By Pang Joseph, Aug. 9, 2017
Cameroon Journal, Kumba – Tension is brewing in Kumba, chief Economic nerve city of the South West region, as ‘back to school’ gets closer. This is coming in the backdrop of the Southern Cameroons crisis which has now entered the 11th month with no solution insight.
While the government has embarked on a massive media campaign to get classes resume on September 4, tracts are flying all over the city of Kumba threatening both parents and teachers not to dare send children to school.
Some school proprietors confirmed to The Cameroon Journal of having received threats from unknown sources asking them to end all form of activities in their schools latest August 14.
Presently, in some schools in Kumba, holiday and catch-up classes are going on in preparation for the anticipated academic year 2017/2018. However, most proprietors who spoke to The Journal off the microphone, confirmed that they are not ready to risk their lives, or that of their pupils and students or even their assets for school resumption.
In the meantime, registration of students and pupils in anticipation of the new academic year in all of Southern Cameroons has remained very slow according to our findings. Some schools disclosed that they haven’t registered any candidate for the
new academic year. The Cameroon Journal gathered from some proprietors and school administrators that some parents are instead choosing to send their children to schools in La Republique du Cameroon LRC, in cities like Yaoundé, Douala and Bafoussam. They revealed that many parents have come asking for transfer certificates to send their kids to schools in LRC. Most of the parents are still sceptical about school resumption in the Anglophone regions after they lost all of last year. In Kumba in particular, tension in the air is causing such fear and safety issues to the effect that most parents do not want to send their kids to school.
At the Kumba main market, there is no sign of ‘back to school fever’ as used to be the case at this time of the year. With the current hard economic situation informed by the Anglophone crisis, business has been very slow, books are not being bought and the usual hustling and bustling has been visibly absent. Most business owners confirmed to The Cameroon Journal that they are being forced by prevailing circumstances to sell their commodities below the usual market price just to sustain the business and provide for their families. “I am forced to sell at this price because business is very slow these days, parents are not buying anything,” said a dealer of school bags at the Kumba main market.
After ten months of an unprecedented Southern Cameroons crisis, there seems to be a stalemate as both the government and Southern Cameroons activists have failed to come to a compromise. The Cameroon Gov’t especially, unilaterally closed doors to dialogue in January and opted for hard diplomacy which has largely turned into manipulation of the masses. Each side has since embarked on a PR campaign to sell its views believed to be the best solution to the crisis.