Cameroon: Former MP Challenges Parliament to Pressure President Biya for Ceasefire in War-torn Southern Cameroons
Social Democratic Front Party's four-mandate Member of Parliament for Nkambe Central, Hon Cyprain Awudu Mbaya, once more mounted the rostrum of the Assembly, this time not as a Parliamentarian but a Peace Ambassador for Africa.
Hon. Mbaya was speaking on the Parliamentary Action Day on Peace on June 30 where he seized the opportunity to challenge the deputies to impress on the President of Cameroon, Paul Biya to declare a ceasefire in the war-torn once independent State of Southern Cameroons.
He said the Covid-19 pandemic had only come to add to the troubling situation where thousands have died, hundreds of thousands fleeing into neighbouring countries as refugees and hundreds of thousands of others displaced internally within Cameroon.
"To make things even worse, the economy of the area and the entire nation is down. Many citizens have lost their jobs or are on technical leave without any pay. Many of our people have been unable to pay house rents. Companies have closed down temporarily or gone bankrupt," he cried out, emphasizing that with all these, there was bound to be social strife that could lead to civil unrest given that people were more and more unable to make ends meet.
Hon. Mbaya told the MPs that while engaging in the fight against Covid-19, they must step in and also have the courage to request that the President should declare a ceasefire as part of efforts to put an end to a war he qualified as a senseless.
"Yes, I say senseless war because all the people who are dying are our people; the people you represent here and the people of this nation," he lamented.
The former MP was speaking in his capacity as Peace Ambassador for Africa and pioneer Executive President who signed for the creation of the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace in South Korea on behalf of Cameroon's Parliament. He elaborated on the theme of the commemoration which was: “Reinforcement of Multilateralism and Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation in Times of a Pandemic”.
He painted a picture of the situation on the ground, noting that there were over 10 million confirmed Covid-19 cases with over 500.000 deaths all over the world. In Cameroon, over 12.000 cases and 300 deaths had been recorded as of July 3.
Humanity, the former MP said, has been taken unaware and unprepared to handle the strange pandemic and prevented its spread. He pointed out that in trying to cope with the immediate devastating effects of the virus, nations turned toward imposing unprecedented executive measures, including the closure of borders and travel restrictions or bans on people resident in other nations.
"The unfortunate reality is that a virus knows no borders. It does not need a passport nor a visa to enter any country. All countries are affected although in different proportions......We must give peace a chance and remain united in our shared humanity to mitigate the spread of the virus and adapt our ways of life in strict respect of the (physical) distancing and hygiene measures put in place by governments across the globe and the World Health Organization (WHO)," he went on.
Recalling that Covid-19 is a global pandemic, Hon. Mbaya told his former peers that to contain its spread and cushion its effects and challenges on the various communities, there is need to enhance international cooperation and worldwide solidarity. He cautioned that rather than see Covid-19 as an opportunity to bring out state individualism and protectionism, Cameroonians should see the pandemic as a wake-up call for multilateralism.
He noted that so far, all that has been seen as measures to cope with the pandemic have mainly emanated from the executive orders, meaning that mostly the executive branch of governments have been fire-fighting the virus through these directives. To him, it is imperative and very urgent for the legislative branches to step in and hold debates about the pandemic especially as Covid-19 does not seem to be going away any time soon.
The former MP concluded his address by insisting that African traditional medicine should not be ignored as efforts made by African plant researchers like Archbishop Kleda and the Research Institute of Madagascar. These efforts, he said should be encouraged by parliaments, governments, and the WHO.
Hon. Mbaya is on record to have turned down an investiture to seek a fifth mandate in Parliament at the February 9, 2020 local elections because of the ongoing manslaughter in the once Independent State of Southern Cameroons. The said elections recorded a less than 3% voter participation in the war-torn territory.