The fascinating mood that marked the weeklong Major National Dialogue (MND) in Cameroon from 30 September to 4 October, 2019 left many to hope for lasting peace in the South West and North West Regions. Such expectations were equally born out of the declarations made by participants at the dialogue. Even more, some fighters who held separatist views about Cameroon dropped their arms and joined the dialogue table.
Recent appointments of divisional and subdivsional officers by the Head of State have all come at the backdrop of high expectations for peace to return to the two restive regions. Such anxiety was heightened by information that more fighters dropped their arms in Ndian Divsion of the South West Region. A similar case was excitedly presented in the Menchum Divsional capital, Wum in the North West Region on Wednesday 16, October 2019. A repentant and apologetic “Amba Fighter” by name Ikom Polycap appeared at the installation of Abdoulahi Aliou on administrative official in the locality.
Ikom was hilariously greeted by the Governor of the North West Region, Adolphe Lele Lafrique and his entourage who urged the repentant fighter to invite his friends to follow his example. The hope his declarations ignited did not however take into consideration the fact that the road to peace can be long. News of Ikom’s assassination the next day raised several questions. Yet, the fact is simple. Once tempers flare to a certain extent, it becomes dangerous for everybody. Three years of violence in the North West and South West Regions have been sufficiently bumpy for anyone to think that the wounds can heal so soon. The advent of the social media continues to make it possible for people from across the country and beyond to be able to weigh the full complexity of the issues at stake. This means that although the dialogue in Yaounde ended with participants hailing the spirit of consensus that characterised the event, there are certainly people who will need more time to understand the right path to follow. It is therefore important for all communities across the country to absorb conclusions of the Yaounde Major National Dialogue and accept to let go pent-up emotions.
Accepting to live together as the national maxim has been for the last few years does not mean automatic changes in behaviour but the ability to understand the differences that exist among the various components that make up the Cameroonian society. There are people who have unfortunately erected personal disparities to bitter feuds leading them to search for unorthodox solutions. But in a country like Cameroon that is made up of diverse ethnic communities and linguistic groups, it is obvious that people should disagree.
Those who came out at the MND in Yaounde like Yanick Kawa Kawa had successfully articulated their concerns and he even got standing ovation. While the powers that be seek for solutions to those worries, there has to be continuous awareness among the population so that those who follow the example of Kawa Kawa should not end up emitting wrong signals. Peace has to be attained at all cost and the road may be long and treacherous, but that remains the best way to go. Cameroon cannot afford to sacrifice the long acquired status of the island of peace.