Cameroon: Shops sealed, business premises vandalized for respecting “Ghost” Towns
By Boris Esono Nwenfor
Inhabitants of Buea, chief town of the South West Region have continued to cry foul at the constant sealing of their business premise by the Mayor of the Buea council. Monday September 2, 2019 saw over 20 business premises sealed while others had their businesses destroyed.
The sealing of the shops by the Mayor Patrick Ekema Esunge is in a bid to frustrate the “ghost” town phenomenon and to get people back to work. The efforts equally coincided with the back to school across the South West Region.
Many of the inhabitants this reporter talked to were very disgusted with the mayor’s attitude in sealing and even destroying people’s businesses. “Let the Mayor look for other means in getting shops to open and not destroy people’s sweat when they do not open” one Buea inhabitant narrated while adding that “very soon the Mayor will start to seal but people’s houses”.
According to another inhabitant who preferred anonymity, this effort only makes people to stay at home. He said, “We are tired in two corner-if you close your shops then the council may close or vandalize it but if you open it then you risked being beaten or seen as a black leg by the separatist fighters. Who knows what may happen to you”. “Our security is not even guaranteed but yet the administrators want us to open our shops. If we are kidnapped, will they pay for any of our release” he questioned.
The sealing of shops has been a constant weapon used by the Buea council to get people not to respect the set “ghost” towns called by separatist fighters. January 4, 2019, saw more than 20 shops and other businesses around Bongo Square sealed. In August of 2018 close to 700 shops in the Buea municipality were sealed. The shops were only reopened after an agreement was reached between business persons and the council.