OPEN LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT OF REPUBLIC OF CAMEROON: The Time Is Now For You, Mr President, To Take The Most Important Action Of Your Long Mandate!
Douala,Cameroon-July 27,2017-6:30 PM Local Time(Cameroon News Agency) The National President of Cameroon People’s Party,CPP,Edith Kah Walla has spat fire by openly decrying the canker-worm that has been eating deep into the society’s progress.She has cautioned the Head of State on some burning issues affecting the country such as Amnesty international and fight against Boko Haram,back to school in the two English speaking regions and the financial situation of Cameroon,calling on him to take action now or never.
CNA brings to you part one of three series of outings by the CPP.
Dear Mr. President,
As we enter the second half of 2017, our country is beleaguered with a plethora of crises big and small. This situation is, of course, not new. Every Cameroonian finds the situation of our country increasingly preoccupying. However, several serious crises facing our nation demand that we call on you to act immediately and with expediency.
While the whole of Cameroon is in a dire situation, three key crises are impacting the lives of millions of Cameroonians and pose imminent danger for our country.
First crisis: The Fight Against Boko Haram
Mr. President, while the Cameroonian armed forces in conjunction with our neighboring countries have done an extraordinary job through the Multi-National Joint Task Force in diminishing the ability of Boko Haram to commit atrocities against our citizens, it is important for us to recognize today, that we are faced with new challenges in this war, notably:
• Renewed and increasing attacks by Boko Haram suicide bombers that have once again put our citizens in the Extreme North in extreme danger. These attacks are an indicator that we still have extensive work to do to eradicate Boko Haram and bring back peace and security to our citizens in this part of the country.
• The risk that the Multi-National Joint Task Force will diminish in effectiveness, given that it has not received the funding required and that a key partner, Chad, is decreasing the resources it dedicates to the MNJTF due to its own internal difficulties.
• The fact that the services to over 223,000 Internally Displaced Cameroonians remain wholly inadequate, making them victims of both Boko Haram and of the State of Cameroon.
• The fact that we have fought this war almost exclusively on the military front, neglecting the social and economic solutions that would attack the root causes of Boko Haram’s ability to recruit and kidnap within our frontiers.
• The Amnesty International report that highlights serious cases of human rights abuses including torture on Cameroonian citizens. It is important to note that many of the abuses in this report had already been reported by Cameroonian NGOs such as REDHAC, two years ago. Mr. President, this report is not our enemy, it is a clanging alarm bell, enabling us to focus on certain key elements in our defense system that are dysfunctional, devastating for our citizens and counterproductive to the fight against Boko Haram.
Mr. President, in order to act for the security of our citizens in this new phase of the fight against Boko Haram, and to bring solutions that will sustainably eradicate Boko Haram and other extremist groups from our country, the Cameroonian People’s Party demands the following.
That a multidisciplinary independent task force be put into place.
This task force will have the responsibility to lead the non-military strategies in the fight against Boko Haram. Its major responsibilities will include:
• Increasing the quantity and quality of services to internally displaced Cameroonians who in number are the greatest victims of Boko Haram and who, if they do not receive assistance are the group most vulnerable to Boko Haram kidnapping and recruiting.
• Ensuring the definition and implementation of social and economic strategies that will attack the root causes of extremism in this region. These strategies must extend to the North and Adamawa regions in order to ensure their sustainability.
• Putting in place a whistleblower mechanism that will enable citizens to denounce human rights abuses and acts of corruption by any state or non-state actors that are involved in the fight against Boko Haram. This will include working with local and international NGOs to establish the veracity of accusations and liaising with the appropriate armed forces offices to ensure that measures are taken to prevent human rights abuses and sanctions are applied when such abuses occur.
• Working with the traditional and religious authorities in the region to develop and implement strategies to fight against religious and ideological extremism.
• Ensuring that all solutions implemented, without exception, take into account the specific needs of women, young people and children who are the greatest victims of Boko Haram.
The members of this multidisciplinary task force should include:
• Internally displaced persons who are victims of Boko Haram
• Members of community watchdog groups who have been involved in the fight against Boko Haram
• Multi-denominational religious authorities who have been involved in the fight against Boko Haram.
• Traditional authorities who have been involved in the fight against Boko Haram
• Local and international NGOs who have been involved in the fight against Boko Haram
• Representatives of grassroots groups in the three regions concerned
The task force should have an equal number of men and women and at least 30% of its members should be between 20 – 30 years old.
The task force must be endowed with the power to ensure that government agencies act in a timely and efficient manner. It will be obliged to develop short-term objectives (6-9 months) as well as medium-term objectives (2-3 years). The Task Force should hold monthly public meetings to render account of it work and give citizens and the media the opportunity to evaluate and contribute to its work.