Cameroon: Ekema and the baby days of the Anglophone Crisis

Par Atia T. AZOHNWI | Cameroon-Info.Net
BUEA - 27-Oct-2019 - 15h09   5256                      
Patrick Ekema, left, preparing March Past W. Musa
Ekema a few years into his mandate Ekema Patrick Esunge was called upon to launch a war against days of civil disobedience ordered by armed men fighting for the independence of a country they call Ambazonia.

As early as in 2016 when the corporatist demands were presented by Anglophone Teachers and Common Law Lawyers to protect the Anglo-Saxon heritage, Ekema set to work.

Convened by Buea Mayor, Ekema Patrick Esunge, the people gathered at the Buea Independence Square on November 30, 2016. They keenly listened to Mr. Lord Mayor and his associates.

The participants: taxi drivers, commercial motor bike riders, petty traders among others.

Some journalists also answered present while police and gendarme officers stood at strategic places in case of any unforeseen.

Then Mr. Mayor dressed in a black suit mounted the rostrum to do what he knows to do best during political rallies. Cameras ran their lenses around the area and even Nokia touch phones had use.

Mr. Mayor spoke and spoke, then spoke again but the subject of his speech was only saluted with sighs and bored faces. At a certain moment, he said something which on a normal rally day would have received a standing ovation but to his greatest surprise just three people clapped - a certain president of an Okada union, one council police and another person whose identity was not important at that moment.

Mr. Mayor spoke about the over 100 bikes which were impounded by the Buea Council and said he has granted them amnesty. In addition, the Mayor promised to share 1000 reflective jackets to the motorcycle taxi riders in Buea municipality. These points received deafening plaudits.

Then he tried to penetrate through the teachers’ and lawyers’ ongoing strike action. He touched on the November 28, 2016 strike by students of the University of Buea and in general the Anglophone problem which I am not still convinced he admitted its existence.

According to Mr. Mayor, all had been put in place to ensure all the arrested UB students were freed and according to his initial plan were supposed to have been presented before the attendees of his rally.

On the strike action going on, the Mayor stated that violent demonstrations have been brought to the public place, and he was calling on people to return to their daily activities as before.

He further called on those he said were affected by the strike action to go to the social service of Council and be compensated. He asked for peace and requested everyone to return to their duties since peace will only reign if everyone went back to their duty posts.

Then Mr. Mayor said he had written a memorandum which was to be read before the number one authority of the Region at his office. From where I stood, I observed disappointment on the faces of those present and they kept on saying: "useless meeting”, “nonsense”, “bad luck”, “I dong waste my time for come here" etc. He ended his meeting by asking the gods of "Epasa Moto" instead of God Almighty to be with the people.

Following the Mayor's speech was a walk to the Southwest Governor's office. The Master of Ceremony mounted a mobile caravan and kept on praising the humility of Mr. "Lord" Mayor who had abandoned his air conditioned car to trek with the people for the second time as Mayor.

Then I turned behind and noted that the population had dropped by more than half and a hungry, desperate, and angry few still proceeded to Mr. Governor's office. At the Governor's office, the people gathered and waited for well over 15 minutes for Governor Bernard Okalia Bilai who appeared with his entourage and Mr. Mayor started his speech which was dominated by “Your Excellency" and "the people who voted me".

I noticed he said before the Governor that his rally was attended by over 5,000 people of which I couldn't count up to a thousand.

Mayor Ekema Patrick Esunge presented an apology to the Governor’s office and begged for the release of University of Buea students arrested and detained as a result of a demonstration on November 28, 2016.

Ekema told Governor Okalia Bilai that he and his people had come to apologise on behalf of the population; where they went wrong, so that they should move into the festive season with purity. The festive season, he says, is a period for reconciliation and forgiveness – apparently why he shook hands with Chief (Councillor) Molinge Ikome David (now of blessed memory).

The Governor held the view that some individuals, identified and unidentified, decided to destabilise the town during the on-going 2016 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations games.

On the teachers’ strike, Governor Okalia Bilai said some identified and unidentified people are preventing some teachers and children from going to school. He said it is criminal to prevent children from learning. “Let the children go to school,” he said.

On the way forward, the Governor agreed with Mr. Mayor that with the coming of December and Christmas, it is time for reconciliation and peace.

He assured the Mayor and his group that their memorandum and worries would be forwarded to the high quarters.

What was expected to be a memorandum became a letter to praise others. Then I couldn't continue listening since I could then agree with many other participants that the meeting was a useless one. The said meeting did not have those directly linked to the problem in attendance, it was just a way of drawing media attention, and it was politically motivated. This is where I ended my coverage of the rendezvous since I was highly provoked by the emptiness of the meeting. But I heard from an unconfirmed source that the meeting had "ngombo" which motivated some of its attendees - FCFA 1,000, they say.


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