The grand national conference ordered and micro-managed by the Cameroon’s president, Paul Biya, has gotten off to a bumpy start as many delegates have not been issued badges.
Most of those without badges are members of the opposition and, from every indication, they might not be allowed into the conference center.
There is already a lot of apprehension and doubts about the government’s intention. Many of those without badges have their invitations, but the security forces at the gate are simply not buying their story.
Meanwhile, many of the participants are still in doubt about their security, especially those who have been very critical of the government.
Many fear they could be arrested as the Yaounde government is naturally averse to criticism. Last week it arrested a popular journalist and cleric because he expressed his views about the conference. He is currently in SED where he is being questioned.
However, there are many groups that are prepared to share their perspectives and are ready to even call for a discussion of separation as this has been the matter that has put the country in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.
Barrister Felix Nkongho Agbor Balla is currently at the conference grounds and he is prepared to push for a federal structure that will give the two English-speaking regions of the country the autonomy they need to run their own affairs.
It should be recalled that after meeting with the prime minister Dion Ngute, Barrister Felix Nkongho Agbor Balla called for extensive decentralization which is the equivalent of federalism; an idea that has made many narrow-minded people to think that he is supporting the government’s version of decentralization.
More will be yours in the hours ahead.