22 June 2018

Cameroon: Government Emergency Humanitarian Plan - A Timely Decision

Photo: HCR/ Simi Vijay
A 70 year old Nigerian woman share her food with Cameroonian refugees.

Many people have been asking questions and wondering where the ongoing social tension rocking the North West and the South West will take the country. The number of security personnel killed, that is 84 in 123 attacks as of 11 June, 2018 and the humanitarian crisis that the situation has generated with 74,966 IDPs (internally displaced persons), arson in 120 schools and 15 traditional rulers victimised, and so on, are stories hitherto unheard of in Cameroon.

The simple fact that some Cameroonians took up arms against the State left many dumb-founded. Yet, there is time for everything and those who thought that the two regions had been abandoned to an unknown destiny now have reasons to think differently.

President Paul Biya in his characteristic and methodical approach to issues of importance to the nation had to look for the best way to respond to the breakdown in peace and stability in the North West and South West Regions. In a timely intervention on Wednesday 20 June 2018, Prime Minister, Head of Government, Philemon Yang announced the creation of an Emergency Humanitarian Assistance Plan (EHAP) for the North West and South West Regions.

Evaluated at FCFA 12.7 billion, the precision in the figure and the means to raise the expected amount indicate that all along, government has been following the unfolding spectacle in the two English Speaking regions keenly. Of course, those killed under such gory circumstances as seen in images paraded in the social media have not been only from both regions.

The likelihood of spill-over if the situation persists is not far-fetched. Consequently, no responsible government could allow things to continue getting out of hand. The EHAP Plan announced by the Prime Minister actually came as a trump card presented by the Head of State to normalise the situation on the ground and foster the sense of living together in the country.

It has come to add to another ganut of measures earlier taken by the Head of State to meet the demands of the Teachers' and Lawyers' Trade Unions as stated in 2016.

Thus, calling on all Cameroonians and friends of the country to join hands like was the case recently with the Boko Haram insurgency rings an obvious bell not only to summon the usual sense of collective wellbeing in the country, but also underlines how committed government has been to ensure that stability returns throughout the nation. Even more significant is the fact that sons and daughters of the two regions affected by the tension are the first to swing into action.

The organisation yesterday 21 June 2018 of a fundraising ceremony to kick-start the solidarity fund by elite of the North West and South West is telling of a people who have been impatient to get over the crisis and return to the joie de vive hitherto known to the two localities.

Those who only take pleasure in seeing the wrong reasons for every effort made by other Cameroonians have the onus to prove that there could be any better option to the hardship faced by people caught in the middle of the current crisis. Giving priority to the protection of displaced persons, food and basic needs, healthcare, education, the resumption of economic and agricultural activities as well as the reissuance of individual administrative documents, are some of the soothing decisions that should reassure those who felt abandoned by the State in the current war.

Again, all critics ought to be reminded that there can be no conflict without an end, same as the adage that Rome was not built in one day. All what this means is that the initial shortcomings that resulted in teachers and lawyers taking to the streets have over the last two years proven to be issues that are sufficiently preoccupying and could not be tackled in one go. As such, the need for level-headed tactics to the thorny issues cannot be taken lightly.

It may not be enough to be hurt or dissatisfied with the way certain situations are managed, it definitely pays to move towards the problem with the required mastery of what is at stake in order to guarantee results that ensure personal and collective safety; failing which, the outcome may be some fly infested- meat being taken back home by a misguided hunter.

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