The municipality of Buea woke up today to one of the most severe ghost town since the Anglophone crisis began in total defiance of a recent order by the Mayor, Ekema Patrick Esunge, promising harsh sanctions to observers of the weekly ghost town.
Reports say circulation is totally grounded, businesses closed and even pedestrians cannot be seen on the main street. Shops along the road, including those in the hinterlands are also closed, taxis unavailable and commercial motor bikes as well.
Moreover, even public service establishments are also suffering from this Monday’s ghost town. We spoke to some workers of the Buea Regional Hospital Annex and they recounted to us the pathetic situation they are going through.
Most of them who preferred anonymity disclosed that last week, they had to trek to work and back and this week they cannot afford to do so again, and prefer to stay in their houses. When asked about the Mayor’s order, one said, “let him come and enforce it himself, the other time he cause chaos, people were killed and he ran. Today I am not willing to risk my life for Ekema.
The gravity of the situation could also be explained in the fact that even the Hospital’s ambulances and service cars are unable to move around. “We thought they would come and pick us up this morning, but the driver of the ambulance said he too has been threatened – by who, we don’t know,” a nurse lamented.
In the latest communication by Mayor Ekema signed last Friday, July 20, the council said Monday remains a normal working day and businesses and offices should go about their usual activities. “The Lord Mayor of the Buea Council, Ekema Patrick Esunge informs the general public especially Economic Operators operating businesses within the Buea Municipality that Mondays remains a normal working day,” Ekema Patrick reiterated. The Mayor went further to promise severe sanctions to defaulters. Here him, “defaulters of the above Municipal Order will have their businesses sealed till further notice.” We spoke to an economic operator and he stated that the intensity of the ghost town has even made him not to spend Mondays in Buea.
Other residents we spoke to said they have a feeling that as the days go by the situation is getting worst and the ghost is becoming real in the vicinity of Buea. “If July can be like this then what would happen in October when there would be elections,” a Buea resident questioned.
It is not the first time Mayor Ekema is making such threats. Last week, Buea witnessed a bloody ghost town after the Mayor asked residence to go about their duties as usual. In the aftermath of the showdown, the Mayor could not be found and even his promises of driving through town that Monday could not be kept.