The dust is yet to settle over today’s happenings at the Yaounde Conference Center today. By 10AM, the much talked about National Dialogue was set to begin with hundreds of participants at the venue. Politicians, journalists, religious authorities, economic operators just to name a few were all present at the heavily guarded area as supposed ex-amba fighters led the singing of the national anthem.
Ex-amba fighter Yannick Kawa later took to the podium, going on to ad lib after stumbling several times on the prepared script.
“We were treated as second class citizens in our own fatherland and that is the reason why we picked up arms against our country” he said. This he noted is in addition to the biased way competitive entrance examinations n the country are handled. He went on to urge other separatist fighters in the bushes to lay down their arms.
“Is this country a bilingual country or a French speaking country?” he asked.
Another highlight of the day was when PM Dion Ngute during his speech bought out a lady he said is an ex-amba fighter and had just surrendered.
Social media posts have since suggested she had been a pro-regime activist all along.
In his opening word, the PM reminded all present that the future of Cameroon is in their hands.
“By deciding to invite Cameroon’s constructive forces to this Major National Dialogue, President Biya makes each of us fully responsible for the fate of our country” PM Dion Ngute noted.
The situation in the North-West and South-West Regions Dion Ngute told those present “must challenge and concern us, but above all, it must oblige us all, individually and collectively, regardless of our regions of origin, our political or religious convictions, to achieve a result, that is, to restore peace and tranquility in these two Regions”.
“Throughout our work, let us live up to the expectations that the Head of State and our compatriots have placed in us” he added.
Conspicuously absent at the dialogue platform, were key actors in the Ambazonian Revolution. Fighters on the ground and their leaders in the diaspora, were not present. “We want dialogue mediated by a 3rd party and on a neutral ground, not in Cameroon,” the leaders have maintained.
While everything appeared to be going on well at the dialogue venue, a majority of those present from the ruling CPDM party, a different atmosphere was felt by others. From the persons living with disabilities and some political party leaders said to have been denied entry to the reputable media organs sidelined, the ‘bad faith’ of the government.
Pressmen covering the event too were at one point restricted from speaking to delegates. Discussions amongst assigned delegates continue behind closed doors.
While the SDF Chair, Ni John Fru called for two state federation, Dr. Simon Munzo, a renown political figure in Anglophone Cameroon opted for a ten-state federation.
With day one ending on a light note, much more is expected from participants tomorrow as they eventually get to work.
The conflict hit North West and South west regions on their part were void of the camaraderie and happy faces at the conference center.
Mimi Mefo Info