Cameroon-Teacher’s Strike : Stay at Home for Your Safety- Trade Unions Warns

 Officials of the Teachers Trade Unions which have called for the grounding of academic activities in schools West of the Mungo, are warning teachers, students and pupils to stay at home on Monday November 21, for their safety.

The Secretary General of the Cameroon Teacher’s Trade Union, CATTU said they have not called for any street demonstration but for a sit in strike.

In an interview granted the Bamenda based radio station, Tassang Wilfred insinuates that the government has deployed troops with the possibility of violence on unarmed people as they did to Common Law Lawyers. He explained why they would not travel to Yaounde and said they were not afraid to die. Excepts

Why no representation at Yaoundé Meeting?
From the meeting that held in Yaoundé yesterday, (November 18 2016) as the nation saw and as we said, we were not in Yaounde. In spite of the fact that some people went around blackmailing us, saying that we have been given military escorts to protect us and take us to the Yaoundé meeting. And to indicate that the trade Unions that are supposed to have taken part in that meeting, are not credible Unions. we don’t even work with them. The Francophone Trade Unions and the leaders with whom we work, who were duly invited for that meeting, boycotted that meeting.

And because we had together with them written to government over the years to solve this problem and government has not, they have written to the PM, giving him a strike notification, and they have given the government and ultimatum, up to the 25th for the government to address the issues that we had long tabled to them concerning Anglophone education, without which they themselves will be calling for a nationwide strike for their own teachers in sympathy to our course.

“We were not safe going to Yaounde”

I like to reiterate why we didn’t go to Yaoundé. Originally we had two points, two reasons why we shouldn’t have gone, today we now have three. The first point is that the Ministry of Higher Education, and Minister Fame Ndongo, are the reasons for which we have these crisis, because most of the problems that we are raising are caused by that ministry, and then placed upon Anglophone children in secondary education.

 “We blame Fame Ndongo”

We have met Minister Fame Ndongo on two occasions in Bamenda and in Yaoundé and he has shown to us adamantly that he didn’t even see that there was a problem with what was happening.

He told us and I quote in Bamenda that “Cameroon is a bilingual country, anybody can go anywhere and teach in any Language.” Strangely, it is only Francophones that have to come and destroy Anglophone children. Minister Fame Ndongo as an intellectual, should have known better being a university professor.

“If they could brutalise lawyers, what about teachers?”
The second reason had to do with our security. You know, after what happened to our brothers and sisters, the lawyers, in Buea, we came to the conclusion that government has resorted to state terrorism. So that, even the lawyers who have immunity of the law, of the robes and the wigs. If that could happen even to them, that they were attacked even in their hotel rooms and brutalised, then anything could happen to teachers. Not that we are afraid to die, but we owe our people a duty to protect ourselves so that we can conduct this fight to a successful end.

 UB Synes must be invited

The third reason that we had not seen, or for which we shouldn’t have gone is that our colleagues of the University of Buea who signed the memorandum with us, were not invited to the meeting. Instead Minister Fame Ndongo decided to invite the National Bureau of SYNES, instead of the Buea Chapter, and the person who they invited to that meeting, is a francophone, the very one who has struggled  to put out Anglophones in the national bureau of SYNES.

You know, as we speak, the SG of SYNES was supposed to come from UB, but in their last convention in Ngaoundere, they did everything to keep out UB from taking over the position of Secretary General of SYNES. And that’s what they did, and that’s because that person was going to be an Anglophone.

"Stay at Home for your safety"
So this fight is going on, and we are saying that we have not repented from the call that we made to teachers not to go to school on Monday (November 21). In fact, we are asking them that they should not even venture out of their houses, that they should stay home and be prayerful. And that parents should keep their children under lock and key, for their security because we have heard that forces have been deployed in town, and who knows what will happen? In the cause of the day, they could foment trouble and then blame it on the union. We have not called for street demonstration. It's  a sit in strike. Teachers and students and pupils should stay home.

Curled from an Interview on Radio Hot Cocoa Bamenda, on 18 November 2016.

POST SCRIPT : In another statement dated November 20 2016, the Teachers' Trade Unions reminded school administrators of their responsibilities. The statement read:  " All school heads; headteachers, principals, directors, and Vice Chancellors are expected to exceptionally be on campus daily on Monday and daily until the present sit-in strike is suspended.Their assignment, watch over the schools and inform appropriate quarters in case of any suspicious activities."...

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