Rosaline A Obah, Executive Director for the Centre for Strategic Communication, Peacebuilding and Sustainable Development (CESCOMPSUD).
What assessment do you make of the first national convention on peace?
Women have taken a firm commitment to work in synergy for sustainable peace in Cameroon. After the convention, they drafted a fervent call for peace to the government and stakeholders not leaving out warring parties. They have formally channelled their cries and spoke for themselves. If nothing is done after this, then warring parties will surely be pretending that they do not know the impact of the crisis on the nation and especially the civil society. It is time for parties to seek concrete solutions to the crisis. The problem faced by women across Cameroon is about “US” and not that of women of the North West, South West, East or Far North Regions. Also, women have reaffirmed the need for inclusive peace building and continuous dialogue with relevant parties.
What is the way forward after this convention?
We have taken actions and written a draft call for peace. It is not expected to end on paper. A basket full of recommendations will in the days ahead be handed to the number one citizen of Cameroon. Actions will be taken to engage local communities and Civil Society Organisations, towards building peace and justice.
How can the conference contribute in bringing peace in Cameroon, particularly in the restive regions of the country?
The women came and expressed themselves. Those who live the crisis are the ones talking and asking for peace. This is an indication that they are tired of the bloodshed, loss of lives, socio-political, cultural and ethnic casualties. Therefore, they are better placed to “sub-mediate” because they are closer to the warring parties. This will ring a bell to the State about the knowledge of women concerning their participation in peacebuilding and that they can stand up at any time as equal citizens in Cameroon. This convention has also called more attention of the international community like the European Union, African Union and United Nations to blow the final whistle for a halt to the ongoing socio-political crisis in Cameroon, particularly in the North West and South West Regions.