Cameroon: Voluntary Repatriation, Community led initiatives, Empowering Youths, advanced in solving crisis in Cameroon

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Participants and Foretia Team pose for a photo in connection with the event on common sense solution to promote peace in Cameroon and the role of the civil society organizations
Participants and Foretia Team pose for a photo in connection with the event on common sense solution to promote peace in Cameroon and the role of the civil society organizations

As a way of bringing peace to Cameroon which is
experiencing various crisis ranging from the Boko Haram insurgency in the
North, the Refugee crisis in the east Region and the Anglophone crisis in the
North West and South West Regions, participants have advanced various points
ranging from voluntary repatriation of refugees in the East, Empowering of the
youths and community led initiatives.

The event which was held November 8, 2019 in Buea
under the theme “Common sense solutions to promote peace in Cameroon and the
role of the civil society organizations” is in line with the mission of the
Nkafu Policy Institute, (a think tank of the Denis and Lenora Foretia
Foundation), whose mission is to provide independent, in-depth and insightful
policy recommendations that advance the Cameroonian economy and the economies
of other sub-Saharan African countries.

During the discussions, three prominent conflicts were
x-rayed by participants such as: the on-going Anglophone crisis in the South
West and North West Regions, the Boko Haram insurgencies in the North since
2013 till date, and Refugee crisis in the East Regions.

On the Refugee crisis in the East Region, it was indicated
that Cameroon plays host to some 361,000 refugees from Nigeria and Central
African Republic, CAR and some 257,000 refugees from CAR alone.

To Mbeng Primus, the government has to provide grazing
land to the refugees so that they can feed their cattle. He said, “The problem
is the East may go on for long if the government fails to provide grazing land
as the cattle of the refugees are feeding on the crops of the host country.”

“The community leaders should equally accept the
refuges and work with them so as to reduce the tension” He added while adding
that “All we want is peace and we have to do everything we can to achieve
peace.”

As a solution to the refugee crisis, participants said
the voluntary repatriation of the refugees to their said country may go a long
way in bringing peace to the East Region. They equally called on the
Cameroonian government to assist the CAR in bringing peace to the country as a
stable CAR will make it easier for the displaced persons to be willing to go
back to their country.

Cameroon recently carried out a voluntary repatriation
of refugees in the East Region who were willing to go back to their country.
According to the government, these people (refugees) opted to go back to their
country and they were not forced to leave Cameroon.

Others propose a pathway for nationalization in
Cameroon. Participants say when these people (refugees) are integrated into the
Cameroonian society; it will reduce the violence in the region. They however
noted that such a process (nationalization) is very complicated in Cameroon and
may take time to be implemented.

With the Boko Haram crisis in the North, participants
called on individuals and government to know the root cause of the insurgency
as they cannot solve a problem when they do not know the background of the
grievance.

Others say to prevent further recruitment of
Cameroonian into Boko Haram; youths should be empowered with the provision of
education and necessary skills which will help them in getting jobs for
themselves. These empowerment centres will prevent Boko Haram from
indoctrinating the youths to carryout heinous activities on the population in
the North.

Ego Aziz, Development Policy Analyst at Nkafu Policy Institute led discussion on possible solution to crisis in Cameroon
Ego Aziz, Development Policy Analyst at Nkafu Policy Institute led discussion on possible solution to crisis in Cameroon

The Imams of the North have been encouraged to be
empowered to talk to children in the area by giving them more knowledge and
education as Boko Haram is fighting a religious war. “The Imams who are well
respected should provide education and train the youths on values”, noted one
participant.

Talking to PAV Che Bruno, Communications unit CHRDA,
called on wealthy individuals to invest more by creating SMEs which will help
youths in the North not to be recruited by Boko Harm. “They should provide
ideas/ideologies which will make young people realize that it is not only
through violence that they can make a living but there are different ways, and
where these youths need assistance private individuals and organizations should
be ready to provide the financial support,” He said

He added, “The civil society has a great role to play
in solving crisis in Cameroon. They are involve in Education (sensitizing the
public on the need for peace), advocacy (engaging stakeholders/government to
create enabling environment for peace to strive), and direct support (CSOs
provide financial support for peace who want to build peace and the respect for
human rights).”

The event is the fourth of its kind after similar
events in Yaounde, Douala, and Limbe. It brought together students, members of
the private sector, civil society organizations and journalists to proposed
grass root solutions through which Cameroon can accelerate its progress towards
the resolution of the current conflicts it is presently facing.

source: https://panafricanvisions.com/2019/11/cameroon-voluntary-repatriation-community-led-initiative-empowering-youths-advanced-in-solving-crisis-in-cameroon/

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