Letter to President Biya on National Security

Letter to President Biya on National Security

As Cameroonians it is urgent that we become aware of the imminent threat to our national security that the current attacks on our borders constitute. Hence the following open letter to Mr. Paul Biya.
Mr. President,

Despite my resolution not to write you this year because you do not seem to take into account any correspondence addressed to you , the gravity of the situation in which our country finds itself at the moment, has forced me to initiate new communication to you.

Mr. President, the integrity of our national territory - the integrity of our beloved Cameroon - is challenged as never before in its history. Our borders in the regions of the Far North, and East as well as Bakassi are currently extremely vulnerable and our citizens in these regions are not only under constant threat, but have already been subject to various violent attacks. This is unacceptable. It is urgent to that we act to find effective solutions to this situation.

If it is imperative for us to act when a foreigner’s security is threatened within our country, it is even more imperative for us to ensure the safety of Cameroonians throughout our national territory.

Mr. President, Cameroonians cannot continue to depend on foreign forces. Our security is our responsibility. We must take control of it and do so urgently. This implies certain minimal steps.

Here are key steps it is imperative for you to take.

I. Call a Summit

For interests which Cameroonians have yet to determine as being their own, you hosted a global summit on maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea in June 2013. Today, it is time to convene a summit. A real one.For the safety of Cameroon. Needless to say this would be focused on the interests of Cameroonians and by extension on the interests of all the people of the Central African sub -region.

It is essential that you sit at a table with the Heads of State of Nigeria, Chad and the Central African Republic to take the necessary tough decisions for the security of our borders. This is not an opportunity to create another photo album such as the one which was the product of your three working days in June 2013, but rather an opportunity for real working sessions to determine answers to the following difficult questions:

• What cooperation needs to be put in place between the armed forces of Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon in order to restore security to the borders in the Far North Region?
• What strategies and actions are needed to eliminate the threat of violence while respecting the rights of the citizens in these areas?
• What strategies need to be taken in the short, medium and long term with the Chadian authorities and the Central African Republic to secure our common border in the Eastern Region?
• What cooperation needs to be put in place between Cameroon and Nigeria to improve security at the South West border and specifically in the Bakassi area?

This result of this summit must be a concrete action plan which we have defined ourselves. Only with this in hand can we meet with other partners throughout Central Africa , the African Union, the West and other regions of the world to discuss issues of the security of their investments in our country, within the framework of our own interests. It is incumbent upon us to take initiative and leadership on these issues. It is not incumbent on foreigners, friendly as they may be.

II. Create Synergy Between the Various Armed Forces in Cameroon

It's no secret that your management style has created dissention and a lack of harmony and coordination amongst our various armed forces. It is essential to create the conditions for synergy between all these forces in order to provide sustainable solutions to this threat at our borders. To create this synergy it is imperative that you:
• Convene all of these forces in order to develop of a common strategy for the protection of our borders with shared and clearly defined responsibilities. This strategy will be your roadmap for the aforementioned summit.
• Ensure that all these forces have equitable resources to do their job and ensure their own safety on the ground.
• Ensure that the soldiers and officers who do the work in the field and whose lives are at stake every day have the equipment and resources necessary to do their job.

III. Implement a Development Roadmap for these Priority Areas

Mr. President, peace cannot be declared or imposed by violence. It is constructed and maintained continuously. To ensure the sustainability of the results that our armed forces will be able to obtain, it is imperative that you put in place an emergency development roadmap for these vulnerable areas in the Far North, East and Bakassi.

All research has demonstrated that extremists and terrorists are recruited among disaffected, unemployed and hopeless youth. Your development policy to date, especially as regards young people, is the greatest threat to the security of Cameroon.

IX. The entire Cameroon needs you to radically change your strategy for addressing issues of economic and social development, notably of unemployment. Without significant improvement in performance in these areas, our alleged Cameroonian peace will remain extremely fragile. While the whole country needs you to radically revise your strategies in these areas, the need in these vulnerable border areas is even greater and more urgent. To secure these borders sustainably, we need to implement a development plan that ensures:
• The development of the local economy
• Job creation
• The delivery of basic social services such as water , electricity , health and education

IV. Take Leadership in the Sub-region

Mr. President, if we currently find ourselves in this precarious situation, it is at least in part due to your lack of proactivity and your poor leadership in the region. Cameroon is the natural leader of Central Africa. Our present-day problems of insecurity are at least partially due to the fact that you have refused to play this leadership role and take seriously the security of the entire sub -region. It is imperative that the Cameroon regain its leadership position and begin to develop a long-term strategy and carry out a thorough and sustained implementation to secure the sub-region.

Finally, Mr. President, if all this seems too complicated, too difficult and too time-consuming , which one can imagine may be the case given the frequency of your holidays and trips abroad , you can always opt for the solution we have suggested to you through several correspondences already: an honorable resignation and quiet departure.

The time to act is now, Mr. President.

Kah Walla
National President
Cameroon People's Party