Former Presidential Candidate and Coordinator of the Now Movement, Barrister Akere Muna, has called on civil society groups, political opposition parties, and Trade Unions to come together and map out ideas that will be presented during the National Dialogue Forum announced by the Head of State, Paul Biya.
In a statement, Akere Muna said the absence of dialogue in the ongoing armed conflict in Southern Cameroons has led to the killing of many, displacement, and burning of homes and villages.
He regrets that President Paul Biya did not listen to him when he suggested during the early stages that the problem could be solved through dialogue.
Mr Biya announced the holding of a national dialogue under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Dion Ngute by end of September 2019.
Separatists who already endorsed the Swiss-led mediation have said, they will not recognise the dialogue process insisting that only a third party can negotiate what is ongoing in Southern Cameroons.
The Presidency of Cameroon has however not said the Swiss process was a forgotten event.
Major National Dialogue
I listened attentively to the speech of the President delivered on the 10th of September 2019. I welcome the convening of what is styled as a “Major National Dialogue”. As far back as 2016 in my writings as well as in my declarations and speeches I always insisted on the fact that it was important for us to talk to each other.
To the question as to who to talk to? I said debates in the National Assembly and the Senate with public hearings could have been a good beginning. That never happened. This is why all I will take from the President’s speech is the fact that a Major National Dialogue has been convened for the end of September 2019.
So here we are, three years later, over 2000 killed, over 200 villages burnt many thousands maimed, over 650,000 internally displaced and over 50,000 refuges in Nigeria and other countries. Close to four years of no school for hundreds of thousands of children, and a drastic increase in prostitution among underage girls and the consequential increase in precocious pregnancy among this very group. To these woes, we must add the thousands in jail in many towns of the country.
Our Nation is hurting. I strongly reiterate my recommendation for those who are invited to attend. There is one agenda item only and that is the future of our nation. The discussions must be all inclusive. It is the responsibly of the Government to ensure that all the sessions are broadcast live to guarantee the participation the whole nation.
I am appealing to Civil Society, Trade Unions and Political Parties of the opposition for us to meet and agree and federate our positions. Our future is in our hands and the National Dialogue is the time for us to own it.