HEAD OF STATE’S MESSAGE TO THE NATION (Yaounde, 10_9_2019)
My Dear Compatriots,
For close to three years now, the North-West and South-West Regions of our country have been going through a crisis that not only jeopardizes the safety and well-being of the population living there, but also has far-reaching consequences for the national community as a whole.
It should be recalled that the crisis was triggered by corporate demands made by lawyers and teachers calling for the translation of the OHADA Uniform Acts into English and the preservation of the specificity of the Anglo-Saxon judicial and educational systems in the two regions.
From the outset, and true to an option that I hold dear, I instructed the holding of dialogue between the Government and trade unions to seek appropriate solutions to these demands. The measures taken by the Government at the end of these consultations went well beyond the initial demands and include:
– the translation into English of the OHADA instruments which are now available in the two official languages;
– the creation of a Common Law Section at the Supreme Court to handle appeals filed against the decisions of lower courts in Common Law matters;
– regarding the training of judicial and legal officers, the creation of a Common Law Section at the National School of Administration and Magistracy. This measure was accompanied by a programme for the recruitment of English-speaking pupil judicial and legal officers and court registrars;
– the launching of the special recruitment of bilingual teachers in secondary schools;
– at the level of the judiciary, the stay of proceedings against some persons arrested in connection with the demands;
– the setting up of a national Commission for the Promotion of Bilingualism and Multi-culturalism to, among other things, carry out an in-depth review of all the sources of frustration suffered by our compatriots in the North-West and South-West Regions.
Decisions were taken subsequently to fast-track the decentralization process, with the creation of a new ministry devoted thereto. The upcoming regional elections will complete the process by enabling our compatriots nationwide to fully participate in the management of their local affairs.
My Dear Compatriots,
Despite the efforts made by the Government, radical movements, mainly inspired from abroad, have exploited and distorted the corporate demands. They have thus hatched a secessionist plan to partition our country. In this regard, they have formed and financed armed groups that have caused untold harm to the population of the North-West and South-West Regions.
The whole world has witnessed the atrocities committed by these armed groups: maiming, beheading, assassination of elements of the Defence and Security Forces, administrative authorities and defenceless civilians, destruction of public infrastructure and buildings, and burning of schools, hospitals, etc.
I would like to avail myself of this opportunity to once again extend my heartfelt condolences and those of the entire Nation to those who have lost loved ones in the crisis. I also wish to send a message of comfort to the wounded and all those affected in one way or the other. I want to assure them that they can count on the solidarity of the Government of the Republic and the Nation as a whole.
My Dear Compatriots
The atrocities committed by armed groups have forced thousands of our compatriots to seek refuge in other regions of the country and, for some, in neighbouring countries where they have been reduced to living under precarious conditions.
In the face of these intolerable acts, the Defence and Security Forces have taken energetic measures, often at the risk of their lives, to perform their duty of protecting citizens and their property.