As the major national dialogue known by many Southern Cameroonians as “national badluck” wraps up its second day of deliberations, many non-government participants are already cutting and running, as government-appointed chairs of the various committees are working hard to frustrate efforts by Southern Cameroonians to have the form of the state and constitution changed.
Prominent lawyer, Akere Muna, and opposition leader, Jean Jacques Ekindi, have already quit, calling the dialogue a charade designed to deceive the international community.
Barrister Akere Muna left yesterday while Jean Jacques Ekindi left today for his native Douala.
It is being reported that prominent human rights lawyer, Barrister Felix Nkongho Agbor Balla, is also thinking of leaving as government agents are ramping decentralization down the throats of those who are hoping to obtain at least federalism out of this charade.
Renowned historian and author, Prof. Victor Julius Ngoh reporting on the disagreements in the decentralization commission wrote that:
“It is hot in the Decentralization Committee. The chair of the Commission has been trying to restrict on discussion of decentralization. It got to a point where some Anglophones especially Agbor Balla threatened to walk out and Minister Garga met me outside and we talked to him and we came back and zeroed in on federalism. Several members are on federalism and dont want the Chair to derail the point”.
But cutting and running will only help the corrupt and dishonest government of Mr. Biya to manufacture resolutions and recommendations that they will present to the international community.
The Biya regime is cash-strapped and any hopes of it getting loans and grants from bilateral and multilateral donors depend on proof that it did actually organize the much- talked about inclusive dialogue and that all parties were represented.
The Southern Cameroons crises that has brought about the dialogue is being upstaged by insignificant themes like multiculturalism, bilingualism, living together and decentralization.
The atmosphere at the conference center is tense as some members of the Southern Cameroonian Diaspora are willing to demonstrate and even cause chaos if the real issues are not discussed.
The Southern Cameroons crisis has put the country in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons and the country’s economy has taken many blows to the liver.
Major state corporations such as CDC, PAMOL and SONARA have been ruined as a result of the crisis.
Many kids in rural Southern Cameroons have been out of school for three years and their fate rides on a successful dialogue that should bring the government and all the warring factions to the negotiating table with a neutral third party facilitating the discussions.
A Swiss initiative backed by Canada and the USA has been rejected by the Yaounde government which has decided to organize a charade.
Many observers say the government has already manufactured the recommendations and will, at the right time, release a document which will point out that many Cameroonians are in support of decentralization that has generated much corruption in the country and left the country’s economy on its knees.
Some analysts argue that a Canadian-style federal system will be ideal for Cameroon; a country of 256 tribes and two major linguistic blocs.
Many observers fear that if the dialogue is not properly managed, it could result in renewed hostilities in the two English-speaking regions of the country where some 3,000 civilians and soldiers have lost their lives.
By Dr Joachim Arrey