Cameroon - Opinion - Anglophone Crisis: Our Government is Fighting a War It Cannot Win

Par Denis Foretia, MD.MPH.MBA. | Correspondance
YAOUNDE - 30-Aug-2017   9801 32
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Man Tara   02017-08-30 19:33
#1
@Docta

"Our Government is Fighting a War It Cannot Win"

The secessionists are fighting a one sided war and the governmenr and many citizens playing footsie with them.
What action has the goveremt that lells you the goverent is fighting an wars?.
And we are getting ready to pay a heavy price.
While the intellectuals and the meda are cheering on the sidelines.
Every expecting a weak goveremt, expecting the opening of gate of blackmale money.
Every one will now have a hand out: what about me?
It may just be the end of Cameroon
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Chesco002   22017-08-30 17:35
#2
@Finesse

You are avoiding my question but i can understand. If sacrificing school is good as you say, those advocating for boycott much preach through exemples. If not, it is hypocrisis and hypocrites are uncountable here.

There are strikes everywhere in the world but am not sure that burning public and private properties (including schools ) is deemed To punish the gvt. When things are back To normal, only the populations Will suffer from it

Ghandi and Martin luther harvested better results in their fight with non violence. And forcing others to obey your fighting methods is arnachy
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Man Tara   12017-08-30 17:23
#3
Un autre Docta.
Hahaha.
What else is new?
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Finesse   42017-08-30 16:25
#4
@Chesco002

Sorry patriotism does not limit itself to allowing children go to school. The school boycott is a protest to pressure action. It is a well calculated tactic and it is working. If the NW and SW regions had boycotted going to Church or taken a hunger strike, the regime would not have sent soldiers to feed them or educate them to be religious. Do you think this regime loves their education so much? If indeed they did, then the teachers would never have started a strike in the first place. The educational system would not have been this mess for the past 30 years. Think before you use your keyboard.

You do not know me , know my family members etc and I will not be drawn into that to prove a point. Many lives were sacrificed for the independence you enjoy today. Many lives have been sacrificed for this struggle. Friends , brothers , sisters etc have died. Some are languishing in jail as we speak. So do not talk about School. It is a tiny price to pay for what can be and will be achieved. If we are here today, then it means it is working.
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Chesco002   02017-08-30 15:43
#5
Finesse
If you are a patriot, ask others to do what you are doing yourself as an example. People must not send their kids To school, fine. Are you doing the same thing with your own family members ?
If not, then stop fooling people. Those i see around me are calling for school boycott while taking their kids elsewhere for schooling
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Nyambarindon   22017-08-30 15:20
#6
"Our Government is Fighting a War It Cannot Win"(sic)

It's Secessionists who are fighting a war they can never win.

Just as the secessionists of biafra did not win the 3 years civil war they imposed to federal republic of nigeria (1967-1970)
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JIBOFAT   72017-08-30 14:07
#7
Le régime de Yaoundé n'a aucune intention de résoudre cette crise par un dialogue franc. La raison communément avancée est que les problèmes posés par les ressortissants de ces régions sont les mêmes dans tout le Cameroun.

Dans un monde où tout évolue à la vitesse de la lumière, pourquoi maintenir les uns dans une paupérisation légendaire sous ce fallacieux prétexte ?

Dans un pays où les jeunes sont appelés à mourir dans le chômage, on préfère recruter certains dans l'armée avec pour seul objectif de les apprendre à tuer les autres. Actuellement, il y a plus de soldats qu'élèves dans ce pays.

On sait bien que le sénile dictateur voudrait approvisionner ses barils de sang humain pour le passage à ses 46 ans de règne, mais qu'il sache que l'arme envenime plutôt la situation.
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The Watcher   62017-08-30 12:48
#8
the gov't doesn't care about the children they care about appearances if not, why are all the soldiers being deployed only in the urban areas? what happens to children in Banso, Wum, Nkambe Bangem, etc, where there are no troops? following the government's logic these terrorists are burning schools, when they protect the schools will they also protect the neighborhoods? If they don't protect the neighborhoods what do you think the so called terrorists will do to the children returning home from school or to the parents sending their children to school? If it is true that all this is done by a small few who bent on toppling the government, is it not better to draw them out than to make them attack lives instead of buildings? lets get real all of these are cosmetic solutions to give the appearances that they are doing something while doing nothing. Why lock up people who never took up arms against you to go and negotiate with terrorists abroad you claim sponsor terrorist acts? You people have to try and be consistent with your reasoning, because it doesn't pass the smell test.
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Ricky10    12017-08-30 12:28
#9
@ Finesse,

I don't advocate war. But of course I wish the secessionists to be crushed in case they dare pick up arms against my country. I showed you the only way to achieve your secession. If you secessionists are not able to go that way then stop making noise and fight for a better Cameroun for all. That's what most of us want. Biya experienced ghosts towns already in Douala. And it was 100 times stronger than that your joke. Your ghost town is just a picnic for him. Myself I don't care whether your towns are ghosted or not as long as you abide Cameroonian laws.
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The Watcher   32017-08-30 12:26
#10
the gov't doesn't care about the children they care about appearances if not, why are all the soldiers being deployed only in the urban areas? what happens to children in Banso, Wum, Nkambe Bangem, etc, where there are no troops? following the government's logic these terrorists are burning schools, when they protect the schools will they also protect the neighborhoods? If they don't protect the neighborhoods what do you think the so called terrorists will do to the children returning home from school or to the parents sending their children to school? If it is true that all this is done by a small few who bent on toppling the government, is it not better to draw them out than to make them attack lives instead of buildings? lets get real all of these are cosmetic solutions to give the appearances that they are doing something while doing nothing. Why lock up people who never took up arms against you to go and negotiate with terrorists abroad you claim sponsor terrorist acts? You people have to try and be consistent with your reasoning, because it doesn't pass the smell test.
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The Watcher   62017-08-30 12:21
#11
the gov't doesn't care about the children they care about appearances if not, why are all the soldiers being deployed only in the urban areas? what happens to children in Banso, Wum, Nkambe Bangem, etc, where there are no troops? following the government's logic these terrorists are burning schools, when they protect the schools will they also protect the neighborhoods? If they don't protect the neighborhoods what do you think the so called terrorists will do to the children returning home from school or to the parents sending their children to school? If it is true that all this is done by a small few who bent on toppling the government, is it not better to draw them out than to make them attack lives instead of buildings? lets get real all of these are cosmetic solutions to give the appearances that they are doing something while doing nothing. Why lock up people who never took up arms against you to go and negotiate with terrorists abroad you claim sponsor terrorist acts? You people have to try and be consistent with your reasoning, because it doesn't pass the smell test.
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Finesse   122017-08-30 12:18
#12
@Wantoh

No one is a hero and no one is happy to be labelled one. Do not ask people living out of the country what they are sacrificing to the struggle because that is a myopic way of looking at it. Do you know how many SC in the diaspora are sponsoring kids , families , businesses etc which are all today affected by the situation? When you answer that question then you can get the real picture.
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John Doe Walker   42017-08-30 12:17
#13
Find out who looted and is looting the country and you will know what your challenges are, and who should listen to in Cameroon.

I can bet you a great number of the key board warriors and self appointed leaders will cease to be relevant in the on-going protests for change in governance.
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Finesse   122017-08-30 11:59
#14
@Chesco

Do you think advocating for school resumption makes you more of a patriot or Cameroonian than anyone else? It is simple.That is a sacrifice parents are making. No one is paying the fees on their behalf. The govt cares so much for kids resuming education more than any other thing( no roads , insecurity , lack of infrastructure, a total economic and social malaise). The Govt is not holding press conferences or taking measures to address the later. They are so worried about schools. Funny enough the people know where it hurts and are squeezing your balls with passive resistance.
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Finesse   112017-08-30 11:54
#15
@Ricky

You finally landed. Wishing for SC to take up arms and get crushed is your take on it. You can see civil disobedience is making your regime in Yaounde run around like kids. It is comical you claim SC will get crushed by the regime power but same regime power cannot stop a ghost town or get schools to reopen. Restoration is a process. Keep watching history unfold.
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Wan-Toh   102017-08-30 11:52
#16
I really want one of these ''heros'' of The Anglophone'' struggle who are living out of the country to tell me what they are sacrificing for the struggle. I hear people make excuses like '' we are fighting for the future of our kids ( most don't have kids or at least not in Cameroon); we want our kids to stay at home''. The people sacrificing anything are the kids who are sacrificing their future, if your pipe dream comes to a reality you don't take any credit because you all are simple keyboard warriors. And don't get me wrong, I don't think the situation in the country is good. For example the topic in the news of recent of '' Secessionists infiltration of the Gendarmerie'' is a B. S. story, it is a ploy not to recruit Anglophones because the government has since the beginning of this crisis use the broad brush of secession to paint Anglophones.
To the government and those who support the use of force in the Southern Cameroons, violence has never and will never win over an ideology. If violence could win an ideology, we wont be talking of , ISIS, Al Qaida, Boko Haram or even Nazism. The West has thrown everything at these but they still exist because an ideology can't be beaten or bombed out of a people, short of genocide. Over the years Anglophones have come to believe ( with proves) that they are not considered part of the country and they think the solution is power to the people. This believe can't be beaten out of them. It can be changed by providing a contrary idea (dialogue) accompanied with actions.
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Read10    22017-08-30 11:42
#17
@finess
I think you're questioning the rule of law in this country because you don't live here. Those teachers and Lawyers know their rights and limits when signing their contact with the government.
In Cameroon just like any country in the world a legislator always see itself as above the law. Look a great Britain with their queen or senator in usa.
So stop thinking that you can be under the law in the usa and be above the law in Cameroon.
The author of this article talk about dialog. Dialog mean that review of a contract with the government. And if that is the case they will realize that a lot of people cameroonian francophones and anglophones with the contract are in the same situation. So why is it called anglophone problem?
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ProundAnglophone   62017-08-30 11:29
#18
Ricky

You know you will get crushed.

By you ? by your noise making and dog barking on social media ? why are you shouting in the virtual, are you afraid ? Kemerun is already divided and the division will go deeper and deeper.Vous êtes incapable de gerer le Nord et maintenant le NW et le SW.

Just keep choking yourself and you'll soon wake up and find yourself in LRC de la francopholie.
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Ricky   72017-08-30 10:47
#19
@ Finess,

There is no peaceful secession. The only way to achieve secession is to take arms but you are not courageous enough to do it. You know you will get crushed. That's why you just prefer making noise like barking dogs on social media.
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Chesco00210    112017-08-30 10:33
#20
Finesse
I suppose you also support the no school resumption campaign. Start by not sending your own kids To school and go on personnally on the field of action

I talk for cameroon as a whole, you talk for anglophones only. Fine for you and good luck
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Finesse   152017-08-30 10:24
#21
Ricky and Chesco your heads are deep into sand and best served there.

@Read what is the rule of law that is in place to prevent the gangsters in this regime from breaking the law? How many times have Govt Official still serving in this regime breaking the law through bribery , corruption , nepotism , etc. You are very swift to label Teachers and Lawyers law breakers because they are standing up to a broken system which is their right according to the constitution. It is a joke you go ahead and quote Um Nyobe. What happened to Um and the rest ? History of LRC thought us they were terrorists up till date. Now you know the truth. The difference is history will not taint any of the Anglophones as terrorist. We write our own history.

@Chesco we are not going to fight with you to change the gangster regime. We are not interested in that. You have chosen to stay passive , some have chosen to join the party and loot the system while the rest are living in squalor.South Cameroonians have chosen a part to self determination and restoration. A foundation to address the socio political malaise created by living in a failed union.
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Pep4cmrnews   102017-08-30 09:40
#22
I was not in agreement with most items in the beginning of this article, in fact I started preparing very harsh counter remarks. I will let that go for now. But as I read through towards the end I saw some positive elements particularly the idea of finding 10 states men of integrity who can objectively without prejudice advise on the best way forward for the country. @ Read also rightly pointed out that, we are mismanaged by a bunch of gangsters. The true problem of this country lies on that fact. I hate to refer to this issue as anglophone and francophone because it means using colonial languages to separate us. Dear Cameroonians, let's forget about anything related to colonial influence to separate us. A ten regional decentralization where governors are elected will stop all this mess. In addition, the previous terms in the constitution (which was never implemented) where the Presidential mandate was limited to one term, renewable just once should be brought back to implementation, this time revising it to 5yrs per term instead of 7yrs. That way, there would not be an emperor sitting on the presidential seat for life. That way, everybody including anglophones who can convince the population would have a chance to sit on the throne. That way, anybody becoming the president will have a vision and can appoint who ever he wants to help him achieve his goals and leave a legacy when he will eventually leave the position for good.
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Positif   142017-08-30 09:35
#23
You got the point Dr Denis but the real conclusion has been given by Read. For instance My brother came from abroad with a master degree on IT audit and IS security but he has been running a small "secretariat bureautique" in Ebolowa since 2013 where there is light four days in the week. Moreover, there is no transparence with the people collecting taxes. One year it is 50 000 francs witch the year before it was 89 000 francs and you also have people of "sociladra", "the council", "Minprof", "Mincommerce" coming to collect their own chair. Some even come twice claiming that the first people were fake ones ignoring the presence of the receipt. You can only survive these if you are from the rulling party. This is happening now in Ebolowa the chief town of the south region. Some many people suffer enough in this country. It is not a matter of a pygmie or a fullany or even a banso man.
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Read10    112017-08-30 09:35
#24
@Ricky
Thank you. People need to differentiate cameroonian lawyers and teachers who are in jail for breaking the law of the land which is done everywhere around the world and the so called anglophone who hijacked their issue and now using it for their secession project.
Those teachers have matricule which means contact with the government and if they brake it as it seems to be the case here the should be held accountable. So separate the legitimate fight from the opposite one.
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Chesco00217    172017-08-30 09:17
#25
Our english speaking fellow countrymen are fighting à wrong fight. It is organized and sponsored from abroad To burn markets schools houses cars... And they do not want To be called terrorists.

The gvt took large measures for the initial strikers (teachers and lawyers), so the form of state has nothing to do with the schooling of our kids.
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Ricky12    222017-08-30 09:07
#26
If we follow that your logic, there are thousands of Cameroons. I'd also say there is one cameroon preparing to celebrate Eid and one cameroon not caring about it. There is one Cameroon undergoing Boko Haram attacks and one Cameroon leaving in peace and security...

The only real two different Cameroons that exists are one Cameroon of privileged people including anglophones and francophones who confiscated the national wealth, and one Cameroon of normal people also comprising anglophones and francophones who are marginalised by the first one. Therefore the only relevant struggle which is worth fighting should be to overthrow this system.

Regarding the other issues, the secessionists are fighting a war they can and will definitely not win. Cameroon will remain indivisible.
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Read17    242017-08-30 08:40
#27
If you conceived a NW SW problem as anglophone issue that means you mislabeled it from the get go. When Un Nyobe was fighting, he never said he was fighting for francophone or Bassa people. In 2008 when cameroonian were gunned down in wouri bridge nobody hear about an anglophone diaspora or vibrant leadership. It's no doubt that Cameroon is mismanaged by a bunch of gangsters but it is clear that a hero can come from any of the ten regions. But if you have the courage and talent to stand for the country and prefer to fight only for the region you originated from that means you're not strong enough.
All cameroonian are suffering from biya regime and the fight should be general.
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The Watcher   232017-08-30 06:53
#28
Thank God there's a movement of francophones who are beginning to realize that this has never been about seceding at least from the start but if we are here today, it is because of an incapable government who thought ignoring an otherwise genuine problem and mislabeling it will make it go away. We are at a tipping point, the next 3 months will be crucial. Remember that the dry season is coming and with that comes renewed attacks from BH as they can easily cross the dried river banks into Cameroon, if the population of the NWR and SWR are further radicalized, and the extremists are given propaganda ammunition, our government will have one of the worst dry seasons it has ever faced. It may well find itself fighting a terrorist organization in the north and an armed insurrection in the west while more and more scandals in its stronghold begin to radicalize its own supporters. I pray we don't reach that point, but I fear for us because we have leaders who excel in brinkmanship decision making and sometimes when at the brink, circumstances beyond our powers can push us over that brink.
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The Watcher   162017-08-30 06:47
#29
At least someone with a more level head and reasoned approach. I therefore propose that he can find a private panel and they can come up with a list of people with the integrity, connections and means to engage in a dialogue. I am from the Northwest and it saddens me to see how a problem that could be avoided at every turn has been amplified by our ostrich politics practicing leaders. If in December you asked 10 people from the NWR and SWR if they wanted to A)Remain in the current state of government B) Go to a heavily decentralized nation C) Go to a two state federation D) secede. I am ready to bet my life that 9/10 would've been divided between B and C but ask the same question today and I will hazard to say 6 will go for D while maybe only 3 will say C. Now the question is how can such a drastic shift happen in under 10 months? Despite or inspite of what most of our brothers from the other regions may think, we are not all "fous" the majority of the people ( I will place them at about 70-85% ) of us didn't/don't want to secede but when you arrrest people like Agbor Balla, Dr. Fontem and Bibixy ( who lets be honest started deploring the state of his city and railed against the government delegate, but our government turned him into a folk hero and eventually into what he became), you give rise to extremist who fill the void they use to occupy. It is unimaginable to an "anglophone ( I hate that term) that our government has no problems negotiating with BH yet finds it inconceivable to have a dialogue with people who have never taken up arms against the nation. What makes it worse is that for a long time the vast majority of "Francophones" ( again another term I hate) have been accommodating in their silence which gives credibility to the extremists to say " you see all francophones are against us and want to keep us under their feet". Thank God there's a movement of francophones who are beginning to realize that this has never been about seceding at least from the
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Bih15    272017-08-30 04:43
#30
Dear Doctor,
When patriots from west Cameroon like Barrister Balla tried to talk with the government he was branded a terrorist like Boko Haram and abducted to Kondengui.
The case of lord justice Ayah is beyond belief for most West Cameroonians.
If you have a 6year old child and you are from west Cameroon would you really dream of a future for your child in this Cameroon today where they are easily branded as terrorist, secessionist simply because you want them to study in English from primary to university eduction in Cameroon. What future do our children have if at the onset they are considered less than other Cameroonians simply because they are from West Cameroonians.
There are so many positives in having a bilingual, bijural, Federal country but the Yaoundé junta want to amass all power because that is the only way they can continue to embezzle without any accountability to the nation.
Fish don rotten plenty and ye smell don bad for all side.
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Anglofou Is Back23    182017-08-30 04:42
#31
Mes Chers Froggies Laches et Malhonnettes,

Listen to this Foretia fellow:

"....For those who preach that Cameroon is “One and Indivisible” the current reality could not be further from that truth. It is now abundantly clear that there are two distinct Cameroons. ...."

"....Whether we like it or not, today’s Cameroon is a country more divided than ever before in its history. And there is every indication that the situation will only get worse......."

" .... Unfortunately, our government continues to pursue a repressive strategy that will prove unsuccessful, long-term. ..........."

".....As a parent, and one who believes strongly in the power of education, I fully support schools’ resumption. Yet, I am cognizant that, given the current realities, this objective may not be attainable. With every passing day, the likelihood of schools re-opening becomes increasingly doubtful. ......"

"...... it is increasingly evident that the Anglophone movement for separation, that is now well organized with a Governing Council, will continue to gain ground......."

".....If we cannot find 10 Cameroonians of unblemished repute to take the lead and bring the government to a full-scale discussion on the future of Cameroon, then we have completely failed as a people. If that is the case, the wise course of action would be to allow Anglophones to go back and rebuild their own country. Only history will judge our actions....."

Always Remember This:
WHEN INJUSTICE BECOMES LAW, RESISTANCE BECOMES A DUTY.

The Southern Cameroons (Ambazonia) shall be FREE,

A+

Anatype (Anglofou Atypique)
THE SOUTHERN CAMEROONS SHALL BE INDEPENDENT BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY.
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Gassy26    162017-08-30 03:50
#32
You hit the nail on the head in your concluding sentence : SOUTHERN CAMEROONS WILL NEVER AGAIN COHABIT WITH LRC. They have treated us and continue to with disdain. To them, we're subhumans.

We've just 31 days to restoring our independence and defending it.

The governing council can now go in for arms deals.

The Southern Cameroons must be free!

Alluta continua!
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Dr Denis FORETIA Dr Denis FORETIA
Ten months into the current Anglophone crisis, there are still no signs of a possible resolution. In fact, by every measure, the crisis is escalating at an alarming pace

Ten months into the current Anglophone crisis, there are still no signs of a possible resolution. In fact, by every measure, the crisis is escalating at an alarming pace. The English-speaking regions remain resolute in enforcing ghost towns; its diaspora is now fully engaged and increasingly violent and there is no indication that schools will re-open this September. The government remains deaf in the face of increasing international pressure from the United Nations, the International Crisis Group and Amnesty International.

For those who preach that Cameroon is “One and Indivisible” the current reality could not be further from that truth. It is now abundantly clear that there are two distinct Cameroons. There is the Cameroon where debate is focused on the hosting of the 2019 African Cup of Nations; the other Cameroon concerns itself with the resumption of school in September.   One Cameroon is consumed with the possibility of organizing 2018 national, regional and local elections and has “Operation Onze Millions d’Inscrits” (11 million registered voters) underway while the other Cameroon diligently respects ghost towns with no interest whatsoever in such elections. And lastly, there is one Cameroon where citizens continue to beg the President to implement a policy on decentralization that is 21-years overdue, while in the other Cameroon citizens are passionate and determined to take full control of their own destiny. Whether we like it or not, today’s Cameroon is a country more divided than ever before in its history. And there is every indication that the situation will only get worse.

 

Our Government is Fighting a War It Cannot Win

With the exception of the government, there have been six months of universal agreement concerning the process for a durable solution to this growing crisis:

- the release all wrongfully arrested Anglophone leaders

- the full demilitarization the English-speaking regions, and

- the engagement, in frank dialogue, on the future of the state and its administrative form.

Unfortunately, our government continues to pursue a repressive strategy that will prove unsuccessful, long-term. There are many reasons our government cannot win with its current strategy. First, it has seriously underestimated the collective will and determination of the English-speaking population to stand up for its rights. It has failed to realize that the entire military and security apparatus of the country cannot defeat 5 million men, women and children of the North West and South West regions except through a genocide. It is clear to everyone today that our government and its security services have seriously underestimated the anger and resolve of these individuals, who are recognized as a people under international law.

Without broad-based dialogue, it is extremely difficult to see how our government can impose its “solutions” on a people who are now extremely in touch with its history, who have left the kitchen and would only sit on the main table or go back and rebuild their home. Today there are approximately 800 Common Law lawyers in the country; the majority of whom were forced to train abroad due to their exclusion from ENAM. They have now returned to practice in their own country. This is in stark contrast to the approximately 1,200 Civil Law lawyers who are members of the Cameroon Bar Association. You don’t have to be a brilliant scientist to see that, without profound reforms, the increasing number of foreign-trained Anglophone lawyers will continue, perhaps aggressively, to demand equal judicial standing in the country. A refusal to dialogue with the real Anglophone leaders can only accelerate the rapid drift of the country towards an ungovernable state.

 

Will Schools Resume in September?

As a parent, and one who believes strongly in the power of education, I fully support schools’ resumption. Yet, I am cognizant that, given the current realities, this objective may not be attainable. With every passing day, the likelihood of schools re-opening becomes increasingly doubtful. The social atmosphere continues to worsen. It remains unclear, for the students who did not attend school last year, which class to enroll in for the new academic year.   

The likelihood of schools recommencing has been greatly diminished by a series of missteps by our government. It makes absolutely no sense that our government would refuse to dialogue with the real Anglophone leaders it has arrested and imprisoned; why send emissaries abroad to somehow “dialogue” with the diaspora?  How is it possible that in a heavily militarized region such as the North West, small arms are purportedly fabricated in Mbengwi? What is the veracity of this report? And to date, what has our government learned as to the identity of the instigators who are burning down schools in the Anglophone regions? Have intelligence services been completely removed from these regions?

While I’m not a fan of the Social Democratic Front, the recent resolutions of its National Executive Council, dated 5 August 2017, crystallize this deteriorating crisis. It is, therefore, unlikely that we will see schools resume, come September, without a significant gesture of goodwill from the government.

A significant source of widespread anger among Anglophones is the flagrant governing incoherence of Biya’s government. This is, after all, a country where dialysis kits are not available at the best hospitals; where the population of Yabassi has electricity on average one month per year; where the minimum wage is a dismal 36,270 FCFA per month; and a country where teachers go for more than 60 months without pay. Yet our government has decided to continue its borrowing spree with an anticipated 1,000 billion FCFA in loans to organize the African Cup of Nations! These unfortunate government priorities lend credibility to many Anglophones who are confident of their systems’ ability to ensure better stewardship of its resources, whether in a federated or independent Southern Cameroons. The aggressive posturing of the diaspora as seen in the brutal confrontations in Brussels and South Africa, the hoisting of a flag, purportedly that of Southern Cameroons in Canada, and the violent protests at Cameroon’s High Commission in the United Kingdom will only worsen in the coming weeks. It is therefore very difficult to see how schools will resume in the Anglophone regions come September.

 

10-member National Council of Eminent Leaders to break the impasse

In the face of these challenges what should we, as a people, do? It is abundantly clear that the foundation of our “vivre ensemble” is extremely tenuous and the need for a broad-based dialogue for a 2nd Republic is imperative. However our government, by being unwilling to have this discussion, is pushing our country further down the drain. What do we do when our country is being torn into pieces, largely because a small group of Cameroonians have taken the country hostage and are ready to fight to preserve their privileges to the detriment of the majority? Do we sit on the sidelines, do we complain or do we jump in, roll up our sleeves and fight for the future we believe we can and should have?

There is a false belief that only the government can act. That if the government doesn’t want a dialogue, there shall be no dialogue. While this may be true to a certain extent, it somehow absolves our elders, those of Anglo-Saxon persuasion we call Elder Statesmen and women, of any responsibilities. At this critical moment, we need an independent National Council of Eminent Leaders, to help decrease the growing public animosity and forcefully, through public and diplomatic avenues, initiate frank dialogue about the future of our country. The Council will not be credible if it is a mere extension of the government—it must be independent of the administration and representative of the Cameroonian people. This 10-member Council, with equal representation of “English-speaking” and “French-speaking” Cameroonians, should be comprised of individuals respected on the national and international stage for their objectivity, expertize and patriotism. It will be independent of government officials and definitely will not include political party leaders. The central role of the Council will be to force the government, civil society, political parties and the leaders of Anglophones to dialogue on the future of Cameroon and what is required to build an inclusive country. There comes a time when patriots must stand up and defend their fatherland, not necessarily by taking up arms, but by playing the role of “Statesmen and Women.”  By putting their country first in times of extreme crises. Members of this Council must be able to do that.

 Everyone can see that our country is crumbling and we must have a broad-based dialogue in order to build a new Cameroon. If we don’t do this, it is extremely doubtful that schools will resume. It is also extremely doubtful that we would have any economic growth, let alone come out of structural adjustment any time soon. If we don’t do this, it is increasingly evident that the Anglophone movement for separation, that is now well organized with a Governing Council, will continue to gain ground. The possibility of an armed struggle cannot be excluded.   

 If we cannot find 10 Cameroonians of unblemished repute to take the lead and bring the government to a full-scale discussion on the future of Cameroon, then we have completely failed as a people.  If that is the case, the wise course of action would be to allow Anglophones to go back and rebuild their own country. Only history will judge our actions.

 

Denis Foretia, MD.MPH.MBA.

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Dr. Denis Foretia is a surgeon and the Co-Chair of the Denis & Lenora Foretia Foundation. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Nkafu Policy Institute.

 

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