By Arrey Obenson; Founder I Am Cameroon

Identifying the root cause of a conflict and addressing the underlying issues is the most effective way of resolving a crisis.
The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect HillTop Voices Bamenda's editorial stance.

When one visits a dentist with a toothache it does not suffice to be given painkillers. The dentist identifies the cause of the pain and provides a treatment plan to ensure that pain in the tooth does not come back.
Arrey Obenson; Founder I Am Cameroon
 After two years of civil strife since emergence of the Anglophone Crisis, the government of Cameroon has attempted to arrest the crisis rather than address the root cause. The Government efforts have only perpetuated the crisis, leading to more radicalization of the moderates, loss of life, limbs and property. In an attempt to crush a peaceful revolution, the government has created an armed resistance. The government unlike the dentist has been trying to kill the pain rather identifying the cause of the pain and developing a treatment plan. In other words, the government of Cameroon has unquestionably failed to find a solution to the prevailing crisis.
At the risk of being chastised by the government and by those who demand separation, we the people have a responsibility to find a peaceful solution to the crisis in Cameroon. A responsibility that has haunted me and many since the beginning of the crisis. Like many we have shared ideas and urged the government privately and publicly to find a path to a solution to the crisis. Much my chagrin and that of many others, the government has not heeded to these calls.

Now we must take our solutions to the people and urge you the people of Cameroon to demand action from your government; not half measures, but a clear plan to resolve the crisis.

If there is a want of ideas, which is doubtful, herewith a clear plan that the government of Cameroon can adopt today and put this country on a path to resolve the crisis, restore the dignity of our brothers and sisters and establish peace and prosperity that we all wish for.

A Plan for Peace Co-Existence:

1.    Immediate Relief:

The President of the Republic must address the nation specifically acknowledging the Anglophone Crisis not as a threat to the nation but as an opportunity to right the wrongs of our past. He must acknowledge that there are challenges in nation building and identifying the Anglophone crisis as one of those challenges. He must demonstrate good faith in addressing this problem by granting amnesty to and ordering the release of all those arrested, detained and/or sentenced. He should also create an independent commission in style of the truth and reconciliation committee in South Africa to establish record of lives lost, property damaged, and incidents of torture not with a goal to punish the perpetrators but to hold the nation accountable to a past that must never repeat itself. The independence of this committee shall be primordial. Finally, the President must on behalf of the people of Cameroon call for an inclusive dialogue expressing his willingness to be involved in the said dialogue and desire to engage all interested parties - these parties must not be the governing elite but must include the Anglophone civil society fabric.

2.    All Anglophone Conference:

To create a path for genuine dialogue the government should call for and fund an All Anglophone Conference in the like of the All Anglophone Conferences that took place in 1990s. This conference which must take place in Anglophone region of Cameroon shall be intended for the Anglophone Cameroonians to lay down the framework of their demands for constitutional reforms. Participants at this conference shall include the Anglophone civil society - representatives of Professional Association, Labor Unions, Non-Governmental Organizations, Political Party Leaders, Youth Associations, Women Groups, Community Leaders, Chiefs/Fons, Diaspora Influencers, Anglophone Activists, Past Students Associations,

Freed Detainees, and Returning Refugee Leaders. Government representatives will be invited as observers to the Conference and other independent parties like the African Union will be invited as observers. The outcome of this conference should lead to a referendum to be held in the English-Speaking provinces of Cameroon to determine what form of government they will prefer in the union.

3.    Constitutional Reform Conference:

The President shall convene a constitutional reform conference within 60 days of the referendum that must address the outcome of the referendum and put in place safeguards that will prevent a crisis like this in future or trigger a specified way of resolving such a crisis in the future if and/or when it so emerges. Upon the elaboration of the constitution the people of Cameroon must be granted the opportunity by way of referendum to adopt the new constitution. There will be an Independent Constitutional Reform Council that will be appointed by the President tasked with the elaboration, and implementation of the constitution reforms with a five-year mandate, that is non-renewable. These Committee shall have equal representation of Anglophones and Francophones.

The constitutional reforms must address the following; power sharing structure between Anglophones and Francophones, the form of state, ( a federation or a confederation) and must reflect the desire of the people particularly the Anglophones to be more autonomous. It must address the management of resources between the States, the separation of states and the dignity of the people.

 4. A Government of Transition:

To demonstrate good faith, the President must take action create an environment that create trust and enhanced transparency but taking following action:

a. Work with legislature to suspend all elections until, the new constitution is adopted.

b. Create a Government of transition that will include the opposition and independent activists to pilot the reforms and ensure the smooth running of the country through the reforms.

c. Refrain from running for another term of office at the end of the constitutional reforms which must not go beyond August 2019.

5.  Nationwide Civil Society Education and Engagement Campaign: There Government with help of experts must launch a nationwide campaign to accomplish the following;

a.) The reintegration and rehabilitation of displace citizens.

b.) The engagement with armed groups and buy back of arms in circulation.
c.) The creation of a vision for a Cameroon that is united, diversified and yet with respect of the cultural heritage of the people.

d.) Education and Engagement in the electoral process to include registrations to vote, establishment of documents for eligibility to vote and a census. This campaign must be independent serving no other purpose than the interest of the people.

These are five steps that must be taken to salvage the union. These steps are necessary to restore the trust of the Anglophones in the union. The root cause of the Anglophone Crisis is one of a perceived marginalization and only a demonstration of a strong commitment to embrace the Anglophones as equal will this conflict be resolved. Equality, autonomy, economic justic


Derick BAKAH

Derick BAKAH

Bakah Derick is a Broadcast Presenter and Multimedia specialist with focus on sharing with the rest of the world the daily happenings in the Northwest Region of Cameroon. You can contact us on +237 675460750 or

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