Cameroon’s President Paul Biya has hosted the Commonwealth SG, Patricia Scotland, for lunch at the unity Palace. Before his toast during the state lunch, he mentioned that Cameroon is grateful to the Commonwealth for its contributions in various areas ever since Cameroon became a member of the Commonwealth in 1995. He added that Cameroon has drawn on the rich experience of the Commonwealth to consolidate its democracy in various ways.
Briefing Patricia Scotland on the situation in the country he said Cameroon has for long boosted of being a haven of peace and stability in the region, unfortunately in recent years the terrorist organisation Boko Haram has launched a series of attacks in the North affecting peace in the country. He also spoke about the efforts made by the government and the African union to combat this group with the help of their international partners. “It has been a successful combat as their attacks have reduced to cowardly attacks in the form of suicide bombing,” he mentioned.
Briefing on the Anglophone Crisis he said “as we hoped that we were done with this threat, some agitation rose about a year ago in our two English speaking regions of Cameroon, the Northwest and Southwest regions.”
“It began with the manifestations of lawyers and teachers who voiced some professional grievances; the government considered them and came up with measures to address them. Concurrently it set up a commission of multiculturalism and bilingualism in charge of proposing solutions in order to maintain peace and consolidate our national unity and strengthen our resolve to live together daily,” he went on.
“The commission began doing their work, but then it is at this time that the secessionist group began launching attacks assassinating law enforcement officers in the name of a terrorist organization, with pure secessionist motives.”
“I have always thought that bilingualism and multiculturalism forms our country’s special strength, through which we are able to have access to two great cultures and two languages that permits us to dialogue with a great number of countries especially in Africa. I am convinced that a vast majority of Cameroonians share this point of view. That is why I am persistent in seeking solutions that can strengthen our national unity.”
He also spoke about the problems Cameroon faces as a developing country, with the aftermath of financial crisis which has slowed down economic growth in Cameroon.
After his address he invited those present in the hall to raise their glasses, to the health of the SG of the Commonwealth and to long-lasting cooperation between the Commonwealth and Cameroon.
The Commonwealth SG on her own part mentioned that she was pleased that she was visiting Cameroon for the first time during Cameroon’s peace building year. “Cameroon is a very important and most treasured member of the commonwealth family; we have enjoyed warm relations, since Cameroon joined the Commonwealth back in 1995,” she said.
She expressed frustration in the state in which Cameroon was in “Cameroon is renowned for its tradition of peaceful and harmonious interactions; it is therefore with great sadness that we see it in challenging times now. As the commonwealth family we will do everything we can to preserve the unity and peaceful existence of any member of this commonwealth family.”
“As we all know friction and division will not enhance the ability to deliver the peace that each and everyone in Cameroon wants; I encourage Cameroonians of all groups of life to embrace peace, unity and resolve any difference through peaceful dialogue.”
On development she advised that respecting the values of commonwealth will bring about economic growth to the country.