Speaking Tuesday, October 1, 2019 at the Yaounde Conference Center, Agbor Balla said the people who have taken up arms to make of Cameroon’s North West and South West Regions an independent state they call Ambazonia may only be pacified if the form of the state is touched to accommodate federalism.
Apparently taking the Decentralisation and Local Development Commission headed by ex-Forestry and Wildlife Minister Ngole Philip Ngwese by storm, Agbor Balla regretted that another dialogue may be ordered by President Paul Biya not too long from now if the form of state is not discussed now.
A video clip of the Human Rights Lawyer’s clarion call has since filtered out of the in-camera session. In the video, Agbor Balla calls on Senator Mbella Moki Charles to bear him witness.
Hear Balla: “I don’t want us to waste taxpayers’ money today and next year the President calls us for another dialogue. We need to find a lasting solution. And like Dr. Munzu said yesterday, I am not prescribing any particular form of the state. But we cannot leave here without looking at the form of the state. As I sit here, if I show you my messages from some of the separatist leaders abroad asking if they have at least started talking even about the form of the state.
“Some of us have put our reputation and our image on the line to be here. If you follow social media, they attack some of us just for coming here. But we believe in the oneness and the unity of this country. We believe that Cameroon should be one and indivisible. But we equally believe that decentralisation will not solve the problem. We have to get to a federation. That is the minimum the people who have taken up arms will accept.”
Government replies with decentralisation rhetoric
Shortly after Agbor Balla’s submissions, the Ministry of Decentralisation and Local Development took to its Facebook page to expound on the concept of decentralisation. The Minister Elanga Obam Georges had sat through the commission's deliberations as a resource person.
“Decentralization is the transfer of power and authority from the central institution to the lower local levels of a government system. It guarantees peace, stability, unity and progress in Cameroon,” the post read.
Article 2 of the country’s constitution reads that: “The Republic of Cameroon shall be a decentralized unitary State. It shall be one and indivisible, secular, democratic and dedicated to social service. It shall recognize and protect traditional values that conform to democratic principles, human rights and the law. It shall ensure the equality of all citizens before the law.”
But since 1996, decentralisation is said to have failed to take off as planned and many are those in the North West and South West Regions who think federalism could be the magic wand. The deliberations are expected to continue Ocotber 2, 2019.