The President of the Episcopal Conference of Cameroon, Archbishop Samuel Kleda of the Douala Diocese has called on President Biya not to run for the 2018 presidential elections. The Roman Catholic prelate pointed out that Biya should not yield to the sirens of his colleagues who are inviting him to run again.
The Bishop of Douala also shed light on the aftermath of late Bishop Jean Marie Benoît Balla. Kleda revealed that preliminary investigations are taking place and “We hope they will have information that will help us know the truth. Our wish is that all the elements that were seized by the gendarmerie and the police during the investigations be presented to our lawyers.”
Archbishop Kleda opined that the latest events that have just occurred in Southern Cameroons show that the situation is serious enough. “The death of civilians, military, police and gendarmes shows that the crisis is far from resolved, it gets bogged down as the days go by. We have the impression that people are organizing themselves into guerrilla action. This is a situation that no one should be indifferent to. Every Cameroonian must really worry about the deterioration of the situation. In my opinion, it is time to get something done; it is time to convene a national forum to which all the forces of the nation will take part, in order to find a solution to this problem. We cannot continue in this radicalization that we observe on both sides.” Kleda further stated that the Catholic Church in Cameroon has not yet been solicited for any mediation.
Bishop Kleda also observed that people are very receptive to secessionist discourse. “They believe that secessionists will provide solutions to the socio-economic problems that are theirs. As the situation is, we should not exclude them if ever the national dialogue is organized within this framework. In order to find a lasting solution to this crisis, the State should reach out to all its sons, all actors, for a way out of crisis that would relieve everyone.”
The Archbishop noted that in a dialogue aimed at finding solutions to the problems facing the nation today, all issues must be addressed, including the form of the state.” It is in this context that the actors could make real decisions about the form of the state that is right for our country at the moment. The form of the state is a dynamic process that can be modified according to evolution and governance. The current form of many African states is a subject of debate. Do these different forms inherited from colonization truly meet the development requirements of African countries? What is more important is that our leaders begin a deep reflection on the best way to govern and manage the country.”
Kleda condemned the burning of churches and schools as a solution to the current crisis. “Violence engenders only violence and misery. If we start destroying what we have taken the trouble to build for years, we must ask ourselves who will rebuild. I insist that everything starts with dialogue. Let those who burn schools and churches know that the actions they take will not solve the problems. I invite them to be calm and invoke the spirit of responsibility.
Questioned on the motions of support calling on President Paul Biya to run in the 2018 presidential election,Bishop Kleda indicated that the authors of these motions are not sincere because, in reality, they seek to protect their personal interests. “They do not want to lose their privileges. On the other hand, if they think about the future of Cameroon, they would hesitate before making such proclamations. I am convinced that these people are very familiar with the real problems of Cameroon today, and at this level they are not sincere. They play a game whose purpose they know. To be honest, these people do not like Cameroon.”
“If President Paul Biya really loves this country, he would rather think of a peaceful transition by passing power to another person, either within his party, the CPDM, or within an opposition party. I am convinced that if there were free and democratic elections in Cameroon, the truth will be surprising. I insist that if President Paul Biya loves this country, he should rather withdraw than listen to those who ask him to present himself in 2018. There is a time for everything. I hope that a council of wise people, a council composed of people who love this country, will be set up to find solutions to all these problems that arise today.”
By Chi Prudence Asong with files from CIN