|Bamenda Council Seals|
The Government Delegate to the Bamenda City council in the North West Region of Cameroon has hinted that the government intends to close down all shops in the country, whose owners respect calls for civil disobedience, popularly known as ‘ghost towns.’
Vincent Ndumu Nji spoke August 29 few hours after he led troops of gun totting policemen to the Bamenda market where seals were systematically placed on doors.
The seals did not carry any legal provisions giving him the powers to do so, but simply advice traders to contact him, (Government Delegate).
Vincent Ndumu, later confirmed earlier rumours that the shops were shut down because the traders respect Ghost towns days. Hear Him in an excerpt:
|Vincent Ndumu: Is your action backed by law?|
“That is the administration, (decision) not of the city council but of the region and the division and of this country in general.
We would also impose a certain kind of penalty against you people (traders). That is the reason why markets of the Bamenda City Council were closed today (August 29 2017).
So that they take up the measurement of respecting ghost towns up to even three days by people who have no direct relationship with them. And in addition to that we have selected all the leaders of the various unions of the markets and we are going to seal all their shades,
until they are capable of bringing order within our main markets as they have been doing, whenever it means contesting against any decision taken by the city council, or the administration, “he said in a worried and shaky tone. He did not precise how long the closure will last or make any allegation to the effect that traders did not pay their taxes or rents.
|Sealed shops in Bamenda|
The closure of the shops in the Bamenda main market and other markets, comes a day after a similar action was taken by local authorities in Mamfe in the South West region of the country.
The Senior Divisional officer for Manyu Division, Oum II Joseph was quoted as giving similar reasons like that of the government Delegate of Bamenda. The move has been interpreted as a measure taken by government for traders to abandon ghost towns and press for school resumptions.
A trader in Mamfe is quoted by media reports as saying the closure has no impact on them. “They can seal the shops and do whatever. We are determined to get what we want," the local resident said.
|Sealing of shops in Mamfe; Credit Photo Eric Tataw|
Ghost towns were first imposed on January 9 2017 by the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium, as a means they said, to oppose the brutality of protesters in Bamenda late December 2016 by security forces.
The closure of shops precedes the militarisation of then British Southern Cameroons otherwise known as Anglophone Cameroon with some more than 1000 gendarme officers. Southern Cameroonians had been demanding wide ranging legal and educational reforms.It has been maintained by other liberation movements notably, the Southern Cameroons Ambazonia Consortium, United Front, SCACUF on similar grounds.