23 May 2019

Cameroon Remains Resilient Amid Crisis

Photo: RFI/OR
Cameroon military (file photo).

Celebrates 47th Independence Anniversary

In 2015 and 2016 the Republic of Cameroon could not just jubilate on their Independence Day, which occurs on May 20, but had something to show. During celebration images of major development in infrastructure and socioeconomic development were displayed for the view of invitees.

However, since 2018, the desire for development has come to face challenges arising from violent clashes between separatist fighters and the national army in the North-West and South-West of the country, thereby killing people, burning towns and villages, and displacing tens of thousands of citizens.

In his deliberation in Monrovia on the celebration of National Day on May 21, 2019, one day later after the main day, May 20, Ambassador Beng'Yela Augustine Gang said, "In recent months, my country has been traversing stormy weather with some vibrations being felt under the stout national edifice."

Amb. Gang, however, mustered the courage that for the very large majority of Cameroonians, the long-established reputation as a haven for peace in the sub-region will not easily pass into oblivion.

He said amid the national challenges, both their leadership and citizenry have always deployed immense passion and conviction in the task of consolidating mutual tolerance.

According to the ambassador, the Cameroonian populations, despite the tough moments in the country's history, have continued to move with confidence into each other's ethnic and linguistic zones to find temporary fraternal relief.

While confronted by national crisis that has the propensity to halt development, Amb. Gang said the government's intention for development of the people of Cameroon remains on the agenda.

He said in the last two years the government has been actively engaged in peace and reconciliation initiatives characterized by the creation of an exclusive, special Common Law section at the National School of Administration and Magistracy that trains career judges and civil administrators and state financial managers.

He added that under a decree of December 13, 2018, there was suspension of prosecution followed by the release of almost 300 detainees arrested in connection with the Anglophone unrest; the creation of a National Commission for the Promotion of Bilingualism and multiculturalism by Decree of January 23, 2017, the opening of an English-speaking Higher National Polytechnique in Bamenda as an undergraduate-level institution attached to the University of Bamenda that was itself opened in 2011 as the second purely English Language State University of Cameroon.

Other were the launch of the over 20 million dollar National Emergency Humanitarian Assistance Program for the North West and South West regions, and the creation by presidential decree of November 30, 2018 of a National Committee for Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration.

The NCDDR holding centers, according to Amb. Gang, has started receiving "Repented" fighters, who are assured that the laying down of their arms would be tantamount to total pardon and rehabilitation.

"With the slight resurgence of Boko Haram incursions, especially in North East Nigeria, Cameroon has been under renewed pressure to host over 30,000 hew refugees with UNHCR support; and lastly, but without being exhaustive, recent repeated calls by President Paul Biya that we have now reached the time for urgent forgiveness, pardon and reconciliation," Amb. Gang said.

He said recent visit to Bamenda, Buea, Kumba and Limbe by Prime Minister Dion NGUTE in this May at the request of President Biya confirms that the mood in favor of dialogue and reconciliation is stronger.

He assured that Cameroon will in all circumstances move steadily toward a developing nation with the hope of attaining socioeconomic emergence as a respectable middle income country by the year 2035 (Cameroon Vision 2035).

In line with its vision, Cameroon is said to have completed various hydro-electric power plants; the kribi deep sea port, a modern, indigenously-owned cocoa transformation plant in the West Region, and a new, modern state hospital.

The defense forces of Cameroon, the Ambassador noted, has continued to play key development roles--building modern roads in areas abandoned by foreign contractors scared away by Boko Haram threats.

In sports, Amb. Gang recounted that Cameroonian under 17 National Football team won the African Nations Cup in Tanzania in April 2018, while the senior Indomitable Lions qualified for the next African Nations Cup, and aim to give excellent account of themselves in Egypt this June.

A number of activities including sport encounters in Basketball with Liberia preceded the celebration on May 21, and with the cooperation of Liberians, Amb. Gang extolled the people and the police of Liberia for making the celebration a success.

For Liberia's situation, Gang said Cameroonians truly feel what Liberians feel, and in its current moment of tension have lessons to learn from Liberia's past.

However, he added "We also nurture fraternal hopes that Liberia does not slip back by undue presumptions into a past that we all neither want to remember, nor to see repeated."

He lauded his diplomatic colleagues in Liberia for remaining tireless, neutral, respectful and discreet in helping Liberia to avoid retrogression.

Minister of State without Portfolio, Trokon T. Kpui, on behalf of President George Weah and the people of Liberia, extended warm felicitations to the government and people of Cameroon and recalled how President Weah has his football history tied to Cameroon.

He expressed the hope that the bilateral relation between the two countries will continue to be nurtured.

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