Just as was the case in 2018 during the Senatorial Elections and later, the Presidential Elections, Cameroonians are expected to vote in general elections in an uncertain security situation in the country’s North West and South West Regions.
As time ticks away to the February 9 municipal and legislative elections, the atmosphere in the two crisis-ravaged regions is thick with the specter of terror, horror and uncertainty – indeed blood flows and the people weep as soldiers wreak havoc.
The heavy militarisation of the North West and South West regions plus the separatists’ threats to scare people away from voting, inspires full-scale belligerence between the two camps.
Candidates, especially those of the opposition SDF party, are being kidnapped here and there.
These security concerns constitute logical fuel for the observers who wonder how such elections can be shrouded in the much needed people-inspired potency and legitimacy. Because of the ominous atmosphere, people are leaving the two regions in droves as both sides of the divide charge for battle. If such a situation is not reversed, only divine intervention will stop the polls from being just another whimsical electoral selection – a celebration of a bloody democracy that may be President Paul Biya’s legacy for the central African country.
This explains why some politicians and people of goodwill are calling on President Paul Biya to once more postpone the elections and seek a lasting solution to the Anglophone crisis before re-convening the electorate.
The current crisis bedevilling Cameroon has all the ramifications of a jinx. Such a blow-out that is a mirage of all socio-economic and political complexions, cuts the posture of an enigma of sorts.
Otherwise, it is a hydra-headed crisis that remains amorphous in its lethal form. That is why the country is being called sorts of derogatory names in the international public space. It is an albatross that has attracted all kinds of curses and recriminations.
Thus, it will be an act of sheer lunacy for every actor in the crisis to continue to pull his own side of the blanket, allowing the country to sink deep down the abyss of a full-blown civil war. And this would be happening ironically just after the much-touted Major National Dialogue and much brandished Special Status for the North West and South West Regions.
In that case, Cameroon, a giant nation, will be nothing more than a whimpering dwarf and pseudo state with a bleak future. God forbid!
But what informs the recent killings and arsons in Bali, Bui, Kupe-Muanenguba, and several other villages in the troubled area? Could Ndansi Elvis be right when he says President Biya is using soldiers to erase the history of Anglophones by killing its strongest and destroying its finest?
As a modern nation, Cameroon is saddled with the responsibility of braying at the sinners who stoke the fires of altercation through acts of commission and omission. We must hurl the indicating salvo at those whose minds seem to have been monochromatically programmed to break rules. They throw societal normative patterns
to the dogs and behave as if citizens did not exist, let alone matter at all.
Otherwise, a tiny coterie of self-seekers would not gag citizens from discussing what form of state they are comfortable with. The politburo sycophants and emergency patriots adopt indecent decorum in order to suit their frames. They are averse to every socio-economic, cultural and
political rule of decency, but expect things to work out well in this country. This is nothing less than outrage to the country’s moral being.
The Anglophone crisis is just one of the treacherous orchestrations whose consequences have put national unity and national integration on the line. Did anybody think about our lofty ideals as a corporate entity when they declared that Anglophones do not have a right to marshal their destiny?
Did anyone think about national unity in the arrest of citizens west of the Mungo and trying them in an alien legal system, using a language they do not understand grievances of interest postulates the supremacy of the nation over any other consideration. This means that the powers that be can negotiate even with the devil just for peace to reign in our country. This is why calls for general amnesty and the application of nolle prose-quai on exiled Anglophone activists and leaders continue to appear in the cascade of proposals like a bad coin in the market.
Such a move will only be in tandem with the spirit of appeasement and reconciliation that this country badly needs. That way, we would ignore our detractors and shame those who are seeking to put the nation in the murky waters. We will then
forge ahead with our development objectives with zeal and zest.
As complicated as it is, the crisis can only be a distraction from the lofty development goals that President Biya has set for
Such distractions will bring more insomnia to a president who vowed not to sleep until there is food on every table.
Yet, it is now common etiquette for some soapbox hypocrites to pretend to be loyal to President Biya but continue to do the exact opposite of what he wants to achieve in his legacy. Many of them, who profess national unity and integration, are incapable of transcending the tribal incubus.
Before the issue was treated with so much scorn and nonchalance, the Anglophone problem was so trivial a quarrel that could easily be settled over a fireside chat.
Thus, we did not need to get into this fulmination that has claimed over 3,000 lives and razed down our 400 villages in the two regions. If those in charge had kept a tab on events, marshaled the aspirations of the people and submitted fact-filled reports to the president on the issue, they would have averted the current problem.
From every indication, the armada of technocrats, intellectuals and other advisers surrounding the president has switched off their brains and now reason only with their stomachs. It is unfortunate that once these experts are appointed into government, they rather join the Essingan dining table and forget their role. They shirk responsibility and do a moral and intellectual summersault. Otherwise, President Biya and his country will not be basking in this hellish heat. Those who are in a mad hurry, lining their pockets from the luxuriant war economy keep sounding the trumpets of war, praying that the crisis should not end soon.
When the darkening firmament reared its ugly head, many rang the alarm bell. They admonished that the Anglophone problem was a potentially explosive situation that needed just a spark to stir the hurly-burly. It forewarned that the anger of the marginalised Anglophones was swelling like a mighty storm that could sweep away the peace that we had all been enjoying. Nobody from the establishment seems to have
taken this seriously. The reaction was inaction and the silence that mark autocratic disdain on issues of grave national import.
Thus, what finally lurked behind the mask of commonplace of the grievances of the Anglophone teachers and lawyers was just the micro picture of the Anglophone
crisis. The consequences of such a situation are even more momentous because of the gruesome mutuality between fact and fiction in the rampaging dichotomy between spin doctors on both sides of the divide.
Yet, crying over spilled milk would not help. One thing those who call the shots should do to get out of this predicament is to be loyal to God, the Cameroonian people and the constitution both in letter and in spirit.
One way to achieve this is to put every decision on the scale and weigh its consequences in tandem with the general interest of the nation. Anyone who says the exacerbation of the crisis is not the fallouts of the politics of poor counselship, arrogance, pretence and wrong decisions, should be examined by a psychiatrist.
It is safer for power-wielders to exercise their authority with caution in order not to commit abuses that will be counter-productive sooner
or later. In that case, one must keep a good distance from the Machiavellian maxim which holds that “power is like an aphrodisiac for more power”.
People in position of power become stronger when they extend their olive branch to the belligerent weak. As peace crusader, Barrister Ntumfor Nico Halle, puts it “Violence is the weapon of the weak, while dialogue (peace) is the weapon of the strong”.
If the authorities had listened to and heeded the advice of this international legal luminary, the so-called legitimate violence of the state against its people would have been avoided. If they had lent a listening ear, Ayuk Tabe and other separatist leaders would not still be in jail and the nation would not be in this welter of blood and death.
For their part, had the separatist leaders given a listening ear, they would have stopped and pondered over the bloody consequences of the armed struggle on the Anglophone masses. For close to four years, it has been a gory jeremiad of extrajudicial killings, lockdowns, arson, economic and academic suicide, kidnapping, arrest, torture, including maiming. From every indication, the target seems to be hurling terror on the Anglophone masses. Haba!
Right now, the two regions have been heavily militarised, but kidnappings and lockdowns are running riot. It is not unconnected to this belligerence that one artist has composed a song, calling on the fighters and the soldiers to engage in rampant love making so that they can easily ignore the war. This distress call has nothing to do with kinky sex that Casanovas enjoy so much.
The emphasis has been on the protagonists to show love for fatherland by embracing peace, true reconciliation, justice and appeasement. Let us give a chance to peace and a sense of justice in our hearts and minds.
For, peace without justice remains ephemeral. Justice and peace be with you all!