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“Launching of peace drive successful,” Cameroon Prelates Report on Sensitization Mission

Christian Cardinal Tumi (left) and Bishop Andrew Nkea Fuanya (right) working to bring Peace to the Troubled North West and South West Regions of Cameroon.

Two Catholic Prelates, Christian Cardinal Tumi and Bishop Andrew Nkea who recently spearheaded a peace delegation to the North West and South West Regions of Cameroon in view of sensitizing citizens about the proposals made during the end-September early-October National Dialogue have described their mission as “successful” and a “good beginning.”

“We think that the launching of the peace drive was successful. We are not saying that it was perfect, but it was a good beginning and everyone is waiting for more to be done,” Cardinal Tumi has been quoted as telling the state media  after presenting the report of their mission to the Prime Minister, Joseph Dion Ngute in the country’s capital, Yaounde Wednesday, December 4.

“We were sent out to propose to the population and to those who will explain to the populations of the various divisions the importance of peace for anything to be done at all. Without peace nothing can be done,” Cardinal Tumi who led the delegation to the North West region explained.

The Archbishop Emeritus of Douala expressed some of the questions on the mind of those he met during his mission, "The population wanted to know the content of the special status to the North West and South West.” 

Referencing the lack of disclosure on the content of the controversial National Dialogue that came up during his mission, the Cameroonian Cardinal observed, “We expect the content to be made known to the people as soon as possible – what will make the difference between the North West and South West and other regions of Cameroon because there are colonial and cultural differences we inherited.”

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On his part, Bishop Andrew Nkea of Mamfe diocese who led the delegation to the South West region reported, "It was very important for us to witness that the administration, politicians, religious leaders and population were speaking one language which is peace." 

"Our teams went to all the six divisions, did a splendid job, met a lot of people, preached peace and people were opened,” Bishop Nkea said and noted in reference to the mood of the people he met, “For one thing, the population is tired; they want to return to normal life.”

The teams that accompanied him, Bishop Nkea said, “used the occasion to tell the people that recommendations of the Major National Dialogue could only be implemented in a peaceful atmosphere.”

The Anglophone regions of  Cameroon have been paralyzed since 2016, after a strike action of lawyers and teachers turned violent.

The violent conflict resulted in the growth of an armed separatists’ movement claiming independence for the so-called republic of Ambazonia.

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The conflict has left at least 3,000 people dead and over 500,000 displaced.

The National Dialogue was held from September 30 to October 4 at the Yaoundé Conference Centre with the objective of finding lasting solutions to the protracted Anglophone crisis.

Among the recommendations made by the eight commissions that debated during the National Dialogue was the granting of a special status to the North-West and South-West regions, a proposal made by the decentralization commission.

The two English-Speaking regions make up around 20 percent of the country’s population and have long complained about being marginalized by the French-speaking ruling class.