Saturday, 18 February 2017

President Paul Biya’s Francophone Technical Advisor Says Anglophone Crisis, An Opportunity to Rebuild the Nation

As the current Anglophone crisis deepens more and more, regime’s barons are beginning to come out with their own candid assessment of the situation and proposing what in their minds is the best way forward. 

The latest to do so is Christian Penda Ekoka, President Biya’s Technical Advisor, who is calling recent events in Buea and Bamenda a “blessing in disguise.”

In a recent 7 page document written by Ekoka and published in English, he argues that the recent strike action in Anglophone Cameroon is more of a blessing than a curse. This is how he puts it: “We should seize the recent events in Bamenda and Buea as a “blessing in disguise”, as an opportunity to re-assess our State’s performance, with the aim of building a time-proof effective institutional public affairs’ infrastructure.”

In a bid to reach the targeted population, Penda Ekoka, who is Francophone from the Littoral region, published his write up in English. According to him, Federalism is the best form of government which has been tested and proven in countries like USA, Canada, Germany, Australia and several other countries. He goes as far as challenging his Francophone counterparts who have suggested that Federalism would destroy the “unity” of Cameroon, arguing that Federalism doesn’t necessarily mean secession. In his own words:

Federalism does not mean Anglophone or secession. It is a form of state organization, and it is a way of public governance, which has proved its effectiveness as a development accelerator in several countries including USA, Canada, Germany, Australia and several other countries. Let us not confuse people’s mind, federalism does not challenge or question the founding fathers’ pledge of ‘Unity in diversity”, on the contrary the prevailing highly centralized government does, as attested by its dangerous resulting consequences.

He challenged those who argue that any claims against the constitution would not be entertained. He counters the argument by stating that there is no static constitution in the world, and every constitution must represent the aspirations of the people. “Constitutions are not inscribed on stones; the only permanent thing in this world is constant global changes, which continuously challenge our pattern of life, and it may compel a country to adapt its organization for the betterment of its citizens.” Ekoka wrote.

He calls on public authorities to embrace federalism before things get out of hand because the growing trend in the world in the past 30 years has been that of secession. “Over the last 30 years, our world has witnessed the cases of former Soviet Union, Germany, Sene-Gambia, Brexit…Many countries are currently under similar pressure including UK. Anticipation and pro-activeness is the best guide to avoid brutal and undesired consequences akin to these patterns of evolution.” He warns.

In his thesis, Ekoka also addresses unconstitutional arrest and detention of Anglophone patriots and leaders including Ayah Paul, stating that by jailing such persons because they expressed a contrary opinion, the state has instead become the terrorist. He beckons government authorities not to invoke “law and order” as a solution, but engaged in “responsible and constructive dialogue, underpinned by good faith and open mind of the parties involved, in search of consensually and mutually agreed – and not imposed –solutions.”

He also visits the entire state of affairs in the country and concludes that it was built on shaky foundations and has not benefited from good leadership. Ekoka define the current situation as “our moment of utterance and reckoning.”
President Paul Biya’s Francophone Technical Advisor Says Anglophone Crisis, An Opportunity to Rebuild the Nation
He comes across as one of the rare Francophones who has refused to take the side of government functionaries who either have denied that there is a problem or failed to engage in frank dialogue and would prefer the use of force. Other courageous Francophones who have spoken out bluntly on this crisis include former Governor David Abouem à Tchoyi and Martin Oyono, MP for South Region. Christian Ekoka, is an international consultant in Economy and Development, and has been serving as President Biya’s Technical Advisor since 2010.
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