ANGLOPHONE CRISIS: NEC Empowers Fru Ndi to Lead Fresh Frank Dialogue With Gov’t

SDF Chairman
Left, John Fru Ndi, right – President Biya during a visit to Unity Palace by the SDF Chairman.

By Mua Patrick, January 31, 2017

Cameroon Journal, Bamenda – The Social Democratic Front, SDF party has designated its National Chairman, John Fru Ndi to rally religious, political and opinion leaders to engage in meaningful dialogue with government to resolve the ongoing Anglophone crisis that has since crippled activities in the North West and South West Regions.

Meeting in an emergency National Executive Committee in Bamenda Saturday, the SDF officials also stressed the need for the convening of a Constitutional Conference to redefine the Cameroonian state, suggesting that it is the only way out to the present imbroglio in the country.

“The SDF empowers the National Chairman to seek ways and means, in collaboration with religious authorities, political and opinion leaders, to get our country out of the present impasse,” the appeal read in part.

Bishops of the Bamenda Ecclesiastical Province as well as the Imams of Cameroon had in separate statements issued last year called on the Biya regime to engage in frank dialogue with disgruntled Anglophone groups.

Anglophone lawyers and teachers, it should be said have for over three months been on strike in protest of several forms of injustices and marginalisation against English-speaking Cameroonians.

The ongoing crisis that has brought economic and educational activities in the North West and South West Regions to a standstill has also led to the arrest of several Anglophone activists.

During their Bamenda meeting chaired by the party’s chieftain John Fru Ndi, the SDF vehemently condemned what they described as “the abduction, kidnapping and arbitrary arrest of unarmed innocent citizens by the forces of law and order.”

SDF NEC equally frowned at the wanton killings, rape, torture and intimidation of the people of the English Speaking regions of the country.

“We condemn the arrest of even members of the judiciary in total and reckless disregard of all the laws and instrument in force,” a statement issued at the end of the NEC read in part.

The heavy militarization of the English speaking parts of Cameroon as well as the manipulation of public opinion to equate federalism with secession, the SDF said was disturbing.

“We condemn the suppression of the internet and other avenues of communication within the English speaking sector of Cameroon which have resulted in the grounding of their economy and thereby constitute a denial of their fundamental rights and a sense of belonging,” Saturday’s communiqué also stated.

The violation of the UN resolution requiring member states to respect human rights online, especially the international convention on civil and political rights and particularly the freedom of online expression, the SDF maintained, were grossly not being respected by the government of Cameroon.

“We condemn the attitude of the National Communication Council for stifling constitutional rights of the people by prohibiting debates on federalism in the media,” the SDF said.

SDF demands release of arrested Anglophones

In one of their resolutions, the SDF enjoined the Biya regime to immediately and unconditionally release “all those abducted or kidnapped and who are presently held in the prisons of Yaounde, or at least send them back to their respective places of origin where the purported offences were committed for trial by the competent courts in these regions in order to guarantee a free, fair and credible trial.”

“We reiterate our call on the government to bring to book all the perpetrators of human rights abuses by the forces of law and order and the administration, most of which are abundantly documented,” the SDF said.

The SDF also called on the Biya regime to immediately bring to an end the de-facto state of emergency and militarization of the English speaking regions.

“We call on stakeholders and all those adversely affected, to take this issue of collective punishment which constitutes human rights abuse through selective internet deprivation to the appropriate international courts for the government to indemnify all affected subscribers by internationally acceptable amounts.”

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