OPINION: HOW DO WE GET PEACE AND UNITY IN CAMEROON?

southern-cameroonians-struggle

The events in Cameroon for the past three weeks have kept everyone busy in one way or the other to propose lasting solutions to the problem the Southern Cameroonians face after having joined La Republique du Cameroon in 1961. It’s in this same vein that Jude Corzens also contributes his ideas to the possible solutions. Read below.

HOW DO WE GET PEACE AND UNITY IN CAMEROON? DIALOGUE TO RECONCILE WITH THE PAST AND A MOVE TOWARDS UNITY

I have heard and read at several forums the call for DIALOGUE. It is a good thing no doubt! I would like to quote the Prime Minister, the supposed head of government, “Violence is not the solution. If the strike continues it will be difficult for the children to do their exams. A constructive dialogue will be the source of peace and social justice in the country”
The PM’s words, in themselves, are just what we need to bring to fruition in order to obtain desirable solutions for a better and united Cameroon.

However, I want to draw the attention of everyone who is reading this that it was since 2014 through 2015 that the Common Law Lawyers have been manifesting their grievances and requesting dialogue accordingly. They were given no ear by the supercilious government headed by the Honourable Prime Minister under the eyes of His Excellency Paul Biya. We could have avoided the violence we are seeing now at that time. (Anyways, it is not too late)

Since 1972, when the federal constitution was violated, the Southern Cameroonians have not ceased from manifesting their objection. Where was dialogue? Rather, every time Southern Cameroonians stand up for their constitutional rights, they are seen as enemies of the state. But who is the real enemy?

Dissatisfied for over 44 years, the Southern Cameroonians remained patient still hoping that someday the government will give an ear. 44 years of government aloofness. 44 years of government subjugation. 44 years of marginalisation. 44 years of annexation. 44 years of calling for dialogue to redress the issue to no avail. It is almost clocking half a century and I think enough is enough. The southern Cameroonians at least have the moral obligation to stage a protest.

Lawyers were roughly beaten in a peaceful march. Students molested, maimed and raped. Where was dialogue? Instead of dialogue, Mr. Yang’s government initiated the employment of force against southern Cameroonians. Instead of looking into the problem tabled by the people of the English-speaking regions of Cameroon, Mr. Philemon Yangs government brings in the President’s political party to counter-march. What dialogue are we talking about?

Why the diversions when it is easy to tell the men in uniform to discontinue with the violence while we head on with a level-headed dialogue? What dialogue when armed military men are penetrating the homes of civilians and causing havoc, abridging civil liberties of Southern Cameroonians?

It doesn’t suffice for the PM to stand and ask children to go back to school. Begin by asking why the children are out of school in the first place. That is where dialogue begins. Those children will not go back to school if a long lasting solution is not given to the problems of the Southern Cameroonians. “Constructive dialogue” is not by sending military men to terrorise and tyrannise people into accepting falsehood of the so-called “one and indivisible Cameroon”.

How do we get peace and justice when for over 44 years the government has been indifferent to the problems of those born on the other side of the Mungo River? How do we get peace and justice when even the constitution adopted in 1996, in response to the same Anglophone pressure, is a decoration in government offices and whose effectiveness is only conspicuously seen in the extension of the president Biya’s term limit and the placing of sweeping political power on the president? How do we get peace and justice when there is evident employment of armed compulsion against disarmed victims? How do we get peace and justice when morality and civil rights are being annihilated by the infernal machine called the government forces? How do we get peace and justice when the government switches from the protector to the people’s deadliest enemy?

How do we get peace and justice when policemen have been vested with the right to the wielding of violence against victims deprived of their rights and moral obligations?
A proper government is permitted to use police force to retaliate against criminals and military force against enemies of the state. A proper government is not permitted to initiate force (plus use military force) against its citizens. Any government who initiates force against its own citizens is dictatorial. So then, what “DEMOCRACY” are we talking about in Cameroon?

The southern Cameroonians do not have an army and neither do they want to engage in a violent conflict with the government. It does no good and breeds only violence, instability and hardships. I believe the government is at the best position to initiate peace by calling off the violence and by sending the men in uniform back into their camps.

What the southern Cameroonians need is not war, is not to be suppressed, tortured, browbeaten, ill-treated. They will continue in their moral obligation to protest until a lasting solution is met to the problem because that is exactly what they need. These people have rights that they will not surrender to the government. The government can beat them, shoot and kill them. But their rights will not be taken away. By rights, I also include their educational and legal systems.

Recall that it was the Southern Cameroonians who in 1961 after attaining independence, just like la republic in 1960, decided to join la Republic. It was not vice versa. They chose to give their freedom to a federal united government that will guarantee their Anglo-Saxon education, Common Law judiciary, and the right to happiness. I am not sure any Southern Cameroonian is ready to give up these. That is why they are protesting. And we all know that according to the Declaration of Independence, ”the people have no choice but to replace a government that isn’t protecting their rights”, That explains why the southern Cameroonians are already thinking of federation or secession. There is no need pushing them to the wall. It is up to Mr. Yang’s government to make peace.

I raise up my own voice in this special time of advent, like John the Baptist, to alert the government that the Cameroonians on the other side of River Mungo cannot be compelled to unity by armed coercion; And even if the southern Cameroonians are compelled, forced and their rights violated, they will lie low but the price will be costly: there will be no durable peace in this Cameroon we so dearly love.

Unity, justice and peace can be attained only through a “constructive dialogue” that will provide real solutions to the people’s existential problem. And as it has been suggested, there is a necessity to go back to the roots of the problem and reconcile with the errors of the past in order to build a true, united and peaceful Cameroon. Coercing and strong-arming unity in the Cameroons now will only lead to far more social disorder than allowing prosperous diversity.

JUDE CORZENS #stoptheviolence

Only my humble opinion to dialogue. May God bless Cameroon and give us all the wisdom to choose the right course of action.

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