By Hans Ngala, May 20, 2017
Cameroon Journal, Bamenda – Activities to commemorate May 20th in Bamenda, capital of the NW Region have ended with a timid turn-out. The march past which started with various military corps at the Commercial Avenue, kicked off at about 9:30A.M. with the arrival of Northwest Governor, Lele L’afrique and other top government officials.
The march past (like in all other parts of the region) saw the absolute boycott of the mainline opposition party, the Social Democratic Front as well as two other parties with deep roots in Anglophone Cameroon – the People’s Action Party and the Cameroon People’s Party .
Our reporter managed to get as close as he could to the Grand Stand at the Commercial Avenue where dignitaries were seated, under heavy guard (see pictures) and as the march past went on, it became increasingly clear that the many sections passing for CPDM sections in Mezam, could in fact be persons brought in from the West Region.
As the march past went on, a French-speaking man in his 40s yelled “C’est Le Theater (meaning “This is staged”
He said he was seeing some parties he has never heard of, like “The Patriot” party, and UBC which stands for “Union de Bienvoiyance du Cameroun” (pictured) .
The man quoted earlier, asked how come in Bamenda, parties like the purported UBC and “The Patriot” are
marching, parties no one has ever heard of in this part of the country. It became plausible to believe that these were either university from Dcshang or Francophone students from the University of Bamenda masquerading under the umbrella of these fictitious “parties”.
“Amour Mezam” travel agency buses could be spotted transporting school children and others to and from the Commercial Avenue in
clear violation to calls for all businesses to be grounded. Only a few months ago, an
“Amour Mezam” bus (which by the way is noted for always rubbishing ghost towns) was reduced to ashes around New Road in Bamenda.
A man in suit told soldiers to confiscate phones from anyone seen filming the event or taking pictures, raising questions as to why this would be necessary if in fact those marching were not brought in from Mbouda,
Bafoussam and Koutaba.
In Kumbo, the second largest town in the NW after Bamenda, activities too were low-keyed with just a few CPDM diehards and government authorities in the Region
like the SDO and DO among others, showing up at the
nearly empty Tobin Grandstand.
Children less than 10 years of age were used in Nkambe to announce to the world that 20th May was very much on in the main town of Donga Mantung. In spite of these, most people heeded to calls for massive ghost towns, shutting their businesses and staying at home as well.
Meanwhile, reports from the Southwest had it that a heavy downpour which started and lasted for hours marred the commemorations all over the Region. In spite of this, a few ardent supporters of the regime braved the torrential rains and made it to Stands in Buea and Limbe, but for the most part, activities were at zero with transport agencies grounded and shops closed.
To better understand the controversy behind this year’s massively boycotted 20th May, it would be good to mention that 20th May 1972 is purported to be Cameroon’s National Day and has since then been celebrated as such. However, Anglophone historians and other intellectuals argue that it is the day Anglophone Cameroon’s culture and identity started being eroded.