National Times (Yaounde) – Leaders of Cameroon’s opposition party the Social Democratic Front (SDF) have criticised a recent court decision that sentenced eleven Anglophone secessionist leaders with life imprisonment.
On Thursday, 22 August, Joshua Osih vice President of SDF told local media that the legal process is joke. “This trial is a big joke that is unlikely to bring back as soon as possible peace in the two English-speaking regions which are already seeing a catastrophic humanitarian situation” Osih said according to Camer.be.
“Secessionists cannot be effectively fought by gagging or beheading their leaders. This condemnation is a political fault of Yaounde in the current context of crisis which requires an inclusive national political dialogue as soon as possible.”
Cameroon is a signatory to international conventions which do not allow military tribunals to judge civilians. However, in recent years to combat terrorism, the government has amended its laws to allow military tribunals to judge citizens who are accused of terrorism or attempts to destabilize the state.
These laws are part of the measures taken by the state to silence dissent and maintain the hegemonic control of the Biya’s circles over the country, as resentment against poor governance and his inability to contain French influence in Cameroon grow.
Joshua Osih was the presidential candidate for the SDF in the 2018 Presidential election.
He lost to the incumbent President Paul Biya, coming behind two other opposition leaders.