Prof Elvis Ngolle Ngolle, Political Scientist, Lecturer in International Relations.
Prof, the Minister of External Relations on May 28, 2019 made a declaration to members of the diplomatic corps stating Cameroon's position with regards to handling the country's internal affairs. What is your appreciation of this move? My appreciation to the declarations of the Minister of External Relations in his meeting with the diplomatic corps is one of admiration and support given the classical role that diplomacy plays in a context such as ours and a world in which fake news and social media have become new sources of pseudo knowledge and confusion propagated by irresponsible internet users and dubious organizations which dare to challenge the stability and sovereignty of states and the sanctity and veracity of facts. The Minister's declarations was a useful and necessary step first to set the record and facts straight and to debunk all the fake news that has so far been propagated by dubious internet sources and NGOs whose mission it seems is to challenge the stability and peace of targeted sovereign States such as ours. The diplomatic outing by the Minister of External Relations is a classical diplomatic measure which seeks to clarify, to enlighten, to inform and to share useful information for the purpose and good of peace and cooperation for peace and security in Cameroon and in the world of which Cameroon is an integral part. Diplomacy is the best way to achieve a world of peace and the Minister as chief diplomat of Cameroon working on instructions of the head of Cameroon's diplomacy who is the Head of State, has played the diplomatic card by calling the diplomats to an information meeting to enhance mutual understanding and expand the horizons of peace in Cameroon. He strongly reiterated Cameroon's sovereignty insisting that assistance is welcome but interference not. What reading do you make of this insistence? Yes, the Minister's insistence on the sovereignty of Cameroon while remaining open to assistance is to make it clear to those who seek to undermine or challenge Cameroon's internal capacity or ability to solve its internal problems that they are on the wrong path because Cameroon is a State of law, Cameroon respects international laws and Cameroon deserves respect from others. The Minister's declaration of openness to assistance is a reflection of Cameron's diplomacy of principle and openness to the rest of the world of cooperation. International assistance in international relations is an element of cooperation and not conflict or subjugation. In international relations, countries cooperate through diplomacy and assistance is one form of diplomatic cooperation which is premised on mutual respect, recognition and appreciation. No country receives assistance to give up its sovereignty meaning its internal capacity to take care of its internal problems and the respect and recognition by the rest of the world including he who offers the assistance. These are fundamental principles of international relations and diplomacy. African States in their foreign policies and diplomacy are quite sensitive to these principles given the history of Africa and the principles and objectives of African foreign policies in general. The Minister cited certain measures already taken by government to address the Anglophone crisis. What in your opinion should be done to bring a lasting solution to the troubled regions? The Minister was quite right to cite some of the measures that have so far been taken by the government to solve the crisis in the North West and South West Regions. The truth has been restated by the Minister in his declarations at the meeting with the diplomatic corps accredited to Cameroon and the truth is that the measures that have so far been taken by the government are working to some extent (the agreements with the teachers and lawyers whose grievances were more than satisfied by the government), the various commissions created (Multiculturalism and Bilingualism, the humanitarian fund which has seen over 75,000 IDPs assisted, the institutional reforms in the judiciary, and higher education and the appointments of Anglophone personalities to sovereignty ministries such as secondary education and territorial administration are glaring and verifiable examples. Most of all, the PM's recent visit to the North West and South West during which he solemnly announced the Head of State's decision to organise a dialogue in which everything was on the table except for secession, are powerful examples of the will and capacity to solve its internal problems while being open to any form of assistance from the rest of the world. In my humble opinion, a lasting solution to the troubled regions lies in the readiness and willingness of the secessionist fighters and their foreign sponsors to give up their financing, hate speech and laying down of arms and their availability to give dialogue a chance. This will logically and naturally give the grounds for the State to redeploy its defense and security arsenal for the sake of peace and in the spirit of the announced dialogue. This will also spur the schools to reopen and engender the return of IDPs and refugees as well as enable the humanitarian plan to continue and complete its work. More importantly, this will be the right atmosphere for peace and development to return to the North West and South West Regions. The peace and development of our Fatherland is in our hands as a people imbued with the bonds of nation and fraternity. Whether we are in the diaspora or at home, we need not tear out ourselves and the nation into pieces.