By Andrew Nsoseka & Njodzeka Danhatu
The author of “Cameroon will never be the same again” Dr Christopher Fomunyoh, has called on Cameroonians, to take a decisive stand against violence, in order to prevent further State disintegration and collapse, a path he fears the country is currently heading to.
To Fomunyoh, Cameroon needs a holistic approach to end the killings in the two English speaking regions. With the present crisis and the just ended presidential election, the Author and human rights advocate observes that “Today, Cameroon is more divided, more polarized, more fragile and more insecure than ever before in its modern history.”
He made the call on November 18 as he presented ten points which to him, if applied, will put an end to the crisis that has rocked the Anglophones regions of Cameroon, as well as solve the political issues that have been left behind, by the presidential elections that has left many disgruntled.
He outlined that “On peace and security, we need a holistic approach to stop the killings in two English speaking regions.”
Dr Chris Fomunyoh writes that “Despite the legal trappings of today’s government, its legitimacy is seriously questioned by millions of our fellow compatriots and friends of Cameroon across the world. The credibility of many of our key institutions, including the newly established Constitutional Council, is at stake. Force, physical violence, hate speech and ethnic stigmatization have become instruments of choice in public discourse and impact negatively interactions between State authorities and civilian populations.
Under these circumstances, Cameroonians of good will have a civic duty to rise and strongly demand a significant course correction to avoid more violence, further disintegration and eventual state collapse. The following ten recommendations are submitted in that spirit, and require urgent consideration.”
Fomunyoh’s 10 Points
“1) Release all political prisoners and detainees not charged with violent crimes and held solely because of the Anglophone crisis, and create an enabling environment for high-level, genuine dialogue to seek long lasting solutions.
2) Order an immediate ceasefire and lift curfews in the North West and South West regions to restore normalcy, enable youth to resume gainful employment, and facilitate the return of hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons and refugees.
3) Stop immediately the killings and destruction of property in Anglophone regions, and all forms of violence against civilians and security personnel.”
The CEO of Fomunyoh Foundation equally stressed on the importance of reforming the electoral laws among other points.
“4) To dissipate the lingering cloud of illegitimacy over the election results, commit an international reputable auditing firm such as Price Waterhouse Cooper or Deloitte & Touche to conduct a technical audit of ELECAM documents related to the October 2018 presidential poll.
5) Make public the findings of such international audit in order to restore confidence in elections and the institutions in charge of electoral administration and oversight.
6) Launch immediately a high level Ad Hoc Committee on reforms to review the Constitution, election laws and other legal instruments, and propose by a set deadline recommendations on major reforms that must be undertaken in all sectors.
7) Assign the chairmanship of the Ad Hoc Reform Committee to an independent, seasoned, and well respected jurist with an in-depth understanding of democratic governance processes.
8.) Commit to implementing the reforms as soon as they are enacted, and prior to any further elections at the local, regional or national levels.
9) Under the new electoral framework to emerge from the Ad Hoc Reform Committee, organize early presidential elections that would allow for more transparent and credible polls whose legitimacy will not be questioned.
10) Avoid the manipulation of security and administrative services and pull back the country from the negative spiral of hate speech, ethnic stigmatization, violence and harassment of independent professionals, notably journalists, lawyers and teachers, who are pillars of every democratic society.”
He ended his clarion call, by stating that “I call on the government to take concrete measures to regain peace, rebuild the country’s reputation and restore the dignity of Cameroonians. This requires extraordinary steps, including those listed above, to address head-on the multiple crises we confront at this time.”
Born in 1956, Christopher Fomunyoh is a Senior Associate for Africa and Regional Director at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs.