The African Union, AU, has said it “stands ready” to assist government in finding lasting solutions to the current Anglophone crisis which has seen activities completely grounded in schools and courts across the North West and South West Regions of the country.
In a statement issued today, Wednesday January 18, and published on the official website of the African Union, the Commission chairperson, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, wrote: “The Chairperson of the AU Commission calls for restraint and encourages a continuation of the dialogue initiated by the Government in order to find a solution to the social, political and economic issues motivating the protests. She reiterates the AU’s support for the respect of the rule of law, and the right to peaceful demonstrations which are critical tenets of democracy. The AU Commission stands ready to assist the parties in this endeavour ”
The statement further said the AU Commission chairperson, who was in Cameroon last December, is closely monitoring the unfolding of events in the two English-speaking regions.
“The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, H.E. Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma is following with concern the evolving situation in the North West and South West Regions in the Republic of Cameroon,” the opening paragraph of the statement read.
It continued: “The Chairperson regrets the loss of lives and destruction of property that have taken place in some cities and towns in the two regions of Cameroon. She notes with concern the closing of schools and medical facilities, as well as all acts of violence, arbitraryarrests and detention of individuals suspected of participating in the demonstrations.”
The AU statement comes less than three days after its Human Rights commission issued a similar statement condemning government’s repressive approach in handling the current crisis.
The commission also condemned the mass arrest, torture and detention of youths during peaceful demonstrations in Bamenda, Buea, Kumba and other towns in the North West and South West Regions.
Common Law lawyers and Anglophone teachers, it would be recalled, have been on strike for several months now. While lawyers deserted court rooms on October 11, 2016, teachers on their part have not touched their chalks since November 21. Both groups are asking government for sweeping reforms in their respective sectors.
All efforts so far by government to cause the teachers and lawyers to resume duty have met with a stone wall as the protesters say governmenthas not demonstrated enough good faith in talks. On Monday, the chairperson of the ad hoc committee which was holding talks with the teachers announced he was no longer going on with his assignment. In a press statement, he said he had forwarded a report of his committee’s work to the Prime Minister for onward transmission to the Head of State.