Many Cameroonians of goodwill and observers of the ongoing crisis in the South West and North West Regions will agree that the situation has not gone out of hands, thanks to the clairvoyant and astute leadership of President Paul Biya. The upheavals all started from trade union demands when teachers and Common Law Lawyers clamoured for the respect of the English sub-system of education and their legal system in the country. If the claims where to end there, Cameroon would have been in peace. But once the genuine demands by teachers and Common Law Lawyers were taken over by those calling for secession and armed struggle, the ball game changed.
However, the option for dialogue which the Head of State announced as the best way out has never left the table. This has been demonstrated by the avalanche of opinion leaders received at the Unity Palace to discuss the issue. Be they national or international figure, civil society activists, representatives of diplomatic services in Cameroon and so on, the message from the President of the Republic has been unequivocal - that the Constitutional provisions on the indivisibility of the State must not be tampered with.
For the past three years since the upheavals degenerated, Cameroonians have witnessed the arrival of world leaders such as the Secretary General of the United Nations Organisation, the Secretary Generals of the Commonwealth and the Francophonie, the Chairperson of the African Union; and the list is long. By receiving such dignitaries, the President has not only sought to underline his willingness for peace, but also the desire to find lasting solutions to the problems tabled by the aggrieved parties. The openness has equally been in line with his acknowledgement from the onset of the grievances that Cameroonians should be free to express any form of discontent within the context of the law as it is the case in any civilized society.
Given the protracted nature of the crisis and the untold sufferings imposed on peace-loving citizens in the two regions, the Head of State could not remain indifferent. In convening the Major National Dialogue on 9 September 2019, President Paul Biya said that all Cameroonians of goodwill were being given the opportunity to meet from 30 September to 4 October 2019 to map out solutions to the grievances expressed by citizens of the two regions as well ensure national harmony and concord. The announcement sounded as another clarion call for national cohesion through the most cherished pattern of dialogue and mutual understanding. Mr Biya clearly stated that; "Since the outbreak of this crisis, I have spared no effort, with the help of Cameroonians of good will, in seeking ways and means for its peaceful resolution. In a bid to calm the situation, I even ordered the discontinuance of judicial proceedings pending before military tribunals against 289 persons arrested for offences committed during this crisis."
Looking at the diverse nature of participants at the MND both from Cameroon and abroad as well as the profound nature of discussions during the event, there has been no doubt that the gathering marked a turning point in the protracted turmoil in the two regions. Since 2016 when the unrest started and throughout the past years, every available avenue has been exploited by the Head of State to provide lasting solutions, bearing in mind that the end results must be the preservation of the unity and diversity of Cameroon. From every indication, there are people who are yet to understand the stakes involved in decision-making within a cosmopolitan context such as in Cameroon. Such views tele-guided by social media slants and far-fetched conclusions have not in any way dissuaded the Head of State from steering the ship of State towards a path that ensures the preservation of nationhood.