By Ajong Mbapndah L & Jude Nde Asah
Cameroon needs a new Republic, one that that takes cognizance of the richness of its diversity says Presidential hopeful Akere Muna. Speaking via phone from Paris a few days after he announced plans to join the race for the succession of President Biya in 2018, Barrister Muna said a return to the Federal system of governance is imperative and it is a fact which is becoming increasingly obvious to a growing number of Francophones in the country.
On the decision to throw his hat in the ring, Barrister Muna said the country is at cross roads with major questions surrounding the union, a huge demographic shift, and archaic institutions begging for reforms. Recognizing the seriousness of the Anglophone problem, Barrister Muna said reverting to a federal system and making the governance system more robust are some of the measures that need to be taken.
Far from an opportunistic move, the leap into the presidential race was well thought out according to Barrister Muna. Citing experiences serving as President of the Bar Council, the African Union, Transparency International and a host of other organizations that he has served with, Akere Muna said he could not remain indifferent to the challenges that the country was going through.
On the response from the public on the announcement of his Presidential run , Barrister Akere said while it had been largely favorable in the Francophone regions of the country, the response in the English speaking North West and South West Regions of Cameroon were much more subdued. With the North West and South West regions virtually under siege, many were perplexed with the timing of the big announcement from Akere Muna. According to Akere Muna, the announcement did not mitigate the importance he accords to the Anglophone struggle in any way. The Law Firm he is part of has about four Lawyers on 24 hours call, while his brother Barrister Bernard Muna visits those in detention several times weekly.
“I have written about the problems, spoken about them, and I know the pain and suffering, all I am trying to do is to seek solutions and while others may judge, I am at ease with my conscious,” said Barrister Akere Muna.
The Anglophone problem is a political one that must be solved through the political process Akere Muna said. When it comes to the Anglophone crisis, the government of Cameroon has shown its insensitivity, incompetency, and inhumanity and it cannot be trusted when it comes to seeking lasting solutions.
Barrister Muna said he hopes to build a coalition of young people, women, civil society leaders and political parties around a common vision to bring about a new dawn for Cameroon. In addition to his firmness on a return to Federalism, Barrister Muna said the constitution had to be fundamentally reviewed, and corruption curbed. Building on his Christian background, Muna said the country will need judging, healing and preaching and equated this to justice, education and health.
Conscious of the fact that some derisively refer to him as just another Muna when he declared his candidature, Akere Muna said he was proud of the moral upbringing from his father ST Muna who served as Prime Minister of West Cameroon, Vice President of the Federal Republic of Cameroon and later President of the National Assembly. Refusing to make excuses for his father or make comparisons, Barrister Muna said he was more focused on what can be done to get a better future. Citing his election as President of the Bar Council, and other important positions he has occupied on the national, and international scene, Barrister Muna said competence was the determinant factor as opposed to the name.
We will work on building a broad coalition said Barrister Muna on the way forward. While he may have declared his intention to run, Barrister Muna did not rule out prospects of supporting someone else if the coalition he seeks to build had a more suitable pick.
“I am about a purpose, I am about policy, I am about helping Cameroonians; if somebody is better positioned to do that, I will support them, all my might, all my heart, with no reserves whatsoever,” Barrister Muna said.