If you are of this generation privileged to read through this article then I guess you should have heard of the Ghost Town Of 9th January 2017. You will also be thinking that it is the first Ghost Town experienced in Cameroon. Sorry to burst your bubble because this is actually the second experienced by the same ruling power in Cameroon.
In Cameroon in 1989, attorney and Duala chief Yondo Black formed a new major political party, initiating a significant change in the national political climate towards support for a multi-party system. The ruling party of Cameroon was the Cameroonian People’s Democratic Movement (CPDM), and at its helm was President Paul Biya. One of Black’s aims was to challenge the rule of Biya, who had been in office for nine years at that point. Biya and the party have been able to maintain a stronghold on national governance largely due to significant external support from France.
In 1990, Black and his fellow political organizers were arrested and charged with destabilizing the government and forming ethnic tension. In May of 1990, spurred on by Black’s arrest, another opposition leader, John Fru Ndi formed a political party, the Social Democratic Front (SDF). The government used violent force to break-up SDF’s first public rally in the town of Bamenda and between four and twelve people were killed. Shortly thereafter, a number of the minority political parties came together to form the National Coordination Committee of Opposition Parties (NCCOP). The three major political parties in the NCCOP were the SDF led by Ndi, the National Union for Democracy and Progress (UNDP) led by Maigari Bello Bouba, and the Union des Populations du Cameroun (UPC).
In April of 1991, tensions between opposition groups and the government grew. Between April 10 and 15, eight pro-democracy demonstrators were killed and several others were wounded. Nearly 300 students were detained in Yaounde after security forces attacked the university there. On June 25, the NCCOP declared a mass general strike across Cameroon under the name of Operation Ville Mortes (Operation Ghost Town). The aim was to shut down the function of nearly every city in the country, Monday through Friday. The strike spread across transportation services, city ports, merchant shops, and businesses. The opposition recognized that it was not realistic to ask the masses to go without access to goods and services every day of the week, and therefore businesses were open on weekends. Yaounde, the capital city, was the only city spared the effects of the strike, but seven of the ten provinces in Cameroon were effectively shut down during the week. The strike was most effective in the South, Littoral, West, Northwest, and Southwest provinces.
The NCCOP’s main goal was to paralyze the national economy and cut off support for the civil servants of the government. The NCCOP wanted to end the reign of Biya, and to establish democratic procedures for subsequent elections. The NCCOP’s primary public demand was for a sovereign national conference of all constituent parties. The main issue at this conference would be rules and procedures for the upcoming local and national elections, as well as addressing Biya’s abuse of the political system. That is the briefing from 1991 Ghost Town
Meanwhile,some years ago, the English speaking Cameroonians through a referendum decided to live with their French brothers and sisters.
This was with the motive to operating the same way Canada does with its Quebec region.Living together so that they can have a bi-cultural, bi -jural, bilingual and bi educational system. Then for 55 years things seemed to have fallen far from what was assumed back in history. The change of the Law setting and then marginalization and a lot more. You know how they say, “when sh*^t happens, just flush it”. Time has come when they Former West Cameroon wants to flush.
Today the 9th of January 2017 another Ghost Town was declared In Cameroon. Unlike the 1991 Ghost Town that involved a couple of Provinces, this one was concerned with one people of same language,cultural background and geographical heritage, the former West Cameroon who are the English speaking part of Cameroon.
Due to the ongoing Teacher and Lawyer strike, Bamenda wakes up this Monday January 9, 2017 without the usual effervescence that characterize school re-opening day. The streets are totally void of taxis, shops, business places and even money transfer agencies and banks all shut down. Drinking spots in Bamenda inside the quarter were however active at some time in the day. The “Ghost Town” went through North West as was witnessed in Banso, Nkambe, Ndu and other villages.
In the South West it was not 100% percent at the early hours of the morning as some taxis took to their normal duties but gradually but surely disappeared from the roads and again was an empty street as was in Bamenda. Buea, Limbe, Kumba and reportedly Mamfe all were on a “Ghost Town” resistance.
Karawa Diary hard the opportunity to talk to a couple of people. Mr Andrew who is a father of kids in school things that it is for the betterment of his kids and he does respect those leading the strike. Unlike in Bamenda, even drinking spots in Buea were not opened for any merry making.
Just like Hon Wirba said, Resistance shall take the lead and the resistance is happening while the Church is Praying as many clergy men have endorsed the situation.
Now, the question is if a ruling power experiences hitches like this twice in her rule is it alright to think that something has to be fixed?
Stay with Karawa Diary as we bring you updates from the turn of events Surrounding the Ghost Town.