October 2021 marks exactly five years since teachers and lawyers started a strike action in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon.
The grievances between the teachers and the lawyers focused on reforms in the Education sector and law profession in the country.
Though their grievances had since been hijacked by pro-separatists demanding for the creation of a separate state in the English speaking regions of the North West and South West, government is resolute in solving the grievances initially tabled by the teachers and lawyers.
To make matters more interesting, other sectors of national life also tabled their own grievances.
To ensure that lasting solutions are sort to the problems plaguing national life, the President of the Republic convened the Major National Dialogue.
From September 30th to October 4th, delegates from the 10 regions of Cameroon examined all other grievances and summarised them into 81 resolutions.
2 years since the convening of the Major National Dialogue, 52 of these resolutions have been met with some bringing in new institutions to national life.
The Major National Dialogue proposed the creation of a special status for the North West and South West regions. This was adopted and inserted in Law No 2019/024 of the 24th December 2019 to institute the General code of Regional and local authorities.
This law grants a special status to the North West and South West regions with the Presidents of the Regional Executive councils becoming the Chief Executive officers of their regions. Furthermore, Public independent conciliators have already been appointed to these regions. They have as mandate to arbitrate between users of council services and the councils concerned where there is a dispute or violation of rights.
To further ensure that the over centralization of power becomes a thing of the past, the law gives room for 15% of the state budget to be devolved to the regions. As at now some 30 billion francs CFA have been devolved to kick start the activities of the Regional councils.
Moreso, the government went forward to create a school for the training of local administrators who will hence assist in the delivery of council activities known as NASLA- National school of Local Administration based in Buea.
In the Judicial sector, a common law bench has already been created at the Supreme Court. The OHADA uniform act has also been translated into the English language.
Those of this Corp await the creation of a law school and the recruitment of specialised interpreters in courts.
The fight against the slowness of Judicial procedures, the creation of the National Commission for the promotion of Bilingualism and multiculturalism, recruitment of 1000 bilingual teachers specialized in science and technology are other steps taken by government to arrest the current impasse in the North West and South West regions.
Unfortunately, two years after these measures were taken, they have not generated the much needed effervescence on the ground. Ghost towns and lockdowns continue to be the order of the day.
On several occasions, the Prime Minister, Head of Government, Chief Dr Joseph Dion Ngute has made a clarion call for those fighting to leave the bushes and visit the Disarmament, Demobilisation and rearmament centres created since 2018.
They have been calls from some English speaking Cameroonians for a genuine Dialogue to be called to arrest the current bloodshed in this part of Cameroon. A motive government says is inadmissible as invitations were served to these pro-separatist leaders during the major National Dialogue. Most of whom did not show up.
Another segment of the population have called for a mediation by a third party to arrest the situation, citing talks with Switzerland as the way out. Few months after, other factions came out to discredit the Swiss and that anything agreed there will not be binding with them.
For these five years, the leadership of the fighters is not centralised making peace talks very difficult.
The reconstruction process launched in April 2020 and supported mainly by the United Nations Development Program, UNDP has been launched as a move to get IDPs back to their homes and also ensure refugees return mainly from neighbouring Nigeria. According to Minister Paul Tasong, coordinator of the plan, “we intend to build better.”
Unfortunately, those tele-guiding the fighters from abroad for their selfish interest have ensured more hostile grounds are created to frustrate the plan.
The people must know that in the process of acquiring reforms, the process must be gradual and respect of state institutions
Ndi Tsembom Elvis