Saturday, February 15, 2020

Anglophone Crisis: the tireless outstretched hand

By Jean Francis BELIBI

In his message to his young compatriots last Monday, the President of the Republic returned to a situation that he has not stopped talking about for some time: that of young people who have been tempted by adventure in the regions North-West and South-West. "Those who have enlisted in armed gangs and who continue to maintain a climate of insecurity in these two regions must lay down their arms," ​​instructed Paul Biya.

Whether in his inauguration speech on November 6, 2018 for the current mandate, or during the end-of-year message to the Nation, passing by the other addresses to his compatriots, the Head of State does not has not stopped reaching out to these young Cameroonians. As head of the "Cameroon family", he invites them to get out of the bush "and find their other young fellow citizens who lead normal lives in society". It should indeed be noted that the situation in the North-West and the South-West today remains mainly supported by young people who have been lulled by illusions about the outcome of the crisis in these two regions. 

However, since November 6, 2018 and even long before, the President of the Republic has not only appealed to reason to his compatriots in this situation. These were followed by solutions to enable them to find a place in society. The day after he was sworn in, the National Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Committee (CNDDR) was created. The State finance law for the year 2020 endowed this structure with a budgetary envelope of five billion F in order to promote the social reintegration of those who, not only in the North-West and South regions West, but also in the context of the fight against the terrorist sect Boko Haram, have chosen to lay down their arms. Before that, other measures have been taken by the government in the framework of the corporatist demands which were at the origin of the crisis in the North West and South West regions. Some even go beyond the expectations of the teachers 'and lawyers' unions behind the situation we are experiencing here. Since these multiple appeals to reason from the President of the Republic, many young people have indeed agreed to return to reason and have returned to active life after being taken in charge, either by the CNDDR or by other structures. 

We still remember that it is moved that many of them from Nigeria were welcomed at the Yaoundé-Nsimalen international airport on December 31, 2019. All of them returned to active life. Freely. Because, when he declared at the end of his speech last Monday: "For the good of our country, I need you", the Head of State was not addressed only to other young Cameroonians, but to all of its young compatriots for whom Cameroon is being built.

Young people, including those who are still in the bush in the two regions concerned, sowing death and desolation in families. A situation that appears to have no future for them. If he continues to reach out to them, the President of the Republic is also entitled to use force recognized by the State to ensure peace and security over the whole of the national territory. 

A right that he refuses to exercise, privileging the voice of dialogue and reason. Preferring as a father, see these children return to the motherland to work for the construction of this new Cameroon which is in the process of being established and which the President of the Republic announced during his message to the Nation on 31 December 2019.

Journalist: Jean Francis BELIBI