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Crisis in NW and SW : Ghost Town Persists

No schools, businesses on hold an uncertain atmosphere. This is the situation in the North West and South West regions since last week.

For the second week since the resumption of classes for the second term in the country, students and pupils in the North West and South West Regions have not seen the walls of their classrooms. Schools are still under lock and key as the strike started by lawyers and taken up by the teachers persists. Described as a sit in strike, the population in the two regions has witnessed violence from the population despite instructions of an Anglophone consortium. According to a programme circulated through social media last week, the population was supposed to stay indoors on Monday and Tuesday, use Wednesday to go out to replenish stocks of food for their homes, continue the sit in strike till Friday, reserved for a march in the streets. The situation which was thought would have been resolved following negotiations initiated by government and encouraged by the Head of State, President Paul Biya is rather witnessing a stalemate. The population is said to live in fear, not sure of the outcome. Many parents resident in Yaoundé whose children attend schools in the North West and the South West have expressed their disappointment at the present state of affairs, not sure about the remainder of the school year and what to expect.So far, the social media has been playing a major role in the propaganda of the strike actions in the two English speaking regions of the country, with messages claimed to be from the consortium and other individuals. President Biya in his year end speech decried the manipulation of the population which seems to be finding fertile grounds in social media. He said “Physically and emotionally, we are deeply concerned about these events. Due to the acts of a group of manipulated and exploited extremist rioters, Cameroonians have lost their lives; public and private buildings have been destroyed; the most sacred symbols of our nation have been desecrated; economic activities have been paralyzed momentarily. You would agree with me that all of this is unacceptable.” President Biya recognised the fact that “every citizen can rightfully opine on any aspect of national life, including through duly declared peaceful strike action. This is a fundamental civil right as desired by the Cameroonian people” he continued, given that it is enshrined in the Constitution. This right is inalienable in the model of democracy which he proposed to the Cameroonian people and which, according to him “together, we have been building daily, patiently and resolutely.” While expecting that government through the various ad hoc committees created to propose and seek solutions, it is hope that the situation takes new twists and for the better. 

Claudette Chin

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