Scores of women groups, youth associations, masquerades and dance groups in Meme, May 20 wrestled in vain to suppress the massive National Day boycott.
The aforementioned groups turned up at the Kumba Grandstand to celebrate the 45th National Day celebration amid noticeable population boycott across Meme Division.
In Kumba, the celebration witnessed the massive participation of women associations of Bamileke extraction.
These groups virtually gave the celebration another colour in the absence of regular participating groups.
Even though there were widespread rumours that the Bameleke dance groups poured to the ceremonial ground because of FCFA 30,000 incentive given to each group, The Post could not, however, independently confirm the allegations.
The dance groups added to a few Government Primary and Secondary schools that animated the event.
Filled Day For Trainees of Teachers’ Training Colleges
A heavy demonstration of military artillery including machine guns spiced the event in Kumba.
At the Mbonge Municipal Grandstand over 14 dance groups demonstrated following a marched past that lasted less than 10minutes.
The dance groups and individual artists took over one hour to demonstrate their attachment to Cameroon’s unity.
The CPDM had the entire field as the lone political party that mobilised its militants.
Not even a single student marched in Mbonge.
The Divisional Officer, DO, for Mbonge, Simon Sombe, said the non participation of students is because examination classes are focused on the GCE.
Mayors Desert Unity March
The three SDF Mayors of Kumba deserted a Unity March staged on May 19.
They, however, showed up at the Grandstand on May 20 all dressed in mourning attire.
Before now, the SDO had told reporters the previous day that if he doesn’t see the Mayors at the event proper, actions were going to be taken against them.
Military Guard Grandstand
Two days to the celebration, soldiers spent nights securing the City Grandstand. The action came after some unidentified persons attempted to set the Grandstand ablaze.
When The Post visited the Grandstand, there were three strange black spots indicating where fire was lit. Borrowed Hair Dressers
Added to participants probably to swell the numbers, were some private hair dressers who were mobilised for the event.
The girls were ‘hired’ to increase the number of the Youth Empowerment Centres. A woman who owns a saloon was overhead threatening trainees with two weeks suspension if they fail to march.
Muddy Roads Slow Turnout
Despite the unexpected turnout at the Mbonge Municipal Grandstand, the DO argued that but for the difficult terrain, more persons would have come.
The Post witnessed scenes of CPDM militants trapped in mud in the slippery road.
Some arrived after the march-past exercise. More arrived later on and scrambled to book spots for cultural displays.
Unlike the Youth Day where youths caused confusion in Konye, the National Day across Meme was under tight security.
Government kept its promise of a hitch free celebration. No negative incident was recorded in the Division
Heavy Rains, Ghost Town Mar May 20th In Buea
In Buea, the National Day celebrations were marred by heavy rains, Ghost Town and subtle boycott. The gods of Mt Fako let loose the skies on the eve of the celebrations and by 10:00am on May 20th, there were no signs that the celebrations will commence at the Independence Square.
Tongues were already wagging that Southern Cameroons’ ancestors were lending supports to the political parties, like the SDF, CPP, PAP and USDP that advocated for a boycott of the event.
Apart from the heavy downpour, the population of Buea religiously respected the Ghost Town calls on May 20th.
While other political parties refused to march, CPDM militants hijacked the occasion, as they marched past the ceremonial ground, chanting endorsement songs to the Head of State to rule for many more years.
CDC Workers Ferried Into Buea To March
For fear of entire boycott, some workers of the Cameroon Development Corporation, CDC, were transported to Buea to swell up the number in the march-past.
After the march-past, the workers were loaded in their trucks and transported back to their respective destinations.
Media Organs Humiliated
Meanwhile, some media organs were barred from covering the event and interviewing the Governor. The names of media organs allowed to interview the governor were read several times for emphasis, leaving out the newspapers and other critical media organs.
Talking to the chosen media organs after the event, Southwest Governor, Bernard Okalia Bilai stated; “We are proud of the population of Buea for saying no to Ghost Town and violence.
They have demonstrated that we are indeed the city of Legendary hospitality and will never accept disorder in the town,” Okalia stated.
The ceremony was also marked by the award of medals to some 51 personalities.
This year’s celebrations were predicated on the theme, “Army and the nation in full synergy for a Cameroon, united in its diversity and devoted to the ideals of peace, stability and prosperity.”
Source: The Post Newspaper