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News Analysis:February And Cameroon’s Habit Of Unhappiness 

 It is the only month with less than 30 days: 28 days in a normal year and 29 in a Leap Year. February is, also, the harshest month in most parts of the world.  In temperate climates, it is the height of winter and, in the tropics, the apex of the dry season. Napoleon Bonaparte’s ignorance of this February distemper cost him his imperialistic career. He undertook the Moscow Campaign in February 1812 "to teach the Russians an unforgettable lesson." 

The Russians, whom he intended to punish for revolting against his Continental System, accepted the challenge."Our General, February will fight for us," they prophesied and, then, adopted a "scorched earth," burning all shelters as they retreated from Napoleon.  The Moscow campaign was the beginning of Napoleon’s downfall.

Last year, Cameroonian youths went haywire in February 25-28, destroying taxation buildings, breweries and other sources of sustenance for a regime that survives by exploiting its citizenry.
Just as Napoleon defeated the Russians at the Battle of Borodino in 1812, after suffering enormous causalities, the Biya regime crushed last February’s uprising at the cost of much damage to its resources and its international image. The success of the rebellion lay in the fact that it exposed the inability of the regime to cope with emergences and confirmed the adage that every dictatorial regime contains the ingredients of its own destruction.

This February, the regime has, again, demonstrated its vulnerability. A mere announcement of a commemoration of last February made by Jean Michel Ninctcheu, SDF Littoral Chairman and MANIDEM leader, Anicet Ekane, destabilised the emotional equilibrium of the regime, manifested by the panic-stricken reactions of Francoise Foning and Co.

Traders in the Bamenda Food Market did something more dramatic. On Monday, February 23, they went on the rampage over an unjustified tax of FCFA 5000 imposed on them.  The regime again quaked and the tax was suspended. Perhaps the summit of provocation this February was the Mount Cameroon Race of Hope; an event that brought life to Buea in yesteryears when Guinness Cameroon organised it. 

This year’s event was as dull as a marriage sermon. Besides the hijacking of everything by Yaounde, talented athletes were denied the opportunity to shine. This is the same treatment given everything Anglophone since February 1961 (Plebiscite Day) an act that stirred the righteous anger of the no-nonsense Buea Mayor, Charles Mbella Moki.

The Mayor found it irrational that an event taking place in his municipality should be organised hundreds of kilometres away by persons almost wholly ignorant of the local realities.
To further scarify the deep wound, all the catering services were brought from Yaounde and as many as 200 state agents travelled to Buea on mission. The fact that Mbella Moki is a diehard militant of the ruling party is significant; just as in the University of Buea Crisis, Mbella has demonstrated that he is a Mayor for all.

AES SONEL Provocation

Another very painful aspect of this year’s February is the frequency with which the electricity supply company, AES-SONEL, carried out power cuts; a thing it couldn’t dare during last February’s strike. In Bamenda, switching off lights at the most unexpected moment has become the favourite pastime of "AES". Needless to emphasise that the economic and emotional damage it has, so far, caused is irreparable.

As 2011 approaches, it should be reiterated to the Biya regime and "AES" that what makes life unbearable is not a single serious act of provocation, but, rather, a series of little provocative acts frequently repented. The consequences of such trespasses on the emotions of a suffering people are a wound in the heart, which cannot heal without leaving a scar. Those who fight for long and are vanquished may be silent, but that does not signify submission. He who conquers by force has subdued his enemy only by half.

As life grows tougher for Cameroonians, so, too, grows their determination.  The French Revolution of 1789 was the outcome of practical needs, not political theories. The idea of a rebellion in Cameroon is no longer within the realms of possibility; it has long gone beyond the bounds of probability. This probability is heightened by Biya’s determination to take another mandate. To say it needs just the flicker that would spark off the conflagration is to state the obvious.

Biya’s nemesis may not come from the "apprentis sorciers" who are generally known to be his conventional political opponents, but from the spirit of silent resistance building up in the sleeping giant known as the youthful generation. A generation that, at first, sought comfort in football, but whose effects, like those of every soothing drug (opium, alcohol, etc), are fast evaporating – leaving the consumer both sober and angry. Like Promise, the main character in Colbert Gwain’s "Rebel In Search of A Cause", such frustrated young persons, sickened by the "island of peace" dictum, are ready material for proponents of the military alternative.

The Buea Mountain Race of Hope, although only a yearly event, was a safety valve for the pent-up emotions of the Anglophone youths. If the Biya regime understands what the spirit of nationalism is, its policy makers should not toy with the sentiments of those who reside in the capital of former West Cameroon; at least not now that Southern Cameroons activists are resolved not to be part of Biya’s 2011 political agenda.