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Buea Council Workers Begin Hunger Strike Over Unpaid Salaries 

By Basil K Mbuye

Mayor of Buea Council, Patrick Ekema,

Some Buea Council workers have announced a hunger strike beginning May 18 over unpaid salaries.
The disgruntled employees said the Council owes them salaries ranging from 17 to 22 months including what they described as poor treatment they receive from Mayor Patrick Ekema Esunge.

“The actions of the Mayor of Buea are threatening the peace of the Buea people. Nobody will accept to go home without salaries for three months, but some of us have persevered for 17 months.

We are planning a hunger strike which will start on Thursday, May 18 so that it culminates at the highest point with the May20 festivities,” spokesperson of the disenchanted workers, Hans Monono, said.

“The Mayor should not claim to go and be stopping strike at the Buea Regional Hospital when there is fire at his doorsteps; we are planning a strike in the days ahead,” Monono asserted.

According to the Council workers, the Mayor has not given any reason as to why their salaries have not been paid for months now despite the fact that they are working. Also, they lamented that all their efforts to see the Mayor and get reasons why their salaries are suspended have all been futile.

“I have letters in my file which we have been writing to the Mayor and he has never replied any of the letters. When you write to him, he doesn’t receive.

When you go to his office, he doesn’t receive you no matter how long you stay there to insist. It is as a result of this that we had to be writing through the Post Office so that the letter would come directly to him, and when he sees them, he sends them back to us,” Monono explained.

The workers; Charles Moki Toni, Martin Njie Evakise, Hans Monono Manga and Elizabeth Ngowo Mbua, are all permanent council workers who have worked for for at least 15 years.

The workers complained that despite writing to the Southwest Governor, Bernard Okalia Bilai, and copying the Southwest Attorney General, the Regional Secretary of the National Commission of Human Rights and Freedom, the President of the Southwest Administrative Court and the Buea Special Branch Police Commissioner, nothing has been said regarding their situation.

However, only the Southwest Regional Delegation of Labour and Social Security has reacted and has issued five summons to Mayor Ekema, and he has failed to show up.

The disgruntled workers also lament what they described as the tyrannical rule of Mayor Ekema. They said the Mayor marginalises and intimidates them on a daily basis; they are demoted just to make their job in the council unbearable so as to see them resign.

With their families suffering from hunger as a result of the suspension of their salaries for months, the workers have vowed to stop at nothing until the world hears their cry and justice is served.

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