Enemies of national cohesion

While the entire country was reveling in respite from the gangrenous war pitting Government forces against Southern Cameroons separatists provided by the now fallacious story of a woman who resurrected five years upon being pronounced dead after a caesarian section in Mbanga under Moungo Division in the Littoral Region, two important events caught this chronicler’s attention.
The first is the blanket ban on sugar importation by the Head of State and the second- the fact that out of bizarre lethargy we have allowed ourselves to become infants or at best primary school pupils who have to be taught the rudiments of self control and survival tactics, in spite of our advanced ages and seemingly impressive academic standings. We are now contented with being managed by Bretonwoods institutions and we make no bones about it to the point where when these creditors are in our country for one working visit or the other, air waves of our audio visual media and pages of regime sponsored newspapers are inundated with swan songs of messianic presence.
Not surprisingly, “therefore, after over 57 years of misrule with the worst of them under the current Head of State and his swaggering CPDM political ruffians, we are shamelessly crying wolf in regard to the presence of spoilers in the country who are jealous of the indivisibility credo that has bound Cameroon together all these years”. Instead of engaging in serious introspection that would have led us to how we found ourselves beggars in the midst of plenty, we are reading mischief making in the activities of those who are daring to say that a people cannot be led by their noses to the slaughter in broad daylight.
In typical Bantu cosmogony, such occurrence would signify the absence of men with balls and chiming bells for the extinction of that generation. But since our motto is “rejoice while the good times last,” we have attributed wrong doing to everybody except the governing class that reckons to have been ordained by God to lord it over the rest of us.
Indeed, it would have been surprising if the country had not reached its current abyss of putrid governance. Take the example of the blanket ban on sugar importation as point of departure and add to it the fact that Government shares in SOSUCAM with plantations in Mbandjock and Nkoteng are not up to 20 percent, which translates easily to the fact that it is essentially foreign-owned. Government contention is that the ban responds to a felt need to protect locally produced sugar that cannot compete favourably with imported brands and by that token exposes many Cameroonians to the fang of looming unemployment. Impressive display of patriotism at face value one would say! However, how much is a labourer paid daily? When was the last time a comprehensive overhaul of their machinery was actualized for the close to 40 years that the sugar company has been operating in Cameroon?
You cannot plant grapes and harvest onions. In essence, their high cost of production must not be borne by hapless citizens. If Government wants to help local companies, it should subsidize them for competition in a world governed by the dictates of demand and supply.
Those who took advantage of inefficient and ineffective business style of local producers to complement and even supplement sugar availability in the country must not be made scapegoats of a deliberate effort to pander to the whims of colonial apron strings. In the face of this and,should the situation deteriorate to the point where workers go on strike and or are laid off because of inability to compete, who would have caused the ensuing social disorder,?
Is it the irate workers or an insensitive Government? Yet they want to be talking down on us about national unity from saintly pedestals. This same situation obtains at the Douala Autonomous Port, CAMRAIL and SOCAPALM where foreigners have a stranglehold on sensitive economic outposts.
And in a country where xenophobia and nepotism have become national pass time, brain wracking issues like availability of sugar in adequate quantities and at affordable prices or the economy being strangulated by foreign domination elude our intellectuals. We are more interested to fight to finish for undeserved promotions by sitting on television and radio panels or pages of newspapers to spew hate among compatriots.
Yes, it is Beti turn to run the affairs of Cameroon. Any attempt to curb Beti hegemony is anathema, despite the blistering misrule to which they have subjected Cameroonians. The credo is that issues of state are not amenable to immediate solutions. From the spectrum of their warped minds, such matters take time to be conceived and implemented. And so with this kind of mindset we have been exposed to over 57 years of contemptible misrule that has lingered to the point where some extremist have opted out of the union.
Over the years, seemingly innocuous issues like equitable revenue allocation based on derivation and devolution of power from the centre to the periphery were turned into rocket science that only political gurus from an outer space institution like ENAM could master. We have all of a sudden been reduced to receptacles that have to swallow hook, line and sinker nebulous notions like indivisibility of Cameroon as if the persistence of misrule and injustice are not in themselves greater ingredients driving the entrenchment of fissiparous tendencies and by extension irredentism in Cameroon. No one in the governing class wants to remember that at the outset two years ago there was a simple request for OHADA laws to be translated into English after which teachers asked for the Anglophone sub-system of education to undergo some overhauling to tally with their aspirations.
On the contrary, the purveyors of what is now sapping Cameroon of all traces of national unity have been rewarded for their provocative and incendiary outbursts before the current crisis deteriorated in the latter part of 2017. The roll call reads like who is who in heaping calumny on Southern Cameroonians. From our own Atanga Nji Paul, Elvis Ngole Ngole and Pauline Nalova Lyonga to Fame Ndongo , Laurent Esso, Isa Tchiroma and other hirelings, the inducements to radicalism had reached unbearable levels and with the radicalization of youths from persistent snobbery by Government, the conflagration has reached a point wherein if care is not taken what happened in Rwanda would have been child’s play. Actually, judging by the hate literature being propagated on social media, by adherents of the separatist Ambazonia republic, something must happen and happen fast for avoidance of a cataclysm.
But the justification being advanced by the separatists is premised on persistent Government incineration of villages in Southern Cameroons that has rendered many homeless and reduced others into refugees in Nigeria and, yet others internally displaced people with scavenging becoming customary to their daily existence. A Government fully aware of its responsibility to cater to the needs of its citizens, they reckon, will not engage in such callousness in the name of fighting separatists. Why, they are wont to ask, is it that soldiers do not comb the bushes in search of suspected separatist loyalists. Instead they raid villages and spray bullets that end up snuffing lives out of many innocent citizens. Yet we expect national unity to prevail. Unity is not an issue that can be decreed. It is worked for and earned like a salary at the end of each month.
By Ngoko Monyadowa

Political Sorcerers at it again!

While the drama panned out last week in the Senate, one particular issue reared its ugly head very succinctly. It is the fact that schooling has not in any way influenced the way Cameroonians behave when exposed to power and its perks. Indeed, the saying that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely cannot be truer for any country than Cameroon.
If this were not the case, how then do we explain the correlation between the fact that Biya’s tenure as head of state is direct antithesis to that of Ahmadou Ahidjo who never had the luxury of sophisticated education. With a degree in Law and post graduate certificate in political science, Biya is not very likely to be envied by the bikers who run commentaries at newspaper kiosks. See the drama that he caused in the senate, an issue that belies the eggheads that throng our universities and corridors of power. What a shame!
Correlated to the above is the combined comedy and tragedy that unfolded at the Conference Centre in Yaounde, last Wednesday. The denouement of the drama has established the belief that our pinnacle law making institution is a repository for spoiled regime faggots. From its conceptualisation by the architects of the 1996 Owona constitution, the wellbeing of Cameroonians was not on its framework. And, it is now clearly playing out.
That a simple fact like the incompatibility inherent in being a Senator simultaneously with Board Chair of a Para-public Corporation should become rocket science that arcane standing orders have to be invoked despite unambiguous provision by the Electoral Code bespeaks the levity that the Biya regime brings to bear on governance. Indeed, the common denominator of this action is that Biya is in charge and whoever is dissatisfied with his misrule may as well go to hell. If one may ask; which comes first, the Electoral Code or the standing orders of the Senate? What this means is that such incompatibility ought not to have arisen ab initio, if the President had been pre-empted from spewing such anomalies.
Even the coming into being of the overhyped Constitutional Council fails woefully to douse the reserve of many Cameroonians in respect of establishing the legality of the presence of Board Chairpersons and traditional rulers at the Senate. Interestingly, some of the offending Senators are lawyers by training. But, the law creating the Constitutional Council clearly states that it cannot on its own delve into the constitutionality of issues. It must be seized by either the President of the Republic, President of the Senate, National Assembly or two thirds of either house. Knowing the CPDM for its party discipline credo, is there any chance of its majority Senators shooting themselves on their legs by supporting the ouster of their colleagues?
For once, the effect of new blood and genuine representation was about being felt. Oh yes, people who had been genuinely elected into the Senate unlike those who represented the SDF during the last mandate when the CPDM treated the foremost opposition party in the country like an orphaned child that had to be accorded pity at all cost. Yes, Barrister Henry Kemende, now Senator, who had walked the talk by resigning as ELECAM boss for Ngoketunja Division owing to that position’s incompatibility with his legal practice, introduced a point of order and delved into the incompatibility issue and the possibility that the lady who purported to be the youngest senator may have just been benefiting from absence of due diligence in the conduct of business at the Senate. His axe fell ruthlessly on Senator V.E. Mukete’s head. Charles Salè, Board chairperson of Gynaeco-obstetric Hospital and Rene Ze Nguele, Board Chair of Institute of Research for Agricultural Development, IRAD, are also, senators, appointed last April by Presidential decree.
On this score, a flustered Centenarian, Nfon Victor Mukete was only bailed out of public opprobrium by Pierre Flambeau Ngayap the sharp-witted UNDP appointed Senator. Indeed, the standing orders of the Senate allow aspirants to sit as Senators before commissions are formed to put their eligibility under scrutiny. Imagine the disgrace in sitting there only to be told upon scrutiny that you are persona non grata and by that token must make an unceremonious exit! Imagine the Herculean task for a man of 100 years to engage in a volte face barely a few months after he had made it known in an interview with Jeune Afrique Magazine that federalism is the most appropriate solution to Cameroon’s current socio-political malaise!
That President Paul Biya had to reappoint Nfon Mukete as Senator is in itself a hallmark of spitefulness to the people of the Southwest Region. What this means is that not even one of the centenarian’s eminently qualified sons was fit to replace him as Senator, talk less of other burgeoning politicians and technocrats from the Region at his beck and call, whose vibrancy undergirded by youthfulness would have been more resourceful to the country. If the President must gratify Senator V. E. Mukete, is the Chair of CAMTEL not enough compensation for him to sit back and enjoy a deserved retirement?
With all due respect, Nfon Mukete represents more than that to Southern Cameroonians.
Although Senator Flambeau Ngayap succeeded in reinstating Nfon Mukete through some technical gibberish, the damage has been done. Three issues have been brought to the fore including the fact that the hand-picked SDF Senators from Adamawa and the West Region of the last mandate were either incompetent and by that token failed to come to grips with the incompatibility clause or they actually perceived it but refused to rock a boat whose owner’s benevolence had raised them from ordinary scums of society to the coveted positions of Senators. Secondly, it signifies the emergence of parliamentary debate at the level of the Senate. Unlike the last mandate when unqualified Senators were foisted on the SDF for political expediency, this time there are two eminent Barristers, meaning the days of business as usual are in the mortuary, heading for the grave yard.
Thirdly, as earlier mentioned, it has exposed the sloppiness that underpins the administrative machinery of the Senate. How come it that it is to a commission constituted by would be Senators whose mandates are still pending validation that credentials of elected and appointed Senators are tabled for scrutiny? The proverbial case of referee and player at the same time one would say. Knowing the system for its “come and see American wonder” modus operandi, anything can crop up after the concerned persons would have already sat in the Senate. The issue of the lady who was the youngest Senator during the last mandate and was assumed to be so this time around without prior verification confirms the skewed approach to Government business in Cameroon.
By Ngoko Monyadowa

Repugnant dross

It played out like a typical scene in Columbia during that Latin American nation’s 50 year civil war. Cheerleaders, rented from Dschang, to perform a well choreographed theatre of the absurd for the attention of Biya the dispenser, were intercepted, taught how not to pander for a few grains of peanuts, ruffled and sent back with a clear message for their paymasters.
A similar scenario was acted out with Professor Ivo Leke Tambo, GCE Board Chairman. The old man was snatched to a hideout and subjected to indignities, including being blindfolded, stripped down to his dross and held for 48 hours. The experience was harrowing for the learned professor and others of high polish and refinement.
Tambo’s captors were predominantly carefree lads, probably unemployed and frustrated victims of the crass ineptitude and moral turpitude that has characterized governance in Cameroon over the past decades. They were youthful “Ambazonians,” ostensibly eager to tell the world, that they, like their parents before them have endured enough of criminal marginalization. They were out to prove, albeit “repugnantly,” that both their kidnapped victims and those whose bidding they do, evince revulsion, to say the very least.
Such revulsion could be traced to an incompetent, corrupt regime, manned by intractable individuals, who would rather see the nation die than forego power and the filthy lucre which they daily reap from the whirlwind of confusion and political scamming they have been sowing. The bubble had to burst, one day or the other. And even here, prudent social engineering would have meant handling the issue better than it was and is still being handled.
By protesting against a malfunctioning system, lawyers and teachers were, by no means reinventing the wheel. Pig-headed Laurent Esso and Fame Ndongo didn’t need to further fan smouldering embers of provocative marginalization. Mr. Biya didn’t need to resort to swearing, insulting, intimidating and promising Armageddon. He had to listen and empathize. But he overly resorted to employ the military in solving a socio-political problem, trusting to the fickle support (or promise thereof) of his minders.
Notwithstanding the cunning resort to unsubstantiated Tchiroma-designed propaganda, suppressing democratic protests by benevolent autocracy and legitimized cruelty, the Anglophone problem is gradually but steadily stalemating. It will likely elude a resolution for decades to come. Biya ought to beat a hasty retreat from negative imaging, belligerence, justifying and legitimizing military violence to dominate the narrative.
Biya acted in bad faith. He pretended to dialogue, while continuing to engage forces that have massacred villagers, burnt down their ancestral homes and wheeled the nation’s economy into the intensive care unit.
Instead of ranting at unarmed protesters and declaring war on a part of the country he is so eager [not] to see divided, Biya should eat this very humble pie being so generously served him by posterity … Mr. President should ask himself what, indeed, is responsible for the Anglophone disenchantment. He should halt the slaughter of some of the very [nice] people he claims voted, have been sending motions of support and keeping him in power for 36 years. He should, unconditionally, release every Anglophone detainee from prison and apologize to those compatriots that have lost limb and life in this senseless war of inflated egos. That’s what is expected of leaders worth the name.
Only the free can dialogue/negotiate (dixit Nelson Mandela). Let him check the intractable looting machine oiled by his cohorts and rampaging security operatives. The occasional charade of selectively keeping away “suspects” in Kondengui won’t help Cameroon. It would, at best, only briefly extend Biya’s tenancy at Etoudi.
Biya ought to acknowledge the prevailing moral confusion in the nation, conceive and openly define his options. Let him know that many of his appointed officials, especially local administrators are irresponsible; stealing openly from local peasants, taunting and calling them vulgar names. The slipshod intellectual design of his policy content has set the nation adrift. What is evident is an unspoken transfer of political responsibility to the military.
Cameroon is sick. Her so called leaders are living in denial. Somebody just has to give up! “Sparrow Hawk” and other political shooting of the breeze notwithstanding, the nation is running on the oxygen of corruption. Look here! Security is not only about threats in insipid, coughing guns and pellets. Radicalization is staring Cameroon in the face.
Last line…
There is a definite human angle to the question, and this, Mr. President, is glaring in the Tambo kidnap saga; a euphemism for what barely hides what is so repugnant about Cameroon’s corporate dross. To have a happy family, you must have a conversation…

Proposal paper on the short and long term peace strategies: “Anglophone” crisis (V)

By Maxwell N. Achu, Diplomat,
(Peace Advocate, Conflict Transformation Researcher,
Academia, MA. International Relations) 2

• What are the drivers to ensure effective accomplishment of these short-term peace proposals?

The drivers that guarantee success in the implementation of these short-term peace proposals are collaboration, commitment and cooperation, which substantially legitimate its effect with time. The type of stress Cameroon is facing requires components that address political, economic or social inclusion. The case of Cameroon is internal divisions between social or geographical groups, which are the major factor in mobilization of violence.
Additionally, the type of problem facing the nation is somehow institutional. Cameroon has “fairly strong” capacity but inclusion is weak, reform action needs to draw marginalized “Anglophones” into decision-making and ensure they benefit from national growth, service delivery and welfare improvements
As highlighted above, commitment, coordination and cooperation are three core functions of institutional actors that are needed to ensure that peace accords and expected results are made possible.13
• Commitment: this enables the GoC and “Anglophones” to rely on the credibility of the dialogue resolutions so they can calibrate their behaviors accordingly. The case of Cameroon is most premised on commitment. The GoC with its people must reach credible agreements; first, to renounce violence and endow the state with the monopoly on the legitimate use of force – see the case of Somaliland wherein commitment was achieved by establishing institutional arrangements that provided sufficient incentives for all key actors to work within the rules. The bottom line is that, the commitment to deal between the GoC and the people must be credible, so that all parties stand to lose if any party reneges on those arrangements. When commitment to deal lacks integrity, contending sides (GoC and the “Anglophones”) walk away from the bargaining table and violence prevails.
• Coordination: beyond credible commitment is coordination. Independent credible watchdog institutions MUST regulate implementation commitments as well as coordinate the GoC decisions with the expectation of its people and other conflicting parties. This is very sensitive because coordination problems can occur at many levels of the peace process.
• Cooperation: herein lies the core to successful and effective peace plans; both at the long and short-term periods, as it requires the political will of the GoC and the “Anglophones” willingness to cooperate. The “Anglophones” must be willing to comply and cooperate. Cooperation is enhanced by credible commitments.

Enabling commitments, inducing coordination and enhancing cooperation are therefore essential institutional core functions for making peace policies effective. There must be an aggressive political will in the national arena. This is because; decision makers – elites-14 may have the right peace plan and objectives, such as this, and yet may still be unable to implement the right peace policies because doing so would challenge the existing equilibrium and the current balance of power. Thus, the balance of power in conflict and violent societies may condition the kinds of results that emerge from commitment, coordination and cooperation.
Ultimately, how peace resolutions through dialogue are effective depends not only on what resolutions are chosen, but also on how they are chosen and implemented. Peacemaking resolutions and peace agreement implementation both involve bargaining among different actors. The policy arena-the setting in which governance manifests itself, can be found at the local and national levels of Cameroon. Interested groups in Cameroon upheaval should be empowered to take part in the shaping of peace agreements – this would be a fundamental enabler to pacific agreements effectiveness. There should be an equal distribution of power in the bargaining process, as this power symmetry will definitely influence peace policy effectiveness. Power asymmetry is not necessary harmful, but negative manifestations are reflected in political clientelism as well as social and economic exclusions. Power 13

asymmetry excludes individuals and groups from the bargaining arena, and can be particularly important for peace and security, such as in Somalia. A cross country statistical analyses using the Ethnic Power Relations data set from 1945-2005 indicates that states that exclude portions of the population based on ethnic background are more likely to face armed rebellions.16/17
• Dialogue Procedure

Before nose-diving into this part of the proposed peace agenda, it is worthy to recall that violence is just a symptom reflective of discontentment. Just like unemployment, which is a symptom to a failed economy to grow enough to absorb all employable labour, violence as well, is a result of various economic pressures, rising job complexities, high levels of inequality, and even digital disruptions. Whether or not such discontentment are justifiable is usually immaterial, as long as lives are lost there is need for concern. Let Cameroonians remember that, the private sector, which is the engine of job creation, needs long-term view of the credible direction of the GoC’s peace and economic policies to be able make long-term investment decisions. Ultimately, any of such inconsistencies or impairments like violence only exacerbates economic downturn and lowers productivity. Consequently, it is a perfect breeding ground for protest from disgruntled citizens.
Most importantly, the “Anglophone” crisis is just as far-gone, because the discontentment of some frustrated “Francophones” can spark unrest, which tied with the present crisis, can plunge Cameroon into a full-blown civil war with unimaginable and maybe irrecoverable effects. During such circumstances, marginalization18, fragmentation19, and segmentation20 just to name a few, which the “Anglophones” condemn, might not be the same motives of the Francophones. Regime change, job creation, economic boom, equal distribution of political appointments, infrastructural development21, request for decentralization service provision, hassle-free border relations,22 other related Economic, Financial23 and Political risk might be at the forefront of such conflict-risk query. Such scenarios can easily be forecasted, especially as Cameroon’s growth experiences more volatility than the regional average. By this, this paper calls for the inevitable peace through dialogue between conflicting parties.
(To be continued)

Ode to our haunted youths

If there was any doubt as to the level of disaffection that Cameroonian nationality evokes among youths, the recent escape of athletes for the third consecutive time after being officially ferried to the Commonwealth Games has come to dispel such illusion. Come to think of it. The young men had been nursing dreams of going to countries where at least some attention is paid to budding talents who are nurtured and pampered to become assets to themselves and to the corporate image of their countries of origin.
Moreover, unlike others who have had to brave the vicissitudes that inhere in trans-Saharan misadventures through northern Cameroon to Chad and Libya and, eventually, life-threatening sea crossings between Libya and Italy or Spain they have had genuine travelling documents prepared by the state and transport fares paid from the public till. So why would they have bothered about coming back to drudgery when hustling out there bodes better prospects of livelihood improvement. Little doubt therefore that no matter what stigma is imputed to the deserting athletes, the unequivocal message they are sending is that “Le pays va mal.”
In a country that pays lip service to the youthful segment of its population, the reaction could not have been otherwise. Generations upon generations of youths have been sacrificed on the altar of greed and nepotism to the point where some people have reached the statutory retirement age of 55 without experiencing the ‘luxury’ of serving Cameroon even in Office Cleaner capacity. One contrivance or the other from the repository of Government magic represented in a skewed system of public service recruitment via competitive examination keeps knocking them off until frustration sets in and relegates them to permanent hangers-on to the apron strings of more fortunate school mates.Beer and food at least are hardly in short supply. And so they become executive beggars. This means that settled family lives of husbands, wives and children become unaffordable luxury. The drudgery, inexorably, accompanies them to their graves. How frustrating?

Oh yes, our youths have been sacrificed by a cabal that has raised gerontocracy to statecraft. Witness the recent clamour by traditional chiefs for President Biya’s candidacy in the upcoming presidential election. Can anything good be expected of chiefs who, out of unbridled sway to pecks from a moribund regime would sacrifice the wellbeing of their subjects? How would we expect youths not to rise against chiefs who spite their existential malaise just so that they may continue to await crumbs under the table? What these aggrieved youths are saying is that life has become unbearable in Cameroon and the only solution is a change of guards by any means.
Little wonder then that at a time when the rest of the world is capitalizing on tertiary industries’ contribution to generate wealth, we are still obsessed with second generation agriculture mantra in the face of abysmal incapacity to even engage first generation agriculture. That is our vision for our youths while oldies sit in state- of- the- art furnished offices, producing nothing but preying on the public till. Instead of creating avenues to engage the vitality of this rugged segment of our population, we contrive avenues to enrich kinsmen and regime loyalists. And so every means is sought to entrench the already asphyxiating centralized system of governance just so that a few sycophants with their youthfulness behind them continue to cling to the commonwealth like leaches. Where then is the place of our teeming youths? Why would they not see opportunity in illegal sojourn in more developed countries?
This explains why the Ministries of Education- Secondary, Basic, Civic, Higher and Youths and Sports that are all meant for the development of our teeming youths are all manned by individuals who have celebrated their diamond jubilees. Moreover, given that our statecraft makes no room for appointment of youths, all the Directors and Service Head positions are allocated to much older people. As if that is not enough, there are ministries in charge of development-Plan and Regional, Agriculture and Rural and very recently Decentralization and Local Development. Whatever this are supposed to mean remains a question to be answered by Biya’s spin doctors. If you add the Senate, and other moribund institution like the Economic and Social Council and Commission for Bilingualism and Multiculturalism, the picture of how the youths of this nation are deliberately fenced off becomes more glaring. These are moribund institutions whose leitmotif is reward to toadying the Biya regime. How then would the youths be encouraged to stay at home?
Were we expecting these frustrated youths to be patriotic on empty stomachs? Of course no! Patriotism stems from recognition of the value that the state attaches to the wellbeing of its citizens. It is certainly not a commodity that is sold in the open market and as such available to all and sundry. It is earned through governance that endears itself to the citizens via institutionalized populism. When this is raised to the pedestal of statecraft, obeisance to state emblems and constitutional provisions becomes automatic. Even in the circumstance where attempts have been made to concoct a simulacrum of concern for the youths, our pervasive inclination to line our pockets instead of serving the public deflects such initiatives into nothingness.
We do not plan for the benefit of the country but, for designated individuals and in the course of such insouciance, the country drifts into cataclysm. When the youths rise up in revolt as was the case in February 2008, the riposte from President Biya is that they had been under the instrumentality of some misguided political upstarts since they are not endowed with reasoning faculty. This explains why they have been taken off guard by Anglophone youths who have reached the point of sacrificing their lives for the improvement of governance in the country. Their resolve is informed by nothing else than the wellspring of frustration that has taken hold of their segment of society.
The situation has degenerated to the point where death means nothing to them. Whether it comes from joining the regular army or separatist forces, hesitance has been relegated to the background. Those who see no hope in fighting have opted for the misadventure of crossing the Sahara desert into Chad and Libya and eventually to Europe, with all the attendant risks of being sold into slavery, murdered or marooned on the high seas.
The country’s leadership has indeed lost legitimacy but, would not want to admit their condition and make way for a more dynamic system, powered by vibrant forces, whose youthfulness is an invaluable asset. Surprisingly, its headship keeps parodying the notion of youths being the leaders of tomorrow. Very impressive selling point, indeed! However, the reality on the ground is that our youths remain endangered species until such a time that they will take responsibility of being the potters that handle the clay to shape their destinies. This is very easy. They do not need the barrel of the gun as is currently the case. Let them register massively on electoral registers and vote out the Biya political rubble into obsolescence. This way there will be room for building a new Cameroon in which they will be pioneers.
By Ngoko Monyadowa

Subverting the sovereign will

There is a popular aphorism that decomposition in a fish begins from its head. What this means is that the head is always responsible for every evil or good that befalls us, be they self afflicted or of external provenance. Also, the brain with which humans engage the thought process is in the head. Although some are inclined to posit that the brain only executes what is in the mind, truth is that it has the ability to sift in such a manner as to separate grain from chaff.
To that end, the human brain is to the head what leaders are to nations. The reason for this myopic approach to governance is criminal derogation of the rules of social contract. In this regard, when the commonwealth is persistently tossed in preference to callous individualism and, by extension nepotism and opacity as governance credo, the upshot is unrelenting irritability in the majority that inexorably, feels dispossessed of a common heritage.
The unwary might begin to wonder if this is a treatise on philosophy. Oh no! It is a very suave manner of pondering the current misrule in Cameroon. Since Government is now dictating the process and content of commentaries on issues of national importance, it has become relevant for patriotic citizens who see it as their bounden duty to edify public opinion to persist in their assignments without being amenable to the susceptibilities of unscrupulous administrators who have taken advantage of the simmering Anglophone crisis to settle scores with perceived enemies of a “united and indivisible Cameroon.” In other climes, discussions on the form of state receive very high premium on account of their being the very essence binding different communities that have surrendered their individual rights to independence to sovereign wills.
Unfortunately, this is not the case with our beloved Cameroon. Over the years, a few people whose only interest is the wellbeing of their families and their erstwhile colonial prompters have snatched the fate of the nation. By some twist of fate, this cabal is constituted mostly by either ex-seminarians or men owing obeisance to the Roman Catholic Church.
In the event, it becomes mindboggling that people from such sacred backgrounds would be the ones propagating all the ills that have institutionalized misrule in Cameroon. From the head of state down to majority of his ministers, there is pronounced proclivity to care very little or not at all about the plight of their compatriots. Their perception of less fortunate Cameroonians is that of creatures undeserving of humanity- dogs and rats as some derisively refer to them. Little wonder that they are being haunted and persecuted like a cursed race.
Indeed, this absence of concern for fellow compatriots has engendered a pristine penchant for freebooting that has taken the country hostage in the last quarter of a century. This, in any case, is not surprising in a country governed by an individual who has over the years displayed crass insensitivity to the plight of his compatriots. A head of state who at 85 derives much pleasure from being nattily dressed and spending time malingering in Europe only to turn around and put the blame of a crumbling system of governance on his copycat ministers. Maybe Mr. President, ought to have been reminded that governing a state is akin to managing an enterprise or a project. By this token, close supervision is of the essence even as this should not translate into micromanagement of supposedly trusted appointees. However, their odious admiration for profligacy supported by state coffers, inexorably, infuses the tendency for such to be replicated by his entourage that sees no difference between what accrues to them naturally as public servants and what ought to be used in serving the public.
In the event, excessive centralization reflective of medieval monarchies becomes the overriding attraction as mode of governance. All the resources generated in the country are channeled to a central pool in Yaounde, where the Manor Lord decides how to allocate them to the various Regions supposedly inhabited by serfs. The process of allocation knows no laid down criteria as the divisor’s whims are brought in to play at each moment to the extent that a sparsely populated Region like the South, gets more funds than the aggregate for Northwest and Southwest. This explains why there can be no persuasion of the current regime into conceding the superiority of federalism to the current amorphous system whose only strongpoint is that its promoters are current tenants of the corridors of power.
Not surprisingly, we have now advertently regressed into a failed state. Law and order has broken down to the point where Government and rebels loyal to separatists are barefacedly announcing the numbers of those whose lives have succumbed to gunshots on either side as if they were referring to inanimate things. Oh yes! That is what we have become-promoters of hate just so that we may maintain the status quo. Our being part of the same country whose independence and sovereignty we swore to guarantee means nothing to most of us as lives of easy virtue that go with unearned surplus income and access to free landed property in choice towns and neighbourhoods have converted us to leeches that prey on our compatriots. Instead of sitting down and discussing with our aggrieved brothers, our minds are sharply focused on the possibility of missing uncontrolled access to oil from Bakassi, cocoa from Meme, Kupe-Muanenguba, Manyu and Fako and food crops that nourish neighbouring countries like Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
We have now forced our brothers to renounce affinity with the current configuration of the country but, instead of trying to see how appeasement can be brought forth, we have resorted to the barrel of the gun since in our warped minds and jaundiced thinking, might is right. We are prepared to fight our brothers, even as Boko Haram is wreaking havoc in the northern part of the country. Our current circumstance leads us to begin wondering if those at the helm of authority in Cameroon are not suffering from some demonic affliction that bars them from seeing the drudgery they are deliberately imposing on their compatriots. When this war of attrition would have raged for the next five years, maybe the impact will infuse empathy on those who now feel insulated from the ravages of a senseless internecine squabble.
Ngoko Monyadowa

Proposal paper on the short and long term peace strategies: “Anglophone” crisis (IV)

By Maxwell N. Achu, Diplomat,
(Peace Advocate, Conflict Transformation Researcher,
Academia, MA. International Relations) 2

Take the case of Ethiopia, where the anticipated unrest was pre-empted, and policy makers announced the release of detainees accused of violent disruptions during the 2015 and 2016 protest in the Oromia Region, which left 900 dead. Although the protest persisted, however, it was a worthy strategy feasible for Cameroon. This is especially owing to the fact that tensions are not too heightened in Cameroon, at least not yet. Given the adherence of the rule of law, these detainees can only be pardoned.
Furthermore, this presidential pardon can involve even Francophone detainees for other minor crimes committed; this will build a national consensus and widen the democratic space, given the election year. It will foster national reconciliation, a move that the international community will welcome, as the GoC will be trusted to be in the right direction, given the case of Ethiopia. More so, on July 2012, the President of the Republic enacted a law to amend the existing Penal Code, providing alternatives to detention, including community service and reparative sentences to reduce prison overcrowding. This can be a fine opportunity to implement in accordance to the law, such excellent and thoughtful alternatives.
4) The Government of Cameroon, as a stakeholder should enforce the creation of a national peace institute, for example the International Positive Peace Center, IPPC, to professionalize peace education and enhance a nationalistic peace culture. Its vision will see to implant a ‘peace culture’ and thereby, enhance national peacefulness predominantly through Education (Formal and Informal), as well as provide globally recognized capacity for international and national actors on Positive Peace building through education, training and research to ensure sustainable peace and security in Cameroon. Peace education will have landmark prints in IRIC, ENAM and other institutions of higher learning. To enhance post-conflict (Anglophone crisis) peace building efficiency, the GoC should predominantly focus on the soft side of state building. Peace Education is the pivot on which a peace culture rotates.
5) As a short-term proposal, the GoC should create a committee, charged with the responsibilities to bringing back the internally displaced persons. Refugees must be brought back by all means. These are fellow Cameroonians, if at all the GoC practises what it preaches, then, this is the time to practise state consolidation as well as national unity.
6) Last but not the least, when Gordon Brown said, “I am Malala”, UNESCO was encouraged to launch “stand up for Malala.” The Malala wave brought tremendous benefits to the Girl Abuse struggle. For inclusiveness purposes, the President or related top-francophone officials who are socially sensitive on the “Anglophone” struggle should boldly say, “I am Anglophone.” This will give the feeling of acceptance to the “Anglophone” community, as it will help ease tensions between the people. The GoC should sponsor related programs to build national unity and consolidate oneness.

• Conditions for dialogue

By conditions for dialogue, this paper refers to those drivers that incentivize the people to commit. One of the principal conditions is the restoring of confidence. The citizens of Cameroon’s expectations are presently too low given the circumstances, so that no Government promises are believed, making cooperative actions impossible; it is a truism that transitional moments cannot be fast-tracked, but the GoC MUST build confidence by carrying out these enumerated short-term engagements. Since creating institutions that can prevent repeated violence takes time such as in Ghana and Haiti, it is important Cameroon starts now.
Given these complexities, first, is the need to restore confidence in collective action before embarking on wider institutional transformation. Confidence building is a concept that must be used in Cameroon’s political mediation and in other development circles within the national territory. In the Cameroon context, low trust means those who are to contribute technically to the crisis will not collaborate until they believe that a positive outcome is possible.10
However, confidence building is just an event; not an end to itself. It must be inclusive enough to birth early results highlighted above. In this regard, there must be inclusive-coalitions, like in Indonesia in addressing violence in Timor Leste in its recovery after the renewed violence in 2006. Talking about inclusive coalitions: coalitions are ‘inclusive enough’ when they include the actors necessary for implementing the initial stages of confidence-building and institutional transformation – in this case the “Anglophones”. Civil society especially women’s organizations11 like “synergie africaine” in Cameroon often play important roles in restoring confidence.12 Therefore, persuading “Anglophones” to work collaboratively requires signals of a real break with past implementation failures to end economic and social exclusions and injustices of the marginalized group, corruption, or human right abuses. A typical example of confidence building was seen in South Africa, wherein there was unconditional release of Nelson Mandela (in this case the “Anglophones” behind bars) on the one hand, and the absolute secession of armed struggle of the ANC (in this case the violent “Anglophone” activist) on the other hand.
The GoC MUST respond to this confidence building with early results needed to build “Anglophones” confidence and hence, create momentum for longer-term institutional transformation. On the other hand, activists should not let perfection be the enemy of progress – they should embrace pragmatic options to address immediate changes. (To be continued)

Too little too late

Paul Atanga Nji, President Biya’s perceived antidote to Anglophone recrimination against crass marginalization was in the Northwest and Southwest Regions last week, presumably, to feel the actual pulse of the rebellion that has taken hold of this part of the country in the last 17 months. As Minister of Territorial Administration, it was quite fitting for him to have undertaken such a daring venture, given that his predecessor Emmanuel Rene Sadi, had spurned the need to be preoccupied with what his coterie of “one and indivisible Cameroon” advocates and himself see as unbridled impertinence not worthy of national attention.
In the Northwest, he, understandably, reached out to the people of Batibo in Momo Division, where a spate of kidnappings had introduced a new dimension to the orgy of bloodletting that has gripped regular soldiers and irate youths with obeisance to Ambazonia Defence Forces, as well as a select group of traditional rulers. By this token, one would have expected him to, also, extend the same goodwill to Menji and Alou in the Southwest Region, where not only kidnapping, but savage killings that almost snuffed life out of Zachary Ungitoh, Senior Divisional Officer, SDO, for Lebialem have become customary. However, he chose Buea and Kumba as stopping points, for reasons best known to him.
Atanga’s visit, coming in the immediate aftermath of the March 25 senatorial election that he said went on hitch-free, one would imagine, ought to have been opportunity for him to prepare the way for eventual mollification of Anglophones such that the current savagery unleashed on them would have begun assuming the character of being amenable to termination.
No! By his reckoning as Biya’s trusted courier, he was bearer of a message of encouragement to the forces of law and order and the administration from the Head of State who, like him, sees nothing wrong in the looting, burning and maiming being perpetrated on innocent, hapless villagers. As if to cap the regime’s insensitivity and lack of tact, he went about holding meetings with the same youths who constitute a bulk of commercial motorcycle riders to the point of asking them to denounce those with separatist inclination. Mr. Minister! Even an infant would have known that there was a no-deal situation from the day you unilaterally placed a blanket ban on movement of motorcycles in Ndian, Meme and parts of Fako Divisions.
If you really cared about the welfare of these squalid youths, groaning from the pangs of rabid unemployment, your demeanour would have been completely different. You would have at least pretended to publicly acknowledge with sympathy, the death of innocent citizens since the beginning of this almost inflexible showdown between Government and Anglophones.
Granted that those who have elected to take up arms do not have mandate from the majority population in the affected Regions, the fact that out of frustration Government forces have on several occasions succumbed to the bestial options of looting, burning of whole villages, maiming and raping makes an open apology from the Government categorical. The impression Atanga has left in the wake of his outpourings is that as long as the Government machinery has a semblance of functionality, all is well. Indeed, if as he claims, he actually had come with a message from President Biya, then they (the two Pauls) must be likened to the pre-repentance Saul in the Bible who transmuted after persecuting Christians and became Paul.
Such insensitivity and obsequiousness, readily brings to mind the impression harboured by many wary Cameroonians that the right information and/or advice in respect to immediate solution to the Anglophone crisis has hardly reached Biya. Forget that he is supposed to reason on his own, given that such was supposed to have been put into consideration each time mutilated elections have returned him as head of State. This thesis is grounded on the recent attack on CPDM adherents and sympathizers who were going to thank Mr. Biya for appointing Paul Tasong, one of theirs, as Minister Delegate in the Ministry of Economy, Planning and Regional Development. That such a venture could have been contemplated at the time it was about materializing, leading to the snatching and eventual release of Professor Ivo Leke Tambo, is ample proof that either Yaounde is underestimating the magnitude of the rebellion or local administrators are being manipulated to give false impressions that run contrary to reality on the ground.
Otherwise, how could Atanga Nji be announcing to the hearing of the whole world that senatorial elections went on hitch free, nationwide, when voting had to be exceptionally closed at 3pm instead of statutory 6pm in Menji, headquarters of Lebialem Division? Even the few 27 out of 92 voters who turned up for the voting had to be ferried by helicopter. Hitch-free is not when voters are scared off by the presence of separatist forces in Bangem, causing actual voting to end by 11 am. Mr. Minister, your percentage abstention that was read over CRTV reflects the absolute value. Conventional wisdom requires that because the current crisis in the country affects mostly the Northwest and Southwest Regions, those who did not vote on account of fear or actual physical presence of threats ought to have been aggregated based on the total number of electors in these two afflicted Regions. This is the only way to determine the exact impact of the rebellion on voter turnout.
Furthermore, how could Atanga Nji have been congratulating the forces of Law and order and the administration when the SDO of Lebialem is lying critically ill in Douala Reference Hospital from a gunshot wound on his head after being attacked a few days subsequent to the kidnap and release of Tambo? Just before this incident, the Gendarmerie post in Bechati was sacked and all the weapons carted away, only for the Rapid Intervention Battalion, BIR, to be brought in for the ensuing havoc wreaked on the population? How do you congratulate people who have been unable to locate and free the abducted DO of Batibo and the Regional Delegate of Social Affairs for the Northwest Region? How do you pat people on the back when they have constantly been overstretched by ragtag assemblages of irate youths who pass off for “Ambazonnia Defence Forces?”
Mr. Minister, if you guided instead by concern for your Anglophone kinsmen, you would have told the Head of State the truth; which is that the situation in Anglophone Cameroon is intractable and, only a well thought out and executed rapprochement, underpinned by sincere dialogue, would do the trick. Disabuse your mind of any illusion of reliance on force as is currently the case if at all you really love Cameroon. The world is watching. Would you allow President Biya to go down in history as the man who inherited great wealth but, squandered everything to the point of leaving his country insolvent in the midst of plenty? Certainly no!
By Ngoko Monyadowa

Proposal paper on the short and long term peace strategies: “Anglophone” crisis (II)

By Maxwell N. Achu, Diplomat,
(Peace Advocate, Conflict Transformation Researcher,
Academia, MA. International Relations) 2
This paper calls for inclusive peace strategies to enable the implementation of proper measures for the effective avoidance of the “conflict trap” as well as the consequences that come with violence and conflicts.
THE PROBLEM
For purposes of brevity, this paper will not narrate the historical roots of the conflict, as it does not seek to feed on the conflict formation process. Rather it will analyze the status quo to paint the picture as it is, as well as propose solutions to redressing and amending these impairments to peace.
Like in Mali where the Tuaregs decry marginalization from the central Government against the northern part of the country, so too are the “Anglophones” claiming the same infringements on their participation in the state of affairs in Cameroon. The “Anglophones” decry extensive social exclusion, social and economic injustice and a structurally divided society which underpin discrimination. According to the “Anglophones”, the abandonment and outright neglect of some parts of the country, pushes disgruntled and frustrated citizens to dominate the local context without proper regulations, which leads to violence. This could be substantiated in the peripheral Regions of Colombia before the turn of the 21st century4 or the present day Democratic Republic of Congo.
However, this paper follows a crosscutting and holistic research to understand and report the technical problem, by going deeper in the deep rooted structural and cultural violence within the Cameroon society. It does not limit to the physical or direct violence exacerbated by the recent “Anglophone” uprising.
Technical problems?
1) Absence of peace culture:

Cameroon lacks the entrenched culture of peace to strengthen its resilience to such civil shocks. The society is making no efforts in bringing subconsciously, peace cultures to the forefront. A society, which is wired adequately with a peace culture, like in Botswana and Ghana, will ensure that equality must be the preferred mode of interaction, as opposed to the Cameroon “Francophone” mainstream dominance. One of the major instruments of implanting a peace culture is through “massive peace education”. Cameroon cannot boast of any form of intensive peace education in the context of peace building to promote a peace culture. Education is the most efficient medium to uproot the subconscious violent-culture and implant the necessary peace culture. The United Nations with several resolutions has buttressed the vitality of this medium to enhance peace-building skills through peace learning. The UN supports this claim in various resolutions:
UN General Assembly: In its resolution 53/243 of 13 September 1999 adopted by the UN General Assembly on the Declaration of a Culture of Peace, Solemnly proclaims the present Declaration on a Culture of Peace to the end that Governments, international organizations, and civil society may be guided in their activity by its provision to promote and strengthen a culture of peace…6
• As per Art 1(a) of this Declaration, the UN defined ‘a Culture of Peace (as) a set of values, attitudes, traditions and modes of behaviors and ways of life based on: respect for Life, Ending violence and promotion of practice of non-violence through EDUCATION…
• The Art 1(e) stresses Efforts to meet the developmental and environmental needs of present and future generations (Cameroon students and peace-workers).
• As per Art 4, EDUCATION is one of the principal means to build a culture of peace, and Art 7 highlights the educative and informative role, which contributes to the promotion of a culture of peace. Art 8 mentions the key role in the promotion of a culture of peace belonging to teachers, intellectuals’, health and humanitarian workers as well as non-governmental organizations.
• Urges member states to support, as appropriate, quality EDUCATION FOR PEACE that equips youth with the ability to engage constructively in civic structures and inclusive political processes,
• Encourages investments in building young people’s capabilities and skills to meet demands through EDUCATION opportunities designed in a manner, which promotes a culture of peace.

In the same context, resolution 60/3 on the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence for the Children of the world commends the relevance for the promotion of peace culture through EDUCATION and encourage activities related to specific areas identified in the Programme of Action on a Culture of peace.
Security Council, SC,: One of the most vital resolutions on the enhancement of peace culture is the Security Council resolution 2250 adopted at its 7573rd meeting, on 9 December 2015. The resolution: 7 Furthermore, recalling the UNESCO’s constitution that states that ‘since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed’. Any attempt to disrupt youth’s access to education to peace-building skills and abilities has a dramatic and tremendous impact on durable peace and reconciliation.
In fact, the environment in Cameroon does not reflect a relax conviviality for peace by peaceful means.
2) The presence of deep-rooted structural violence

Violent deep structures are situations where the forms of relations between the segments/divisions of society are dysfunctional – between the old and the young, men and women, between races and ethnicities, between powerful and powerless, along every social cleavage. Cameroon deep violent structure is characterized by asymmetry, irregularity and lopsidedness of power between the different segments of her society. This automatically leads to violations of the basic needs of others.
Cameroon does not have a well-outlined infrastructure, which promotes equity and reciprocity across the social cleavage that could facilitate the transformation of the “Anglophone” crisis, and prevent civilian killings. This discourages peaceful approach as widespread means of conflict resolution. This is accounted as failure of the political responsibility, to have mobilized the knowledge of nonviolence. The “Anglophones” claim that in such in-egalitarian structure, the time for parity has come. This leads us to one of the reasons why NGOs in Cameroon are fragmented because NGO representatives can better negotiate in egalitarian setting as opposed to diplomats from an in-egalitarian state system.
Cameroon structural violent scenario can be analyzed from two dimensions; Development and Freedom. Concerning the dimension of Development, structural violence in Cameroon is epitomized in loss of citizens’ lives from hunger, preventable diseases and other related sufferings caused by unjust structures of the society coupled with weak economic power. Effects of such structurally violent societies often seek humanitarian aid, food aid, alleviation of poverty and other related misery programmes. Meanwhile, concerning Freedom, the structural violence in the Cameroon environment or context, legitimizes itself through excessive deprivation from freedom of choice, and from participation in decisions, that affect people – in this case – Cameroonian lives. This dimension of violence brings other effects such as oppression, occupation or some form of dictatorship, prevalent in mostly authoritarian and hybrid Government types.
It is our objective that this peace plan will set the stage for complete eradication of structural violence, as well as build life-sustaining economy at the local and national level in Cameroon while ensuring that everyone’s basic needs are met. The long-term prospects of this peace agenda will further spur good governance; encourage effective citizenry participation and self-determination in decisions affecting their own lives. It is for this reason that the long-term peace project seeks to create institutions that promote cooperation, reconciliation, openness, equality and the culture of peaceful actions in collective situations. This will strengthen democratic institutions to be consensual, inclusive, transparent as well as accountable.
(To be continued)

Proposal paper on the short and long term peace strategies: “Anglophone” crisis (1)

By Maxwell N. Achu, Diplomat,
(Peace Advocate, Conflict Transformation Researcher,
Academia, MA. International Relations) 2

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Maxwell N. ACHU is a Cameroonian Diplomat and Civil Society Activist. He is a Conflict Transformation Researcher and an expert in Positive Peace building across the African continent, and beyond. He presently resides in Accra, Ghana where he is the Country Director for Humanitarian Group Action International, a nongovernmental nonprofit and apolitical organization.
The organization has as objectives to provide humanitarian and social services to “underprivileged” groups of persons. Most importantly, it also seeks to inspire and embolden youth involvement in nation and state building activities within the context of societal reconstruction through peace learning. The following paper is a partial reflection on a holistic and rigorous research conducted by the author on “Positive Peace for Africa”, a peace building project with objectives to implant a peace culture through education on the variables of the sustainable developments agenda 2030.

INTRODUCTION
Conflict-risk Assessment and Predictability in Cameroon

THE PROBLEM
• Technical problems
• The absence of a peace culture
• The presence of deep-rooted structural violence
• Lack of shared and mutual interest
• Traumas of past wounds (marginalization and discrimination) fuels the unrest

THE PEACE STRATEGY:
A) INCLUSIVE, CONSENSUS-ORIENTED, RECONCILIATORY AND COOPERATIVE DIALOGUE PROCESS (SHORT-TERM PEACE PROPOSALS)
• Conditions for dialogue
• What are the drivers to ensure effective accomplishment of these short-term peace proposals?
• Dialogue procedure
• Dialogue participants
• Pre-dialogue arrangements
• The dialogue
The First phase: This MUST involve understanding the “Anglophone crisis” and the whole conflict formation
– Step 1: entails understanding the GoC and the “Anglophones”, both behaviours and their relations in the context of the “Anglophone problem” (this analyses the present state of affairs):
– Step 2: entails understanding the assumptions; how they relate to “Anglophones” behaviours and how these behaviours interact with the “Anglophone problem” as well as the goals of the struggle. (Therapy of the Past)
The Second phase: Differentiating between legitimate (participation, solidarity, inclusivity and integration) and illegitimate (marginalization, segmentation, fragmentation) goals
The Third phase: involves the integration of “Anglophone” legitimate struggle goals with an overarching formula
– the construction of new integration, solidarity and participation goals (Therapy of the way forward)
– creating an action plan for the present (Therapy of the Present)

RECOMMENDATIONS
B) INSTITUTIONAL CAPACITY TRANSFORMATION THROUGH RIGOROUS AND HOLISTIC POSITIVE PEACEBUILDING (LONG-TERM PEACE PLANS)
INTRODUCTION
Just like in Ethiopia, the unrest in the Republic of Cameroon is rooted in the country’s history, which dates back to many years. This paper seeks to analyze the institutional and attitudinal elements on the way forward for the restoration to normalcy of the state of affairs within the national territory. It is not a recipe for apportioning blame but of principles and options to a pacific settlement of disputes within the national territory.
Conflicts and violence are core impediments to peace and development. Despite the international community‘s efforts to curb the uprising of conflicts and violence within the international level, persistent violence-prone policies still exist within national territories, which spurs discontentment and grievances and hence proliferates violence. In the case of Cameroon, these conflicts feed on gender violence and leave refugees and broken infrastructures in their wake. Violent territories have become breeding grounds for far-reaching networks of violent radicals even as far as organized crimes.
Already plagued with low incomes, poverty, rapid urbanization, unemployment, income shocks and inequality between groups, violence will only exacerbate dysfunctionality of the “weak” socioeconomic institutions in Cameroon, just like in other Sub-Saharan African countries. “Strong” institutional legitimacy is therefore key to stability. Confronting these challenges, with the current uprising inclusive, effectively means that institutions need to change. It is in this light that, this peace proposal suggests some specific actions and ways of implementation as well as measuring results. However, it will require a layered approach, meaning some problems must be addressed at the Regional as well as the national level.
The stakes are truly high notwithstanding. This paper calls to mind that civil conflicts have a toll on the GDP of Cameroon however. It cost the average developing country roughly 30 years of GDP growth and countries in protracted crisis can fall over 20 percentage points behind in overcoming poverty. 1 To this effect, we must have strong incentives on clear peace roadmaps, which is what this proposal seek to offer.
This peace initiative advocates for a political community with shared identity, interest and mutual obligations. Without this, the Government of Cameroon (GoC) may be seen by the “Anglophones” to lack legitimacy, reason why some activists advocate for separation.2
This peace proposal paper aims to consolidate political stability (given the election year), while creating an enabling business environment for enhanced and accelerated growth. It advocates for nonviolence in the resolution of social unrest, especially as violence breeds only violence and attacks persons, not policies. Dialogue, according to this paper is the weapon of the strong.
Conflict, risk assessment and predictability in Cameroon

This paper will not overemphasize the economic benefits from improvements in peace in Cameroon, but will highlight the impact of this uprising to the nation’s economic stability, which grossly hampers political performance as well as institutions’ credibility to deliver. The Economic Value of Peace, a framework by the Institute of Economics and Peace covers 163 countries and independent territories – representing 99.5% of the global economy and population.
No conflict from the onset can determine the ramifications it will bring. Statistically, the smallest start-up of social unrest always almost brings disproportionate consequences. The primary example of this is the case of Syria where the civil war, which started simply by graffiti on the wall, has devastated the country and economy, with violence and conflict costing an equivalent of 54.1% of GDP as at 2015.
Conversely, pre-empting the outbreak of violence can achieve peace and reap significant economic gains. The economic impact of violence in Sri Lanka has decreased 66% since 2009 due to conflict risk assessment and pre-emption, resulting in a peace dividend of $48 billion PPP, which is equivalent to 20% of the country’s 2015 GDP.
In the case of Cameroon, it will be instructive to understand the economic losses caused by the “Anglophone” crisis. It will also be important to identify which types of other related violence have the greatest effect on Peace indicators, as the GoC and related-policymakers can better understand how a lack of peace is affecting not only economic growth but also poverty levels, social mobility, education, the control of corruption or life expectancy. This highlights that by identifying the appropriate violence containment strategies, policymakers may be able to lower economic costs of violence by nurturing the tangible drivers of peacefulness.
Due to the difficulty in forecasting the onset of large-scale violence, it is important to better understand and conceptualize new approaches to measuring the risk of it. While some risks can be foreseen and planned for, profoundly destabilizing events such as Anglophone civil unrest, conflict onset and the collapse of entire countries have, all too often, caught the world by surprise.
The collective failure of the people of Cameroon to have predicted the onset of such man-made events, like the Syrian civil war, has substantial impacts on human wellbeing, economic development and geopolitical stability of Cameroon. It is thus not surprising that a key question for Cameroon policymakers, business and civil society today is, how can the likelihood of big risks such as conflict onset be better understood, and what can be done to mitigate the risk of these events occurring.
The 30 most-at-risk countries, according to the Positive Peace Deficit model in 2008, 22 countries experienced significant declines in peace; with Cameroon inclusive. The country that experienced the largest deterioration in peace was Syria, which ranked 99th out of 163 countries in the 2008 GPI, 3 and fell to last in 2016. This was a noteworthy prediction. Many in the international community considered it a relatively stable country. Consequently, few other forecasts placed it significantly at risk of conflict.
Following the positive predictive value of the Positive Peace Deficit model, Cameroon is at high risk of further violent escalation. If a potential conflict risk country like Cameroon can be identified up to (7) seven years in advance, then meaningful interventions can potentially be staged. Given the high costs of conflict compared to prevention, the potential of acting upon these models with this level of positive predictive accuracy has the potential to guide resource allocation and lead to better and more cost effective decision-making.
This conflict risk assessment indicates that Cameroon lacks the attitudes, institutions and structures to maintain their current levels of negative peacefulness and Cameroon is particularly vulnerable to internal or external shocks. Research by the Department for International Development, DFID, Institute of Economics and Peace, IEP, and United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, all suggest conflict prevention and peace building interventions can be highly cost-effective when successful.
This is because, in the case of Cameroon, the economic impact of the “Anglophone” uprising, instability and structural and cultural violence in general is large when compared to the size of the investments to prevent such impediments. IEP’s research on the cost of violence and conflict to the global economy finds that the economic losses from violence were 12.6 per cent of world GDP in 2016, or approximately $2,000 for each person on the planet. IEP analysis shows the cost-savings ratio of peace building or the actions that lead to conflict prevention is 1:16 on average.
Applying IEP’s global cost of violence model to the risk predictions underlines this point.
The global cost of conflict (homicide) in 2015 was US$742 billion, a very large sum. In a utopian world, if all peace building interventions were 100 per cent effective, and guided by a 100 per cent accurate risk model, then the cost savings would be the cost of the peace building interventions themselves, subtracted from the US$742 billion cost of conflict.
(To be continued)