Tuesday, November 13, 2018
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The Time Is Now! 

By Kah Walla

Every people, every nation, has its journey.  As Cameroonians many a time we have felt ours has no end.  As a people, we have been fighting oppression for over 90 years.  Several times we have had encounters with history and each time we have walked away, dissatisfied, incomplete and wondering when our freedom would ever come…

The 1st Encounter

Lock Priso and Douala Manga Bell were the forerunners, leading protests against German rule in the early 1900s.  On the 22nd of July 1931, women traders in Douala decided enough was enough and marched to the French Governor’s office to protest against exorbitant taxes.  From then to the early sixties nationalists fought on both sides of the Mungo to end the oppression of the colonizers. 

Ndeh Ntumazah, Um Nyobe, Emmanuel Endeley, Marthe Moumie, Augustine Ngom Jua, Gertrude Omog, the Anlu women of Kom, etc. are all names whose history is yet to be written, whose story is yet to be told to our children, so they too can lean on the foundation of true heroines and heroes. 

Thirty years of fighting for liberation.  The nationalists won, for they built a true vision of independence, they triggered a movement for freedom across Africa and most importantly they left us with a legacy of identity and pride, a thirst for true independence.  In spite of this they lost. We lost, for they were not to lead our country.  They were killed. Beheaded. And with them our first attempt to define ourselves for ourselves.  In our first appointment with history, we walked away with the bitter taste of defeat in our throats and went on to build the shaky, confused and corrupt foundation of what is today’s Cameroon.

The 2nd Encounter

1989 and we were once again restless.  Corruption, incompetence and continued oppression had completely dashed the hopes we had allowed to rise in our chests in 1982 with what we had assumed to be the death of dictatorship.  Voices rose in Garoua, Ebolowa, Buea, Bertoua, Douala, Yaounde and the neighborhood of Ntarikon. 

Yondo Black, Vincent Feko, Henriette Ekwe, Albert Mukong and many others are all part of that history we are yet to write.  Once again we had hope, as a tidal wave gained momentum and left Bamenda and spread throughout the nation.  Blood was sacrificed, ghost towns became a part of our day-to-day language and red cards notified us that the nation was waging war against oppression. 

On the 11th of October 1992, we were certain we had finally attained the independence we had been fighting for, for close to a century.  The ballots were cast; the initial count was wonderful, freedom at last, just waiting to be pronounced.  We had once again won, for the nation made a statement on how it saw its future. 

The country became once again a state of multiple parties, that essential component to democracy.   The final pronouncement was, however, another sentence on total freedom.  Complete independence was not to be this time around either. 20 years and we thought we had not only lost our way, but lost our will. We were beginning to resign ourselves to what we were being told was our fate. 

Then, came February 2008 and our rage surfaced.  The injustice of living in a country which is rich, but where 40 percent of its citizens live on less than FCFA 738 per day; the outrageousness of living in a country where almost 500 people can die of cholera because less than 30 percent of its rural population has access to drinking water and only 14 percent of that population has access to decent toilets.

The scandal that in this same country the head of state, whose job it is to ensure citizens get drinking water and adequate toilets, can go on vacation and spend over 1 million Euros in less than a month. Failure after failure, scandal after scandal and the reminder that we are better than this, that we have extraordinary potential which is waiting to be achieved, this combination of scandals and resources, failure and potential, this combination has riled the blood of our ancestors which is within us.

We have remembered that we are the children of freedom fighters. We are the offspring of nationalists who fought foes more formidable than this.  We are of a lineage of heroines and heroes who never gave up in the face of tyranny and oppression.  The whole, entire reason for their being, for their fight, the end result of them, is us. For us, for this generation of ours, it is time.

The 3rd and Decisive Encounter

2011 is our next rendezvous with history. We know it. It is our generation’s turn; it is our generation’s time. Move this fight forward, we must. Achieve this peaceful revolution, we must. We owe it to ourselves, we owe it to our ancestors and we owe it to our children. 
The time is now!  The only question each of us has to ask him/herself is "What is my role?", "What is my task?" As we move forward to this 3rd and decisive encounter, a few key things must be done:

– Let us take back our power – We must reverse the power structure in Cameroon. This is our country. These are our rights. We must not allow our collective power to continue to be usurped by a small group of individuals. 

– Let us claim our elections – We must not allow elections to be confiscated by any individual or group of individuals. The electoral system belongs to us. It is our fundamental possession as citizens. As a result we must:

– Take possession of our right – Go out and register to vote.
– Organise – Join a group that is fighting for electoral reforms.
– Make our voice heard – Go to ELECAM, ask questions, demand answers, participate.
– Mobilize – Through non-violent, but determined action we as a people will ensure transparency and fairness in this electoral system.

2011 is our rendezvous with history. It is our time, the people’s time. Abolish fear, stand up, ACT, together we shall dare to invent the future of our beloved Cameroon.

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