peace which is 21st of September every year as declared by the United Nations. Cameroon needs to celebrate because peace isn’t just something that you celebrate but it is something that you have to live. The day is also a platform where every organisation involve in peace building use to emphasis on the importance of making peace a way of life. Celebrating doesn’t mean we have no threats to peace but it’s about making the message more available to the people.
You are well aware of the crisis rocking Cameroon’s English speaking regions. As a peace activists, what would you propose as a way forward?
You know, whenever there is a crisis, there are lots of reasons for that crisis but the reason why Cameroon is at this level today is because there has been a lot of negligence in many sectors of the country. When you look at the socio-cultural economic context, you can obviously testify that we have a real problem going on.
But then, before we start talking about the government, every Cameroonian needs to learn how to train their own minds to be peaceful. You know it is easy to talk about peace when it’s at the national level but then we fail to understand that there are lots of people walking around the streets who do not have inner peace of mind. And if you do not have inner peace of mind, it is difficult for you to be at peace with your neighbour. Inner peace prevents conflict. We need to talk more about conflict prevention. If we had been keen towards conflict prevention, you will realise that we will not even have a reason to be resolving conflicts now.
But now the crisis is already here, we have no choice but to find ways to resolve it. How do we do that? First the government needs to have proper dialogue with the people involved and equally take actions which ensures that the needs of the people are met.
However, I want talk about something Cameroonians more often than not miss out. We depend on the government to make the country better. But we also need to be realistic to know that the government cannot make it a hundred percent better. It is difficult. I don’t think there is any country in the world which has, let’s say a hundred percent employment rate. So Cameroonians need to be practical. We spend most of our time complaining rather than finding solutions. Granted, government has its responsibilities but we can also do things to change the situation of the country. Imagine a young person creating an initiative which employs five persons, that changes the country….
That takes me to the next question; youth and peace building…
Of course young people are an integral part of this country. They are the leaders of today and tomorrow. So every youth needs to be proactive. I want to believe if we spend our time making a difference rather than criticising, the government will trust us more. As young people we have a civic responsibility to make our environment peaceful and make our own life better. At the end of the day it is your life. If you work towards developing yourself, you will realise that you are indirectly developing the country. Just imagine a country where every person is successful, that will eventually make the country a success.
Let’s talk about Cameroonian youth and social media. Do you think they use it appropriately?
Majority of Cameroonian youths use the social media to spread negative information than positive information. Now when you feed the minds of people only with negativity, that’s how they will become. But if you keep putting up positive images out there, you will realise other people who did not believe in themselves will be motivated to think they can make something out of their life.
We need to use social media positively. Am not saying we should not criticise at all. But let us be objective in our criticisms. The other day, I saw some young persons spreading nude videos of some students in Buea. I mean it was all over the internet. But then we have a lot of young people in that same Buea doing positive things, but we don’t see it go viral. We have men of God healing people, many young organisations doing great work. But what you see is nude, people sabotaging and inciting violence…what are we really spreading?…negative energy!!!
If we focus our attention on putting out things which are positive on social media, that’s how people will believe in us and in our country. By so doing, we attract investors and even when we travel out there, people will regard Cameroonians positively and say oh… these are people who speak good language.
Speaking of out there, what is the international perception of Cameroon. Are we considered peaceful?
To a greater extend yes. Many people see Cameroon as a peaceful country given that it is one of those few countries in Africa that hasn’t had a civil war since independence. So we are considered by some people to be peaceful. But then if we look at the threats of terrorism in the North, inter tribal conflicts, and the Anglophone crisis, then you realise that even though we don’t have war, but we are not far from it. So we need to take measures to prevent it and keep the right image
Any proposals or way forward?
Yes, I wish to use this platform to insist that government should include youths more in administrative positions. It is common to hear officials calling a person of 70, youth. We need to be realistic. There are lots of young people who do negative things because they feel left out. They feel they are not been given that trust. Let’s stop talking about leadership of tomorrow, they are leaders of today. Let the government start giving power to the youths. Why can’t the minister of youth affairs be someone who is 35 years old? This is not impossible. Nigeria has just made some of those changes. Governments need to know that Young people are assets and not enemies.