Scotland's Last-minute Clarion Call

The C'wealth SG left Cameroon last Friday, Dec. 22, shortly after reiterating to reporters the need for Cameroon to engage in an inclusive dialogue.

It was all a whole school on dialogue offered by the visiting Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Patricia Scotland at the Yaounde Nsimalen International Airport last Friday, December, 22 shortly before her departure. Not quite surprising though considering the thorny issue at hand, the Anglophone crisis that has rocked the country for the past one year recording several deaths and smelling with high risk of escalating into what many Cameroonians will not wish to see.

Accompanied to the airport by the Prime Minister, Head of Government, Philemon Yang who saw her off after five days of visit, the Commonwealth official had occasion to size up her visit and answer questions from members of the national media.

In her preliminary statement which summarily served as a balance sheet of her visit, Patricia Scotland stated inter alia the privilege the visit gave her to speak to all the parties concerned and to bring the message of peace from the Commonwealth, underscoring the fact that we are into a peace building year of the Commonwealth.

"I have been able to speak to various authorities about the Commonwealth values of good governance, human rights while presenting to the President of the Republic the Charter of the Commonwealth values, the content of which is signed by her Majesty the Queen in 2013", she said.

Patricia Scotland told media men by speaking to political leaders, members of government, the civil society, law makers, religious leaders, individuals and other groups on their perspective of what is happening in Cameroon, she ended up understanding better the hopes and aspirations of the Cameroonian people.

"What I heard overwhelmingly from all parties was this thirst and need for inclusive, comprehensive and substantive dialogue", she said, adding that from her discussion, she understood that all Cameroonians want a one and undivided nation.

Thirst for Peace The Commonwealth official who spoke prayerfully invoking the intervention of the Almighty for peace to reign in Cameroon, recalled the special nature of this period of the year where Christians are waiting for the coming of Jesus Christ who was the main deliverance of peace.

"We talked about the 1996 Constitution which provided for decentralisation and especially the provision and speed at which it is being implemented. I hope it is a conversation that will now be intensified within a more inclusive and peaceful dialogue", she said.

As to what will take to have such inclusive dialogue, Patricia Scotland said, the first thing is for all interlocutors to think how they will like the dialogue to take place. " It is important to know that it is a Cameroonian dialogue and it is for the people of Cameroon to decide, the shape, content and who to participate", she said, stating that the Commonwealth is there to assist if need be.

As to whether government gave her any time table on which to get the dialogue process rolling, she said, "the government will now have to consider what it wishes to do as we go forward, so will everyone else."

According to her, this has to be dialogue without precondition where people will come together, be open, sincere and serious. Violence, she said, is never a suitable or lasting solution because after the violence, deaths, pain and suffering, we all come back to having to talk and find a path way which is peaceful, inclusive and honours the human rights of every single individual.

In one of her concluding answers she had this to say, "If Cameroon feels that the Commonwealth can assist in any way whether by technical assistance or by participating in this peace process, then we stand ready to do all and anything we can to support the process but I think this is owned, believed in and activated by Cameroonians themselves."



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