UB Crisis: GCI Says ‘NO’ to impunity

Global Conscience Initiative has strongly condemned the brutal killing and wounding of students in the on-going strike action in the University of Buea, and has demanded for the arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators of what GCI CEO Samba Churchill describes as crimes against humanity.

Samba said that responsibility must go to the head and that the officers who fired life bullets into unarmed demonstrating students, and their bosses who ordered them to carry life bullets to the demonstration grounds ought to answer for the deaths and the injuries. “Yes! That is the only way the government can assure the people that it does not have an interest in the impunity that has become characteristic of this country”, Mr. Samba Churchill said.

“It is time to put the University of Buea in order and to respect its anglo-saxon values. Respect for the statute of the University of Buea is the basis of any peace arrangement in the University, and, to start with, the present Vice Chancellor should tender his resignation, and another Vice Chancellor elected from professorial rank by the University Council as is required by the UB decree of creation.

“Professor Lambi should resign because of the monumental mistake he admits, rightly or wrongly, that he made that has culminated in the loss of lives of students. His resignation will only be in line with Anglo-Saxon expectations and a show of remorse to the bereaved families, the student and Anglophone community.

“A VC that owes his allegiance to the Ministry of Justice and the presidency instead of the University Council is not consistent with the Anglo-Saxon expectations of the University statute”, the GCI CEO posited. On the aspect of regional balance as posited by the Ministry of Higher Education, the CEO said it was a clumsy excuse by a band that is determined to have its corrupt way. He questioned why regional balance only when it comes to the entrance into the Medical School of UB.

“The Minister of Higher Education disgraced this nation on international television with his inconsistent and illogical crucifixion of the Rector of UB, whom he accused of tribalism. Prof. Lambi did not set the exams nor did he take part in the grading. The exams were competitive implying that only the best students out to have a place in the Medical school. Are Anglophones a tribe in this country? This goes a long way to tell the world how low the regime in place esteems Anglophones and their values.

“We should see regional balance in all aspects of public life and in the recruitment of students into all institutions that train and integrate public servants. We do not have regional balance in the recruitment of police and gendarmes, in the appointment of SDOs, Dos, governors, Ministers, etc.

“Besides, what criteria is the Ministry using to ensure this regional balance in the selection of students for the Medical School? Shouldn’t prospective students into the institution be aware before hand that they would be selected according their regions of origin? Should such a selection not be carried out in the various regions before the final selections? I think the Ministry should come up with a logical explanation that can convince the intellectual community in Cameroon and the world at large. This is not a good sign for our democracy and for our institutions of higher learning. It also defeats the competitive purpose of the entrance examination, as we cannot expect to have the best students enrolled in the school.”

Proffering a solution to the Crisis, the CEO said:

1. The police and all other troops should be removed from the University campus with immediate effect.

2. All students under detention should be released

3. Prof. Lambi should resign as Rector of the University

4. An emergency University Council should be summoned

5. The Council should elect a new Rector in line with the University’s statute

6. The Council should come out with a defined criteria for the selection of students into the University colleges

7. Investigations should be open into the shootings in the University and the perpetrators of these “crimes against humanity” prosecuted in open court in Buea.

8. The families of the killed students should be consulted and pacified. No amount of money can compensate them for the loss.

9. Cameroon should ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and submit to the jurisdiction of the court to try crimes against humanity committed in the country.

Global Conscience Initiative, a member of the Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC), holds strongly that Cameroon is reluctant to ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and submit to the jurisdiction of the court because the government has an interest in impunity. The organisation regrets that those who used life bullets on unarmed students in UB in 2005 are still free men, while a commission set up by government to investigate the situation in UB is yet to publish its findings. But, truly, how another commission of inquiry can be set up to investigate the current imbroglio in the University when the report of the previous commission was still pending?