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Late Simon Nkwenti To Be Given Academic Honours 

By Chris Mbunwe & *Minet Tache — The Executive Secretary of the Cameroon Teachers Trade Union, CATTU, Simon Nkwenti, will be given Academic Honours in Bamenda, Friday, September 7, before burial in his native Chomba Village.

According to sources at the Regional Delegation of Basic Education, the Honours will be preceded by what has been termed “Tribute Day” on Thursday, September 6, at the Alliance Franco-Camerounais Hall in Bamenda.

The Academic Honours for late Nkwenti has been programmed for September 7, at the Bamenda Congress Hall, beginning at 8am, with the Minister of Basic Education in attendance. Sources within CATTU said the Minister of Secondary Education, Louis Bapes Bapes, has also been invited, but his presence has not been confirmed.

After the Academic Honours and viewing of the corpse of the CATTU Executive Scribe, his remains would be conveyed to Chomba Village, some 5km from Bamenda. Meantime, there was wailing and weeping in Bamenda on Tuesday, August 21, at about 10 am, when news of the death of Nkwenti, 46, hit the town. Life around town was seemingly paralysed as the population thronged the Bamenda Regional Hospital to catch a glimpse of Nkwenti’s remains.

Nkwenti took ill a few weeks before and ran into a coma. He is said to have regained consciousness. When Nkwenti collapsed two weeks before and was admitted  at the Reanimation Ward of the Bamenda Regional Hospital, frequent visits were banned, but family members, very close friends and  Pastors of the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon, alongside

Christian Women and Men Fellowships visited, prayed beside his sick bed for speedy recover.
Nkwenti reportedly regained consciousness and was moved to a new private ward of the Hospital. “It was a deceitful coming back to life,” Theophilus Nkwenti, Nkwenti’s immediate younger brother, told The Post. Theophilus said his brother actually recovered and even ate some food for a few days.

“I am devastated by his death because I am still to know how it came so sudden following all signs that he had recovered from the state of coma in which he was,” Theophilus lamented.
Nkwenti’s wife, journalist and Chief of Programmes, CRTV Bamenda, Mary Lum Azonga Nkwenti, wailed and wept profusely: “I am speechless and I am asking why this should happen to me at this time and at my age? Papa God, what is this I am witnessing?” 

Wilfred Tassang, Publicity Secretary of CATTU, observed: “Nkwenti was a fighter, persistent, indefatigable and a shrewd negotiator. He was a successful man in almost all he did. He had the Midas touch in social dialogue.” Late Nkwenti’s parents, full of energy, came to the hospital and could not believe their eyes that their son was no more. “A great man, breadwinner and our ‘saviour’ is gone. Nkwenti, why this,” they mentioned, rolling on the bare floor of the hospital.

According to the Northwest Regional Chief of SOPECAM-Cameroon Tribune, Choves Loh, Nkwenti was credited for giving meaning to civil society in Cameroon as an alternative in the management of public affairs.  “He was daring, brave and tactful in taking the problems of teachers to the public sphere for solutions,” Choves said, while stating that Nkwenti would be remembered as an outspoken leader who did enormous work on civil society education.

“He was not loved by some people, but he demonstrated rare attitude of forgiveness for those who persecuted him. He excelled as an activist for the enhancement of our educational system and received bullets in the process, but he remained steadfast at the service of teachers,” Choves intimated. Nkwenti leaves behind his wife, children, father and mother, friends and comrades to mourn him.

*(UB Journalism Student on Internship)

First published in The Post print edition no 01370

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