Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Southern Cameroonians Clash with Buea Administration, Police at Rally

A rally convened at the behest of the Liberal Democratic Alliance (LDA) Party of Mola Njoh Litumbe prematurely ended at the Molyko Stadium in Buea last Wednesday October 28, 2009 when the Buea Divisional Officer brought in a contingent of policemen. They seized an important consignment of books meant for a book launch at the rally as well as the microphone and its stand.

They however returned the microphone and its stand but took away the books. The aim of the rally was to explain the recent Banjul Ruling on the suit between Southern Cameroons vs La Republique du Cameroun, whose distorted version was first announced by Issa Tchiroma last October 1, 2009 over CRTV.

It was when Barrister Bobga Mbuton Harmony was on the microphone reviewing the book titled Et Tu Brute (Even You Brutus) that three senior police officers first appeared from the entrance of the Stadium. Everyone ignored their presence.

"The Banjul Ruling has called on La Republique du Cameroun to engage in meaningful dialogue with the Southern Cameroons," Mr Bobga continued. "But here we are peacefully announcing the verdict to our people but the same forces of law and order are coming in to interrupt us as usual," Barrister Bobga raised his voice higher. After finding out who was the convenor the Superintendent of Police, a Northerner called Mola Njoh Litumbe to the side. Mola explained to him that he had duly deposited his declaration in the Divisional Officer's office. He further told him the law: "The law says when you deposit your declaration and after three days there is no written opposition to it from the Divisional Officer, you are free to go ahead." He said the three days had expired.

He had passed radio announcements about the rally through government's CRTV, and they were even there for coverage. Beside CRTV there were several other press organs like STV, Ocean City Radio, The Post Newspaper, the Frontier Telegraph and The Sun and even a female Australian journalist working for Global Conscience, an international Human Rights outfit.

While the argument raged on Barrister Bobga continued his address until one of the policemen moved up and seized the microphone. By then the D.O. had arrived and attempted to put forth the same arguments. A new twist was that he had been informed they were holding an SCNC rally. Mola Njoh Litumbe maintained that it was an LDA rally and the LDA by law had the right to brief its militants of recent political happenings in the country. This was clearly stated in his declaration. The D.O. however claimed that he never disclosed the agenda of his meeting and when he told his secretary to call Mola Njoh Litumbe, he refused to pick the phone.

Barrister Bobga Harmony lost his temper and told the D.O. and his policemen the import of the Banjul verdict. A copy of the ruling was handed to the Divisional Officer as well as a copy of the declaration that was deposited in his office. Barrister Bobga reiterated the law on assemblies by legalised groups. Both Barrister Bobga and Mola Njoh argued that the D.O. should instead have sent people to come and listen to what they were saying rather than coming to interrupt their peaceful gathering.

The scene gradually turned dramatic as each side cracked very serious jokes and both sides laughed. This time more people streamed into the stadium. The match that was going on in the stadium and had stopped resumed.

Finally the D.O. asked that the meeting should continue while he watched. He asked for the microphone and the stand to be returned, but by then the sound system had been disconnected. Mola Njoh asked the people to sit back and he addressed them once more. The D.O. gathered his policemen and they were contemplating on what to do. The meeting ended with prayers and the people dispersed leaving the D.O. and his police and gendarmes. Two policemen carried the package of books into one of the police vehicles.

Prior to the rally on the same day there was a heavily attended Press Conference in Mola Njoh's Compound in Bokwaongo, Buea. The Press Conference dwelled on the Banjul Ruling and the way forward for the Southern Cameroonians.

Present all through were Mr A.F. Ndangam, Acting Chairman of the Southern Cameroons Peoples Organization (SCAPO), Chief Ayamba Ette Otun, Chairman of the Southern Cameroons National Council, SCNC - Cow Street and Mr Nwachan Thomas SCNC- Ebong. An impressive representation came from Kumba.

By our Buea desk, Nke Valentine

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