By Mbom Sixtus, January 9, 2017
Cameroon Journal, Yaoundé – “I don’t know whether I should send my children to school or keep them at home. Government says they will provide security in schools to prevent any riots. Teachers say they are still on strike. I hear ministers and other government officials are threatening they would sanction striking teachers who fail to go to school. I hear government is dialoguing with striking teachers to find solutions to the problem. I am lost in this disorder. How can you be in dialogue with someone and threatening to sanction him at the same time?” Shu Peters, an Anglophone parent told The Cameroon Journal when asked whether he will be sending his children to school.
Another parent and teacher who asked for anonymity told The Cameroon Journal; “let those who are asking parents to send their children to school go and teach. I was told money will be shared to teachers who go to school on Monday January 9. They can keep their money. It is not the solution to our strike. They did not call the strike and cannot call it off.”
Another parent by the name Nfor Eric, said, he will like to send his children to school on Monday, but does not trust the security. “If there’s a riot, these police and gendarmes will shoot their bullets and teargas indiscriminately. There is a message circulating on social media that more guns and ammunitions have been sent to Bamenda from Yaounde. My wife thinks our children should start school. But I will wait and see. If things are calm, my children will begin school on Tuesday.” He said.
Government’s double standards
Reports say government has released all youths who were arrested in connection to the deadly riots of December 8, 2016. They were arrested for supposedly supporting teachers and lawyers long-drawn-out strike which turned deadly after security officers opened fire on protesters, killing four and injuring several others.
Their release is being touted as a fulfillment of one of the conditions demanded by the Teachers and Lawyers for any dialogue to hold. Early last week, government modified the list of gov’t’s ad-hoc committee members put in place
to find solutions to the problems raised by teachers of the Anglo-Saxon sub system of education in Cameroon. This was also one of the prerequisites set by the teachers.
At the same time that gov’t is pretending to resolve the impasse, it is trying to bypass leaders of teacher’s trade unions by dealing directly with teachers and asking that they resume work this Monday January 9.
While Ernest Behene, Minister of Secondary Education was holding a meeting with leaders of the on-going sit-down strike in Bamenda, Philip Ngole Ngwesse, Minister of Forestry and Wildlife, Paul Elung Che, Minister Delegate at the Ministry of Finance and other government officials were in their divisions of origin to convince and in some cases coerce teachers to go back to school on Monday despite the fact that government is yet to find solutions to their problems.
Reports abound of cases where these officials have given out huge sums of money to proprietors of private schools and principals of government schools in a bid to have them go back to class.
Secondary Education Minister is also on a six-day tour in the North West region to ensure effective resumption of classes. He was booed and jeered in Ndop when he started reading his speech in French.