While Government is battling to bring to a halt the imposed ‘ghost town’ days in the two English speaking Regions, the Youth Day celebration which is fast approaching imposes a double challenge for them to combat with as it falls on Monday; a day observed as ‘ghost town.’
Unlike the previous years when taxis could ply the road on such a day, this 2019 comes with an increase in the momentousness of respecting an imposed ghost town due to the upsurge of threats, occasional torture and even execution of some innocent Cameroonians who dared going against such a restriction.
With the severity with which ghost towns have been respected recently by the vulnerable population in these Regions, the Youth Day Celebrations on February 11 comes with much uncertainty in as far as the turnout of youths to give the day the grandeur it deserves is concerned. Though at the level of preparations by officials, it was revealed recently that Buea will host just one marching centre and that nursery pupils won’t take part in the march past this year adding to other amendments, the safety of the children who will turn out on that day as of now is still a concern to most parents.
Regarding the high rate at which students are being abducted, with some having their fingers chopped off, some parents which The Rambler spoke with noted that they are not certain if their children would be taking part in this year’s Youth Day manifestation. Ejang Celestin, a Buea based parent said it would be better for his child to eventually serve any punishment that may come up as a result of it not participating in the Youth Day march past than to participate and end up sustaining injuries, abducted or even killed outright.
Others like Ejang wondered about the security of their children. “Getting first to the marching ground is already an issue since taxis don’t circulate on Mondays in Buea and even if transportation is made available for children participating, what of the security of that child away from the ceremonial grounds? We know these boys are always civilian wears, hence it would be difficult to identify them” Ashu Brenda, a mother worriedly stated.
Though many are not in support of the imposed ‘ghost towns’ which have very seriously impoverished the Regions, making life hellish and unbearable to its occupants, respecting embargo they stated, is mainly for the fear of the unknown. Hopes are however high especially on the part of the organizers and Government top brass that the Youth Day celebration would be a success with the expected population.
By Relindise Ebune