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All Anglophones Must Come On Board: Learning from past unity




There is no price for trying to sound pedantic. The glass is either half-full or half empty. You are trying to play the ostrich but the fact is that there is a crisis, and students are the under-belly of the gov’t which Anglophones have been punching to make the gov’t come to the negotiating table. This is not unique to Cameroon. Apartheid South Africa massacred students in Soweto and drew international attention to racial segregation in South Africa. CAR emperor Jean Bedel Bokassa was overthrown by the French after his soldiers opened fire on students.

In the face of grotesque campaign of human savagery and barbarism unleashed on Anglophones by the regime, it is shameful for you to focus on children going to school and writing exams as if that will automatically change their status as second class citizens in Cameroon. It might interest you to know that in 1991 during the pro-democracy movement led by students of the Parlement, some of us answered the call to boycott exams at the then University of Yaounde and had to repeat 2nd year. Others wrote and passed to 3rd year. But at the end of the day, those of us who paid the price had no regrets because the end result was the creation of the University of Buea as an Anglo-saxon university.

Dr. Fontem Neba was my classmate and friend. He abandoned Ngoa-Ekelle and went to Nigeria to begin from scratch. Agbor Balla is my friend and brother. Together we marched with other university students from the then Buea University Center (ASTI) to the governor’s office where we held Gov. Etame Massoma hostage and obliged him to address us in English. You obviously are too young to know that during the struggle to create the GCE Board, Anglophones organized a sit-in in front of the Ministry of National Education. The gov’t ordered police to disperse the crowd with water canons, but when the police arrived, they were shocked to find Commissioner Alfred Kwende, the most senior Anglophone police officer in the country, dressed in his official uniform, sitting on the front row with late Prof Bole Butake and others. The police returned without dispersing the crowd. At the same time, there were Anglophones like you who were saying the GCE Board was not necessary and supported the fact that Francophones were marking the GCE after Anglophone teachers under the banner of TAC had refused to mark the scripts. There were fifth columnists who accused the striking teachers of jeopardizing “our children’s future” but the teachers held their ground and today we have the GCE Board.

The Mau Mau killed Kenyans who collaborated with the British during the war of independence as traitors. Just as there were blacks in South Africa who were paid by whites to kill other blacks to perpetrate white minority rule. I have taken time to school you on these issues because I have been an eye-witness to history. There is nothing wrong in sacrificing students if that will give them a country where their future is guaranteed, instead of a system of ethnic-inspired clientelism where what you are depends on who you know; not what you know. Your generation has benefited from the sacrifices of those who came before and it is an unbelievable shame and the nadir of ingratitude for you to insult those who are sacrificing to create a better Cameroon, simply because you want to raise your nuisance value on social media. You get the last word on this one.

Mr. Agbor

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