Fonban E. Lendzemo
Prof. Ekosso Francis Lysonge a soldier with the rank of a Lieutenant Colonel who was recently employed at the National Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Committee as the second top official of the structure is currently touring the DDR centers in the national territory. However, there is no doubt that he is handling his affairs like a soldier of love and an intellectual with solution-oriented strategies.
With his wide experience in military training, one would think that the elegant Lieutenant Colonel will use the hook or crook strategy to covert ex-Amba fighters at the DDR centers but the learned Professor has worked with his conscience to rather become a father to the Ex Amba fighters and mold them useful citizens.
In his recent visit to the DDR center in Buea on December 17, 2020, Lt. Col. Prof. Ekosso in his simple down to earth outfit, spent some time with the ex-Amba fighters, giving them words of encouragements in a language they could understand more.
It should be noted that the use of the word “terrorists” to affiliate ideal amba-fighters, has been counterproductive for the DDR staff on the field. As a result, the use of such words do not show signs of security to those that are hoping to drop their guns.
Lt. Col. Prof Ekosso who is the Deputy National Coordinator of the NDDR seems to have understood the role of communication in armed conflicts especially in his position as one to win more souls for the republic. He calls all Amba fighters, whether those in bushes or in centers as “children, brothers or friends”. From the beginning of the armed conflicts till date, it is evident that the expression of politicians who act without considering the impact of communication in armed conflicts, have helped to escalate the war and make issues worst.
For an internal conflict like the armed conflict in Cameroon motivated by socio-political setbacks in governance, attributing rebels to terrorists could further radicalized them whereas seeing them as citizens radicalized because of frustrations could make one handle them with more caution so as to convince them to drop their arms.
NDDR is not a perfect structure and neither is Ekosso Francis as Lieutenant Colonel and Professor, but his approach is convincing so many ex-fighters at the DDR centers who now see him more like a father or a friend.
Talking to ex-Amba fighters in Buea, Prof. Ekosso said, he grew up in a poor family, fought harder to get himself educated, learned many skills like mechanics and now he is in the position to fight for them like someone who grew up having their experience. The strong man in the military and academia has several times indicated that he will not fight Amba fighters in bushes, but he will go after, those resident in Cameroon in comfortable places, and encouraging the boys to get stronger and fight in bushes.
It is evident from this commitment, that politicians who have been speaking anyhow, can learn a lot from Lt. Col. Prof Ekosso Francis and it is important for the Cameroon’s president to ensure that the working environment is conducive for his appointee to fulfil the purpose of the NDDR.