By Colbert Gwain in Bamenda
The details may be sketchy. But Senator Regina Mundi was abducted for a cause and rescued for a cost. A lot of ink has flown since this lone North West CPDM politbureau member and grandmother of 80 was announced rescued by Cameroon’s Defense and Security forces on May 30, 2022 in Ashong-Batibo after being abducted by separatist fighters last April 30, 2022 in Foncha Street-Bamenda.
While Cameroon’s military is using this rare successful rescue operation to boost its image and advertise its professionalism, the separatist ADF forces of Dr. Cho Ayaba try to fight off persistent rumours of ransom taking and blame blacklegs for leaking out their location to regular forces.
Kidnapped for a cause; that of the autonomy of the two English-Speaking regions of Cameroon, Senator Regina Mundi was rescued at a huge cost; that of ensuring Cameroon remains one.
No doubt that the monetary value of the military operation, from costly intelligence-gathering (human and satellite), through mobilizing the right personnel and mock operations as obtained during the Bin Laddin capture, to staging the air and land operations, runs into hundreds of tax-payers’ millions.
Since her victory over death, the population has continued to be entertained and distracted from the real issues by one conspiracy theory or another. Although fuelled by both sides that have since failed to release any further detail, the real concerns to the affected population should be how this new development contributes to fuelling or abating the current deadly and escalating conflict. Whether ransom was paid and how much, and whether Cameroon military single-handedly performed the feat, should be the concern of conflict specialists and academia, and for another day.
The concern of the suffering masses should be the real cost of Mama Regina Mundi’s rescue.
After living the reality of the conflict for 30 days first hand, and after concluding in her own words that ‘Cameroon and the Region is at war’, what definiteness of purpose action going forward, would she engage in, with Yaounde authorities, to see a negotiated settlement is arrived at. That’s the cause; that’s the cost, and that’s the crux of the matter.
Going by the persistent cries for her release from all walks of life, and the fact that God decided to accord her bonus days, would she make or mar?
Do we expect to see her become our very own Roelf Meyer, former South African Aparthied Chief negotiator, who, after being a Key strategist in enforcing the segregatory system for decades, finally turned around to become the chief strategist and negotiator for its end?
As a respectable woman within the CPDM circles, is it not time she takes as her new mantra to President Paul Biya, the articulations of many a Cameroonian and foriegn expert, genuine steps on how this six year-old deadly conflict could be brought to an end?
Declare ceasefire and general amnesty, apologize to Anglophones for errors of the past, set up a Truth, Justice and Reconciliation committee, organize genuine and inclusive dialogue in view of granting greater autonomy to the two Anglophone regions, amongst others. Are these not genuine suggestions well-meaning Cameroonians have made over the years?
Now that she has had the opportunity to share the same roof with fighters and had direct talks with some activists abroad during her abduction, would she not now make a name and go down in history as the rare female negotiator who ended the untold suffering the defenseless population in the South West and North West Regions have gone through for no fault of theirs?
Was it not premonitious that a woman who since entering Parliament in 2018 took up as duty of care the reduction of infant and maternal mortality, be rescued alongside a pregnant woman? Would she not see the hand of God in this singular happenstance?
This could be the only way our rescued senator Regina Mundi can repay the Lord for His Goodness to her.
Colbert Gwain is digital rights activist, author, radio host, Commitment Maker at UN Generation Equality Coalition, and content creator @TheColbertFactor
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