By Etienne Mainimo Mengnjo
The hope and joy of moving towards a return of peace in the restive Northwest and Southwest Regions of Cameroon have, once more, been shattered, as the government has disengaged itself from Canadian mediation of the crisis.
In a communique published on January 23 by Communication Minister, Rene Emmanuel Sadi, Government stated that she has not entrusted any foreign country or external entity with role of mediator or facilitator to settle the crisis in the Northwest and Southwest Regions of the country.
Government’s back-pedalling came on the heels of a statement issued by the Government of Canada through the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Melanie Joly, proclaiming that the country will help to facilitate a peace process in Cameroon and bring the Anglophone Crisis to an end.
When news of the Canadian desire to mediate broke out, various Ambazonian groups as well as Cameroonians, especially those in the Northwest and Southwest Regions, jubilated thinking there is a glimmer of hope for peace to return.
However, the hope and joy demonstrated in and beyond the country faded out into thin air when the Government of Cameroon distanced herself recalling that it’s up to the Cameroonian people to the institution and leaders that they have freely chosen to seek appropriate ways and means to address problems facing their country.
In the meantime, the Government of Cameroon recognised the Major National Dialogue, which was held in Yaoundé in 2019, as the only opportunity that was set out for the sons and daughters of Cameroon to exchange freely and discuss prospects for a future of peace, security and progress for the country.
Government says it is focusing on implementing the recommendations of the 2019 Major National Dialogue as well as continuing the reconstruction of areas affected by the crisis and providing assistance to the population concerned.
The Government said there is no need for a foreign or external entity to come in as a mediator. Rather, it thanked friendly countries and international institutions for the interest they are taking as well as the multiple support they are providing.
While thanking the United State of America for the actions it has taken to bring perpetrators of acts of violence to justice, the Government encouraged and urged other friendly countries to arrest those who, from abroad, are financing and encouraging violence in Cameroon.
Meanwhile, The Post gathered that the proclamation from Hon. Melanie Joly came after months of pre-talks towards opening talks that will see an end to the six-year crisis in the former UN trust territory, Southern Cameroons.
Aside Ambazonian groups, many individuals, including Pope Francis, had welcomed the announcement of the peace process.
Even though Government said it is capable of handling its internal problems, many are still wondering why the government could back out from a lovely initiative that is aimed at bringing peace to the restive Northwest and Southwest Regions.
While tongues continue to wag around, Hon. Joly’s press secretary, Adrien Blanchard, insisted: “We are in touch with the parties and our previous statement still stands, adding that representatives of Cameroon Government have attended all of the earlier meetings in Canada that led to the agreement.
“Canada’s sole interest in this matter is a peaceful resolution and a safer future for all civilians affected by the conflict,” Adrien Blanchard added.
Switzerland had attempted a similar process in 2019 but backed out of the talks after some Separatist leaders based in the US refused to participate. Reports indicated that Swiss officials were attacked by some Cameroonian officials who asked the European nation not to interfere in their internal affairs.