UB Strike and Lessons from fall out by FEKO Vincent

January 1, 2007

The University Of Buea Students’ Strike:
Some Lessons From The Fallout

Injustice begets strike.
Strike is an instantaneous and effective way of calling injustice to order or neutralising it. It is rebellious because injustice carries ingredients of aggression .As a flash back; it was, thanks to the Sasse College students’ strike of 1958 that the quality of students’ food was improved and the incidence of stomach trouble and other related ailments on campus considerably reduced. So, strike works!
The boycotting of lectures and staying away from normal university activities as the students of UB did in November 2006 in protest to Yaounde’s provocative and fraudulent imposition of extraneous candidates on the School of Medicine is a typical example of a positive attempt to neutralise injustice. And coming as it did, at the peak of the nation’s widely publicised war on corruption, it should be admitted that by the strike, the students were fighting a significant battle against the endemic corruption that has bereft our educational and professional institutions of the excellence they once enjoyed. Against this background the students’ strike was right and proper and they deserve not only mere applause but standing ovation! Otherwise, the ongoing war on corruption is either meaningless or a wholesale deceit .Any resistance or revolt with the objective to overturn injustice is justified. But by exploiting the inability of an evidently sickly, frail, and temporarily imbalanced Vice-Chancellor to come to grips with the gravity of their crime that left at least two dead, the perpetrators craftily thrust the blame on the helpless VC and thereby wriggled themselves off the hook.
To the alibi the culprits tried to establish ,Prof Fame Ndongo ,the Higher Education Minister, added accusatory and derogatory statements, lies and ridicule to make Lambi look like a buffoon. He stated “…Informé de cette situation contraire a la décision ministerielle organisant le concours ,le Ministre de l′Enseignement Supérieur a immediatement ordonné le respect des textes reglementaires (publication des admissibilités par le president du jury et pris en compte des équilibres sociologigues, garants de l′integration et de la stabilité nationale)et a declaré nulle et de nul effet la liste signée illicitement par le Vice-Chancellor qui a du restes, reconnu publiquement sa faute devant les enseignants,les étudiants et les medias.( La Revelation No 092 du jeudi, de decembre 2006, p.2)
The fact that Prof .Fame Ndongo is now claiming to be an apostle of regional balance in the apportionment of public goods, when ,as one of the anointed power brokers of the regime he knows,deep-down he is only propounding a theory,is simple proof that he has been caught pants down, in his own wrongdoing.
By appealing to regional balance which their inordinate greed proscribes, the Minister has opened a can of worms .Why would the Minister regularise an act of irregularity by yet a grotesque act of irregularity? His regulatory text ordered the short-listing of the 72 top successful candidates in the written examination for orals .The Vice-Chancellor short-listed 127, a grievous offence one would say, and according to the enraged Minister, nearly all Anglophones. Then the learned Professor regularised the situation by increasing the already out of proportion number of 127 to153,81 candidates or nearly 120% in excess of his initial prescription of 72.In the process ,he increased the Anglophone quota he had bitterly criticised jeopardized regional balance! Sounds bizarre! And looks like Fame Ndongo is in a deal?
The students’ strike and its fatal consequences might have caught the Minister off-balance and an offhand defense was mandatory to appease the university community, the population, and the international community. At that decisive moment the offhand argument of regional balance sounded so plausible and convincing but little did the Professor know that this was only on the surface .The regional balance argument is hollow for the following reasons;
1) Since the thrust is on the apportionment of public goods between Anglophones and Francophones, the Minister should have cited the law he was relying on that gives the formula for the apportionment of public tangible and intangible goods between Anglophones and Francophones that Prof. Lambi violated. In the absence of such a law, the apportionment of places and other goods between Anglophones and Francophones depended on the whims of the learned Professors, and for one of them to turn around and accuse the other for using his sounds like “the pot calling the kettle black.”
2) Cameroonians and the rest of the world only came to know about Fame Ndongo’s regional balance fantasy when the irate students went on strike to denounce the Hon. Minister’s regional balance list of 26 candidates, a list they interpreted as being the product of corruption in high places.
If any such thing as regional balance existed, Prof.Lambi would have had no excuse for failing to apply the rules or principles laid down in that regard.Unfortunately, it would appear that Prof.Lambi was not the magician type Prof. Fame Ndongo thought him to be to be able to know the secret agenda of the Hon. Minister of Higher Education.
3) Professor Fame Ndongo was enraged because the 127 were nearly all Anglophones .According to him this was a mockery of regional balance. Then on his extraneous list of 26 that set the University ablaze, he reinforced the Anglophone component, thereby leaving the message that his scathing criticism of Anglophone preponderance on Lambi’s list and the whole idea of regional balance was a farce! So, is the Professor up to some mischief?.
4) Two medical schools where opened, one in Buea, the other in Douala. Why would Fame Ndongo be showing such keen interest only in regional balance statistics of Anglophone and Francophone intake in Buea and not in Douala? Curiously the intake at the Douala Medical school is 83 of which only 6 names ”…resembled names from the Anglophone provinces.”{Eden No 138 Wednesday, 27 December, 2006,P.2}. Suppose that the 6 are Southern Cameroonians, people of Southwest and Northwest origin,would this be the reginal balance of Prof. Fame Ndongo when it should be 17 following the country’s population distribution?
5) And talking generally about Prof. Fame Ndongo’s myth of regional balance of tangible and intangible goods between Anglophones and Francophones, you have two official languages, French and English, where French is constitutionally declared authentic and English counterfeit.How can you reject a people’s language and accept the people?Can legal tender and counterfeit compete for anything or even circulate freely?And in this Jewish -Gentile- like situation or master-slave relationProf. Fame Ndongo dares talk of reginal balance?
In light of the preceding exposé the regional balance argument is an invention and therefore cannot possibly be the reason for his imposition of 26 students on the University of Buea. The rumour that is floating through the country that 52 (fifty two) million FCFA changed hands prior to the imposition of the 26 obscured candidates seems to carry some credence. Bosco TCHOUBET for instance,questions:” Sur un tout autre plan qu′est-ce qu′on a foutre avec 153 candidats admissibles pour 60 places seulement? Si ce n′est pour les besoins de tripatouillage, qu′est-ce qui justifie une telle disparité? N′est-ce pas un Moyen de créer du gombo pour les organisateurs des concours? ” (La Révélation, No 092 du jeudi 06 decembre 2006, P.3). The “Gombo” referred to in the quotation above seems to strongly suggest that the 52(fifty two) million FCFA story, can not out rightly be dismissed.
And concerning this game of “give a dog a bad name to hang it,” of which Prof. Fame Ndongo is a master player, the respected Directeur de Publication of the French weekly newspaper Révélation, Bosco TCHOUBET, indignantly questions, inter alia,”…pourquoi Fame Ndongo sacrifie-t-il toujours ses collaborateurs chaque fois qu′il est en difficulté? Quel est le tort de Cornelius Lambi dans ce qui se passe a Buea? Est-ce lui qui a introduit la liste additive? C′est de commun accord avec le president du jury que la liste de 127 candidats admissibles a été afficheé? Pourquoi veut-on a present le sacrifier? Aller jusqu′ a le qualifier de member SCNC.est-ce de cette manniére qu’il faut traiter un collaborateur? Pourquoi du coté du Ministère de l′enseingnement supèrieur est-on prêt a tuer pour se maintenir aux affaires? Meme lorsqu′on a commis de gaffes?”(Op.Cit., p.3) A suicidal gaffe it indeed was!
A cross section of the media carries a similar story, a story that amounts to a bill of indictment. But because “l′impossible n′est pas Camerounais,”as Cameroonians are often reminded from above, the Hon.learned Professor Fame Ndongo has been issued a clean bill of health as can be clearly seen in the humiliation and sacking of Vice-Chancellor Cornelius Lambi. That is the reginal balance,that a crime is commited by people of one region and those of another are punished!
Apart from the lesson on dishonesty, corruption and treachery in high places by those we rate as people of some virtue, the most interesting and perceptive lesson is the introduction (albeit timidly) of the debate on the illegality and illegitimacy of the union between part of the former British Cameroons(Southern Cameroons) and the former French Cameroun(La Rep. du Cameroun).The appeal to regional balance between Anglophones and Francophones which Prof.Fame Ndongo had invented and was pursuing at UB Medical School and in the process left at least two dead and scores wounded,is surely an introduction to that debate .If the Anglophones and Francophones who are distinctive in every respect, confined themselves to their separate geographical circumscription, there would have been no basis whatsoever for Fame Ndongo to be pursuing regional balance in Buea from Yaounde that led to the crazy shooting of our people to death. We are asking, and the world is asking, how did a once self-governing and powerful people find themselves underdog, and all they had as a people with a destiny, destroyed or carried away including guns that Fame Ndongo’s people are now bringing back to kill our kith and kin with impunity? What happened to our legislature, our government, judiciary, Police Force and the rest of our state paraphernalia?
Yes we need to review the contract that brought us where we are. Is there any contract at all?
Regional balance without basis is escapism and will never resolve the problem of sending troops from Yaounde or Douala and other parts of La Republique to kill people indiscriminately in Buea, Bamenda, Victoria, Ndu, Ndop, Mamfe, Nkambe, and other parts of Southern Cameroons in the mythical name of regional balance. It is unimaginable how a thing can have a beginning without having an end.
The carrying out of smear campaigns against Prof Lambi, calling him SCNC and making some other disparaging remarks about the SCNC as Prof.Fame Ndongo is doing ,is again escapism that does not and can never resolve the basic question of how a once self-governed and powerful people became powerless and completely dispossessed of all they ever had as a nation. .Prof.Fame Ndongo knows that the aim and purpose of the Southern Cameroons National Council (SCNC) and its sister organisations is to address that basic question, which is being addressed here at home, and at the international political arena. The continuous pretense that all is well because Prof.Fame Ndongo’s people and government, are armed to the teeth with weapons of intimidation and mass destruction which they are unceasingly and indiscriminately experimenting on our peace loving people and getting away with it, is a crime against humanity and a great cause for concern.
Since the Hon. Professor Fame Ndongo this time around has by his regional balance theory, willy-nilly, introduced the debate, we invite him and his government to remain open, and provide a climate of peace and congeniality for the ignorant masses to be educated on the sour relationship between Southern Cameroons and La Republique du Cameroun (Anglophones and Francophones).The SCNC should not be seen as a taboo. After all, on this basic question of illegality the SCNC and the government of La Republique have clashed at the United Nations High Council for Human Rights (UNHCHR) in Geneva and are clashing before the African Commission On Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR) in Banjul, The Gambia. Is there anytimg to hide? Therefore pretending that all is well by using threats and death to suppress the SCNC in an attempt to forestall the debate is hypocrisy. This dog-eat-dog approach to the problem is unhealthy and dangerous
Denying the people the truth is not being accountable to the people who have put you where you are and to whom you have pledged to be accountable. It is a crime against those people, a crime against humanity.
We look forward to a change of heart in 2007, a year that as one of the elected Vice-Presidents of the General Assembly of the United Nations,La Republique du Cameroun is expected to uphold and promote the Charter of The United Nations and its Resolutions.

Vincent N. Feko
Civil Society Senior Citizen

Human rights are about the curtailment of the abstract and super state power, ie the limitation of absolute power corrupting absolutely”
Julius che, 1997 Buea
http://www.scylforfreedom.org /southerncameroonsig.org

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