n Tuesday 27 December 2016, two Ad Hoc Committees met in Bamenda and Yaoundé to discuss and proffer solutions to issues raised by Teachers and Lawyers of Former west Cameroon, relating to our existence in this country. In Bamenda, the venue of the meeting was heavily militarized to intimidate and coerce teachers. At one point, they were even locked in the room against their wish, on the instructions of the Minister of Higher Education. We will like to note that both committees did not arrive at any agreement; so, the on-going Teachers’ and Lawyers’ strikes are still in full force.
Both committees did not go beyond the preliminary discussions and so could not discuss substantive issues. The sticking point was Government’s refusal to release our children who were kidnapped or abducted from Bamenda and Kumba and are being tortured in State dungeons in Yaoundé, with some said to have died. We are open and willing to dialogue, but have asked for the unconditional release of those children and the return of the dead bodies before the process can move forward. We equally insist that Government consider all other issues contained in the preliminary objections of the teachers and lawyers so that the substantive issues can, at last, be addressed.
We view his call for ‘the State to take its responsibility’ as a subtle threat to use force or violence against the leaders of the unions. We are not unaware of violent history of this country or the barbaric methods Government is capable of, but must, however, reiterate our communal resolve to uphold the strikes until the State of Cameroon provides a viable political framework within which indigenes of Former West Cameroon can live in peace, justice and equal opportunity; a two-State Federation where our people will no longer be humiliated, marginalized and treated as second class citizens! We demand that Government begin Affirmative Action to compensate for half a century of neglect, deprivation and mismanagement of the territory of Former West Cameroon.
Our people have embarked on a peaceful strike action – a passive resistance. We will continue to stay at home with our children no matter the provocation and manipulation of the State media, the lies, attempts at divide and rule, and the threat of using violence.
As from 2 January 2017, the Teachers’ Strike will extend to all English speaking sections of nursery, primary and secondary schools across the River Mungo. Our people have the right to a peaceful expression of their grievances wherever they are and will continue to do so until the Government meets our expectations. We call on every indigene of Former West Cameroon and those who sympathize with our plight to exercise restraint, self-control, discipline, patience and to resist every form of provocation and the temptation to spill blood at this critical hour.
God is our strength.
For the CONSORTIUM
Barr. Nkongho Felix A. | Dr. Fontem A. Neba | Mr. Wilfred Tassang