For a while now North West and South West Regions of Cameroon launched a peaceful strike to let the government know they weren’t happy about the way they the minority were being treated. The Law enforcement forces in the country who are suppose to be protecting the civilians took the streets of Bamenda
The student of the University of Buea have risen against their Vice Chancellor, Dr. Nalova Lyonga, accusing her of embezzling their share of the FCFA 50,000, presidential grant, and for imposing penalties on students to pay 10,000, for late course registration as well FCFA 10,000 as late payment of school fees.
The strike started today November 28, 2016, when students assembled in front of the Central Administration building demanding that the VC should come and address their grievances.
Riot police, in full protective gear arrived, forming a barricade to shield students from getting access to the Central Administration building. This was followed by reinforcement with two military trucks packed with soldiers, who were booed and chased out of campus by students chanting “No Violence”.
The population of students protesting increased drastically and four more military truck, packed with riot police officers entered the campus, and started dispersing students, using tear gas, batons and warning gun shots.
The students had earlier been warned by their lecturers, who are on strike to stay at home, but the VC sent out a communiqué instructing students that their Continuous Assessment tests, C.A’s were beginning today November 28.
While on campus the students grouped and turned on the Vice Chancellor, demanding that their grievances be heard and solved. It was in response to the students’ peaceful protest, which was characterized by chants and showing of placards that the riot police was brought into campus to disperse the students, as they had refused listening to an envoy sent by the administration, to calm down the students.
The clashes between the police and students have resulted to so many students incurring wounds, beaten by police officers, as well as some incurred from tear gas canisters.
Student residential areas in Buea, has now been invaded by riot police officers, who are chasing and beating students, in a fear that they might regroup and return to the campus to continue with their protest.
What you are witnessing here in the Southwest as well as in the Northwest Regions a couple of days ago is in simplistic terminology “the battle to redeem the Anglophone soul alive; at least alive not dead”. We have both the moral, professional and constitutional responsibilities to protect the common man, our colonial heritage and out people and society as lawyers
The issue that is germane here is to go back to our laws, for example, article 1(2) and (3) of the 1996 constitution as amended and if you crosscheck that law just cited, you will come to terms with the fact that there is no direct bearing between the reality on ground and constitutional guarantees so provided by the constitution, between the two parts of Cameroon, French Cameroon and English Cameroon as obtains in Canada.
Article 1(2) and (3) of the constitution states: “The republic of Cameroon shall be a decentralised unitary state, it shall be one and indivisible, secular, democratic and dedicated to social service. It shall recognise and protect traditional values that conform to the democratic principle, human rights and the law. It shall ensure the equality of all citizens before the law.
The official languages of the Republic of Cameroon shall be English and French, both languages having equal status. The state shall guarantee the promotion of bilingualism throughout the country. It shall endeavour to protect and promote national languages.”
But in spite of the illuminating and unambiguous provisions of the constitution supra, the tendency has always been to infiltrate the English system with the intention to eradicate, deface and di humanise its people so that they should not have any identity for posterity.
This is a legal fallacy emanating from a weird proceeding. Where ever that decision was reached to constantly suppress the English system or its people was taken, we as the bastion of justice, cannot take any longer. We may make no case against the tolerant past, but we must not allow the anomaly to become normal because it is considered normal by someone driven by his personal instincts and perceptions instead of the law as above cited.
Let me tell you that “The virus that killed the father some 50years ago infected the mother at the dawn of the new deal government and may kill the child too even before the so-called vision 2035, if care is not taken.
Dear friend, if you take a careful appraisal of other democracies around the world, you would inevitably arrive at the most rational conclusion, that ours is short of blood, the glory of God and direction.” Because in a functional democracy, you have the rule of law, respect of the human rights of the people, accountability of government, independent judiciary, press freedom etc. They are not only pencilled down like it is done in Cameroon, but they are truly practiced by the government and the people.
Jesus inaugurated the first example of abandoning 99 sheep to after the one that was lost. The Anglophone soul has been battered by decrees, laws, ordinances and repressive policies of the Biya regime, and the only thing left is thing left is nothing but a name. Even our pets like dogs, cats etc. are given names for the purpose of identification and you know that they occupy nothing in our lives.
The on-going restive action is non-violent, peaceful and legal. But as a 3rd world country we did not expect something much more new than the traditional repressive action from the security, even when their constitutional mandate is to protect the lives and property of the Cameroonian people.
As the bastion of justice, we cannot sit back and celebrate or jubilate over the threatened collapse of our colonial cultural heritages which are preserved in our constitution as cited above.
Finally, as a trained lawyer, if I can detect that the right of my client has been violated in ordinary course of business, are the terrestrial authorities saying that our professional move is not founded in good reason, law and facts? The struggle continues……..
Barrister Nicholas Ogbe Keme. Advocate of the Supreme Courts of Cameroon and Nigeria$ Phd Student, UB.