Cameroon’s Prime Minister, Dion Ngute Joseph has began a peace mission to the restive North West Region presently rocked by a secession insurgency for over two years.
The Head of Government is meeting with opinion leaders, traditional and religious authorities and community heads to broker a peace deal that is increasingly slipping from the hands of Yaoundé.
His untimely encounter with mourning women at the entrance of a heavily militarized Ayaba Hotel Thursday in Bamenda, is telling evidence of how much work he is expected to do, to convince a highly aggrieved people that the government, which has been found wanting by the International Community, in providing adequate solutions to the burning matter still has control of the situation.
In Buea, chief town of the South West Region also engulfed by the crisis, the population has been reacting to the mission of the Head of Government who will also visit the region after his North West sojourn. With the situation escalating despite calls for a peaceful settlement between Government forces and Separatist militia, Elvis Agbor a former primary school teacher who escaped violence in Menji believes that the Dion Ngute peace Mission is utopic.
“Everything the government has done so far has not helped us. We have been calling for inclusive dialogue . But since 2016, the government is not ready to listen to the Anglophones . The former Prime Minister Yang was in Buea and Bamenda, but measures so far has been cosmetic. Nothing will come out from this visit because government thinks asking for reforms to manage our local concerns mean it will lose its powers ,” he says.
Mirabel Mbong, a shop owner in Muea did not even wish to comment when we initially sought to know her take on the Dion Ngute Peace Missions, but reluctantly had to give in when we pressed on. To the woman presently hosting six IDPs from Mamfe, the Prime Minister is already aware of the problem and must be courageous to tell the truth to the President.
“Chief Dion Ngute knows the problem, he should not pretend to come again for findings or the same song his predecessor sang. he should meet the Head of State for urgent but solid actions to be taken. I am personally tired of these meetings which are just a waste of tax payers money. The Bilingualism Commission was here and the resolutions are in his office, he should work on them and stop making a fruitless visit here,” she exploded.
Another inhabitant who chose to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals told us the Prime Minister is simply coming to show himself in his new position. He wonders if he can do anything to end the suffering when he is part of the system. Despite his negative view on the visit, he has proposed that the Government calls for a cease fire, withdraw troops and give a time frame for disarmament by Separatists, discontinue legal proceedings and free all those arrested on account of the crisis to prepare grounds for talks advocated by national and international bodies. The respondent has emphasized that lasting peace can only come if the President discusses with Ambazonian leaders and leaders of various armed groups in the volatile regions . Sideling the Secessionist leaders is counterproductive, he warns.
Other inhabitants on their part say with Internationally pilling on Yaoundé, the visit might offer a glimmer of hope towards a peaceful resolution of the crisis. Ebongole Abram a civil society actor says his hopes are high regarding the Prime Minister’s visit in Buea. He told us,
“The Prime Minister is pragmatic and I know after meeting with some high profile personalities on this issue in Yaounde, this visit affords him a chance to have a first-hand appraisal of the problem. And with that there is light at the end of the tunnel. ”
To a Traditional ruler who ran away from violence in Mbonge subdivision , his fellow customary colleague is welcomed and meeting with him will provide a clear vision on how those seeking refuge in the bushes can return home and start life afresh.
“We also want him to find a solution to the reigning cold war between our Governor and some of our chiefs so that the Administration and Traditional rulers can mutually work for peace.”
At the end of the second preparatory meeting towards the 47th National Day early this week, the Mayor of Buea gladly welcomed news of the imminent visit of Chief Dr Joseph Dion Ngute to Buea. He told reporters that he will organize tours across the municipality in the days ahead to mobilize the population for the upcoming Prime Ministerial touchdown.
By Nsoesie Peter
Mimi Mefo Info