Cameroon – Anglophone Problem: Chronology of negotiations so far!

Written by Deckson N.

Six professional trade unions of English-speaking teachers had made public, on 6 November, to the attention of teachers, parents and students a strike order by 21 November 2016 involving 11 points of dispute on the basis of  which the planned strike was to be undertaken.

The first session of the negotiations opened in the city of Bamenda at the initiative of the government. No compromises had been found during these meetings.

On 25 and 26 November 2016, a government delegation led by the Cameroonian Prime Minister resumed negotiations.

The unions then undertook to lift the call to strike as soon as at least one of the 11 requests made in their notice of strike of 6 November 2016 was met by 30 November.

The government had satisfied, not “One, but two demands” of English-speaking teachers’ unions. In particular, points 5 and 9 of their memorandum.

The anglophone teachers denounced precisely the assignment in English-speaking schools of teachers of first French language “who had a rough knowledge of English“.

To this claim, Paul Biya ordered the deployment of 1000 bilingual teachers, “with a perfect ability to deliver English language courses,” the government claims.

Secondly, in response to item 9, which is related to the financial aspect, the President of Cameroon allocated CFAF 2 billion as a subsidy for private and denominational institutions.

The trade unions yet never lifted the strike, despite the offers of the government.

Thus, on December 27, the government once again reopened the negotiations.

The unions then added two new points to their claims. It concerns the release of persons arrested in connection with the demonstrations on 8 December. And the increase of the members of the committee with the implication of the nationals of the Southwest.

On the first point, the interdepartmental committee indicated that it had no jurisdiction to find a solution.

During the negotiations opened on 12 and 13 January, the demands of the English-speaking teachers’ unions grew from 11 to 18 at first. Then from 18 to 21.

They also laid down two prerequisites. The release of all persons detained. The Anglophone unions then added a political claim: The creation of a federation with two states.

To this last claim, the Cameroonian president has clearly replied in his speech at the end of the year, “Cameroon is one and indivisible and will remain so.

On Tuesday, the Minister of Communication reiterated, no to federalism and secession, “There will therefore be neither federalism nor secession,” said Issa Tchiroma.

Claims of lawyers

The claims concerned 12 points: At no time, the lawyers, have demanded federalism.

Concerning the claims of English-speaking lawyers, including the translation, in English language of the acts Ohada, the government received from the continental organization, translated acts into English.

The Cameroonian president also appointed an English-speaking prosecutor from the North West, at the Bamenda public prosecutor’s office.

On the issue of the release of detainees after the violent demonstrations on 8 December, the government’s position, which had released about 20 demonstrators, was not shared by lawyers demanding the release of all persons.

Far from closing the door to dialogue, the Cameroonian government set the tone yesterday. It has taken measures including banning the “Consortium” and the Scnc.

The main leaders of these movements are under arrest.

The forces of order were invited not to give in to the provocations and to fulfill their duty with “maitrise” and “professionalism“.

This is a challenge for the security forces that must protect children who want to go to school, schools, shops and public buildings in a part of the country, where the security of people is increasingly threatened.

The government bans the activities of the Consortium and the separatist group Scnc

René Emmanuel Sadi, Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralization (MINATD), Minister of the Interior, banned this Tuesday evening, throughout the territory of Cameroon, the activities of groups called Southern Cameroon National Council (Scnc ) And Cameroon’s anglophone civil society consortium (Cacsc).

For the patron of the territorial, these regroupings carry germs that may harm the security of the State, Unity and national integration.

René Emmanuel Sadi, said that all meetings, demonstrations, initiated and supported by these entities and any related movement or pursuing a similar aim are also prohibited.

The public observes that the government has made this decision after negotiating with this movement which it calls today “illicit“.

Shortly before this decision, Issa Tchiroma Bakary called the English-speaking consortium “illicit” and promised to prosecute its members, “it is up to us today that these extremists have formed a consortium. I assert here that such a consortium is illegal and that as much as those who formed it and those who would have acceded to it, will have to answer to the law, “said the spokesman of the government of Cameroon.

After the publication of this decision, we learned from community and non-official sources the arrest of two leaders of the consortium. Information that the governor of the North West region, Adolphe Lele, joined by Kmer SAGA has not confirmed.

Still from a community source, some Cameroonians of the English-speaking part, indicated that the Internet network was disrupted. It was not stable. Many Cameroonians from other parts of the country have also expressed the instability of the Internet, in their localities.

Obviously, Yaounde, which criticizes radicalization and considers that it has made numerous concessions to the representatives of the English-speaking trade unions, after the dialogue, seems to follow the path of repression.

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Deckson N.

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