Sep 2019

We have taken note of the”Provisional Planning” of the consultations established by the Prime Minister, Head of Government for the announced Major National Dialogue. It appears that the Cameroon Renaissance Movement (CRM) would be consulted on Wednesday, September 18th, 2019 at 11 am.

As a follow-up, the CRM brings to your attention the following:

1 – The CRM cannot take part in this Major National Dialogue without the prior release of its National President, Professor Maurice KAMTO, leaders of political parties and allied organisations as well as militants and sympathisers of the CRM arbitrarily arrested and illegally detained for more than seven months for some, following the”Pacific White Marches” of January 26th, June 1st and June 8th, 2019.

2 – The resolution of the Anglophone question, then of the Anglophone crisis has always been at the centre of the CRM’s concerns since its creation:

– That can be found in its platform, published in English and in French since 2012.

– On June 25th, 2015 during a big rally at the Bamenda Grandstand, the CRM National President, Professor Maurice KAMTO, recalled that there is an Anglophone problem in our country and that it should be solved through dialogue.

– On December 10th, 2016 during a rally in Ngaoundéré, faced with the abuses committed by the security forces and in front of the first victims killed by bullets, the CRM President called for the urgent organisation of a national political dialogue, the only one susceptible to prevent the outbreak of a civil war with its trail of human tragedy.

– During his various public or media appearances (Radio, TV, Press Conference), Professor Maurice KAMTO has constantly recalled the persistent existence of the Anglophone question in our country and, following the crisis, the urgency of the resolution through a political dialogue.

– During the campaign for the October 2018 presidential election, the resolution of the Anglophone problem was at the heart of the concerns of candidate Maurice KAMTO, one of his priority commitments being that he will visit the North-West and South-West Regions (NOSO) if he emerged victorious.

– In the wake of the highly disputed results of the October 2018 presidential election, the CRM and its Allies launched a National Resistance Plan (NRP) in November, one of the major points of which being”NO TO WAR IN NOSO” and “YES TO THE INCLUSIVE DIALOGUE”.

– Within the framework of the same NRP, the CRM initiated an extensive programme of humanitarian assistance through the AYAH Foundation which gave a very satisfactory result. It proposed to the Government a strategy to end the NOSO crisis, including the following sequences:

  • Cease-fire negotiated with armed groups;
  • Establishment of a Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration Committee (DDRC);
  • Emergency humanitarian and financial assistance for the return of displaced persons and refugees and their reintegration;
  • Establishment of a Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission;
  • Launch of the inclusive national dialogue, with support from the international community;

– While the deaths were already in the thousands, refugees and displaced in the hundreds of thousands, the CRM indicated that if no concrete steps are taken to resolve the crisis, it will initiate peaceful marches of protest from mid-January.

– In his end-of-year 2018 message to Cameroonians, the CRM President insists on these proposals and reiterates the decision to organise peaceful marches.

– Faced with the inaction of the Government and the rejection of the very idea of political dialogue with NOSO protesters, the CRM and its Allies organised”Pacific White Marches” in several localities in Cameroon on January 26th, 2019. The first arbitrary arrests followed by illegal detentions of leaders and hundreds of activists and supporters came after these white marches.

– On May 9th, 2019, when the Prime Minister during a tour of the NOSO, announces the openness of the Government to the idea of an inclusive national dialogue, the CRM and its Allies published a Memorandum containing detailed proposals for the organisation and success of such a dialogue, as well as the resolution of the multifaceted crises that Cameroon is facing.

3 – Since the announcement of the holding of the Major National Dialogue at the end of September, the CRM has issued a statement expressing its concerns regarding the prerequisites for the success of this event. They relate to the need for a consensual approach based in particular on the following points:

– The establishment of a Preparatory Commission for the National Dialogue with enough time and composed of the main protagonists of the NOSO crisis and actors in national politics, as well as other vital forces of the nation. In this respect, it should be borne in mind that the Prime Minister, being a member of the CPDM, represents one of the parties to the Major Dialogue. The presidency of this Major Dialogue and the power of consultation conferred on the Prime Minister to hold it is a unilateral and opaque approach likely to discredit the process and the objectives assigned to it. The”Provisional Planning” of the consultations is the clear proof of this. For example, it is not known according to which criteria some political parties are consulted as such and some of their leaders (Vice-President, Secretary General of the Central Committee) are consulted separately as opinion leaders or institution / delegation; what explains or justifies the presence of certain organisations of civil society and the absence of others, especially those in charge of human rights issues and the promotion of civic engagement. It is worth mentioning that most of the categories consulted have, in particular, been linked to the CPDM. Under these conditions, it is feared that the dialogue will be unbalanced and will not produce the expected results in order to resolve in a sustainable way the multifaceted crises that the country is facing, particularly that of the NOSO.

– The DIRECT involvement of the defence and security forces, on the one hand, and the armed groups, on the other hand, poses a particular problem in terms of political dialogue. Indeed, the Republican army is subject to political power and must therefore be represented by politicians in this case the ministers concerned. As for the armed combatant groups in the NOSO, they must be represented by their political leaders. It would be dangerous for the future of republican institutions to directly involve the Armed Forces and armed combatant groups in the management of the political affairs of our country.

– The Preparatory Commission should ensure the truly inclusive character of the Major Dialogue. In this regard, it is important that all those arrested and still detained in connection with the NOSO crisis be released and that their leaders take part in the Major Dialogue.

A general amnesty is therefore indispensable. In addition, it is imperative to give written assurances that any participant in this Major Dialogue living in Cameroon or abroad can come and go freely, without the risk of arrest, and take part safely in this event.

– The preparatory commission should also settle, within the framework of the draft texts to be submitted for the approval of the Major Dialogue at its opening, a certain number of practical questions essential to the good conduct of the Major Dialogue, in particular:

  • the draft agenda;
  • the dates and the calendar of the event;
  • the organisation of the Major Dialogue Bureau;
  • the organisation of debates and decision-making procedures;
  • the affirmation of the binding nature of the resolutions of the Major Dialogue;
  • the timetable for implementing resolutions;
  • the mechanism for monitoring this implementation.

– Regarding the agenda of the Major Dialogue, the CRM has taken note that it will go beyond the crisis in the NOSO and expand to other issues of national importance. In this perspective, if we want to permanently solve the problems of our country, the CRM believes that it will imperatively include:

  • the question of the form of the state;
  • the reform of the electoral system;
  • the guarantee of respect for fundamental human rights and public freedoms;
  • the guarantee of the independence of the Judiciary.

– With regard to the conduct of debates, it must be ensured by a neutral personality, with proven experience in conflict resolution and consensually approved by the participants.

– The involvement of the international community, in this case the United Nations, the AU, the EU, the United States, France, Great Britain, Germany, Canada, Italy, is indispensable, based on:

  • the great mistrust between the parties;
  • the experience in conflict resolution;
  • the credibility it would bring to this process.

– In order to ensure the transparency of the proceedings, the Major Dialogue will have to be the subject of the greatest media coverage and the full dissemination of the debates.

Yaoundé Main Prison this September 17th, 2019.

The National President of the CRM

Maurice KAMTO.