Cameroon: Normalising NW/SW - Broad-Based Reflections Organised

Map of Cameroon showing north-west and south-west regions.

This was championed by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Foundation through a conference that held in Yaounde on October 12, 2021.

Ideas on ensuring the return to normalcy in the crisis-hit North West and South West Regions of the country have been exchanged by stakeholders engaged in peacebuilding. This was during a conference organised in Yaounde on October 12, 2021, by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) Foundation on the theme, "Negotiations for the return of lasting peace in the North West and South West Regions." In attendance were members of the diplomatic corps notably the Canadian High Commissioner to Cameroon, Richard Bale and the Brazilian Ambassador, Vivian Loss Sanmartin, politicians, and members of Civil Society Organisations.

In her opening remarks, the Resident Representative of FES Cameroon, Nina Netzer said the objective of the conference was to enable broad-based reflections on the prevailing situation.

In his presentation on the actors for negotiation in a conflict situation, Barrister Agbor Balla, Human Rights Activist, said, representatives of every faction of the ideological spectrum is needed on the table. To him, government should map put major stakeholders and credible personalities in the country to serve as peace mediators for the situation in the North West and South West Regions. To him, an external solution is not the best option. "If after 60 years, we cannot solve our internal problems, then it is terrible. We are capable of solving our issues. Negotiation is a non-violent method which is very good. There are credible people whom the government can use to midwife us out of this situation," he stated, adding that there should be a change of language amongst citizens. "Hate speech should be reduced. All of us want to build a strong country based on equity and justice," he added.

On her part, Esther Omam, President of Reach Out Cameroon, highlighted the role of women in conflict resolution. To her, North West and South West Women Task Force groups have been advocating to authorities. "Women are peacebuilders and pacifiers. At the end of the women's convention which recently held in Yaounde, we came up with a number of recommendations which have been forwarded to government," she stated while equally highlighting the different suffering women undergo during a conflict. Other speakers at the conference included, Francis Tazoacha of the Nkafu Policy Institute of the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation, who spoke on perquisites of negotiation, and Stephane Akoa, a specialist on socio political issues, edified on the stakes in a negotiation process.

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