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AU, Commonwealth and Francophonie leaders’ visit to Cameroon: will it quell the crisis?

A high powered team of heads of La Francophonie, The Commonwealth and the African Union have visited Cameroon in a bid to help put an end to the crisis that have made life difficult for the inhabitants of the English speaking regions of Cameroon.

The three international organizations have expressed their interest to help the country solve the anglophone and the post-election crisis.

Louis Mushikiwabo, Moussa Faki Mahamat and Patricia Scotland have held meetings with the country’s President Paul Biya and Prime Minister Dion Ngute.

They have equally began meeting political leaders in Cameroon and will meet members of the civil society before they leave.

The Commonwealth Secretary General Patricia Scotland Wednesday said the trio are determined to “do all we can as three organizations to support the peaceful process and we are encouraging everyone, every single actor to put peace and good governance firs. And for that we will need everyone’s commitment and everybody’s hard work.”

But then this isn’t the first time they’re coming to the country to discuss a way out of the crisis. So how different is this visit going to be?

In December 2017, The Commonwealth SG visited Cameroon. The four-day working visit in Cameroon was meant for her to meet government officials, political leaders, members of the civil society and traditional leaders in Yaoundé. Nevertheless, she made an unexpected visit to Buea, where she met members of the civil society and traditional leaders. They suggested the need for a constructive and inclusive dialogue to solve the crisis in the restive regions. Her visit was a year before the 2018 presidential elections.

Patricia Scotland has met with Barrister Akere Muna again for the second time in Yaoundé. In a tweet, the one time presidential candidate said, “Now, more than ever, Cameroon needs the urgent attention of its partners in Africa and around the globe. This conversation was frank, in-depth and reassuring.”

Similarly, in May 2019, Louise Mushikiwabo visited Cameroon, four months after she was elected SG of La Francophonie. Meeting with Cameroonian authorities, she discussed the way out of the security challenges facing Cameroon on several fronts; especially the crisis in the English speaking regions of the country.

She proposed dialogue as a way out of the crisis.

The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, undertook a 48-hour official visit to Cameroon from 12 to 14 July 2018. He held meetings with President Paul Biya and Former Prime Minister Philemon Yang where he called for an inclusive dialogue and urged all stakeholders to privilege this path to facilitate a lasting way out of the crisis based on national leadership and ownership and that strengthens Cameroon’s unity while respecting its diversity.

Cameroonians, who have long lost hope in the international community to help them resolve the crisis in the troubled English speaking regions, have them visiting again.

The leaders have echoed that the problem to the crisis however lie in the hands of Cameroonians themselves; they say they can only assist the country.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs recorded the following in the North-West and South-West regions of Cameroon in a Crisis Situation Report in September:

  1. 1.3M People in need
  2. 820K Targeted for assistance
  3. 530K internally displaced
  4. 376K Members of Host communities in need
  5. 330K Other people in need 315K People in extreme food insecurity
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