OPEN LETTER FROM JEAN BLAISE GWET IN REACTION
TO THE MESSAGE OF MAY 19, 2020
MONSIEUR PAUL BIYA
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF CAMEROON,
HEAD OF STATE, GUARANTOR OF THE NATION.
Paris, 20 May 2020
Paris, 20 Mai 2020
Mr. President of the Republic,
I begin first of all by wishing you a happy holiday of National Unity Mr. President of the Republic. Moreover, I am wishing you courage and strength in this particular period of crisis COVID-19!
I am Jean Blaise GWET, National President of the MPCC (Patriotic Movement for The Change of Cameroon), and I respond with this letter to your invitation, addressed to politicians among others, to set aside our political differences and to pool our efforts together to block the spread of COVID-19.
Your Excellency, from France, the country in which I am confined since the closure of the borders because of the respect of the safety measures and barriers against COVID-19, issued reciprocally by Cameroon and by France among others, I have followed with great attention your address to the Cameroonian Nation,
Mr. President, as a Political Leader who loves our people, my reaction under the circumstances, I cannot remain silent in such a case of extreme urgency and seriousness that has not been specified in your addressed in your speech as it concerning the case of our children.
While you have made the right decision to cancel the festivities that mark our National Unity Day, as you have with similar gatherings for our soldiers as well as our beloved students. Our Children, your children certainly deserve the same caring vision for which I offer to you my extensive considerations as outlined below.
In the run-up to the next school year on 1 June 2020, given the urgency of the deadline, I am coming to your High Authority to publicly address this reaction by way of social networks, the only effective way to reach you as quickly as possible before our children, your children are put back on the way to school in the run-up to the 3rd term of school scheduled for June 1, 2020.
Mr. President, I know that your intentions to send our children, your children back to school, are noble and justified, concerned about their future. Allow me, Mr. President to suggest that you observe patience and make time your most important and valuable ally, but above all the most absolute. Your wisdom will guide the unfolding of a plan adapted to this new situation.
Mr. President we are heading for a critical period of peak pandemic, the curves of which to date are increasing in terms of contamination and deaths throughout our country thus in light of this reality, it is our sincerest belief Your Excellency that it is too early to send our children back to school at this critical time!
Sending our children back to school on June 1, 2020, Your Excellency, would be a decision that we may one day regret, it would jeopardize their lives and those of all those around them, including their parents, grandparents and neighbors, by risk of contamination with COVID-19, which could be a monumental error in judgement.
Even so, you would offer them « free » Hydro-Alcoholic Masks and Solutions, which is actually not the case according to your current instructions. Rather, parents will be obliged to buy them before children enter the classroom, yet for many parents who are unemployed, retired, and in financial difficulties, the majority of whom have struggled for decades to find the bare minimum, to offer a piece of bread every morning to their children, before going to school.
Worse still Your Excellency, to the general surprise of the whole world, including the developed and industrialized nations, COVID-19 has forced the world’s education systems to submit to tele-teaching, telework etc… This is the case, overnight, with the classical education system being set aside. Fortunately, you anticipated by offering our students at various universities in Cameroon, PB computers, thank you for this great gesture of anticipation Mr. President.
Mr. President, how many Motos-Taximans, Bayam-Sellams, Farmers, Little Masons, Cigarette Sellers, Doughnut Sellers, Call-Boxers, Unemployed, Pensioners, all of whom have very bright children in exam class, be able to buy a Computer or an Android phone? Several Millions Your Excellency cannot do so.
Moreover, Your Excellency, even if a certain class of Cameroonians can afford this material within his family, however, there is another major handicap that our children, parents and grandparents face on a daily basis: untimely power cuts for hours, days and evenings in all the major metropolises of Cameroon, including the Capital (Yaounde). For the case of other towns and villages, the current can disappear f or days and weeks.
Also, Your Excellency, it is very difficult to access, an often unstable internet connection for which the cost per minute of connection is still very high in Cameroon, making internet inaccessible to certain social strata, which as I said above, very bright children in all exam classes are unfortunately at risk of failing their exams, victims of containment, power cuts and lack of access to the internet and new technologies.
Your Excellency, to date, the State of Cameroon has a budget deficit and very tight, compared to our forecasts for this budget year as you yourself pointed out in your address. It cannot therefore afford to be on all fronts simultaneously (Fighting COVID-19, Boko Haram, the Anglophone Crisis, preparing one month for the various cost reviews of the Billions of FCFA, which can also be used to improve our systemde santé). However, if it is absolutely necessary to send our children, your children to school, we will have to invest more in redeveloping hand washers and hygiene spaces in all schools, colleges, high schools, public and private institutions. Investment that from my point of view, can wait to be realized in October 2020.
It is better, Mr. President, to concentrate all our energies and means in the fight against COVID-19, which only God knows, what will be the fate of our country. Prevention is better than cure! The United States and Europe are still struggling to find a solution to this pandemic. The world is in danger, Cameroon is not immune.
Mr. President in view of the above elements, for our children, I propose that you use your rights to:
1 – Cancel the 3rd term of school scheduled for June 1, 2020.
2 – Assess all students in exam classes on the basis of grades and averages for the 1st and 2nd Quarter of the 2019-2020 academic year, following the example of the majority of COVID-19 exporting countries in Africa. I can cite the case of France, Canada and many other countries that are victims of this pandemic.
I cannot close this missive, Mr. President, without thanking you for your leadership in the repatriation of our compatriots stranded abroad and for the multiple donations and support offered to our people across the country.
Remaining convinced that you will grant a favorable follow-up to this approach from a son who has his heart attached to this people and to his children whom he loves, like Your Excellency does,
Please accept, Mr. President, the renewed assurances of my very high regard.
Jean Blaise GWET
MPCC National President
Future candidate in the Next Presidential Election