Tuesday the 17th of January 2017 marked day three of the civil disobedience campaign across Southern Cameroons. Although the Biya Francophone Beti Ewondo government had earlier dismissed the level of participation as insignificant, the success of the policy prompted Yaoundé to make a dramatic U-turn banning the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society and arresting its leaders. Local reporting in Bamenda and Buea shows that many Anglophone citizens are now joining the revolution and ghost town operations are expected to continue.
The Francophone regime in Yaoundé has disconnected internet and telephone services all over British Southern Cameroons and moved the leaders arrested to an unknown destination deep inside La Republique du Cameroun. The Common Law Lawyers and the teachers’ trade unions have urged Southern Cameroonians to keep their children at home and put their faith in the Consortium. The teachers and lawyers say, no schools will resume until the demands made by the Anglophone Consortium are met. We also gathered that the Anglophone Bar Association has taken over the responsibility of releasing information coming out of the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium.
Numerous shops will remain closed in the North West and South West regions of the country today and many parents have vowed to keep their children home from school. Although the government tried to portray the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society leaders as extremists, it is now evident that the Anglophone leaders had indeed refused bribes from agents of the Francophone regime. We are expecting to see a complete absence of automobile and pedestrian traffic in normally congested areas in West Cameroon this week.
This decidedly grassroots campaign is a response to the Francophone government’s gross mismanagement of Southern Cameroon’s resources and economy and its misplaced spending priorities that privilege the already bloated security and military sectors of Francophone Cameroun at the expense of Southern Cameroon’s underfunded health and education sectors. As several British Southern Cameroonians have noted, this campaign is driven by popular support and everyday Anglophone citizens that blame the Biya Francophone Beti Ewondo regime for their increasingly difficult economic situation.
It is more dangerous now as many anonymous Anglophone actors have began taken control of the revolution following the arrest of the leaders of the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society. Opposition political parties have instructed their members to join the ghost town campaign. Concerns have been expressed over an escalation of violence in British Southern Cameroons. The specter of La Republique’s violence continues to hang over all public protests after the killing of many Southern Cameroonians in Kumba, Buea, Bamenda and Kumbo.
By Rita Akana and Sonne Peter