After last Monday's Ghost Town Operation that grounded activities in the two English speaking regions of Cameroon (North West and South West Regions) pundits and political observers have begun questioning the power the government exercises over these two Regions.
This can be attributed to the fact that on Monday January 9, 2017, which was the day for the resumption of the second term for the 2016/2017 academic year, the Anglophone consortium had announced that no school or business activity will be functional in the above mentioned regions.
But in its usual mannerisms, Paul Biya’s 34 year-old government has since the commencement of the Anglophone strike last November 2016, used all means ranging from attempted bribery, intimidation, threats, manipulation and even arbitrary arrests, instead of finding solutions to the concerns raised by the consortium. It has tacitly decided to go the Judas way.
Numerous press releases, radio announcements and reports were done via the state media, CRTV, stating that effective classes will resume as per the academic calendar. In an interview last week before the Ghost Town was observed, Tassang Wilfred, one of the members of the Consortium said “come Monday 9, we will see who controls Bamenda.”
The government, after dispatching a handful of Ministers with bags of money to bribe the teachers and traditional rulers in an attempt coerce their subjects into calling off the strike in both the North West and South West Regions, saw their efforts thrown to the trash as the Ghost Town Operation was a heavy success.
Political pundits have since then applauded the unity and togetherness expressed by Cameroonians of the English speaking expression, who for decades now, complain of gross injustice and marginalization. What was termed the Buea declaration now goes by the name “the Anglophone problem.”
While the academic year throughout Cameroon risks being cancelled by the United Nation Educational, Scientific and Cultural organization, UNESCO, if the students do not return to school this week so as to complete the required 900 hours of lecture a year, the government is on a hot seat as dialogue stalls.
A local newspaper reported that the strike might have just revealed how less popular the Anglophone Ministers including the Prime Minister who hails from the North West Region, are. After repeated attempts, they could not calm their people down; talk less of persuading them to call off the strike.
This, one can conclude, just goes a long way to show that these appointed Ministers have no influence on their people as not even spending a weekend with them can cause them to change their minds. To be continued…
Guinness Cameroon SA, which used to be the main promoter of the Mount Cameroon race of Hope might not be present this year. The partnership that was signed in 2013 for the multi-national brewery company to sponsor the event from 2014 expired last year 2016 and barely a month to the 22nd edition of the race, the National Athletics Federation is yet to get a main sponsor.
In an interview over a local media outlet recently in Buea, the regional president of the National Athletics Federation, Eteki Njoh pointed out that even though Guinness won’t sponsor the 38km race this year, the federation’s national president, Emmanuel Motombi Mbome will ensure that other profitable partners be brought in.
While expressing delight and optimism that the prize money per category might be increased, the regional president announced that regional test race had already been scheduled while the final test race will hold on the January 28 in Buea.
It is worth nothing that the media publicity rights of the race were awarded to ACMAR media group headed by renowned entrepreneur Tony Danshaco. His company is thus charged with getting sponsors for the event, but with the race barely a month to go, the faith of this year’s race is yet uncertain.
It should be recalled that when Guinness Cameroon used to sponsor the race, the first in both male and female category took home a cash prize of 10M FCFA each while the second and third in each category carted away a sum of 5 and 2M FCFA respectively. “
In an interview last year, the president of the national Athletic Federation whose might will be put to test this year said “we are satisfied with the partnership with Guinness and hopes it continues.”
Even though no reasons have so far being advance as to why Guinness did not renew their sponsorship agreement with the federation, pundits are of the opinion that the old days when a winner in a category used to take home one million might just be around the corner except Motombi and his team get to work.
Awa Carlson in Buea