By Andrew Nsoseka
Dr Denis Foretia, Founder and Co-Chair of the Coalition for Dialogue and Mediations, CDN- a platform bringing together Southern Cameroonian leaders to harness ideas towards dialogue and an internationally mediated negotiation to end the ongoing Anglophone crisis in Cameroon, has stepped down as the platform’s Co-chair.
In a press statement, Dr Foretia said he has taken a very difficult decision to step down due to personal challenges. He also promised that while he concentrates on his other duties, he will still maintain his support for the mission of the CDN so that it achieves its set and desired goal which is gradually taking shape.
“It is with a very heavy heart that I inform you I am stepping down as Co-Chair of the CDN. As one of the main founders, this is particularly difficult to do but with new personal challenges it was the only thing to do.” Dr Foretia said in a statement.
He furthered that two years down the line when the initiative to create the CDN started with the consultation of key Southern Cameroonian stakeholders, “the goal was simple – establish a highly professional organisation of Southern Cameroonian professionals as a platform through which dialogue and internationally mediated negotiation could be pursued.”
He said the goal remains strong, and the team has made tremendous progress since its inception. “We have worked hard to bring different leaders and stakeholders to the table. Yet, the challenge ahead remains daunting. I am particularly sad that given new personal challenges I am unable to continue to lead the team as we work to help bring an end to this escalating armed conflict. While I am stepping down from active leadership, I will continue, circumstances permitting, to do everything possible to not only shed light on the worsening humanitarian situation in the Southern Cameroons but also continue in the efforts to mobilise relevant parties to bring the war to a just settlement.” he said.
In his statement, Dr Foretia thanked the various stakeholders for the interest and support shown for the work of the CDN since its inception. “I urge you to have faith in the mission of the CDN and to show goodwill and support to the leadership of Ms Judith Nwana who will continue to pilot the affairs of the organisation,” he said.
The highpoint of the CDN has so far been its organisation of the Toronto Retreat, towards the last quarter of 2021. The retreat brought together Southern Cameroonian stakeholders representing the various shades of opinions regarding the aspirations of Southern Cameroonians. It brought together advocates of a federation with the Republic of Cameroon, Civil Society, as well advocates for a breakaway state of Southern Cameroons or Ambazonia.
The meeting was aimed at building trust among the leaders. Since the Toronto retreat, the CDN has continued to hold sessions with participating stakeholders to consolidate opinions and seek a harmonised front for possible negotiations as the best way to end the ongoing Anglophone Crisis, in a way that meets the aspirations of the majority of Southern Cameroonians. The platform seems, for now, to be more concerned with identifying and building on the common ground of the involved stakeholders. It is also helping them to live up to acceptable conduct of their activities on the ground.