Fatherhood is neither reserved for chicken-hearted or intransigent people. Not too is leadership allowed in the hands of those who do not see beyond their noses. President Paul Biya has once again proven that he is a considerate father and a visionary leader who has all sons and daughters of the country at heart and wishes well for the wellbeing of the country.
His decision Friday November 30, 2018 to set up a National Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration Committee for ex-fighters of Boko Haram and armed groups in the North West and South West Regions has far-reaching undertones. The Boko Haram insurgency in the northern regions and separatist actions by armed groups in the North West and South West Regions have one thing in common – destabilising this once haven of peace - Cameroon. Many observers would have thought that any leader would opt solely for a stick in the face of the crisis looking at the prejudice the insecurity perpetrated by both groups have caused the country both in terms of social peace and the economy. Mr Biya’s decision portrays a ‘Carrot and Stick’ leader who cannot afford to throw the baby with the bath water.
Obviously so as those who have either been misled or willingly joined the ‘enemies of the Republic’ were yesterday patriots and since repentance is part of the human race, they could cleanse themselves or offer to be cleansed to rejoin the national effort for an indivisible, just and mutually-developed Cameroon. No condition, they say, is permanent in life!
Fortunately, the newly-created committee will be there to provide a framework for receiving and reintegrating repentant ex-fighters of Boko Haram and members of armed groups in the North West and South West Regions willing to respond to the Head of State's peace offer made in his inaugural address on 6 November 2018, by laying down their weapons. It is common knowledge that nothing thrives in chaos. Very few, except extremists, doubt the fact that there has never been a victor in war; more so concerning people who share a lot in common and who are called by nature to live together. No one should therefore be fooled; the current impasse in the affected regions benefits no one.
What President Paul Biya has done should be seen as a high-level beckon that should logically be received with relief. Yes, liberation from those who have been misled to take up arms against themselves in the name of a struggle likewise those who have been subjected to the crisis. Calls by government Ministers, the clergy and even civil society organizations for fighters to leave the bushes and toe the line of reason for normalcy to return have been given a framework to thrive without any fear of victimization.
Violence, we are told, is the language of the weak. For close to three years in the North West and South West Regions and over five years in the northern regions, there is uneasy calm. It benefits no one and would not do so even if it rages on.
The Presidential beckon therefore absolutely needs to be heeded to. There shouldn’t be any fear of persecution for those who cheerfully do so especially as the Committee has a triple mandate of disarmament, demobilization and preparation for reintegration. A whole life cannot be lived in a bush and no State would be ruled from tree tops or caves.
If the Biblical Prodigal son was accepted and reintegrated, what more of sons and daughters of Cameroon! They simply need to humble themselves, abandon the argument of force and join others with what they have and can offer for a better Cameroon where the force of argument prevails. Cameroon belongs to all citizens who uphold State institutions and symbols.