When The Establishment Chooses To Chase The Shadow

Biya calls fro dialogue during an emergency address to the nation on Tuesday, September 10, 2019.

I was pooh-poohed and almost declared persona non grata in one forum when I raised the issue of the security of children in the current back-to-school campaign in the Northwest and Southwest Regions.

The pro-establishment do-gooders and emergency patriots, in that forum, vilified me as somebody who was against the campaign.

My appeal was for the belligerents in the ongoing crisis rocking the two Regions to observe a truce for our children to go back to school. For, the only reason why parents have not been sending their children to school is the fear of the callous bullet that does not care who is an Amba boy or who is a regular soldier.

And so it came to pass that the campaign is once more a flop. The arrow heads of the campaign chose to chase the shadow in all hypocrisy.

They ought to have tackled the issue of insecurity instead of calling on parents to send their children without stating exactly how their safety will be assured.

The campaign in the two Regions turned out to be an embodiment of illogicalities and a sordid story of political intrigues.

The people, who dared to carry out the campaign in two Regions, were fortified by wearing bullet-proof material, driven in armoured cars and escorted by heavily armed soldiers.

The Northwest Governor finally went to Fundong in Boyo Division only when soldiers sustained a gun battle with armed Amba groups on the way.

So, how can children go to school in a situation in which the Governor himself cannot move freely?

This means that even if Government provided a bullet-proof wear and an armoured car and soldiers to every school-going child, parent, guardian and every other stakeholder, their safety will still not be fully guaranteed.

The best way to ensure back-to-school is to negotiate for a truce, while gunning for a permanent peaceful solution to the crisis.  Sending heavily armed soldiers to ensure a return to school is counterproductive.

Heavily armed soldiers in school campuses are a source of fear and psychological trauma to children. God alone knows what stray bullets can do in a school campus if the soldiers are confronted by the Amba Boys.

There is something seriously amiss here, for, the campaign is driven on the wheels of greed and hypocrisy. Most often, the flag bearers do not believe in their very own campaign.

Government’s response to the Anglophone crisis in the past three years has been largely a blood and iron policy. The soldier is at the centre of every solution to problems that need simple political logic.

Reason and dialogue have been relegated to the backburner, while the gun has been projected as a magic solution to every crisis.

This reminds me of the frontal comment the erudite CRTV radio political editor, Ebssiy Ngum of blessed memory, made about the Biya Government in one of his editorials in the 90s.

He said Government was behaving like a carpenter who has a hammer as his only tool. Such a person, he went on, limits his carpentry work to hammering and nailing.

In other words, since Government chooses to use the gendarme in every crisis situation, it means that the only language it understands is repression. And, so, the establishment believes that it can silence every protest, every uprising and every complaint by shooting it with the gun.

By slamming administrative sanctions on some teachers and other civil servants who stay away from work, for fear of losing their lives, is adding more salt to injury.

Where is the logic in the whole thing? How can the administrator who wears bullet-proofs, moves around in an armoured car and is heavily guarded by the soldiers, have the moral effrontery to sanction people who do not have anything to protect themselves with?

Those who have been sanctioned have only two options. They will certainly choose between keeping their civil service jobs and their lives.

The civil servants who are not going to work and the children who are not going to school are the shadow while the real object is the insecurity resulting from the confrontations between soldiers and the Separatist fighters.

What is even more disturbing is that the Separatist authorities have only vomited threats against the back-to-school campaign initiated by the Yaounde administration. They seem not to be worried about the fact that children have not gone to school in the two Regions for three years.

In some kind of sophistic argument, they claim that they would allow children to go to school but cannot guarantee their safety. This is as good as saying that anybody going to school is doing so at his or her own risk.

They do not propose how those who are supposed to be the citizens of the country they are fighting to build, will go to school.

Do they really believe that they will fight and obtain the independence of Amazonia before children go to school? Is it not a self-inflicted academic genocide for that anticipated country when children are kept out of school?

The goal both parties must chase for children to go back to school is dialogue and nothing else. Any other thing is a shadow within the context of the precarious situation.


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