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Molua, Ngange Fire Back At Yanou 

Interviewed By Ernest Sumelong — Professor Michael Yanou, President of the Higher Education Teachers’ Syndicate, SYNES, recently alleged that Drs. Ernest Molua, Kingsley Ngange and others, colluded and authored an e-mail, implicating some 10 Lecturers in recent strike actions in the University of Buea, UB. Molua and Ngange, also Lecturers in UB, here, react to the allegations and give their own views on the problems plaguing the University in the interviews below.

Yanou Is Neither Smart Nor Intelligent– Dr. Molua

Prof. Michael Yanou, President of SYNES University of Buea, UB Chapter, said you ganged up with Dr. Kingsley Ngange and others and authored an e-mail implicating Lecturers in recent strike actions at the University; what do you have to say?

Dr. Molua: The faction of SYNES that Yanou claims to lead is an illegal and illegitimate faction, which is self-serving. Lecturers were attacked at the University of Buea and their offices destroyed on May 15, 2013; the Vice Chancellor was held hostage on February 6, 2013. These are all members of SYNES. The Faculty of Agriculture’s farm was destroyed, which is being used by all members of the Faculty, who are all members of SYNES.

But, the faction of SYNES that Mr. Yanou claims to lead never had any condemnation or sympathy or any word of condolence for these various lecturers who were aggrieved during such upheavals. So, I don’t know his intention, whether the SYNES he claims to lead is for staff or students. However, over the same period of time, Mr. Yanou and his colleagues have released several memos on the plight of students rather than Lecturers who have been aggrieved.

The second important issue I want to raise is that, I am a man of the media; I run a private organisation and an NGO. I saw that mail even before the people of SYNES saw it and I received it in my e-mail box posted by camnetwork. Camnetwork is an emailing group of over 3,000 Cameroonians, where the Moderator is Mr. Fonge, based in the United States of America. I received it like everybody else and I forwarded it to many colleagues.

Why do you think Professor Yanou mentioned your name; does he have any axe to grind with you?

He called my name, first, because he is not a smart and intelligent fellow. They saw a mail, which my NGO forwarded, but they could not have the intellectual capacity to decipher whether it was a forwarded mail. They just assumed that since this mail has been forwarded, therefore, the guy who forwarded it is the author of the e-mail. This is the 21st century and you are aware of ICTs; you can receive a mail and forward it to your colleagues.

Yanou states that you are working in collaboration with the Vice Chancellor and other people, including Dr. Kingsley Ngange. These are very strong allegations he is making against you…

These are very weak allegations by someone who does not know how administration works. I am a Head of Department and a Lecturer of the University of Buea. The Vice Chancellor is administrator of the University and I have the right to work with the Vice Chancellor and there is nothing wrong working with her. And there is nothing wrong having an ambition while working at the University.

During the May 15 strike, the School of Agriculture was destroyed; do you think it was targeted?

Yes, it was targeted and this is not the first time I have been targeted at the University of Buea. Remember, I was attacked on the December 18, 2006, when students attacked my private office, The Entrepreneur office, in Molyko.

They destroyed my car, broke up my computer and my head. These students, I strongly believe, were sent by Lecturers of UB, some of who are SYNES members. And, this time around, when they couldn’t locate my office, they went and destroyed the Faculty of Agriculture farm. And, surprisingly, Yanou, never condoled with the students and staff of the Faculty of Agriculture.

What, therefore, is your conclusion about the allegations and the happenings on UB campus?

The allegations are coming from people who have a hidden agenda and self-interest; people who have hijacked and abused the acronym of SYNES. SYNES Buea is not independent of SYNES Cameroon and SYNES Cameroon has the capacity to mandate Lecturers to go on strike and not SYNES UB. Unfortunately, SYNES UB has been hijacked by those who are serving their own interests. The former Vice Chancellor, perhaps, was leaning towards them and paying ransom to them for which they have become so used to.

Since the current Vice Chancellor has refused giving them the ransom, they have gone mad and they think she is a dictator, and that those of us, who are merely serving her as administrators of the University, are close to her. The message I want to send to Mr. Yanou and his colleagues is that their days are numbered. Their days are numbered for the misuse and abuse of the acronym of SYNES.

According to Prof. Yanou, the incessant strike actions and troubles in UB are linked essentially to failure in management. What is your opinion?

The incessant strikes take place in UB because people like Mr. Yanou have misused and abused SYNES to blackmail sitting Vice Chancellors and get ransom. It is not because of failure in management. They have this nonsense of always citing the fact that administrators of the University of Buea should be elected.

But, the University of Bamenda is also an Anglo-Saxon University, why does SYNES University of Bamenda not go on strike that the Vice Chancellor and other office holders should be elected. Secondly, some of the members of SYNES are office holders of the University of Buea; why have they not resigned en masse, to create a vacuum such that people would now be elected into those offices. T

hat just paints a picture that these are self-serving, corrupt individuals who misuse the acronym of SYNES, misinform the public and do diabolic things. They are not even interested in making sure that the University achieves its mission of teaching, research and outreach.

Some People Want The University To Go Their Way – Dr Ngange

Dr. Kingsley Ngange, you are Faculty Officer of the largest Faculty (Social and Management Sciences) in UB, and a victim of the most recent strike action. Prof. Mike Yanou alleges that you are co-author of an e-mail implicating Lecturers in recent upheavals in UB; what is your reaction?

Dr. Kingsley Ngange: First of all, it doesn’t take two serious brains to write such a small e-mail. Molua does not need to consult me and I don’t need to consult him to write that kind of e-mail. And, secondly, if we wanted to write an e-mail, we will write it with our names there. We are not cowards as some of those fellows have been over the years.

They know that I have been very vocal on issues and I will continue to be vocal anywhere, anytime. I don’t know the e-mail they are talking about. I didn’t write that e-mail and that is why I am suing them for defamation of character. Since, as University Professors, they don’t have work to do, I will give them work.

I will see them practise the law now in court. I have said on another occasion that Senate has come to Cameroon, which has legal connotations; we would have expected Professors of Law to come and organise seminars, educating the University community on the legal aspects of the Senate. That is not being done. So, scholarship has failed. That is why people are getting into petty issues.

In the first part of your story, they were talking of “suspect” and later on they were talking of “we strongly believe that”. He is a University Professor; he should do his home work. And that is why, to show you that people don’t like things being done correctly in the University, I did my homework as a University Secretary General in the Faculty and I wrote a note to remind colleagues of the necessity of effective teaching in the University.

I got a response from one of them saying that: “is this what you were appointed to come and do? What will you do when your masters leave office? These fellows don’t want things to be done rightly. So, whatever they do, they always want to bring people in and accuse them wrongly. Go and google search Professors, you will know who is who in the field.

And when people realise that they cannot match up with contemporary Professors on academic issues, they come up with where their expertise is; organising strikes, violence and all of that. We only know some Lecturers in the University when there is strike and violence. Why don’t we know them when there are scholarly issues?

Do you think Prof. Yanou has an axe to grind with you?

Go and ask him that question. We are not in the same field of study, so where do we meet?  Our paths don’t cross, academically speaking. And until, probably, I started working with the administration; I didn’t have any problem with him. It seems he has issues with the administration and any one working with the administration. That is why he sent me the kind of e-mail he did.

You were a victim of the recent strike action in the University, since then what has happened?

This is exactly what the issue is. I am a Lecturer in the University and this is somebody with his team who are leading teachers’ union. My lecture was interrupted violently on the 16th of February; he didn’t say anything. As a teacher, he is supposed to be protecting a few of us who were recruited and we stayed in the University for about one year six months without a salary, and as President of SYNES, we even complained to some of the members.

They said those were not the kind of issues they handle, because they have their own interests that they handle. And if you get to see my office, it has been reduced to rubble, worth over 30 million francs; Dr. Molindo’s office and the Agriculture farm. We have not received one call from any SYNES member. We have not seen anybody come to visit even in the same Faculty where we are.

SYNES members are sent a mere summons, and behold I have also received a summons, and the whole world comes to an end. Are they above the law? There are Prime Ministers in this country who are under investigation. So, why should Lecturers not be summoned for interrogation? Should we also go on strike and ground the University? I learnt many more Lecturers have been summoned who have to answer some questions; should they also go on strike?

Prof. Yanou said the problem in UB is failure of management; what is your opinion?

I don’t know about failure in management because I only got into management one and a half months ago. But, all along, I have been in the University for 16 years.

As an undergraduate student, as an Administrative Assistant, Support Staff in charge of the Public Relations Office; I was a part time Lecturer, a post graduate student, did a PhD, and now I am a Full Time Lecturer and Faculty Officer. The whole thing is about some people who want the University to go their way, and it is either their way or it is no one else’s way.

And it can’t be that way. All we read on the internet is that the University should vote its officials, and when students come with machetes, clubs, stones and all those things to kill Lecturers in their offices, they are termed “erring students”. We are in a state of law and when you begin to touch public figures, the law will come in and these are Professors of law who should tell us better. There is something strange going on at the University; when someone comes and attacks you, they want you to die in silence.

When the Vice Chancellor was held hostage on the 6th of February and some of our lectures were violently disrupted, that’s how we became part of this issue. So, the State of Cameroon sued the students and we should not testify that our lectures were brutally disrupted? Who is afraid of what? So, moves to make us targets are intensifying so that we don’t show up and testify, because in the testifying process, some people might be unmasked.

First published in The Post print edition no 01437

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