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Eseka Train Disaster: Gov’t Makes Nonsense Of National Day Of Mourning 

 Biya Snubs Ecumenical Service, Sends Representative

 PM, Other Regime Barons On AFCON Inspection Mission

 Opposition Parties Play Political Blame Game On Social Media

 2 Ugandan Pastors Among Accident Casualties

 Woman Losses Triplets In Crash

 Corpses, Patients Stranded In Mortuaries, Hospitals

 Beleaguered Citizens Fight Over Remains Of Unidentified Victims

 Gov’t To Play Hide & Seek With Bloated Commission

By Isidore Abah & Maxcel Fokwen

Seminarians praying for the repose of the souls of the Eseka train victims  during National Day of Mourning

Seminarians praying for the repose of the souls of the Eseka train victims during National Day of Mourning

The Biya Government, October 24, made nonsense of the Presidential decree, declaring Monday as a National Day of mourning.

The nation was expected to mourn the over 100 victims who perished and pray for the other 600 who were injured in the Eseka train derailment.

While the entire nation was in lamentation, the Prime Minister, Head of Government, Philemon Yang, and his close aides were active on the field.

Yang was in Buea and Limbe to inspect projects for the upcoming Women African Cup of Nations.
Besides, Biya who declared the national day of mourning snubbed a special church service which was organised in honour of the fallen victims.

He instead sent the Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralisation, Rene Emmanuel Sadi, to represent him at the Special Mass conducted at Our Lady of Victory Cathedral in Yaounde.

Though other high State functionaries and heads of Diplomatic Missions attended the mass in honour of the train victims, observers have questioned the rationale of sending a representative even in a matter that concerns the lives of Cameroonians.

Many expected the Head of State to personally pay a condolence visit to the scene of the accident and condole with relatives of the deceased in such a difficult moment.

In the early hours of Tuesday, October 25, these reporters overheard a senior police officer and other staff at the Southwest Governor’s Office, cursing the PM for not paying homage to the fallen compatriots.

These reporters overheard them questioning why the Head of Government could not respect the memories of Cameroonians who died out of no fault of theirs.

“Why could the Prime Minister not visit the next day? Are the projects running away, or is the tournament commencing tomorrow?” the senior police officer wondered aloud.

Political observers claim that for the President to mourn the victims of the train tragedy only from a television screen is sheer hypocrisy.

Opposition Condoles Without Action

Opposition party leaders who have hurled insults at the regime for the misfortune have limited their actions to the social media.

Till date, no frontline opposition party leader has paid any condolence visit to the site of the tragedy, but for the First Vice National Chair of the SDF.

Party leaders like Paul Ayah Abine, Kah Walla, Prof Maurice Kamto and others have limited their condolence messages on social media and other platforms.

The SDF National Chair, John Fru Ndi, in a radio interview said his repeated attempts to draw Government’s attention to the state of the road and rail network were disregarded.

“The so called emergency measures carried out by Government after the incident are meaningless and will not change the fact that souls have perished, economy killed and Cameroonians frustrated because of an incompetent regime,” Fru Ndi stated.

Though the National Executive Committee, NEC, of the party is expected to converge in Bamenda, on October 29, the South African Branch of the party has issued a statement.

Milton Taka, Roland Chebefuh, Regional Chair and Regional Secretary respectively in a 10 point release urged the Biya regime to shoulder the funeral cost of the victims.

“SDF in South Africa wants to frown at the slow emergency response system that exists today in Cameroon. The Government needs to also share with Cameroonians what the National emergency and disaster management plan looks like and the level of compliance with its provisions.

Many lives were lost due to slow emergency response and our hearts are filled with grief for the dead, their families especially (orphans, widows, widowers, loss of breadwinners)” reads one of the resolutions.

Edith Kah Walla, leader of the Cameroon Peoples Party, CPP, in a statement on social media said, “It is important to sound the alarm on Facebook and on Twitter.

It is important to write newspaper articles, it is important that we talk with our friends and console one another in our families. However, it is time to follow talk with action. It is time to take action as a citizen, to take responsibility as a Cameroonian.

We must refuse to keep dying as a people. We must choose life.”

She faulted Government for the bad state of the nations’ road network.

“Cameroonians pay FCFA billions in road tolls and taxes which have been used to create road funds and other facilities. Despite this, the regime is unable to carry out basic maintenance and upkeep, let alone upgrade our roads to guarantee our safety.”

The Popular Action Party, PAP, of Paul Ayah, condoles like others, but questions the outcome of an announced commission of inquiry.

“Therefore we cannot be serious about mourning if we do not go into the fundamental causes – except we are shedding crocodile tears in our characteristic false pretences. For a new Cameroon, there is the absolute need to go back to basics, if from Tony Blair we should borrow!

A commission of enquiry is otherwise a deja-vu. And many have we seen without findings ever,” partly reads the PAP release on social media.

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