Anglophone Crisis Spillover: Yaoundé Under Siege from Protesting Teachers

Yaoundé: 27th March 2017

Every social problem is like malignant cancer! If not solved in time, it only spreads, it never goes away. That is the same with the Anglophone crisis in Cameroon which has emboldened teachers in Yaoundé to stage a protest march, starting at the Ministry of Finance.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Many of the teachers are demanding to be paid wages they are owed for over 60 months.

Their placards carry messages such as “NO PAY! NO SCHOOL!; “WE WANT TO GET PAID NOW“; “RESPECT US“; “PAY OUR SALARIES“, among others.

Some of the organisers have confirmed that their hope is for all schools to be shut down across Cameroon until the deplorable educational conditions are addressed.

When asked if they considered it an extension of the Anglophone crisis, one of the protesters explained

“we cannot pretend our problem is as bad as the Anglophone crisis, but we have been inspired by their resilience. It is our way of showing solidarity, while at the same time expressing our grievances”.

This view is apt given that for many decades Anglophones have been suppressed, dehumanised and treated like second-class citizens in their own country. Over the last five months, the situation escalated when Lawyers and Teachers started protesting against the injustices suffered by English-Speaking Cameroonians.

The government of Cameroon responded with brutal military crackdown and arbitrary arrests and detention. Many lives were lost and property destroyed. The Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium, with which the government was hitherto negotiating, was suddenly banned, some of its leaders were arrested and are facing treason charges in a military court.

Many people have been expressing some optimism on social media following the action in Yaoundé. Some have boldly asserted that this has taken the Anglophone struggle into the lion’s den. Others have been calling on all factions of civil society across Cameroon to rise up and put an end to Biya’s 35 years of economic stagnation and widespread deprivation.

Some have been critical, asking why it is that there is no major crackdown by the security forces as was the case with the English-speaking teachers and lawyers. In response to this, it has been highlighted by others that this is just another indication that Anglophones are treated less favourably by the Biya regime.

Collage Credit: Capo Camer

Whatever the situation, this is a rallying call to all Cameroonians to realise that this is the time to end the rot that has eaten into the fabrics of society. It is a call on all to say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

Cameroon’s president is reported to have gone to Geneva after his visit to Italy and the Vatican, should this unrest continue, it is projected that he will be unlikely to enjoy his much craved time in what has been known to be his actual country. Activists from across Europe are already mobilising to go to Geneva and chase Biya back to Cameroon.