Everything seemed to be set for the Cameroon worldwide peace walk that had been scheduled on the 2nd January 2017. Cameroon president Paul Biya’s speech on 31 December in which he insinuated that protesters were ‘extremists being manipulated’ did more to inflame the already precarious situation.
The President’s speech was a further example of how out-of-touch the man at the top was, about affairs in the Central African Nation of Cameroon. Riddled with a lot of contradictions, one thing that was clear from the end-of-year address was that protesters were clearly being threatened by the president. Hours following the address, this became evident as most of the strategic towns in the West Cameroon region, which were already militarised, got additional troops.
In the light of all these, it was therefore not surprising when the Civil Society Consortium issued their 11th Press release in which they assessed the situation and called off the protests scheduled for 2nd January.
This action was received with mixed feelings. While some persons were of the opinion that the Consortium had acted responsibly by thinking of the potential loss of lives, there were some persons like Mark Bareta who felt they did not have the mandate to call off the demonstrations. Others like Jet Newton felt that such an action will only embolden the regime in Cameroon.
This notwithstanding. the Leader of the West Cameroon Movement for Change, UK, Mike Takie, quickly reassured members that the Consortium had simply called off the demonstrations in Cameroon and not those planned in other places. He was very emphatic that this was rather a clarion call for the diaspora to understand the need to take the struggle abroad.
This call was hearkened by many who turned up at 10 Downing street, despite the freezing January weather. The banners and placards carried a variety of messages, all leading to one conclusion – West Cameroonians were ready for a long struggle and were not going to give up until Biya made some much-needed reforms that will guarantee the restoration of their lost dignity.
After several messages either addressing the protesters, addressing the UK Prime Minister, Theresa May MP, addressing the Biya Regime or simply addressing the general public, the protesters, walked through Whitehall to Trafalgar Square where more speeches and exaltations were made.
When the London protesters finally gathered in a local pub for some refreshments and deliberations, one thing was certain – they were poised for a long, bitter struggle. None of them was under the illusion that this was going to be an easy walk. Nonetheless, they seemed in agreement on one thing – it was either this walk was taken to its logical conclusion or West Cameroonians would see their gradual extermination by Biya.
An address from Mr. Takie further informed the group of many planned activities including upcoming demonstrations in and around London. The next destination was a revisit to the Commonwealth Secretariat to get a response to the petition handed to them a few weeks ago.
The response from all gathered was unanimous – THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES!