Cameroon’s Prime Minister, Joseph Dion Ngute on April 03, 2020, appointed Paul Tasong and Donatus Njong, as the National Coordinator and deputy National Coordinator respectively of the Presidential Plan, for the Reconstruction and Development of the Northwest and Southwest regions, PPRD-NW/SW.
The two men who hail from unarguably the most hit divisions, Lebialem in the Southwest Region and Bui in the Northwest Region have been described as square pegs in square holes. Paul Tasong is the current Minister Delegate at the Ministry of Economy Planning and Regional Development while Njong Donatus had served as the mayor of Kumbo for over two decades.
Placed under the supervision of Cameroon’s Prime Minister, PPRD-NW/SW aims at releasing projects in the two crisis hit regions, with particular focus on rehabilitation and development of basic infrastructure, economic revitalization and the promotion of social cohesion. The National Coordinator PPRD-NW/SW, Paul Tasong has projected that 12000 houses will be constructed in the Northwest and Southwest Regions of Cameroon.
A right decision at a wrong time?
The Anglophone crisis in Cameroon is one of the most complex identity crisis in the World. The crisis which started in 2016 has endured beyond the expectation of many, including those who started it (Anglophone teachers and lawyers). Many has termed the appointment of these men as one of the many cosmetic ways the government of Cameroon has been using to solve the crisis; more or less trying to please the international community. Conventional wisdom tells us that reconstruction comes after the end of war. The Anglophone Crisis is far from over, and speaking of reconstruction is nothing less than the proverbial saying of “putting the cart before the horse”.
It is very true that Separatists fighters had earlier on declared a cease fire. This declared cease fire to say the least, doesn’t imply that the war it over; the ceasefire was declared in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak, that has taken the world unaware.
Paul Tasong, the coordinator of the PPRD-NW/SW had earlier on projected that 12000 houses will be built I the NW and SW regions of Cameroon. This sound pleasing in the ears of course, but the question that many are tempted to ask is, “who will live in these houses”. There are over 60,000 Anglophone Cameroonians living as refugees in Nigeria according to UNHCR. Eight hundred of them fled the country of recent. The government of Cameroon has no comprehensive plan of bringing back these Cameroonians. More so, it is very difficult to say whether these refugees will accept, if the Cameroon government were to sponsor their coming back to Cameroon.
All of these boils down to one thing, the Cameroon Anglophone Crisis need to be tackled from a historical point of view, that is to say the root causes must be tackled first. Reconstruction and whatever can come in any order. Reconstruction in another sense starts from the mind and if the mind is not reconstructed, how would reconstruction in the real sense of it be carried out?
How do we reconstruct when Separatists leaders led by Julius Ayuk Tabe are languishing in jail? These men, no matter how the Cameroon government calls them, have a say as far as the Anglophone crisis is concerned.
Well, Paul Tasong and Donatus Njong should be given a chance and see the type of reconstruction and rehabilitation they will do in the Northwest and Southwest Regions of Cameroon. Time is running out!