The unending gory pictures from Southern Cameroons for the past two years for me is stretching my understanding to its limit. Yes, Southern Cameroonians had the “temerity”, as always, to rise up against long years of marginalisation and second-class citizenship. Yes, they went down on the streets to protest, an inalienable right of all citizens in any country that lays claim to civilised governance. Yes, they took up arms to defend themselves when the government response to their protests was excessive use of military force. But no, I do not understand the extent to which a government can come down so hard on its citizens.
Someone help me understand how for two years running, a government worth its name can be mercilessly mowing down its citizens in silence. Defenceless boys and girls are being quietly decimated on our streets and in our homes (the latest case of Njikwa is telling). How has it become normal to sit idly by and watch our kith and kin being killed in total indifference? How normal has it become for a whole part of the country to be bleeding while we look the other way? The economy of the region has ground to a screeching halt. Our children can no longer school, for want of security. I read with horror the various communiqués from schools in the Southern Zone requesting parents to come collect their children from school. How long shall this sacrifice continue while a so-called President is more absorbed by elections than by peace and security in a territory we “hired” him to protect? What government sits quiet for two years while the country is being torn apart? What government watches idly as the country slides irreversibly into chaos?
Our farms have been abandoned. Businesses have crumbled. Unemployment is now rising at an alarming rate. The people have lost their sources of livelihood. Starvation is staring this region straight in the face and before long, the region will be needing real humanitarian assistance, South Soudan-style, not the contrived humanitarian assistance which the same government has used to con people out of their meagre resources. Granted, the authorities in the country have never been known for their sense of forward thinking, either out of sheer incompetence or poor planning. But, it does not take a degree in economics to anticipate the impending doom. It will come and when it does, it will be ugly.
Please, help me to understand how the notion of dialogue became a foreign and strange notion in Cameroon. Help me to understand how it became difficult for the government to talk to its citizens. Someone please explain to me how empathy and sympathy exited from our national space.
Please, help to understand, as I am lost, perplexed and frankly frightened. I am frightened because the people we thought were human beings capable of reasoning and empathy have, sadly, turned out to be cold-blooded killers. I can bet my bottom franc that had it not been for social media, the scale of the genocide would have been more horrendous.
I am scared because within the country, we have sympathizers and enablers of this ongoing genocide, while the international community is deafeningly quiet in its complicity… We have heard the usual ineffectual noises from international organisations and other “brotherly” countries. Beyond these cliché statements, radio silence. While the killing machine turns and gathers more momentum. And, it is getting worse. We will get up one day and realise that our villages and towns have become veritable ghost towns…
I am still seeking answers…
Shey Kukih Mansah