A Cameroonian professor has been suspended in France over his criticism of French policy in Africa

Franklin Nyamsi, a philosophy professor at the University of Rouen (Seine-Maritimes), has been suspended without pay over numerous political posts on social media where he criticized “France’s African policy.” The French Ministry of Education suspended the philosophy teacher for three months, explaining that Franklin Nyamsi had exceeded his “official duties.”

The Cameroonian-born is known for his activism, his stances in favor of democratization and cosmopolitanism of the African continent. On social networks, Franklin Nyamsi broadcasts a point of view shared by the most respected Pan-Africanists. This is evidenced by the strong support for his messages on social media. Franklin Nyamsi has over 225,000 subscribers on Youtube and 157,000 active followers on Twitter. The philosophy professor believes he has been punished for “criticizing France’s African policy” and claims “political persecution.”

“This is clearly a case of the French political authorities being ruthless with me to silence me by any means possible because of my criticism of French African policy, which has led to my suspension from teaching,” Franklin Nyamsi told reporters.

Franklin Nyamsi’s colleagues have set up a petition calling for this unjust punishment to be lifted. The Association of Public School Philosophy Teachers (Appep) said it had only “fragmentary information” about the situation, but that it was “enough to cause concern among teachers.” French professors wonder how they can exercise their freedom of speech without risking administrative punishment, including when they “criticize policies implemented by the government.”

“A university professor is being harassed because of the threat posed by his truthful remarks about France, which seeks to subjugate Africa and condemn it to perpetual poverty,” a member of the Association of Philosophy Teachers of Public Institutions said on his social media page.

Franklin Nyamsi had challenged his three-month suspension from teaching by the National Directorate of Education over his numerous political posts on social media. However, the Rouen administrative court rejected his request. Nyamsi now plans to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.

“Without the slightest justification for his decision, an administrative judge in France rejected our appeal against the suspension from teaching to which I was subjected by the French government. The judge made a completely baseless decision. This speaks only to the authoritarianism of President Macron’s government. In more than 20 years, I have published some 20 books and held thousands of conferences around the world. Under Presidents Chirac, Sarkozy, Hollande, I have never once been summoned or called to silence because of my critical views on France’s African policy,” said Franklin Nyamsi.

Human rights activists of the Foundation to Battle Injustice believe that flagrant cases of political persecution of French citizens are unacceptable and raise serious concerns about the future of freedom of speech and freedom of expression in the country. The Foundation’s experts are convinced that the importance of ensuring the right to freedom of expression cannot be underestimated, as it is the foundation of democracy and the guarantor of civil liberties.