National Telegraph’s Editorial.
A group has taken upon itself a role in the Ambazonian debacle that cannot be denied. Interviews with Eric Chinje and Swiss mediator, Alexander Liebeskind certainly contribute to throwing some light on important issues.
Since a war has many battles and fronts, perhaps the best way to see the current Swiss Initiative is simply to consider it as one of the fronts.
Not too many persons ask the really difficult questions and for those tempted to underrate the importance of peace negotiations, it may be necessary to go down memory lane to the time of the Vietnam War around the 1960s.
During this period, American Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger made many trips to discuss not the peace talks per se, but the shape of the table on which Ho Chi Minh’s people and those of South Vietnam would sit. During that protracted process lives were lost in the fighting. It will be no different in Ambazonia!!!!
Many important questions were asked and gentleman Liebeskind tried his best to provide some helpful answers, one of which was the fact that Canada and Switzerland are underwriting the negotiations. This is a big financial undertaking worthy of appreciation by peace lovers worldwide.
But this one bright spot is rendered murky by very many red flags! Too many unanswered questions, the most alarming being the unexplained focus on one side of a two-sided conflict. A mediator is like a referee handling a match between two teams.
But so far all the talk is on one team; Ambazonia. That does not bode well, especially when the mediator falls in the trap of giving the so-called state actor (LRC) an undue advantage. That is a recipe for disaster!
For those who recall the 2018 presidential elections in Cameroon, Charles Ndongo (Director of state-owned media; CRTV) evoked a similar absurdity to justify that Paul Biya, incumbent at the time was way above all eight candidates to go on the campaign trail or appear for television debates. That immediately eroded the notion of a level playing field. The outcome of the 2018 election is still reverberating till today!
What method will be used to implement any decisions arrived at during the mediation? A vague answer was provided, mentioning international organizations such as the African Union. That was another red flag!
The AU has member states who are guided by an Arab proverb: A camel does not make fun of the humpback of a fellow camel. This is the African equivalent of the pot calling the kettle black. As long as African leaders embrace such a creed, it is wishful thinking to expect any of them to support any decision that goes against one of theirs – Paul Biya in this case.
But, the main concern remains the focus on Ambazonia, its many actors and weaknesses, its infighting, disunity and so on while the other side is vaguely referred to as Yaoundé.
That is not all. The Swiss talks are supposedly designed to prepare and beef up the negotiators but no mention is made of the specific skills or talents to be honed. More paradoxical still is the rationale for preparing front line leaders for a task that is said to be that of “experts”. So why not invite and prepare those experts instead?
Why ask Ambazonians for any kind of commitment but not do the same for “Yaoundé”? The answer is blowing in the air. Should Switzerland not put everything into the works to ensure its integrity, neutrality and credibility?
Today it is Abdulkarim Ali being picked up and detained under very dubious circumstances following his presentation for the Swiss talks followed by his visit to the Swiss Ambassador in Yaoundé, capital of Cameroon.
Yesterday it was Dr. Félix-Roland Moumié being baited and poisoned in a Swiss restaurant by a French secret agent acting on Swiss soil and naturally with Swiss blessing if not collusion.
Félix-Roland Moumié was an anti-colonialist Cameroonian leader, assassinated in Geneva, November 3, 1960 by an agent of the SDECE with thallium, following official independence from France earlier that year.
How should Ambazonians interpret Switzerland’s sepulchral silence following Abdukarim’s abduction? Who stands to gain from any delay tactics – Yaoundé or Ambazonia? Where’s a written note from the Swiss government since we’ve generally learned administration is documented.
What qualifies the HD as a successful mediator that can inspire confidence among Ambazonians – Renamo/Mozambique, Sudan/South Sudan, CAR/Seleka forces? Are these elements that inspire confidence in a resume of a candidate to be given top rating?
The Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue or the Henry Dunant Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue must understand core issues. Must everybody come on board? Can everybody possibly come on board? What basic criteria are there to qualify those to come on board? How is it possible that HD is talking with a group that most of its members lack or have any fighters on the ground sounding the guns?
I am sorry to have to be a bundle of questions but how else can today’s young Turks show that they are less gullible, less naive, less experienced than the much disdained John Ngu Foncha team of yesterday’s Foumban Talks?
But for an armed conflict already in its fourth year with over two million people; mostly women and children as internally displaced or refugees, way over thirteen thousands (13000) killed, over four hundred villages (400) burnt down by the Cameroon military with something in the neighbourhood of five thousand (5000) held as war prisoners across detention facilities in the country, the Swiss maintaining an audacious silence over the arrest of Ali leaves even the stones suspicious.