An atmosphere of uncertainty hovers over Buea, the Regional Capital of the South West and host town of the South West General Conference, barely hours to the commencement of the event.
The event, which was slated for Saturday, August 25, 2018, was convened by some South West elite and traditional rulers based in Yaoundé, under the umbrella of the South West Chiefs Conference (SWECC).
However, few hours to the event, the effervescent is timid and there is no sign that the event will hold, but for a banner announcing the conference.
Even denizens of Buea are not aware that such a mega conference will be holding in their city. Speaking to The National Times, Edward Molombe said: “I heard about the conference a week ago, but I didn’t know that it was going to hold since there is little or no preparation and no radio announcements. I want the so call elite, who have been away to Yaounde to come and also witness what we are going through here in Buea and not just sit in Yaounde and talk rubbish,” Molombe said.
On her part, Sally Namondo said she has not heard of the conference, but that she will endeavour to attend after learning about it from The National Times. “I really need to attend this conference because we Southwesterners need to tell ourselves the truth and stop play politics with people’s destinies and lives.”
Meanwhile, the steam of the conference was further dampened by a gun battle which rattled-off in Bomaka, Mile 18 and Muea neighbourhoods between 8:00 and 11:00am on Friday, August 24.
It would be recalled that some South West elite and chiefs recently met in Yaounde and rejected the Anglophone General Conference (AGC) convened by the retired Archbishop of Douala, Christian Cardinal Tumi and a host of other clerics.
During the Yaounde meeting, the elite and chiefs argued that the AGC was untimely and precipitated.
According to them, only solutions provided by the Government can trace a pathway for peace in Cameroon and the South West in particular.
In this light, they projected themselves as the real emissaries and representatives of the people of the South West Region and requested to meet President Paul Biya to discuss the real plights of the South West people, which to them, are the grievances raised by the Lawyers and Teachers before the escalation of the Anglophone Crisis.
During the Yaoounde conclave, the elite and traditional rulers were focused on regaining their position, which they said, is now usurped by religious leaders thanks to the on-going conflict in the Region.
They lamented on the fact that the economy of the South West Region, which used to be one of the biggest in the country owing to natural endowments and the presence of two agro-industrial giants, CDC and PAMOL has been reduced to tatters.
The Yaounde meeting was mostly attended by militants of the ruling CPDM party, who renewed their “unflinching” support to party Chairman, Paul Biya and challenged their compatriots to grant him time to foster the process of Decentralisation under a Unitary-Decentralised State.