Inclusive Land Use, A Solution To Farmer/Grazer Conflicts

Cultural Rights Conference Picks Inclusive Land Management As Solutions to Farmer-Grazer Conflicts

The involvement of the Mbororo community members in the land management boards has been identified and proposed as one of the major solutions to the perennial farmers-grazers conflict affecting most of the Northwest region of Cameroon. This was one of several proposed resolutions arrived at during a regional conference organized by the Northwest Civil Society Observatory on Cultural Rights and Diversity (CSO), recently held in Bamenda, NW region of Cameroon.

Members attending the One-day conference, from administrators, local and traditional authorities, legislators, technical ministries, civil society members and the media all agreed in their proposal that the land consultative boards that plays a huge role in determining and kick starting the process of land ownership in Cameroon is heavily dominated by non-Mbororos, making their decisions insensitive to the needs and peculiarities of the Mbororos in areas where they live.  They called for the inclusion and intensification of Mbororos participation in the process as a fair, equitable means to addressing some of the conflicts arising.

They also proposed that Special measures be taken by stakeholders to ensure the protection of land rights of the Mbororo communities in the region, Amplify and increase the number of dialogue platforms to cover all subdivisions of the Region and expand their scope to discuss cultural issues, carry out aggressive sensitization programs through the media on the salient cultural norms of both coexisting communities in the region, promote  intercultural and mixed marriages between the Mbororo and non-Mbororo, organize inter-religious and cultural activities and fairs bringing together members of both communities,  intensify socio-cultural activities like football, cultural dance and other competitive activities involving both communities as a way to bridging the gap

The resolution also called for the state to take special measures in the form of legislation to protect the land rights of the Mbororo in most of the communities in the Northwest region, enhance the role of traditional institutions in conflict resolution, promote the formation of Njangi (cooperative) farming/herding groups between members of Mbororo and non-Mbororo communities, introduce fodder farming for cattle breeders to reduce pressure on arable land and for the government to enact more decrees of application to clearly demarcate farm and grazer lands

They called on the CSO to advocate for government to institutionalize alternative conflict resolution mechanisms tested and proven effective by the use of dialogue platforms and make it mandatory for complainants to show prove of passing through dialogue platforms before going to arbitration, as a means to promote dialogue over confrontation, sensitize both communities on the complementarities in the economic and socio-cultural activities.

On the part of the Mbororos, the conference proposed that they intensify the education of theirs in a better understanding of and the use the PULAKU code which defines their conduct with other cultures, and to encourage more to acquire formal education.

The Conference was one of the major activities of the CSO according to its chairperson Madam Yah Wendi Benedict.  The Observatory was founded in July 2020 as part f activities of the project titled “Bridging The Gap: safeguarding peace and human rights by promoting intercultural dialogue in Northwest Cameroon” funded by the European Union and jointly implemented by United Purpose, NOWEFOR and MBOSCUDA.

Closing the conference, the regional delegate of Arts and Culture, Mrs Comfort Wanje thanked all the participants for their generous contributions towards improving the culture of peace in the region and tasked the CSO to go into work immediately, lobbying and advocating for the change that can bring peace, adding the proposal of the conference are an ample guideline to ride on now.

It should be noted that the CSO has produced a scooping document based on field research and analysis of data collected on cultural rights with the objective to contributing to a better understanding of the state of cultural rights of the Mbororos and non-Mbororos of the NW.

This document, Mr. Christopher Mbafor, secretary to the Steering committee of the CSO “is rich in content, readily available in a booklet, will soon be placed online and can be consulted by all”

The Mission of the CSO he went further is to “contribute in protecting cultural rights and cultural rights abuses” as well as “strengthen the capacity of members and stakeholders to identify problems related to cultural rights and to carry out advocacy”

Since its creation, the CSO is focused on the promotion of intercultural dialogue as a means to reducing conflicts in the NW, influence public decision and policies to be more responsive to the cultural identities and rights of the minorities with specific focus on the Mbororo-fulani ethnic group.

By Abongwa Fozo




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