Prime Minister Chief Dr Joseph Dion Ngute has told a visiting delegation of the Anglophone General Conference (AGC), on August 29, that national dialogue will soon hold to resolve the Anglophone Crisis.
Chief Dr Dion Ngute told the AGC delegation, led by Cardinal Christian Tumi, that visited him at the Star Building in Yaounde, that the national dialogue which he was sent by President Biya to inform the population of during his maiden official visit to the two Anglophone Regions in May, will hold soon.
He said the date for the national dialogue would be announced soon.
It is the first time PM Dion Ngute is making a public statement about the dialogue since he officially ended the visit to the two Anglophone Regions on May 17 – almost three months ago.
The long silence of the Government on the issue, especially in the face of the continuously escalating Anglophone Crisis, had provoked disappointment, confusion, and anger in Cameroonians, who accused the Government of lack of the will to resolve the Anglophone crisis.
The Government Has No Problem With AGC
Contacted by The Post in Douala on August 31, the Coordinator of AGC, Elie Smith, who was amongst the delegation that visited the PM on August 29, disclosed that the PM told the AGC group that the Government has no problem with them.
He said, on the part of the AGC, the meeting was an opportunity to explain to the Government that they have no secret agenda and that their mission is to promote peace, with their main concern being the escalating Anglophone Crisis.
The AGC also stressed on the fact that to effectively resolve the Anglophone Crisis, all the parties concerned must start by telling or facing the naked truth.
Elie Smith further stated that the AGC handed to the PM, a 19-page summary of a 400-page report, which is a compilation of the responses that thousands of Anglophone Cameroonians have already submitted on questionnaires that were put out by the AGC.
The two major questions are: What are the causes of the current crisis (Anglophone Crisis) and, what in your opinion can be the solution?
Elie Smith said the AGC would continue to receive more responses to the questions, and add them to the 400-page report that has, so far, been compiled.
Tumi, Others To Attend National Dialogue
The AGC Coordinator disclosed that PM Dion Ngute informed them, at the August 29 meeting, the group which is led by Cardinal Tumi, will be invited to participate in the national dialogue that the Government will organise soon.
As to the agenda of the national dialogue, Elie Smith said, from AGC’s understanding of what the PM said, the national dialogue will have the Anglophone Crisis as a priority, though other national issues will also feature on the agenda.
He, however, said the interest of the AGC is the Anglophone Crisis.
Conveners of the AGC are all religious leaders (Christian and Muslim). The Coordinator, who is not a religious leader, emphasised the fact that he is not one of the conveners of AGC.
The AGC has brought on board the Northwest/Southwest Women’s Task Force that has been crying in the streets for the powers-that-be to urgently take appropriate measures to resolve the Anglophone Crisis, which international organisations say has already taken away the lives of over 1,200 civilians.
The Women Task Force (WTF), and the group of Anglophone religious leaders having the same mission to see peace return to the war-torn Anglophone Regions saw the need to work together, hence a member of the WTF was in the August 29 delegation.
Whither The Swiss Initiative?
The disclosure by the Prime Minister that the Government will soon organise the national dialogue, with top priority the Anglophone Crisis, still leaves the Cameroonian people in confusion.
It would be recalled that, during his visit to the two Anglophone Regions in May, the PM announced that President Biya was now open to dialogue on the Anglophone Crisis, but that secession was to be off the dialogue table.
Biya’s national dialogue with preconditions that the PM announced was against the position of many Cameroonians and the international community that have been calling for dialogue without preconditions, to resolve the Anglophone Crisis.
On June 27, the Swiss Government and an NGO, the Swiss Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, HD, made public communiqués informing the international community that they were engaged in a process to negotiate dialogue between the Cameroon Government and Anglophone Separatist groups on the Anglophone Crisis.
The communiqués came out at the end of the workshop that the HD organised in Geneva, and was attended by representatives of some of the Separatist groups, on what the Swiss said was ‘talks about talks.
The Swiss Government and the HD also stated that the different parties had mandated them to play the role of mediator in the dialogue.
A couple of weeks ago, a delegation from the Swiss Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, travelled to Cameroon for talks with the Government side and was granted audience by PM Dion Ngute.
The spokesperson for the delegation of the Swiss NGO said, as regards the dialogue on the Anglophone Crisis, things were still at the level of ‘” talks about talks”.
He explained that it would be in the next stage that the agenda of the dialogue will be set and that the agenda will be based on a consensus of the different parties.
But, so far, the Cameroon Government has not made a statement about the Swiss engagement.
Asked if the Swiss initiative was mentioned during the audience with the PM on August 29, the Coordinator of AGC said no. He said neither the Prime Minister nor the AGC delegation mentioned anything about the Swiss initiative.