Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Santa Council Workers on a do-or-die combat over tax drive in Mile 12 Santa

On monday june 22nd, at the Santa Mile 12 Market local hawkers fought off the Council Workers. As the hawkers are not satisfied with what is done with the tax money in return. And questioning the time of collecting the tax money by the Council Officials. As the Council Offices were closed. The Vanguard caught it on camera.

It was a serious fight, exchange of blows and mortal fighting skills between the local hawkers and the Santa Council Officials. All at a time when we as The Vanguard journalist we’re just driving by, coming from Santa Mbei Village. While behind the steering wheel trying to catch the fight on camera while parking the car safely, my colleague jumped out of the car trying to get straight to the source, getting the story. As we just drove in to the scene accidentally, the story unfolded in front of our eyes.

On june 22nd at about four o’clock in the afternoon the local sellers stood their ground: not willing to pay any money to the council worker. From a source on the scene we learned that the businessmen are not satisfied how the Santa Council is taking care of them. But they still have to pay taxes. Besides, it’s a increasing habit of the officials to try to collect money on odd hours than what is usual. Next to that, the Council Office is closed at four in the afternoon. Making it an arguable question why the council officials were collecting money while being off duty? We will try to get the answer on this question in a later edition.

Seeing a photo-camera in action, one of the Council Officials rush to us, threaten to smash the camera. We, as journalist, stood our ground too and called his bluff: “Just try!” Surprised with the press around on the scene and the lack of fear for his authority, took him off guard. He said that we had to identify ourselves as journalist before starting to shoot photos. We replied that we were not asking him anything or hiding who we were. We even have ‘PRESS’ spelled out clearly on our car. As another witness remarked: “These are international journalist. Let them do their work!” And we pointed it out that what happened did happen so in public space. And we were just following the action and monitoring the powers that be as independent journalists. As that is exactly the whole duty of journalism. He left us alone.

The Vanguard, national newspaper Cameroon
Special Report by: George Kweilla Fombutu and Auke VanderHoek.

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