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By Maxwell N. Achu

The literature on peacebuilding shows that many post-conflict societies relapse into violent conflict within a decade. This is true for Cameroon, 2008 and 2016. As such, any approach to measuring the cost-effectiveness of peacebuilding must incorporate a longer period; an approach that relies on a five-year window is arguably not a realistic model of the true costs associated with successful peacebuilding.

Although peacekeeping is usually thought of as occurring only in the immediate post-conflict crisis environment, like in Cameroon, peacebuilding should incorporate much longer-term institution building, capacity building, as well as long run conflict de-escalation.

Therefore, our short-term proposals will carry the peace plan only so far, as we strongly recommend that the latter part of this proposal must be considered if at all, Cameroon hopes to eradicate direct, structural and cultural violence. These proposals are holistic and calls for a stronger, more connected network of prevention and peacebuilding efforts, and recognition that a common goal could reunite these efforts. It also calls for an interconnected approach to peacebuilding, engaging all groups and aspects of the Positive Peace framework, and stresses the need to identify the impact of long-term peace building in order to lay stronger foundations for Peace and for engaging stakeholders.


  • There should be a creation of a National Peace Council with mandate to coordinate peace, reconciliation and reconstruction programs. Such council will be implemented at three levels; the first level is the national peace council, which will bring together peace-oriented thinkers, and designed to serve a non-partisan and independent function, as well as constitutes a platform for consensus building. At the regional level, regional peace advisory councils that also features Cameroonian leaders who will mediate inter-division and council grievances. They also features peace promotion officers in the 10 regions of Cameroon. The third stage is council-based peace advisory councils, which includes members of the assemblies as well as elders. The third level will serve as community-based peacebuilding support unit. This peace architecture will underpin GoC’s own commitment and efforts to promote stability. The basis of this peace architecture is founded on solid diagnostics together with the creation of self-sustaining institutional mechanisms at the local and national levels to manage future anticipated instability. Ultimately, investment in this peace architecture must be undertaken in concert with local partners. Identifying and synergies across sectors is critical, as is an ethos of cooperation and collaboration[1], as this can potentially enhance mediation between public authorities and different interest groups. Just one result would be achieved, that is, GoC will be developing and strengthening nationwide capacity for dialogue and mediation.
  • There should also be the creation of the Commission for Reconciliation, Integration and Collaboration (CRIC), with objective to assist the government of national unity anticipated, and to foster unity and reconciliation among the people of Cameroon who had experienced long periods of partial governance characterized by social sectarianism/divisions, discriminations, human right abuses, acts of violence and social exclusion. This institution will be pivotal in the process of unity and reconciliation policy implementation, social trust and social cohesion towards the main goals achievement of building a united Republic of Cameroon.
  • The President of the Republic, as constitutionally empowered, should empathetically release all persons linked to this uprising. It would be a presidential pardon and not a sign of innocence. This will pave the way for inclusive dialogue, and it will reduce pain and relax the nerves of victim relatives for proper reconciliation. It will have an effect on national unity and consolidation of government autonomy over violent territories – North and South West regions. Let us note that, the requested presidential pardon should not be considered as a pre-condition for dialogue. Rather, it is an enforcement strategy of effective governance. It will further relax the convivial dialogue environment. Take for example the case of Ethiopia, where the anticipated unrest was pre-empted, and policy makers announced the release of detainees accused of violent disruptions during the 2015 and 2016 protest in Oromia region, which left 900 dead. Although the protest persisted, however, it was a worthy strategy feasible for Cameroon. This is especially owing to the fact that tensions are not too heightened in Cameroon, at least not yet. Given the adherence of the rule of law, these detainees can only be pardoned. Furthermore, this presidential pardon can involve even Francophone detainees for other minor crimes committed; this will build a national consensus and widen the democratic space, given the election year. It will foster national reconciliation, a move that the international community will welcome, as the GoC will be trusted to be in the right direction, given the case of Ethiopia. More so, on July 2012, the President of the Republic enacted a law to amend the existing Penal code, providing for alternatives to detention, including community service and reparative sentences to reduce prison overcrowding.[2] This can be a fine opportunity to implement in accordance to the law, such excellent and thoughtful alternatives.
  • The Government of Cameroon, as a stakeholder should enforce the creation of a national peace institute, for example the International Positive Peace Center – (IPPC) to professionalize peace education and enhance a nationalistic peace culture. Its vision will see to implant a ‘peace culture’ thereby, enhance national peacefulness predominantly through Education (formal and Informal), as well as provide globally recognized capacity for international and national actors on Positive Peace building through education, training and research to ensure sustainable peace and security in Cameroon. Peace education will have landmark prints in IRIC, ENAM and other institutions of higher learning. To enhance post-conflict (Anglophone crisis) peacebuilding efficiency, the GoC should predominantly focus on the soft side of state building. Peace Education is the pivot on which a peace culture rotates.
  • As a short-term proposal, the GoC should create a committee, charged with the responsibilities to bringing back the internally displaced persons. refugees must be brought back by all means. These are fellow Cameroonians, if at all the GoC practices what it preaches, then, this is the time to practice state consolidation as well as national unity.
  • Last but not the least, when Gordon Brown said, “I am Malala”, UNESCO was encouraged to launch “stand up for Malala”. The Malala wave brought tremendous benefits to the Girl Abuse struggle. For inclusiveness purposes, the President or related top-francophone officials who are socially sensitive on the “anglophone” struggle should boldly say, “I am Anglophone”. This will give the feeling of acceptance to the “Anglophone” community, as it will help ease tensions between the people. The GoC should sponsor related programs to build national unity and consolidate oneness.


  • Conditions for dialogue

By conditions for dialogue, this paper refers to those drivers that incentivizes the people to commit. One of the principal conditions is the restoring of confidence. The citizens of Cameroon’s expectations are presently too low given the circumstances, so that no government promises are believed, making cooperative actions impossible; it is a truism that transitional moments cannot be fast-tracked, but the GoC MUST build confidence by carrying out these enumerated short-term engagements. Since creating institutions that can prevent repeated violence takes time such as in Ghana and Haiti, its important Cameroon starts now.

Given these complexities, first, is the need to restore confidence in collective action before embarking on wider institutional transformation. Confidence building is a concept that must be used in Cameroon’s political mediation and in other development circles within the national territory. In the Cameroon context, low trust means those who are to contribute technically to the crisis will not collaborate until they believe that a positive outcome is possible.[3]

However, confidence building is just an event; not an end to itself. It must be inclusive enough to birth early results highlighted above. In this regard, there must be inclusive-coalitions, like in Indonesia in addressing violence in Timor Leste in its recovery after the renewed violence in 2006. Talking about inclusive coalitions: coalitions are ‘inclusive enough’ when they include the actors necessary for implementing the initial stages of confidence-building and institutional transformation – in this case the “Anglophones”. Civil society especially women’s organizations[4] like “synergie africaine” in Cameroon often play important roles in restoring confidence.[5] Therefore, persuading “Anglophones” to work collaboratively requires signals of a real break with past implementation failures to end economic and social exclusions and injustices of the marginalized group, corruption, or human right abuses. A typical example of confidence building was seen in South Africa, wherein there was unconditional release of Nelson Mandela (in this case the “Anglophones” behind bars) on the one hand, and the absolute secession of armed struggle of the ANC (in this case the violent “Anglophone” activist) on the other hand.

The GoC MUST respond to this confidence building with early results needed to build “Anglophones” confidence and hence, create momentum for longer-term institutional transformation. On the other hand, activist should not let perfection be the enemy of progress – they should embrace pragmatic options to address immediate changes.

  • What are the drivers to ensure effective accomplishment of these short-term peace proposals?

The drivers that guarantees success in the implementation of these short-term peace proposals are collaboration, commitment and cooperation, which substantially legitimates its effect with time. The type of stress Cameroon is facing requires components that address political, economic or social inclusion. The case of Cameroon is internal divisions between social or geographical groups, which is the major factor in mobilization of violence.

Additionally, the type of problem facing the nation is somehow institutional. Cameroon have “fairly strong” capacity but inclusion is weak, reform action needs to draw marginalized “Anglophones” into decision-making and ensure they benefit from national growth, service delivery and welfare improvements

As highlighted above, commitment, coordination and cooperation are three core functions of institutional actors that are needed to ensure that peace accords and expected results are made possible.[6]

  • Commitment: this enables the GoC and “Anglophones” to rely on the credibility of the dialogue resolutions so they can calibrate their behaviors accordingly. The case of Cameroon is most premised on commitment. The GoC with its people must reach credible agreements; first, to renounce violence and endow the state with the monopoly on the legitimate use of force – see the case of Somaliland wherein commitment was achieved by establishing institutional arrangements that provided sufficient incentives for all key actors to work within the rules. The bottom line is that, the commitment to deal between the GoC and the people must be credible, so that all parties stand to lose if any party reneges on those arrangements. When commitment to deal lacks integrity, contending sides (GoC and the “Anglophones”) walk away from the bargaining table and violence prevails.
  • Coordination: beyond credible commitment is coordination. Independent credible watchdog institutions MUST regulate implementation commitments as well as coordinate the GoC decisions with the expectation of its people and other conflicting parties. This is very sensitive because coordination problems can occur at many levels of the peace process.
  • Cooperation: herein lies the core to successful and effective peace plans; both at the long and short-term periods, as it requires the political will of the GoC and the “Anglophones” willingness to cooperate. The “Anglophones” must be willing to comply and cooperate. Cooperation is enhanced by credible commitments.

Enabling commitments, inducing coordination and enhancing cooperation are therefore essential institutional core functions for making peace policies effective. There must be an aggressive political will in the national arena. This is because; decision makers – elites-[7]may have the right peace plan and objectives, such as this, and yet may still be unable to implement the right peace policies because doing so would challenge the existing equilibrium and the current balance of power. Thus, the balance of power in conflict and violent societies may condition the kinds of results that emerge from commitment, coordination and cooperation.

Ultimately, how peace resolutions through dialogue are effective depends not only on what resolutions are chosen, but also on how they are chosen and implemented. Peacemaking resolutions and peace agreement implementation both involve bargaining among different actors. The policy arena-the setting in which governance manifest itself, [8] can be found at the local and national levels of Cameroon. Interested groups in Cameroon upheaval should be empowered to take part in the shaping of peace agreements – this would be a fundamental enabler to pacific agreements effectiveness. There should be an equal distribution of power in the bargaining process, as this power symmetry will definitely influence peace policy effectiveness. Power asymmetry is not necessary harmful, but negative manifestations are reflected in political clientelism as well as social and economic exclusions. Power asymmetry excludes individuals and groups from the bargaining arena, and can be particularly important for peace and security, such as in Somalia. A cross country statistical analyses using the Ethnic Power Relations data set from 1945-2005 indicates that states that exclude portions of the population based on ethnic background are more likely to face armed rebellions.[9]/[10]

  • Dialogue Procedure

Before nose-diving into this part of the proposed peace agenda, it is worthy to recall that violence is just a symptom reflective of discontentment. Just like unemployment, which is a symptom to a failed economy to grow enough to absorb all employable labour, violence as well, is a result of various economic pressures, rising job complexities, high levels of inequality, and even digital disruptions. Whether or not such discontentment are justifiable is usually immaterial, as long as lives are lost there is need for concern. Let Cameroonians remember that, the private sector, which is the engine of job creation, needs long-term view of the credible direction of the GoC’s peace and economic policies to be able make long-term investment decisions. Ultimately, any of such inconsistencies or impairments like violence only exacerbate economic downturn and lowers productivity. Consequently, it is a perfect breeding ground for protest from disgruntled citizens.

Most importantly, the “Anglophone” crisis is just as far-gone, because the discontentment of some frustrated “Francophones” can spark unrest, which tied with the present crisis, can plunge Cameroon in a full-blown civil war with unimaginable and maybe irrecoverable effects. During such circumstances, marginalization[11], fragmentation[12], and segmentation[13] just to name a few, which the “Anglophones” condemn, might not be the same motives of the Francophones. Regime change, job creation, economic boom, equal distribution of political appointments, infrastructural development[14], request for decentralization service provision, hassle-free border relations,[15] other related Economic, Financial[16] and Political risk might be at the forefront of such conflict-risk query. Such scenarios can easily be forecasted, especially as Cameroon’s growth experiences more volatility than the regional average. By this, this paper calls for the inevitable peace through dialogue between conflicting parties.

  • Dialogue participants

Dialogue procedure in this case does not connote a dictation of the whole dialogue process, but rather it is to propose the constituent parts of the dialogue scenario, without any sequential or chronological pattern as this is up to the GoC and the “Anglophones” to decide. However, this stage of the dialogue process must have seen the short-term strategies enunciated above come to fruition. Alternatively, for the very least, implementation should be ongoing, as this will restore GoC’s confidence to perform and compel the “Anglophones” to comply.

More so, the composition of the negotiating panel is of utmost importance as to whether or not negotiation delivers highly depends on this. Needless to reiterate that the character of actors to bargain in the policy arena should be exact for the intended purpose. They must be peaceworkers endow with a sense of peacekeeping and peacebuilding, void of track-records of corruption, free of individualistic political ambitions, highly selfless, and socially sensitive to the struggle. Negotiators MUST be state-minded visionaries incentivized by a sense of national unity, motivated by the zeal to consolidate national peace and security, chosen by general consensus of the parties – in this case GoC and the “Anglophones”, passionate about performance and delivery for nationwide interest, and have an inbuilt mastery and clarity on the struggle objectives and priorities etc… Selecting these negotiators must take into consideration the credibility of its leaders/negotiators to perform, credibility of the negotiating committee to deliver as well as credibility of governance effectiveness to sustain deliverable reforms of peace.

  • Pre-dialogue arrangements

Like reiterated earlier, let perfection not be the enemy of our progress. Deep institutional transformation cannot be achieved on this negotiating table.  It comes with time. However, prior to the negotiations, the transcend conflict transformation praxeology stipulates that each conflict party should be worked with separately in order to develop their understanding of their own goals as well as developing vertical interdependence (in order to prepare the conflict parties for creative negotiation and mediation). This means bringing a broad range of individuals together, coming from different backgrounds; government officials, NGO and INGO representatives, local leaders, military personnel, the police, journalists, political parties’ representatives, business stakeholders (GICAM), national youth council representatives, religious leaders and intellectuals/academia, solidarity movements, peace organisations, women’s network, trade unions etc…, from the same conflict party, must meet. This meeting will help build a collegial and trusting atmosphere necessary for an honest and deep dialogue.  The composition of “Anglophone” negotiators must be heterogeneous, allowing the process to go along vertical lines rather than horizontal ones.

  • The Dialogue

This Dialogue Project is organized along three proposed faces phases.

  • The first phase is to understand the struggles’ objectives of the “Anglophones”.
  • The second phase is the reframing of illegitimate objectives (secessionism) into legitimate goals of the protest (integration instead of segmentation, solidarity instead of fragmentation, participation instead of marginalization) based on the fulfilment of basic human needs of both the GoC and the “Anglophones”.
  • The third phase consists of the elaboration of an overarching or predominant formula for a sustainable solution because of the integration of these legitimate goals – integration, solidarity and participation.

Each phase consist of steps, each addressing a particular conflict transformation concern, alternating according to a double dialectic between analysis (observation) and therapy (solution), and between past and future. These steps were elaborated simple for educational purposes and it has to be noted that, in actual peace and conflict work as this, such a linear process must not be followed. The steps only serve the purpose of making negotiators become acquainted with the different dimensions and dynamics of conflict formations (civil unrest), and providing them with a mental landscape for finding the right questions in the right time, when working with each conflict party separately.

  • Phase One: This MUST involve understanding the “Anglophone crisis” and the whole conflict formation

The aim in phase one is not to try to come up with an ‘objective’ understanding of the “Anglophone problem”, but rather to understand how the “anglophones” themselves perceives the conflict. This process-oriented goal in phase one will build trust between the GoC and the :anglophones”, as this will give each conflict party the possibility for a better understanding of the “anglophone problem” and other related problems.

Step 1: this step entails understanding the GoC and the “Anglophones”, both behaviors and their relations in the context of the “anglophone problem” (this analyses the Present state of affairs):

The underlying question of the first step is, ‘What is the “anglophone problem” about?’ It is a question about the present; what is happening at that point. It is an analysis of the antagonism, which exists between the “Anglophones” and the GoC.

Identifications of “anglophone” struggle goals: The anglophones should start out by identifying their goals and those of the other domains within the “Anglophone” regions.

Identification of who “Anglophones” are: The forgotten and hidden actors should also be identified. These are generally parties to the “anglophone struggle” who are involved in some way, but not always visibly so.

The application of this framework to the conflict is the first step in putting forward the idea that there are more options out there than win-lose or compromise, that there is a possibility that the needs of all can be satisfied, through a creative solution.

Step 2: this step entails understanding the assumptions; how these assumptions relates to “anglophones” behaviors and how these behaviors interact with the “anglophone problem” as well as the goals of the struggle. (Therapy of the Past)

This step focuses on the past, looking to identify both what happened (marginalization), as well as what did failed to happen (participation), and leading to the present situation (the Anglophone uprising). When a conflict party does not see any hope in the present, then it is useful to look into the past, and see what could have been done then to make the situation better. The guiding question of step two is, ‘How did the “anglophone problem” occur? “Anglophones” generally assume that political appointments for example is usually discriminatory. Such assumptions are used to justify the goals (anglophone struggle). However, since they are not as visible, they are often not discussed, or maybe discussed in fear but taken as self-evident ‘truths’. Take the case of Sri Lanka for example, wherein the Tamil Tigers assumed that the rights of Tamils in a predominantly Sinhalese state will never be guaranteed. Their goal of Tamil Eelam – an independent Tamil state – arises from this assumption. “Anglophones’” assumption that an “anglophone” will never be a President of Cameroon, given the demographic disparity, justifies the “anglophone” problem of perpetual marginalization.

Examples of assumptions: One example of a deeper assumption on the deep culture level is the belief that violence offers better results than nonviolence, a kind of ‘presumption of the supremacy of violence’. Another example is when a violent strategy fails; it is generally taken to imply that more violence is needed, or that new violent strategies and weapons need to be developed. Failures in achieving a goal through a nonviolent strategy are generally taken to imply that violence is needed. There is no thought of developing new nonviolent techniques or of perseverance. In addition, the greatest irony is that when the conflict parties, exhausted and suffering, come to the negotiating table, they think it is violence that receives the credit for bringing them there. ‘See, with violence, we have at least come this far.’ These are just examples of what this peace transformation dialogue calls assumptions. The “Anglophones” assumptions must be identified. Changing assumptions completely is a long and difficult process; however, bringing up the issue is already an important step. To look into what has happened, and to begin the process of re-evaluating assumptions is something very emotional for negotiators. It is important not to avoid these emotions, and it is important to acknowledge these feelings. The therapy of the past begins here, but the entire process is an ongoing one.

  • Phase Two: Differentiating between legitimate (participation, solidarity, inclusivity and integration) and illegitimate (marginalization, segmentation, fragmentation) goals

If well carried out, this phase creates ‘analytical empathy’.  It will give the conflict parties the possibility to reflect upon the unconscious dimensions of the “anglophone problem” and to prepare the ground for formulating new legitimate goals and assumptions. An indicator of whether this aim has been achieved is whether for example the “Anglophone” negotiators, can identify that secessionism is an illegitimate goal, as well as what is legitimate within the goals of the GoC – in this case – nonviolence to conflict resolution.

The third step goes into a deeper understanding of what the “anglophone problem” is ‘really about’, by examining the deeper contradictions, the assumptions and attitudes, and the interests of the conflict parties. The idea is to gain insight into the historical development of the “anglophone problem”, the structural and cultural context, as well as the unconscious obstacles and resources to peace, which exist in the collective. This is an analysis of the past, of what happened, what could have happened, and why things happened.

After this process, the negotiators should have a basic idea of the deep culture and deep structures of the “anglophone-problem” conflict formation in question. For example, in case of Cameroon’s ethno-nationalistic deep cultures, it is important to look at the national anthems, street names, national myths, literature, statues, specific proverbs, and other similar carriers of the deep culture and to reflect with the meanings that are associated with these symbols.

The deep structure can be observed by looking at what the major societal fault lines are within the Cameroon society, and which groups are favored over the “Anglophones”.

This process of deep dialogue cannot be done overnight. Identifying and recognizing the recurring themes and patterns, which are deeply ingrained in the society and culture, requires continuous attention and numerous discussions. This process is perhaps the most difficult one of a conflict transformation process because it requires the GoC and the “Anglophones” to dig deep into their past and to find what is constructive as well as what is destructive and therefore needs to change. Again, this is not something, which can be achieved by a few people over a few discussions. For meaningful change in the deep structure and culture of a society to occur, the discussions must take place throughout the society over an extended period. As with the conflict transformation process in general, one cannot expect this entire process to be completed in a short time. It is simply important for this process to start, making the GoC and the “Anglophones” to be aware that there are deeper dimensions to the current “anglophone problem”, and to understand that they are influenced by the deeper level and therefore need to understand it better.

Step four moves again from an analysis of the past to one of the future. It poses the questions of what the situation will be like if basic human needs will not be satisfied in the longer run (negative scenario), and what needs to be changed in order to ensure the basic needs of “Anglophones” on the basis of structural symmetry and intercultural learning (positive scenario).

For example, when “Anglophones” bring up one of their struggle points, these points must be placed within the context of the social and cultural interests of nationhood and more deeply within the individual basic human needs of Cameroonians, which are not being fulfilled. For example, if one of the struggle’s goals is about the educational system, then, it is their need for cultural identity that is not being addressed, and this must be pointed out. The whole process must be value-centered, and should incorporate a dialogue-based approach for the exploration of their goals and strategies.

  • Phase Three: this phase involves the integration of “Anglophone” legitimate struggle goals with an overarching formula

Once the GoC and the “Anglophones” are able to perceive empathically themselves, they would be ready to think about possible solutions. The negotiators should at this point perceive the situation no longer as a destructive conflict, but as a common, challenging problem that needs to be addressed. The process-oriented aim of phase three is to evoke spontaneity and creativity within the conflict party, so that an overarching vision, strategy and formula (which are the solution-oriented aims) can be found.

  • The construction of new integration, solidarity and participation goals (Therapy of the way forward)

Step 5 is the assimilation of legitimate goals into an overarching framework, in order to prepare them for future negotiations or mediations. There is the focus on finding transcending solutions to the problem, finding the structure for peace that enables the attainment of well-being, freedom, identity and survival for all Cameroonians.

The GoC and the “Anglophones” should then undergo a brainstorming process of coming out with possible solutions which address the legitimate basic needs of all parties. In this creative process, some of the best ideas are those, which may sound impossible at first. This is generally a good sign, because such a reaction is typical when someone is faced with a completely new idea, different from those, which have been discussed before. Time needs to be given in order to allow this new idea to be assimilated.

Working along this peace diagonal ensures that the new peace structures fulfill the requirements of equity and reciprocity necessary for a just peace through a cooperative process.

The elaboration of solutions according to these principles engages the negotiators to develop a common vision of the future. It is a therapy of the future. In addition, it is at this point that the negotiators are truly ready for the round table, for honest negotiations because they are internally prepared to do so, rather than being externally coerced.

  • The creation of an action plan for the present (Therapy of the Present)

The process returns full circle to the issues of the present, but now focused on the therapeutic elaboration of the actions necessary in order to transform the “Anglophone crisis” and “Anglophone problems”. This is done in the light of the deeper understanding of the “Anglophone problem” and of the alternatives developed in order to address the inequities (marginalization) of the past and present. The most important thing about step six is the creation of a new reality, a reality in which there is a palpable change in the relationship and a transcendence of the conflict. This sixth step is also the first step to (re)conciliation. Any agreement, no matter how just or creative, must be accompanied by a process of (re)conciliation, transforming the relationships between the “Anglophones” and “Francophones”, structures and cultures, and establishing a permanent dialogue between all communities and segments of the Cameroon society in order to ensure that peace will have the deep roots it requires in order to thrive.

It is important to stress that this is not a sequential process. It is not about getting from steps one to six, and thinking that the process is complete. The complexities of reality do not allow for such a theoretically ideal situation. It is much more complex than that. The process goes from one phase to the others and back again. All six steps can occur within a day, yet not be achieved after a period of years. However, each step is an important element of the “Anglophone-problem” conflict transformation process, the analysis and therapy for the past, present and future necessary for a sustainable process of conflict transformation and peacebuilding. The six-step process is both therapy and analysis (or, in the terminology of systemic therapy, observation and solution-orientation). In addition, there is a dialectic between past and future, both anchored in the present.

Importantly, this paper should be considered as a mental map to be used to keep track of the numerous processes, which must occur, and the tools, which can be used to achieve them. It is a mental map, but not the landscape of the “Anglophone crisis”. However, in our view, it is a very useful tool for understanding the complex dialogue process.


Driving in Johannesburg one day, Tapiwa Chiwewe noticed an enormous cloud of air pollution hanging over the city. He was curious and concerned but not an environmental expert – so he did some research and discovered that nearly 14 percent of all deaths worldwide[17] were caused by household and ambient air pollution. With this knowledge and an urge to do something about it, Chiwewe and his colleagues developed a platform that uncovers trends in pollution and helps city planners make better decisions. “Sometimes just one fresh perspective, one new skill set, can make the conditions rights for something remarkable to happen,” Chiwewe says. He concludes by saying, “but you need to be bold enough to try it”.

This is an appeal for the youths of Cameroon to take part in this nation building and state-building peace initiative and be bold enough to make it work. It is a bottom up peace plan, which requires active participation of the youths and all people of Cameroon. Ensuring peace in Cameroon depends on the people’s ability to chart this peace agenda, designed by them, which build citizens’ attitudes towards creating peace as well as sustaining it. Other bottom-top programs like the Afghanistan National Solidarity Program and the Latin America Multisectoral Programs have benefitted these nations within the context of peacebuilding. The effects can be replicated in Cameroon.



For this, see “Positive Peace for Africa”…the clock is ticking:  authored by the writer.

About the Author

Maxwell N. Achu is a Cameroonian Diplomat and Civil Society Activist. Maxwell N. Achu is a Conflict Transformation Researcher and an expert in Positive Peacebuilding across the African continent, and beyond. He presently resides in Accra, Ghana where he is currently the Country Director for Humanitarian Group Action International, a nongovernmental nonprofit and apolitical organization. In addition, other analogous research work carried out by the author within the context of peace building are; Governance in Africa, Roles of Religious bodies in Peacebuilding, Positive Peace and the Media. The author is also working on a new book: The Quest for Creative GOVERNANCE (publishing in process). In this two part essay, the author provides an original and critical reflection of the causes of conflict in Cameroon, and possible solutions through peace-subservient institutions.






[1] See, for example, UNDP, Peace Architecture in Fragile and/or Post-Conflict Statebuilding: Lessons learned for Capacity Development (Geneva: UNDP/BCPR, 2009)

[2] Cameroon 2016 Human Rights Report: Section 1: Respect for the integrity of persons, including freedom from; page 7

[3] On building trust and changing expectations, see Hoff and Stiglitz 2008

[4] Celebrating stories of women’s leadership through film on International Women’s Day. Ten years ago, the film “Pray the Devil Back to Hell” premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, where it won the award for best Documentary for its powerful depiction of the nonviolent women’s movement that helped end Liberia’s bloody civil war. Since its release, producers and directors have taken up the challenge to tell the stories of the often-invisible lives of women in conflict – producing stories in countries like Bosnia, Libya, Afghanistan, Colombia, Pakistan and Rwanda.

[5] Anderlini 2000

[6] World Development Report 2017

[7] What distinguishes elites from citizens in this Report is their ability to directly influence the design and implementation of a certain policy. In this way, elites are defined in a positive (as opposed to a normative) sense.

[8] A similar approach has been developed in a pioneering work, The Politics of Policies, in the context of Latin America (IDB 2005).

[9] Wimmer, Cederman, and Min (2009).

[10] The existence of norms that exclude certain groups, such as minorities, from the bargaining arena turn to reinforce power asymmetries and perpetuate inequalities and insecure outcomes

[11] It reflects the extent to which segments of the population (the Anglophones) are prevented from interacting in the Cameroon society.

[12] It reflects the extent to which those without power (supposedly Anglophones) are isolated along the different fault-lines

[13] It reflects the extent to which information is controlled by the Cameroon political elite, and where the average individual does not have access to the whole picture.

[14] Euler Hermes Economic Research 2017 ranks Cameroon’s business environment as one of the worst in the World. Cameroon’s business environment must improve for performance to rise above current levels. While Cameroon managed to improve its ranking in the 2017 World Bank Doing Business survey (166th out of 190 up from 172nd in 2016), its record on property registration and contract enforcement remains poor.

[15] Especially that relation with Nigeria and the Economic Community of Central African states has been uneasy:  Euler Hermes Economic Research 2017.

[16] Debt, twin deficits and lower liquidity: This financial instability is exacerbated by large investments in the non-oil sectors (transport networks, water supply, dams and electrification). These are partly driven by inward investment necessitating capital goods and other imports. Along with China’s economic slowdown, this results in a current account deficit of -3.6% in 2016. Euler Hermes estimates it will reach -3% in 2018. In addition, Cameroon has a fiscal deficit, which is projected to slightly decrease to -3% in 2018. Expenditure in militarization associated with regional security crisis exacerbated this decrease. This structural twin deficit has raised the need for fresh financing. While reserves are still in the comfort zone, liquidity issues could arise if FDI dries up.

[17] 2012 statistics

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