By Boris Esono Nwenfor
Barely a week after the Head of State address the nation in an unprecedented “State of the Nation Address”, authorities in the South West Region have begun a pre-consultative dialogue process ahead of the National Dialogue convened by President Paul Biya.
At the Buea Council chambers last Wednesday September 18, 2019, traditional rulers from the six Divisions of the SWR, Religious leaders, administrative personnel, civil society organizations, teachers, met to make proposals to ending the present crisis in the English speaking Regions, ahead of the National Dialogue scheduled from September 30 to October 4, 2019 at Palais des Congrès de Yaounde.
During the pre-consultative dialogue process, some traditional advanced the 10 state decentralized federal system as a means to resolving the present Anglophone crisis. They equally cautioned organizers to be honest to themselves so as to bring peace back to the Region.
The Fako Chiefs conference and the South West Chiefs conference have a standpoint which is fixed and has not changed. “We still stand for 10 federal regions and elected officials. Whether it is called decentralization or what, we do not have a problem with the name but what matter is the content we are looking for”, said Chief Ndika, President of the Fako Chiefs Conference
He added that “the Head of State made it clear that it is an affair concerning the NW and SWRs but when we say national dialogue, we are just afraid that when we put nationally we can drag other sects of people who are not feeling the impact they Anglophone are feeling in the distress regions.” “We are telling those who are running the issue that they should be careful because if the dialogue does not go well, things will be more difficult than we are facing today. If it is handled with care, everybody will be satisfied with the outcome.”
Another traditional ruler stated, “I expect all those who will be at the dialogue table, to be honest, knowing that they are working for the good of the entire North West and South West and not for their personal gains. We have always stood for a decentralized federal system of government and that will go a long way in solving the crisis.” “We equally expect that all those imprisoned will be released so they too can adequately participate in the dialogue process. We expect a genuine dialogue which will enable us t be together in a peaceful atmosphere.”
Hon. Njume Peter from Ndian said the dialogue is at a very crucial moment. “It is moment we have to be very honest to ourselves, a moment to be very frank, a moment for us to be able to put on the table what we think will be good for everybody”, he said while reiterated the fact that everything should be done to revive PAMOL which is basically on its knees”. If we have a problem today is because many of our youths do not have jobs. Let our youths be given the opportunity to have jobs so that they could be able to put a square meal on their table.”
To Andrew Nkea, Bishop of Mamfe, the big cry of the people of Manyu division is that it is difficult to have this dialogue when their children are behind the bars. “We are still hoping and I was very happy when the Head of state left opened the possibility of clemency”. “…In that way, we are praying for those conditions so that the Manyu population can stand up united to work again because without that it will be difficult.”
The dialogue is expected to continue at the various Divisions making up the South West Region. Here, individuals are expected to make proposals which will be assembled at the regional level before being submitted during the national dialogue chaired by Cameroon’s Prime Minister, Chief Dr Dion Ngute Joseph. It is the wish of the traditional rulers that the recommendations to forwarded to the appropriate quarters so the crisis in the English speaking regions of Cameroon for the past three years be resolved.