[Editorial] Who Will Be Cameroon’s Abiy Ahmed?

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethopia has been awarded winner of the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize.

Ahmed was awarded the prize for his efforts to “achieve peace and international cooperation” after he led Ethiopia to reach a peace deal with Eritrea last year ending a 20 year military stalemate, following a border war which ran from 1998 to 2000.

As Ahmed walks home with the 100th Nobel Peace Prize for solving the Eritea-Ethopia border conflict, we mind asking “Who Will Be Cameroon’s Abiy Ahmed”.

Who is going to solve the long standing Anglophone crisis in Cameroon ?

A blood bath caused by reckless reaction to a peaceful strike started by Lawyers and teachers demanding reforms in 2016, the Cameroon Anglophone crisis has claimed more than two thousand lives, over two hundred villages burnt and more than half a million people displaced.

These are disputed figures. While federalist movements claim that the conflict has taken 3,000 to 5,000 lives as of 2019, separatists claimed that between 5,000 and 10,000 people had been killed.

The war between separatists and the Cameroon government has led to Cameroon’s most bloody battles after the colonial era yet no show of peace.
Several talks for dialogue have been convened by the 86-year-old incumbent President Paul Biya and his regime but none has brought a solution to the fray.

The Ambazonia War began in 2016 with a strike by lawyers and teachers who demanded reforms in the legal and educational sectors respectively.

Their peaceful strike action in major English speaking cities like Bamenda and Buea was received with harsh military actions of beating and teargassing by Cameroon government forces.

This lead to the formation of the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium (CACSC), a movement headed by Bar Agbor Bala as president and Dr Fontem Neba as secretary General.

CACSC consisted of lawyers and teacher trade unions in Southern Cameroons and yet demanded reforms.

They opposed what they saw as threats against the language and common law system in the Anglophone regions, particularly the use of French in schools and courtrooms.

On October 6, 2016, the organization started a sit-down strike, which was supported by peaceful protests in the cities of Limbe, Buea and Bamenda.

This initiated the 2016/2017 Cameroonian protests. The government responded violently by having military beat and teargas armless demonstrators; within a week, more than 100 of these demonstrators and activists had been arrested and six were reported dead.

Fast forwarded, CACSC leaders were arrested and spent months in detention, while others fled the country and metamorphosed from federalists to separatists – to support complete separation of the Anglophone regions from Cameroon

The “outlawed” CACSC was now ruled by Mark Bareta and Tapang Ivo, activists based in the diaspora.

This was the outbreak of the war known as the Anglophone Crisis in September 2017.

Federalism lost support among Anglophone activists especially with the imprisonment of consortium leaders.

Then was the declaration of the independence of Ambazonia.

Today it is a deadly clash with gun battles between government military forces and separatists who hold parts of the countryside and have created camps.

Paul Biya, 86, refused the international mediation offered by the Swiss government. He went for a format that many Anglophone Cameroonians are calling a monologue, because they do not feel represented.

A dialogue to solve the Anglophone crisis fought by separatists and military forces takes place in the absence of separatists.

As the war continues with several gun battles even after a supposed dialogue, there is a need to ask who will be Cameroon’s Abiy Ahmed?

Who will stop the bloody battles? Who will stop the killing of our brothers and sisters caught in open fire and confrontations ?

Who will bring peace and justice?

Who will stop the torture and jailing of activists, journalists and political leaders who do not agree with the regime’s policies ?

Who will save the many Cameroonians languishing in jails under harsh conditions?

Who will advocate for school resumption in the English speaking regions ?

Who ?

The million dollar question !


Ahmed’s prize is worth nine million Swedish crowns (about £730,000; $900,000) and will be awarded in Oslo this December. He has been seen as the man changing Ethiopia.

A total of 301 candidates had been nominated for the prestigious award, including 223 individuals and 78 organisations.

There had been great speculation over who would win the prize, with climate activist Greta Thunberg widely tipped as the favourite.

Under the Nobel Foundation’s rules, nomination shortlists are not allowed to be published for 50 years.

Who Is Abiy Ahmed? (A BBC Report)

After becoming prime minister in April 2018, Mr Abiy introduced massive liberalising reforms to Ethiopia, shaking up what was an extremely tightly controlled nation.

He freed thousands of opposition activists from jail and allowed exiled dissidents to return home.

Most importantly, he signed a peace deal with Ethiopia’s neighbour Eritrea, ending a two-decade conflict.

But his reforms also lifted the lid on Ethiopia’s ethnic tensions, and the resulting violence forced some 2.5 million people from their homes

ABIY AHMED, the prime minister of Ethiopia is the winner of the 2019 Noble Peace Prize credited for haven reestablished ties with break away nation, Eritrea.

He joins the likes of late Mandala, Desmond Tutu, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Wole Soyinka, late Kofi Anan etc as few Africans that have won the prestigious price.

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