9, September 2020
The main opposition leader of Cameroon, Maurice Kamto, has called mobilizations on September 22 to call for the departure of the president, Paul Biya, a day after he approved December 6 as the date for the holding of the first regional elections in the country.
Kamto’s Movement for the Renaissance of Cameroon (CRM) has pointed out that the protests have been called at the national level, after the opposition warned against the call for elections without a ceasefire in the Anglophone majority regions, the scene of a conflict for several years.
Thus, the spokesman for Kamto, Olivier Bibou Nissack, stressed that September 22 will be the day of the « revolution in Cameroon ». « Paul Biya must go, » he added, as reported by the Cameroonian newspaper ‘Journal du Cameroun’.
The date chosen coincides with the one that, three years ago, marked the beginning of peaceful demonstrations in the two regions with an English-speaking majority to demand reforms in the face of what the population denounced as a situation of discrimination in the country.
Both the CRM and the Social Democratic Front (SDF), led by John Fru Ndi, had stressed that they will not go to the polls if there is no ceasefire declaration and Kamto himself threatened to call for mobilizations in the event that a date was set for the vote.
The aforementioned protests by the inhabitants of these regions, once British colonies but who decided to join French Cameroon due to its alleged marginalization by the central government, led to harsh repression as a result of the self-proclamation of the independence of Ambazonia on October 1, 2017.
Since then, armed groups have proliferated and support for separatists, until then quite marginal, has grown. The Government has responded with harsh repression, during which human rights organizations have accused the security forces of committing atrocities.
The conflict has already left some 3,000 dead. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there are already 60,000 Cameroonian refugees in Nigeria, while another 679,000 have been displaced within the country.