Canada urges Cameroon to give Anglophones more autonomy
The Canadian High Commissioner to Cameroon, Richard Bale has urged conflicting parties in the country’s North West and South West regions to come together and seek a lasting solution.
Government, he adds, should give more room for Anglophones to manage their affairs, as part of the solution to the four-year war.
The diplomat over the weekend talked to The Post and The Guardian Post newspapers after paying a visit to the Littoral and South West regions.
Regarding the form of state, the diplomat explained to the leading English language newspapers that what matters more should not be the name given to the form of state, but the practicality of handing Anglophones more autonomy over their affairs.
“I hesitate to say Federalism is the best solution for Cameroon. It is not my place to say but I think people get a bit distracted by labels,” he said.
While the secession option seems very blur, he noted, there is the need for government to relax its stance, given that the Anglophones have legitimate concerns.
“It takes a very long time to resolve a crisis of this nature but you have to be flexible … Logically speaking, the government has to show flexibility in the way the state operates.”
Citing some gross rights violations that have happened in the conflict-hit regions these past months, the High Commissioner expressed his dismay with the Kumba massacre. He also admitted that there have been grave violations from both parties, thus more reason for an immediate solution.
Quizzed on press freedom and freedom of expression, his response was “I don’t believe journalists should be arrested or jailed. We believe in the usefulness of a free press and there should be the political will for opposition parties and their leaders to function as we see in other democratic countries.”
Kamto’s current house arrest he added, “is not a good sign … There seems not to be more political space here in Cameroon.”
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