Cameroon: CATTU Picks New Spokesman After Tassang’s Disappearance

Semma Valentine: The newly-designated CATTU coordinator

Cameroon Journal, Yaounde – The Cameroon Teachers Trade Union, CATTU, has chosen a new person to henceforth speak on its behalf and represent it at official levels.

Semma Valentine, a seasoned literature teacher and top official at the Regional teachers’ research centre in Bamenda was designated Thursday, January 26 following the ‘disappearance’ of the trade union’s Executive Secretary, Tassang Wilfred.

Attempts to get to Semma Valentine by telephone proved futile but sources at CATTU confirmed to us that Semma will now be charged with speaking for and coordinating the activities of the trade union until Tassang Wilfred re-emerges or a new Executive Secretary of the body is elected.

Our source also said the choice to pick Semma was, amongst other things, predicated on the fact that he resides in the North West regional capital and that as a devout member of the trade union, he had closely been following up every detail about the ongoing teachers’ strike.

CATTU, we gathered, also thought it worthwhile to have somebody to front its activities in the North West given that its first vice president is based in the South West Region and the second vice, in the Centre.

CATTU it would be recalled is one of the six teachers’ trade unions that called for the sit-in strike of Anglophone teachers on November 21, 2016. It was represented in the ad hoc committee put in place by government to propose solutions to the concerns of the protesting pedagogues by Wilfred Tassang in his capacity as its executive head.

The new CATTU move therefore means in the event of fresh dialogue initiated by government with the striking teachers, Semma will be expected to be at the fore front of things. It is not immediately clear what first action Semma would take as temporary leader of the trade union.

Tassang Wilfred, the Executive Secretary of CATTU, it would be recalled, reportedly left Bamenda on Tuesday last week to an unknown destination when news broke that Barrister Nkongho Felix Agbor Balla and Dr. Fontem Neba, two leaders of the banned consortium to which he (Tassang) was also a signatory, had been arrested and ferried to Yaounde.

Apparently for fear that he may also be picked up by security forces to join the duo in detention, Tassang disappeared from public view with information spreading a few days later that he had sought safe sanctuary at the embassy of the United States in the nation’s capital.

His whereabouts remain unknown to many as on Wednesday 25 January, information emerged that Tassang, who fled his Bamenda home following the outlawing of the Anglophone civil society consortium, was not taking refuge at the United States embassy in Yaounde as was widely reported.

However, many are of the conviction that the seasoned pedagogue may re-emerge to public view in a not-too-distant future as government has not declared him wanted.


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