Cameroon President warns against Precipitated Actions

wanico
Posted January 8, 2022

Avoiding "precipitated action" is one of the key lights in president Paul Biya's  State of the Nation address of December 31, 2021.  I am happy this surfaced as a reminder that when we unnecessarily rush over things, we only end up with wrong and sham concessions. 

The "grand national dialogue" for example remains one of the most precipitated actions in the Cameroon conflict resolution and peacebuilding initiatives and the "no event" outcome is no surprise. Announced in a televised speech by the president of the Republic on September 10, 2019, pre-dialogue consultations followed immediately, and the dialogue proper was already in motion on September 30th, and by the 4th of October, final resolutions were read including a proposal by the decentralization commission for a special status for the Anglophone regions, as well as more local autonomy. Other recommendations included the construction of an airport and a seaport in the Anglophone regions, the renaming of the country to the "United Republic of Cameroon", measures against corruption, and an intensified effort to rehabilitate former separatist fighters.

Where did all of this come from? Few individuals decided for the majority according to their individual whims and caprices. The eight commissions put in place included multiculturalism and bilingualism,  educational system, judicial system, one for the question of refugees,  reconstruction,  disarmament,  diaspora, and decentralization. How did we come about the commissions? Still by the whimsical arbitrariness of autocracy? The government unilaterally opposed to any mention of the form of state, alleged singing of the National Anthem by former separatist fighters and presence of separatist generals at the dialogue was declared fake by the  NSAGs. Some participants at the dialogue considered the event pointless and others threatened to withdraw due to the denial to address the form of the state.

The " grand national dialogue" is no doubt one of the uncalled-for precipitated actions of this government leading to unnecessary waste of scarce resources, check the box measures, tokenistic solutions to crucial problems which only maintain the status quo and worsen a bad situation.

Immediately after the GND, On November 16, two government delegations embarked on a mission in the Anglophone regions to win popular support for the conclusions of the Major National Dialogue. In particular, the delegations aimed to convince the population that a "special status" for the Anglophone regions would address their grievances. Said who? What does the grassroots suffering masses who bear the burden of the crisis know about special status? When were their perspectives gathered? This was putting the cart before the horses which can only be a harbinger for failure. 

By December 18, 2019, the Cameroon parliament passed the "General Code of Regional and Local Authorities". The regionalisation model we have today says it all. In fact, too much was done in too short a time with little to no consultations with the varied socio-political segments concerned with the GND. Cameroon cannot continue to address the sociopolitical mayhem we are facing in isolation as if we are an island. Whereas there's no universal one size fits all approach, there exist best practices that have worked elsewhere even within the African continent for us to build on. In Rwanda for example, similar consultations after the 1994 genocide lasted for eleven long months. Rwanda is only about the size of the Western Region in Cameroon, was dealing only with the two main ethnic groups, viz, Bahutu and Batusi but their desire to include all the sociopolitical components and capture the perspectives and sensitivities of all and sundry led to eleven months consultations. 

We can do this, the head of state has himself warned against precipitated actions because they don't advance our course. "Patriotic and architects" of national unity, living together, social cohesion, and others that we all crave for should avoid unnecessarily rushing over things because they wouldn't work. We need genuine, frank consultations to capture the perspectives of all Cameroonians in their multitude and miscellany, integrating the different disaggregations and intersections involved at different levels.  

Comments 6

Log in or register to post comments
KABAHENDA KIGGUNDU
Jan 09
Jan 09

Thanks for sharing.

wanico
Jan 15
Jan 15

You're welcome dearest

Beth Lacey
Jan 10
Jan 10

This is very interesting and a complicated issue to work through.

wanico
Jan 15
Jan 15

You can say that again Beth.
Impossible to explain our situation in any conventional manner.

Ana Lozano
Jan 10
Jan 10

Dear Wanico,
Thank you so much for sharing such a thorough take on the Cameroon conflict. I've struggled to understand its complexities, and this walkthrough and strong position regarding what has happened since 2019, including the performativity (and lip service) of it all is really helpful. I'm curious: how is civil society in the Anglophone region organizing? Is there an intentional and planned national dialogue in sight? Is organised civil society from both the Francophone and Anglophone regions coming together? How can the global public support you? How can we support you?

wanico
Jan 15
Jan 15

Dearest Anna,
Happy new year and thank you for your comment. Too many things are being done but little to no results achieve.
I am available for a chat on this. [email protected]
+237677758345
Hugs!