Dark clouds are gathering over Dion Ngute, the country’s prime minister, who is on his way out of the Star Building in Yaoundé. Dion Ngute was elevated to the rank of Prime Minister because the Unity Palace felt he could help disconnect the Southwest region from the Northwest, thus reducing the crisis which is tearing the two English-speaking regions of the country apart.
But three years after taking the reins of power, Dion Ngute is still struggling. The Southwest is still a hotspot and there is no end in sight. Dion Ngute has tried to bribe General Two-Kobo to keep it low in Ndian Division, but his own right-hand man, Kenneth Nanji, the former Mayor of Ekondo-Titi, saw the agreement between Dion Ngute and General Two-Kobo as a possibility for him to enrich himself, but that only resulted in a plot by Dion Ngute which cost him his life.
Cutting out the Southwest region from the Northwest will require cutting Manyu Division completely off, but this is not possible without massive sacrifices and arrangements. Noted for their volatile and mercurial temperament, it will take a long time for the people of Manyu Division to walk away from the struggle, especially as Sisiku Julius Ayuk Tabe is still in the Yaoundé Maximum Security Prison.
It will take another well-respected and trusted Manyu son who can talk Sisiku into walking away from secession to disconnect the Southwest from the Northwest. And there are a few South-westerners who have been very influential when it comes to the crisis which has made the two English-speaking regions ungovernable.
Two have been identified and they are both working for international organizations. The candidate at the World Bank has a likeable character, simple and peace-loving, but he has no leverage over separatists and might not deliver the peace the government is looking forward to.
According to a Cameroon Concord News source at the Presidency of the Republic, the right candidate will be someone who can talk to all the factions and has the trust of his people.
According to the source, the country needs someone with a very strict personality who is open to new ideas and can bring separatists to the fold. We do not need to split our country. If Ndian and Manyu Divisions can be stabilized, then the fighting will be concentrated in the Northwest region and this will make it easy to focus on the pockets of resistance in the Northwest region, the source said.
“We are still hearing that there is someone in Abidjan who can help with this mess in Cameroon. Many people hold him in high esteem. I hear that this person is not interested in money and has a high sense of political awareness. A friend of mine in the intelligence community says they have been attending fundraisers for Internally Displaced Persons in Washington DC with separatists, though they believe in federalism,” the source, which elected anonymity, said.
“I hear there are a few sticking points which are making it hard for the government to come up with an acceptable cabinet. My sources at the Presidency have said that the Abidjan candidate has underscored the need to free Sisiku Julius Ayuk Tabe and others arrested during the conflict. He stressed that some gestures would be necessary to demonstrate that the government is a reliable peace broker, but his advice seems to be falling on deaf ears and this is only making things worse. The killings are still going on and the spirit of revenge is clearly visible. The killing of Field Marshal will not go unpunished. Many soldiers and civilians will be caught in the crossfire,” our source said
“The government is yet to come to terms with the fact that a military victory will not be possible and some Yaounde hawks are still of the opinion that their failed decentralization policy is still the right policy to pursue. I have heard that the Abidjan candidate has been arguing that the decentralization policy has failed, and it will not deliver any meaningful results and that if the government really needs to walk away from the quagmire it has created for itself, then it must bend over backwards,” the source said.
“Of course, the government must meet the separatists halfway and we need someone who can bring everybody with him to Yaoundé, at least mentally. We thought Dion Ngute would deliver the golden egg, but he has failed woefully. The Unity Palace is now aware of his failed dealings with some unpopular fighters in his native Ndian. Those dealings have not really changed much in terms of violence. Ndian Division like Manyu Division is still a no-go area, and it will take a lot of convincing for things to be better and Dion, who is a man of few words, is not the person who will do such heavy-lifting,” he said.
“Biya is holding his cards so close to his chest, but we are also hearing that the French President’s visit to Cameroon in the coming days might change a lot of things and the news will not be good for Dion Ngute. He has failed and he must go for someone else to try. He has never spoken to any separatist and is not in a rush to solve this problem which is tearing the country apart. Many people hold that he is a likeable character. He has a good smile, but others hold that behind the prettiest smiles hide some dark secrets and the killing of Kenneth Nanji is one secret the Prime Minister is hiding,” our source pointed out.
“Dion should be bracing for bad news. The country needs to go in a different direction and Dion cannot lead the country down that route. Let us give younger people a chance. They may not have the magic wand, but they might do what their predecessors were unable to achieve. Time is of the essence! We can break the spiral of killings by using young people to do what has been a near-impossibility. I am personally waiting. Our country must stop bleeding. We have the men who can change things for us,” our source concluded.
At the Star Building, not much is happening. The mood is somber, and the Prime Minister seems to be fully aware of the decision taken at the Unity Palace after months of secret meetings and interviews with potential replacements. In three years, the Prime Minister has not succeeded to talk to any influential separatist.
He has not achieved anything, and he has been serving as an errand boy for the President and his Secretary General. That is not the job of a respectable Prime Minister. Even the Secretary General at the Presidency, Ferdinand Ngoh Ngoh, disrespects Dion Ngute openly. We need a Prime Minister with a character, a Prime Minister who will point the country in the right direction, a Prime Minister who will inspire hope.
By Rita Akana with editing by Soter Tarh Agbaw-Ebai