Barrister Nkongho Felix Agbor Anyior aka Agbor Balla, President of the Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa, CHRDA, has in a rare outing rubbished measures so far taken by government to resolve the crisis in Cameroon’s North West and South West Regions.
From Switzerland where he is currently attending a workshop, the President of the banned Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium (CACSC) took to Facebook and Twitter Monday, January 27, 2020 to insist that only a two-state federation can resolve the Anglophone crisis.
Agbor Balla describes decentralisation and/or special status as stop-gap measures, advising that stakeholders should return to the drawing board to address the fundamental issues.
Hear him: “A two state federation is the Solution to the crisis. Any other solution be it decentralization, 10 state federation or a special status are only stop-gap measures. We shall have to go back to the drawing board to address the fundamental issues.
In October last year, Agbor Balla who was among the key players at the onset of the civil protests made a final plea for Cameroon to become a federal state after the Major National Dialogue as the only panacea to the deepening Anglophone Crisis.
Speaking Tuesday, October 1, 2019 at the Yaounde Conference Center, Agbor Nkongho said the people who have taken up arms to make of Cameroon’s North West and South West Regions an independent state they call Ambazonia may only be pacified if the form of the state is touched to accommodate federalism.
Apparently taking the Decentralisation and Local Development Commission headed by ex-Forestry and Wildlife Minister Ngole Philip Ngwese by storm, Agbor Nkongho regretted that another dialogue may be ordered by President Paul Biya not too long after the Major National Dialogue if the form of state was not discussed back then.
A video clip of the Human Rights Lawyer’s clarion call filtered out of the in-camera session and made rounds on social media at the time. In the video, Agbor Nkongho calls on Senator Mbella Moki Charles to bear him witness.
Hear Agbor Nkongho: “I don’t want us to waste taxpayers’ money today and next year the President calls us for another dialogue. We need to find a lasting solution. And like Dr. Munzu said yesterday, I am not prescribing any particular form of the state. But we cannot leave here without looking at the form of the state. As I sit here, if I show you my messages from some of the separatist leaders abroad asking if they have at least started talking even about the form of the state.
“Some of us have put our reputation and our image on the line to be here. If you follow social media, they attack some of us just for coming here. But we believe in the oneness and the unity of this country. We believe that Cameroon should be one and indivisible. But we equally believe that decentralisation will not solve the problem. We have to get to a federation. That is the minimum the people who have taken up arms will accept.”
Shortly after Agbor Balla’s submissions back then, the Ministry of Decentralisation and Local Development took to its Facebook page to expound on the concept of decentralisation.
“Decentralization is the transfer of power and authority from the central institution to the lower local levels of a government system. It guarantees peace, stability, unity and progress in Cameroon,” the post read.
Article 2 of the country’s constitution reads that: “The Republic of Cameroon shall be a decentralized unitary State. It shall be one and indivisible, secular, democratic and dedicated to social service. It shall recognize and protect traditional values that conform to democratic principles, human rights and the law. It shall ensure the equality of all citizens before the law.”
But since 1996, decentralisation is said to have failed to take off as planned and many are those in the North West and South West Regions who think federalism could be the magic wand.