The Plight of Starving Southern Cameroons Mission Teachers: the Hypocrisy and Wickedness of Church Authorities
It is no news that the present political imbroglio in Southern Cameroons/Ambazonia, began in November, 2016, with the Lawyers and teachers’ strike to protest the assimilation of Southern Cameroonians by La Republique du Cameroon (LRC) through the francophonization of the Southern Cameroons Commonwealth legal and educational systems by the colonial regime of Paul Biya. Teachers in government, lay private and confessional (mission) schools all united in one voice with that of Common Law Lawyers sent a sound message to the Yaoundé colonial regime indicating that it was time the bastardization of the Southern Cameroons legal and educational systems came to an end – a strike action that has in a year, metamorphosed into what is today known as the Southern Cameroons independence restoration revolution.
BaretaNews had received several and repeated complaints from teachers of confessional and lay private schools relating to the none payment of their salaries for close to 10 months now, with most of the complaints emanating from teachers working with the Baptist and Presbyterian Education sectors
While teachers of government schools in Ambazonia have continue to receive their monthly salaries despite the schools boycott in Ambazonia as a revolutionary weapon, their counterparts in confessional and lay private schools have been surviving based on the mercies of God and the charitable works of some goodwill citizens. Even at the moment where religious leaders especially those of the Presbyterian, Baptist and Catholics have successfully sabotaged the schools boycott to get about 85 percent of their elitist schools open for the 2017/2018 academic year, they have greedily and wickedly too, kept their teachers working and starving for 10 months now without salaries. Worst of all is that, before the commencement of the revolution, more than 90 percent of school fees and other financial levies had been collected from parents; and despite the blank school 2016/2017 year, the monies collected from the elitist parents were not refunded.
BaretaNews had received several and repeated complaints from teachers of confessional and lay private schools relating to the none payment of their salaries for close to 10 months now, with most of the complaints emanating from teachers working with the Baptist and Presbyterian Education sectors. BaretaNews was therefore prompted to carryout an independent investigation on the matter, starting with the Presbyterian and Baptist Education Secretariats in Buea. The findings can be generally summarized as; the hypocrisy and wickedness of church authorities to the church.
The shocking finding on the plight of the PCC teachers is that, the Education Secretary of the PCC, Mr. Njie Kale, is allegedly and speedily building a mansion for himself in Buea town, directly opposite the Presbyterian Comprehensive Secondary School (PCSS) Buea town, behind the Youth and Animation Center
Within the Presbyterian Education Authority, it was discovered that the teachers of the PCC have seriously been suffering since they decided to be part of the teachers and lawyers strike in October/November 2016. The teachers have been abandoned to wallow in poverty and misery, as the moderator and Education Secretary claims there’s no money to pay them. According to a number of PCC teachers sampled by BaretaNews, the church authorities, everyday continue to ask teachers to remain prayerful and hopeful for post revolutionary better days, while they live in opulence. One begins to wonder whether prayer has become food for the body after a month of classroom labour.
Interestingly, BaretaNews, also confirmed from some parents and school staff that more than 90 percent of the school fees that were already collected for the 2016/2017 academic year before the strike wasn’t refunded to parents since there were no schools, and neither were the teachers paid. The teachers trade union of the PCC, PEATTU led by one Mr Afu Stephen, who is a Manager of Schools in Mezam East has tried in vain to compel the church to reason and address the plight of the teachers.
The shocking finding on the plight of the PCC teachers is that, the Education Secretary of the PCC, Mr. Njie Kale, is allegedly and speedily building a mansion for himself in Buea town, directly opposite the Presbyterian Comprehensive Secondary School (PCSS) Buea town, behind the Youth and Animation Center.
Njie Kale’s home under construction
BaretaNews also discovered in some managerial areas of PCC Education that, Primary school teachers have gone for over 20 months without salaries, while the Education authorities whose mandate is supposed to have expired after his 6 years term, remains in office without making any effort to get the teachers paid their salaries.
Teachers of the PCC and Baptist Education sectors who spoke to BaretaNews lamented that their situation could be comparable to that of the African migrants moving to Europe through the perilous Lybia-mediteranian route. In the Baptist sector, the story was the same like that within the PCC. The Baptist teachers and administrative staff have gone for 9 months without a penny and what the church authorities could do was to offer them just one month salary despite the fact that the monies collected from parents last academic year have not been used for anything education. All attempts by the Baptist teachers to even organized protests to call for the payment of their outstanding salaries have not yielded any results.
BaretaNews, the People’s Platform, therefore challenges the Moderator of the PCC, the Synod Clerk, the Financial and Education Secretaries; the Cameroon Baptist Convention (CBC) President, Financial and Education Secretaries to all do the needful. If they truly consider themselves as Servants of God and the Church, Men of conscience and Shepherds to the flock of Christ Jesus, then they must ensure that their teachers get at least 3 months of their accumulated salaries before CHRISTMAS.
With the above findings, one is therefore tempted to ask the following questions; where is the money for the allege massive construction by the PCC Education Secretary coming from? Where is the 2016/2017 school fees collections being kept that teachers cannot be paid their peanut salaries for 10 months? Do the church authorities have any right to still accuse the agents of LRC who sued them in courts last time for persecution? What if the management of church finances is transferred to the teachers today and they also subject them (the church authorities) for 10 months without salaries? Do these church leaders have any moral right to accuse LRC for their 56 years enslavement of Southern Cameroonians?
BaretaNews, the People’s Platform, therefore challenges the Moderator of the PCC, the Synod Clerk, the Financial and Education Secretaries; the Cameroon Baptist Convention (CBC) President, Financial and Education Secretaries to all do the needful. If they truly consider themselves as Servants of God and the Church, Men of conscience and Shepherds to the flock of Christ Jesus, then they must ensure that their teachers get at least 3 months of their accumulated salaries before CHRISTMAS. They should mirror themselves as PCC and Baptist teachers with families, who have been in misery for 10 months and then do what they think true leaders in Christ would have done to them. If they did not refund the school fees collected last year, coupled with that already collected so far for this year, then, the interest for that money alone should be able to settle the teachers.
BaretaNews is still doing further investigations on this story and will not hesitate to hold the church leaders to account, as soon as new findings come in. If the Church is the people, and the people fund the Church, then, the church leadership must be able to treat the church with dignity and provide credible accounts on how church resources are being managed. It is sheer hypocrisy, anti Christ and wickedness to feed fat on church resources, while admonishing those who toil to bring those resources into church coffers to pray and hope for better days with empty stomachs
Agbor James, BaretaNews Political Analyst