By Tapuka Gerald, March 8, 2017
Cameroon Journal, Kumba – Women in Kumba and others across Anglophone Cameroon territory today turned their backs against this year’s Women Day celebration, protesting Cameroon Government’s arrest and detention of their children and the atmosphere of insecurity that prevails in both regions. In Kumba, the chief economic town of the Southwest, it was a ghost, with women preferring to remain indoors.
Those that spoke to The Cameroon Journal on condition of anonymity said, they cannot be celebrating under the present condition of tension where people are indiscriminately arrested every day. When our reporter called one of the women by phone to sample her feelings and started by wishing her a “Happy Women’s Day,” she responded “Thank you ooh,” before adding that “we don’t recognize Women’s Day here, we are just here and nothing is happening.”
At about 11:30 a.m. we spoke to another lady who will not want her name mentioned. Asked why she didn’t take part in the match pass, her response was; “no me…oh and confessed that she wasn’t going to be “the one to betray the Anglophone course.”
Worst still, most of the women confirmed to our reporter that this year they chose to deliberately not bother to buy the fabric designed for the celebrations. According to them, “they have no value.” They added that “at a time when they are going through tough times they cannot be celebrating.” It was about midday when another lady confessed that she has seen only one woman with the fabric.
Despite all the backlash, some administrative authorities still afforded to put up a show. A short lived match pass was put up at the Kumba Grand Stand. However, the Grand Stand was almost left deserted with almost all the seats empty. The match pass which lasted for less than 30 minutes was only made up of women of the Public Service, including the media, Health, Gendarmerie, Police and Finance. The women were booed incessantly by bike riders who called them all sorts of name. A local reporter confessed that Women’s Day celebration in Kumba has never been this low key. Most roadside stores and businesses were closed because of the ghost town.
News about the event from other parts of the South West was no better. In Buea, for example, many women also narrated how they didn’t see any reason to match when there are more pressing things happening around like the Anglophone crisis. In Limbe, some teachers and Civil Servants were seen matching, but it couldn’t be compared to the extravaganza of last year.
The situation was even worst in rural areas. In Bombe, a town in Mbonge subdivision, women teamed up to oppose participating in any form of Women Day celebration. This is how one lady narrated the situation to our reporter; “The women have cooperated to frustrate the activities of the day. Most often, women start organizing activities even two weeks before the day itself except this year.”
In Dikome Balue Subdivision in Ndian Division, a group of women laughed at our reporter after he asked why they refused buying the official fabric. “We cannot celebrate when our children are being arrested every day,” they said. In the bother town of Ekok, a source told us that “nobody is going to match, even the fabrics were not bought and everybody is at home.”
When asked whether the DO didn’t coerce them to match, she asked rhetorically; “who will listen to the DO?” It was a similar story of Women’s Day boycott in Fontem and Wabane in Lebialem Division.
It is to be noted that prior to this day the banned Anglophone Consortium engaged in a massive sabotage campaign in which they called on Women to boycott the festivities.