: Oct 1,2022
The Colbert Factor:
Open Letter to the Prime Minister, Head of Government, Chair, Major National Dialogue
Dear Chief Dr. Dion Ngute, Prime Minister, Head of Government
I would like to commend the job you and your team have been doing in relation to the follow-up of the implementation of the resolutions of the Major National Dialogue held in 2019, convened by President Paul Biya andl chaired by you.
The resolve by you and your team to not only make sure the resolutions arrived at are implemented but that what your committee does is also seen to be done smacks of the beginning of an open and somewhat accountable government Cameroonians since longed for.
From Buea in 2020, through Bamenda in 2021, to Yaounde this 2022, your follow-up committee have been committed to explaining all your means and processes of implementing your achievements so far. They have ranged from reconstruction, reconstitution of lost documents, resettlement of IDPs to community peace building services; which are part of the Presidential Plan for the reconstruction of the North West and South West Regions.
I am also gladdened by the fact that beyond inviting the diaspora to the 2019 Major National Dialogue, the UN has so far registered over 15 dialogue attempts by your office towards activists living abroad.
I am particularly pleased with the fact that you were convincing enough to bring the Presidency to understand the need for a robust follow-up committee. If those who were there in 1993 were good-natured enough to push the Presidency to create a Follow-up committee of the resolutions of the Tripartite Conference, we wouldn’t have found ourselves where we are today, as although the 1996 constitution- fruit of the Tripartite Conference instituted decentralization- no one ever cared to follow up its fast-tracking.
Being an open-minded top government functuonary with a predisposition to listen to all well-meaning voices, and while thanking you for the job done so far, I humbling remind you that a lot more needs to be done for history to document you as the one man that was needed for the resolution of the Anglophone minority conflict in Cameroon. So far, you seem to be one Prime Minister Biya is predispose to listen to. That’s why it is said that he appointed you in the first place, to help him resolve the Anglophone minority conflict. Your humility in handling matters so far is proof positive President Biya wasn’t wrong in his choice, and at this critical moment. And that’s why you must continue to employ the boldness of purpose in profering suggestions to him on how to quickly bring this conflict to an end.
Mr. Prime Minister. Head of Government, as I write to you, streets in the two English-speaking regions continue to be painted with blood, pain and suffering, borne of a crisis that could have avoided if your predecessors were foresighted. As I write to you, many Cameroonians (francophones and Anglophones inclusive), are of the informed opinion that your efforts would be more meaningful and lasting if a political solution rather than just humanitarian, is found to this conflict that continues to cut down youths from both sides, in their prime.
His Excellency, in the same light, I make bold to signal to you that since the start of the conflict, three governance alternatives have been animating the air as possible solutions to end the Anglophone conflict, that is; decentralization, federalism and outright independence. Now that from all indications, your government is overwhelmingly beginning to be insisting on the content and not the container, can you begin to impress on your government to begin uploading the contents of genuine federalism or internal autonomy contents into the Special Status, since the name of the container your government seems to be comfortable with is, Special Status?
His Excellency, has it not been explained in government’s own pamphlet on ‘Special Status in Simple Terms’ that the Special Status is a ‘Confession-by government that Cameroon is an imperfect Union’ and, an ‘Admission-that North West and South West have some longstanding grievances’, and that only a systematic framework of addresseing them can bring the conflict to and end?
Mr. Prime Minister, Head of Government, now that it behooves on government more than anyone else, to deliver on their Special Status option for a solution to the ragging Angloohone conflict, and as the surest way government can ensure Cameroon continues to remain one and indivisible; would it not be in Yaounde’s interest to go beyond patting itself on the back for implementing MND resolutions, to making the two English speaking regions autonomous special status regions of the likes of Jammu and Kashmir in India or like what obtains in Canada with Quebec?
Your Excellency, I identify with those Cameroonians who have no quarels with decentralization, but for the fact that the Cameroon-type is not decentralized enough. For this reason, your Follow-Up Committee members would do well to borrow from John Locke’s tabula rasa theory of the minds ability and freedom to author its soul to the exclusion of the basic identity of the human species which cannot be altered.
Could there be a better way for Yaounde authorities to proof to the world that they are taking all views into consideration for the building of a new Cameroon that President Paul Biya announced on December 31, 2019, than factoring in elements of the draft constitutions Anglophone think-tanks have so far proposed, in building a veritable autonomous Special Status for the North West and South West Regions? And just like Quebecois attend ‘Le Jeux de la francophonie’ with a Quebecois-only football team (not Canadian national team), could such arrangements not be made in Cameroon to enable Anglophones attend Commonwealth games with Anglophone-only football team, not Cameroon national team as has obtained in the past.
That could be another way for government of Cameroon to signal its readiness for genuine and inclusive dialogue, given that no political science theory exist to the fact that one dialogue, however major it could be, has ever completely resolved an ideological and armed conflict in the world.
Luckily for you Mr. Prime Minister, the General Code on Decentralization that brought in the Special Status offers allowance for the two Public Independent Conciliators to make all kinds of proposals to the Head of State on any changes that can be made for the Special Status regions to function better. Could this not be a subject of reflection with them?
*Colbert Gwain is digital space citizen/native, author, radio host and content creator @TheColbertFactor