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Anglophone Teachers’ Unions Intensify Indefinite Strike 

By Chris Mbunwe

tassang-wilfred-cattu-executive-secretary-generalAn All Anglophone Teachers’ Unions meeting held in Bamenda on Friday, November 2, has picked holes in Prime Minister Philemon Yang’s response to issues discussed earlier.

In a counter response to the Prime Minister’s Order No. 125.CAB/PM of November 29, 2016, the union leaders expressed indignation that Yang offered cosmetic concessions that fall short of their demands.

The unions faulted Yang’s Order which created an institutional framework and announced that FCFA 2 billion has been allocated as special subvention to lay private and denominational schools.

The Order also authorised the special recruitment of 1000 young “bilingual Cameroonians” who have higher education diplomas in scientific and technical subjects.

According to the teachers’ unions, Yang’s Order does not specify the period within which the Ad hoc committee is expected to run as they agreed in Bamenda; it does not make allowance for representatives of the unions in the Secretariat of the Ad hoc committee who will ensure that what is agreed on is actually what is transcribed.

The unions also said the Order does not legally bind the Government and “may constitute another promise with no mechanism for enforcement.”

In addition, “there is no legal framework cited to justify the special allocation of FCFA 2 billion for lay private and denominational schools, neither is the timeline for implementation specified. Besides, it does not show explicitly what Anglophone schools within the stated categories will benefit.”

On the recruitment of “young bilingual Cameroonians,” the teachers say it raises a controversy which could give birth to more problems of exclusion of Anglophones in the near future, because no such thing exists as bilingual teachers of science and technology subjects in Cameroon.

“This coinage could potentially deprive Anglophones of Northwest and Southwest origin of the opportunity to make up for the deficit of Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Engineering teachers resulting from opaque admission procedures in Higher (Technical) Teacher Training Colleges,” the teachers noted in their communiqué to the Prime Minister.

Police Brutality

Concerning the recent happenings in Buea, the teachers held strongly that the two government officials, Governor Bernard Okalia Bilia and the VC of the University of Buea, Dr. Nalova Lyonga, were complicit to a plan to sabotage the talks by “brutally quelling a peaceful student demonstration on Monday November 28”.

Consequently, the unions requested that the colonial rule of Governor Okalia, who retired more than three years ago be terminated forthwith, that the tenure of Dr. Nalova Lyonga, who retired 10 months ago, be terminated; all students still in detention be released immediately and their well being assured.

The communiqué further requests the administration to demilitarise the University of Buea immediately and punish those who perpetuated carnage in the Molyko neighbourhood.

In the meantime, the unions stand firm that the indefinite strike action which started on November 21 will continue until satisfactory answers are given to all the issues raised so far.

“Nevertheless, the Ahd hoc Committee can get to work next week while waiting for these clarifications,” they noted.

More Arrests In Bamenda

Meanwhile, on December 1, police stormed a residence in Foncha Street and arrested a priest on internship, Alfred Kum Mua-Beng from Wum, and some Christians who were returning from a wake-keep.

Kum Mua-Beng had delivered a sermon on corrupt practices condemning the shootings in Bambui that led to the death of a night watchman, Peter Shey Nyuke.

Another person related to a certain Martin Ngala Marcel Tayo, who hails from Tabenken, was shot in the ribs and was rushed to the Bamenda Regional Hospital.

At Mile Two Junction, your reporter lost a camera and a phone to the police as he shot pictures of three motorcycle taxi riders who were struggling to free themselves from the grip of anti-riot policeman.
When, How To Arrest

Following the skirmishes in Bamenda and Buea, the SDF National Chairman, Ni John Fru Ndi, while addressing a crowd recently in Bamenda III, had told the Governor and the forces of law and order to know when to arrest and how.

“This town almost went into flames again because the police arrested the young man who was an aide to Mancho, the coffin carrier, who decided to stage a show at City Chemist Roundabout that gave this strike a different twist. This is not the time to carry out arrests; there is still a lot of tension in the air,” Fru Ndi had noted.

It should be noted that over 100 persons are still in detention.

Traders, Drivers Endorse Strike

Due to heavy taxes, high fuel prices, bad roads, no airport, impending problems placed at the door steps of the City Council still not resolved, and other issues, the Northwest Traders’ Unions and Professional Drivers’ Union leaders have endorsed the teachers–lawyers’ strike action.

In this vein, they issued a press release signed by Joseph Fuh Che, President of the Bamenda Traders and Economic Operations Association, Fai Victor Nfor of NOWEPRODTU, Ambrose Chinda of Transporters’ Syndicate, Joseph Suhfor of DOHEA and Frederick Nde Ndifang of Progressive Traders’ Association.

They are convinced that “a federal system to governance would protect all sectors of the society both in the Anglophone and Francophone Regions alike.”

The seven unions meeting in Bamenda on December 1 declared that the business atmosphere in the region has become very tense and not conducive for any business venture.

“We call on government to install a gas plant in the region immediately to redress the constant shortages and high prices imposed on the community,” they said.

“Redress the tax system to be more business-friendly and immediately set up a branch of the Small and Medium Size Enterprise, SME, bank in the Northwest which shall reactivate the creation of industrial plants in the Region,” the trade unions stated.

The Northwest business persons say they have been discriminated against and marginalised hence only a federal system of government can be a solution to this nation called Cameroon.

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