Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Cameroon: Presidential pardon for Anglophone detainees imminent!

The Head of State, President Paul Biya has hinted that in the course of the “major national dialogue” to resolve the crisis bedeviling Cameroon’s North West and South West Regions, the possibility of pardon may be considered, under certain conditions.

This was contained in a 30 minutes message to the nation aired Tuesday, September 10, 2019 on nation radio and television and on social media platforms.

Hear Biya: “Admittedly, however, in the context of a dialogue, a peace process or national reconciliation, the possibility of pardon may be considered, under certain conditions.

“It is equally true that in accordance with our Constitution, the Head of State is empowered to exercise the right of pardon.

“It was, moreover, on the strength of this authority that I made a peace offer to members of armed groups during my recent swearing-in ceremony.

“I wish to solemnly reiterate this offer today.  Those who voluntarily lay down their arms and place themselves at the disposal of the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) Centres have nothing to fear. Their fellow armed group members who are already there can testify to this. Conversely, those who persist in committing criminal acts and violating the laws of the Republic will have to contend with our Defence and Security Forces and will face the full force of those same laws.

“The same applies to promoters of hate and violence who, comfortably settled in foreign countries with impunity, continue to incite murder and destruction. Let them know that sooner or later they will have to face justice.

“I am appealing to the countries sheltering these extremists to take action against these criminals if they really care about the situation of the people of the North-West and South-West Regions.

“Most of them no longer have Cameroonian nationality, but they spend their time raising funds to carry out terrorist acts in Cameroon, masterminding acts of arson, kidnappings and murder, and issuing calls aimed at preventing children from attending school and fellow citizens from going about their business peacefully.”

Mancho Bibixy Tse, Penn Terence, Julius Ayuk Tabe, Cornelius Kwanga, Dr Egbe Orock, Barrister Eyambe Ebai, Dr. Fidelis Nde Che, Dr. Kimeng Henry, Dr. Nfor Ngala Nfor, Prof. Augustine Awasum, Barrister Shufai Blaise and Tassang Wilfred as well as other Anglophones standing trial against the People of Cameroon on charges of secession, terrorism, hostility against the state of Cameroon, revolution and the non-possession of their identity cards among other charges could be granted pardon should the dialogue yield fruits.

Call for the respect of rule of law

“The propaganda of secessionists has tried to present the recent court decisions taken against a number of our compatriots in the context of this crisis as an obstacle to the dialogue envisaged.

“That is not the case. I also wish to use this opportunity to stress that respect for the rule of law and the fight against impunity are pillars in the consolidation of a State ruled by law to which we all aspire. Violating the rule of law and granting impunity to some citizens is paving the way for anarchy.

“It is therefore crucial, at this stage, to dispel rumours that one can quietly loot, rape, burn, kidnap, maim, murder, in the hope that a possible dialogue will erase all these crimes and provide impunity to their perpetrators.

“As shown by the experience of many countries in the world, such way of thinking will only encourage the perpetuation of violence in the crisis regions and even encourage it in crisis-free regions.

“We should all work towards a successful dialogue”

The entire national community has high expectations for the dialogue I have just announced and hopes that this will be an opportunity for our brothers and sisters in the North-West and South-West to close this particularly painful chapter, to forget their suffering and to return to normal life.

It also hopes that our country will continue resolutely on the path of progress, through fruitful discussions on ways and means of creating conditions conducive to the optimal exploitation of natural resources and our country's enormous human potential. Therefore, we should all work towards a successful dialogue.

“Over the years, we have used our linguistic and cultural diversity, the talent of our sons and daughters, and our commendable efforts and sacrifices to build a solid country and a strong Nation. Together we have met many challenges and won uncountable victories. We have proven that united there is no difficulty we cannot overcome and no obstacle we cannot cross. We proved it yesterday. We will prove it again today and tomorrow. The future of our compatriots in the North-West and South-West Regions lies within our Republic.”