Revisiting achievements of Major National Dialogue Four Years On

When President Paul Biya appointed a new government with Chief  Dr Joseph Dion Ngute  as Prime Minister Head of Government, arresting the  bloodletting in the North West and South West regions was one of  its key assignments.

This is how the Major National Dialogue was staged in  Yaounde  from September 29 to  October 4, 2019.  Four years on, alot can be cited. 

As the Committee to Follow Up the Implementation of the Recommendations of the Major National Dialogue meets in Buea this Friday August 11, 2023, it is important to chronicle the road covered. 

This meeting in Buea is under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister, Head of Government, Chief Dr Joseph Dion Ngute who is special envoy of the Head of State, President Paul Biya.

The dialogue, 4 years on is also the reason for the many changes and concessions government has made to see things  return to  normal  in the North West and  South  West regions.  

Balance sheet, 3 years on

Thanks to the dialogue, close to 1000 Amba fighters have left the bushes.
Just one week ago, the Islamic Development Bank pumped in 21 billion FCFA to boost the reconstruction of the two regions.

This was in addition to 250 million from the Association of Banking Institutions of  Cameroon, APECCAM that gave 250 million FCFA. The new support is based on the achievement of the Presidential Plan for the Reconstruction and Development of the North West and South West Regions, PPRD-NW/SW.

Community life has also returned to normal in much of the two regions with cultural festivals back. Over 60,000 IPDs have returned home and more councils now fully active on the ground in carrying out development projects. 

Government has also succeeded in getting  fresh investments back into the two regions.

Major  development projects have  been seeing the light of day in the two regions. This is the case with the Kumba-Loum road under rehabilitation, same for the Bamenda-Babadjou road and the Kumba –Ekondo Titi road.  More  community  roads are being attended to among others. 
Adjustments At ENAM In Favour Of Anglophones

At the  level  of the  National  School of  Administration and Magistracy , ENAM, the training of English-speaking Magistrates in Administrative and Accounts Litigation have increased .

10 spaces in Administrative Litigation, and 10 in Accounts, planned for the competitive entrance exam for the special recruitment of English – speaking Magistrates has also been on.             

With the Special authorisation from the Head of State, came the Integration of the first batch of 250 Common Law Magistrates and 150 Court Registrars.  Those  we  have the training of third batch 2019-2021; Training of the fourth batch 2020-2022 and the training of the fifth batch  that will  graduate in 2023.

Birth of  Special  Status

Also attributed to the dialogue is the Promulgation of Law 2019/024 on the General Code of Decentralized Local Authorities. This was done two months after the dialogue.  Thus, the gathering which gave birth to such a law is the reason for  us today  having  Regional  Assemblies in the North West and  South West Regions with  Houses  of Chiefs. 

This is within the special  status provision that was discussed at the Major National Dialogue.

The creation of the National School of Local Administration, NASLA and appointment of Officials; Creation of the Ministry of Decentralisation and Local Development; Drafting of enabling decrees for the transfer of powers to Regions; Adoption of budgets of Regional Councils; ppointment and installation of Public Independent Conciliators.

There is also the allocation of 30 billion francs CFA for the functioning of Regional Councils, pursuant to instructions of the President of the Republic; Effective implementation of 15% of State revenue to Regional and Local Authorities.  

The achievements also include  the signing of the enabling decrees of the Ministries of Transport; Tourism and Leisure; Environment, Nature Protection and Sustainable Development; Housing and Urban Development.

The Specification Orders of the MINTOUL and MINHDU are being examined pending onward transmission to the Prime Minister’s Office while awaiting those of MINEPDED and MINT.

The signing of the decree on the Administrative Organisation of Regional Councils; the powers that be have also elaborated, forwarded and defended the signing of the decree on the transfer of power to the Regions regarding Youth and Civic education.

There is also the finalisation of specifications for the project on the modalities for the transfer of power to the Regions concerning youth and civic education; Transferred 1, 639 191 000 FCFA to MINDDEVEL for the realisation of MINJEC competencies transferred to it. Government has also allocated 1,007,000,000  FCFA to decentralised local entities to exercise transferred competences on youth affairs and civic education. 

Disarmament Options

There is the creation of the National Committee for Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration of Ex-Combatants. We have the creation of an inter-ministerial Committee for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism.

We have the operational communication strategy which includes: websites, broadcasting programmes on television and on radio and through videoconferencing, producing flyers, making documentaries among others.

At the Disarmament centres, government had made sure ex-fighters benefit psychosocial, spiritual and physical help to reintegrate into society.

A Moral Rearmament project for ex-combatants, and specific mechanism for socio-economic reintegration of in DDR centres is also an achievement. Partnership between MINPROFF and NCDDR to provide psychosocial support to ex-fighters.

Organisation of seminar to prevent and counter the proliferation of Small and Light Arms in collaboration with the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs, UN Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament and the African Union.

Over 301 and 284 ex-fighters in the DDR centres in Bamenda and Buea, respectively. In Bamenda there are 204 men, 63 women and 34 children. In Buea, there are 256 men, 21 women and 07 children. In Mora, there are 2271: 562 men, 599 women and 1856 children.

Selection of 73 young people from the DDR Centres in Bamenda, Buea and the Far North in view of putting them in cluster amounting to two hundred and seventeen million four hundred and forty-eight thousand (217,448,000). 

These young people have benefitted from managerial training and in Moral, Civic and Entrepreneurial Rearmament (REARMORGE).

 Training of 295 refugee and internally displaced women in sewing, fishery and management of income generating activities. 75 women and girls of childbearing age, victims of inter-communal conflicts received sanitary kits as well as prevention and protection equipment, as part of the fight against COVID-19. 48 women who are victims of inter-communal conflicts have benefited from grants consisting of basic necessities and sleeping materials. 98 needy persons benefitted from aid and relief.

Assistance To IDPs

To improve on the social life of Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, authorities have  issued identification cards and other lost or destroyed documents. 

Distribution of presidential relief supplies to over 3,000 IDPs and 600 ex-refugees in the SW. -Social-economic inclusion of 90 IDPs in Adamawa, Far North, Centre and West regions. 

Financed 106 youth projects in the North West Region (94, 716 389) FCFA, 61 for SW Region for (94, 991 053) FCFA. Equipped 3 Multi-media Centres for the Promotion of youths in the North West, and 1 in the SW Region, (10,000 000) FCFA each.

Installed Multi-media Youth Promotion Centres under the program CMPJ-incubator (7, 583 953) FCFA. Installation of 10 youth promoters in pioneer villages (8 in the North West region  and 2 in the South West region. 

Training of 2052 women from North West  in ICT, literacy, project management and the manufacturing of liquid soap.  Training of 1,480 women and girls from the NW and SW Regions on income-generating activities. 

Training of 134 refugees (women and women) on sewing, small business, breeding and agriculture in Adamawa region.

Training of 80 needy women in the North West Region on sewing and manufacturing of antiseptic soap and hand sanitizers, and providing them with 40 sewing machines. Counting and supervision of 5,000 IDPs from the NW and SW Regions and training 40 persons in the reception of IDPs.
Continuous sensitisation of local communities receiving IDPs by Community Mediators, Urban and Rural Popular Animation Mobile Team and Peace Ambassadors to promote living together.

Declaration requesting public authorities to take further measures to facilitate access to education to IDPs from conflict zones, living in other parts of the country.  47806 people were sensitised as part of community mobilization for the promotion of peace, living together and responsible use of social networks.

Over 49632 IDPs have been received at the technical services of MINAS across the country. 20444 have received assistance ranging from psychosocial care, material, educational and financial needs. Creation of Reception and Transit Centre for IDPs to facilitate social reintegration, with a capacity of 50 places.

Yearly organisation of the National Solidarity and Social Entrepreneurship Week in Kribi, to better plan public assistance and social justice to those in need of it.

Granted assistance and relief, from resources transferred to councils, to individuals and households that lost property from the abuses of armed gangs: 11 councils in the Far North received 18,000,000 FCFA, 18 councils in the NWR received 27,000,000 FCFA and 19 councils in the SWR had 28,500,000 FCFA.

In 2021 a total of 114,820 IDPs of both sex were received and given assistance in line with their specific social problems at MINAS centres. Facilitation of access to education of 25,078 internally displaced children including 13,893 girls and 12,185 boys by enrolling them in public grammar and technical schools for the 2021/2022 academic year. 

31 elderly IDPs benefited from family placements in Batibo Sub-division.
06 persons have been amputated following attacks by armed groups and are receiving psychosocial support from the Ministry of Social Affairs’ Operational Technical Units
Order for the Special Recruitment of 500 Translators and Translator-Interpreters into the Public Service.

Mandatory use of English and French languages by Cabinet members in all public events. Translation of documents from English to French and vice versa, and the speaking of English and French by staff of the police during public security operations.

 Using the two official languages (English and French) during coordination meetings, translation of official documents into both languages, and the putting up of notices and sign posts in the two languages.

 Added to all these, analysts have concluded that, four years after the major national dialogue, there are palpable gains across the North West and South West regions. These, they say is the reason for the marked improvement in  the social, economic, cultural and educational  climate in the two regions since the  holding of the dialogue.

Culled from the Municipal Updates..
Pictures: Municipal Updates

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