The government of Cameroon and the administration of the Northwest and Southwest regions have seen another desperate attempt to have schools reopen in Anglophone Cameroon perturbed by the annoying ghost towns that have rendered them helpless in the front of a national crisis.
Northwest Governor, Adolph Lele Lafrique was on the brink of becoming a hero for the regime, for having succeeded where the Prime Minister, the ministers of Higher Education, Secondary and Basic, and the Paul Ghogomou’s Commission had failed by having the Anglophone Teachers’ signed a communiqué calling off the strike action they initiated since November 21, 2016.
He had succeeded to have the Baptist Teachers Trade Union, the Presbyterian Education Authority Teachers’ Union, The Teachers’ Association of Cameroon and Cameroon Teachers’ Trade Union signed a document calling off the strike which was proudly presented over CRTV as a panacea to the Anglophone crisis, and the full resumption of classes for the second term.
Southwest governor Okalia Bilia even went further calling on all to put hands on decks for a successful celebration of the upcoming Youth Day as a show of national unity. But to their utter dismay, the ghost came visiting on Monday February 6 once more. His counterpart of the Northwest drove down to Nkambe to ensure a smooth resumption but was greeted by a ghost town.
Back in Bamenda, unidentified individuals burned down the administrative block of GBHS Nitop, the school Bus of GBHS Nitop was set ablaze and a day before, a car belonging to the Principal of GHBS Bamendakwe was also torched.
The streets of Bamenda, Kumbo, Nkambe, Ndu, Jakiri, Bali, Bafut and many other towns and villages remained shut as another ghost town called by the disbanded All Anglophone Civil Society Consortium. The government now looks helpless in the face of this crisis. The local administrators, mayors, fons, ardos, and school authorities are bearing the pressure now. Northwest Governor while on his way to Nkambe today forced the Mayor of Ndu and some local fons to make sure the traders open their shops and children are sent to schools, probably hoping another Ekeme Patrick amy emerge in the Northwest.
A few individuals spoken to by Bamenda online after the teachers’ trade union representatives signed the agreement show that there was total discontent in the general population who felt that the grievances of the teachers which cut across the entire Anglophone community have not been addressed in any way and there was no need to call off the strike. Others strongly hold that the teachers’ representatives must have been coerced into signing the document. Many others say they would not send their kids to school no matter the decision of the teachers.
But some teachers and lawyers we spoke too said it was a good thing the teachers signed the document as it takes the pressure off the teachers who can now rest from arbitrary arrest and detention, kidnapping and false accusations, and are no longer being seen as the ones holding the resumption of classes. They say this would act as sufficient indication to Yaoundé that the Anglophones felt marginalized and there is an urgent need for dialogue and not intimidations and arrest and abduction of Anglophones expressing their wish for a federal system of governance.
So far from every indication, the government seems less concern about the plight of Anglophone children who have not gone to school for over two months by refusing to negotiate or come to terms with some of the resolutions arrived at during the inter-ministerial commission meeting in Bamenda but is more concern about the holding of the 2017 National Youth Day on February 11, an act many Anglophones considered as a slap in the face of their history with la Republique.
The All Anglophone Civil Society Consortium has called for more ghost towns on Friday and Saturday 10 and 11 February 2017. It’s clear what move the government would take next. Romours abound that the government intends to ferry in youths from other parts of the country to march pass on 11 February in major Anglophone towns. This has been laid credence by the fact that several hostels in Bafoussam have been booked from this midweek in anticipation for an unannounced even. A friend of mine moved into Bafoussam for some research work but was forced to book a more expensive hotel as he said the cheaper ones have all been booked as from Wednesday.