Lawmakers, Mayors and militants of opposition Social Democratic Front, SDF Party, led by its National Chairman, John Fru Ndi, today embark on a street demonstration in the South West capital, Buea.
Today’s peaceful protest in Buea, is in solidarity with striking Southern Cameroons teachers and lawyers who are demanding several reforms of the system from Yaounde.
We gathered that today’s march by the SDF bigwigs is also in solidarity with students of the University of Buea who were arrested and tortured by security forces last week for peacefully protesting against the excesses of the university administration.
Confirming the protest march in a telephone discussion yesterday, SDF Limbe I Electoral District Chairman, Godden Zama, said that SDF Chieftain, John Fru Ndi will lead the delegation comprising of Senators, members of the National Assembly, Mayors amongst others to the office of South West Governor where they are expected to submit a memo.
Though the content of the Memo remains undisclosed, we gathered Sunday that the SDF officials will through the document express their concerns over the growing marginalisation of English-speaking Cameroonians which has come to be described as ‘the Anglophone Problem.’
From the office of the South West Chief Executive, the SDF officials who are expected to be joined by thousands of militants from across the South West Region, a source confirmed to us, will stage a peaceful demonstration along the main streets of Buea. The demonstration we are told will culminate in a grand rally at Molyko Omnisport stadium.
“The rally today Monday in Buea is nonpartisan. The chairman (Fru Ndi) will be addressing Cameroonians from all walks of life despite their political inclination” said a source who pleaded to remain unnamed.
In the meantime, today’s demonstration in Buea, it should be said, comes exactly a week after John Fru Ndi led SDF lawmakers in a similar protest in Bamenda.
During the Bamenda peaceful demonstration, Fru Ndi together with SDF lawmakers from both the National Assembly and Senate, marched to the governor’s office up station and tabled their grievances.
The protest march, according to SDF officials, was intended to demonstrate their solidarity
and support to striking Common Law lawyers and teachers as well as pressure government to carry out speedy dialogue with aggrieved Anglophone groupings.
At the Bamenda rally, Joseph Wirba, SDF MP from Bui read out a statement at the Ntarikon residence of Fru Ndi before the lawmakers embarked on the street protest. He said in the statement, amongst other things, that there is growing anger among Anglophones who are being treated as second class citizens in Cameroon.
“There is the Anglophone problem. Federalism is the sustainable solution. Anglophone distinct cultural identity must be respected,’’ the lawmakers said in one of the protest banners.
“No to state-sponsored vandalism. Anglophones are not a tribal or ethnic group. We stand with the Common Law lawyers and the Teachers’ trade unions,” read one of the placards.
“No tear gas and the use of water cannon in schools, hospitals and residences,” another placard wielded by a supposed SDF militant read.
They added: “Strikes and civil disobedience are fundamental human rights.”
At the time of this report, we gathered that more security forces were being deployed to Buea.