Last Monday, the town of Bamenda was actually declared “Ghost Town” or under citywide shutdown by the consortium of Anglophone demonstrators. Practically everything was closed: markets, schools, etc. However, that same Monday 9 January in the evening, the same consortium issued a communiqué inviting the general population to come out and resume normal activities. “But the protestors banned primary and high schools from reopening”, confided an English-speaking journalist, from Bamenda. In fact, going to the market, resuming any other income-generating activity is all, all except going back to school.
The official day to return to school was however this 9 January. We are thus slowly moving toward a lost academic year in this part of the country. As a reminder, Anglophone teachers and lawyers demand a fair management of the Republic’s wealth between the English-speaking and the French-speaking areas of the country. They regret “the marginalisation and under-development from which the population in the English-speaking regions are suffering”. The most radicals are advocating a return to a federalist system as before the independence. Negotiations between the government and the disgruntled population are ongoing. The to-ing and fro-ing of ministers to the North-West region does not seem to help put an end to the recriminations.
Monique Ngo Mayag