SW/ NW Women’s Task Force presses for ceasefire as precondition for reconstruction of Anglophone regions

After combatting separatist fighters for close to four years, the Cameroon government says it has plans to begin reconstructing the Anglophone regions where the battle is ongoing.

Many have questioned the possibility as well as genuineness of the action, due to the fact that the war is still ongoing.

One of those raising concerns over government’s reconstruction plan is the South West /North West Women’s Task Force, SNWOT.

The grassroots coalition of female leaders and female-led Civil Society Organisation has carried out a review of the Presidential Plan for the Reconstruction and Development of the restive North West and South West regions.

“The claim by the National Coordinator of the PPRD, Paul Tasong that calm has reduced in the NW by 50% and SW by 70% in the South West is not sustained” the Task Force believes.

It also postulates that “the general plea from the civilian population within these restive regions calls for an immediate ceasefire so that they can live without fear and trauma.”
Acknowledging that recovery is an integral part of the peace process, the women’s task force says “the burning concern now is that the war is still ongoing and this is evident in the atmosphere of tension, insecurity and the destruction of infrastructure which is still rampant in the restive regions. While we acknowledge that the PPRD is a laudable initiative put in place by the government, the South West North West Women’s Taskforce still has concerns and preoccupations”.

The nearly four-year armed conflict in Cameroon’s English-speaking regions has claimed over 3,000 lives and displaced over one million persons according to aid agencies.

SNWOT has provided 12 recommendations to end the bloody conflict if adhered to. Among them, is a call for parties in the conflict to “immediately stop smoking the guns through a call for a ceasefire adhered to by all. This will provide an enabling environment for recovery and mutual understanding towards a peace negotiation.”

It adds “10. The reconstruction should take into account the particular needs of women, children, and persons with disabilities… 7. Representatives of some groups of the Regional follow-up committee should be chosen by members of the groups in question and not appointed by Government… 4. The Government should explore all possibilities to guarantee fast, adequate and impartial action to address the humanitarian and human rights concerns being raised by the population so as to build a sense of security in the people” among others.

Citizens and external bodies are not left out. “All citizens of the country should concern themselves with the peace process so as to monitor, evaluate and hold leaders accountable; all parties to conflict should prepare and present to all citizens and well-wishers a blueprint of their path to a peaceful resolution of the conflict; Africa Union should engage in assisting the government and the other parties to conflict in collaborating for a negotiated settlement, and mutual respect of the post negotiation phase.”

It ends its review by reechoing the need for full support and participation of all categories of persons who make up the population in finding long-lasting solutions.

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