Rev. Ebai Gustav Tabi, Executive Secretary for Information and Communication, Director of Protestant Voice Radio PVRadio FM 105.2, Council of Protestant Churches of Cameroon CEPCA, gave a presentation on the crisis in Northwest and Southwest Cameroon at MPI’s 2019 Annual Peacebuilding Training, where he was a participant. Gustav introduces the presentation here with a statement from the National Council of Religious for Peace in Cameroon. You can view the slide presentation below (click Read More to view the slideshow).
National Council of Religious for Peace in Cameroon (NCRPC)
The crisis in the Northwest and Southwest Regions of Cameroon has mutated into a stalemate and the sufferings of our people keep increasing day and night. Loss of human life and loss of property is especially mounting; and fear, suspicion, blackmail, and hatred are on the rise.
We have traced the following six different stages of evolution of the crisis since independence and reunification.
Stages of Conflict
- Expression since independence of the feeling or the sense of marginalisation on the part of English-Speaking Cameroonians.
- The demand for equality of Education and Legal sub-systems.
- The Trade Unions joined in with other demands concerning other syndicates.
- It evolved into political demands on the different forms of government, including Federalism, Secession, Unity and Decentralisation.
- The rise of new actors, many armed and unknown.
- The evolution into online threats, extortion and a xenophobic campaign of the English-speaking versus the French-speaking and confusion in various camps.
We, Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox and Muslims Religious Leaders of Cameroon feel saddened by the painful cry of misery of our people from the Northwest and Southwest Regions who are victims of the social crisis that, latent for decades, has taken a very violent connotation in recent years.
We recognize that the protection of populations and the prevention of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity are primarily the responsibility of the State. But it is also the duty of all social actors whose voice can impact other lives to contribute to the quest for a positive transformation of the violent conflicts that undermine our existence.
We, therefore, take the following resolutions:
- To form a National Council of Religious for Peace in Cameroon (NCRPC), to unite our forces to increase our effectiveness in fulfilling our prophetic mission: announcing a new world of Justice and Peace and promoting human rights and dignity of every person [the organization has since been named National Council for Peace in Cameroon*];
- To collaborate with the State of Cameroon and all people of goodwill to rebuild peace and strengthen our contribution to the development of our country with special attention to the Northwest and Southwest Regions that are more under the weight of a disconcerting violence;
- To make us available to open spaces for peace in our country, particularly in the Northwest and Southwest Regions;
- To mobilize our faith communities’ members for the culture of love, forgiveness and social cohesion.
Our immediate plan
- Organization of a day of interreligious prayer for peace in Cameroon with a focus on the Northwest and Southwest Regions.
- Organization of a national Caravan for peace in Cameroon with a focus on the regions of the Northwest and Southwest.
- Mobilization of young and believing women for peace in Cameroon, particularly in the Northwest and Southwest Regions.
- Jointly engage in mediation for peace in the Northwest and Southwest Regions of Cameroon.
What we need
- Trainings in Mediation
- Trainings on social cohesion for our religious leaders in the crisis region
- Resources to be able to move around and meet with the various stakeholders even to the diaspora
- Financial support
- Government endorsement and collaboration
- Courage in the face of blackmail and threats
Where we are now
- We have all agreed that only religious authorities still have enough credibility to intervene in the peace and mediation process.
- Religious leaders have thus constituted a National Council for Peace comprised of the 4 major religions: Roman Catholics, Protestants, Muslims and the Orthodox.
- Diplomatic institutions have advised the process leading to the creation of this Religious Council.
- Support for this council is to be in the form of trainings and capacity building in mediation. The provision of resources for a Religious Peace Caravan through the Southwest and Northwest Regions. The use of Religious structures as channels for humanitarian work.