The CPDM Member of Parliament from Momo East Constituency, Member of the Finance Committee of the National Assembly, Hon. Enwe Francis Abi has rattled the Governor of the South West Region, Okalia Bilai Bernard over utterances he made over CRTV Radio’s magazine programme- Cameroon Calling this Sunday the 8th of January, 2017.
The Deputy wondered aloud how a man who considers himself a senior civil administrator could demonstrate so much ignorance in techniques of conflict management. He said; “It is a great embarrassment to hear someone in whom the State could bestow trust and so much power to descend so low as to be threatening to suspend salaries of teachers when the Head of State has personally recognized the problems they are posing as pertinent and the government at very high level is on the field negotiating a truce”.
The MP blamed Okalia Bilai for causing the peaceful strikes by lawyers and students in Buea to escalate by sending out troops to desecrate the wigs and robes of lawyers and ordering the merciless onslaught on armless students on their own campus at the University of Buea. He said such high-handed approaches belonged to an era that is long past and today there are modern methods of handling crisis without the use of force.
Hon Enwe could not understand how the Head of State would recognize the right to strike in his end of year address to the nation and someone who is supposed to represent him in the region goes about issuing threats and calling peace loving Cameroonians only asking for their rights “terrorists”.
“I think he does not understand the meaning and functioning of trade unions; I am from South Africa and trade unions go on strike every day and the government goes into negotiations, no one goes out threatening to suspend workers’ salaries when their union leaders call for strikes”.
The MP wondered aloud; “Would he suspend the salaries of all the teachers at a time we are even looking for means to train more teachers? Is he the Minister of Finance and what does he hope to achieve?”
Visibly irritated, the MP noted that when “We, CPDM Parliamentarians from the two Anglophone regions met with the striking lawyers in Yaounde and signed some resolutions, the South West Governor reported us to the Minister of Territorial Administration, to the Presidency and to other quarters, complaining that we did not have to open discussions with the lawyers; what an affront?”
He noted with dismay that Okalia Bilai’s reckless words would only go a long way in making on-going negotiations with the union leaders more complicated; a thing government, led by the Prime Minister, Head of Government is putting in all efforts to achieve. He hailed the North West Governor, Adolphe Lele l’Afrique for operating a more mature approach in handling the problems related to the strikes.
The young deputy urged government to ensure that the young men arrested in Bamenda and taken to Yaounde be immediately released and driven back to Bamenda where they were picked up. He re-iterated that if government insists they must be tried, then the Criminal Procedure Code should be respected; meaning the boys should be sent to Bamenda to be tried where they purportedly committed offenses and where their families can be of assistance.