The Secretary of State in the Ministry of Mines, Industries and Technological Development, Fuh Calistus has said Cameroonians in the Northwest and Southwest regions are preoccupied with the content of the special status accorded them, with elections being the vehicle through which they will fully get and use their special status.
To the statesman, regionalism and special status will give Anglophones just what they have been clamouring for, and through regional elections, stakeholders to steer the development and cultural aspirations of the two regions will emerge.
He was speaking recently on ‘Inside the Presidency’, a political programme on state broadcaster, CRTV.
Commenting on recent issues in the country, Fuh Calistus said the two regions were given a special status as a means of ending a four-year-long crisis, and as such, its people are more concerned with benefitting from the special status requirements, one of which was the setting up of a Regional Councils and a House of Chiefs, although all other regions also benefit from this.
Asked about his take on the Congolese foreign minister’s description of President Paul Biya as the Wiseman of Africa and the Library of the Sub region, Fuh Calistus said the description is absolutely correct, because “Many others have hailed the President of the Republic as a visionary leader who has shown himself on the international scene as a peace maker. The peaceful resolution of the dispute over the oil- rich Bakassi peninsular is just one of the many crisis that have projected President Biya as the Wiseman of Africa. Many are politicians but those who are called to lead the nation are few.” He stated.
Speaking about regional elections and its significance, Fuh Calistus stressed that, “We need to put in place a structure, the regional structure which I strongly believe will be the guarantor of peace, especially in the North West and South West regions. There is of course no gainsaying the fact that Cameroonians have been waiting for regional elections and the putting in place of Regional Councils,” he said.
Commenting about the two English speaking regions also participating in the regional election process, especially at a time when one of Cameroon’s opposition political parties, the CRM is calling for protests, and boycott of the elections, Fuh Calistus states that he does not think Anglophones will follow the Kamto agenda.
“I don’t see any Anglophone in his or her right senses taking part in any political party demonstration against state institutions and the President of the Republic. They are rather more concerned about the Special Status the Head of State has given them and the many advantages that Special Status will offer them. They are facing the challenge of putting in place a regional executive that will finish what it is already being done. That is their preoccupation for now. As soon as the lists are published, we want to get our regions move, we want to see the House of Chiefs move, we want to see the place for which we stand as cultural identity being sorted out in this nation.
“The people of the Northwest and Southwest regions, even under very challenging security situations, still went out to vote because they know that if you leave a vacuum, it creates more problems than solve it. After voting at the 2018 presidential election, senatorial election, the 2020 municipal and parliamentary elections under insecurity, I don’t see any Anglophone ever heeding any call from a political party to embark on a senseless and fruitless demonstration,” he said.
He condemned as senseless and diabolic, the protest march organised on September 22, by CRM’s Maurice Kamto, calling for President Paul Biya to step down from power.
“If you march for an issue that affects the rights of an individual, it can be understood. But calling for demonstrations against somebody who was democratically and overwhelmingly elected by Cameroonians is nothing else than insurrection. My advice to Cameroonians is that they should ignore such diabolic calls coming from politicians who has lost touch with reality.” He said.
The elections are scheduled to hold on December 6 where municipal councillors will elect regional representatives into regional council seats, as well as in the house of Chiefs.
Maurice Kamto’s CRM party is boycotting the elections alongside SDF and other political parties on grounds that the Electoral Code must be revised and the Anglophone crisis solved.
Speaking on how the Regional Council’s will operate, the Minister said: “It is going to be a kind of quasi government that has been created with Commissioners taking charge of different development needs of their areas. The Chairman of the Region and the House of Chiefs will both be handling different issues that affect their regions. I think this is a starting point, a great move and I believe that those who are sincere, will know that this is a move in the right direction and that it can only make life better in the Northwest and Southwest regions. It can only meet the aspirations of people who by their Anglo-Saxon nature like a lot of self- governance. This, of course, is what Anglophones have been clamouring for. Just the very fact that these two regions will have their House of Chiefs give it the Special Status I have been talking about. Remember the nostalgia the people of these two regions grew up with. That is why they clamoured for this.”
As crisis trouble Cameroon’s Northwest and Southwest, alongside the Far North regions, Fuh Calistus say the country is hopeful for a bright future especially with government-UNDP reconstruction programme for the crisis-hit regions.
“We equally have no choice but to support the Reconstruction Plan for the Northwest and Southwest to build back our lives and our regions. The reconstruction process of these two regions is not just about development projects but equally psychological. We need to build back our lives and get down to the centre of making this country an emerging nation. We should not be on the side-lines. Rather, we should be at the centre of making this nation a great country in Africa,” he said.