Thursday, January 5, 2017

Striking Cameroon lawyers, teachers declare ghost town on Monday Jan. 9

Yaoundé—Cameroonians in the two English-speaking regions of the Northwest and Southwest have been urged to observe a ghost town on Monday January 9, 2017 by staying at home in solidarity with striking Anglophone lawyers and teachers in the country.
GBHS Santa students on campus in Nov 2016 without teachers/ Nko Dogo

The Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium (CACS) said ever since the teachers and lawyers ‘raised critical issue’ relating to their existence, the Yaoundé regime has not taken any concrete measures to resolve them.

“The Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium is calling on the general public of West Cameroon (Northwest and Southwest regions) to stand up as one man and embark on a sit-in strike on Monday January 9, 2017”, the body said in a statement late Wednesday.

It urged that adherents should avoid street and public demos which may lead to confrontation with government forces.

The Central African nation’s two English speaking regions have been rocked by social upheavals ever since Common Law lawyers started a work boycott in October 2016, protesting against the use of French in courts and the lack of the English versions of some legal documents. Teachers also joined the protests, forcing schools in the two regions to remain closed since November 21.

The released signed by Barrister Felix Nkongho, Dr Fontem Neba and Mr Wilfred Tassang called on all Anglophone Cameroonians to stand together and continue the ‘peaceful resistance’ until the lawyers’ and teachers’ demands are satisfactorily addressed.

Both the lawyers and the teachers have also been calling for a two-state federation; a demand that has attracted much sympathy from other groups and political parties in the regions.

Schools resumption

Schools are expected to resume in the Central African nation on Monday January 9 for the second of three terms of the 2016/2017 academic year but the release advised students to stay at home “and bear in mind that” their teachers are still on strike.

Recent moves by the government to dialogue with the striking professionals have ended in a stalemate with both teachers and lawyers walking out of the talks.

Not fewer than five people were shot dead in the opposition stronghold city of Bamenda in the Northwest region of the country following a confrontation between anti-riot soldiers and unarmed civilians who joined the Anglophone teachers' protest early December 2016. The government however says only one person was killed in the fracas.

With a population of over 22million, Cameroon has ten semi-autonomous regions eight of which are French speaking. The two English speaking regions constitute over 20 per cent of the population.

By Ndi Eugene Ndi

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