The All Anglophone Teachers Trade Union have taken exception to what they say is Government's complacency towards seeking concrete solutions to the issues by Anglophone teachers. In a memo sent to the Prime Ministry and Presidency, they said the government is trying to draw their patience out to frustrate them and make them run out steam in their quest to fight for the preservation of the Anglo Saxon educational system.
They have also observed that, the preparation of the National Education Forum to take place next month is does not take into account the gravity of the event. They have expressed their desire to see all demands raised by Anglophone teachers addressed at the said forum.
While lauding Government for efforts made so far they have urged the Minister of secondary Education to continue with the redeployment of teachers in Technical and General Education before the end of the current school year. Fame Ndongo, Higher Education have been cautioned to wake up from slumber and hasten up with the integration of contract teachers, proceed with the redeployment of Francophone lecturers and Administrative staff from the Anglo Saxon state universities.
A special call has been made for the recruitment of 500 teachers to make for the deficiency of English speaking lecturers. That the special 2 billion FCFA to lay private and denominational schools be speedily given to console schools hit by the teachers protest. And that a Polytechniic be created for the English education system.
In a firm appeal to the state, the All Anglophone Teachers Trade Union has called on the Head of state to grant amnesty to detained and exiles teachers as well as parents and students for the hitch free take off of the 2017-18 School year. They have made it clear that the start of the next school year lies in the seriousness government gives towards resolving the issues affecting the English sub system of Education.
Anglophone Teachers in the North West and South West regions embarked on a sit down protest in November last year over the systematic erosion of Anglo Saxon educational values inherent in the two English speaking regions. The strike action has paralysed schools since then cauisng government to embark on a desperate attempt to save the school year. So far all official examinations for the current school year despite the fact that students and pupils have not been in school for 6 months. But uncertainty looms over the next academic year.
The massive whirl wind that swept across state universities on Wednesday, June 28 had a catch that did not in any way shock the English speaking regions of the country. Pauline Nalova Lyonga Limunga's tenue as Vice Chancelor of the University has been terminated. Flushed by the same system she fought so hard to protect, news of her promotion to retirement took the social media on a melt down not because of her brilliant academic prowess which makes her a monumental figure amongst the Anglophone intelligencia . But because her time at the "Place to be" was everything but a peaceful one. A reign of strikes after strikes, brutal face off with the student union and her role in fueling the Anglophone crisis are part of her perilous 5 year stay at UB.
Nalova's rise to the position of Vice Chancellor in 2012 was greeted with alot of mixed feelings . On one hand, her fellow Bakweri brethren on campus saw it as a chance to break free from what they lamented as maginalisation from their North Western brothers led by most venerated Prof Vincent P.K Titanji, V.C at the time. Though we cannot independently verify the authenticity of the claims, one could smell an atmosphere of fustration amongst the Fako indegenes who were not comfortable having a man from the North West at an insititution planted in their land. It is even alleged Prof Titanji's inability to handle some pressing crisis situations during his reign was as a result of a carbal mounted by native Bakwerians at the Central Administration to fustrate his actions. But on the other , Nalova was a fine academic breed chosen from within the institution . A University don with sterling qualities as a scholar-researcher, she is known for her no-nonsense approach to academic matters. Within academic circles, Lyonga is recognised as a fine brain – brilliant and articulate. She is said to have drank deeply from the wells of two giants – the intellectual juggernaut Fonlon and the management maestro Prof. Dorothy Njeuma – a combination that should make UB respect the Fonlonian prerequisite that a University, worthy of its name should gravitate around the tripod of a University Library, Bookshop and Printing Press – infrastructure sorely lacking at that time.
The outgoing Vice Chnacellor Titanji told reporters during the handing over ceremoney that , the new VC will face challenges, “they are enormous. But, if she assumes her responsibility and creates an enabling culture and ensures that the challenges are shared, then, she will overcome. In other words, she must put in place a new team with fresh ideas. If she considers the challenges as tasks to be tackled by her alone, then, that will be a clear recipe for failure.” It was evident the words of the outgoing VC were more of an advice, it was a prophesy which like others hinged on time, could not fail to come to fruition.
Barely a year into her mandate, Nalova's "clear receipe for failure" began with a brutal crackdown on the student union, UBSU. A symbol of anglo saxon democracy within the university milleu, UBSU protested against the university's policies. On Wednesday, February 6, 2013 Executive members of the University of Buea Students’ Union, UBSU, called for a strike action. In an eight-point memorandum addressed to the Vice Chancellor, Nalova Lyonga, UBSU demanded that online registration problems in the university be given prompt attention, that on-campus businesses, especially photocopiers, should be reinstated to facilitate the teaching and learning process, that students should be allowed to seat for examination upon part payment of their registration fees of FCFA 25,000, and that various modes of transcripts be respected and made available on time to stop exploitation of students.
According to reports, On day one of the protest, the Vice Chancellor was temporally held hostage by the striking students for over three hours in her car as she made her way into the campus early that morning. Four students were arrested in the process and two released few days later after paying FCFA 700, 000.The UBSU president Ronald Minang, is declared missing and discovered 10 days later on February 21, 2013 in Muea – a locality in Buea Sub-Division in the South west Region- in a pretty bad shape. Mr. Minang says he was kidnapped by unidentified assailants and taken to an unknown destination where he was compelled at gun point to sign some documents related to demonstrations in the university. By refusing to sign the papers calling off the strike, Minang says he was given the beating of his life and released in a degrading health state. Before Minang’s abduction, he posts a notice informing protesting students that the “meeting with the Vice Chancellor … ended in a fiasco. Our VC came and was dictating to us, it was not a dialogue forum anymore.” The VC of the university in response organizes a press conference and refutes claims that she has not been open to dialogue with the students. Recurrent conflicts with the student body finally led to its disollution by the Vice Chnacellor, killing a strong arm of the University governance system.
As external shocks were weighing in on her administration, internal cracks began show up. Stiff disagreements with the lecturers trade union, SYNES charcaterised by stony high handedness was another unpleasant pill for the disgruntled teaching body to take. On many occasions, it was Higher Education boss Jeacque Fame Ndongo who had to make fruitless trips to Buea to dialogue with the lecturers over unpaid research allowances and other dues. Demands that were timidly resolved under her tenue. The open face off with the pioneer Director of the Kumba based Higher Technical Teacher Training ciollege, Prof Joyce Endeley over the running of the school needs no introduction. She is reported to be behind the sacking of Prof Joyce Endeley and the appointment of Prof Agbor Ntui considered by many as a stooge.Meanwhile, she is alleged to have flooded the Central Administration with close aides who were incompetent in their duties. The result has been a scandalous discovery of a racket of fake credential amongst the personel .
But the final nail on her coffin was the disastrous handling of the last student protest which triggered the Anglophone crisis. UB students had on November 28 suffered untold torment, rape and looting in the hands of troops deployed to ‘quell’ a sit-down strike on their campus against obnoxious policies of the Nalova administration. The angry students, protesting for the first time in 3 years were denouncing an extra 10.000FCFA for late registration, the absenc e of a recognised student body as well as transparency in the award of Presidential grants when they were brutally molested by security forces . The heartless forces chased them right to their homes where they suffered untold misery. Okalia instead blamed the disaster on the UB Vice Chancellor, VC, Dr. Nalova Lyonga.The Governor said he was coerced into signing the order to dispatch armed troops to clamp down on the protesting UB students.The Governor was quoted as saying that as a father he could not remain insensitive to the cry of the UB administration, as such he was forced to dispatch troops to the University campus to quell the students’ protest.
Following the strike action of SYNES members, Nalova fruitlessly issued threats to the student and teaching community for them to resume school. Her use of force sharply contrasted with her colleague of the University of Bamenda who employ a more careful approach towards the crisis. Prof Theresa Nji had suspended classes and told students to go home in the heart of the shootings in Bamenda. She openly called on the government to find a favourable ground for dialogue to ensure that lecturers demands are met for them to get back to the classroom. While her docile approach earned her admiration from the English speaking community, demands for Nalova's head on the chopping board flooded social media over her harsh and catastrophic handling of the crisis.
Nalova Lyonga has been swept by the wind from Etoudi . And while the move has been hidden under the vast change in Higher Education personel . Its no doubt a direct response to her failures at the University which has resulted in a thorny issue for the institution and government. She leaves UB with a legacy of pain, hate and anger from the entire university community and the population. Some of her teaching staff are languishing at the Kondengui detention Centre while others are at large simply because they stood against her policies. With little remorse over her back door exit, others want severe measures to be taken against her for attempted man slaughter and violations of fundermental human rights as well as mismanagement of univeristy funds. There is no doubt Nalova Lyonga has fallen on the negative side of the prestigious UB and now stands as the most unpopular VC in the history of the academic jewel.
The US Ambassador to Cameroon might soon be heading to the Unity Palace for another chat with Paul Biya following concerns raised by two members of the United States Congress. Anthony Brown and Jamie Raskin from the State of Maryland have asked the White House through the US secretary of State, Rex Tillerson to take a close interest in the ongoing Anglophone crisis.
In a circular dated, Monday June 26, the duo said they were increasingly disturbed by reports of intimidation employ by the Government on English speaking Cameroonians who are protesting policies that marginalize them. They noted that violence has instead increased in the Anglophone regions despite government assurance that the situation is under control. Tactics used by the government so far has not been convincing for the Congress men.
The Maryland representatives have also called on the Executive to look into various forms of abuses by the Cameroon military in the Far North region. Condemning acts of violence, extortion, intimidation and torture meted to harmless civilians.
They have urged the Department of State that has been silent until now to make a statement and tell Congress the action it hopes to take to address the socio - political crisis in the English speaking regions as well as humanitarian concerns in the Far North regions.
Earlier, some Congressional Representatives also expressed concerns over Cameroon's use of US aid in the anti terror campaign . The US Government has been assisting the Cameroon military in the war against Boko Haram supplying military and intelligence. But it is being alleged that resources are being ferried to the Anglophone regions to suppress civil liberties.
Measures taken by the Biya regime, amongst them the recruitment of 1000 Bilingual teachers to teach Science and Technical subjects as well as English speaking personnel in courts, the creation of a Common law department at ENAM and a bench at the Supreme Court not leaving out a Commission for the Promotion of Bilingualism and Multi Culturalism as superficial. As critics still believe it won't restore the dignity of Anglophones who have enjoyed second class citizenry in Cameroon for half a century.
Members of the outlawed Consortium and other Anglophones arrested from the North West and South West regions are still under pre trial detention with no materialization of the trumped up charges against them.
Fabian Fomuki, a Cameroonian born US Based citizen resident in Boston, Massachusetts is reportedly missing since last Tuesday June 20 in Douala. Information reaching us indicates that Fabian who was on a business adventure in Cameroon was last seen when a taxi dropped him off at the entrance of his hotel that fateful day. Since then no news over is whereabouts has surfaced leaving family members and friends increasing disturbed as to his mysterious disappearance.
Police and other security imperatives say they don’t have an idea neither are they keeping him. But family members revealed to us that, his phone was still ringing 48 hours after he went out of sight. Leaving a suspicious feeling that, he might have been abducted and his phone tapped. The possibility of him being taken to the Kondengui detention complex in Yaounde has not been ruled out as well.
Fabian has been a critic of the brutal suppression of civil liberties in the Anglophone regions by the Biya regime. And it is also suspected that his stance might have provoked his disappearance. It is strongly believed he might have been framed for arrest by a close companion acting like a spy. Accusing fingers are pointing at one Tita Tabe a clansman of the missing Fabian who all hail from Guneku in the North West region. Tita, who allegedly works with the regime as an informant to have been behind the arrest of four diasporans including one Kenneth Anya who reportedly escaped. While we cannot independently verify these claims, it is a fact that most of the arrests going on in the North West and South West regions have been facilitated by spies living among the population.
The US Embassy has also been informed and is closely following the matter, as pressure mounts on Yaounde to establish the truth behind his disappearance.
The Director of Civil at the Presidency, Martin Belinga Eboutou is reported to have been humiliated in Paris as he tried to negotiate for a tete a tete between Paul Biya and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron.
The high level diplomat who is alleged to be on medical leave in France approached the French Elysie to begin procedures for the high level meeting . But instead of his fellow Director of Cabinet to appear for talks, Belinga Eboutou was received by an attache'e at the President. It still remains unclear whether both parties arrived at any concrete result.
The incident has left majority of Cameroonians smiling over the humiliation of one of Biya's closest disciples. It has also raised speculations as to how much money could have been mobilized for the trip. Since billions of tax payers effort is rumored to have been harnessed to bribe French officials to facilitate the meeting.
Paul Biya has been seeking for a chance to meet Emmanuel Macron since the dramatic election of the 39 year old into the Champs Elysee . He recently held talk with the French Ambassador to Cameroon, Gilles Thibaut who told CRTV reporters at the Unity Palace that a meeting between Biya and Macron is on the pipeline.
The reason behind Biya's desperate move is still unknown . But it's no secret that Macron wants a new order in France- Africa relations with Biya and other sit tight leaders scared of the unknown. The silence of the France's strong man over the Africa issue since his coming to power has unsettled most leaders including Biya who might want to use the meeting to size up how the French man sees him. The Anglophone crisis , the 2018 Presidential election and a potential Devaluation of the Franc CFA are some issues giving him sleepless nights and Macron's position on these files will enable Biya know where he is treading.
The recent declaration by Philemon Zo'o Zame, Director General of the Telecommunications Regulatory Agency proscribing the use of English at the institution has brought to focus the ability of the National Commission for the Promotion of Bilingualism and Multi culturalism to resolve issues emanating from the language conflict in the country.The Bulu native categorically told Anglophones at the Agency to either speak French or shut-up. He shamelessly affirmed he doesn't understand English and so Anglophones must toe his line.
It is clear that Zo'o Zame's declaration is anti constitutional considering that English and French are the two official languages enshrined in the Constitution . And at a time when the country is going through a protracted stalemate as a result of the uneven use of the two languages, prompt action ought to have been taken against the official.
Almost a week after that incident, the Bilingualism Commission which claimed it is ready for work ought to have had that as its first file. But it has stayed mute, in utter indifference to the spiral effects of such statements might result in. Not even a Communique has been issued.
As if to make matters worse, the Prime Minister, Thursday June 23 appeared to to have confirmed how powerless the Commission is against those who violate the country's Bilingual status. While taking questions from MPs in Yaounde, Hon Paul Nji Tumasang asked the Head of Government to tell Cameroonians what punishment await those who fail to respect the equal status of English and French as prescribed in the Constitution. Philemon Yang shockingly told the National Assembly that "...the law does not see punishment for not using the language as we speak."
Critics have been quick to conclude that Biya's Bilingualism watchdog is doomed to fail. They question why sanctions can not be taken against those who breach the constitution. Besides , the powers of the said Commission they argue ought to have been strengthened through a Bill which give it powers to enforce the equal use of both languages and sanction defaulters. It is commonplace to still see the systematic erosion of the English language in public structures nationwide, leaving them to describe Government's move to enforce bilingualism as timid and cosmetic.