BSC | AMB: Message from The Southern Cameroons Parents Association

[3/15, 12:01 AM] akere divine achu: Message from The Southern Cameroons Parents Association.

Fellow Compatriots,

We have all witnessed or have somehow participated in the momentous events of the last five months that have moved our suffering peoples towards our long cherished dreams of freedom and independence for our beloved country. Our history is a long and arduous one, of a people who for the past half century have suffered immensely under the yoke of colonial domination, annexation and subjagation. All along we have worked for, from the days of our founding fathers at the dawn of our independence, and to the present moment for the day when we are going to enjoy the blessings of freedom granted to other nations of the world.

This current wave of resistance, as we all know started with the meeting of the Common Law Lawyers conference convened by our learned Barrister Harmony Bobga, president of the North West Lawyers Association, NOWELA in the North West regional capital city of Bamenda about one year ago to table a memorandum on issues affecting the practice of the Common Law in Cameroon. When these legitimate demands were scoffed at by the regime in Yaounde, another Common Law Lawyers conference held in Buea and this time chaired by Barrister Abgor Balla Nkongho Felix, president of the Fako lawyers association, (FAKLA) to reiterate these same demands which were again disregarded by an increasingly arrogant regime that saw Southern Cameroonians as less than equal citizens in the land of their birth.

Following these indignities, the Common Law Lawyers decided to call a short term strike to draw attention to their plight, and when they still had no response, they called an indefinite strike action accross the Common Law jurisdictions of the Southern Cameroons. Meanwhile, the teachers unions of the EngIish sub-system of education decided to call their own strike as well to press for long standing demands and in solidarity with the striking lawyers. Other segments of the society feeling left out now brought forth their own demands in what snowballed into a popular revolution with far reaching political and social ramnifications for the future of our territories. It was in this tense atmosphere that the Southern Cameroons Parents Association was formed, and initially called the Cameroon Parents Association (CAPA).

Why was CAPA formed in the presence of nationally recognized PTAs? (Parents Teachers Associations). In view of the prevailing circumstances and the implications of the teachers strike action on the education and the future of our children, and the fact that the existing goverment recognized PTAs may not represent the overwhelming interest of our children, a group of Parents from the North West and South West regions met in Bamenda in early December to form what will ultimately become the Southern Cameroons Parents Association. This new grouping had as its main objectives to represent the legitimate interests of parents as the crisis dragged on. We became the last Iine of defence in an increasingly political saga that had the welfare and future of our children on the balance.

From its inception, the SCPA thought it wise to work not only with teachers, lawyers and other stakeholders in the evolving crisis but also to work to protect the welfare and security of our children who were increasingly involved in the strike actions and subsequent civil unrests. On November 21st, 2016 when the teachers strike started and accompanied by the coffin revolution led by front line freedom fighter, Mancho Bibixy currently incarcerated at the maximum security prison in Yaounde, a number of young unarmed young men were killed by the security forces, while many others were arrested and locked up at various police stations and military installations accross town.

With the lawyers strike still in full swing, the fate and the defence of these young men became the preoccupation of the recently formed Parents Association. After relentless pressure by the SCPA on the judicial authorities that saw the intervention of the SDF National Chairman Ni John Fru Ndi, the North West Regional Delegate for National Security and the Governor of the North West Region, we finally got 21 of the arrested youth, some as young as 15 yrs old presented to the State Counsel of Mezam, at the Bamenda Court of First Instance after being illegally detained for ten days without charges. With our timely intervention the planned transfer of these young men to Yaounde was aborted. Our thanks again goes the SDF national chairman for the support he provided us throughout this process. And by God’s grace, they were all granted bail on December 31st, and appeared in court on December 18th, 2016 where they were all released the same day with minor fines.

As the crisis escalated, subsequent arrests of other young men would not end at the level of Bamenda or Kumba, as many were simply abducted and carted away to Yaounde as the government tried to end the strike and destroy the movement at all cost. We and the entire world are all witnesses to the atrocities that ensued, the killings, the arrests, the beatings, the threats, the intimidation, the attempts at bribery. In this light, the Parents Association was working relentlessly to sensitive and mobilize parents across our territory to assume their responsibilities in support of our striking teachers increasingly under pressure to give in. These pressures did work on renegade teachers unions who called of the strike, only to be resisted by the font line teachers union leaders like Mr. Wilfred Tassang and professor Abangma. The government, as we had anticipated all along turned its pressure machine now on parents who had become the last line of defense. They of course have failed in this regard as the movement had become not only a lawyers or teachers issue but a general struggle that grouped all concerns under the umbrella of the All Anglophone Civil Society Consortium implicating all segments of society. This united front headed by Barrister Balla, with Dr. Fontem as secretary and Wilfred Tassang as program director was to become the face of the struggle.

With the arrests of its leaders, others in hiding and the escape of the others, the consortium and its various stakeholders and associated outfits found themselves in a difficult position. With the arrest of the spokesperson of the parents association, Mr. Penn Terence Khan who appeared on national TV with this writer to endorse the strike and ghost town activities, we had to make certain adjustments. The internet cutoff in the Southern Cameroons has limited the mobilization and sensitization efforts of our association on the home front. In this regard, the Southern Cameroon Parents Association is inviting our compatriots in the diaspora who are parents to help foster our efforts to mobilize and inform our peoples in spite of the internet cutoff by joining our whatsapp chat group to help forward our messages back home via calls and SMS. If the terrorist regime in Yde went to the extreme of cutting our internet, it was because they realized that being connected is the greatest weapon an oppressed people have in fighting a brutal and oppressive regime. Please forward this message to other Southern Cameroonians for inclusion. United we stand!

Prince Akere Divine Achu
President, (Southern Cameroons Parents Association)
[3/15, 12:03 AM] akere divine achu: