Monthly Status Report On The Anglophone Crisis In Cameroon-October 2019

Monthly Status Report On The Anglophone Crisis In Cameroon-October 2019

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Produced by: ERuDeF Center for the Advancement of Women’s Initiatives.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT:

We the ERuDef   Centre for the Advancement of Women’s Initiatives (CAWI) hereby recognizes the contributions of National and International organizations, such as the UN Systems, Danish Refugee Council (DRC), International Refugee Council (IRC), International Organization for Migration (IOM), Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Foundation (LUKMEF), Center for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa (CHADA), FIDA, Human is Life, Reach Out etc. towards the realization of this report, which will help to properly understands the effects and impacts of the Anglophone crisis on the civilians and the nation at large. Special thanks goes to the Press, Radio, and TV stations and other Medias which has enable the organization to collect and put together information and ecstatic’s for the report. Immense gratitude goes to Louis Nkembi, Michael Achanyi, Lucia Nkembi, Mary Mbunya and Joelle Wodjiho for their wonderful contributions toward the greater success of this report.  

EDITORIAL:

The month opened with the Major National Dialogue (MND) which was presided over by the Prime Minister, Head of government Chief/Dr. Dion Ngute Joseph. In the plenary session we had 13 keynote speakers and out of these there were 05 Anglophones. Most of them focused their presentation on looking at the form of the state especially returning to the Federated State. Amongst them were H.E. Peter Mafany Musonge, H.M.Nfon Mukete, Ni John Fru Ndi, His Eminence Christian Cardinal Tumi and Chief/Dr. Atem Ebako.

The dialogue which lasted for five days (September 30th to October 4th 2019) saw the creation of eight commissions which gave rise to eight recommendations at the end of the dialogue. They were transmitted through the Prime Minister to the President of the Republic of Cameroon for the text of application.

As a result of the poor planning and organization of the Major National Dialogue MND, the situation of insecurity in the crisis of the Regions of NW/SW, multiplied during the month of October. There were a lot of killings, abductions, burnings and clashes between the separatists and government forces. There has also been arbitrary arrest and inhuman treatment by both the government forces and separatist fighters.

The increase in violence and insecurity in the Anglophone regions caused the US, EU, Britain, Switzerland and other International organizations to grade the MND as not successful in handling the crisis in the Anglophone regions. The month also the release of some 333 persons involved in the fight against discrimination and marginalization of the Anglophones in Cameroon. It also saw the release of Prof. Maurice Kamto and militants of MRC Party who were jailed for demonstrating against the 2018 presidential election results.

October 2019 was enveloped with the appointment and transfers of Divisional and Sub Divisional Officers all over the country alongside their installations that followed suite. Some installations met with attacks on the convoy of the Governor of the North West Region and that of the Senior Divisional Officer for Meme Division of the South West Region. In line with this attacks, the installation of the Senior Divisional Officer for Lebialem was installed in to his function in Buea and not in Menji, the Divisional headquarter. In all the month of October was a very tense one both on the civilians, separatists and the government officers and forces. 

ERUDEF HUMANITARIAN DIVISION LEADERSHIP:  

                                                                                     

Louis Nkembi,President & CEO
Michael Achanyi, Head of Humanitarian Division
Mary Mbunya- Programmes Officer
Lucia Mbowoh-Director,ERuDeF Centre for the Advancement of Women’s Initiatives

1 INTRODUCTION:

The convening of the Major National Dialogue (MND) by the President of the Republic of Cameroon from September 30 to October 04, 2019 opened up another phase of the Cameroon Anglophone Crisis. The announced Dialogue gave many Cameroonians and International bodies the hope towards seeking lasting solutions to the Anglophone crisis, but that has not been the case. The dialogue which he said will focus on the situation in the North West/South West (NW/SW) Regions on issues of National Interest, such as National Unity, Integration and living together became an issue to find solutions on problems affecting the whole of Cameroon. In this case participants of the dialogue were mostly CPDM Ministers and Surrogates.

The hopes of the Anglophones died out when the organization and the outcome of the Major National Dialogue (MND) did not meet their aspirations. The eight commissions created during the dialogue were all headed by CPDM militants and the most important resolution expected was the reinstatement of a Federal System of Government, but government insisted on a Decentralized System with NW/SW Regions given a Special Status. This has led to series of killings, abductions, burnings and clashes between the None State Armed Groups (NSAGs) and the Government Forces in the Anglophone regions.

This state of anarchy has triggered the US, EU, Switzerland, Britain and the International Community to show particular interest and called on the Government of Cameroon to organize a more inclusive Dialogue without preconditions. Reactions also came from Political and Opinion Leaders in Cameroon with government supporters applauding it as a mile stone, while the federalists and separatists simply considered it as a non- event.

2. EVENTS OF THE MONTH OF OCTOBER 2019.

2.1 The Major National Dialogue (MND):

Prime Minister opening the Major National Dialogue, September 30th 2019

Announced on September 10, 2019, the Major National Dialogue (MND) opened its door on September 30, 2019 with the plenary session which had in the Agenda, the singing of the National Anthem by some 30 Separatist Fighters who have laid down their arms and are in the Demobilization, Disarmament and Reintegration Centers (DDRC). Speeches came from some Political and Opinion Leaders, Clergy, a representative of the separatist and the Prime Minister who opened the dialogue.

Singing Of National Anthem By Some Separatist Fighters.
A Representative Of The Separatist Fighters Addressing The Participants.

Then came the formation of eight commissions which were:-Bilingualism; Cultural Diversity; Education; Justice; Reconstruction and Development; Decentralization and Local Governance; Demobilization/Disarmament/Reintegration and Diaspora.  

Cross- sections of some commissions seating during the Dialogue.

These commissions were mostly chaired by Cameroon People Democratic Movement (CPDM) supporters, Ministers and Directors. Most Anglophones were only participants and were put in those commissions which they had little or nothing to contribute. That is why on the second day most of them came to the press especially on Equinox TV to complain out rightly to the Cameroonians in general and Anglophones in particular on the state of issues taking place at the Congress Center.

The Major National Dialogue (MND) went well with many more separatist fighters laying down their arms and joining their counterparts at the dialogue center as days were by. Five generals from the SW Region representing the separatist from Fako Division and six others from the NW Region also joined.

 While the Major National Dialogue (MND) was going on the President of the Republic signed a communique on the 3/10/2019 ordering the discontinuing of proceeding pending before the military tribunals against some 333 persons arrested for misdemeanors in connection with the crisis and they were released immediately. This was in a bit to give Major National Dialogue (MND) more meaning towards searching for lasting peace.

2.1.1 KEY RECOMMENDATIONS ARRIVED AT IN THE MAJOR NATIONAL DIALOGUE

Partial view of the Congress Hall during the Dialogue
Some Cameroon Bishops who took part in the Dialogue.

At the end of the Major National Dialogue (MND) the following key recommendations were specifically highlighted by the General rapporteur:

  1. Grant a special status to the North West and South West Regions in conformity with section 62 sub 2 of the constitution of the republic.
  2. Take specific measures to ensure equality of English and French in all aspects of life.
  3. Reinforce the autonomy of decentralized local entities
  4. Improve upon the infrastructure of judicial services throughout the country.
  5. Straighten the humanitarian assistance programs to better serve internally Displaced Persons.
  6. Institute a special plan to reconstruct the conflict areas.
  7. Popularize the head of states offer of amnesty to combatants who dropped their weapons and enter the reintegration progress.
  8. Create a team responsible for mediation with radicalized members of our diaspora.

These recommendations were forwarded to the President of the Republic via the Prime Minister Chief Dr Ndion Ngute Joseph who was the chairperson of the Major National Dialogue (MND). The nation at large and Anglophones in particular are still waiting on the implementation of the recommendation and if it will actually solve the Anglophone crisis.

2.2THE IMPACT OF THE MAJOR NATIONAL DIALOGUE:

The Major National Dialogue (MND) that was orchestrated by the deepening Anglophone crisis ended up with profound consequences not only in the crisis regions but also on the entire Nation as will be noted below.

2.2.1 THE IMPACT ON THE ANGLOPHONE REGIONS

The Major National Dialogue (MND) which ended hitch free with eight recommendations put in place to bring peace on the Anglophone crisis, has instead aggravated the situation in the Anglophone regions of Northwest and Southwest. The release of some 333 Anglophones involved in the struggle has not solved any problem, because some reports say there are more than 3000 persons still detained and that the state cannot give an account of those who have disappeared. “Source: dailynewscameroon.com of 14th October 2019”. Instances to manifest dissatisfaction and disapproval of the Major National Dialogue (MND) abound: – there was the killing of a female prison guard while the dialogue was going on; there were also more clashes between government forces and separatist in Lebialem Division of the Southwest Region and Bali Nyonga in the Northwest Region. In some parts of the Anglophone regions the separatist(Ambazonians) celebrated their Independence day on the 1st of October 2019 with pump and fan fair especially in Lebialem division and some parts of the Northwest Region as videos circulated the social medias.

Many more incidents came up as a prove that the Major National Dialogue (MND) has not met its goal: – the continuous harassment of vehicles on the Buea-Kumba highway by Non State Armed Groups (NSAGs); the attacks workers of the Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC) in Tiko by armed men, in which six wounded and who are presently receiving medical treatment at the hospital, reason being to stop work in the CDC. There was also the mutilating and murder of police officer in Bamenda, on Sunday October 20, 2019 whose head was only found on the street. The death of many Anglophones on their way to USA through Ecuador and Mexico fleeing the crisis in the Anglophone regions has become the cry of the day in the North West and South West Regions. Sources: Cameroon-info.net.

2.2.2 THE IMPACT ON THE NATION:

The organizational expenses of the Major National Dialogue (MND) have a negative impact on the government as much money was spent but the expected impact is yet to be felt. 800 participants were taken care of in terms transportation, lodging and subsistence. The Major National Dialogue MND has also led to psychological frustration as it has come and gone without the victims realizing any impact in their lives especially the IDPs who remained in the their secondary locations.  In an attempt to meet with the demands of some public opinions the President equally ordered the release of Maurice Kamto and other members of the MRC party on the 5/10/2019.

President Paul Biya’s trip to France after the dialogue also met with demonstration from the “Brigade Anti- Sardinard” in Paris which led to about 10 persons wounded as they clashed with security forces of France.

2.3 OTHER EVENTS OF THE MONTH

Other events of the month of October after the Major National Dialogue (MND) was the government reshufflement of its Divisional and Sub Divisional Officers across the country. This shake up was just to change faces but the new comers will remain loyal to the ruling Cameroon People Democratic Movement (CPDM) to address their actions in the minority Anglophone regions.

The month also saw the establishment of a vigilante and community policing program in Bamenda, the Regional head quarter of Northwest Region. The initiative was launched in mid-October which saw groups of young men being given megaphones, motorbikes and metal detectors to carry out neighborhood patrols and alert the army when they come across suspected secessionist fighter.

The arrest of Rev. Fr. Paul Njokikang on the October 20, 2019, Catholic Priest and Coordinator of the catholic aid organization (CARITAS) also made another news item in the month. He was arrested for testifying at the UN about the deteriorating situation in the English speaking regions of Northwest and Southwest of Cameroon.

The Non State Armed Groups (NSAGs) on their part intensified their attacks on government officials and civilians as can be seen below:- The attacks on the convoy of the Governor of the Northwest region and that of the Senior Divisional Officer for Meme Division in the Southwest Region on their tripe to the installations of Divisional and Sub Divisional Officers newly appointed. The killing of former combatant (Ambe Polycarp) who laid down his arms as part of a government disarmament program as well as some members of the vigilante groups in Bamenda. There was also the kidnapping and torture of a school teacher in Kumba, Southwest Region who was only released after hefty ransom was paid.

3 REACTIONS FROM INTERNATIONAL AND FOREIGN BODIES

With the Major National Dialogue (MND) on the Anglophone crisis, many foreign countries and international bodies supported the idea and sent congratulatory messages to the President of the republic. But the dialogue turned out to be one party affair (CPDM) and not to solve the Anglophone crisis. The 800 participants invited went there to enjoy themselves and came back with their pockets full. In this light, the US and the EU council wrote back to condemn the outcome of the dialogue. They called on the Cameroonian government to organize a new and inclusive dialogue without preconditions.

The US, as well as some other International Organizations are not happy with the outcome of the Major National Dialogue MND which has resulted to more violence. The US embassy press statement says “more violence is not the solution. We are calling on all parties involved in the conflict in the regions of North West and South West to restrain from new acts of violence and embarked on an open dialogue without precondition” statement issued in Yaoundé on October 10, 2019. The US has also decided to suspend all trade deals with the Republic of Cameroon because of the atrocities committed on the Anglophones by the government forces. Sources: “The guardian post newspaper of 31st October 2019”. Still in light of the Major National Dialogue MND the French government expresses the desire to accompany the Cameroon government in the appeasement efforts.

4. – ASSESSING THE ERUDEF HUMANITARIAN STRATEGY: EXTEND OF IMPLEMENTATION:

The ERuDeF Humanitarian Strategy is actually been carried out with the Team put in place by the CEO of the Organization. As concern reaching out to the global community and convey the increasing intensity and consequences of the Anglophone crisis, ERuDeF Centre for the Advancement of Women’s Initiatives (CAWI) has written and published the 2nd Edition of it Monthly Status Report on the Cameroon Anglophone Crisis in September 2019 and it has been circulated and included in the website.

The EHD in its collaborative strategy works closely with the UN OCHA Office and other INHRG’s in the crisis regions. We attend meetings and workshops concerning all the clusters and take active part in the Protection Working Group on “Access to Justice and the Rule of Law” for the production of Legal documents such as Birth Certificates, National Identity Cards etc. to IDPs in crisis. EHD also fill and submits 5Ws templates in all the clusters and the protection indicators monthly reports to the different cluster coordinators in the UN Systems. All of these is to improve on the Humanitarian Response Program in the crisis.

The EHD also reach out to the IDPs where they are registered, given psycho-social counselling and support while providing them with some financial, food and Non Food Items as a quick response to their needs. Trainings are organized especially with female IDPs on soap making for home consumption and marketing to better improve on their livelihood in their new locations. Some 42 IDPs School children of Labialem highlands were given scholarships comprising of Fees payment, school bags and books in Dschang, Menoua Division of the West Region. This is in a bit to reduce the phenomenon of Child-Soldier and Juvenile Delinquency.

ERuDeF CAWI donates Scholarships to IDP Children of the Lebialem Highlands.

  5. – FUNDING STATUS OF THE HUMANTAIRIAN PROGRAM IN ANGLOPHONE CAMEROON:

Funding the Cameroon Anglophone crisis still remains a big issue to the International community. This is because the UN-Systems are still collecting information on the field about the crisis as was reported by the UN-OCHA representative in Buea. She called on all Organizations involved in the humanitarian assistance and protection to give concrete information on the situation in the field without any duplication. It is these information that they will present to the International body showing the gravity of the crisis on civilians, the economy and the ecosystem.

 It is estimated that 1.9 million people need humanitarian Assistance in the Anglophone regions because of the crisis. Half of whom are children. (Sources: UNICEF Report.) Marixie Mercado was talking at the UN head quarter in Geneva Switzerland stating a fast growing humanitarian emergency now affecting all most 2million people. The OCHA Spokesperson revealed that three school girls were kidnapped in the month of October 2019. She also noted that, lack of funds continues to be a major issue in Cameroon Anglophone crisis with the sum of $299million appeal for 2019 but only 41% has been funded. Sources: cameroo-info.net of 6/11/2019.

 6. – Conclusion. 

The events of the month of October after the Major National Dialogue (MND) makes it clear that neither the Government nor the Non State Armed Groups have any plans to change their violent approach to the crisis. In fact fighting has only increased and the two sides appear as fixed in their positions as ever.

The Secessionists are insisting that they will only meet the Government if talks are mediated by a third party such as Switzerland. The government is rejecting all offers of any legitimate mediator in order to solve crisis. The externally- guaranteed negotiation is the only way out to stop the bloodshed and end up the atrocities in the two English Speaking Regions of Cameroon.

However the Major National Dialogue (MND) came up with eight recommendations which are pending applications especially the special Status to be granted to the Anglophone Regions of Cameroon. While waiting for the application of recommendations, more killings, harassments, abductions and other inhuman treatments are being instituted on youths especially males between 15 to 30years by the Government forces.

About ERuDeF                                                                   

The Environment and Rural Development

Foundation (ERuDeF) was founded in

1999. It is the leading national conservation

Charity in Cameroon with a team of 126.

Its operations spread across Cameroon and Central Africa.

About the Centre for the Advancement of Women’s Initiatives

The ERuDeF Centre for the Advancement of Women Initiatives (CAWI) was created in 2010 as a semi-autonomous Institution of ERuDeF responsible for leading its gender and humanitarian divisions. 

Publisher: Louis Nkembi, Managing Editor:Michael Achanyi, Editor in chief: Lucia Nkembi, Editor: Mary Mbunya, Correspondences ;West Region: Helen Agendia Littoral:Ursula NkafuSouth West: Ebenezer Nkegoah
For all inquiries contact: info.cawi@yahoo.com hq@erudef.org
POBox 189 Buea, SW Cameroon
www.erudef.org; www.cawicameroon.org
Tel: +237 699122904, +237 697780402

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