Saturday, June 30, 2018

Famous Anglophone Journalist, Eric Chinje Writes To Head Of State Paul Biya To Express His Thoughts On The Anglophone Crisis

CIN| The author of the letter and the illustrious recipient know each other very well. They met several times in the professional setting in the early 90s when Eric Chinje was on public service in Cameroon.

The former editor-in-chief of Cameroon Television did not write to the head of state to remember the good memory of the latter. His correspondence is a contribution to the resolution of the so-called Anglophone crisis.

"Only you can stop this descent into hell and rekindle the hopes of a better Cameroon. Some have argued that your health may not allow you to organize the necessary turnaround in the politics and approach of the crises we face. You can, however, give firm instructions, and allow me to suggest what such instructions might consist of, "says Eric Chinje in his correspondence, a copy of which is published below.

Excellency, Mr. President,

It is with immense honor and respect that I write to express my opinions on a subject that I believe to be of great importance to you and to our country.

I believe that I am one of the many Cameroonians preoccupied, until the distraction, by the tragedy unfolding in the country. The nation has clearly lost its bearings and a dark and evil cloud seems to hover over our territory, blinding everyone to reason and moral judgment. From where I am, Mr. President, Cameroon appears to be in a state of helplessness, slipping dangerously into an abyss from which it can emerge only after great suffering and great sacrifices.

A person has the power to change the course of events, to turn the tide and to put the country on the path of peace and reconciliation. The most noble spirits in your entourage have certainly already said this: only you can stop this descent into hell and revive the hopes of a better Cameroon. Some have argued that your health may not allow you to organize the necessary turnaround in the politics and approach of the crises we face. You can, however, give firm instructions, and allow me to suggest what such instructions might consist of.

Crises in the east and north of the country are generated from outside and call for the reinforced presence of the national army along the borders with our neighbors, Nigeria and the Central African Republic. You have given standing orders to this effect, and the army has gained the respect of the citizens on both fronts. Outside armies, including the Americans and the French, intervened to help.

The famous Anglophone crisis presents a totally different reality and calls for a completely different approach and leadership strategy. Why? For the simple reason that the crisis is generated internally, supported by a rise in violence perpetuated by extremists who feed each other. This crisis was, in the beginning, only a police problem; Trigger-friendly people around you have seen a chance to bandage their muscles. What we have now is the militarization of a conflict within a family, a fratricidal war in which Cameroonians kill Cameroonians. And who do you think will win this war?

You must find the moral strength and, hopefully, the physical strength to do the right thing in this business, and put an end to this crisis before it turns a single haven of peace into deadly fields and rivers of blood. . Too much suffering, too many lives lost. The smell of death emanates from peaceful homes of innocent villagers while Yaoundé breathes! Mr. President, that's too much! Let me suggest the following actions that you can initiate as a set of instructions to your government:

Withdraw the army with immediate effect and send the police to all areas of conflict in the two English-speaking regions;

Release all incarcerated Anglophones, including those who have been arrested in Nigeria, only to detain those who have specifically and repeatedly called for war;

Immediately allow all remaining detainees access to their national and international lawyers;

Provide budgetary and psychological counseling resources to support all those who have lost their loved ones and homes in villages burned by the army;

Provide financial and psychological support to the families of all soldiers who lost their lives in this unfortunate war;

Engage in constitutional discussions and arrangements based on the specificity of the Anglophone problem and the need to address it in ways that protect the rights of citizens and strengthen national unity;

Engage in consultations that will lead to the rewriting of a new constitution for the country - recognition of the inviolability of the federation of two states that make up Cameroon and effectively decentralize the administration of the country into regional units in order to bring the government closer together of the governed.

Invite the Cameroonian diaspora, the African Union and the United Nations to participate in an open and honest dialogue on the rights, privileges and duties of cultural, linguistic and religious minorities.

Have the new constitution approved by referendum, with majorities in both states;

Call for a day of national prayer and mourning - to be held each year - for all citizens who have lost their lives as a result of the current crisis and which involves all religions and denominations.

I think I can say that the objectives of the ten proposals are quite clear. You may have other ways to reach them, but please consider these suggestions seriously and act accordingly.

I urge you not to be deceived into thinking that there is a military solution to the current crisis. The place you are looking for in the story may eventually be determined by the way you handle this problem.

In the hope that you will find these suggestions useful in the search for a solution to the crisis in our country, I ask you to accept, Mr. Chairman, the expression of my distinguished sentiments.