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Crisis in Buea University

Crisis in Buea University

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Published by Julius Che
UB Student Union
UB Student Union

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Published by: Julius Che on Jul 11, 2009
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07/18/2010

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UBCrisis in the University of BueaUNREST, VICTIMISATION, AND UNJUST SUSPENSION OF STUDENT LEADERS IN THE UNIVERSITYOF BUEA- The students had complained through their elected representatives to Students’Council a series of worries which upon examination the union council deemedjustified and summed up into twelve points.- The students had challenged their students’ representatives to help thesituation of no classes as a result of the lecturers strike.- The students’ councilors evoked the need to put the excesses and lapses of thePresident UBSU (University of Buea Students’ Union) to check.- The President UBSU Paul Shipuh did not end there. The announcement of thelecturers strike prompted the students’ union president to move around students’vicinity asking students to go to class while distributing hand-bills with part ofit read “Some misguided students are asking others to join lecturers strike…”Lecturers are intelligent and mature enough to handle their affairs…..” In effectSYNES UB chapter issued another communiqué which read “some students are spreadingrumours that lectures are going on. They are sell outs to the administration” Thismade the Union President to issue out another communiqué calling our lecturersmisguided.As a result of the unanimous call from democratically elected Students’Representatives to Union Council Central bureau requesting the prompt arrest ofthe aforementioned irregularities and discrepancies, the chairman of Council, onWednesday 15th April 2009 summoned an urgent extra-ordinary council session tohold on Thursday 16th April 2009.We understand the published agenda -”students’ position in respect to lecturersstrike” posed a real threat to university administration; reason why the Vice –Chancellor in a statement to the Council Chairman denied any meeting holdingon/off campus on the above agenda.Consequently Students’ Council elected bureau had to revise the agenda to read“The state of affairs of UBSU” so that Council session actually held. In the saidsession, solid resolutions were reached as follows:- Councilors officially presented and overwhelmingly affirmed collective actiontowards a firm articulation of the twelve –point’s memorandum.- Council frown at the deliberate misrepresententation of the Students’ Unionposition vis-à-vis a matter as sensitive as lecturers strike by paul shipuPresident..- As regards the earlier misdeeds of the President UBSU ( which had before thenearned him a warning letter from Union Council), Councilors generally elected thesuspension of the President’s Signature for a week, set up an investigationCommittee to probe allegations.- Finally Union Councilors elected leaders into some vacant offices as instructedby the VC to drop areas of electoral irregularitiesThe Vice-Chancellor, once more, had betrayed himself as Shipuh Paul’s protégé.On Monday 20th April, 2009, the Vice Chancellor arbitrarily and unlawfullysuspended the Chairman of Students’ Union Representative Council and appointed the
 
Chief of Judicial Bench as his own chairman.It should be noted, the said appointee was co-signatory to the resolutionsuspending the signature of the president. We are putting it to the ViceChancellor that, there is no precedence to this unconstitutional manipulation;that the Vice-Chancellor should not be seen to meddle in the management of Unionaffairs; that he should never ever be perceived as stepping into the shoes of theall powerful general assembly of the University of Buea Students’ Union. Wetherefore reiterate that the suspension of the Chairman of the Union Council is anon event.Because Dialogue must prevail before action, On Tuesday 21st April, 2009, SRCbureau and some councilors went to the VC to seek audience and to dialogue as tothe suspension of the Chairman SRC and to summit the twelve- point’s memorandum,the V C was categorical that he had no ears to listen to the student leaders. Thiscaused a non-violent strike action, the UBSU President short listed 19 studentleaders to the Vice-Chancellor to face disciplinary panel of which one is agraduate of December 2008 batch and some were not even in townDue to the militarization of the students campus, the student leaders in aconsiderable majority boycotted the said panel.The disciplinary panel went ahead to indefinitely suspend from the UniversityCommunity Students leaders (14) whose crimes was the genuine representation of theinterest of their various constituencies in what has become the twelve-pointsmemorandum. We take it that this is only a diversion from the students out-cry.It should be recalled here that according to the University text, a panel willpass a judgment on students in absentia after it must have held thrice in thestudent’s absence but it was not the case with the purported suspension offourteen student leaders.It should be recalled that the lecturers Union ( SYNES) whom some lecturers werepart of the panel had written to the University administration to exercise maximumrestraint with regards to all proposed disciplinary sanctions against any group ofstudents while setting up an independent panel of academic and non academic staffto probe into the problems and recommend solutions for a lasting peace on campus.On Wednesday 22nd April, 2009, the Union Council deposited the twelve-pointmemorandum at the security post of the central administrative block for the secondtime since the Vice-Chancellor had refused to receive the student leaders.The 12 points memorandum includes:1. The production of draft transcripts, free of charge for students as previouslyagreed.2. The ready provision of Students’ answer booklets after exams to ensureclearance of examinations controversies3. The enforcement of the prefectoral order for the homologation of rents just asit is currently done in other universities beginning with the hostel on campus bythe University administration.4. The address of the so many cases of intimidation and victimization of studentsand student’s leaders.5. The timely and defined period for the production of attestations and
 
certificates.6. Improvement of security on the university campus most especially in the girls’hostel.7.The assistance (financial and material) to students on research work as providedby the BMP system.8.That the university administration should re-organize the positioning andrevisit the closure of businesses and photocopiers on campus.9.Insufficient restaurant tickets and nonfunctioning of campus toilets.10.The purported decision by the vice chancellor suspending the students’ councilchairman and appointing his own chairman is an intrusion into UBSU management andout of the jurisdiction of the vice chancellor. We therefore call on the VC todrop such decision. The vote holders are councilors, the chairman only signs onbehalf of council11.The disciplinary panel put in place to try student leaders who stood forstudent’s interest be dropped.12.The university administration should create an avenue for dialogue for studentsfor total and complete peace to reign on campus.On Friday the 24th of April 2009, the students went to school to continue theirpeaceful strike action but met with about seven trucks of police officers heavilyarmed as well as noticed that, they have been suspended indefinitely and bannedfrom the university campus.They were chased off and five of the students were arrested right on campusamongst which one was a student leader, they were beaten, brutalized, masked,handcuffed and whisked away. One of them Otang Felix, was bleeding profusely as aresult of the beatings.We presently do not know their well about. Currently, there is a terrible manhunting of the other student leaders. These are a gross violation of Human rights.We call on the University community especially the students whose stewards we are,to dissociate themselves from disciples of the divide- and- rule policy.In this light, we therefore condemned the unfounded utterances of the Vice –Chancellor and his errand boy, Shipuh Paul (UBSU President under investigation) todecease from painting their wrong picture of the yellow party/ red partywrangling.We remind our students that all those leaders stigmatized as ”election losers”all occupied (and still do) high offices of responsibilities within the facultiesand council even prior to the executive election (red and yellow party) inFebruary 2009We call on Cameroonians of good faith and friends of Cameroon to support us as wepromise to remain steadfast to the students cause until justice is done.Long live University of Buea students,Long live UBSUSignatories (those suspended indefinitely)

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