The Debate : A Plenary of Frank Talk

The contributions from 12 selected speakers at the plenary session could be qualified as a reflection of the feelings and aspirations of participants.

The plenary session that followed the official opening ceremony of the historic Grand National Dialogue on the crisis in the North West and South West Regions  at the Yaounde Conference Centre yesterday, September 30, was nothing less than an immortalizing epitaph and an enigmatic attempt to hit the last nail on the coffin of the problem that has rocked the two regions for the past three years. Moderated by the Prime Minister, Head of government and Chairperson of the Grand National Dialogue, Joseph Dion Ngute, all those who were selected to deliver talks on the issue were frank  and one could decipher the desire to see an immediate end to the crisis. They were all together 12 keynote speakers so to say who touched on almost all topics the about 1,000 participants who answered present at the famous Tripartite Hall wanted to hear even though the approach might have been different. 
The major issues raised and which the PM underscored will served as springboard during debates in the various commissions touched mostly on the form of the State, some proposing fast tracking of the implementation of the decentralisation process and others suggesting the adoption of the Federal system of government. One thing was clear here; all of them want power given to the local population. In what many described as one of the most surprising presentations and proposals given that it came from a militant of the Cameroon People's Democratic Movement (some went as far as describing it as a message from the party hierarchy), Sultan Ibrahim Mbombo Njoya enumerated a string of reforms necessary to be undertaken to reshape the country's political map. These include, the revision of the constitution in order to return to a limited mandate for the President of the Republic, revision of the electoral code to introduce two round presidential election, the wish for those arrested as a result of the crisis to be granted presidential pardon, creation of a disarmament commission made up of religious leaders and traditional chiefs of the two regions among others and the implementation of decentralization process within six months.  
Other speakers included;  Ni John Fru Ndi of the SDF who blamed the marginalization of the Anglophones on the 1972 referendum which led to the killing of the Federal system of government, Simon Munzu who said, the problem of giving power to local governments is not in the name; call it decentralization or Federation; but in the content. The dialogue he said, is an opportunity to draw lessons from the past and define the path of the future. He dismissed the un...



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