The situation in Cameroon remains critical with hostage-takings, the Boko Haram insurgency, separatist movements in the North West and South West Regions, refugee influx in the East Region and the growing number of internally displaced persons across the country. If observers were to add differences over the October 7, 2018 presidential election which saw President Paul Biya win another seven-year tenure as President of the Republic and the current court proceedings involving the leader of the Cameroon Renaissance Movement (CRM) then the picture could be complete.
Yet, in life nothing is either entirely good or totally bad, no matter the circumstances. During a meeting with members of the diplomatic corps and foreign representations in Cameroon on Tuesday 28 May 2019, the Minster of External Relations, Lejeune Mbella Mbella, accompanied by the Minister of Communication, Emmanuel René Sadi and other cabinet ministers, sought to deliver this message to those in attendance.
Faced with all the crisis, Government is bent on finding lasting solutions to the problems, no matter the odds. Some may be asking if there is anything new in the Minister’s declarations since the problems have been there for the past five years as concerns Boko Haram and three years as far as the crisis in the North West and South West Regions is concerned. Several cabinet ministers have either granted press conferences, undertaken explanatory missions abroad or received personalities from key international institutions to state the position of the country on the issues.
However, the recent visit to the North West and South West Regions by Prime Minister, Head of Government, Chief Joseph Dion Ngute and the innovative approach taken to reignite hope in the disillusioned population of the two regions came with renewed confidence that their worries are ever present on the government table.
The Prime Minister not only went to unsuspecting localities like markets and streets to meet the masses, he reiterated the position of the Head of State to bring all persons of goodwill on board for a lasting solution to be sought. However, multifarious interventions both from Cameroon and abroad do not all point to the same direction. There are even some voices making categorical claims about an apocalyptic outcome for the country as if to say the problems being faced in Cameroon are unique. Yes, the crisis may reflect realities in the country which require that Cameroonians should genuinely face because it is mostly in times of adversity that men can easily be separated from boys, as the saying goes.
Luckily, even foreign countries that have shown overt concern say they act in the interest of peace which all citizens want in Cameroon. It was therefore understandable that the Minister of External Relations came out succinctly on the fact that in Africa, “Cameroon has never spared any effort geared towards peace and stability within the region, which is so vital for the geostrategic equilibrium of the African Continent.” The statement may remind scholars of European history that if Cameroon sneezes, Africa can catch a cold as was the case with Greece in Europe some centuries back. Consequently, the pivotal position of the country to stability in Africa cannot be over-emphasized.
It is therefore important to make it clear to anyone seeking to help the country find a solution to whatever problem in the country that such support must be intended to make the Republic of Cameroon emerge from the restive period to become a stronger nation. And that clarification was absolutely vital.