By Macdonald Ayang, February 3, 2017
Cameroon Journal, Yaounde – Bishops of the five Catholic Dioceses that make up the
ecclesiastical province of Bamenda say they are worried and have offered to front fresh negotiations between government and the striking Anglophone teachers and Common Law lawyers so as to end the current deadlock.
A lingering sit-in strike undertaken by the two groups has since October 11, 2016, seen courts and schools in the North West and South West Regions of the country completely grounded. Government efforts so far in arresting the situation have proved abortive.
The religious authorities made the appeal speaking on the sidelines of the fourth session of the inter-ministerial committee meeting in charge of examining and proposing solutions to preoccupations raised by teachers’ trade unions held in Yaounde Tusday.
Sources at the meeting that took place in-camera at the Higher Education Ministry said the Bishops, led by the Archbishop of the Bamenda archdiocese, His Grace Cornelius Fontem Esua, were frank in exchanges with Higher Education boss and regretted that schools were still largely paralyzed in the English-speaking Regions of the country.
“They proposed to government to be open, continue with dialogue and said they were ready to give their services as mediators between the government and striking teachers’ trade unions,” state-run daily Cameroon Tribune Wednesday quoted one of the attendees of the meeting, Daniel Ojong, as saying.
The Anglophone Bishops, it should be said, had in the wake of the current crisis, written a lengthy memorandum addressed to the Head of State in which they raised a litany of burning issues surrounding the current crisis. They had on the occasion called on government to engage in frank dialogue with the aggrieved parties so as to end the stalemate.
Tuesday’s meeting which was attended, amongst other dignitaries, the Ministers of Basic and Secondary Education, also served as an opportunity for the stakeholders to plan the imminent holding of a National Education Conference which is expected to discuss some contemporary challenges facing Cameroon’s education system.