Dialogue, Dialogue, Dialogue, the only glorified option that is capable of healing gaping wounds in any given conflict or crisis, now seems to have become illusive on the agenda for a lasting solution to what has in the past several decades been referred to as the Anglophone problem.
And if we are resounding the word ‘dialogue’’ it is to emphasize its importance in all crisis resolutions. Which is why, we strongly believe that, the current crisis engulfing the country should not be an exception. Whichever way we look at it, dialogue still remains the only way out. Let us purposefully and earnestly pursue its course.
Fortunately, this perception seems to have become a ubiquitous concern including even to the international community. Most encouraging is that even the head of state has openly declared that the current situation calls for frank dialogue.
Ironically however, time has since been running so fast that the absence of any initiative towards such a dialogue is known to have provoked extremist mind-sets. If we can remind ourselves, We shall discover that it is on record that a Dr. Simon Munzu, who has played a major role in finding a solution to the Anglophone problem as far back as the early nineties, one of the conveners of the All Anglophone Conferences, recently took the initiative of organizing an Anglophone dialogue forum which invited Anglophone Parliamentarians, Senators, Traditional Rulers Elite of the two English speaking regions, to use their positions to persuade the head of state to honour his widely acclaimed declaration on the dialogue issue for him to set up the modalities for a forum for dialogue.
The response by two female members of the National Assembly of the CPDM party was not only discouraging and devastating for an initiative that was considered by many as one step forward, but also fell short of what should be expected from representatives of a people purported to have elected them to speak for them. Their argument was that they rely more on the head of sate’s piecemeal approach, based only on the Teachers’ and Common Law Lawyers’ strike actions.
This was however in total disregard for the root cause of the Anglophone problem. Obviously we have reached a point where we cannot turn away from the course towards a meaningful and frank dialogue, only to adopt mere rhetoric as a way forward.
The truth is that the stage at which the situation has reached today, is certainly not a pleasant one. We think we have allowed time to overtake us on our way. It all started with the call for a return to federalism.
It was encountered by a rebuff that the form of state is non-negotiable. At the time there was ample opportunity for the 1996 constitutional provision of Ten Autonomous regions, backed by an honest decentralisation mechanism, we must certainly have gone far away from what has now given birth to the fragile and extremist thinking in the crisis.
In spite of this however, we cannot allow this to dry away our hope for the option of a meaningful and frank dialogue. After all only recently the Speaker of the National Assembly added his voice to the call for dialogue. Out of the country, The United Nations Secretary General, has also called for government to handle the situation with caution and to adopt a dialogue process that will look into the root cause of the Anglophone problem.
Therefore, if at every turn of the road, the general call is for a frank dialogue that goes right down to the root of the Anglophone problem, so be it. To attempt to ignore such a candid wish is a monumental error. But then, the major question is who has the responsibility to initiate this demanding dialogue. We think there is no one else than the head of state himself.
This being so, we also want to believe that time is running out on us. We urge the head of state to break his silence and give his much needed assurance that the concern shown by everyone in relation to the situation in the country reflects the current global focus on peace as expressed by the world leaders at the just ended U.N. General Assembly, where the head of state fully participated.
Obviously global peace takes its roots from the small unit that is every member-nation of a wider world community. Cameroon forms one of such units. We are known for managing crisis situations. Why not our own crisis right there before our very eyes? Certainly the world will hold us to blame that they admonished us, but we remained adamant and responded only to our little wisdom.