Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Opinion: Mourning Day with Biya in Etoudi, PM Yang on Safari Trip in Buea, Limbe

October 24 2016, was national day of mourning in Cameroon and in my understanding, it supposed to be marked by mourning memorial activities,a minute of silence in memory of Cameroonians who were brutally slaughtered in the Eseka train crash. The flying of the country's flag at half mast was also characteristic of that national day of mourning. 

The Eseka train catastrophe which has left Cameroonians traumatised and maybe for quite some time was ‘celebrated’ with surprises and certainties that calls on any citizen to really question him or herself whether the victims of the tragedy deserve such cruel death.

Mass was said in Eseka and other parts of Cameroon and the world. Blood donation are going on in hospitals. Victims are receiving treatment in hospitals while others are being amputated. 

Yet, some compatriots are still searching for their  lost loved ones in the rubble of Camrail death trap. Families are thinking of what do with the corpses of those that were found.

In such a situation in any normal country, Cameroonians expected their President, Paul Biya, who declared the national day of mourning to mount the rostrum in Eseka or Yaounde and mourn with his country.We expected the government to provide the much needed psychological support to the families by telling them and the country the way forward after the tragedy. We needed a minute of silence in memory of the victims and for their souls to rest. I expected to see Camrail officials give hope to the families (yes, the Cameroonians who died were not being transported for free) by taking an engagement in public to compensate the victims without delay.

Surprisingly and not surprisingly, the President who decreed the day of mourning, stayed in the people’s Unity Palace (maybe on his knees praying) and his entire government failed to commune with the people during this sad moment in the history of our country. 

The President of the Senate, Nyiat (who is constitutionally suppose to succeed the President in case he dies in office), the speaker of the National Assembly, Cavaye Yegue, were no where to be found.

The most curious part in the national day of mourning is that, Prime Minister Yang Philemon was on a safari trip in Limbe and Buea alongside Ministers Belo Bouba Maigari, Pierre Ismaël Bidoung Kpwatt, Jacqueline Koung à Bessike, Abba Sadou and others.The excuse is that they were inspecting the fields to be used for the upcoming Female African Cup of Nations,Afcon.  I saw how some of them were smiling ear to ear on pictures and feeling quite free!

It is true that after the incident nation has to move forward, Cameroon has to host Afcon. It’s quite true and obvious.  We have to do all kinds of preparations. Traditional dance groups will also display. And they would even receive “farotage.” 

Yes we have to move forward. The PM and others were aware that Afcon would be hosted years back. It’s not the usual rush that would change anything in the preparations. Again, we were in a day of National Mourning!.

In as much as some congratulate the government for their fast reaction (buy burying a container at Matomb for circulation to resume between Douala and Yaounde, with all the risks still involved) after the incident, there is the feeling that if the President, the  PM and all the other Ministers lost a wife, husband, child brother, sister or relative they would not have traveled to Buea and Limbe on a national mourning day. I really doubt and wonder if such a  visit could not be postponed. I asked myself at one point whether these government officials have souls?

If the Cameroonian government thinks compatriots  shall wholeheartedly hurry and join them in Afcon, without making peace with those who lost their lives in Eseka, they might be mistaken.

Though not a prophet of doom or a bird of ill-omen the entire event risks being a big fiasco! The souls of those who were massacred in Eseka will keep lingering for long on our country, if we do not make peace with them.

The Eseka tragedy for keen observers of Cameroon’s evolution for decades simply reechoed I deep rooted malaise in a society characterized by theft of public funds, lack of vision, wickedness and greed and all social ills. If our country had some dignity for the innocent compatriots, the Eseka incident was good enough for all Cameroonians to take to the streets in a revolution to tell the regime, that we prefer to die fighting than to be slaughtered like pigs in the guise of a train accident.

I am of the opinion that in a society where the people have been oppressed for too long change could come in any form: through the ballot box, or in the most violent way. 

My fear (which I don’t think I have any, anymore) is that when change is gotten through the violent means, it takes lots of time for any society to gain its sanity. 

There would be no peace for those who have been stealing and plundering the resources of our country. Their family members and those who have been abetting the rotten system with no moral authority will have to be haunted by the spirit of deceased patriots who, though having the will to contribute to build the country are seen as enemies of the Republic. The looters will have no where to run to. Desecrating the land of Eseka remains a desecration too many.

The expectation is that the Biya regime and its business partner Vincent Bollore of Camrail, have a responsibility to carter for entire funeral of Cameroonians who who killed in the most cruel way by the negligence and incompetence of a totally failed system which continues to suck the blood of innocent citizens. 

Creating thousands of commissions of inquiry which do not include the family members of victims, Members of parliament, (if they too are not part of the problem in Cameroon) lawyers and Camrail’s insurance officials, serves no purpose and only provocks the soul of those who lost their lives.

Cameroonians should be ready, to pay the price, especially the supreme price, (that they seem to fear so much) if future generations of the country are to stay therein and benefit from the resources we have, than rushing to other countries, risking their lives further.

I am still thinking about what this young Cameroonian meant when he wrote in a facebook comment: GRAND WE DON DIE FOR MBOKO HERE OH!

Solomon Amabo, Cameroonian Patriot.

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