By Hans Ngala, Friday, September 22, 2017
Cameroon Journal, Bamenda – Thousands of protesters in the Southern Cameroons Friday, marched on the palaces of their Fons and Chiefs demanding to be heard for their demand for independence and the unconditional release of family members in detention.
Friday’s protests defied months of militarization, intimidation and detention of Anglophones in the country.
The protests began in the Southwest area with social media going amog with images from Bafia-Muyuka showing a mammoth crowd of thousands marching with peace plants through the village chanting songs of independence and asking for the release of those detained.Images later came in from Limbe (formerly Victoria) then more came in from Ndu, Kumba,Kumbo, Muyuka, Jakiri and pretty much any village even Djottin and Weh.
The protests took the crowds to the palaces of Fons who under the auspices of NOWEFU have since called on Preisdent Paul Biya to run again in next year’s polls. Thousands stormed the palaces of Nso, Mankon and Nkwen as was the case in other villages and cities with some MPs notably the Hon.Mbah Ndam of the SDF, and another MP in
in Belo boldly stepping out on the side of the protesters.
In Bamenda, which is usually the epicenter of the struggle,but at about 10:00AM, the atmosphere changed as whistles, honking motorbikes and thousands of people chanting songs of freedom with peace plants in their hands flooded the streets. From Finance Junction, they marched up to Station Hill(though briefly blocked by soldiers in full combat gear) and could be heard chanting “No Violence, No Violence, No Violence” and “How Many People Paul Biya Go Kill ooo” Another crowd diverted from
Finance Junction and went to Commercial Avenue with women and girls at the forefront. The crowd that marched to Station Hill came back and hoisted the flag of West Cameroon or Ambazonia to the thrill and cheers of the huge crowd. The flag fluttered untouched until an hour later when gendarmes brought it down.
Reports reaching us say one person has been killed in Santa although the circumstances under which this happened are not yet clear at press time. Four people are reported to be in hospitals in Kumbo following gunshot wounds. The protests were largely peaceful and no one was hurt. The incident that led to shooting in Kumbo came after a soldier fired a teargas canister at a peaceful crowd and a youth picked it and threw it back at the soldiers and it exploded.
The Southern Cameroons Ambazonia United Front (SCACUF) called for protests on September 22 as President Paul Biya was due to address the 72nd UN General Assembly. Since the latest wave of protests began late last year, there have not been any street demonstrations of this scale in the former British Southern Cameroons.
Hopes are high for what will happen on October 1st which is the day the British Southern Cameroons got its independence from Britain but which the government of East Cameroon has for more than 50 years labelled an “illegal” celebration, arresting those who attempt to celebrate it. East Cameroon does not celebrate its independence on January 1, 1960 nor will it allow West Cameroon to celebrate hers. Instead, 20th May which was plebiscite
day (and which has been distorted to National day) has been the main celebration. With today’s peaceful show of defiance which has cost some Southern Cameroonians their lives, it seems like the territory is poised to celebrate its independence (and to take it) for the first time in 56 years on October 1st, 2017.
Southern Cameroons’ grievances did not just begin in October 2016, they have been brewing since the West Cameroon (English-speaking) and East Cameroon (French-speaking) came together in a two-state Federation. For years however, the former has continually felt dominated and marginalized by the latter and things have been further complicated by the fact that the two parts have two different legal practices with West Cameroon practicing British Common Law and East Cameroun Civil Law.
However, the Francophone-dominated government in Yaounde appoints magistrates to West Cameroon courts with little or no knowledge of Common Law. West Cameroonians too have complained of being poorly represented in the government with just a handful of their kin in government and none holding any senior position. Complains have been made to the effect that even the Prime Minister (the highest ranking West Cameroonian) is only comparable to an “errands boy”, reason why he came to seek solutions to the teachers’ grievances in November 2016 but Higher Education Minister Fame Ndongo (who is answerable to the PM) was granting an interview to France 24 saying there was no problem whatsoever, in West Cameroon.