Elites of the South West Region of have cried out against a gradual “take over” of their land and resources by people from other parts of the country.
The lamentations were made during discussions at the South West Peace and Development Forum, a two-day event, which started at Buea Mountain Hotel on Friday, May 12.
During a discourse presented at the forum, the former President of South West Elites Association, Dr Enow Orock George, said Southwesterners are now an “endangered species” in their Region.
He alluded to “people we don’t like” taking over land, and the day to day running of towns and villages in the South West.
Dr Orock, who is a renowned medical pathologist and former Director of Buea Regional Hospital, also lamented the minimal admission of South West indigenes at state-run training institutions such as the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Buea.
His statements received wide applaud from hundreds of elites and Chiefs of the South West Region who were listening to him at the conference.
He firmly proposed the revival of the South West Elites Association, (SWELA), an association he headed from 2004 – 2010.
In further reactions, the elected Senator for Fako Division, Charles Mbella Moki, re-echoed the medical pathologist’s statements in a much forceful manner.
He took several minutes during a question and answer session to insist that the South West Region is, unfortunately, being run by people from other Regions.
Francophones dominating SONARA
Meanwhile, one of the women who spoke at the event, Sarah Namondo, was worried that South West indigenes have failed to unite and back one another, reason why they are being dominated by people who are more united for each other.
She was bitter about the recruitment of predominantly French-speaking Cameroonians at the National Oil Refinery (SONARA), in Limbe.
The former worker of SONARA said she could not get an employment contract at the company, despite working there for two years, because her bosses were French-speaking and they only responded to her in French when she asked questions.
She regretted that she also had no South West elite to turn to for help.
Regional Assembly President cuts discussions
Sarah Namondo’s outburst was cut short by the President of Southwest Regional Assembly, Zacheus Bakoma Elango, who, realised the sensitivity of the issues that were being raised, postponed discussions for the next day citing time constraints.
He did this despite protests from audiences who were keenly following and applauding the young woman for raising genuine concerns.
Yesterday’s outburst by these indigenes of the South West Region was part of a general grievance people of the Region have held for many years.
One of the goals of the peace and development forum was to get them discuss on how to build peace and development in the region that is still suffering from a six-year armed conflict.
The event is being organised by the South West Regional Assembly.