Members of the reconstruction committee for the North West and southwest regions of Cameroon have for the past two weeks embarked on a working session to Bamenda and Buea
The delegation led by its coordinator, Minister Paul Tassong is meeting different representatives from the 13 divisions which make up the two Anglophone regions to chart a way forward following plans to rebuild the regions after four years of bloody conflict
The delegation is also meeting religious leaders, civil society activists, NGOs, and different stakeholders of the society to have the best possible outcome to build the Anglophone regions.
While the timing of the reconstruction is already under debate giving the Anglophone crisis is still on-going and many continue to die and houses are still being burnt daily, many are of the opinion that it could be a catalyst to help end the four years bloody war and bring normalcy back to the regions if seriously handled
As different delegations troop in from different parts of the regions to Mountain Hotel Buea just like they did in Bamenda last week, their demands have been as diverse as the people, from the reconstruction of homes to bridges, roads, creating employment, constructing mines and companies.
The Anglophones have demanded everything from Tassong’s delegation
The minister this far has been doing a wonderful job, distancing the deliberations from the traditional CPDM-styled campaign rallies which usually characterized every government-sanctioned agenda in Cameroon.
He has been focused on listening to the people and selling the reconstruction plan to them in a bit to end the crisis.
The minister made it clear that 90% of the money comes from Cameroon’s developmental partners while Yaoundé provides only 10% hence, the need to get the money and rebuild even if there is no ceasefire
His idea might run contrary to contemporary modus operandi for the worlds working machinery but certainly makes here after all this is Cameroon which runs like a country out of the world.
But as different proposals troop in, many are worried it could be another grand major national dialogue
Cameroon government had organized a grand major national dialogue in September 2019 to end the crisis. Delegations were flown from around the world and around the country to rally at the Yaoundé conference center for five days for a Major national dialogue aimed at ending the crisis
The dialogue received so much media attention and publicity; the government chunks-out hundreds of millions of francs CFA to pay flights, allowance, food, accommodation, and other bills during the five days event.
The international community was divided over everything about the dialogue from the list of those in attendance to the topics of discussions as well as its venue
During the course of the five days event, the government was quick to brandished repentant Ambazonian fighters who narrated their ordeals in the forest and woe their former colleagues still in the bushes to come back home and start a new life
Activists and separatists weren’t buying it, they rubbished the dialogue from the start as another propaganda by Yaoundé and says its outcome won’t be satisfactory neither would it be implemented
They said the government should have released all prisoners related to the Anglophone crisis, organize the dialogue in neutral ground and invite UN officials as observers to allow for fair dialogue
As to whether the outcome of the national dialogue was satisfactory still remains debatable, but one thing which is not a subject of debate it’s the implementation of the outcome
The government has shelved the decisions arrived at during the national dialogue which was aimed at ending the war, refused to implement the much talked about “special status” of Anglophone regions which critics had said it wasn’t special in any way.
Anglophones have been denied the opportunity to elect their leaders and manage their own resource-a key concern of the people and the form of the state has remained unchanged.
Most of the other resolutions have also been side-lined
Critics say the dialogue was a basket of empty promises and government is not serious to resolve the crisis, that attitude they say hasn’t changed today
Many are already beginning to be worried about the outcome of this state project, saying it’s another avenue for some state officials to swindle foreign aid and swirl their private accounts at the expense of the people
Critics say if the government is serious to reconstruct the Anglophone regions, it would call for a ceasefire on both sides for there cannot be constructed in times of war-at least many agree reconstruction should begin from there if it won’t go the national dialogue way