When and how to pay homage as a country to seven students murdered at Mother Francisca International Bilingual College has exposed deep-rooted differences Cameroonians have following the tragic incident.
Going by a presidential decree signed Wednesday, October 28, 2020, President Paul Biya sets Saturday, October 31 as a national day of mourning. This to pundits is largely insignificant. They argue that Saturday naturally is a public holiday in Cameroon and thus needless declaring the day to mourn people killed in Kumba.
The decree states that flags will be hoisted at half-mast throughout the national territory. Apart from that, there is nothing official to mark the day. “National day of mourning on Saturday has no significance. The administration is not open on Saturday so how will this show that the nation is mourning?” Joseph, a Douala inhabitant questioned.
The Cameroon Renaissance Movement (CRM) party, following instructions from its national president Prof. Maurice Kamto, observed Thursday, October 29th as a day of mourning. Militants of the party dressed in black while carrying out their daily activities. Speaking to Mimi Mefo Info, CRM deputy national communication secretary said the government is responsible for the killings.
To Tayong Fah Elvis, “We cannot respect the national day of mourning called by the government because President Paul Biya cannot refuse to solve a problem only to wait and call for a national day of mourning when people are killed.”
He equally condemns the government’s inter-ministerial delegation to Kumba. “…members of the delegation did not visit kids receiving treatment in hospitals in Kumba nor the scene of the action. So why did they spend taxpayers’ money traveling to Kumba?”
To the “Stand up for Cameroon” movement, a platform of political parties, individuals, and organizations, Friday, October 30th is the day of national mourning. In a press conference in Douala Wednesday, October 28, Stand up for Cameroon requested Cameroonians to put on black and take part in a peaceful protest to denounce the killings.
To Edith Kah Walla, one of the leading members of Stand Up for Cameroon, “Cameroonians should stand as one and put an end to the killings. It is unacceptable that students will be killed while in school. Our concern is how all this came about. This is because of poor governance in Cameroon”.
As Cameroonians argue over the best way to mourn these students, families of the kids want perpetrators of the gruesome massacre brought to book.