Open letter to Mayor Ekema Patrick of Buea, Southern Cameroons 8

Dear Mayor Ekema,

Let me congratulate you for the efforts you are making to ensure that the economy of your city does not take a nosedive due to the strikes and ghost town operations taking place across the English-Speaking part of our country. I do agree that as a mayor, the plight of your city should be a constant concern to you, especially at this time when the country has been caught in a downward political spiral.

As you know, I am also an eminent son of the southwest region and I should be concerned as well that our region will be caught in the throes of an economic crisis if urgent measures are not taken to get businesses back to the level they were before the outbreak of the people power revolution in Southern Cameroons. However, your approach is a huge cause for concern for many honest and objective citizens of our region. Based on pictures I have seen on national television, you have been using measures that smack of dictatorship and this is helping to fuel radicalism in the region.

I strongly believe that you should moderate your ways and seek to persuade the residents of Buea that it is in their best interest to get back to business rather than threaten them. Your attitude speaks to your ignorance of the radical changes that have taken place in Cameroon. Please be advised that intimidation clearly belongs to the past and you cannot use it as a political tool to achieve whatever goals you have set for yourself. From the population’s behaviour, you should figure out that the wall of fear has collapsed and that dialogue has validly replaced intimidation.

I would also like to use this opportunity to address your purchase of taxis in preparation for the ghost town operations called by the Consortium. As you know, the current situation in Cameroon is a people power revolution and not even soldiers and murder squads can stop the people from expressing their frustration with a government they hold has failed to live up to their expectation.

Of course, there is nothing wrong for a municipality to invest. It is always a laudable idea for a municipality to have multiple income streams, but the timing of your purchase of taxis calls into question your intentions. However, I hope you understand that while your taxis will be plying on the days when the peaceful and responsible people of Buea will be helping to enforce the Consortium’s call for ghost towns, you will not be able to oblige anybody to jump into your taxis. Rather than project yourself as a thug, it will be proper for you to tread the path of peace so as to avoid any confrontation with the local population.

I understand you are a career politician and your future depends on you proving to your masters in Yaounde that you are doing a great job. I have no issue with that if only you conduct yourself as a democrat. However, from the look of things, you are slowly running out of luck as the party you represent is no longer popular among Southern Cameroonians. The next elections are around the corner and given the way things are playing out, the ruling party is headed for a crash in the English-speaking part of the country. If I were in your shoes, I would tread very carefully in order not to make a bad situation worse. A good politician is he who knows how to exercise restraint, he who knows when and how to speak and he who can win hearts and minds even during challenging times.

Your approach to the issues affecting our country leaves much to be desired. As a career politician, you must learn how to address these issues without declaring war on those who disagree with you. You should learn to refine, not only your language, but also your ways, so as to win hearts and minds. Political thuggery has no place in today’s Cameroon. You stand to gain if you tread carefully.

The world is watching you. The manner in which you deal with these issues will either make or mar you in the upcoming elections. You either seek to endear yourself to the people’s mind or declare yourself a relic of an outdated brand of dictatorship. Moderation is an idea whose time has come. I would suggest you make the most of it.


Joachim Arrey

About the Author: The author of this letter has served as a journalist and editor for many news organizations and institutions in Africa and North America. He studied communication at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom and technical writing in George Brown College in Toronto, Canada. He is also a trained translator. He holds a Ph.D.