Solange M. Ashu
AmbaNews24 – Madrid, Spain
The Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs working with the Humanitarian Dialogue (HD) Center in Switzerland will this week and possibly beyond, consult with some Ambazonia movements in view of obtaining their positions on the Cameroon National Dialogue, AmbaNews24 has learned. This is in line with the statement of Mr. Paul Biya, President of Cameroon, in his September 10, 2019 speech convening a “Grand National Dialogue” wherein he said, “Prior to the effective holding of the dialogue, the Prime Minister, Head of Government, will carry out broad-based consultations to solicit a wide range of views that will serve as a source of inspiration for the conduct of deliberations. In the coming days, delegations will also be dispatched to meet the diaspora to enable them to make their contribution to discussions on the resolution of the crisis.”
AmbaNews24 spoke to a high ranking official at the Cameroon Prime Ministry in Yaoundé where Dion Ngute, Prime Minister of the Republic of Cameroon is leading the National Dialogue. The interview focused on how Cameroon will consult with the diaspora before the “Grand National Dialogue” that will begin on September 30, 2019, and end on October 4, 2019, at the Congress Hall in Yaoundé. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, emphasized that the diaspora will be consulted, including, as he stated, “those who say they are secessionist movements.”
Further squeezed on how consultation with Ambazonian liberation movements can be achieved when all of them have rejected the Cameroon “National Dialogue” in various press releases, the source at the Prime Ministry told AmbaNews24 that the Swiss at an upcoming meeting will play the role of sourcing the input of the Ambazonian movements on the various areas that Paul Biya listed in his speech. “I think that will begin at a meeting that will hold in Switzerland this week, and this will achieve in a timely manner the inclusivity that the Head of State talked about to all Cameroonians in his speech,” he added.
The entities that have signed unto the Swiss-led process include the Movement for the Restoration of the Independence of Southern Cameroons (MoRISC), the African Peoples Liberation Movement (APLM), the Sako Ikome faction of the “Interim Government” group, the Southern Cameroons Congress of the People (SCCOP), and the Ambazonia People Restoration Movement (APERM) of Marc Njoh.
However, the major Ambazonian independence-seeking movements who have taken a firm stand against the Swiss-led process, demanding greater transparency and credibility of the process, include: the Ambazonia Governing Council (AGovC) under the leadership of Dr. Cho Ayaba, the Seseku Julius Ayuk led faction of the “Interim Government” group, the Consortium led by John Mbah Akuroh, and the Republic of Ambazonia Nation (RoAN) led by Edwin Ngang have all refused to participate without a fair process that will guarantee a better outcome for the interest of the Ambazonian people.
It should be noted that SCCOP in a recent public statement signed by its Chairman, Milan Atam on September 15, 2019, stated that it has noted several concerns that have caused it “to review its stance regarding the seriousness of the Swiss-led Initiative.” It added in the said statement that it has “not seen any piece of documentation that reassures them of the Government of Cameroun’s commitment to the Initiative. Yet, Southern Cameroonian movements were made to sign a public undertaking signaling their willingness to dialogue.”
It can be deduced that by signing the “public undertaking”, “SCCOP has committed to attend the next round of Pre-Talks organized by the Government of Switzerland” as the Press Release further stated. In other words, the signed undertaking has tied the hands of SCCOP at this moment from acting otherwise in the hope of the upcoming Swiss meeting providing clarity on the position of the Cameroon government on the Swiss process.
The views of the meeting attendees pertaining to how to end the ongoing Ambazonia conflict and on the Cameroon’s “matters of national interest” such as national integration and unity, IDPs and refugees as listed by Paul Biya in his September 10, 2019 speech to his nation will eventually be transmitted to the Cameroon government in general, and the committees that will run the National Dialogue in particular.
These outreach by the Cameroon government under cover of the Swiss will serve to achieve Mr. Biya’s wish that “it will not be possible for everybody to effectively participate in this dialogue, but each person will have the opportunity to make a contribution.”
The Cameroon government has been informing foreign dignitaries that it has been consulting all stakeholders and parties in the ongoing-armed conflict “in the Southwest and Northwest Regions of Cameroon.” Many have often wondered the veracity of such statements. The revelations in this interview must force one to ask if Switzerland has not been the indirect, and obscure route by which these consultations are being achieved without the full knowledge of the participants on what is going on.
Considering that some entities are poised to attend the Swiss-meeting this week, and that these same entities had previously disavowed the Cameroon National Dialogue, political observers have signaled to AmbaNews24, strongly advising and recommending to these movements to state for the record at the meeting, in writing, signed and submitted to the Swiss, and demand that the Swiss facilitators, mediators or negotiators (their exact role remains unclear) confirm same, that their material input does not constitute participation in the Cameroon National Dialogue. One commentator who spoke to our reporter on the issue, insisted that, “they should also issue a public statement after the meeting stating that no discussion, input or contribution from them throughout the meeting, whether by commission or omission, constitutes material of any sort for or to be used in the Cameroon National Dialogue, and if so used, will be officially invalid.”