Former Governor of Cameroon’s North West region, David Abouem a Tchoyi believes that the war in the county’s English-speaking regions can end if stakeholders compromise and show goodwill.
The Chairperson of the sub-committee on decentralization during the Major National Dialogue last year said he also thinks some resolutions arrived at during the event will only be able to manifest in the long run.
In an interview with Jeune Afrique Magazine, David Abouem who was one time Minister and Secretary-General at the Presidency (1984-1985) cites some of the recommendations of the dialogue that have begun bearing fruit. They include a Special Status for the North-West and South-West regions, the allocation of at least 15% of State revenue to the general allocation for decentralization, the adoption of the principle of the election of the “city mayor” in place of the government delegate appointed by the state, among others.
These, he said will give the elected officials more powers: “Most of the acts they take are legally enforceable, after transmission to state officials. They can even seize the administrative judge in case of disagreement with the SDO or the Governor.”
Regarding the much-hailed Special Status for the Anglophone regions, Abouem says it “was welcomed by a great majority of the population of these two regions as a recognition of their specificities.”
However, with the status yet to be fully achieved, he believes at this stage “any value judgment on the special status would be based on partial elements.”
Questioned on dialogue as a solution to the Anglophone crisis, the politician reechoed the words of President Paul Biya and PM Dion Ngute who stated that anything could be discussed but secession.
“It, therefore, requires a sufficient dose of goodwill, openness, realism and a spirit of compromise. The propensity for extremism or extremism is not the path of wisdom, because no dialogue can succeed without compromise or renunciation. I remain convinced that Cameroonians can talk to each other, listen to each other, forgive themselves, be reconciled, get along to bring solutions to their problems,” he said.
Quizzed on proposals of federation as a way out, Abouem explained that Cameroon has lived in a federal system for more than ten years.
“It was for economic reasons that, since 1972, it had become a unitary state, before being transformed into a decentralized unitary state.”
“Wouldn’t the right approach consist in presenting, on all levels, the strengths and weaknesses of each? ” he asked.
President Biya’s handling of the over three-year-old war Haas been heavily criticized due to his rigid stance and denial to dialogue, taking cessation off the table.
Not even a ceasefire called for by the UN has been able to materialize, leaving civilians, thousands of whom have perished already, to continue bearing the brunt of the war.
Mimi Mefo Info