About two years ago, the word dialogue, stealthily crept into the political lexicon of Cameroon. President Paul Biya intoned it. His appointees sang it like parrots even if many of them did not buy into the concept.
Dialogue was said to be the panacea that should put paid to the Anglophone crisis. But from all indications a principal party to the dialogue was either stone deaf or simply imagined that it was better carried out with both the stick and the carrot. Better still, that the gendarme and the gun were better instruments of dialogue than the round table.
Certain compatriots were named and tagged. Arrests were perpetrated, certain members of the opposing side were chased into exile and some even summarily killed. The situation got out of hand and dialogue transformed to hard times for the “terrorists and secessionists” so tagged.
About two weeks ago, Communication Minister, Issa Tchiroma, like the Physicist, Archimedes of the Eureka fame, ran out of his bath stark naked more or less, to announce that “terrorists and secessionists earlier arrested in Nigeria had been handed over to Cameroonian judicial authorities.”
The Rambler was prompted by Tchiroma’s announcement to ask its respondents if this action on its own would put paid to the festering crisis or reignite the much parroted dialogue.
What they state could be very instructive to whether this dialogue and not outright military bravado is the true answer to Cameroon’s awful socio-political plight.
The solution is dialogue
I strongly propose that now that the Government of Cameroon has hunted down and is keeping the secessionist leaders, it is time they sit at a table together and open the so called dialogue that they have been propagating. This will even be advantageous because it shall be a litmus test to Cameroon’s democracy.
Nancy Fuma, Teacher Bamenda
Anglophones should constitute new leaders to carry on the struggle
I do not even know whether the said leaders are dead or alive. Despite the fact Government media has been singing their capture and extradition to Cameroon, we have not even seen their pictures. I propose that the Anglophones should constitute themselves again and let new leaders emerge and carry on the struggle.
Gwendolyn, Nsang Trader Bamenda
Gov’t should immediately announce dialogue
Now that the Government has them, it should immediately announce dialogue and call for an immediate ceasefire so that all these brutal killings that have gained notoriety these days can end.
Christopher Agu, IT specialist Bamenda
There’s no way forward as long as those leaders remain in custody
They should at least make a public presentation of these leaders, interview them on why they will want to separate and even find out from them what needs to be done to maintain the status quo.
I will tell you there is no way forward to solving this problem as long as those leaders remain under custody. See the abduction of those leaders, permit me use the word abduction because if they were arrested they would have at least shown us images. By doing what they are doing, Government is radicalizing supporters of this course more than ever. Maybe the Government thought that keeping those leaders will render followers weak, but you have seen and heard of attacks here and there. It only tells us that Ambazonians are determined in death or life to have their freedom. If there will be any way forward then let them release those leaders in their keeping.
Joseph Ntui, History Teacher Bamenda
Gov’t should bring them to dialogue table
Talking about way forward of the crisis because leaders are in Government custody is a broad situation to analyze. Why do I say so? Firstly, you must have understood by now that this crisis is far more than what Government thinks is in the hands of Mr. Julius Ayuk Tabe and others. If the situation were so, then since after their arrest there would have been peace in the country but contrarily the number of attacks has instead increased with both sides suffering. Yet their being in custody without gainsaying can only be one step solution to the crisis by bringing them to dialogue table. But think of those who lost loved ones, farmlands and even villages. How will Government compensate them because if they are ignored the crisis will never end.
Ngasi Jacob, farmer Kumba
Let powers that be call for dialogue
The only way forward now is dialogue. The Government has always talked of dialogue. International organisations and even Presidents of neighboring countries have cautioned on dialogue. Even the President in his end of year speech talked of dialogue. It’s going to be a month by Monday since the leaders were arrested in Nigeria but nothing is being said about dialogue again. I wonder how much time we are they going to take when soldiers and innocent civilians keep dying. I heard the Government’s spokesman the other day talking about them facing justice for their crimes. I bet you if they go to that direction, I smell Rwandan experience of genocide in Cameroon. Let the powers that be call for dialogue.
Williams Mbohteh, Kumba
Gov’t should release those in detention and then dialogue
The way forward now is that Government should first release those in detention before bringing about dialogue. Because if they talk dialogue now when the leaders are still jailed it will be as though they are forcing options on Southern Cameroonians. Besides, if those leaders are not released no one will even be interested in talking. All the killings on both sides should stop.
Celia Ebako student, Kumba
We need a national dialogue
The Anglophone crisis has never been about secessionists or the secessionist movement. This thing started in November 2016 with teachers and lawyers and the general population. There was a dialogue put in place before Government arrested all the genuine leaders. I think Government should go back to the negotiation table back with those they started the dialogue and bring all the other leaders, for a national dialogue. People are dying in the (Anglophone) Regions because we want to solve this crisis through war.
Emmanuel Achanyi, Agricultural Engineer, Douala
Let us review the terms of our coexistence
There is nothing Government can do to stop the movement whether they arrest all Anglophones or not. The message is clear and has been sent to Yaoundé, no form of arrests will intimidate Anglophones. The arrest of consortium leaders did not change anything so the arrest of the secessionist leaders will not change the situation on ground. I think some Government forces just want to see the situation on the ground continue because some of them are benefiting from it. The only way a solution can be found to this crisis is an international mediation supervised by the United Nations to review the terms of our coexistence. Anything short of that will be a failure because no form of arrests, intimidation, violence or torture will ever suppress the Anglophone feeling.
Charles Mafeh, photographer
Proper and genuine dialogue
I don’t know if the arrest of the secessionist leaders can solve anything in this crisis. We see that fighting has been ongoing; people continue to die every day in the Southwest and Northwest Regions despite the arrests. Arresting people is not the only solution, but if Government thinks it is a solution, then let us wait and see how it will bring peace in our Regions in the weeks ahead. I will propose for Government to first start by demilitarizing the Anglophone Regions; the massive presence of soldiers keeps creating tension and panic. The Government should put a mechanism in place for proper dialogue to take place. Even with those they are calling secessionists or terrorists who are in prison, I think Government will still have to look for a means to dialogue with them.
Nquiaka Viviane, Teacher Douala
An all-inclusive dialogue
I suggest that the President opens frank dialogue will all persons involved; that must include Ayuk Julius and his band because dialogue is never a one man show. Before now, they arrested some Anglophones like Agbor Balla and Ayah Paul, thinking it would solve the problem but it only aggravated it. We need frank dialogue and action. The people concerned should come together with equal status and discuss the way forward. It should not be like the dictatorship we witnessed last time in Bamenda in the name of dialogue. Without this, I am afraid that Cameroon will witness something worse than Rwanda.
Mekumba Dieudonne, Yaounde
A referendum to establish what Anglophones want
I think a referendum to establish what Anglophones really want is the best way to end this civil war that is a breath away. The Government knows this but has been pretending to want to resolve this crisis. A referendum will not cost them even a tiny bit of what they have wasted so far. But, they are riding a very high horse. Once the limping horse stops automatically, then they will fall to the ground. They should not say we did not tell them. Without a referendum, trust me, the crisis is still beginning.
Ashu Ndemalia, Actor
Yaounde has the solution to this crisis
Yaounde has the solution to this crisis. I think the dictatorial Government should now force the guys to the dialogue table now that the Minister of Communication claims that they are in Yaounde. The dialogue that will solve the Anglophone crisis should focus on the opinions of all parties. It should take into account the opinion of unionists, federalists and separatists. Then, they should organize a referendum so the people of Southern Cameroons can choose which one they want for themselves. I insist that the dialogue must be supervised by the African Union and the United Nations Organisation. Sentencing those people (if at all there is any ground on which they can be sentenced) will lead to more havoc than imaginable.
Bonvemock Cedric, Unemployed
Free, fair and frank dialogue
Now that leaders of both parties are in the same town, I think all that is left is a free, fair and frank dialogue. By free, I mean each man should be given the chance to air their thoughts, not a talk at gunpoint. For the dialogue to be fair each party must recognize the other as a leader of a people and each constituency well defined. It goes without saying that frank dialogue would mean putting all cards on the table as they are: black or white. However, I know that this will be very difficult because no Government is willing to negotiate with people it calls terrorists,worse of all, in the eyes of international bodies. Now, let us face the facts. It is needless to think of dialogue with people who are bent and fixed on their ideas of a one and indivisible country. It is clear that with that mentality; even a referendum will not change a thing except it is in their favour. Let the Government do what it does best. Bribe them and release them. They have got a people to lead out there,even though I do not buy this method.
Ransome Nganjo, Engineer
Compiled by Jean Marie Ngong Song, Ngende Esther, Francis Ajumane & Nsono Claudia