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ESEKA , Blood Donation And A Sleeping Opposition




President Paul Biya, Cameroun dictator was forced to cut his ‘short’ stay abroad after more than a month as a result of the ESEKA train incident (It has claimed more than 150 lives and 600 more wounded). He arrived Cameroun on Sunday 23rd October. He had earlier in a Facebook post expressed his heartfelt condolences. He wrote “My heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families of the #CAMRAIL train derailment in #Eseka. Over 70 passengers died and 600 wounded in the accident. I instructed the government to provide full assistance to the survivors, while investigations will be made to determine the cause of the derailment.#Cameroon.”

However, Cameroonians on social media have shown so much anger against the current regime as a result of this accident most especially as the President was still lavishing in Europe. Forced to avoid a media backlash, President Biya immediately returned home on Sunday 23rd October. In some of his statements, he said “I have ordered a deep investigation to determine the causes of the accident.” He expressed his condolences to all victims and families. He also declared that all treatment for the affected will be covered by the state.The President went on to call on Cameroonians to show courage and be calm . “I ask Cameroonians to show courage, dynamism, and will,” Paul Biya said.

Politicians across the board have been condemning the government. Kah Walla sent a statement and asked Cameroonians to stand up against this regime. Ayah Paul wondered also about the state of Cameroon’s road and the taxes paid. Fru Ndi was interviewed in Equinox radio and said he had warned Biya against Bad roads in the Country. Joshua Osih, SDF MP has been speaking out and reports suggest he helped transport some victims with his car to the hospital. Nintcheu, SDF MP also did call on Biya to resign.

The Diplomatic community in Cameroun (France, Great Britain, Japan, Isreal, US, United Nations Ambassadors, officials ) also expressed their heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families and move forward to donate blood to over 600 Cameroonians who sustained wounds. Some Cameroonians have been visiting hospitals to Donate blood, Vicky Fokala, President of BHICam, a Cameroon-based NGO led the way by donating blood at LaQuatini Hospital Douala

However, at this crucial time, while mourning the lost ones, it gives us the opportunity to look at how the main opposition party reacted and how the opposition could have seized the moments.We have seen and heard all sort of stories from the SDF chairman John Fru Ndi castigating the regime in place for the Eseka train wreck. But Cameroonians are shocked that days have passed and the SDF has not made a groundbreaking visit to the scene of the accident not to mention hospitals where survivors are being treated.

A visit to Eseka, especially on a Day of National cry die, would have left a lasting impact in that town. Who knows it might just have been the perfect occasion to bring back lost glory especially now that many people are faulting the regime for negligence and wrong decision making in Friday’s valley of death incident in Eseka. The small unknown town since the carnage has attracted an unprecedented influx of CPDM big wigs who are using the occasion to indirectly drum support for their omnipresent Chairman. But the SDF as the frontline opposition movement has lost a great chance to implant itself in the hearts of the Eseka population. Whether this is due to political shortsightedness or complete helplessness is what still baffles me as a journalist and social critic- Peter Nsoesie, SDF Journalist wrote

We need an active opposition and not a sleeping and limping one frontline by the SDF. It’s easy to throw stones at President Paul Biya for his failed policies which are not new to us. But you are meticulously towing the CPDM line.

The Opposition which ought to be more critical and make the regime in place accountable are falling down the pecking order and leaving their space for the press to fill. The way things are going the press might present a frontline “opposition” against the established gerontocratic status quo.

We have seen reports from some supporters of the SDF saying that the Chairman of SDF was just operated upon and could not have moved, yet it was the same people who together with SDF officials castigated BaretaNews for spreading “lies” against the Chairman health which turn out to be true. The Chairman himself acknowledges on CRTV that he is not dying. It was a normal operation and he feels good. We understand he could probably not make the trip personally after all track records of Fru Ndi’s relationships to events like these shows otherwise but the SDF should be a structuralized body. The Communication office could have been working with the Chairman to sent out a communiqué to the Cameroonian people. They must not sit and wait for NEC ( National Executive Committee, SDF) to meet before reacting.

The Communication office could have been working with the Chairman to sent out a communiqué to the Cameroonian people. They must not sit and wait for a NEC meeting before responding. The communication office needs to be working on daily basis. This is the android and new age generation and political parties in the Cameroons must look at others elsewhere and try to emulate the same path.

However, If the Chairman is sick, an official SDF delegation should have made grounds breaking visit to the hospitals in Yaounde and Douala. Whatever Joshua Osih did, it is understood it was a personal move from a Cameroonian MP, he did not use a party to transport the said Eseka alleged victims. In fact, he happens to be traveling along that road and made a stop. A frontline opposition will act without waiting for a formal meeting and even more by providing food and water to the victims.

We should have been seeing Cameroonian MPs, politicians and officials taking moves to donate blood especially after BBC reported that more than 20.000 sachets of blood are needed to cope with the treatment of over 600 Cameroonians wounded. Diplomatic officials from other countries started the movement already and challenged the Cameroonian people. We have already lost hope on the CPDM MPs and government. Our hardliner to the SDF as the main opposition party is due to the fact that their best is not enough. The Cameroonian people need more. As a result, SDF MPs and officials should have been lining up for blood donation and much more. The system should work without necessarily waiting for NEC to sit and decide. That alone is where the problem is with the opposition in the Cameroons.

The same attitudes have been shown by the opposition parties especially the main opposition Party, SDF. One part of the country has been going on now to the third week with all courts shut down as a result of the Lawyers’ protest with no words from the SDF. No one is asking the SDF to support the Lawyers’ strike, but we understand that when one part of the country is affected, it is the moral responsibility of the main opposition party to call out the government. They have failed in this respect.

It is time the opposition and SDF most importantly up their game

By Mark Bara with contributions from Peter Nsoesie, STV Journalist

God is still saying something.

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