The Coalition of North West Civil Society Organizations held an emergency meeting today July 16, 2014 at Necla Hotel in Bamenda to deliberate and identify problems arising from the recent fuel price hike. The meeting which brought together civil society activists, trade unionists and human rights activists recorded over 50 organizations.
In an opening speech, the venerated civil society activist, Awah Cletus aka AC Risky decried that the so called Confederation of Trade Unions are pocket structures created by some government officials to frustrate genuine negotiations inorder to defraud the state of taxpayers money. He lamented that when they were in Yaounde, he witnessed a masqueraded scenario whereby leaders were more interested in what they would gain than the interest of the common man. He wondered how the so-called Confederations of Trade Union submitted a memo to government in defiance of the regulation in force, “when we were in the hall, tracts were being circulated and we also observed that some of the leaders represented nobody”, he continued. He said that even those who claimed they were representing bike riders had never ever sad on an achaba. He also wondered how the government is claiming that since last year, the sum of FCFA 1,200 billion was spent to subsidize fuel prices, yet the same Minister also claimed that for the past six months, the state spent close to FCFA 157 billion to subsidize fuel. Transporters, he regretted were more interested on increasing transport fare to their benefits rather than the general good. Accordingly, Awah Cletus observed that we cannot be talking of emerging when the GDP has dropped and at the same time the index of the country has dropped. “In fact I am afraid that our standard of living is rather dropping”. To Awah Cletus, if necessary measures are not taken to redress or put in place sustainable actions, it could lead to inflation, starvation and hunger” and since a hungry man is an angry man, peace could be at jeopardy.
On his part, the Secretary General of the Cameroon Teachers Trade Union-CATU said that the issue of salary increase is provocative. “Those who advise this government want to provoke a situation”. He decried that in Cameroon, 22 taxes are paid on every liter of fuel and wondered if government could cancel 10 of those taxes to stratify prices.
On his part, the Coordinator of Organization for Consumer Sovereignty-OCOSO wondered whether the head of State is always told the truth by his collaborators. “ I have been to Yaounde severally on this issue, but unfortunately I have observed that government is always very adamant and irresponsible to the plight of the common man”.
During deliberations, participants also observed that for over 20 years, nobody from the North West and South West Region has never head a Confederation of Trade Union. As such they would not depend on people who are more interested in their stomach than the welfare of the population. They also observed that if it is that Cameroonians should be sacrificed for Vision 2035, it should rather be stopped. Participants also examined the declaration by Government Vuvuzela, Isa Tchiroma, which they said (he) Tchiroma, Minister of Communication to apologise to Cameroonians. At the end of the meeting, participants took a firm stand that Government should reduce the price of fuel by FCFA 100. (Coming soon Resolutions tabled to Government).
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