Cameroon’s President, Paul Biya, is already basking in the first months of his new seven years’ mandate on a score of 71.28 per cent of votes cast in the country’s last Presidential election.
Despite this resounding victory, the President will address his compatriots as the nation steps into 2019.
The address to the nation which has been a tradition for the Head of State will be done on Monday, December 31, 2018.
It will be done under circumstances different from others in his over 36 years in power.
The opportunity of making a state of the nation address will afford Biya the chance to make a review of the nation in 2018 and shape policies that will affect the destinies of over 24 million Cameroonians in 2019.
Sadly enough, 2019 will be the third year for the lingering socio-political crisis in the English-speaking Regions of the North West and South West.
In this regards, the President will surely be making a review of measures his Government has taken in the last 12 months to end the conflict.
Biya’s speech will therefore most likely talk of the putting in place of the Ministry of Decentralisation and Local Development to fast-track aspects of the 1996 Constitution. Such were triggered by the Anglophone Crisis and Government has continued promising to accelerate the process.
Still on the Anglophone Crisis, the President will certainly remind the national and international community of the putting in place of the National Commission for the Promotion of Bilingualism and Multiculturalism (NPBMC), and the National Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration Commission (NDDR) to disarm separatists fighters and ex-Boko Haram fighters.
For the NDDR, Biya will certainly tell his compatriots that the Commission is already at work with centres inspected in the North West, South West and Far North Regions.
He will most likely not forget to remind all of his recent action to order for the discontinuance of cases pending before military tribunals to free some 289 persons arrested in the North West and South West Region for acts of misdemeanours.
Besides this, the President may move over to promise that, Government will take more actions to end the crisis.
The Head of State will equally not forget to mention the progress made in terms of Government’s humanitarian aid to internally displaced people as a result of the crisis in the Anglophone Regions.
Like other members of the national and international community, Biya who has stressed the importance of dialogue as the best solution to the crisis may still mention such as the way out for 2019.
On the democratic front, Biya will surely take delight in the successful organisation of the Senatorial and Presidential elections across the board in 2018. This he may count as achievements that contribute to consolidate the democratic process.
In this light, he may highlight the putting in place of the Constitutional Council. He may then proceed to remind all that, 2019 will be the year for the Legislative and Municipal Elections.
In the education domain, Biya is likely not to forget that, he has ordered for the recruitment of 2,000 PhD holders to act as lecturers in universities across the country.
The President’s speech is also expected to touch on the controversial AFCON 2019 hosting rights that CAF stripped Cameroon of amid reports of influence peddling at the highest level of state that slowed projects.
He will certainly talk on the state of the economy. The recent agreement reached with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the extended credit facility may also feature in Biya’s speech.
Figures on the number of jobs created in 2018 are mostly likely to be highlighted amid a new commitment to do more for youths and women.
Given the security challenges in the North West , South West, East and Far North Regions, the President will certainly not forget to appreciate the sacrifices of security forces. Biya will surely give the security forces words of encouragement to the army for maintaining Cameroon’s territorial integrity despite the challenges.
Besides these, the President’s speech may also vow on the need to maintain the rule of law across all levels of the society.
Beyond these, Biya is anticipated to make a landmark pronouncement on the fate of separatist leaders and other Anglophones in detention.
There is equally hope that Biya as the father of the nation may take the need for dialogue to another level as the first step towards reconciling Cameroonians to build a strong and united Cameroon in 2019.