The Bishops of Bamenda provincial episcopal conference [bapec] has written a 10 page memorandum to the president of the republic vis-a-vis the ongoing protests by Anglophones that have paralyzed courts and schools in the better part of north west and south west region. Coming barely weeks after the bishops of Anglophone Cameroon were castigated by many for failing to reprimand government on its brutal crackdown of its people In their Dec 6th communique, the men of God decided to adopt a different tone this time, unleashing a brutal attack on the government for wide rage of issues from human rights abuses, constitutional violations, assimilation of anglophone and may more
In their 10 page memorandum to the president of the republic dated dec 22 2016, the bishops started by schooling the head of state about the history of Cameroon from independence till date, the Roman Catholic bishops chronicled what they termed “genuine grievances faced by Anglophones in the country and urged the head of state to find urgent solutions. They talk of existential threats of Anglophones culture and traditions, from educational system, to the abuse of English language,, human rights violations, and behavior of administrators who act like colonial masters to and much more.” Apart from the fact that Ministers, Directors General, Heads of Parastatals, Senior Divisional Officers, Heads of Law Enforcement Institutions, etc. are disproportionately Francophone, there seems to have been a conscious effort made to flood the Northwest and Southwest Regions with Francophone Heads of Service.” The memorandum reads in part.
Chastising the behavior of some francophone administrators, the bishops says “The situation is aggravated by the fact that these Francophone administrators are often overbearing, very arrogant and treat people as if they were second-class citizens, and have no iota of respect for the dignity of the human person.”
They also complain bitterly of abandonment of what they called west Cameroon ‘patrimony”, writing ” Apart from neglect of infrastructure in the Northwest and Southwest Regions of Cameroon and the mismanagement and ruin of buoyant companies like Cameroon Bank, West Cameroon Marketing Board, WADA in Wum, West Cameroon Cooperative Movement, etc., oil revenues are alleged to be used by those in power to feed ‘the bellies’ of their allies, and to stimulate the economy in other regions. In addition, there is also great anxiety in Anglophone Cameroon that its major agro-industrial enterprises, especially the Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC) and Plantations Pamol du Cameroun Ltd (Pamol), are sold or their headquarters moved elsewhere.”
Their statement did not leave out the forces of law and order which the bishops says have been overbearing and arrogant” in dispatching their duty and call on the head of state to ensure everybody in the country feels justice is being done for without justice, “we cannot build the Iceland of peace in west and central Africa we have been proclaiming” they said adding We do not believe, in conscience, that locking up people who speak up against injustice (real or imagined) will kill dissent and bring peace.
“While it is the duty of administrative and law enforcement officers to maintain peace and order in their areas of jurisdiction, many of them have been unnecessarily overbearing and arrogant. Issuing orders and threats for teachers to return to school, for instance, is not the way to solve their problem. Further, the current unrests have shown up a very ugly and embarrassing side of our administrators and the forces of law and order. Without any provocation from the lawyers or students at the University of Buea (who carried placards saying ‘No to Violence’ and raised their hands in the air), the forces of law and order brutalized some of them so badly and so inhumanely that seeing the pictures one would have thought they came from the Stone Age” they decried as they lament the flagrant violations of human rights
The men of God concluded by calling on the head of state to engage in true dialogue and solve the urgent problems of the people as they say “time is running out” and certainly they could not be more correct. “A certain religious leader is credited to have said: There really can be no peace without justice. There can be no justice without truth. And there can be no truth, unless someone rises up to tell you the truth. What we have set forth here is what we believe to be the truth, told as part of our prophetic mission, in the hope that it will bring justice, peace, and harmony to this country which we all hold dear to our hearts” their statement reads in conclusion.
The sharp rebuke from the bishop certainly comes as a surprise to many as they have been seen in the past as friends to the regime and many have reprimanded them for failing to say the truth, but mow they have chosen to be truthful, rather than neutral as they had been in the past. bamenda-provincial-episcopal-conference