Cameroon’s outspoken and controversial communication minister who also doubles as government spokesperson has officially given the government stand with respect to the ongoing strike and to be fair the government’s view doesn’t look favorable to teachers and lawyers who are taking part in an indefinite strike in English speaking regions of Cameroon.
In a press briefing two days ago, the despotic minister ridiculed marginalization claims and deny the existence of any Anglophone problem in the country. He talked of government continuous willingness to dialogue with every disgruntled person and called protesters in Bamenda who were involved in violent protests “insurgents” and vowed government will ensure the law is enforced. But as the minister water down any prospect of easy roller-coaster right for settlement of the ongoing stalemate, the leaders of the teachers and lawyers alongside civil societies are left to wonder where to go from here.
Report reaching us talks of Yang created negotiation team having left Bamenda saying the strike must be called off before dialogue can be resuming and with streets relatively, private workers wary of salaries to shop for their families admit ongoing strike, calm and the country prepares to celebrate the Christmas holiday, the pressure is definitely on the leaders of the protest rather than the government.
The head of state has been silent and prefers his vied to be aired by his trusted confidents, his minister and with minister Issa Tchiroma outing, it’s obvious the president is not willing to address the mater himself and the nation’s turns to December 31st new year message for any hope to hear directly from the president. The main opposition party might have given protesters some hope after they gave government what looked like an ultimatum of January for resumption of school in a communiqué, although the document which also talk of another issues fall short of anything promising.
Keeping low income earners at home won’t be easy
Teachers like most workers in this country barely survive, even the government ones as massive responsibilities in a continent where families are so big and responsibilities enormous. Private teacher are the worst with poor pay and sometimes inconsistent salaries, keeping them, out of job with probably no savings in their bank account to run their families and take care of their bills might yet be the hardest thing for the leaders of strike to do especially after the Christmas break as many will prefer to break the self-imposed “siege” just to survive in a country where getting a job is a nightmare and saving from a job is distant dream from many as many are rocked with endemic poverty despite the high education rate.
The government has threaten and even called protesters “ insurgents” and have threaten to deal with them accordingly which will likely weaken the appetite of young people to take to the streets in support of the strike even if the activities remain grounded and people are not satisfied.
Finally, the leaders of the strike might be united on one front; strike till the government is forced to talk, but they have shown cracks of division as to what they really want as some are calling for cessation and others federalism, and with many Anglophones willing to remain with their brothers and sisters, the striking forces certainly still has much work to do and have limited time to derive a strategy that can work and make the people remain committed to the cause after the Christmas break.