Cameroon:“We are tired, Want to be simple people and Move on with our lives” – Bishop Andrew Nkea narrates
By Boris Esono Nwenfor
His Lordship Andrew Nkea, Bishop of the Mamfe Diocese has reiterated the need for peace to return to the two English speaking regions while indicating that the people are tied and just want to live their normal lives as before.
He was speaking recently during the launching of the Regional Post Dialogue Sensitization Caravan at the Buea Council chamber.
He said, “Whatever politics is involved, we want our children to go back to school without us trembling. Our economy is in bad state, many IDPs everywhere. For how long can we continue? We are tired. Violence breeds violence and we need to sit and discuss problems we are facing and look for solutions to them.”
Narrating his personal story, the Bishop said , “Mamfe is going through trouble times as many have been dehumanized, killed, maimed while others have ran into the bushes. Businesses have melted due to the crisis and Cocoa, Palm plantations are now turning into bushes.” “Every time I leave my house I have to say my last prayer as I do not even know if I will come back or not. Even today, I had to pray my last prayer as I don’t know if I will go back. That is the situation we are currently facing”, He added.
The Bishop equally called on the delegates to strive for collective and not personal success. “The caravan should not be politicized. We should forget about our political linings, churches or social groups. We should use inclusive and not exclusive language.”
“In one way or the other, all of us have contributed to the crisis. We should not judge or apportion blame to people when we go to the field. It is a collective effort and everybody must join in seeking solution to the crisis. We need peace.”
Speaking to the media, Bishop Andrew Nkea said, “We cannot solve the crisis that has been going on for three years in one day. We are reaching out to the solution of the problem and I think that it is most important for the people to understand what we discussed in Yaounde towards a solution to the crisis.”
“We went to the dialogue from different Divisions yet the discussions from the dialogue have not reached the grass root population. We are sending out the divisional caravans to go out to the various divisions and subdivisions to explain to the people what was discussed and the expectations.”
Speaking during the event, Minister Paul Tasong indicated that various efforts are being put in place to see to it that the affected regions’ economy is brought back to normal. “CDC and PAMOL have been greatly affected by the socio-political crisis in the South West Region,” He said
He however cautioned the delegates not to make promises when they cannot keep. “Do not make false promises and invent things which are difficult to achieve – like deep sea port in Lebialem when there is no sea, while indicating that the Limbe deep sea port is to be given attention within 10 years.
On his part, Governor Bernard Okalia Bilai reiterated the need for everyone to join the train, and join hands together in educating those in the bushes to come out and share in the message of peace. “After the Grand National Dialogue, the population still waits on its leaders to know what was said as many important issues were agreed upon,” Governor Okalia said.
What is the substance of the “Special Status?
One of the fallouts of the Major National Dialogue was the granting of the special status to the North West and South West Regions – Section 62, paragraph 2 of the constitution gives provisions of a special status.
To Minister Philip Ngwese, the question of the substance of the present special status granted the Anglophone regions are still undetermined. “It is a question that does not have a definitive answer at the moment. We should not come up with things that we are not sure. What the special status means is what we are still expecting”, He said.
He added that the President during the Paris peace forum did indicate that the special status has been granted the Regions and it will be implemented. “The President and the House of Assembly are in charge of proposing and debating bills and I am sure they will know the substance or what entails in the special status.”
The Regional caravan which has been launched is expected to hit the ground running in educating the population about the substance of the National Dialogue and to look for solutions to the present crisis. The report from the various delegations to the six divisions is expected to be harmonized, with the final report to be presented to Prime Minister Head of Government Chief Dr. Dion Ngute by November 27, 2019.
The present caravan is in its informative phase and the next step that is expected within the coming weeks is the implementation phase.