By Kesah Princely, Regis Che & Paul Njie
Top politicians from Cameroon’s main opposition party, the Social Democratic Front (SDF) have made proposals on what should be included in an announced national dialogue, to seek for a solution to a deadly conflict plaguing the country’s Anglophone minority regions.
As Ebonigram had earlier reported, 86 year-old Cameroonain leader, Paul Biya on September 10, announced a national dialogue to seek ways of de-escalating tensions in the crisis hit North West and South West English speaking regions.
As part of consultative talks ahead of the dialogue due for the end of September, the country’s Prime Minister, Joseph Dion Ngute has granted audience to a delegation from the SDF party.
After deliberations with Dion Ngute on September 12, the party made public some of the issues raised during Thursday’s meeting in Cameroon’s capital, Yaounde.
In a media release signed by SDF’s First National Vice President Josua Osih, the leader revealed that the dialogue should gratify the demands of the chagrined English speaking Cameroonians.
“We insisted that this dialogue must satisfy the aspirations of the Anglophone community and nothing short of this will work,” the communique read in part.
The Osih-led team proposed amongst other issues, that the form of the state be discussed at the upcoming national dialogue.
“There must be structured openings to discuss the form of the state; the inclusive dialogue should be chaired by a neutral personality; the national dialogue must dwell on the root cause of the Anglophone problem; the military cannot be be part of a national inclusive dialogue, which is essentially political,” the opposition politicians stressed.
Meantime, the SDF officials also insisted that Anglophones should have a central position in the nationwide dialogue, stating they were manipulated during a Federal Constitutional meeting, where they had their ideal feelings derailed in a referendum that moved Cameroon from a Federal to a Unitary state in 1972.
Since the start of the Anglophone crisis, the SDF has stood firm that the form of the state should be the subject of any dialogue aimed at solving the conflict.
It remains unclear whether President Biya will accept the concerns raised by the SDF given that he has often said the form of the state is non-negotiable.
The political party equally intimated that during the forthcoming dialogue, America, Britain and Germany should be allowed to take part in the process.
Foreign bodies such as the UN and Switzerland had earlier declared their intentions to mediate any dialogue geared towards putting an end to the socio-political imbroglio rocking Cameroon.