- Gabsibuim Sets New Record
- Gov’t Uses Occasion To Dissuade Youths From Anglophone Crisis
- Tight Security Ensures Pump & Fanfare
By Basil K Mbuye, Njodzeka Danhatu & *Clarisse Ekowe
The 25th edition of the Mount Cameroon Race of Hope that took place on Saturday, February 22, saw Godlove Gabsibuim and Tatah Carine, emerging as the day’s best winners in the seniors categories.
During this year’s edition, Godlove Gabsibuim set a new record, winning the race for the 5th time.
With the victory, Gabsibuim becomes the most successful athlete in the male category.
He first won the race in 2012, and later 2013. He will go on to win the race in 2015 and 2018 before winning this edition. Coincidentally, in all the editions that Gabsibuim has won the race, he has done so each time the previous winner of the race was Eric Mbatcha. When Mbatcha won the 2011 edition, Gabsibuim won the 2012 and 2013. Mbatcha will again win the 2014 edition while Gabsibuim won the 2015 edition. It was the same scenario when Mbatcha won in 2019 and Gabsibuim has won the 2020 edition.
Speaking to reporters, Gabsibuim described himself and Mbatcha as two lions in the Race Of Hope.
Since 1973 that the race started, Gabsibuim is the only person that has won it five times. He is followed by British-born Stifter Walter, Gongah Pongha and Eric Mbatcha, who have all won the race tree times each.
Gov’t Tries To Dissuade Youths From Anglophone Crisis
The Government of Cameroon has beckoned on the youths to give peace a chance and shun violence.
This was the message sent to youths during the 25th edition of the Mount Cameroon Race of Hope in Buea, on February 22, held under the theme: “Let’s give peace a chance.”
The event, held at the Molyko Omnisport Stadium, witnessed peace messages posted at nearly all corners of the stadium.
Some of the banners read: “Youths, let’s make Cameroon a heaven of peace and land of opportunities”; “Security is the sine qua none condition for peace, economic and social progress.”
The race was chaired by Cameroon’s Minister of Sport and Physical Education, Narcise Mouelle Kombi. Most athletes carried peace plants to the point of arrival.
However, some participants say the messages were intended to divert the attention of the youths from the ongoing Anglophone Crisis.
The government is thus exploiting every means available to handle the imbroglio, though political analysts have said the Government is doing too little towards finding a solution to the crisis.
Though the race attracted a bigger crowd this time than in yesteryears, observers said it is nothing compared to the years of yore, before the crisis.
The race used to draw thousands from within and without; some came as early as one week before the race and the town used to boom day and night up till the day after the event.
Tight Security Ensures Pump & Fanfare
This edition experienced a slight improvement on the turnout, as compared to 2019. The race had lost its pump and fanfare as one of the crowd-pulling sporting events in Cameroon since the start of the Anglophone Crisis.
However, the 2020 edition was exceptional with no call for boycott from the Separatists, resulting in an improvement on the turnout. Buea inhabitants lined the main street to watch the athletes ascend and descend the Chariots of the Gods – Mt. Cameroon.
Others found comfortable spots to dine and drink with relatives, especially at the level of Upper Farms, where business was booming.
Southwest Chiefs, on the eve of the race, gathered and poured libation to ensure a successful event.
The race also offered a platform for lovers of culture to savour the rich cultural diversity from the 10 Regions of Cameroon. Over 20 cultural dance groups who answered present thrilled the crowd, for example, the Nganya Dance Group of the Bakweri people.
The cheering crowd could not have enough from the Fulani Dance Group from the North Region who exercised great mastery of their energetic dance steps. The Bakossi Dance Group, Bensikin Dance Group, Mbonge, Mfunyi, among others, also stamped their legacy in the minds of culture lovers.
Some artists dished out soul-touching musical shows, from old timers, bikutsi and hip-hop to satisfy all age groups present.
Observers said there was an improvement in the population turnout for this edition.
“This year, it looks much more encouraging as compared to recent years since this [Anglophone] struggle started. It gave me the opportunity for the public to know about my stand which is the Fako Heart Centre and our services. Actually, we carried out free screening on high blood pressure, blood sugar levels, diabetes and many more. Since it was free, many people showed up to check themselves,” Dieudonne Lyonga, Fako Heart staff said.
“It’s exciting because they put in much effort to make the environment interesting and to project our cultures. The artists did their best to make sure the population had fun. I am also very satisfied about the security situation; they were screening us before we entered the stadium to ensure our safety,” Juliette Limunga said.
“With this turnout, I am impressed and this shows that Cameroonians have been able to move on, because, last year, we did not have this turnout. With all the military protecting us today, I feel safe,” Emmanuella Eyoung from Mutengene remarked.
*(UB Journalism Student on Industrial Attachment)