During a visit to Cameroon on December 19-23, 2017 Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland continued calls for peace amid ongoing unrest in the Southwest region
During a visit to Cameroon on December 19-23, 2017 Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland continued calls for peace amid ongoing unrest in the Southwest region.
She met with the governing party, along with representatives from the 8 opposition parties and over 30 civil society organisations, to discuss the future of the African country and encourage inclusive dialogue to work towards bringing unity.
Scotland spoke with President Paul Biya and Prime Minister Philémon Yang, as well as with 2018 presidential candidate Akere Muna, before travelling to Buea, a troubled area in the Southwest of the country.
Buea is the historic capital of the Anglophone area of Cameroon and the Secretary-General’s visit was intended to encourage confidence in the full implementation of the 1996 Constitution, which explicitly details plans for decentralisation.
The Secretary-General met with elected officials, religious leaders, elders and young people, and spoke of the positive role young people could play in Cameroon’s future.
In a statement following his meeting with Scotland, Muna said that the Commonwealth’s support was now needed in the electoral process to ensure inclusivity and transparency, by bringing observers who would instil confidence in the electoral commission and Cameroonian voters.
Secretary-General Scotland said: “It was enormously encouraging that political parties, civil society representatives and citizens from every corner of Cameroon chose to meet with me to discuss some of the most pressing challenges facing their country today.”
On Buea, the Secretary-General said: “It was incredibly important for me to visit this region of Cameroon, to hear first-hand how those affected plan to overcome the current challenges and work towards peacefully unifying the country.
“Everyone was talking about the need for peace, the need for dialogue and that the only way to resolve all of these problems will be through inclusive and substantive engagement.”
Christian Achaleke, who was named Commonwealth Young Person of the Year in 2016, said: “My message to young people today is on the role they have to play in promoting peace and the need for young people to be included in the dialogue which is planned to restore peace in the English-speaking region in the Southwest of Cameroon, which has been plagued by animosity, insecurity and violence.
“Young people know the problems and if they are there from the beginning they can provide suggestions which are tangible and which resonate with the voices of their peers who are from the local communities and that are facing the challenges of this crisis.
“There has been the need for third-party intervention, and the Commonwealth Secretary-General comes to instil the hope that there’s a future road map for the resolution of this conflict.”