The Cameroonian government was on Tuesday, December 27, at the negotiating table with the leaders of the Anglophone teachers trade unions. The Bamenda meeting was a complete and total failure and the unions have announced a continuation of the strike. The interministerial committee set up by Prime Minister Philemon Yang accused the trade unionists of “extremism”. The Francophone government delegation criticized the unions for making claims that had no connection with education.
The three Francophone ministers responsible for Basic Education, Secondary Education and Higher Education presented an empty government plan to the Anglophone teachers which included the recruitment in progress of high school teachers for deployment in order to fill the deficit observed in Southern Cameroons.
After three hours of very intensive dialogue at the governor’s office in Bamenda, the Anglophone trade unionists of the North-West stated that trade unionists of the South West should and must be included in the talks. The North West leaders also demanded the release of all protesters arrested in Southern Cameroons. For the government, such claims “have no connection with education”. The government, which wished to work with all the stakeholders, called the demands of the English-speaking trade unionists “manipulation”.
The Biya Francophone Beti Ewondo government says it has taken the failures of these negotiations seriously and will use all means possible for the normal resumption of the schools in the North West and South West regions. The anti Anglophone minister of higher education boasted that so long as Biya is in power and they Francophones are the majority, the Anglophone and francophone subsystems are condemned to coexist in Cameroon. The Francophone authorities have promised to severely crush the Anglophone teachers trade unions for making demands that are unrelated to education.
By Rita Akana
With files from Cameroon Concord News.