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Francophone Archbishop in Cameroon Reiterates Need for Neutral Body at National Dialogue

Archbishop Samuel Kleda reacting to proposed National Dialogue in Cameroon

The need to have a neutral body to moderate the planned national dialogue in Cameroon, which the Bishops in the Anglophone region had expressed has been reiterated by an Archbishop from the Francophone region who has also called for an inclusive forum that would bring to the negotiating table citizens in the diaspora.

“The government should have chosen a neutral person or group to lead the dialogue so that the decisions taken will be applied to resolve this crisis and other problems destroying our country,” said Archbishop Samuel Kleda of Douala in an interview with Douala based Catholic Radio.

Cameroon President Paul Biya has called for a major national dialogue to solve the crisis that has paralyzed the Anglophone regions of the country since 2016.

Prime Minister Joseph Dion Ngute who has holding consultation meetings with various actors involved in the crisis is expected to preside over the meeting scheduled for a-yet-to-be-announced date.

Archbishop Kleda who hails from the Francophone region of the country also expressed the wish that this dialogue be inclusive and involve Cameroonians in the diaspora who have greatly influenced the conflict.

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“If Cameroonians in the diaspora are convened to the meeting they should come,” he said and added “the State must also take all the necessary measures to assure their security.”

The prelate also insisted that this dialogue should start abroad before coming to the nation’s capital Yaounde saying, “I am afraid that the failure of the dialogue will come from government’s inability to reach out to all stakeholders abroad before the dialogue meeting in Yaounde.”

“Those who will participate in this dialogue should have the honesty to speak out truthfully on the causes and propose concrete solutions to the crisis,” he added.

He went on to add his voice to that of the Anglophone Bishops who have called for the resumption of schools in these regions and for the dialogue to provide solutions to problems facing all Cameroonians.

“We hope children will now go back to school in these regions,” he said and added “this forum (National Dialogue) should also be an opportunity to resolve other problems affecting the nation especially youth unemployment and improving living conditions for the people.”

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“The dialogue should give birth to a truth and reconciliation commission,” he said and justified, “This commission should ensure the rights of all the inhabitants are respected.”