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Separatists’ vicious attacks on taxi drivers disrupt livelihoods in Bamenda

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By Kate Bih

Separatist militants recently targeted taxi drivers in Bamenda, unleashing a wave of terror that has devastated livelihoods and heightened fear among residents.

Armed with firearms, the separatists fired bullets at taxis, destroying their tires and rendering many vehicles inoperable. At least one vehicle was also burnt during one of the attacks.

An amateur video posted on separatist propaganda pages captures the attackers declaring their demand: “We don’t want any taxi painted in yellow. Every taxi should be painted in blue and white, and we are here to enforce that.”

The attackers, brandishing their weapons, identified themselves as Ambazonia fighters and took turns shooting at the taxis.

This brutal enforcement of their color mandate has left taxi drivers in a precarious state.

Many drivers, already struggling to make ends meet due to years of armed conflict, are now facing additional financial burdens and the threat of further violence.

Andrew (not his real name), a taxi driver in Bamenda, told MMI about the increasing hardships even before the attacks.

“I have been a taxi driver in town for the last 16 years. In the past, I could pay my bills with no stress, but these days, my ends can barely meet,” he said, his voice tinged with despair.

Another driver who identified only as Nche, expressed the futility and danger of repainting their taxis as demanded.

“It’s challenging for us to spray our taxis into blue and white. The separatists can only kill us who are armless and helpless but have no power to secure us should we comply with their prescribed colors,” he said.

The sense of betrayal and hopelessness among the drivers is palpable.

“It is embarrassing that people who want to liberate us are now focused on killing us. It’s better we remain slaves with the oppressors (referring to the Yaounde administration) than die painfully in the hands of our own children,” lamented Adamu, another taxi driver.

The impact of this violence extends beyond taxi drivers. Agwe (not his real name), a plantain trader, highlighted the broader implications.

“We go through a lot to transport food from the farms to the market. These boys (referring to separatists) are bent on killing all of us,” she said.

The recent wave of attacks has forced some taxi drivers out of business, exacerbating the economic decline in the city.

One driver, spotted at a travel agency, shared his grim decision. “The only option I have now is to take my family out of Bamenda. I can now see the crisis is ‘Bamenda wickedness on the Bamenda man,” he said.

Drivers are not the only category of people targeted by the separatists. Other private individuals, including snack bar and shop owners, have been targeted as well over the least suspicion of working on imposed ghost town days.

As a result of the violence, Bamenda has become a ghost town by evening.

The situation has further been worsened by a government curfew on motorbikes, the city’s most vibrant public transportation sector.

Bamenda now shuts down by 5 pm, with residents waking up only by 7 am. Nightlife has all but vanished, turning Bamenda into a shadow of its former self.

This ongoing conflict and the separatists’ ruthless tactics continue to undermine the stability and safety of Bamenda, leaving its residents in a state of fear and uncertainty.

The call for change, once seen as a glimmer of hope, now feels like a death sentence for many caught in the crossfire.

©Mimi Mefo Info

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Afrique

Le corps électoral pour les législatives et municipales de 2025 sera convoqué en novembre

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C’est ce qu’a affirmé l’honorable Cabral Libii, député du Parti Camerounais pour la Réconciliation Nationale et président national de cette formation politique, appelant au passage les électeurs et potentiels candidats à s’inscrire sur les listes électorales.

Le député Cabral Libii ne veut plus perdre du temps, alors que le pays est secoué par des actualités liées au sport. Dans une sortie qu’il a publié sur les réseaux sociaux, le patron politique du PCRN lance un appel. “Mes chers compatriotes, il me paraît important de vous rappeler que les inscriptions sur les listes électorales s’achèvent dans 75 jours (le 31 août 2024)”, lit-on sur sa page.

” Il faut surtout rappeler à l’attention de tous que les élections législatives et municipales se tiendront en février 2025. Donc le corps électoral sera convoqué en novembre 2024. Ce qui veut dire que ceux qui ne se seront pas inscrits avant le 31 août 2024, ne pourront ni voter, ni candidater en février 2025.Par expérience, une élection en saison sèche est propice à une forte participation populaire et à une meilleure surveillance citoyenne des urnes” poursuit-il.

“Le peuple peut faire basculer le pouvoir dès février 2025 en donnant la majorité des sièges de l’Assemblée Nationale à l’opposition. Croyez-moi entre mars et octobre 2025, avec une majorité de Députés de l’opposition, des réformes décisives peuvent être faites.

La focalisation prématurément insistante sur l’élection présidentielle, est sur ce point, une diversion et une approche politiquement contre-productive.
Réveillons-nous ! Unissons-nous” lance-t-il.

Cette sortie de Cabral Libii intervient au moment où plusieurs sources parlent d’une éventuelle prorogation du mandat des maires et des députés au cours de la deuxième session parlementaire en cours. Même si l’information semble ne pas être fondée, la stratégie utilisée pour les propagateurs de cette nouvelle pourrait s’assimiler à un test d’opinion. Ce d’autant plus que la révision constitutionnelle du 14 avril 2008, la pratique de la prorogation des mandats législatifs et municipaux a pris droit de cité au Cameroun. En effet, les dernières élections législatives et municipales ont été marquées par la prorogation des mandats de ces représentants, à trois reprises (21 août 2012, 21 février 2013 21 mai 2013, 18 juillet 2018). Au regard du triple scrutin présidentiel, législatif et municipal de l’année 2025, le chef de l’Etat semble vouloir faire réitérer la mesure de la prorogation des mandats législatifs et municipaux. Ainsi, étant entendu que la période probable de convocation du corps électoral pour les municipales et législatives de 2025 devait courir jusqu’en fin novembre 2024 , la non-convocation de ce dernier, pourrait ouvrir la voie à une possible prorogation desdits mandats.

Le fondement constitutionnel

D’après l’article 15 (nouveau) de la Loi N°008/001 du 14 avril 2008 modifiant et complétant certaines dispositions de la Loi N°96/06 du 18 janvier 1996 portant révision de la Constitution du 2 juin 1972, « [e]n cas de crise grave ou lorsque les circonstances l’exigent, le président de la République peut, après consultation du président du Conseil Constitutionnel et des bureaux de l’Assemblée Nationale et du Sénat, demander à l’Assemblée Nationale de décider, par une loi, de proroger ou d’abréger son mandat (…) ». En ces termes, la loi constitutionnelle fonde clairement la mesure de prorogation du mandat des députés. Cette mesure obéit néanmoins à des conditions de fonds et de forme bien précises.

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Biya declares June 17 public holiday ahead of Feast of Tabaski

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Monday, June 17, 2024, will be a public holiday in Cameroon, an announcement made by President Paul Biya ahead of the Muslim feast of Tabaski, also called Eid al-Adha, which will start on June 16.

The feast, which rounds off the weeklong annual pilgrimage to Mecca, commemorates Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael in obedience to God (Allah).

According to Biblical and Koranic traditions, just as Abraham was about to sacrifice his son, God provided a lamb which he slaughtered and spared his son’s life.

The feast of Tabaski commemorates faith, devotion and obedience to Allah.

The feast is celebrated on the 10th day of the lunar month of Dhul-Hijjah, the last month of the Islamic calendar, and it coincides with the end of the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca.

To mark this feast, Muslims who can afford are required to slaughter an animal – a sheep, goat, Carmel or cow – to symbolize Abraham’s sacrifice. The meat is divided into three parts: one for family, one for neighbours and friends and the other for the needy. The feast is also marked by lavish dressing, merrymaking, and acts of love.

Millions of Cameroonians will be partaking in the celebration, including thousands of Cameroonian pilgrims who are attending the Hajj in Mecca.

©Mimi Mefo Info

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Afrique

Jato Sonita, inspires exam questions in Regional Mock exam

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Jato Sonita, the young folklore musical artist from Bamenda known as the “forest girl,” has become a subject of academic study for students in Cameroon. Her influence has now extended into educational settings, where her image is being used in school exams.

This development was highlighted during the Regional Mock exams in Yaounde, which serve as preparatory tests for the General Certificate of Education (GCE) Ordinary Levels.

In the English Language Paper 2 exam, students were tasked with a composition exercise inspired by one of two images: one of Jato Sonita dressed in her iconic banana leaves and another of the Cameroonian national football team, the Indomitable Lions.

Jato Sonita expressed her excitement and gratitude upon learning of this honor.

“My picture was used at the Inter-Regional Mock Exams in Yaoundé as candidates prepared to write the GCE Ordinary Levels Examinations. I thank God for giving me the grace to be,” she said.

Known for her distinctive music that reconnects Africans with their traditional and cultural roots, Jato Sonita has made significant strides in the Cameroonian music industry.

Her choice of performing in attire made from banana leaves is a deliberate symbol of purity from Western influences, representing how she envisions Africa could have been without the impact of colonization.

Originally from the Donga-Mantung Division in the Northwest, Jato Sonita performs with other children from the Mile 8 forest of Mankon, Bamenda.

Her music is not her only contribution; she has also emerged as a dedicated advocate for environmental issues and climate change.

Jato Sonita’s advocacy has earned her recognition beyond the music scene. She has received various awards and has had the opportunity to sing for world leaders.

Her environmental activism was prominently showcased during a recent visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo, where she was invited by the US Ambassador. During her visit, she championed the protection of the Congo Basin and participated in tree-planting activities at Kinshasa University.

Her inclusion in the exam highlights her role as a cultural and environmental influencer, demonstrating the power of art to inspire and educate.

©Mimi Mefo Info

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