JOHANNESBURG) – The ongoing separatist struggle in Cameroon’s English-speaking regions for autonomy is effecting employment in these regions with the country's second largest employer, the Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC), asserting its operations have been crippled by the conflict.
The agricultural giant has not been able to pay its staff for a year because of falling production and revenue, the Voice of America (VOA) reported.
Two years ago 2,000 people lived in the village of Meanja, a banana production centre in the English-speaking south-west, with many of the villagers employed by the CDC, which runs banana, palm oil, and rubber plantations.
Now the village is largely deserted with abandoned houses, empty schools and silent factories.
According to some of those previously employed in the company threats by armed separatists, and the killing of four workers and the wounding of dozens of others, forced the factory to close down, resulting in 560 Meanja employees losing their livelihoods.
However, the problem is even bigger across the western English-speaking regions as a whole.
CDC general manager Franklin Ngoni Njie says more than half of his 20,000 workers – fearing attacks - refuse to work, while the remainder work only part-time.
Currently Cameroon’s agricultural ministry is negotiating with staff about resuming their employment saying the government will guarantee their safety and pay them the salaries which have been unpaid for the last year.
Rebels from the English-speaking areas claim discrimination at the hands of the Francophile government and want to establish the separate state of Ambazonia.
Peaceful protests, against what they perceive as their marginalisation, erupted into violent rebel attacks after the country’s security forces carried out a brutal crack down on protesters in 2017.
- African News Agency (ANA)