Southern Cameroons at UN: Complicit silence?

So UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres sneaked in and out of Yaounde, as we thought he would, with little more for the history books than his smiling pictures with his host and, some say, friend. How heart-rending to read the disappointment of many West Cameroonians who had expected the UN Scribe to make some dramatic pronouncement that would liberate their space from the present siege. That was an expectation The Rambler did not share, knowing as we do that the UN Secretary General, far from being the boss of any Head of State, is merely the manager of a club wherein heads of state, including offending ones, pull the strings on key issues. Indeed, until the peoples of the world arise and wrest back ownership of the UN, it remains a power-mongers’ league, serving their interests often with benign neglect for human values and universal standards.

This may sound cynical, but how else do you explain the fact that any one of five Security Council member countries (ChinaFranceRussiaUnited Kingdom, and the United States) can veto any substantive resolution even if all the other nations of the world deem it justified and necessary? How do you explain the money and energy that goes into nuclear nonproliferation and yet de-nuclearisation is never an option?

So, in expecting the UN to ramp up pressure on the Yaounde regime to cut out its crimes against humanity in Southern Cameroons, one must not lose sight of the fact that Yaounde is doing most of these things at the behest of, and as a proxy to France, one of the privileged veto wielders. In the matter of Southern Cameroons’ self-determination, France had already shown where it stood by rallying its African satellites to vote against it at the UN early in 1961. And so if anything could restrain France from using its veto power to block any UN attempt to set things right for Southern Cameroons, it can only be some kind of assurance that its colonial interest in Cameroon is not in jeopardy.

At present, French interests are facing an existential threat in Africa, with strident calls for a review of her mainly exploitative relations with countries in its zone of influence. In fact, it does seem that the Elysee has lost its long-standing psychological hold on much of its African pre-carré, and all it will take for the whole house of dominoes to come tumbling is a brave new crop of visionary and patriotic African leaders, undaunted by the prospect of being ‘Thomas Sankaraised.’

By all indications, Yaounde’s “meilleur éleve” is not of this stamp, despite recent prattle from an errant first daughter claiming he is part of some half-hearted attempts to ditch the colonial currency, the CFA.

Because of France’s economic dependence on the pre-carre, it tends to consider it suicidal to let catchments like Southern Cameroons slip between her fingers.  And in a UN where there seems to be tacit maintenance of the old partitioning of Africa, who will rock the boat in what concerns Southern Cameroons? Certainly, not the UK, that clearly bungled the territory’s transition from trusteeship to independence.

In fact, we are still to hear the UK refute allegations (citing declassified British Government records) that it sold Southern Cameroons to France for a paltry 20 million pounds sterling.  This sale, if confirmed, would be tantamount to a new form of slave trade at state level, for which one should hope that the UN can, and will, hold Britain to account. It would be so obnoxious an act as to have reduced the UK to a moral dwarf in the eyes of Southern Cameroonians who, all these years, have been claiming great moral high ground for their former “mentor.” Finally, it would explain Britain’s silence in the face of Southern Cameroons’ present predicament, because you cannot do that and not feel like Judas Iscariot. But that can of worms will have to be opened sooner than later.

So who will raise a finger for poor Southern Cameroons at the UN, even as its sons and daughters are dying and thousands are fleeing for refuge? It was heartening to read Donald Trump’s tweet in this regard, after his ambassador’s statement decrying corruption at the UN. He may be a maverick but it may also just take someone like him to upset the applecart. After all, like it or not, he is the leader of the free world, and tyranny anywhere is a threat to freedom everywhere.

Postscript: Suspicion is rife that Biya’s recent “goodwill message of peace” missions to the ravished Southern Cameroons territory were an eyewash; surreptitiously, hastily concocted to deceive a gullible Guterres?





Cameroon makes Bulgaria/Italy world volleyball finals

The sky has been getting brighter and brighter for Cameroon volleyball with the male team’s recent qualification for the World Championship to be jointly hosted by Bulgaria and Italy come September 2018, a feat that had earlier been outstripped by the lady’s team that did not only qualify for the World Cup in Japan but also, lifted the coveted African Lady’s Volleyball Championship trophy. The men’s senior national volleyball team qualification follows their 3 to 1 set victory over Algeria to finish third with a bronze medal in the just-ended African Volleyball Championship in Cairo Egypt.

The Volleyball Lions who were vying for their first African Volleyball Championship title since 2001 triumphed over Nigeria in Port Harcourt, Nigeria had their bid terminated by Egypt who overpowered them by 3 sets in the semifinals. Egypt went ahead to lose by 0 to 3 sets to Tunisia, who are now with the highest African Volleyball Championship titles (nine).

The men and women volleyball teams of Cameroon will be busy with the World Volleyball Championships in September 2018. The Volleyball Lions of Cameroon with their Tunisian and Egyptian counterparts will be in Bulgaria and Italy while the women version will be in Japan for the female category.

It should be recalled only four countries have dominated the 21 editions of the Men’s African Volleyball Championship organized by the Confederation of African Volleyball. They include Tunisia who have got nine titles, eight for Egypt and two each for Cameroon and Algeria.

By Ekonde Daniel

Protestant headships pinpoint dialogue to curb current upheavals

Heads of Protestant churches in Cameroon

In a move reflective of true Pastors of souls who feel for the teeming populations that have in one way or the other been deprived of going about their businesses in peace and tranquility, heads of the 11-member Churches and Council of Protestant Churches of Cameroon, CEPCA, have noted that genuine dialogue is the only effective way out of the current Anglophone crisis that has plagued the country for over a year.

The executive members of CEPCA made the declaration on Saturday, October 28, at the Presbyterian Synod Office in Buea.

The Reverend Pastors, who gathered to reflect on possible solutions to the ongoing Anglophone crisis, said they could not have adopted a carefree attitude when God’s people are suffering. In the view of the CEPCA Chairperson, Rev. Robert Goyek Daga, as a Christian body and protestant council, they cannot be indifferent when the country is going through tough times. “We came here to reflect and see what we can contribute to peace and wellbeing of our living together as Christians and citizens for the development of our country.”

As he put it, the current crisis has been their preoccupation; and given that they will be celebrating the 500thanniversary of reformation, it was wise they used the occasion to make their own proposal of possible solutions to the problem known.

Rev. Goyek Daga, on behalf of his peers recounted that the Protestant Churches have been playing their role not today. He said they are partners with the Government in building peace, education, health and fighting against poverty. He also noted: “We have since this crisis, been praying to the Lord for peace, development and for better understanding among citizens who are clamouring for the wellbeing of our country.We want dialogue to be the best way ever to resolve this crisis. Let us sit down together and talk about what we want for our country because we are all citizens and belong to this nation.”

The ‘shepherds of the sheep’ advised that as humans, mankind needs to always dialogue. Alluding to a simple family, they said the husband, wife and children must dialogue if they want peace and development in their family. “Dialogue is the way to go for human beings because God has created us with the ability to dialogue,” they emphasized.

Through the Secretary General of CEPCA and 11-member Churches, Rev. Jonas Kemogne, they made it clear that, the resolutions taken at their meeting will officially be disclosed only in Yaounde today Tuesday October 31 when they will be celebrating the500 years of existence of Protestant churches.

By Nester Asonganyi

Tumi breaks silence, comments on: *Wave of Anglophone protests & Diaspora influence, *Murder of Bafia Bishop, *Occultism in Catholic Church, *Assimilation of Anglophones…

Christian Cardinal Tumi is a household name in Cameroon. Apart from being immediate past Archbishop of Douala Archdiocese, and this far, the only Cameroonian Cardinal, he has always been an acerbic critic of governance that is grounded not in transparency and accountability but in falsehood, corruption and ineptitude. He does this with unrivalled dispassion and independent mindedness that put in abeyance any attempt to ascribe partiality to his utterances.

Surprisingly, this ebullient Prelate and illustrious scion of Kikaikilaiki (‘K4’), in Bui Division, has been unusually quiet in the last one year, even as unfolding events in the polity call for perspectives from revered and renowned individuals who have attained the status of institutions through integrity, cultivated over time. Indeed, the festering Anglophone crisis and attendant loss of yet-to-be-ascertained number of lives, and Government’s seeming nonchalance after perpetrating such carnage did not seem to have moved the Cardinal into screaming for a halt to the barbarism as he is wont to do.

However, last week, His Eminence decided to shelve his silence cocoon and gratified The Rambler with an exclusive interview in which forthrightness and concern, the wellbeing of the sheep he is meant to be shepherding came out forcefully.  Issues that the Cardinal fielded include occultism in the Catholic Church, the gruesome murder of the Bishop of Bafia, Biya regime’s scorn for Anglophones, French mastermind of Anglophone assimilation and many sidekick issues.

Cardinal Tumi spoke exclusively to Charlie Ndi Chia, The Rambler Publisher/Editor-in-Chief. Readers are advised not to start reading it if they have other pressing issues to attend to. Reason? It is an addictive novelette!

Your Eminence, thank you very much for according us this rare opportunity. Let’s begin by wondering if justice for Monsigneur Jean-Marie Benoit Bala has been buried along with the Prelate. One isn’t hearing of any investigation, let alone any hint at ultimately punishing the perpetrators of his gruesome murder.

We do not know if the state is continuing with its investigation as it was said, but we, the Church, with our lawyers will continue the investigation. We want to know those who took part in the assassination of Bishop Bala. The Bishops Conference continues its investigation.

Is the Bishops’ Conference unanimous? Is it the wish of all of you to go the whole hog of the investigation or there are internal dissentions?

There might be Bishops who have their own individual opinions but once the President of the Conference acts, he acts in our name. Once we have accepted that he continues, once the majority does so, then we agree that everybody is in agreement with what the President of the Conference is doing. Up to now, nobody has come out to say anything to the contrary.

How perfect are lawyers at investigations? Why not private investigators, competent ex-policemen?

Well, those who are investigating as we know are lawyers. And so far, they are the only ones we have consulted. We don’t know any other source or any other organization that could do that work better.

I may be repeating myself, but is the Church doing anything to secure justice and why not, prevent any further such bestiality on her ordained servants? If so, what steps have so far been taken and with what results?

We are not taking any steps to prevent such happening tomorrow…

You mean you are resigned to fate?

No, that is to say, our Founder was assassinated; that is Christ Himself, and the Apostles, so we just keep proclaiming the Gospel. If it is God’s will that we leave this world by violent deaths, may His will be done. We should, as Christ has said; “Do not be afraid. I have conquered the world.”

Your Eminence, let me ask you this again for emphasis; is the political leadership of Cameroon so far showing any palpable interest in apprehending and bringing to book those behind the heinous act?

We have seen no signs that can push us to answer affirmatively to your question. We think that the state is not doing enough…

The persistent assassination of Catholic clergymen cuts a tragic figure of an ugly stain on the local Church’s image. Any special effort at putting paid to the weird practice, given especially as you put it, that you’ve seen no trace of the regime trying to stop it?

Yes! There is a more fundamental question that I ask myself; why or how to explain the fact that most of the assassinations are from the Centre Region. How does one explain that? Except for my predecessor in Yagoua, Bishop Yves Plumey and Father Anthony Fontegh in Kumbo, the rest of the assassinations have taken place in the Centre Region. We are still looking for the answer to that question.

Your Eminence, forgive my persistence. What, would you imagine, even if you are still looking for the answers, could be responsible for this gruesome trend of Bishop killing in Cameroon?

As I say, most of those killed are from the Centre Region. I still ask myself questions; are they too involved with their brothers and sisters or tribal men from the Centre in certain meetings where they reach a point, a Priest or a Bishop will say to himself, as a Priest or a Bishop, I cannot go further. In their secret societies, a Priest might be involved; a Bishop might be involved but at a certain point, he says to himself; hey, I cannot go further as a Priest. But since he already has knowledge of what was supposed to be secretive, then he has to pay for it because he might make known certain secrets.

You have just hinted at something very fundamental. Is there precedence? Can you pin a finger on any precedence, wherein an ordained Catholic Priest, whether in the Centre or elsewhere in Cameroon was involved in the occult?

Well, take even the case of Monsignor Bala. Many of us believe that the late Bishop of Bafia is a Martyr. We should not forget that the Rector of his Minor Seminary was killed before him. And it seems that he was warned. And why was he killed? It seems there was a secretive society that had something to do with the minor seminarians concerning homosexuality and the Priest and the Bishop were violently against that. It seems there are a quite a number of Christians involved in that. So when the Priest was killed, (I have no proofs) the Bishop was warned for he seemingly was coming out violently against homosexuality.

But some peculiar phenomenon hitherto unprecedented in Church circles, manifested shortly after the Bishop was buried. Some heathen rituals were carried out by his kith and kin. Is such in normal Christian practice? Does the Church allow for “kontri fashion” or “ngambe” to be performed on a Pastor of Souls at death?

That is pagan practice. It was absolute pagan practice.

And the Church was helpless? The Church could not stop it?

They had done it and there was nothing to do. The Church had nothing to do with it. They did it in their village. They didn’t come to do it in the Church. But what I heard was the blood they found on the tomb of the Bishop. That again, we don’t know what blood it was. Nobody had had any laboratory examination of it. Again, I have not much to say about it because I also heard of it like everybody else.

But if the secular authorities were mute, following a criminal desecration of someone’s tomb, would it not have been prudent for the Church as an institution to insist that the blood should be taken to a laboratory and clinically analyzed?

We didn’t see the need for that. If I were there I won’t see the need for it, as a Bishop; as a Priest. After all, what do you get from it?

Let me ask this question which I consider unpleasant. Is there a possibility of there being some foul play from within the Church itself? Power play, pecuniary interests and the like?

What power? That was a young Bishop…

Maybe he was about to be upgraded to an Archbishop or something higher?

Archbishop of where? (Laughs heartily) The Archbishop of Yaounde?

Or may be Cardinal…

That a again… (Laughs)

Remember that you are retired…

Even if I am dead it is not certain that there will be another Cardinal in Cameroon.

Maybe Cameroon needs two or three more Cardinals.

There are countries in Central Africa that have no Cardinal. The Cardinal is the personal appointment of the Pope; and he appoints who he wills. It is true there is an inquiry… I am sure, but it is not certain that after me, there will be a Cardinal in Cameroon. There is no Diocese in Cameroon that is Cardinalate. In the world, there are a few Archdioceses where the Archbishop is always a Cardinal. Take like Malan in Italy. I can see Kinshasa coming in Africa because they are on their third Cardinal in the Archdiocese of Kinshasa. Otherwise…

Maybe you should explain how a local Church qualifies to have a Cardinal.

I don’t know. (Laughs)

You just said something about there being no Archdiocese that is Cardinalate in Cameroon…

There are a few Archdioceses in the world where it is known that if somebody is appointed an Archbishop there, he will be sure that one day he will become a Cardinal. I gave the example of Milan in Italy. That one I know well. I was ordained with the Archbishop of Malan on December 6, 1980. We knew that he will become a Cardinal and in the following Consistory, he was appointed a Cardinal. But in Africa, I don’t know any yet.

Let’s depart from Church issues and look at the crisis in the English speaking Regions of Cameroon, Your Eminence. The Government, if one has to go by the posturing or body language of the Communication Minister is ignoring, even mocking at every counsel from the Bishops of the Bamenda Ecclesiastical Province. If anything, Government has dumped them in the mould of whom they refer to as ‘extremists, secessionists and terrorists.’ This is untoward, disturbing, don’t you think?

I know each and every one of them, the six Bishops of that Province. What they wrote, I have read it. They were writing as people who are living the events and I think those who are criticizing them do not know what is happening over there. They don’t. But the Bishops are living the events from day-to-day. They are Priests at the grassroots; they are Christians and they are informed. They don’t just sit and write. They make inquiries. Now tell me those who criticize them don’t understand what is happening over there. Myself, I am from there. I went to bury my cousin that week. I had a completely different opinion when I came back. I did not know what was happening over there. I was convinced that the separatists as they call them; those who want to cut off were an inferior minority. But I was wrong. When I went there… I went through from Tiko, Kumba, Mamfe, Bamenda, Kumbo, and came back by the same road. I estimated… I was travelling with the Bishop of Buea. I estimated that 80 percent of Cameroonians over there are for secession; the Bishop told me, ‘no, it is 90 percent.’

But this doesn’t change the disturbing fact of Bishops being labeled as secessionists and it is disturbing…

It doesn’t mean that they are what they are labeled to be. I am what I am despite what you think of me. Only I know myself and God.

Your Eminence, is Government really dialoguing the way she purports? Could you, as a dispassionate observer state with certainty that any dialogue has or is going on at all?

I don’t think they have started yet with dialogue. They are dialoguing with whom? It is they in power who take the initiative to go and ask people questions and tell people things in the villages. That is not dialogue. Dialogue…

But there has been this sing-song in Government controlled media about how the President is pushing for dialogue, has been dialoguing, and conceded much more than was actually asked by protesters. The impression is given that it is but the dissenters that are obfuscating dialogue.

I can pretend to know the two camps. I have spoken with some of the ones they call the ‘Revolutionists’ who are outside the country and who are inside. They also are ready for dialogue. All I heard was that they want dialogue as far as possible, dialogue outside the country because I don’t see how they can dialogue without them today. Those fellows who organized such a demonstration on the 22nd of September had defied everybody. How can you dialogue without them? You might call them names but they are controlling the population today; the English speaking part of the country.

When you spoke to them, did they tell you that anybody on the Government bench has approached them for dialogue?

As far as I know, not yet. The President first of all has said that no dialogue with them. But everybody in the world now is calling for dialogue. They are not stupid fellows; they are intellectuals. What I keep on asking myself is; how is it possible that these fellows outside and inside could have organized such a march as the one of the 22nd of September and nobody in the country was aware of it? Have you a national security? How is it possible that on that side, every child, young and old women sing that ‘National Anthem’ of the Ambazonia as they call it? When did they teach it and where? Those are things that should…

Maybe they are divinely inspired…

Divinely inspired? (Laughs) No, even the Psalms… We were not divinely inspired to sing the Psalms. We have to learn to sing them; either in schools, either in seminaries. You don’t just sing the Psalms. They are inspired in the teaching of it but the singing of it… I was surprised in the village, I went to bury my cousin, and for some other things. The SCBC, I hear, is Southern Cameroons Broadcasting Corporation. That’s how I was watching it in the Priest’s house… That is why the police on the 1st of October, were breaking people’s television sets and everything. But the people have the phone, which I think the national security doesn’t know how it functions.

You just doubted how September 22 happened without the security knowledge, but the troops are now wide awake, cracking down and ‘taking care’ of every dissident?

Because they are ignorant. Only an ignorant person uses force. You cannot win a man over by force. You suppress him, he keeps quiet; but he is waiting for another occasion. The human being is rational. You must reason with him. That is what the whole world is calling for now, that Cameroon should dialogue with those fellows.

You said before that when you spoke with the leaders of eh…

They sent one of them, to come and see me here. They invited me to their meetings in Europe and I said no, I am not coming. If you want to see me, you come to Douala. I will not come over there. That is what I told them.

Which reminds me of this recurring decimal, namely; that if there must be dialogue, Cardinal Tumi must make for its credibility; that is what even our Francophone compatriots are projecting. That Cardinal Tumi should constitute part of the dialogue…

Well, when I was ordained a Priest, one of the decisions I took and I think I am still faithful to it is that, I will never accept the invitation of a political party for whatever cause. But if all the parties in the country need and they are looking for a refuge and they invite me, I will go. That is why I went for the revision of the 1996 Constitution. Before that, the Head of State received me and we agreed on two things. The first was that… I proposed to the Head of State that all political tendencies should be present in that Commission for it to be credible. Secondly, was that the draft Constitution should be sent to the members well before hand because many of them have never done any constitution law just like me. But we were given the documents only when we arrived for the meeting. That is why when I discovered that the majority of those who were present were of what was called “Presidential Majority,” I decided to withdraw. I told them this was a decision I took as a Priest, I have seen that it is the one tendency so, I am going away.

What is your reading of the “dialogue missions” to the two English speaking Regions? What good is likely to come out of them?

I don’t think any good will come out of it.

You are pessimistic or you have seen the…

They met a few CPDM sympathizers, they met a few teachers; they met a few people and two or three chiefs here and there. That is not serious dialogue. The least they could have done was to have called even a group in those Regions where they went. I mean those who are in power and against it and listen to everybody.

So are you suspecting that they are going to come out with a watered censored version of… do you think that the outcome is intended to be a watered censored contraption which will be submitted to…

I agree with those who went said we should consider this as the beginning of dialogue…

But there are others yet who say that it is something of a quick fix, some face powder for the attention of the Secretary General of the UN whom it is rumoured will visit Cameroon tomorrow, Friday, October 27.

But the Secretary General…

That is, to give him the impression that dialogue has taken place and that the generality of the people have agreed on a way out of the quagmire?

They cannot fool him…

Both parties can fool the SG because he doesn’t belong here and apparently doesn’t…

Well, if he thinks that in two or three days they can dialogue and come to a conclusion, then he himself… you see, he is the SG of UN, they are used to getting problems of that nature. He cannot just believe that. Where were these fellows who provoked the disturbances? Was any of them involved? I ask you, did they meet any of them? I don’t think so. Those who are at the basis of the whole uprising…

And the destructions?

Destructions by whom?

 I think Diaspora dissidents have been masterminding the burning of schools and other public property.

Take for example the burning of the Sacred Heart College, Mankon. If it is those dissidents who burnt it, where were those guarding the college? And they even suspect those guarding the college to be the ones who burnt the college’s dormitory.

If this is true, would such an act amount to giving a dog a bad name in order to have it hanged?

They could do it in order to accuse every destruction on… I am not saying that they are not doing it but they have not proved it. The killings there now and the stealing of people’s precious property is done by the army. On the 21st of September, I was in the village, which is why I say that I lived some of these events. They said nobody should come out. Why then did they go to drag people out of their houses? And some were shot, if not, kidnapped; they were on parts of the body that are difficult to cure. And people said once they broke into their houses, sometimes at night, they took away what is precious; and if they saw money, they took it. What I think is that there should be a serious inquiry…

Who should carry out the inquiry about killings?

A foreign body. The UN can organize it. How many people were killed or were wounded? A military man said they were given instructions that on the 1st of October you see anybody on the street, you shoot to kill. That is why they (the military) took upon themselves to advise people not to come out.

Is that what a military man told you?


Did he say who gave the instructions?


Bishops were dragged into the fray. In a sense, they were, more or less, muddied alongside those the regime branded as secessionists. They were left off the legal hook abruptly. How far, would you say, has this act compromised Bishopric authority and prestige vis-a-vis their Christians?

If I were there I would go to court. That shows, that the Bishops too… that before the law, all of us are equal. It doesn’t matter what you are in the country; Bishop, Archbishop, Cardinal, President of the country, Minister… if you go against the law, you should be made to face trial. They proved that we are all equal before the law and I congratulate them for that.

Did being docked downgrade their integrity? Did this action compromise the authority of the Bishops before their Christians?

No; on the contrary, because the faithful were also in court…

That said, do you see Mr. Biya, as an antidote to what seems like a looming civil war?

I don’t think there will be a civil war. I don’t think there will be any war at all.  But as everybody keeps crying and I will like you to read my book: ‘My Faith: Cameroon to be Transformed’ Chapter Two, on the minority… ‘The Anglophone Minority in Cameroon.’ I even put together my interviews towards the end of it. Just last year, I was interviewed, I think by one of the newspapers. It is there, it is published in that book; on the Anglophone problem in 2016…

But Mr. Biya’s silence is deafening. He is the nation’s father; he should talk, isn’t it?

I think so too. I think like others, he should have gone down to the field.

But why do you think he is hardly addressing the issue, and even when he mentions it in passing, he is scornful, not consoling?

Well, I think he believes in his army for discipline in the country. He believes in so called elite. I don’t know who an elite is. I think the elite of the people are there in the village with them, not in Yaounde. Those they call elite have been imposed on the people; the Prime Minister was appointed.

He (Mr. Biya) barely returned to the country a few days back. He has been out for an incredibly long period. When the street protests were rife in the Anglophone Regions, a terrorist bomb went off in the US, killing many. Biya condoled with President Trump but said nothing of the scores that were mowed down by his troops back home. It is like someone’s charity beginning abroad, do you think?

Well, it is normal for him to send his condolences to his colleagues outside the country. Politically, you begin with those who are outside but naturally, you begin with yourself. But I think he knows that things are being followed up by the Prime Minister who has no powers by the way. I think he already met with the Prime Minister. I read in the newspapers today (Thursday, October 26) that he received the Prime Minister. I think it was principally for that. I am sure after that he will make a statement.

Why do you say that the PM has no powers? At least he is Head of Government.

He is not elected; he is appointed. He is not like any other Prime Minister elsewhere in the world. He is not like the French Prime Minister. He is appointed; Paul Biya can change him tomorrow.

We have always known you to be Mr. Biya’s friend. Have you sought to discuss the very dicey Anglophone problem with him? He just might hear you out on how to stop the senseless bloodletting…

Oh no! I decided not to see him. You are the first journalist whom I have accepted to talk to…

I am lucky!

But because I believe that they know what is happening. You see, I think that at the reunification, from the start, the idea was to wipe out from Cameroon the Anglo-Saxon culture. I don’t know whether I have ever told you my experience in Rome at the French Embassy to the Holy See. I am in Rome for the Synod of Bishops and the French Embassy invites us for a reception; those of us who were from the French speaking countries. So, I was there and one of the workers in the Embassy approached me and asked me: ‘Monseigneur vous etes de quel pays?’ I told him that I was from Cameroon. Well, being a Diplomat and knowing that Cameroon is bilingual, he should have suspected that I could be from the English speaking part of the country even if I were speaking French. But then, he immediately told me “We are very happy that you are assimilating the Anglophones.” He was in another country, not a French speaking country; which means that was the policy of France. I met the Ambassador of France here not long ago; I told him the same experience that I lived and I said therefore when you form your Diplomats, for those who are coming to Cameroon you tell them to encourage the assimilation of the Anglophones. He said, ‘No, no, that is not it.’ Everybody knows now that Fru Ndi won the elections of 1992. Who organized the coup? It was Mitterrand and I am citing something Mitterrand said to Biya, ‘jamais un Anglophone a Etoudi,’ meaning; never an Anglophone in Etoudi. Well, what is creating the whole problem is the presence of France in Cameroon. Whereas the English people left, whereas they packed their boxes and everything and went away, Cameroon is controlled by France. That’s the problem.

But Your Eminence, Cameroonians in their entirety could decide that enough of France and act strictly as Cameroonians. They could, irrespective of Anglophone-Francophone cultural considerations opt simply for good, credible leadership; good governance.

Why did they not decide that more than 56 years ago, or simply put, since independence? Why did they not arrive at that conclusion? Because they know that France will proceed to organize a coup d’état as she has done in other countries.

And of what interest would it be to France imposing a Francophone in perpetuity in Etoudi?

So that they will have control, and Mitterrand said something, and I got the information. He said that if an Anglophone comes to Etoudi, it will be like giving the country to England. He said ‘On ne serait pas controller par les Anglais’

But Your Eminence, we could decide to undo France’s yoke, act Cameroonian and be truly independent as…

Go ahead and decide.

You could insist on meeting him and talk Mr. Biya into being nationalistic, instead of shrugging your shoulders, throwing in the towel. It is part of your brief as a Prelate, Your Eminence.

I don’t think so. I am writing it down. Maybe one day I will publish it. They know my thinking. Last week I received a Minister here.

Maybe they need a reminder… a difference might be made if you seek an audience with Mr. Biya and talk with him frankly.

I have told his Director of Civil Cabinet, that is, Belinga that I will never ask him again for audience…


I am tired of asking.

You’ve just confirmed that you have asked and it has been refused?

Well, I asked him and he said nothing. That is refusing. One time I told the President himself that asking for audience with him was humiliating.

And what did he say?

He just smiled. He gave me his number but each time I telephone him, he doesn’t take…

Where were you at reunification?

At the reunification I was 32 and I have lived the 56 years of the reunification. I was still a student; a seminarian. In 1962, I was still a student, not a priest. When I asked my Bishop this question: ‘My Lord…’ He was Bishop Jules Peters. ‘Why do you continue to send us to Nigeria for seminary studies when there is a seminary in Yaounde?’ He told me that, that is a political question. So, I closed my mouth. But now, I was looking for an opportunity to study French so that I will be at home everywhere in Cameroon.

But you are at home here in the French speaking part…

I am coming. Three years after ordination, my Bishop comes to me; I was teaching in Bishop Rogan College and told me that he has decided that I go for further studies in Europe. I immediately asked him that to where in Europe? He was marveled that I could dialogue. He told me Rome. But I told him, My Lord, if I go to Rome I will struggle to learn but Italian and when I come back it will be of no use. I will like to study in a French speaking country, in order to force myself to learn French. This time he said alright and that is why he sent me to France to study in Lyles. I had to struggle to… so that I will be able to express myself in French and will feel at home everywhere in Cameroon. So, when I came of course I did not know that the Lord Himself was preparing to become a Bishop in this part of the country. As soon as I came, I was appointed Bishop of Yagoua surely because I knew some French after studying there. I have been a Priest for 50 years; and a Priest in the English speaking Regions of the country only for nine years. The rest of my years have been spent here. I have never forgotten the fact that when I was appointed Bishop, I was Rector of Bambui Minor Seminary. A Bambui man comes to me and tells me, ‘Father, I now understand the English expression mixed feelings; that you are appointed Bishop, I am happy. But that you are now going to the French speaking side of the country, I am not happy. If tomorrow we cut off, what will happen with you?’ This was in 1979. This is what a retired man told me at that time.

Your Eminence, where do your brother Prelates, especially those of French speaking extraction stand in this Anglophones crisis?”

It is a difficult question. I met the President of the Conference, who is my Bishop and I said look, I have the impression that the Anglophone Bishops have grudges against you. When they were taken to court, none of you was there. I didn’t understand his explanation. But told him if tomorrow I am told that you are in court, I wouldn’t want to know whether you are guilty or not, I will be in court also. If you are to be sentenced, I will want to be there myself. I will not want to go by hearsay. No French speaking Bishop was there. Not even the Secretary of the Bishops Conference was sent to go and see.

They brought up a declaration and people who do not read and understand were thinking that it was a contradiction between what you signed as the President of Bishops Conference and what the six Bishops brought out there. I don’t see any contradiction because for a statement to contradict one another, the subject and the object must be the same. The Archbishop himself went there to intervene in the schools boycott problem but was badly received. He went there as President of the Conference in the English speaking part of the country. They were two of them; the Bishop of Bafang and himself. And none of them speaks English. They were asked (I think it was in Kumbo) how dare you come here and speak in French?

All I try to say is that the English way of looking at things is different from the French. Those who are brought up in the English way are pragmatists. They are writing as those who are living the events. And that is why before the meeting of the “Conseil Permanent” of the Bishops’ Conference, I asked them, was there any Bishop from there? They said no, there was none. The Secretary General of the Conference did not go there; no Bishop from there who was here, you could not have had all the information that was required. That’s why people tend to see a certain contradiction because the Bishops of the Bamenda Ecclesiastical Province were firm about it. They called things by their names.

Would it be fair enough to imagine that whereas the Bishops of the Bamenda Ecclesiastical Province “call things by their names,” their peers from the French speaking Provinces call things by “political expediencies?”

Well, you know, when I write from hearsay it is not the same like when I write from my personal experiences. We should never write from hearsay. In fact, I will say that the others should keep quiet when the Bishops of the Bamenda Ecclesiastical Province write because they know better what is happening. They should at least cite them and not just ignore their declarations.

Interviewed by Charlie Ndi Chia

Aggrieved denizens clash with military, over killer truck

The news swiftly moved from just a gruesome accident on the main street of Buea in which lives were lost and many wounded to an ugly confrontation of an angry crowd and the gendarmes who caused it. The speeding troop personnel carrier had careened off and crashed into several automobiles, crushing them and causing very serious bodily harm to its occupants before coming to an abrupt halt hard by.

At least two people died on the spot, with other seriously wounded victims taken to hospital. The crowd of people that turned up expressed palpable anger, especially given the not too good relations between security forces and the population, following brutal killings, arrests and other forms of molestations that have recently taken centre stage in the Anglophone Regions.

Presuming rightly or wrongly that the gendarme driver was reckless or that he might have intentionally carried out the act, the angry crowd cursed and even threatened to set the military truck on fire. Whereupon, security agents that had been quickly drafted to the scene fired tear gas. One of them even pulled out his weapon and threatened to shoot any anyone attempting to take the law into their own hands.

Nora Ewane, a final year Law student in the University of Buea, was one of the unfortunate victims of the accident that died on the spot. She was probably in one of the nine vehicles knocked of by the truck. It took almost the whole night of Friday, October 21 for order to be restored on this part of Buea. Traffic had to be blocked at the levels of Mile 17 and just before Malingo Junction from the Buea Town end to forestall any acts of vandalism especially on the truck that caused the mayhem.

Consequently, anyone entering Buea that had to be diverted to take the alternative road from Muea to Buea Town or Great Soppo.

Certain extremists with rare access to the social media exaggeratedly reported that up to 30 victims perished in the accident.

Barrister and activist, Felix Agbor Ngongho extended his condolence especially to Ewane Nora’s family who he has said was his student at the Department of Law at the University of Buea. He noted, “we are in tears again, and our hearts are broken once more with unanswered questions of why, what caused the accident; could it be avoided, are our roads safe, are our vehicles mechanically checked?

The death toll is expected to rise if one were just to go by the devastating damage the truck caused on automobiles.

By Atemebeh Ngewung Lordfred


Mangrove ecosystems attract 16 M dollar windfall

Biodiversity conservation in Cameroon that has always been paid lip service by Government appears to be experiencing an upward review in perception following a recently concretized agreement between the Government of Cameroon under the auspices of the Ministry of the Environment and Nature Protection and some foreign partners putting in place a four-year programme worth over 16 million Dollars at the Bakassi Peninsular.

The rationale of the project inheres in a felt need for conservation and improved management of the Bakassi ecosystems through integrated ecosystem management and valuation.The coming  into being of the programme has, also, been necessitated by the fact that Bakassi harbours 50 percent of Cameroon’s mangrove swamp forest.

Administrators and environment family

The importance of Mangrove ecosystems cannot be overemphasized. They are of high significance for the regulation and stabilization of coastal ecosystems and constitute a major resource for local and Regional development. However, Cameroon’s mangrove and coastline ecosystems like any other mangrove in the world are subject to many threats such as economic pressure (agro-industrial expansion, exploration and exploitation of hydro-carbon, artisanal logging, unsustainable fish harvesting), and urban expansion.Which is why, the project, Participative Integrated Ecosystems Service Management Plan for Bakassi Post conflict Ecosystems- PINESMAP-BPCE, officially launched in Buea recently, is divided into three components; institutional and stakeholder capacity building, participative and inclusive development and implementation of IESMP and knowledge management, monitoring and evaluation to solve the problem.

Considering that there is a very high level of pollution associated with these activities related to the fragility and high sensitivity of these important ecosystems, the Cameroon Government is a signatory to many international conventions and is taking measures to implement these conventions locally. The implementation of the tools and agreement as well as the preparation of Cameroon for future financial mechanisms led to the development of the project for conservation and participatory management of mangrove ecosystems. This is also with a view to strengthening the protection, conservation and development of these mangroves ecosystems. The project activities are to be implemented within the Bakassi Peninsular which constitute 50 percent of Cameroon’s mangrove and found in Ndian Division in the Southwest Region of Cameroon.

As stated by Adamou Bouhari, Task Manager, Biodiversity/Land Degradation, West Africa Sub-Regional Office, representing the UN, the main objective of the project is to develop participative, inter-graded ecosystem service and management plan which includes all the related activities whether environmental, socio economical aspect which will identify the key priority actions to be taken in and planned within a period of 10 and 15 years. He added that, within the frame work of inter-graded ecosystem management plan, all the activities which are going to benefit communities, environment and the Government of Cameroon in terms of legal sustainable capacity building will be included. One of the strategies according to him is working with those who are knowledgeable about mangrove management and the local communities, because they are the ones using the mangrove resources to smoke fish to help domestic needs. Therefore, in order to conserve the mangroves, everything has to be done in a participative way, providing an alternative to the community since they are already using the mangroves.

According to Ngendoh Zedekiah Sanga, Project Coordinator, the project is coming in as a tool or mechanism by the Government to assist the protection of mangrove ecosystem which is known to be highly endangered because of the importance of the mangrove ecosystem in terms of the local services it provides o the community ensuring sustainability in the communities.

Officially launching the program, Southwest Governor, Bernard Okalia Bilai, averred the project is going to benefit the beneficiaries. According to him, the workshop which is preparation for the 2018 first year of the project is of relevance because it helps to create a common understanding and support of projects, and develop the plan for 2018 which will be submitted for approval. He said, the task which lies ahead of the committee is huge and will require total commitment. He urged them to come out with positive and prodigious contributions, assuring them that the Government is relying on the committee.

By Relindise Ebune

Troops swarm Douala, frustrate SDF Federation march

On Sunday, October 1, 2017, the CPDM took to Douala streets and was in the news when adherents of the ruling party publicly manifested to make a point for a “one and indivisible Cameroon.” There was no apparent sign of the party having obtained authorization for the street show. But its adherents were guided all the way by security forces. The event was prime time news on state controlled media.

The leading opposition Social Democratic Front, SDF, took the hint and slated their own public manifestation for Douala on Saturday, October 21. An administrative authorization was procured for the event. But barely a day to the activity, the very local administrative authorities that had approved it, characteristically annulled it. On the day proper, Douala streets had more gun-toting security forces than ordinary denizens of the city. All was ensured that SDF party faithful didn’t reach the streets, let alone march in solidarity with Anglophone Cameroonians clamouring for a switchover to a federal system of Government.

Local authorities of the Douala I municipality argued that the organizers had diverted from the original goal of the rally.

Jean Michel Nintcheu, Littoral Regional chairman of the SDF and organizer of the “banned” rally had vowed to storm Bepanda Omnisports, the rally venue, alongside other members of friendly opposition parties who also declared their intention to participate in the march.

Moving through Akwa-Douche to the venue, Nintcheu found himself surrounded in his vehicle by armed, fierce looking security forces that took him away and placed the chief organizer under “house arrest,” restricted from any contacts alongside another SDF party authority in the Region, Emmanuel Ntonga.

“He (Nintcheu) was surrounded by police and Gendarmes in Akwa-Douche. After hesitations and asking the police to produce an arrest warrant to no avail, he was finally brutalized and taken to his residence in the Ndogpassi – Douala III by close to 200 security forces,” a spokesman for the SDF, Jean Robert Wafo said.

Despite the massive deployment of security operatives and rains in Douala that morning, it was CPP’s Edith Kahbang Walla and her ‘Stand Up For Cameroon’ who stole the show as they marched through the Bepanda Axe-Lourd neighbourhood with placards, some of which read: “Free All Arrested”, “We want Dialogue.” A handful of SDF faithful also surfaced, calling for the release of JM Nintcheu.

“The protesters gathered in a local joint here (Bepanda Axe Lourd) at about 12h30, and started marching by 2.45pm before they were dispersed by security forces,” said Jacob Tiyang, an inhabitant of the Bepanda neighbourhood.

Early that Saturday morning, Security forces stormed the houses of the “leaders” in an apparent bid to prevent them from going out but could not find them.

The forces however easily preyed on two reporters, Innocent Azieh and Francis Dikoume of ‘Equinoxe Radio’ who they took to the Bepanda Police station because they were filming around the venue of the rally. They were only later released after images they had taken were deleted.

High Security on a Gloomy Day

A Saturday not like a normal one in the city of Douala, denizens had gotten up to a heavily militarized town with men in uniform posted at strategic corners.  At Bonaberi, entrance of the city from the West, a truck load of anti-riot policemen is well stationed before the Wouri bridge to counter any surge that could emanate from that area of the city.The situation wasn’t different a few hundred metres away at Rond Point Deido. All strategic corners and roundabouts in the city were heavily policed while access into Bepanda-Omnisports, the venue for the rally, was barred to all vehicles and bikes. Movement in and out of the neigbourhood was done strictly on foot.

“Why should people be forced to trek for long distances because of an avoidable ban of a rally? The police could still keep order without restricting movement,” an inhabitant of Bepanda, Yimgoua Armand cursed.

Shops and businesses around the Bepanda neigbourhood were shut down for as security forces patrolled the area. Passersby with luggage had to be thoroughly searched as the police continuously dispersed any gatherings of more than two persons around the neigbourhood.

By Ajumane Akam


CONAC ranks Northwest 4th in anti-corruption fight

An evaluation session by the National Anti-Corruption Commission, CONAC, has disclosed that the Northwest Region occupies the fourth position with 28.13 percent in the battle to stamp out corruption in Cameroon. This was during a two-day workshop that ran from Tuesday October 17 to Wednesday 18 at the conference hall of the Northwest Governor’s office,

Chaired by one of CONACs coordinating committee members Samuel Fohtung, the purpose of the workshop was to assess whether PECIS (Prevention, Education, Conditions, Sanctions) earlier prescribed by CONAC as working plan to kick out corruption is being implemented or not. CONAC holds that corruption can be mitigated if the population is sensitized on the negative effects of corruption, given moral education, have their working conditions ameliorated and get promoted for outstanding performance via incentives or demoted for failures via sanctions. A scrutiny of the PECIS plan indicated that the Region has scored 28.13 percent in anti-corruption down from 32.09 percent in 2016. This evaluation did not state the various sectors and rate of corruption as in health, agriculture, military, teaching, trade or transport but merely generalized the sectors and listed scores of the action plan. The scores reveal that, prevention of corruption stands at 43.7 percent, Efforts made to educate the masses is 36.04 percent. Measures to improve working conditions indicate 29.4 percent; sanctions for poor performance 14 percent and Incentives 19.21 percent.

The Coordinator of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy Alfred Etom, remarked that corruption continues to coexist in spite of awareness. “As far as education is concerned, a lot of efforts are being made but there’s a general feeling that the Northwest is surrounded by corruption. This should be the time when we need to put in more efforts to ensure that projects are carried out smoothly. The low rate of implementation of the anti-corruption plan does not require us to prescribe new methods in the fight against corruption but we recommend that the bulk of the work that was not done last year should be pushed to next year and we continue. We are emphasizing on the prevention aspect of corruption. It is good to fight corruption but it is better to make sure that corruption malpractices do not take place. We are also going to enforce education on the consequences of corruption both at individual and collective levels.  We are also going to ensure that whosoever is found guilty of corruption is sanctioned, be it petty corruption or grand corruption,” he said.

On day two of the evaluation session, the CONAC Coordination committee visited five functions to see if they are aware of the anti-corruption plan of action. The delegation of Agriculture and secondary education were those lagging behind with no serious measures taken to fight scourge.

Administrative heads, religious authorities, trade unionists, traditional rulers and politicians who attended the conference were tasked to be more rigorous in the fight against corruption by using the PECIS plan. After it was noticed that corruption is prevalent because of resistance to change, stakeholders were asked to exercise patience when introducing change. Officials of CONAC also resolved to carryout controls and follow up right from the grassroots, the Sub-Divisional and Divisional levels. The goal is to bring honesty and integrity for a corrupt free society.

By Mildred Ndum Wung Kum

Another explosion in Bamenda instills panic

Horror was the order of the day in the morning of Friday, October 20, 2017, in Bamenda when a locally fabricated explosive produced a “bomb sound” after it was reportedly neutralized by the police. The incident occurred near the Presbyterian Church, PCC, Azire at about 7:15 am. The Church premises also hosts the Presbyterian Comprehensive Secondary School, Presbyterian Primary School, Presbyterian Nursery School, the Church proper and the Presbytery.

The improvised explosive devise, IED, was allegedly discovered by the PCC Azire’s watchman early in the morning when he reported on duty. The explosive composed a gas bottle, a small radio set and a handset all put into a bag and placed on the wheel drum of a car. Police arrived the scene after a tip off from the nightwatchman and immediately cordoned off the area around the explosives and proceeded to deactivate the “bomb” through rather crude, not very scientific methods. The cops reportedly poured petrol over the IED. This act produced a sharp pop sound that sent the population running helter-skelter. At that time, children who were on their way to school immediately began retreating home while parents who learned of the incident could be seen rushing into schools to take their kids back home although they were in the course denied access into the school.

The DO of Bamenda I, Rogvecegnol Akwo Tanyi the Commander of the 22Nd Motorized Infantry Battalion Robinson Agha and the Northwest Regional Delegate of Secondary Education Johnson Apa Itoh rushed to the scene and all admitted that “the attempted bomb explosion is the handy work of anti-school supporters who want to distort the academic year as it has shown that schools are now pretty going effective in the Region. This is just a means to cause fear in people not to send their children to school, but we are taking note and we would always ensure that we put things under control.”

It should be noted that this latest bomb scare is the fifth of its kind in Bamenda ever since the Anglophone crisis started. It first happened on Thursday, September 21, about 8:50 am at Hospital Roundabout wounding three policemen. The second happened in the same area on the night of Saturday, September 16, and the third a week after near the Bamenda Congress Hall.

Many have linked this series of explosions to the present Anglophone crisis whereby separatist groups are demanding for either federation or secession from the union with French speaking Cameroon. Bamenda streets are dotted with heavy military men even as fire incidents and looting continues unabated.

The military men with sophisticated and frightening arsenal roam the town menacingly, but are surprisingly only seen to react to, rather than prevent “terrorist acts.” Schools like Sacred Heart College, Mankon and PSS Mankon barely “smelled” the presence of the forces after dastardly acts had been committed. No one has as yet been identified as being responsible for blasts and the recurrent fire incidents.

By Mildred Ndum Wung Kum

Posers for CPDM trouble shooters to Anglophone Regions

Fellow Cameroonians I am Dr, Simon Munzu speaking to you on behalf of the Anglophone Cameroon Dialogue Forum, ACDF. Today, October 16, 2017, I want to talk to you about the delegations the Prime Minister and head of Government has sent to visit the people of the Northwest and Southwest Regions between 15 and 24 October 2017. This visit, according to a press release from the Prime Minister’s office is on the instructions of the Head of State.

It is now 12 months since the current socio-political crisis in the Northwest and Southwest Regions of Cameroon started. In these 12 months, many innocent lives have been lost, civil liberties have been eroded, property has been destroyed, the people’s economic activities and social life as well access to internet have been disrupted. When the territory of the Southern Cameroons united with that of the Republic of Cameroon on October 1 1961, to form a new state, the Federal Republic of Cameroon, they brought into this union of equal partners its own heritage in such areas as, democratic politics and governance, justice, education, public administration, maintenance of law and order, the economy, infrastructure and culture. In the light of this, the light of the Anglophone problem today, this has given rise to the current Anglophone crisis, lies in the facts that, for 56 years, this system has been purposely and systematically dismantled. For 56 years, Anglophones in Cameroon have been marginalized, dominated and subjugated.

They have the need to feel as a conquered people, as second class citizens in their own country. On October 1, 2017, and for several days after, state security forces used firearms against peaceful and unarmed civilians in towns and villages in the two Anglophone Regions, pursuing them in some cases even into holy places such as Churches and other places of divine worship. The dead are still being discovered, counted and buried in our towns and villages. No one knows exactly how many they are. The wounded and the maimed are still being treated. No one knows where, how, with what and by who. They disappeared are not yet accounted for. No one anywhere, knows how many exactly they are. The traumatized are still to be psychologically rehabilitated. No one knows how long this would take or who would pay for the care given them, for several months or even years.

Fellow Cameroonians, it is in the midst of all these that the Prime Minister and Head of Government decided to organize delegations to visit and commune with the population of the Northwest and Southwest Regions, as instructed by the Head of State. We want to ask the following questions: Mr. Prime Minister and members of the 13 delegations sent to all Divisions of the Northwest and Southwest Regions. During two full weeks of killing, wounding, maiming, disappearance of Anglophones and destruction of their property in your home Regions in the North and Southwest from October 1 to October 15, 2017, what did you do for your suffering people? You did not speak up for them; you did not protect them from the ravages of state violence; you did not even visit and commune with them until now, you were instructed by the Head of State to do so.

Should we conclude from this, that you would never have come to your own Regions in these circumstances if the Head of State had not instructed you to do so? Are you that unconcerned about the fate, suffering and hardship of your own people? How are the people of the Northwest and Southwest Regions supposed to interpret the fact that, in 12 months of socio political upheavals, killings, wounding, maiming, disappearances, destruction of property and abuse of basic human rights, the Council of Ministers chaired by the Head of State has not convened even once to discuss this crisis. In 12 months, this crisis has not been discussed even once in any of the monthly cabinet meetings chaired by the Prime Minister who is an Anglophone. In 12 months, neither the Senate nor the National Assembly whose members are said to represent the people and most of which are dominated by the ruling party, including many senior ranking Anglophones has debated the Anglophone problem at any of its sessions. In 12 months, none of the governing organs has been summoned even once, to examine the Anglophone crisis.

Mr. Prime Minister, why are your delegations that are meant to visit and commune with all the people of the Northwest and Southwest Regions made up exclusively of members or sympathizers of the ruling party the CPDM? If Cameroon is truly one and indivisible, why is your delegation made up of natives of the Anglophone Region alone? Are our Francophone brothers and sisters especially those of the ruling CPDM so unconcerned about the people of the Southwest and Northwest Regions that they would not want like you, to visit and commune with them? Honorable Prime Minister, if you consider the undeclared but very effective state of emergency that prevails in the Northwest and Southwest Regions, if you consider the high level of militarization, and if you consider the continuous lamentation of the people of these Regions, over the dead, wounded and the disappeared, what is the normalcy to which you say you and your delegation have been instructed by the Head of State to encourage these two Regions to return to? How do you and the elite accompanying you ensure that there are conditions for the return of normalcy in these two Regions? Do you have the power or the authority to do this? What dialogue do you propose to have with the people of the two Anglophone Regions? What would make the dialogue as you wish it constructive? If you and members of your delegation, being Anglophone, Anglophone Ministers, Anglophone Prime Minister, Anglophone office holders, Anglophone Senators, Anglophone Members of the National Assembly and Anglophone traditional rulers, if you dialogue with the population as envoys of the Head of State,  who then would represent the Anglophone people with this dialogue with you?

By the way, why are you the people dialoguing with the people of the Anglophone Regions? Are you in dispute with your own people? Do you have a problem with your own people which you hope to solve and resolve through dialogue? When it comes to dialogue over the ongoing Anglophone crisis, are you supposed to be the Head of State’s envoys to your suffering people or your suffering people’s envoys to the Head of State? Which is the agenda for this constructive dialogue as you call it, that you have embarked upon? How is the dialogue to be conducted? What is its expected outcome? How binding will its conclusions be? Would several delegations go to all 13 Divisions of the Northwest and Southwest Regions at the same time? What consistency would the content of the dialogue have across the two Anglophone Regions?

Honorable Prime Minister, could it be that this hastily conducted dialogue with the people of the Northwest and Southwest Regions has been prompted by the need for the Head State and the Government to be able to report to some prominent personalities who are scheduled to visit Cameroon next week? That dialogue between the Government and the Anglophone people that was recommended by the international community took place between October 15 to October 24 2017? Honorable Prime Minister, for 56 years the people of Southern Cameroons, West Cameroon and now Northwest and Southwest Regions of Cameroon have been asking for dialogue concerning their fate since the beginning of the union of their territory with that of the Republic of Cameroon in 1961. In over five decades, their call for dialogue has been systematically ignored by the ruling elites in Yaoundé who have called them unpatriotic, secessionist, extremist and of late terrorist and dogs. Now that the governing elites in Yaoundé appear to have accepted the need for dialogue, the people of the Northwest and Southwest believe strongly that the time for dialogue has come indeed. However, the only dialogue, worth having now is that which would lead us, to put an end peacefully and forever, to domination, subjugation, marginalization of the Northwest and Southwest Regions of Cameroon and their people by the governing elites in Yaoundé. In this connection, on Friday, October 13, 2017, the Anglophone Cameroon Dialogue Forum delivered a letter by email to the President of the Republic, calling on him to convene a national dialogue on the Anglophone problem and transmitting to him a document entitled “The civil society programme for the national dialogue of the Anglophone problem in Cameroon.” That document is now available for the wide population of the people at home and abroad. Prior to attending the national dialogue, the people of the Northwest and Southwest Regions would meet in a preparatory conference reminiscent of the AAC 1 in 1993 and AAC 1 in 1994 which some may want to call AAC. In that preparatory conference, they would agree on the set of issues to be tabled on the national dialogue on the Anglophone problem which is expected to be convened by or with the instructions of the Head of State. They would also on that occasion designate the people to represent them at the national dialogue.

Fellow Cameroonians, our constitution stipulates that Cameroon is one and indivisible, but if this unity and indivisibility of Cameroon are to be more than just constitutional slogans, they must rest on the paradigm of one nation, two systems. Fellow Cameroonians, as I said in the beginning, I brought this message on behalf of the Anglophone Cameroon Dialogue Forum, ACDF. The ACDF is a civil society organization. It emerged in March 2017. As a network of Cameroonian individuals, and groups in Cameroon or abroad that are committed in finding a lasting solution to the Anglophone problem through genuine, frank, inclusive and comprehensive national dialogue. The network comprises of individual members of political parties, professional associations, women and youth groups, associations of traditional rulers, religious bodies and other interested parties.

By Dr. Simon Elvis Munzu