Cameroon’s Minister of Communication, Issa Tchiroma Bakary, has been slammed for flaring angers within ranks of English speaking Cameroonians. The smash was dished out by observers recently, following the Minister’s declaration that the four floors of the National Assembly ‘Glass House’ razed on Thursday, November 16, 2017, was an accident.
They argue that the Government mouthpiece would have hastily blamed the occurrence on supposed terrorists, extremists and secessionists, had the same incident been in either of the two English speaking Northwest and Southwest Regions. Their annoyance is that the same thing is given different names on both sides of the Mungo; the saintly name to the “privileged” Francophone Regions and the impious name forced on the “underprivileged”Anglophone Regions. Such acts which they, commentators, spitefully noted are aimed at flaring up Anglophone anger which has been on a steady rise since Common Law Lawyers joined teachers on an indefinite strike action last November.
While security officials have opened investigations to establish the cause of the disaster, Minister Tchiroma on state media, CRTV, noted that “according to the clues we have today, the cause of the fire is accidental. He bluffed Government efforts in redressing the situation, stressing that the loss had not been estimated.
“All available national expertise is being used to assess the damage and tell us precisely the origin of the fire. The Government has taken and will take all measures to make sure that the National Assembly will sit as normal without experiencing any disturbance,” he boasted.
His address met very stiff resistance from regime fault finders who gritted that he (the Minister) is seizing every opportunity and creating some just to get the worst out of Anglophones. Nkengmeyi Gideon, a doctoral Political Science student in Yaoundé, wept that hoes, machetes, pick axes and other farming tools had been seized from farmers in the crisis stricken Regions. He swore that until the same is done for farmers in the former French Cameroon; and the Minister indicts terrorists and secessionists for the Glass House smouldering, the country might be unconsciously bidding farewell to its propagated oneness and indivisibility.
Meantime, the Thursday razing which witnesses first spotted at about 10pm gutted the fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh floors of the ‘Glass House,’ leaving pillars for posterity and affecting the third floor. The flames were contained by National Fire Fighting Brigade six hours later. Though they succeeded in saving nothing from the administrative offices, they saved the auditorium from the mayhem and recorded no human losses. The people’s representatives have been meeting for about a week to lay down laws for the nation. Although the lawmakers are said to be endorsing laws already drafted by hierarchy, they have not failed to record their traditional triennial sittings.
House Speaker, Honourable Cavaye Yeguie Djibril and his younger ilk sauntered to the Ngoa Ekelle scene to have first hand assessment. They joined the Governor of the Centre Region, Nasseri Paul Bea, the Senior Divisional Officer for Mfoundi, Jean Claude Tsila, security details of the area, and a crowd who watched in bewilderment as hard earned tax money charred.
Witnesses say Cavaye expressed regrets over the loss as if it were his private property. Critics teased that such feelings are legit for someone who has headed the house for 30 years.
It is still cloudy what the tale would have been like had the building caught fire during the day when members of the lower house of assembly were concerting in their last session for the 2017 fiscal year.
Pundits have been busy linking the mishap to the boycott of this session by SDF MPs. They equally want to make belief that it is not unconnected to the Anglophone crisis. In the meantime, denizens are still flaring with anger at the fact that the House head had supposedly warned opposition SDF MPs he would not tolerate any debates on the Anglophone crisis in parliament. He is reported to have spewed the threats in a behind-the-scenes meeting to ascertain the raison d’être behind the SDF’s boycott of the opening plenary and threats to steer clear of the November session save satisfactory measures are taken.
CRTV reported that only five fire fighting trucks battled to contain the flames. The question that remains unanswered is, where the many such trucks which parade every 20th May could be.
It should be recalled that as the Anglophone crisis rages on, fire has reduced markets, schools and have recently upgraded to administrative structures. Could the duo be unrelated? What is its next destination?
By Claudia Nsono