Today, this presumption that what the government spokesperson dishes out as the truth, may not actually be the truth per se, is now being challenged. Since the outburst of what is now universally acknowledged as the Anglophone problem, not much of what Minister Tchiroma says seems to be taken with the same validation as it had been before. For example, in a statement issued from the Bamenda Episcopal conference held on Wednesday October 4, 2017, the Bishops indicted the government’s spokesperson for, in their own words ‘’blatantly telling lies to the nation either because he was not adequately briefed, or because he deliberately wanted to manipulate the public and international opinion’’.
The Bishop’s embarrassment is that the minister of communication lavished praises on the military for what he described as an act of professionalism displayed by the military, in total disregard of the ‘’brutality and barbarism’’ meted out on the population. The Bishops now tend to believe that the minister was not adequately informed of the true situation and that they stand fast and firm on their position in criticizing government on the use of force, torture, harassment, capture and killing of unarmed protesters, who were exercising their civic rights to demonstrate peacefully.
We regret that things have reached this stage where the population has to doubt the truths over one issue that borders on the lives of a people. For instance, Minister Issa Tchiroma has maintained his position that the military acted professionally on October 1 in the North West and South West regions. He even went farther to warn media houses not to broadcast or publish anything indicating that the military carried out genocide in Anglophone Cameroon. In the minister’s words, any information published, that the military carried our genocide in Anglophone Cameroon is false.
Without much doubt, we would want to believe the Honourable minister that such information may be false. But in doing so, we are only creating a vacuum that must be filled by one of the two ‘’truths’’ that is, the Bishop’s ‘’Truth’’ and Tchiroma’s ‘’Truth’. It is indeed a perplexing situation to a population that faces a problem that calls for a solution on the one hand, and a nation whose very foundation is being shaken.
It is our belief that these two ‘’Truths’’ can be welded into one, through a thorough investigation of what really happened, instead of hasty conclusions which at the end of the day, will only portray the country as one in which confidence in ourselves has lost its grip on us, and that on every issue, we have to find ourselves on a collision course.
For instance, six Catholic Bishops of the Bamenda Episcopal Provinces are believed to have published a booklet on the alleged genocide committed in the North West and South West regions between September 22, and October 1, 2017. Reports of which, it is also alleged, after serious deliberations, have been forwarded to the Vatican for onward transmission to the United Nations Security Council.
If actually this is the case, such a booklet could form the basis of establishing what the Bishops actually refer to as genocide. We also want to believe that such a document should not have been hurried out without first of all exploiting it here fully. Although everyone has the right to doubt the truth of the Bishop’s findings on the situation, it would never the less throw some light where darkness has now overshadowed the truth and we are being swayed from the Bishop’s declaration to Tchiroma’s conviction. Arguing the way we are struggling to find who is telling the truth is obviously leading us nowhere.
We have always insisted that the solution to our problem lies in our own hands and we strongly believe that we can solve same without necessarily shedding the blood of the same people we call brothers of a one and indivisible nation. Our major concern on this issue is what now looks like the determined aloofness of the head of state from the problem currently facing the nation. The population, not only of the Anglophones regions but of the whole country, and of course even the international community, are worried by Mr. President’s silence. We will certainly not stop sounding and re-echoing the global call for dialogue. It is the only way out.