I can audaciously say this: President Biya in 1982 was more popular in the two English-speaking provinces than in his native Mvomeka. I was in Bamenda when he came on his maiden visit and watched women and men shed tears of joy when the young successor to Amadou Ahidjo uttered the first words of his speech in English. People had been tired of his predecessor's quarter-of-a-century rule.
I can also say without any fear of contradiction that in 1992 that same person who in 1982 made a triumphal entry to the city of Bamenda became an anathema to the same population in its immense majority. So why the 360 degree turn? How does someone so loved become so despised a few years after and to the point that some go as far as calling for outright cessation?
In 1992 when Fru Ndi was said to be cheated of a presidential election victory, there hostilities began in earnest. A firestorm of ghost towns was launched. Buildings and roads were set on fire and the aim since all actions have goals was to cripple the economy and hopefully dethrone Mr Biya. All actions have consequences and the consequences were dire. Infrastructural degradation aside, armed banditry surged and the economy of the town/province tanked. The town was near ungovernable.The objective to get the economy tailspin, render the towns lawless achieved but Paul Biya is still in power and apparently waxing strong. Logic therefore dictates the question : were we drinking poison hoping that the person popular anger targeted died first?
Anglophones are incontestably very smart Cameroonians but we must not again be the smart people that do dumb things. Rightly frustrated by today's happenings: people unjustifiably arrested and locked up for months for only questioning institutional injustice and some losing their lives in the process the drumbeat by some for military confrontation is understandable. I did not say winable. For one thing to win in a battle field assumes that you have not only the better army, you have better equipment. Anything short of this is suicidal. In fact choosing to fight a lion with bare hands isn't bravery.
Let's look a endless ghost towns as a strategy since much has been said about school boycott. Precedence provides instruction hence the question what did the 1992 bone-dry ghost towns achieve except the road degradation we are left with and complaining about today? Do we want a repeat of the surge in widespread unemployment and armed banditry of the early 1990s as a a result of rendering the towns ungovernable? Like then, today most of those calling for social chaos as a strategy don't live in the chaos, they are comfortable in their homes drinking wine, their children going to school and many driving luxury cars. Who then takes the heat? The common man who can barely afford a plate of beans and puff-puff.
I am by no means asking for the marginalized to do nothing. I am saying there is a wrong way to do even the right thing.We must think and act smart. Decisions taken in anger almost certainly backfires since they are driven more by emotions than reason.
That is why we must look, think before we leap.