HISTORY REPEATING ITSELF
“Nous pouvons manisfester,nous pouvons revendiquer mais avons nous le droit de ruiner nationale?Tous les problèmes peuvent trouver des solutions par la voie de dialogue mais les règles du dialogue appellent la bonne foi, la disponibilité d’esprit,la franchise”
“We can protest,we can claim but have we the right to ruin the national economy?All problems can find solutions by way of dialogue but the rules of dialogue call for good faith,availability of mind, openness
September 12,1991 in Baffoussam
In 1991,National Coordination of Opposition Parties and Associations (NCOPA), a coalition of all political parties called for Ghost Towns and civil disobedience all over the national triangle. By the time Paul Biya addressed the nation, the Ghost Towns and Civil Disobedience had taken a heavy toll on the country’s economy with the state suffering a severe financial blow. To save his nation from the impending economic doom, he announced the holding of a Tripartite Conference ( instead of a national sovereign conference) in Yaoundé between the Government, Political Parties and the civil Society to be chaired by Prime Minister Saidou Hayatou. More so, he defined the agenda of the supposed Tripartite thereby changing the rules of the game to the utter dismay of all political parties. What Paul Biya hoped to achieve at the Tripatite was to crack and collapse the Coalition of Political Parties that was growing in strength on daily basis and this was achieved by the end of the conference holding at the Yaoundé Conference Centre.
According to Challenge Hebdo Special of 15 October 1991, the government had spent:
– 90 billion FCFA for overtime pay to the military
– About one billion FCFA for consultations, committees, commissions of inquiry, etc.
– 20 Billion FCFA on the provincial tours by President Biya.
– The state had also lost about 90 billion FCFA of customs revenue from the Douala seaport. According to figures from the taxation department, the state collected only 20 billion FCFA of tax revenue between July 1991 and October 1991 instead of the expected 196 billion FCFA.
Jeune Afrique Economie estimated on its part that the government was losing five billion FCFA daily as a result of the Ghost Town, and that by November 1991, this amounted to 750 billion FCFA.
Flash forward to September 2019
28 years later, Paul Biya has again been forced out of his Etoudi Luxurious Palace to address burning issues that have torn apart his country and demystify the myth of his superiority over a people he once ruled with an iron fist. Since 2016,at the outbreak of the war for the decolonization of the former UN Trust Territory of Southern Cameroons under UK administration,also known as Ambazonia, the stance of the Yaoundé Regime has been a tough one and calls for an Inclusive Dialogue without Preconditions on the root causes of the crisis by various International Organizations, Diplomats and foreign nations have been ignored. Same as was in 1991, the
– economy of Cameroun is in shambles as millions of francs are spent on the military to maintain them in Southern Cameroons
– Ghost Towns and Lockdowns are causing a huge toll on the Yaoundé regime as billions of FCFA are lost everyday
– Millions of FCFA spent on the creation of Commissions that serve no purpose ( The Musonge and the Fai Yengo Commissions)
– C.D.C and So.Na.Ra are non productive and have been partially closed down
– Lots of pressure to bear on Paul Biya to resolve the already precarious situation etc,
Today, seriously shaken by the “Anglophone crisis,” the same power, with the same head, gives the same cover for the same menu. Paul Biya has again called for a National Dialogue with a preconceived agenda to be chaired by Prime Minister Dion Ngute. He however seems to ignore that the guests are no longer the same … In 1991, there was a civil society and political parties that gave slogans to committed citizens. Today, the audience has changed as those who have control over self defense groups are regarded by the regime acolytes as terrorists who can’t be negotiated with yet Paul Biya asked a resounding question
“Who do I dialogue with?”
With Ambazonian leaders in his prison and crumbling under heavy jail terms, Paul Biya has again by-passed them and has fixed the agenda of his proposed National Dialogue to resolve issues that concern them. To add salt to injury, he even questions why “Anglophones” claim that they are marginalized when they own the post of the Prime Minister.
How can Paul Biya and his people think they can debate the appeasement of the political climate with a whitewash agenda while hundreds of political activists languish in prison and his military is still on a killing spree?
Using the whitewash formula to cover up the dirt that has been piled over the years is a strategy that is bound to fail before it begins. To achieve peace one needs truth and justice as the main ingredients. If we can’t look at each other in the face and tell them the truth, then the National Dialogue on the Ambazonia – Cameroon Conflict (which will have as attendants everyone not involved in the said conflict) is dead on arrival.
The only way to solve this Conflict is by looking at the Root Causes of the dispute, with an eye for truth and justice in the presence of neutral nations.
A stitch in time, they say saves nine
Sen Penn Terence
YAOUNDE CENTRAL PRISON