Crisis In NW, SW Regions: From The Beginning Was Dialogue…

With instructions from the Head of State, government in 2016 put in place two interministerial committees to proffer solutions to the irksome crisis in the two regions.

Socio-political crisis that have worried the North West and South West Regions for close to three years now have not left any Cameroonian indifferent, the least of whom is not the Head of State, Paul Biya. When members of the Englishspeaking teachers’ and Common Law Lawyers’

Trade Unions tabled their complaints against insufficiencies in their respective corps, the guarantor of Cameroon’s constitution, the President of the Republic, took measures to bring solutions to the problems raised in line with Republican legality.

President Paul Biya first ordered the setting up of two inter-ministerial ad hoc committees: One to look into Teachers’ concerns and the other into that of Common Law Lawyers. All were to at term propose lasting solutions to harness the sectors for the good of all.

Creation of Ad-hoc Inter-ministerial: Committees Prime Minister, Head of Go vernment on November 29, 2016 signed a decision on the Creation, organisation and functioning of the Ad Hoc Interministerial Committee tasked with examining and proposing solutions to the concerns raised by Anglophone teachers’ trade unions.

Placed under the authority of the Prime Minister and chaired by his Director of Cabinet, the committee had as mission to consider all the issues raised by the Anglophone teachers' trade unions of Cameroon; propose to the Prime Minister, Head of Government, measures helping to provide lasting solutions to the diverse concerns raised by the teachers’ trade unions as well as propose conditions for implementing the solutions adopted.

Its composition was broad-based as it comprised educationrelated ministries and other stakeholders from both the public and private sectors. A similar committee was created to proffer solutions to grievances of Common Law Lawyers and chaired by the Minister Delegate to the Minister of Justice and Keeper of the Seals.

The two committees immediately swung into action with heated dialogue on what could be done, when and how. While the committee for teachers was meeting in Bamenda, that for Lawyers was holding their conclave in Yaounde and reports forwarded to the Head of Government.

It is through their discussions that the Head of State undertook a series of reforms in both the education and judiciary sectors. Multifaceted institutional measures taken by President Biya thus far are therefore fruits of the dialogue which continues both formally and informally.

Incessant Presidential: Engagement For Dialogue Ever since the crisis began, the Head of State has severally cited constructive dialogue as the way out. For instance, in his State-of-the-Nation’s address on December 31, 2016, Mr Biya made it abundantly clear that it is not forbidden to voice any concerns in the Republic but that nothing great can be achieved by using verbal excesses, street violence, and defying authority. • “…Lasting solutions to problems can be found only through peaceful dialogue.

All the voices that spoke have been heard. They have, in many cases, raised substantive issues that cannot be overlooked. I have enjoined the Government to engage in frank dialogue with the various parties concerned to find appropriate solutions to the issues raised. I urge them to participate, without any bias, in the various discussions.” President Paul Biya on December 31, 2016. • “…It is in the same light that, at the onset of the crisis, I requested the Government to engage in a constructive dialogue with English-speaking teachers and lawyers to seek solutions to their demands. The Government took many actions following the dialogue, even going beyond the initial demands.

Others are ongoing or in the pipeline. I should make it very clear that, to my mind, dialogue has always been and will always remain the best means of resolving problems, so long as it is strictly in line with republican legality, ” President Paul Biya on December 31, 2017. • “…I have no doubt whatsoever that the destiny of our compatriots in the North-West and South-West lies within our Republic.

With the support of the Cameroonian people as a whole and convinced that there is an honourable way out in everyone’s interest, I will strive to restore peace and calm in the two regions concerned, with due respect for the institutions of which I am guarantor,” Paul Biya on November 6, 2018. His insistence on dialogue arguably attests to the place the option occupies in President Paul Biya’s governance and conflict resolution plan.

Even without digging deep into Presidential agendas, it goes without saying that the Head of State’s guests have almost always discussed on the burning issue with proposals certainly registered. His collaborators; under his instructions, have not relented in dialoging with people within and without the country in view of resolving the disturbing crisis. Therefore, dialogue has been visibly ongoing from the onset of crisis.

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