By Nelson k. Manga, Sept. 2, 2017
I have followed closely the debate and underlying tension over the school resumption in Southern Cameroons. I have nothing to do with the perspective of those who are against our struggle in relation to schools and our children’s education. I am concerned about the perspectives of those involved and in support of the struggle.
The issue that some of us have been bothered about is why can’t there be ongoing schooling while we continue with the struggle so that our children’s education is not jeopardized any further to an unforgiveable point? We have all wrestled with this issue and as Chris Anu of the Cameroon Journal rightly emphasized, no one has been able to provide proposals on how to continue with the struggle effectively without school closure. The word ‘effectively’ here, means to the extent that the government of La Republique is hurt by our struggle and the international community alarmed.
My perspective on this is that there are only three identifiable instruments that we (Southern Cameroonians) can use to drive our grievances and enhance our struggle for the restoration of our homeland. These are by school closure and intermittent ghost-towns as is currently the case; by economic boycott; and by international pressure through diplomacy/advocacy. The option of armed confrontation comes into play only after all of the above three concerted efforts must have been exhausted and failed.
We at the Southern Cameroons Anglo-Saxon Fraternity (SCAF) are of the opinion that the strategy of school closure in protest to the marginalization and assimilation of La Republique and its hegemony and brutality over our land has been very effective to a large extent. We have practically seen for the very first time, LRC government in panic mood, its forces in rampage, and its politics of threats, corruption and brainwash and of the NW/SW divide all fell like water on a duck’s back. Thus the sacrifices of our student population and teachers have not and did not go in vain. Our children should be proud of themselves and be parted on the back for they are pulling off ‘big stuff’ that we (the adult generation) could not do. If this insurmountable sacrifice and perseverance can continue a little while with the reinforcement of school boycott/closure in Southern Cameroons, you can then imagine the more gains coming our way especially now that our plight and struggle has finally made it on the agenda of the United Nations.
This is why proponents for the continuation of school closure are very concerned and making every frantic efforts to sensitize and educate parents back home into seeing the bigger picture of the sacrifices and have a smell of better days ahead with first class Anglo-Saxon education, a situation that we have only dreamt and fantasized over the years from one generation to another. This means that school closure and the sacrifice of education has proven to be very valuable, substantial and of high priority to our struggle.
Some have quoted Ghana as an example of a nation that sacrificed education to further their protest and cause and today, that sacrifice has paid dividends with having one of the best educational structures in Africa. In this wise, it is important to be reminded of the situation of the Ibo people of Nigeria and the Biafra war since they lost about three years of their children’s education (1967 to 1970), and were generally behind in the educational ladder of Nigerian politics. Today, the Ibo people are the most educated ethnic group in Nigeria surpassing the Yoruba people and any other group of people in the continent of Africa. This happened because the parents consciously invested in the education of their children after the effects of the Biafra experience and of marginalization.
We the parents of Southern Cameroons can do the same and consciously invest in our children’s education with quality and world class standard after we must have gone through with these sacrifices and experiences. Thus it is important for all parents of Southern Cameroons, teachers, religious leaders, and various institutions to stay focus on energizing our struggle and making it work so that we can all someday soon enjoy the fruits of the sacrifices in the form of self-determination, Anglo-Saxon governance and political structures, quality administration, quality education, social development and capacity building in monumental proportions.
The sacrifice therefore, is worth the taste of freedom and liberation of our homeland for our dreams, aspirations, potentials and opportunities have been stifled for damn too long by the government of the Republic of Cameroun. It is not fair to accuse comrades in the diaspora for sacrificing the education of our children back home while their children continue to go to
school abroad for the simple reason that the settings are not the same. It is by fate that they are living abroad at a time that we have this struggle ongoing and in the nature of things. If they were living in the homeland, their children would equally have gone through the very same experience of sacrifice. If we wake up one morning and there is civil unrest or war in the UK or USA for example, our comrades living in those countries would not be sending their children to school. Thus fate has caused it to be what it is today and we cannot blame brothers and sisters abroad for fighting to liberate our homeland by using the most available tool that can stir the repressive regime and attract international concern.
We must be reminded that the schools closure drew the attention of UNESCO to our struggle and that dragged in the United Nations which has a reputation of being slow and snobbish to crisis involving the sub-Saharan countries of Africa. The shutdown of the Internet service in Southern Cameroons by the LRC government inadvertently drew the attention of the international community as well to our struggle.
The question now is if schools resume in Southern Cameroons or closures become ineffective, what else is there as an alternative to maintain the capacity of our struggle and reinforce civil protests? We at SCAF do recommend a structured implementation of economic boycott of activities, transactions with LRC government and of French products. If an economic boycott is effectively implemented, it could potentially hurt the LRC government and its French ordained treasuries as has been the case with schools closure.
A boycott is usually difficult since it is broad based in nature and involves a variety of issues and with people living under different circumstances and locations. However, after careful review of the situation, we at SCAF concluded that the answer to this is to narrow down the boycott and choose a sensitive communal activity that we can all boycott with a clear image and goal in mind. The choice of the boycott of public buses in 1955 by blacks in Alabama, America (Rosa Parks)
succeeded because it was a targeted community activity that affected the society directly and they could all relate to that activity and could see practically the hurt it was causing daily and up to a year. SCACUF, and the Governing Council need to study this proposal, make a choice of a community activity and develop a boycott plan for the people. Time is not on our side since the October 1, 2017 is fast approaching, but it must be reminded that even after the declaration of the restoration of our independence, we should still continue with an economic boycott thereafter until we are totally liberated from LRC forces on our homeland.
In conclusion, a well-organized economic boycott with commitment to it besides weekly ghost towns, protests and international diplomatic pressure are very important tools that can be alternatives to the school closure. We are therefore, calling on the Southern Cameroons Governing Council, SCACUF affiliates, Bareta news, Cameroon Journal, etc. to review the economic boycott option to the schools closure, develop a short plan for it and sell it to the people. This will help mitigate the effects of the struggle on our children’s education as this has been a growing concern for some of our parents back home. The idea shared is to have in place a contingency plan just in case we meet with some difficulties in other areas of strategy. We however, call on all the students and parents of Southern Cameroons to stay committed to the current strategy because it is working. God bless our struggle. From the desk of SCAF.