JOINT DECLARATION:: LET US ACT TOGETHER FOR TRUE NATIONAL DIALOGUE!
Douala, 29th December 2017
JOINT DECLARATION:: LET US ACT TOGETHER FOR TRUE NATIONAL DIALOGUE!
We, the signatories of this joint statement, draw the attention of Cameroonians to the perilous situation facing our country throughout the national territory as 2017 comes to a close, notably:
• The continued degradation of basic services such as water, electricity, roads, education, health care, etc. for the population;
• The serious security crisis in six out of the ten regions of our country;
• The acute crises in the Far North, North West and South West regions, which have resulted in serious loss of life, hundreds of injured, more than 300,000 internally displaced persons and more than 7,000 refugees;
• Gross violations of human rights particularly in these crisis areas, such as the unjust imprisonment of thousands of people, the suspension of the internet, which has continued for over six months for millions of citizens, the limitation of freedom of expression, the refusal of assembly and peaceful demonstrations for the activists and political parties that we are.
• The unprecedented loss of confidence in the country’s leadership that pushes young people into exile as well as the risk of become victims of slavery, when they do not simply die on this hazardous route.
How can we get out of this catastrophic situation and avoid the worst in our country? We propose a path through which the coalition of nationalist, progressive and democratic citizens and forces in our country will be able to overcome the current state of impasse and open up new prospects for the Cameroonian nation and for Africa.
After 57 years of neocolonial and dictatorial regimes, preoccupied only by the enrichment of a minority; it is necessary to:
• Heal our nation from the trauma of its colonial past and subsequent oppressive governments, and
• Rebuild the foundations of a modern nation where basic human rights are respected, democratic principles are anchored and the framework for the development of every citizen is established.
To achieve this, a true national dialogue is necessary, including ALL Cameroonians, whatever their opinions or political, philosophical, economic or social commitments. This national dialogue will be the basis for beginning our healing as a nation and rebuilding the foundation of our country.
Characteristics of the true national dialogue
At the level of its characteristics, this true national dialogue must be:
1. Sovereign: the conclusions and resolutions of the national dialogue must be binding on all and must be incorporated in the constitutional, institutional, legislative and regulatory systems of our country.
2. Inclusive: Cameroonians of all walks of life and of all social categories must participate according to mechanisms of representation that must be consensually defined.
3. Participatory: the methodology should enable the dialogue to start in neighborhoods and villages to end in the final phase with a broad national consultation, grouping participants who represent the diversity of the Cameroonian people.
4. Facilitated by a group of independent Cameroonian personalities with moral integrity, recognized patriotic commitment and technical skills. African personalities who have distinguished themselves in the conduct of democratic processes and who have experience in crisis mediation can play the role of guarantors of the Cameroonian process.
Content of the true national dialogue
This true national dialogue should cover a variety of topics that are fundamental for our country. These include:
1. Solving the challenging legacy of our colonial past. Notably:
a. Managing the aftermath of our struggle for independence, including the massacre of hundreds of thousands of Cameroonians by colonial forces in collaboration with those who later ruled Cameroon.
b. Redefining the terms for living together, respecting diversity within national unity, throughout our national territory. This dialogue must resolve the anglophone question which is one of its most crucial aspects.
c. Redefining the terms of the relationship between Cameroon and its former colonizers for the future.
2. Redefining the relationship between the citizen and the state. The administrative structures in place before independence had the mission to exploit the country for the benefit of the colonial powers and worked to submit Cameroonians to this goal. These colonial masters were replaced by an oppressive elite who fashioned themselves in the colonizer’s image. We must therefore redefine the relationship between the state and the citizen in the sense of a state at the service of the people, a state guardian of its populations, protective and soothing to them.
3. Redefining the form of the state. Most Cameroonians strongly desire more autonomy (decision-making autonomy and autonomy of resources) at the local government level to manage their development, without calling into question those prerogatives that can only be managed by the central state. It is necessary to determine what form our state will take in order to meet this requirement of increased autonomy at the local level.
4. Reforming the Army and other law enforcement agencies (Police and Gendarmerie). We need to redefine the relations between the armed forces and citizens in order to put an end to the colonial vestiges and to develop armed forces that are republican, at the service of the population and respectful of the Constitution that the Sovereign People will put in place. We must put an end to the abuses and flagrant violations of human rights very often observed in the relationship between these forces of law and order and the people. More than ever, at the end of this true national dialogue, the defense forces must be forces at the service of the People and not at the service of a clan in power!
5. Redefining key systems and institutions. During this true national dialogue, we will:
a. Determine the principles and constitutive elements of the new Constitution for Cameroon. What will constitute a new social contract between Cameroonians.
b. Define the elements of an electoral system that guarantees free and fair elections
c. Establish the framework for key reforms in the executive, legislative and judiciary institutions for the coming months and year.
6. Address the issue of the return of humanitarian and political refugees and the issue of amnesty for political prisoners. This national dialogue, to be true, must be able to deal with certain issues that have wounded and divided Cameroonians.
The need to act together
This true national dialogue is a necessity to save Cameroon from the chaotic cycle in which it continues to sink. This real dialogue cannot be led by those who, currently in power, are at the origin of these multiple crises that our country is experiencing. For this dialogue to lead to a new beginning, it must be done with the active participation of the People who are sovereign.
As citizens and patriots, we have the responsibility to take action to impose this true dialogue. Together, let’s act to write a new page in our history as a nation.
• Kah Walla, National Chairperson, (Cameroon People’s Party).
• Albert Moutoudou, Chaiperson, UPC – MANIDEM (Manifeste National pour l’Instauration de la Démocratie).
• Dikoume Mbonjo, National Secretary in charge of Organization, MANIDEM (Mouvement Africain pour la Nouvelle Indépendance et la Démocratie).