The President of the outlawed Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium in a statement Wednesday said the convening of the “Major National Dialogue” to resolve the ongoing sociopolitical crisis in Cameroon’s North West and South West Regions is much appreciated.
“The call for an all-inclusive dialogue is very appreciated. The government should now allow Anglophones of various political thought to mobilise, organise themselves and take part without fear of arrest or other punishment for their ideas,” the unrepentant federalist said.
The Human Rights Lawyer and Vice President of the African Bar Association, AfBA, in charge of Central Africa said the imminent Major National Dialogue is about the future of Anglophones and they should be allowed to participate without restriction.
His words: “The announcement of the all-inclusive dialogue should signal the end of arrests of Anglophones for their political ideas. They should be allowed to participate without restriction. This is about their future.”
Agbor Balla regrets that President Biya did not announce the release of all those detained in connection with the deepening crisis in Cameroon’s North West Region but calls on those to attend the scheduled dialogue to harp on the issue.
“I urge those who will be attending the national dialogue to call for the release of all those detained in connection with the crisis, the need for constitutional amendment and also to ensure that the form of the state is equally discussed at the dialogue table,” said the former President of the Fako Lawyers Association, FAKLA.
Indeed, President Paul Biya in Tuesday’s speech hinted that pardon could be granted to Anglophone detainees if some conditions are met. “Admittedly, however, in the context of a dialogue, a peace process or national reconciliation, the possibility of pardon may be considered, under certain conditions. It is equally true that in accordance with our Constitution, the Head of State is empowered to exercise the right of pardon.”
On the strength of President Biya’s message to the nation, Agbor Balla calls on all and sundry to give peace a chance and support the dialogue process. “Whilst my expectations were not fully met in the speech, we should give peace a chance by supporting the dialogue process."