For those who have been in distant relationships, the return of a lover from a journey or trip is always packed with emotions and anxiety. For those whose parents live and work in a different town, the transient moments of a parent returning from a short weekend is always expected and well planned for, by the family.
Many would expect a similar feeling to englobe the atmosphere of any town with the visit of a dignitary.
The return of Cameroon’s Prime Minister and Head of Government to Bamenda for his second time since his appointment to the function was however void of all the gusto that normally characterizes such a high-level visit.
Prime Minister, Chief Dr Joseph Dion Ngute is visiting Bamenda to meet with representatives of all walks of life, to herald the compendium of the success of the multinational dialogue that was called by the government to end the Anglophone Crisis.
The Head of Government, an Anglophone, might still be in Bamenda, but his journey and message seems to be that of a mother forcing the baby to eat, yet the child is rejecting it. The little that reaches the stomach might just make the child to smile at the end.
Bumpy entrance into the Region
Few minutes to midday, October 5th, the Prime Minister arrived the gate way into Bamenda in a long motorcade accompanied by the Regional Governors of the North West and the West Regions as well as a cross section of Anglophone elites. The planning committee had organized that the Prime Minister walks into the region. What was supposed to be a well mapped out strategy to tell the world the region is recovering from the Anglophone crisis, ended in a fiasco, demonstrating that the insecurity in the Region still thrives. It was a chaotic scene.
The Head of Government was almost hand lifted by his security detail into his car, as a scene of welcome quickly metamorphosed into a shooting arena. Like a defeated mob, the triumphant entry initially envisaged to be full of joy had become a struggle for survival, with both the guest and the hosts scampering for safety.
The visit to the North West Region came shortly after a similar but successful trip to the South West Region, which happened at the heart of a three-week-long lockdown ordered by a faction of Ambazonia separatists, operating from Maryland, USA. A few days after the visit to Buea, another stay-at-home order was passed by a different faction of Ambazonia separatist operating from Norway.
Despite the disagreement in strategy and the clear power-tussle between the different separatist factions, the Cameroon security apparatus was not leaving anything to chance.
Evacuations were carried out in places such as Up Station Bamenda, and Commercial Avenue grand as these were perceived as possible soft spots for the separatist fighters to operate. This has also triggered a heavy deployment of troops across Bamenda, the lone commercial avenue deserted and even blocked by the elements of the armed forces, free movement of city dwellers affected and economic live slumped.
Message for the Bamenda man
The Prime Minister has for the second time addressed the region in the pidgin language. From the gateway into Bamenda, Customs Junction and Ayaba hotel, the Prime Minister referred to himself as the messenger of peace sent by President Paul Biya. At every stop, the Prime Minister has been taking off time to preach the efforts of the government and achievements registered after the national dialogue that took place in 2019.
This was the same language he used the last time when he was in Bamenda. Though many have questioned why he speaks only in pidgin, it has been argued the Prime Minister is on a fire fighting mission in the Region and will not want any language gap to come into play, hence his constant use of pidgin English to make sure that everyone should understand his message.